Webconsuls - Web Design, SEO, and SMO Specialists

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How do you combat the bad reviews?

Most of us have used the opinions of strangers to guide us. Maybe we crossed a movie off a list because we saw a bad review on television or went to a new restaurant based on a review we read in the newspaper. The Internet lets us all be reviewers and almost anything can be reviewed. You can rate books on amazon.com, local businesses on yelp.com and DUI attorneys at gotdui.com. And you can use those sites, and countless others to help you chose a book, a restaurant, or a lawyer.

Of course, any review is subjective. For example, The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's latest book, has over 1400 reviews, almost 500 of which are positive and about 650 are negative. Also, the quality of service at any business can vary. So before trusting a review, read carefully.

If you own a business, you need to understand that your next customer might review his or her experience on the Internet. Just as bad reviews in the New York press can doom a Broadway show, then a bad report can seriously hurt a business.

How do you combat the bad reviews? The first thing to do is to try to not get them. Be on top of game as much as possible. If you see that a customer is dissatisfied, try to find out why and do something to satisfy them. Be honest in your advertising so that customers don't expect one thing and get another.

The second thing is to try to get good reviews. Encourage your satisfied customers. Publicize your good reviews and their sources.

Here are ten other things you should consider.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BWE09 Looking in the Rear View Mirror

Blog World and New Media Expo 2009



This year I had the opportunity to attend BWE09, better known as Blog World and New Media Expo 2009. This event took place from October 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike many of the 2500 attendees this was my first year participating. And unlike many attendees I did not spend my days there blogging, tweeting, or otherwise updating my friends and followers. I just tried to take in the process, that is I tried to listen and learn. And hopefully, I will be able to care for and serve some, if not all, of Webconsuls' clients. I actually thought about writing this post as soon as I returned home or even while I waited in the Las Vegas Airport, but then it occurred to me that it would be better to really write about BWE09 looking in the rear view mirror. So here are some of my "bytes" on BWE09.

  1. While I have been participating in blogging for about two years and I am on Facebook and have a Twitter account, I would not rate myself as someone that knows everyone in the blogging and new media world; therefore, attending this event was not about hooking up with old friends, but meeting new people and learning from the "experts."
  2. The exhibitors were varied and engaging. I enjoyed talking to people from all over the world, like the Zemanta team from Slovania (and, yes, I intend to learn more about their product). The ArmyStrongStories.com team was engaging and they had a great display. And then of course, I enjoyed speaking to Robby Berthyme who was representing wheretogetengaged.com 
  3. Brian Solis moderated a good keynote discussion about the "New Celebrity" with Anthony Edwards, Jermaine Dupri and Robin Antin. All of these participants made it very clear that if you are using Twitter, Facebook, etc...you need to be yourself, engage with people, and manage your own accounts (don't hire a staff to do this). Write about yourself or your cause, don't just keep re-tweeting!
  4. One "outtake" from this keynote discussion is that I found it incredible how rude 70% of the audience appeared to be behaving. This was an hour long presentation and it was beyond me why people could not just sit and "listen", as opposed to working on their laptops, running their fingers over their iPhones or thumbing it on their Blackberry. This behavior was annoying and to top it off, even though they were really not paying attention, they would join in the intermittent applause like robots or dummies.
  5. Dave Peck of LSF Interactive was interesting and provocative in his conference "How to Socialize Your Content". I just discovered that he posted many of his "rules" here for the small business owner. His advice I intend to try to incorporate into Webconsuls and to share with our clients.
  6. I really enjoyed the conference "How Twits Lay Golden Eggs - The Art of Social Engagement for Business"...Chris Brogan and Laura Fitten had a lot to offer and they did not make the audience feel inept, but offered real guidance.
  7. Dan attended this conference for Webconsuls also. It was interesting to watch Dan, who had not been to Las Vegas since he was 13! It was great to attend the conferences and then share what we had learned.
  8. Las Vegas is an aging city and I don't think it is aging gracefully. As we rode the marvelous monorail I noticed that many of the buildings look dated and dirty on the outside, almost as if the original architectural plan did not allow for majestic aging. Many strange and vacant lots can be seen as you ride "behind" the strip.
  9. I don't think I am the only BWE09 participant that questioned the parties that BWE09 sponsored. As one person said on Twitter: "bwe09 parties are a lot like Twitter - noisy, loud, dark, and ineffective at organizing communication". I couldn't agree more! Imagine being at the Mirages' Jet Night Club with many of the same people who could not put down their laptops and iPhones during the keynotes, only it was too dark to read their nametags and the music was too loud for introductions. Another person echoed these sentiments: "The parties at #bwe09 remind me of college. How old are we? Where are the real parties?"
  10. Flying Southwest Airlines will be a subject for another post.
  11. Finally, I would like to thank the three ladies that shared a Hilton Limo with Dan and me. We were attempting to get a taxi to go to the airport and we found ourselves sharing a limo with Kim Rowley and Joanne Dinslage of Key Internet Marketing and Maarika Neudorf of Enterprise Estonia. We had a fun ride and got to meet three more BWE09 attendees.

    Ok, that is it for today. I am going to get busy learning how to apply all that I learned - stay tuned. In the meantime enjoy the photo of Dan with the BWE09 "Change Girl" as he wins the iPod Shuffle.

Dan Helfand with the BWE09 Change Girl

Friday, October 9, 2009

This Month's Five Most Interesting Bits of New Information

The last few weeks your Webconsuls' team has been busy and our blog has been quiet. I don't know about you, but it is amazing what you can learn in a month's time. Here are this month's five most interesting bits of information that I learned and I want to share with you:

1. Did you know that Gmail has a send limit? About a week ago we received a call from our client saying that she was sending out an email broadcast to her customers asking them to participate in a fundraiser for the victims of the earthquake/tsunami. All of a sudden she noticed that she could not send any email or receive any email. She called us and here is what I learned:

"In an effort to fight spam and prevent abuse, Google will temporarily disable your account if you send a message to more than 500 recipients or if you send a large number of undeliverable messages. If you use a POP or IMAP client (Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, e.g.), you may only send a message to 100 people at a time. Your account should be re-enabled within 24 hours." (Go here to learn more and keep in mind that many email services have a send limit, this is why some clients like to stay in contact with their clients by a newsletter service like or similar to Constant Contact.)
2. Twitter 2.0 seems to be just around the corner. Rather than have me rehash what someone else has discussed so eloquently, I will point you to the article. "Are We Ready for Twitter 2.0?"

3. Blogger does provide great on-line support. The other day I was on their site and I saw a section called "Recommended Articles and Discussion." One of the discussions was entitled "Too Many Good Bloggers are Giving Up" . Now, this caught my eye!!! So I clicked on it and enjoyed the conversation. If you have a blog and you have given up or you are thinking about giving up, I invite you to read the posts and join in the discussion. You might just refresh yourself enough to keep on BLOGGING!

4. During the past few weeks our team has been discussing the nature of our Webconsuls' blog. The questions raised are these: Should it be more technical? Or, do our readers want to learn more about the team as people and read anecdotal stories, as well? I will tell you that the team was split on this, but today I read an interesting article on an SEO/SMO newsletter. The article had to do with Social Networking pitfalls the 4th pitfall to avoid was this: "It's not about sell, sell, sell! If all you're doing when you visit the various sites and post your updates is pitch your latest program, product or service then it's no wonder you're not seeing results. Share information with your network, whether that's your own information or you're passing along information from clients and colleagues. The more you share, the greater your results will be. Whichever social networking arena you're active in (and it may be more than one) remember the "social" in social networking - it's to build relationships, make new contacts, and socialize. Inform your network, not sell to them." I think based on this guidance and our own practical experience from being part of Social Networking sites, new clients may come to you naturally.

5. Finally, as this Columbus Day Weekend gets underway, I know that our New England innkeeper, hotelier, restaurateur, livery, and entertainment clients will be busy beyond belief as the autumn brides and mountains blush and foliage season peaks; but won't they be surprised to learn that Tucson, AZ has its own foliage season! And yes, Mt Lemmon is 2869 ft taller than Mt. Washington!

New Hampshire Foliage - North Conway

Aaron and Dan Helfand with Cranmore Mountain Lodge Guests - Circa 1989

This week's photos are from my days in New Hampshire. The one of the children is of Aaron and Dan enjoying a "Tom Sawyer" moment with children who were guests at the inn. Aaron and Dan were "teaching" them how to rake the autumn leaves and make Leaf People!

"Teach Us to Delight in the Simple Things"...Rudyard Kipling

Let me know what you think of Judy's "bytes"...see you next week.