“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” (Edwin Louis Cole)

What does the timing of Columbus Day (US), Thanksgiving Weekend (Canada), baseball playoffs, and corn roasts typically signify? For many of us it is the beginning of a process to focus and formulate our company’s priorities for the New Year. Specifically, businesses that operate on a calendar fiscal year start about this time to prepare their new budget. Ideally we take extra time to analyze the current expenses and revenues. We dust off our microscope and try to objectively evaluate how each account has performed. How do they fit in with our short and long-term goals? What would you do differently?

Many website owners and webmasters view this as an opportune time to modify course and set out with renewed emphasis or establish more timely projects. Many emails and phone calls I receive ask for advice on what to put into a budget for their website. This is not always an easy question to answer. Consideration must be given to what sort of game plan or blueprint you want or need to establish for your website.

Many of us already have a budget account line for website design and development. This may include monies set aside for an unanticipated modification or a simple cosmetic quick fix such as adding or replacing images to the more complex and sophisticated full site redesign.

However many websites owners also now realize the benefits of a coordinated search engine optimization done by professionals. We are now in the era of digital marketing with website owners needing to secure as much arsenal over their competitors as possible. And SEO has now become the necessary first step in attracting more qualified traffic to your storefront.

So what is available and what is an owner to do? StepForth has developed a varied yet comprehensive set of options and programs to educate and assist you. One can learn about search engine optimization and placementor take advantage of our free website review. Another avenue for the more inquisitive or self-sufficient website owner might be one of our newly established SEO consultancy programs including on-site SEO training. To round out our services we also custom develop business and corporate service packages and campaigns, not to mention pay per click and on-going maintenance programs.

This can be a lot of information to sort through or digest. I would be pleased to help refine your focus and needs in order for you to make an informed decision.

To ensure you have a sufficient budget for marketing, optimizing, and maintaining your website the following may offer useful tips on how to reduce expenses for your business:

– Negotiate long distance telephone and cellular rates

– Turn off computers at night

– Review company health and medical insurance plans

– Lease instead of buying equipment

– Don’t purchase the most expensive printing paper

– Duplex photocopying and printing tasks where possible, thereby using less paper and less postage

– Convert communications through the computer instead of using a printed format i.e., email vs. snail mail or courier

– Analyze print advertising costs and determine what is working for you. Consider digital advertising as an alternative to the yellow pages and your local newspaper

– Get an office cleaner instead of yourself so you have more time to concentrate on your business and clients

– Join your Chamber of Commerce and take advantage of discounts which may be available to you as a member at gas stations, convenience, and department stores

Valentine’s Day

Start 2005 off on the right foot – begin planning for a successful Valentine’s Day campaign now!

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” (John Foster Dulles)