Fractured Ankle – OUCH!

Sunday Evening, I was making my way down the stairs toward my living room and missed the next to last step. I slipped and fell backwards, crashed my lower back onto the step, bent back my left ankle and landed flat on my back, letting out a yelp!

fractured ankle
fractured ankle

Flash forward to Monday morning at the podiatrist’s office. X-Rays showed a fracture in three spots, followed with a walking boot, and scheduled 3-week recovery. Plenty of pain and instructions to elevate my foot.

So while I had just healed from having an AICD (pacemaker with a tiny defibrillator) implanted, I am now back on the shelf for another few weeks. I will get done with this and get back to work. I promise.

Wish me luck,

Andy Ebon

What’s a reasonable conversion rate for visits to my website?

conversion rate

I took a call from a friend-wedding professional. In a matter of fewer than 30 seconds, I was incredibly annoyed.

He asked me what seemed like a simple question:

“What’s a reasonable conversion rate for visits to my website?”

In laymen’s terms, that would mean, for every 100 people who visited your site, what percentage either filled out an inquiry form or called you directly for more information? 5%, 10%, 25%…. more?

My response:

“How did those people find your website (and in what percentages)… search engines, The Knot, local websites, in response to email…?”

He gave me a non-specific, all-of-the-above (I don’t really know, answer).

My shoot from the hip response was… “I’d be pleased with a 5% to 10% conversion rate.” That seemed low to him.

Here is what really flipped me out. He said, “Well I’m asking the same question to various people to get their opinion.”

So, he’s crowd-sourcing a poorly conceived question of people who don’t have solid backup data and getting their opinion. What the devil will that accomplish.

Then I started in…

“Every time you hear me speak about websites, I emphasize the importance optimizing your website for user-friendliness (to encourage conversions) before obsessing over search engine optimization.”

He didn’t remember it that way. Essentially, he remembered I emphasize SEO. HE WASN’T LISTENING or HE WAS LISTENING WITH SELECTIVE PERCEPTION AND MEMORY.

I spent a few minutes detailing obvious deficiencies in his website (some of which I pointed out 18 months ago before he launched it). The site is graphically better than most but lacks in many other ways… including maintaining the blog.

THE LESSON: If you ask opinions, using badly formed question, you get nothing of value. If you want a real evaluation, pay for it, and live with it. A neutral party will point out issues that are under your nose.

Then, act on those answers, and get up to speed.

End of rant!! Listen up!

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Website Designers Shouldn’t Hold You Hostage

website designersMany wedding businesses have hired a person or company to create its website, thinking the site is a permanent fixture. Website designers should remind you the site is not a work in progress needing continued care and improvement. Sometimes years pass without having a single thought of making a single change to a website.

Time for an update?

What happens when it’s time to make an update even if just a small one?

Today is as good as any to look at your site to see if updates or changes are needed. If you have not recently been in touch with your web designer, he or she may be unreachable. Complications ensue if you did not protect your investment by getting a copy of the files of the website. Not to mention the username and password to gain access to the website.

Do you have your domain registrar contact information (i.e. GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.,)? You may not own your site’s domain name even though you bought it.

Have you changed your email address? As a result, you may not receive important information on renewing your domain name or hosting of the website. This means you can lose your domain name and website – permanently.

Here are some action steps:

  1. Contact your web designer and ask for the FTP (file transfer protocol) information with the username and password to have access to your website.
  2. Ask for a copy of all website files sent to you on CD, DVD or flash drive. Learn how to download and backup your files.
  3. If you reserved your domain name, find the registrar and hosting information, and check the expiration date of the domain name. If your web designer reserved the name for you, ask them to transfer the domain name to your control.
  4. Have access to the company hosting the site. A host transmits your site pages to the computer when a customer types in or clicks on a link of your domain name. It is essential to have access to the username and password and aware of the renewal date.
  5. Make sure the host and registrar have your current email address on record to receive important notifications about renewals or expired credit cards on the account.
  6. When you dismiss or change webmasters, make sure to update passwords so they no longer have access to your accounts.
  7. If you own a site that has a database, such as a site with a blog or a dynamic shopping cart, make sure regular backups are being made.
  8. If elements of your site were created using layered Photoshop files or Flash, make sure those raw files are backed-up as well.

Otherwise one day your site could suddenly be inaccessible or updates can become costly. If you contact a new web design company for assistance let it be because you chose to, and not because you had to.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Wedding MBA: A sea of open minds, searching for nuggets

Wedding MBASince early 2008, the business of conferences has been in a funk (that’s a technical term). In the hospitality industry. Generally, when speaking with conference producers, one hears that the norm is being down about 20% from the prior year. Have flat attendance, plus or minus 5%, is considered great.

In the face of these statistics, Wedding MBA, in its second decade, has grown by leaps and bounds. Approximate attendance has tracked a consistent upswing in the last few years.

The conference’s final year in Phoenix, ten years ago, hosted about 350 people. This year, the Las Vegas conference should see about 4000.00

There are many reasons for this consistent climb in attendance, but it does contrast to other hospitality and wedding industry conferences. Industry-specific content on Monday has been a major factor in the last couple of years.

Wedding MBA: ANALYSIS AND OPINION

Moderate conference price, good airline access to Las Vegas, and rock bottom hotel prices are all helpful. A great assortment of national speakers and enticing session topics are of great importance. However, there is still the nasty business of committing 4-5 days away from one’s own business that asks for a strong belief that there is value in making the trip.

I assert the vast majority of attendees, no matter how successful, bring an open mind. They bring the desire to acquire at least one new, significant strategy, a piece of information, or technique that will provide fresh perspective or skill to vault their business to a higher level.

Having a standard of looking for one new bit of knowledge is NOT a matter of low expectations. The more success and experience one has, less presented information is new. Much of it feels recycled and unsatisfying.

Yet, sometimes that recycled idea, with a fresh approach, may set off sparks. An absolutely new technology, strategy, product, service or marketing avenue, properly applied, can open entirely new vistas for a business.

It is a privilege to make presentations to a sea of open minds at Wedding MBA. Along with my fellow presenters, exhibitors, and attendees, I’m certain we can move-the-meter toward immediate wedding prosperity for industry businesses.

If you’re not already registered, change your plans, and be at Wedding MBA. We’ll make room.

FYI: I will be making two short, WedTalk presentations on Wednesday morning, October 4th.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority