Webmasters – please tell me what you think…

(… and I will credit you with a link back in the resultant blog post!) – see my contact details at the end of this post

An open invitation to webmasters and owners of the following types of websites:

  • local/regional community website
  • regional/local newspaper or news website
  • vertical/market-specific/special-interest community website

Dear Sir or Madam

I’m researching a future blog post about the way business listings or directories are used (or not used) in three distinct types of websites (see above) and I’m interested to hear your opinions in relation to your own experience. I’ll be very pleased to credit you with a link to your website if you wish (though if you would prefer I did not please just let me know) – in any case, so that I’m not revealing your secrets I won’t be relating specific feedback with specific websites, only abstracting general observations or common opinions).

Please allow me to outline some of the questions that’re on my mind, how do you feel about shooting me back some quick thoughts on them?

IF YOU DO have searchable business listings on your website…

  • How do you make money from your business listings/directory (if at all)? And if you don’t would you like/plan to?
  • Approximately what did it cost (and how long did it take) to implement your business directory? And did you build it yourselves or bring in a ready-made solution?
  • What would you like it to do that it currently does not? And what would you like it to do better?
  • How important is the business listing/directory feature in the context of your whole site?
  • How is your business directory helping you get found in search engine (eg Google) results?
  • How are businesses added and updated? By you, or by the business owners themselves?
  • What other important things should I know?

IF YOU DO NOT have a searchable business directory on your website…

  • What are your thoughts on adding one? Would that be a feature and/or revenue opportunity you would consider?
  • If yes, what’s preventing you from doing it today?
  • When people search Google for businesses that might be relevant to your market or area, how do you get found in Google’s search results today?
  • What have I missed?

AND, about your business

  • What’s your annual website development budget (no need to be specific, just a rough range will help me out)?
  • How many people work in developing your website? What about in the company as a whole (again, just an indicative range will be useful)
  • Anything else I should know?

There are way more things I’d love to ask, but I must strike a balance between my desire to learn more and your willingness to spend time on this. Any input you can provide is very much appreciated, and of course there is my offer of a credit and link if you would like that.

Is there anything else I can do for you? If so please just ask. I can be reached in any of the following ways:

  • email reply: dave[at]brownbook.net
  • skype: “izidave”
  • cell: +1 650 646 8348 (San Francisco Bay Area, PST)

Many thanks for taking the time to read this (and hopefully respond too).


Yours sincerely

Dave Ingram – CEO, Brownbook.net

    Brownbook SCRUM hit at ICMA conference

    download

    I spoke at the ICMA Conference (Classifieds EVOLVE or die) in Berlin last week. It all went very well and I was very pleased with the interaction, question and feedback, but when you speak, you never know what people are really thinking… I talked about the way we do development on Brownbook.net, how we use SCRUM / Agile development and then we looked at some issues that the audience had with their development process and how they would be handled with the SCRUM process that we use. So imagine my pleasure when I received this email yesterday:

    Dear Marc,

    Thank you very much for participating in the speaking programme at the General Meeting in Berlin last week.

    I have waded through the delegate feedback forms and your session was rated highest overall of the entire conference, with an overall score of 91%. 93% of the delegates felt the Scrum Methodology workshop was relevant with 91% indicating they learned a great deal.   I am pleased to inform you that you were rated the top speaker of the entire conference with a whopping 94% presenter rating. A few stand out comments from the evaluations forms stated “Excellent project management system.  Presenter was knowledgeable and well spoken. “  and another comment summed it up in one word –  “Articulate.”  Congratulations!

    Once again, many thanks for your contribution, and I hope to see you at the ICMA “Next Generation Classifieds” conference taking place 3- 6 November in Vienna, Austria.

    Best regards,
    Shay Klomp Bueters

    Dear Marc,

    Thank you very much for participating in the speaking programme at the General Meeting in Berlin last week.

    I have waded through the delegate feedback forms and your session was rated highest overall of the entire conference, with an overall score of 91%. 93% of the delegates felt the Scrum Methodology workshop was relevant with 91% indicating they learned a great deal.   I am pleased to inform you that you were rated the top speaker of the entire conference with a whopping 94% presenter rating. A few stand out comments from the evaluations forms stated “Excellent project management system.  Presenter was knowledgeable and well spoken. “  and another comment summed it up in one word –  “Articulate.” Congratulations!

    Once again, many thanks for your contribution, and I hope to see you at the ICMA “Next Generation Classifieds” conference taking place 3- 6 November in Vienna, Austria.

    Brownbook Optimization Report #4 – May 10, 2010

    Hi

    Brownbook gives you free resources to promote your business online and get found more in search results. Here are more top tips and simple tricks to optimise your Brownbook Business Page to get found more online.

    Today’s tips:
    #1 – Are you ‘all a Twitter’?
    #2 – How to ‘do’ email marketing
    #3 – How to sell online, instantly

    #1. Are you ‘all a Twitter’?

    Everyone’s getting their feathers ruffled about Twitter, but can ‘tweeting’ really help your business fly? Chris Brogan gives some great examples (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/50-ideas-on-using-twitter-for-business/) of how any business can use Twitter.
    You know that search engines like Google favour fresh content, and when you add our twitter widget to your Brownbook Business Page you’re getting additional exposure for your tweets AND automatically updating your business page with relevant and current content without lifting a finger. Go ahead, try it, go to your Brownbook Business Page – be sure you’re logged in – and click ‘Add widgets’ in the box labelled “Customize your business page” near the top right of your page, pick Twitter and enter your twitter username. Job done.

    #2. How to ‘do’ email marketing

    Brownbook’s always given you great resources to promote your business online, and now we’re pleased to announce two new partnerships with two amazingly valuable tools for businesses everywhere: Benchmark Email, and Shopify. I’ll give you a quick summary of each here…

    Let’s look first at Benchmark Email
    I don’t need to tell you that keeping in touch with your customers is important. But at some point it becomes unmanageable to send email newsletters using your normal email software. Many ISPs place limitations on your outgoing mail to specifically prevent you from sending out larger mailings (we hit that limit with our ISP when we were trying to send 500 emails in one go, now with over 45,000 members we’d have no chance). So how do you get around this? We tried three alternative solutions and, eventually, chose Benchmark Email (in fact, that’s how you’re receiving this email now). We’re pleased to offer Brownbook members a no-cost no-committment trial of their solution, just by clicking the link on your Brownbook Business Page (see the link under “BOOST your business, try these…”), or you can just click here to find out more

    #3. How to sell online, instantly

    And how about Shopify… Selling products online was always a complicated business: website creation, shopping carts, merchant accounts, bank charge-backs… the list goes on. We looked around for companies claiming to make it simpler to sell stuff online and Shopify was the one that stood out (we tried it ourselves and created an online store in 2 minutes flat). With Shopify you pick a monthly payment plan (they start from $24/month for up to 100 products), upload your product details, and you’re off (the downside is you have to enter your card details to get the free trial :-(, but it’s just two clicks to cancel the trial if you decide you don’t like it – yes, we tried that too). You’ll see a link to find out more about your free trial on your Brownbook Business Page (under “BOOST your business, try these…”). Or you could just click here

    That’s all for now, other than to let you know we’re working on getting some more partnerships in place that’ll let you sample some other useful tools for your business (why not tell us what you’d like, what’s your biggest challenge you need to solve?). Plus of course we’ll have more Brownbook tips and tricks for you next time.

    Until then, all the best

    Dave & Marc

    Brownbook.net
    Helps you get found online
    www.brownbook.net

    PS: You can follow us on Twitter here:
    http://twitter.com/daveingram, and http://twitter.com/marc_lyne