Three Competing Constraints of Project Quality

What Happens When One Has Saks Fifth Avenue Taste with a Dollar Store Budget?

Sometimes I have a new client come to me with a specific idea of what their website should be with a budget for the project and a deadline. This is great! The rub comes when those three things are not compatible.

What comes to mind is a long-standing model I learned back in my corporate project manager and quality analyst days: the Project Management Triangle (aka Triple Constraint).

Unless you have an unlimited budget, no deadline, and want everything under the sun, most small business owners will likely need to prioritize which of the following is the most important to them: Cost (Budget/Resources), Time (Deadline), or Scope (Features).

Project Management Triangle

It is helpful to understand early on which is the most important, and which is the least priority to the Client, before the first tap on the keyboard for the proposal creation.

If the scope, budget and deadline cannot all be met, then changes can be suggested in the proposal that makes trades between the constraints while addressing the Client’s higher priority constraints.

A change in one constraint may necessitate changes in others to compensate or quality will suffer.

For example, a project can be completed faster by increasing budget or cutting scope. Similarly, increasing scope may require equivalent increases in budget and schedule. Cutting budget without adjusting schedule or scope will lead to lower quality.

“Good, fast, cheap. Choose two.” is often used to encapsulate the triangle’s constraints concisely.¹

This concept is also important when changes are made on an in-progress project. Let’s say the three constraints are in balance, then the deadline is moved up suddenly. To maintain project quality, perhaps the scope needs to be adjusted, or more people will need to be hired. When it is understood whether the scope or budget is more important in this example, the right decision can be made.

HERE’S A METAPHOR:

Project: Get from LA to Essex Junction, VT

  • Budget: $900
  • Time: 10 hours
  • Scope: 2 people

OK no problem. Take a commercial flight with one connection.

But what happens if Ned in accounting needs to go too? I.e., the scope has changed. What is more important? Budget or time? The budget would need to increase to accommodate one more plane ticket. Or to meet the budget and rent a car, the time constraint would not be met. When you know which of the 3 constraints you are most willing to compromise on, it makes alternative decisions more clear.

Which of the three constraints, cost, time or scope, are you the most flexible on for your website project?

Footnote: In real-life, trading between constraints is not always possible. For example, throwing money (and people) at a fully staffed project can slow it down. Moreover, in poorly run projects it is often impossible to improve budget, schedule or scope without adversely affecting quality.¹

¹Reference: Wikipedia

Tips to Increase eCommerce Traffic to your Website

Ways to increase ecommerce traffic are boundless, but the most productive are the ones that bring qualified leads. You want visitors who are interested in your business and are likely to become buying customers.

Of course, using paid ads is a long-time, tried and true method. This post explains five other ways to increase ecommerce traffic and drive conversions in your online store.

Start Your Blog

One way to increase ecommerce traffic is by adding a blog to your site and creating engaging content optimized for search engines. Focus on topics on your niche and be sure to include keywords related to your business. Embed links to specific webpages on your ecommerce site where you would like the reader to take action.

You don’t have to be an expert writer. A website content writer can help you develop high-quality pieces that will rank in search engine result pages. A 2019 report showed that 60 percent of consumers find blogs the most valuable resources in the early stages of buying.

Consider Guest Blogging

While blogging is ideal for lead generation, maintaining a blog can be time-consuming and expensive for small businesses. But did you know that you can increase ecommerce traffic by posting content on someone else’s blog?

If you choose guest blogging, be sure to write for a high-authority blog with a massive following. Include a link to your site to direct the readers to your business. Backlinks not only increase ecommerce traffic but also contribute to search engine optimization (SEO).

Grow Your Email Lists

When someone browses your online store, you hope that they will purchase something. However, only a small fraction of prospects will buy on their first visit. An excellent way to increase ecommerce traffic and keep contact with prospects is by building customer lists.

Create an email subscription request button or a pop-up message on your landing page and on your blog post pages. Consider anyone who opts in as a lead and segment your email list to put customers with similar interests in the same groups.

Target each cluster with customized emails to ensure your messages are relevant. Focus on providing useful information and not continually selling. 96% stated in a survey that B2B vendors could improve the quality of content by curbing the sales messages. Emails that nurture the relationship by providing continued value is an excellent way to build truth, and then lead to increased ecommerce traffic and conversions. According to data, every dollar spent in email marketing can return $42.

Optimize the Site for Mobile

It is no secret that mobile device usage is higher than desktops use. According to StatCounter, the market share for mobiles and tablets in 2020 was over 53 percent against desktops at 46.39 percent.

The scenario is the same in the online space. Mobile devices produce the most web traffic today. Therefore, optimizing your site for mobile users is crucial to increase ecommerce traffic.

Consider a responsive website design to make your ecommerce site more mobile-friendly. Compress your images for faster loading, use large fonts, and decongest your webpages to improve customer experience. A website that’s cumbersome to navigate with a smartphone repels mobile users.

Work with Influencers

An influencer in marketing is someone who can guide the buying decisions of consumers. You can increase ecommerce traffic by getting an influential person like a celebrity to endorse your brand. Does it mean you cannot benefit from influencer marketing if you cannot afford a superstar to campaign for their brand?

Not necessarily. Reach out to influential bloggers and vloggers and propose to work with them. If you sell sneakers, for instance, you can search ‘top sneaker blogs’ on Google to find the leading blogs and magazines. See if they can include links to your webpages for relevant content.

Another way to increase ecommerce traffic is to interview influencers and feature podcasts on your site. The influencer may post it on their online channels, effectively bringing more visitors to your ecommerce site.

Are You Stuck?

If you aren’t sure how best to increase ecommerce traffic in your business, UmeWorks can help. We can build you a dependable digital marketing strategy to boost traffic and conversions on your business website.

If you would like to receive marketing and website tips like this automatically in your email inbox, sign up for UmeWorks’ email list here.

5 Top Mistakes Small Businesses Make in Website Design

Web design is ever-changing. New styles enhance the creativity of web designers, improve user experience, and boost ROI for businesses. Regardless of your tools or experience, below are five small business website design flaws to avoid.

Overcrowding Pages with Details

Internet users come to your site with a particular motive, like searching for information or getting to know your brand better. Your small business website design should help your visitors to surf around more effortlessly.

If prospects find it hard to use your site, they will get frustrated and leave. Studies show that 94 percent of customers prefer interacting with websites that are easy to navigate.

A common fault in small business website design is including too many visual elements on webpages. Unfortunately, too much information and graphics can be distractive to website visitors.

Complicated navigation makes it hard for users to find what they want. Prospects who would have converted on your website move to competitors.

No Integration with Analytics Tools

Another small business website design blunder is not including a way to measure performance. Websites are investments that should give you provide a return. How do you measure success without data to analyze progress?

For the best online marketing outcomes, you must test and track every effort to fix the weak areas. Your website should integrate with web analytics tools to track and report traffic.

Analytics tools provide valuable insights into user behaviors and let you set goals for tracking conversions. You can use the data obtained to target and retarget specific audience groups with online marketing campaigns that work.

Generic Brand Messaging

Many entrepreneurs don’t realize the power of brand messaging in small business website design. Effective brand messaging is about telling a story concerning all aspects of your business. It should include details like:

  • Brand values and beliefs
  • Product and service descriptions
  • The value you can deliver
  • Your employees
  • Why your brand is unique

Your small business website design should connect with your audience on an emotional level. The content must be customer-centric, addressing the target group’s pain points and aspirations, not your desires.

Find a creative and compelling way to show your customers that you care. It doesn’t have to be exaggerated or entertaining. Be true to your brand to build trust with consumers.

Designing Exclusively for Desktops

Mobile devices surpassed desktops in web traffic from late 2016. It would be a big mistake to have a site that doesn’t support mobile users. Mobile-friendliness in small business website design is vital for many reasons.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, customers using smartphones and tablets won’t access it, meaning lost business. Secondly, Google will penalize your webpages with a low ranking.

The search engine, which most people use, considers many elements to weigh a website’s mobile-friendliness, including:

  • Spacing and usability of navigation elements
  • Readability of text on small screens
  • Page load time on mobile devices
  • Whether a site uses Flash

Considering these factors in small business website design helps with search engine optimization. Your webpages rank better in result pages, increasing your click-through rates and conversions.

No Clear Call to Action

Your website has a purpose which you can only achieve if visitors take some action. A call-to-action (CTA) is a short message that tells website users what you want them to do. It directs them to the next phase of your sales funnel.

Examples of CTA messages include:

  • Contact Us
  • Subscribe Here
  • Get Started
  • Add to Cart
  • Buy Now

A small business website design that lacks a CTA misses the point of having a website. Prospects may find the information they want, but how does that benefit you? Tell them where to go and what to do.

Do you want a website that delivers great user experience to help customers interact with your brand effortlessly? Contact us today.

How Inbound Marketing Can Help Your New Business Reach Customers

Setting up a business is both exciting and daunting in equal measure. You want your startup to pick up as quickly as possible and attract many customers fast. However, an increasingly competitive and crowded landscape means that the need to get your message out there and promote your new business is as critical as ever.

Marketing is often a challenge for new businesses looking to get their products, services, or brand known because they have no established customer base, loyalty, or community around them. Unfortunately, many businesses turn to outbound (traditional) marketing to get their message to prospective customers and overlook inbound marketing.

However, interruptive marketing techniques like advertising, cold calling, or email blasts have been losing their effectiveness for years now. You risk wasting money and time on creating a buzz that people have learned to ignore.

If you are willing to invest in low-cost marketing with the potential for a high return on your investment, then inbound marketing can help.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing focuses on reasons why your customers should come to you, instead of merely broadcasting out messages to them using traditional (outbound) marketing.

Outbound marketing includes things like mass emails, advertising, and cold calling. These types of push marketing techniques focus on getting your message out to a broader audience quickly. Although it is not redundant since there is a time and place for it, outbound marketing may turn off prospects and target audiences because it seems like an interruption.

On the other hand, inbound marketing aims to provide valuable content to specific customers already searching for services, products, and solutions you are offering. Content provided includes videos, blog posts, eBooks, informative articles, whitepapers, and tip sheets. As a result, inbound marketing draws in both leads that are apt to convert and ready, willing buyers.

How Inbound Marketing Can Help

At its core, inbound marketing provides authoritative and informative content that entices customers. They could be looking for DIY instructions, answers to their questions, or interesting content. Your target audience already has an interest in your content, product, or service. Thus, they are more inclined to become customers if your marketing and conversion efforts provide them with helpful information.

Inbounding marketing is effective because it concerns itself with providing a human touch to business interactions. It encourages new businesses to broadcast cost-effectively and evolves the relationship with target audiences who opt-in and end up on your website to continue the communication and provide more valuable information.

However, while it is cheaper than traditional marketing tactics, inbound marketing takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment. Just remember that content is king. It’s the key to getting regular traffic to your website to sell them on your brilliant products.

Blogging vs. Social Platforms

Your business blog should ideally become the central point for your inbound marketing efforts, mainly because you own this space. Just ensure that you post original, rich, well-researched, and informative content regularly.

On the other hand, social networks are great for reaching a wider audience, but since you don’t own these channels, you only ever rent them. So the aim should be to use these rented “digital real estate spaces” to bring people to your website.

The target for blogging and social media marketing is to create original content that people will love and share widely, and keep returning for more. Eventually, you will build your social networking and online community to, directly and indirectly, help you market your business.

Audience-Focused SEO

Finally, do not forget to create audience-focused SEO. Search is how people find things online, and along with email and social media, it’s among the most popular online activities. Aim to make your content search engine optimized to bring in qualified, targeted traffic to your site. At first, you can concentrate on building your organic search results, and then combine that with paid ads – pay-per-clicks (PPCs).

Reach out to us at UmeWorks for more information on implementing inbound marketing strategies with your business website.

How EAT Can Help Your Website’s Off-Page SEO

Successful search engine optimization (SEO) requires you to use both off-page and on-page SEO efforts. Combining the two techniques produces long-term sustainable results in search engines. This post explores the interrelationship between E-A-T and off-page SEO factors.

What is Off-Page SEO?

It refers to all the activities you do off of your website to increase its search engine rankings. These include encouraging branded searches, building backlinks, as well as increasing shares and engagement on social media.

Google still uses PageRank in its ranking, which means that backlinks still form the foundation of its algorithm. However, links are only one part of off-page SEO ranking factors that Google uses to size up websites. For instance, Google’s Quality Rate Guidelines mainly rely on a website’s off-site reputation to find out whether or not it is trustworthy. The Reputation Research includes looking at:

  • Recommendations from experts
  • Online reviews
  • Mentions on authority news websites

What is EAT?

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It helps search engines to know if:

  • You are a trustworthy blog or website
  • Your industry and peers consider you an authority in your subject topic, matter, or area
  • You  provide high-quality content that users like and trust

E-A-T is now a critical off-page SEO ranking factor across all sectors but especially in the health niche. It refers to more than adding author bios to your website. Google and other search engines use signals that happen off of your site to measure E-A-T. The two primary focus areas are links and mentions in authoritative publications and websites.

Search engines take into account all on-site and off-site SEO factors to return the nest results for search phrases. Off-page SEO factors are essential because they show how the world perceives your blog or website.

How E-A-T Helps Website’s Off-Page SEO

There are several off-page SEO factors in existence, which vary yearly and by industry. As search engines change and improve their algorithms, so does what matters to SEO. Therefore, to stay up-to-date with what matters on off-page SEO, you must remain focused on traditional PR and marketing that provide a means to share what you have and know with your audience and community. These include:

  • Guest blogging
  • Brand citations and mentions on other articles, websites, and publications
  • Social media profiles and activity
  • Video websites
  • User reviews
  • Podcast interviews and appearances
  • Forum posts and answer sites such as Reddit or Quora
  • Local directories and listings
  • Referring domains and backlinks
  • Video websites

The above factors help search engines connect the online dots to discover how you interact with the community. The more the interaction you have, the more relevance and authority you get.

Search engines’ quality raters also emphasize online reviews. It makes sense because if people hate your business or website, why would search engines want to show it to more users? Reviews are huge for local SEO, but they also affect your website’s E-A-T significantly.

If you do not run a website or business that people review, such as a media site or blog, search engines rely on any awards you have won and how other experts in your industry or field feel about your website.

To build your off-page SEO, you need to stand out from the crowd and distinguish yourself from the millions of registered URLs competing for the same users’ attention daily. If you can share your knowledge and add value to your community consistently, you will develop and improve your E-A-T with search engines without even asking for mentions or backlinks.

Wrapping Up

It is easy to get caught up with on-page SEO techniques and overlook off-page SEO or vice versa. You need both to rank high in search. The former helps establish your blog or website’s SEO foundation while the latter validates your reputation and builds your E-A-T with search engines.

The trick is to find a balance that allows you to prove you have quality and valuable content that the world cares about significantly. Whenever you think about your off-page SEO strategy, focus on your purpose, passion, and community. Also, give back as often as you can.

Want Help?

Are you ready to move forward in building your business but your Things to Do is already full?

Book an initial consultation call with UmeWorks to discuss your needs and we’ll let you know what we can do to help you succeed.