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Aboriginal Tourism Conference 2006
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Web business made easy


Highly recommended reading by author
Calvin Helin

Our Culture, Our Economy:
Let’s Create A Future

held March 7- 8, 2006
Hilton Quebec Hotel Quebec City, Quebec

NARRATIVE SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS

Prepared by:

RAINCOAST VENTURES LTD.
8495 143rd Street, Surrey, BC V3W 0Z9
Tel: (604) 507-0470 Fax: (604) 507-0471
raincoast@telus.net www.raincoastventures.com

 

The question I was asking to all those in attendance was why I didn't see enough Aboriginal tourism websites on top of the search engines.

TRAINING SESSION M8:Internet Marketing: nativewebmarketing.com
Erland Campbell noted that in 2000, he started to hear more about Internet marketing, which prompted his curiosity in the topic. After a fair amount of research, he had learned about various aspects of Internet marketing including search engine optimization, keyword research, and links.

Following his research process, Mr. Campbell decided to start a business for native websites, offering various products and services. He attended his first conference as an Internet marketer in 2001 where he promoted the Internet marketing company he’d designed to help native people become successful on the Internet. He spoke about his business plan at the next conference in 2002.

Participants were advised that once their product or service was organized and ready to market, various forms of advertising could be considered. Internet marketing was acknowledged as a less costly alternative to printed advertisements. The importance of immediately responding to inquiries received from potential customers was recognized, with note that a website should be designed to capture a potential customer’s attention within 3-4 seconds.

Mr. Campbell reviewed points provided in the distributed document titled “Understanding the Basics of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”. He commented regarding “Defining and targeting your market on the Internet”, and demonstrated live searches for session participant’s companies. During the demonstration, the importance of defining a business’ physical location on their initial webpage was noted.

Reference was made to the CBC’s recent report regarding the Aboriginal Tourism Canada Conference, and its recognition of the potential for Aboriginal tourism and cultural outfitters. The report also discussed the need to prevent over-exploitation. Participants were reminded to ‘get inside their clients heads’ in order to determine which key words to include on their webpages, including those that were critical in defining a niche market.

Comments were offered regarding “Choosing a Domain Name”, and participants were encouraged to keep their domain names short. Mr. Campbell reviewed Internet tools that were helpful in doing Internet research, and encouraged participants to keep their website focused, themed, exciting and enticing. The use of action verbs such as ‘experience’, ‘discover’, and ‘feel’, was suggested for inclusion in adventure tourism websites, to prompt a potential customer’s interest.

The session was informed that the use of keywords in a domain name could help rankings, and that company names could also be included in the domain name. It was suggested that a company selling moccasins in Manitoba could wisely use the domain name “www.mocassinsManitoba.com”, and was noted that using keywords at the beginning of a website, throughout the website, and in the domain name helped a site’s search engine rankings.

During a live Internet demonstration, participants were educated regarding the results displayed following an Internet search. It was reiterated that titles and descriptions were critical elements of a website, and was explained that ‘organic search’ was used to define a search conducted by a person on the Internet.

Mr. Campbell commented regarding “Writing or Modifying the Copy (Content) of your Website”, and recognized participants at the session that had established websites. He suggested that including the price of a product on the website pre-qualified customers. Participants were also urged to include a privacy policy and disclaimer on their websites, to assure visitors that they would not receive spam, or have their email addresses sold after accessing the site. It was further suggested that participants retain a website designer to assist in modifying their websites, in order to achieve higher rankings by the various search engines. Mr. Campbell noted that optimization of a website was considered a unique ability, and that search engines indexed websites, and sent out ‘spiders’ to seek out new websites.

Participants were encouraged to try the free trial version of ‘Word Tracker’ software (accessible through www.nativewebmarkets.com), to track their rankings on various websites such as Google, Alta Vista, MSN etc. It was reiterated that the use of related keywords was critical to a website’s success, noting that a snowshoe website could wisely use words like ‘binding’, ‘webbing’, ‘snow’, etc. Headlines were also important, and should include a clear description of the service or product provided by the business. The use of phrases such as ‘get the best price for value’, and ‘feel free to contact us’, were suggested to encourage interest. Comments were offered regarding ‘keyword density’, noting that key phrases should comprise approximately 5% of the words on a webpage, without sounding repetitive or boring. Use of headlines, sub-headlines, and bullets on a webpage was encouraged.

Mr. Campbell commented regarding “Website Design”, and encouraged participants to use basic HTML, noting that search engines had difficulties indexing websites that utilized Flash or JavaScript. He added that a good place to learn about HTML was at www.davesite.com. The importance of clean and easy navigation through a website was acknowledged, noting that a simple, focused, and clean main page was critical, while videos or video links and other information could be accessible via sub-pages. It was suggested that the screen resolution of a webpage should be set at 1024 x 768.

During a review of “Titles and Meta Tags”, Mr. Campbell noted that search engines looked at titles, descriptions and keywords first. Titles were seen as being critical, and keywords should be included in the first part of the meta tags that clearly reflected the webpage contents.

Mr. Campbell discussed “How Search Engines Work” and “Submitting Your Website to Search Engines”, noting that search engines were able to track who had been linking to a website. Yahoo was seen as an important directory, with recognition that 85% of Internet users utilized search engines.

During discussion regarding “Submitting Your Website to Directories”, participants were informed regarding the exciting and currently free directory DMOZ.ORG, and a live demonstration regarding its access was provided. Participants were encouraged to submit their website as soon as possible to DMOZ.ORG, as it could take up to three years to get reviewed. It was noted that a search engine (such as Google) conducted broader searches, than search directories (such as Yahoo), and that linking a website with DMOZ.ORG would encourage higher rankings on Google.

Participants were asked to ensure that their websites were optimized (and checked for spelling and grammatical errors) before attempting to link them with DMOZ.ORG or any other directory. As well, they were encouraged to check their websites on a regular basis (i.e. at least monthly), and to ‘tweak’ the website as needed. It was suggested that registration with Yahoo for annual fee of $299 was generally a wise investment. Mr. Campbell reviewed some of the many directories that his website was linked to, and discussed the benefits of registering with as many directories as possible. Participants were reminded to use keywords and key phrases in their website’s design, and to do a lot of research in advance.

Mr. Campbell commented regarding “Link Popularity and Page Rank”, with suggestion that businesses considering registering with directories that were best suited to their website’s niche market. He demonstrated an Internet search for directories with categories for ‘Aboriginal Culture’; ‘Aboriginal Tourism’; and ‘Aboriginal Tourism BC’, noting that participants should research the process and cost of registering a website. It was added that linkages to unrelated websites could negatively affect a website’s rankings, and that webmasters of such sites, should be requested to ‘unlink’ any unwanted linkages.

Discussion ensued regarding “Website Log File Analysis”, noting that part of Internet marketing included checking links, meta tags, and directories. Most Internet service providers could provide website owners with a pie graph of key phrases that people used in their search for the website. Mr. Campbell advised that he paid $12 annually for his website, which was approximately 5MB in size. His server – Hostica – was located in California. It was noted that www.Arin.net provided valuable information regarding seeking the origin of interest in a website. He further noted that he was also able to see the key phrases people used to find his website. Participants were reminded to regularly update their websites, and to consider incorporating frequently used search strings. Alive demonstration of how to check log files was offered.

Mr. Campbell discussed “Tracking of your Website Rankings in Search Engines”, noting that once websites were uploaded, software could be used to track a website, and its rankings on the major search engines (i.e. Google, MSN etc.) Understanding a website’s position on search engine’s rankings enabled website owners to ‘tweak’ the website to improve its ranking. Participants were reminded to ensure that their webpage was optimized and included the main message regarding services being promoted by the website. Webpages should not contain large graphics, and should never exceed 40KB in size. It was added that many people were beginning to use the Internet for local searches (i.e. local 2 for 1 pizza companies). As such, the business location and toll-free contact phone number should be included on the main webpage, with reference to www.legaltranslation.com as an example of this.

Participants were referred to the distributed list of “Definitions of Internet Marketing Terms / Internet Marketing Glossary”, and informed that they would each be receiving a CD of Internet marketing information. They were encouraged to access www.webmasterworld.com for additional information regarding the Internet, and to utilize the talent in their own communities when developing a website (i.e. an Aboriginal community’s website could include graphics designed by local artists). Words related to a business’ product or service should be included on webpages, as “content was king”. The term ‘high-tech / high-touch’ was discussed, with note that the more technologically advanced a company became; the more they needed to interact with people.

He added that once a website had been built, optimized, and reviewed for content, it was ready for delivery to the world. A review of how to market the website using a newer technology was provided, noting that people were anxious for more personal interaction.

A live demonstration of Mr. Campbell’s website www.nativewebmarkets.com was offered, which included a link to MarketingMakeoverGenerator.com, a site that utilized both audio and video components. It was noted that a trial package for 21 days was available through their website. Participants were encouraged to incorporate audio and video components on websites, as it offered a more personable experience for users. A live demonstration of the MarketingMakeoverGenerator.com was given.

During a discussion regarding “Target Marketing”, it was noted that the Internet had advanced during the past few months particularly in relation to the travel industry. An audio recording was presented of Mr. Campbell’s discussion with Ron Andruff, Chief Executive Officer and President, Tralliance Corporation, regarding a ‘.travel’ registry company, which had been designed exclusively for the Internet travel and tourism industry. Mr. Andruff had acknowledged a lack of security, identity and control over the Internet, noting that almost 50% of consumers would purchase more products via the Internet if they had assurances that their personal information was secure. It was noted that the ‘.travel’ initiative (through the participation of various travel associations from around the world) intended to resolve some of these issues. He had also noted that the initiative allowed businesses to sell their products based on merits, not on marketing.

It was noted that the ‘.travel’ directory was a new initiative, which was able to generate more revenues in the most cost effective and efficient manner possible. The framework enabled entities to load their profiles by checking off boxes which accurately reflected a company’s service or product offerings. As such, the initiative narrowed down a niche market for people around the world seeking specific products.

Participants were informed that it was a good time for businesses to get authenticated (i.e. via the website ‘.travel’); and to register their domain names (i.e. via ‘Encirca’); before loading a profile into the ‘.travel’ directory. After registering with ‘.travel’, a company with a previous website name i.e. ‘xyz.com’ would be renamed ‘xyz.travel’. Additionally, it was noted that email addresses would also be changed to include the ‘.travel’ branding, which would help communicate the ‘travel’ message to customers. ‘Canada.Travel’ was referenced as the official tourism site of the Canadian Tourism Commission, noting that all provinces would likely be taking their ‘.travel’ name in the near future. He welcomed all Aboriginal companies and communities to participate in the ‘.travel’ initiative.

Mr. Campbell added that a ‘.travel’ was only available to travel related companies, and that the names ‘FirstNationsTourism.travel’, ‘AboriginalTourism.Travel’, ‘Nativetourism.travel’, and Creeoutfitters.travel’ were currently available.

Participants were reminded that before a ‘.travel’ name could be obtained authenticated websites required a business number. Mr. Campbell welcomed travel related companies that were not associated with a travel association, to contact him for assistance in this regard.

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