Website Usability Consultant – How to Select One

When building a new website, or assessing an existing one, there are two types of consultants whose input is critical to the success of your site. One is a Usability consultant and the other, a SEO consultant. This article will discuss the former.

A Usability consultant is an expert in the area of online consumer behavior. His or hers expertise includes: knowledge of all industry norms and standards of website usability including navigation, layout, category/button/link labeling, e-commerce functions and more. The consultant can assess a site to determine if it is user friendly or if it will cause frustration and dissatisfaction among site visitors, resulting in lost sales and opportunities. The assessment should not be in general terms – but very specific to all components of a web page and the site as a whole.

When selecting a Usability Consultant to assess and/or test your test make sure that they have experience with the type of site you own (such as e-commerce, service oriented (lawyers, libraries, etc.), or informational). Ensure that they have actually conducted usability testing in a focus group research facility with participants recruited based on specific criteria pertinent to the website.
Question the potential consultant as to the type of report you will be receiving. Aside from being well written, it must contain screen shots of your web pages with clear detail as to problems found and, as importantly, actionable recommendations to fix them. Ask for a prioritized list of the recommendations.

The website usability consultant you select must also be extremely knowledgeable in SEO (search engine optimization) and website metrics. Usability and SEO are closely linked and the affects of both are reflected to your site’s metrics.

Lastly – ask for references. A Usability consultant should gladly provide you with several.

Small Business Coaching & Consulting – The Hottest, Must Have Accessory For 2009!

Do you want to know the secret that most successful people in this world know and have that you don’t?

A great spiritual leader, tells of his visit to the land of Africa. All his life he wanted to see the wild animals of my home-land. I share a bit of his account while they were out and about:

We stopped at a water hole to watch the animals come to drink. It was very dry that season and there was not much water, really just muddy spots. When the elephants stepped into the soft mud the water would seep into the depression and the animals would drink from the elephant tracks.
The antelope, particularly, were very nervous. They would approach the mud hole, only to turn and run away in great fright. I could see there were no lions about and asked the guide why they didn’t drink. His answer, and this is the lesson, was “Crocodiles.”

I knew he must be joking and asked him seriously, “What is the problem?” The answer again: “Crocodiles.”

“Nonsense,” I said. “There are no crocodiles out there. Anyone can see that.”

Tiger woods, the famed golf player has one! Michael Phelps swears by it! Barbara Streisand says without it she would not be the power house we know her today. Serena and Venus Williams have one , goodness even Oprah has one! It is definitely the must have accessory for the 2009 year! Do you have one?

Apparently after a (rare) disappointing round of golf, Tiger Woods will often take a golf lesson. Why would Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer the world has ever known take a golf lesson? And from whom would he take this lesson? You see it is not so much about the greatest golfer taking a lesson from lesser known, no-talent person. The value here is in Tiger’s ability to “see himself objectively” from an angle or perspective that is not his own.

All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself – Bill McCartney

It is therefore very apparent that the worlds highest performers get this concept. Hence the vast difference between mediocrity and phenomenal success!

Einstein said, “The mind that created the problem cannot be the one be to solve it.” In the same way, the person in the trenches is often unable to see themselves objectively enough to overcome their limitations.

By now you have figured out that we are talking about Personal coaching. That’s just one of the reasons that coaching is so powerful. A great coach can provide comprehensive knowledge and/or training that you just do not possess.

Having personal, one-on-one coaching can make all the difference in the world between being somewhat successful and being phenomenally successful.

A question was posed on yahoo answers that read:

Has anyone used a business coach or consultant? Will I get help or scammed?

I have a small home-based business that I’m looking to take to the next level. Should I just plunge into business books and try to grow it myself? Or should I sink the $4000 into a one-year relationship with a business consultant who is confident he can help me grow? I don’t want to contract with him and find out that everything he tells me is just common sense business advice straight out of the books.

Wouldn’t you much rather have a qualified expert take a look at what you’ve done and give you suggestions on improving it?
Wouldn’t you much rather have a qualified expert to turn to when you have a question rather than try to figure it out through trial and error?
Wouldn’t you much rather have a qualified expert who can tell you “that’s a bad idea, here’s a better way” than to get it wrong and face another setback?
Wouldn’t you much rather have a qualified expert hold you accountable and keep you motivated and on track rather than go at it alone and quit before the finish line
In reply, may I share with you this quote:
Coaching helps you develop your leadership skills, clarify your values and guiding principles and build your reputation.” – John G Agno

Every person’s situation and needs are different. If you want the most power behind your punch, you want to have coaching that is focused 100% on you. The only strengths and weaknesses that will be targeted are yours, not those of 10 other people as well.

Often there is a natural desire to buy answers in a packaged program rather than do the work it takes to find a solution, BUT all too often what people end up with is an EMPTY PACKAGE! You have come to coaching for many reasons, but the bottom line is YOU WANT CHANGE!

The coaching-client relationship is like having your own personal GPS, for the journey that is your life.

Why would someone at the top of their chosen profession need a coach?

The answer is quite simple. They realize, as do top performers in every field, the value of having someone on the sidelines watching their every move and making sure they’re on track. They know that, while they are doing what they do, it’s important to have someone watching their every step and providing feedback to help them be their best.

Today, smart entrepreneurs are doing the same. Understanding that, rarely does anyone reach their potential without a coach, they are hiring coaches who specialize in working with businesses. Small business owners in particular, many who have no one to confide in other than their partner or spouse, can benefit greatly from the services of a small business coach. And hiring a coach tends to be a minor investment when compared to the value it brings.

In addition to providing a confidential and objective sounding board for problem solving and brainstorming, their coach will hold them accountable for achieving the goals they set for themselves and their business. Often the bane of the small business owner is that they are too busy with day-to-day activities, putting out the occasional “fires” that flare up unexpectedly to be concentrating on their long term vision. And most have learned from experience how difficult it is to achieve significant results going it alone.

Their coach, on the other hand, is able to hold this vision with them and ensure they are moving toward it. And a really great coach will help the entrepreneur envision a result bigger than they would have thought possible.

So, if you want to see your business grow and prosper, go out and get a coach.

It is important to note that there is a difference between coaching and consulting.

Consulting is when you pay an expert to come in and lay out exactly what you need to do in order to succeed. In consulting, the expert makes a blueprint and points you in the exact direction you need to go.

Coaching involves more interaction. It is more two-sided. The coach is there to guide and work with the client to find out how improvements can be made. “What can you say differently next time?”… “How can you invoke more feelings from your prospect next time?”…”How can you do a better job of finding their motivation next time?”…These are questions that a coach should ask and find answers to when working with a client.

Consulting could be considered a beginning level of guidance and coaching a more advanced level.

Andrea Waltz, author of the popular book Go For No, states;

The relationship with your coach is an important and powerful one. As such, when choosing a coach, we recommend you interview him/her just like you would an employee you are hiring. But make no mistake; your coach will not be an employee. They will be your partner.
And if they brag about how everything comes easy to him/her and how they’ve never had any problems in their lives, find another coach! You want someone who has worked through obstacles to get where they are!”

And there you have it. The must have accessory of the year 2009. Do you have one?

SEO Consultants For Small Business

SEO consultants for small business organizations implement a variety of optimization techniques to enhance the visibility of these business websites. Reliable service providers in this field aim at long-term positive results. They focus on securing improved website traffic and thereby bringing about a substantial increase in your sales and profits.

Achieve Positive Results through Website Optimization Services

Internet users mainly depend on search engines for obtaining information about particular products and services. The success of all online business establishments mainly depends on their ranking positions in leading search engines. Therefore acquiring top positions in the initial result pages of search engines is of great importance. With effective optimization campaigns with the help of SEO consultants, your small business website can enjoy high ranking on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN and Alta Vista.

The important website optimization services that are offered by SEO consultants for small business organizations include:

o Keyword research
o Creation of powerful website contents
o Optimization of HTML codes
o Development of Meta tags
o Creation of reciprocal links
o Search engine marketing
o SEO copywriting
o Directory submission
o Submission to search engines
o Article submission
o Blog creation
o Regular monitoring and maintenance of ranking reports

Leading search engines conduct regular updates in their algorithms. And for bringing your website up to date with this procedure, expert SEO consultants will make use of advanced search engine placement techniques and tools. This guarantees superior results for your business website.

Depend on the Right SEO Consultant to Meet Your Objectives

For your website optimization requirements, it is ideal to depend on professional companies offering dedicated and cost-effective services. These companies usually have a thoroughly experienced team of web designers, content writers, SEO consultants and others to carry out the various optimization procedures.

Through the services of experienced and efficient SEO consultants for small business, you can create a powerful online presence. The website SEO services offered by them help small businesses stay on in the competitive online business world without making huge investments for advertising and marketing.

High Priced Consulting – Latest 6 Ways to Improve Your High Priced Consulting

As they say, everybody has an untapped reservoir of knowledge. Monetize yours and be an independent consultant to help people learn new sets of skills or further their knowledge on specific field that you are an expert on in exchange of huge amount of money.

Here’s how you can improve your high priced consulting:

1. Be passionate and drive for excellence. All consultants offer similar service. They make themselves available for people who are in need of their guidance and knowledge. If you want to set yourself apart from the rest and if you want to attract more people to do business with you, you’ve got to be passionate on what you do.

2. Be genuinely concern over the welfare of your clients. Don’t just offer these people the kind of information they require from you. If you think that they will be better off with trying new concepts or techniques, be sure to tell them so. Put their needs on top of your priority list and take that extra mile to make sure that they will get what they need in order to reach their goals.

3. Specialize. Before you sink your teeth into this endeavor, it would help if you can discover what your particular gift or specialized knowledge is. Are you deeply interested in internet marketing? Does computer and different software amaze you? Do you have the necessary skills and know-how in creating and maintaining a website and blog? Are you very knowledgeable in article marketing? Then, you will not find any single trouble being an internet marketing consultant.

4. Obtain license or certifications if needed. Depending on your chosen field, you may need a special license or certification before you can start your career in consulting. After identifying the niche that you would like to target, do your research to find out if you will need one.

5. Are you qualified? You can’t just be a consultant just because you want to. Before you get started, do an honest assessment of your skills and abilities to make sure that you are qualified for the job. For instance, if you want to be a website designer consultant, you must make sure that you have an up-to-date knowledge about this field so you can better help or assist your clients.

6. Expand your network. You’ll most likely to attract more clients to sign up to your service if you expand your network. Tell your friends to recommend you to their colleagues and family members. Get more people to talk about your services and you’ll surely be able to grow your consulting business in no time.

A Consultant Can Improve Online Performance

An Internet Consultant can really add improvements to a business; even website design and development companies should regularly source a consultant’s advice and recommendations. The Internet is a massive place with a population that is evolving at an impressive rate.

Every week there are many new websites, techniques and approaches that could be applied to promote and draw new customers to a website. As with all marketing, it is not the method that ensures success, it’s the approach taken. The approach needs to match what Internet users are expecting to see, a good Internet consultant will understand what current best practice techniques are required to maximise on the amount of success a marketing campaign will generate.

The future of a business’s interaction with an internet consultant will change; in the next few years consultants could hot desk within the businesses they serve. In one day spent at a client’s office many face to face meetings could occur, for example a meeting with the sales department to cover:

Current online performance and what should be focused on internally.
The Internet provides the best consumer research platform available, it can let you know what your customers want, when they want it and what they can’t find on your website. A consultant can review and provide this information.
Feedback on how discounts and offers are performing online, reviewing successes and failures of promotions to learn and improve them.
Discussions on how new sales initiatives can be applied online and what new products and services need to be promoted, and to what audiences. The same could occur with the marketing department, providing advice, feedback and recommendations.
This would allow a marketing department to understand what is working, what could be trialled and how best to develop future marketing messages. Employing a full time Internet Consultant would be expensive and potentially flawed. If a company is lucky enough to have an Internet Marketing manager, they should still seek external consultancy services. It can be hard to see past business constraints and current ways of working, sideline objectives often take over and much time can be spent building relationships with key stakeholders.

Full time employees often have interdepartmental barriers that can cause conflict due to different objectives and priorities. It then becomes very hard to break the “It’s how it always has been done” mindset and think out of the box.

An external consultant can cut through existing cobwebs, propose and implement measurable improvements without some of the full time employee constraints. It’s a benefit that often applies to externally sourced advice and recommendation, maybe this is because the organisations that seek external help understand the associated returns.

Consultants – Discover 3 Popular Methods to Make Money Through Consulting

If you are looking for ways on how to easily make money whether in the online or offline arena, I recommend that you consider sinking your teeth in the field of consulting. You can start with this endeavor with little or no initial investment at all. You also don’t need technical skills (as long as you don’t pursue technical consulting) to get started. All you need is in-depth knowledge on your chosen field and the passion to help people get to where they would like to be.

Here’s how you can easily make money through consulting:

1. Sell yourself. If you want to boost your sign up rate, you need to give your clients compelling reasons to do business with you. Create an online portfolio to convince these people that you are one of the best in your chosen field. This must include recommendations or testimonials of your previous customers, your achievements, the projects that you have successfully handled (if you worked for one of Fortune’s top 100 companies, that’s a great plus for you), and your trainings. People will surely go gaga to work with you and pay any amount if they know that they will be working with the best.

2. Save on your advertising cost. You don’t need to spend a fortune when promoting your consulting services over the internet. Today, there are so many free but effective marketing tools that you can use in driving interested people to your website. These include article marketing, video marketing, writing and distributing press releases, blogging, social media marketing, and forum posting. Although these tools will require a bit of your time, you can be assured that they’ll help you connect with your target market without shelling out a single dime.

3. Pricing strategy. How much do you charge your clients? If you are not making much money despite the fact that you have lots of clients, you will need to reconsider your pricing strategy. If you are confident that you offer better consulting services compare to your competitors then, by all means charge a bit higher. Charging less compare to other consultants will not only mean shortchanging yourself but also decreasing the perceived value of your offerings. Get what you deserve and change your tag prices now. Don’t worry as you will not lose your customer base as long as you offer them great value for their precious dimes.

PEO Consulting Services

PEOs or professional employer organizations serve small and medium-sized businesses, helping them outsource the giant task of managing human resources. This involves HR management, administering employee benefits, workers’ compensation, managing payroll processing tasks, recruiting and selecting staff, maintaining regulatory and government compliance, and managing risks. PEO consulting services are also offered by professional employer organizations where they only provide guidance on the various HR responsibilities mentioned above.

PEO consultancy services are an indispensable requirement of any business. Strict regulations governing employee relations have made HR management an elaborate and resource consuming affair for businesses. Though it may not directly contribute to profit making, businesses need to be accurate and up-to-date in HR administration, especially as failure to do this could result in legal action. Businesses therefore require PEO consultancy services for the smooth management of human resources and all its aspects.

Professional employer organizations offer expert guidance to handle the HR tasks. In most cases PEOs take over the entire responsibility of recruiting and selecting employees, administering their benefits, managing risks, and ensuring regulatory compliance while the client company has total control over the employees.

Companies generally form partnerships with professional employer organizations to take over the entire HR responsibilities or require the professional employer organizations to offer assistance in only some of the HR responsibilities, such as in recruitment and selection of candidates or in benefits administration and workers’ compensation. Client companies sometimes seek PEO consultancy services only to offer them expert guidance in various aspects of HR administration.

Why You Shouldn’t Pay for a Yellow Page Consultant

I know that it’s very tempting. They place ads on the Internet explaining how they can save you thousands with their expertise. They will look at your program and recommend different ways to make things better. Some will offer to redesign your ads with improved layouts, headlines, and graphics; all at a cost. So, can they really be trusted to create a radically fresh approach that will increase your results that dramatically?

First, there are never any guarantees. If they say they guarantee a certain number of sales or profits, run away from the offer. They are lying. The truth is that advertising is part science, part art, part guesswork, and mostly trial and error. Each account is unique and requires individual consideration. Many of these so-called “experts” have a stockpile of standard ads that they rotate through the headings. Suppose you are a plumber. They have dozens of basic plumbing ads and pictures where they can swap the headlines or art, at will. Or they can adapt the ads to any repair business, from electricians to heating and cooling.

Yet, for these “custom”ads, they charge ridiculous amounts of money. And again, without being able to guarantee you will get one additional customer more than the old ad received. But, how about some insider information? There are actually two types of consultants out there, of which you need to be aware.

The first one will survey your current program and reduce the size or drop the color to save you money. They then charge you a percentage of what you saved. These are called cutters and they are the parasites of the directory industry. They thrive on your notion that the Yellow Pages is always overpriced. Therefore, when they say that you are probably paying too much, they will show you why and you will jump at the chance. But the downside is the fact that they are the hit-and-run type that slash your ads down to an ineffective size and reap the rewards. You are left with pathetic advertising that costs you customers. But they have already made their commission and don’t actually care that they help destroy your company. Besides, you’ll probably never see them again.

The second are either ad designers or true consultants. The ad creators charge by the size and complexity. The consultants charge by the scope of the program or by the hour. There are many legitimate consultants that do want your program to succeed and would like you to use them year after year. The issue is that they make very minor changes after the initial revamping and still manage to charge a huge ongoing fee. The other difficulty lies in the fact that they claim to be the experts and you should do whatever they recommend. Remember that this is not an exact science and that, in most cases, they are simply guessing what will work. Yet you pay them whether it did or did not succeed.

In summary, should you pay someone $100 an hour to look over your Yellow Pages or $1000 for a half-page ad redesign? Don’t forget that you local Yellow Page representative has an art department at their disposal and you should be able to request a few different ad layouts from them. But I ran an ad agency and made my living off people needing design help, so I understand the dilemma. In addition, I was a Yellow Page rep and consultant for nearly 25 years. I also have a degree in marketing and I’ve been designing Yellow Page ads for the past three decades. But you cannot hire me and I’ll tell you why. It’s because (a) I’m retired and (b) I think you can spend your money more wisely.

Before you break down and decide you still need to hire that consultant, please do yourself a favor and educate yourself. There is far too much money at stake. Like I mentioned, some will just rip you off. Luckily, there are methods to fend these people off before getting caught in their trap. One way is to read everything you need about the industry, what a rep can do for you and how the consultants work. I would advise you to start with one of the best-selling books on Amazon regarding the Yellow Pages. It’s a small investment and a great place for any business to begin. Yes, I wrote it and I’m proud to say, it will save you thousands (just go to Finally, whether you buy my book or do your own investigation, realize that it’s your business on the line and the book is printed for a year, so you can’t change it once it comes out. So be proactive and let that next consultant that sees you beware; you now know how they operate.

Selling Yourself As A Continued Small Internet Consultant

Summary: A primary goal for a small business internet consultant is to add worth and profit to a client’s bottom line. In order to provide a successful marketing strategy to each client, you must first establish and prioritize their needs.

An important step in small business internet consulting is determining the most important needs of a prospective client and effectively convincing them how you can meet and/or exceed them. Don’t sell yourself short on your abilities, but don’t promise anything you can’t deliver, either.

If a client approaches you, it isn’t a hard sell, so you can make notes of all the specifics, tell him/her what the basics are, and establish a timeframe for getting started. Be sure to give yourself some research time to better understand their business and determine what you think are its most marketable features.

If you initiate the contact and are giving a sales pitch, try to know as much about the company or business as possible before you attempt contact. You should have preconceptions of what the client needs, but go guardedly about making too many comments. Research studies show if you can sell yourself without revealing a lot, it is an advantage to you.

When The Real Work Begins

Your real work in small business internet consulting begins after you have sold the client. Depending on how you structure your deal, you might be in charge of everything or just working in an advisory role. Try to sell your strongest points, and remember to price yourself out high enough that you are comfortable, and low enough that the customer will buy.

If you are strictly a consultant, you may do none of the work towards the client’s site, but you must be prepared to deal with those who do if the client needs your assistance.

Look To Outsourcers

You will need contacts for outsourcing article writing, programming, graphic design, and other segments if needed, preferably from sources you have used before and can rely on for quality and timely delivery.

Pricing out your scope of work can be difficult without knowing the extent of what you are doing. Website development can be very costly for your customer if you do not help him/her establish some kind of guidelines. It is your responsibility as a consultant to keep your client informed of ongoing and expected costs so there are no surprises.

Don’t get weighed down with too many details, but allow more time for directing every client in the way that best serves their particular concerns. In small business internet consulting, you sell yourself every day. You want to be needed so your customers remain with you. As long as you are providing them with something valuable that they know increases their bottom line, you have job security.

Consultants – Uncover 6 Practical Secrets to Help Your Consultants Deliver Great Results

This article is for those people who are running their own consulting firm and who are looking for ways on how they can encourage their consultants to perform highly (better serve their clients).

1. Trainings and seminars. You will need to invest your precious dimes on seminars and trainings to help your consultants improve their skills. Get trainings that can help these people develop or enhance their communication, people, teaching, and research skills. Believe me when I say that this will benefit your consulting firm as you’ll be able to provide the best service to your clients.

2. Talk to your consultants on a regular basis. You need to make these people feel that you do value their thoughts and ideas. Conduct regular one-on-one meetings where your consultants can easily spill out what’s on their mind. They may have great ideas on how to improve the current processes or they may have complaints over their working hours. These people will surely be thrilled if they know that their contributions and their suggestions are being taken seriously.

3. Observe. Watch your consultants in action or solicit feedback from your clients to know their areas of opportunities. This is very important so you can help your people identify their weaknesses and later on, convert these weaknesses to strengths.

4. Praise your consultants. Make your people feel that their contributions will not go unnoticed. Give them a pat on the back or reward them each time they do something spectacular like winning a big account. Set up an employee reward program where performers will be acknowledged and rewarded for their hard work. This can surely push your people to do better and better in the future.

5. Team building. All work and no play can make your consultants dull. At least once a month, host a party or take your team out of town so they can have some fun. Research shows that team building activities are some of the factors why employees are not leaving their current job. So, if you want to keep your people, give them some time for play once in a while.

6. Let go of non-performers. If you have done your best and yet other consultants are still not doing their job right, it could be high time to let them go. It would be better to hire new, aggressive consultants than lose the business of your clients by keeping those people who do not care about their job.