Plan ahead, bringing a new website online does mean that you will drop organic placement. It happens! Sometimes with redirects, after 4 to 6 weeks a website will pop back up in organic placement, but sometimes, the site stays down and does not regain the placement that the original site had.
It is a reality and one that you should honestly prepare for when you launch a new website. It may be smart to build your new website at a new domain, so you do not lose your organic placement of your old site. If that is not an approach you would like to take, know that you will drop and plan a pay per click budget to drive traffic to your new website and get started quickly with blogging and content creation to try to build inbound links and help your site regain position.
Many businesses will own multiple domains and it may make sense to use one of your domains and leave your legacy website alone. Especially if you have thousands of blog posts and thousands of inbound links.
If your site is relatively small and has under 150 inbound links, your placement is not so strong that you cannot overwrite the URLs on your site and damage your organic placement.
Be careful and thoughtful about the changes you want to make beforehand so you are prepared in case your site does fall significantly in the organic results.
Don’t damage your existing SEO when you launch a new website. Once you have changed page URLs, all inbound links pointing to your website (that helped you garner your old website’s placement) will be broken and the SEO juice gone.
I recommend taking time to do an .htaccess file redirect in the root of your server; list your old URLs and then redirect to the new page that is the best match. If you have a very large blog, consider leaving the old blog up and then starting a new blog site on the server, having multiple incidents of WordPress so you do not lose thousands on inbound links if you have been a very active blogger.
This is of particular importance when you are moving from a PHP or HTML site to WordPress as the format of your website links will be different.
For many well-placed websites, setting up a new domain and leaving the old site untouched may be the best solution. In fact, if the old site is well placed organically you can point your pages to your new website (not with a domain forward, but rather with links in the footer and content). This may pass some of your SEO capital to your new site to help it get established.
When you want a new site and build one, but do not come up with a plan to address your historical inbound links, you break what you had and literally have to start all over again building SEO placement. Don’t damage your existing SEO out of ignorance.
Overwriting your existing website with new URLs without a well-thought out process can really damage your online placement and may be very hard to recover from, so move thoughtfully and carefully.
The Burger King Syndrome? Yes, that is what I call it when a customer wants everything their way right away. Now, mind you, that is not necessarily a bad thing to want something your way – sometimes.
It’s great to want things your own way. I want them my own way too. But it’s not a good thing if a client is not willing to pay for that level of customization.
In some cases, where you are working with an ecommerce store theme that is a template-driven application, you may not be able to get your product images in a different position than the theme template allows – no matter how much you might be willing to pay to make that change. It is important to understand, there are simply some things that simply cannot be customized to your personal specifications.
Here is where addressing customer expectations in advance is very important as well as having a contract for a project. If, as part of a project, a customer expresses needs that you know will not be workable, you can always shift the customer to a different item before work even starts. And before the contract is enacted.
Taking time to evaluate needs and clarify what is supplied, what can be customized, and what additional options can be purchased, is all a part of taking good care of a customer and providing excellent customer service. I personally never rush the early part of a project before contract.
No one likes to hear – no we can’t do that, but sometimes you may simply not be able to have it your own way.
Improve your cash flow with my easy to use and implement tips for small business owners.
Late Fees and Interest
Make sure you put a late fee (I use $15 to $25) in your work agreement and spell out how much and when you charge interest on late payment. My terms are net 10 days and on the 28th of the month I assign late fees and interest. Even big companies will adhere to a signed agreement and pay my late fees. So spell out your requirements so you have leverage.
Monitor Payments and Contact Late Payers After 5 Days
My payments are due the 5th to 10th of each month. On the 15th I contact all clients who have not submitted a payment and ask if they need a copy of the invoice and remind them of the date I assign late fees and interest.
I have to say that this is the key to keeping my clients current has significantly improved my cash flow. If you do not enforce your own contract no one else will. If you let people pay you late and not pay the contracted penalties, you are setting yourself up to be paid consistently late. It was only when I started to enforce my own contract with customers and got proactive, well before the late date, that I started to get consistent on-time payment results.
Move Chronic Late Payers to Auto Billing
When a client is a chronic late payer, I try to move them to our auto billing program. This way I have a credit card on file and I bill the card on the 5th of each month.
Move Chronic Credit Card Decline Customers to Prepay
When a client has repeated credit card declines, I move them to a prepay basis before the new service month even starts. That way I do not perform any services where payment is doubtful.
In Conclusion – Be Flexible But Firm
Being in business since 2001, I have seen it all and been stiffed for payments large and small. What I have found is that people will only pay you in the fashion that you detail in your agreement and that then you actually enforce.
There is nothing worse for a small business owner than to perform a service and to never get paid for it or to have to chase down a client for months to get payment for services.
As for me, now, I will simply stop performing services when there is a payment problem. I unfortunately have allowed clients in the past to take advantage of me by ringing up a bill, accepting the promise of a payment next month, and then having to chase them for payment or to having to write off all my billings with that client as a bad debt.
Experience has been the wisest teacher for me in the area of improving my business cash flow. If you have tips on how you keep your own clients current leave me a comment. I’d love to know what you do.
Can you teach others to value your time? Yes, you sure can. I have been in business since 2001 and over time my business and client load and demand for my services have grown significantly.
As a business professional who makes a living off of time billing, I have learned a few things about helping clients learn to value my time.
I use an appointment calendaring app called Calendly. I started out with the free version of Calendly but now use the premium paid version. This app moved me from one to six emails (for each client) to schedule a mutually available time for client strategy calls to now one email with a link and the client self-selects a time and even gets automated reminders.
I even use Calendly for pre-paid consulting appointments, linking the notifications in the app to my billing page to get payment before I even get in the car.
Rarely Talk on the Phone Except by Appointment
Most of my correspondence is done by email. I have voice mail messages letting clients and prospects know the best and fastest way to get me is by email. I typically send all my phone calls to voice mail. This puts me in charge of my day and time allowing me to be highly productive.
Set Email Auto Responder Messages
If I am super busy and not available to react immediately to an email, I set up a “vacation” notice that I am super busy that day and list the times I will be checking email. I will always respond that same day, but sometimes am tied up on a code issue, SEO problem, or AdWords program set up. Interruptions on some of these projects kill the thought continuum and are serious distractions. When I am working on a project I have a laser-beam focus and operate at a high level of efficiency and competency. Calls distract from that focus.
By communicating when I will respond, I assure clients that I will touch base back. I do however perform triage. If there is a disaster happening – I will stop my project to help. I do have a strong sense of urgency when it comes to assuring that your site is up and fully functional or that a real time sensitive problem is addressed quickly.
Set Limits on Free Services
Although I am willing to freely share my thoughts and time with prospects, I do limit the time I will spend without moving into a paid client category. I do clock all my time chatting with a prospect. Typically at the end of 30 minutes I will go and then followup by email with a request to move to a paying client category. I have been burned a number of times and now I do value my own time. The most important thing I have found is if you do not value your own time, clients will not value it either.
That being said, you do not have to be rude, pretentious, or full of yourself by setting limits and guiding customers on how best to use your services effectively. I always try to be helpful yet focused.
In all I do, I work hard to provide value for clients and work to save them time and money. If you are looking for an expert to help with your SEO, content strategy, or Internet Marketing Program using Google AdWords, contact my by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.