Webworkers: How to not compete on price

Once again, Jeremy nails the question of how to differentiate your web based business:

… take a look at what (customers) are complaining about …

* Missing delivery dates

* Inconsiderate, rude responses

* Canceling projects

* No phone support

* Not responsive

* No consistency when it comes to who is working on the project

Don’t respond to an RFQ with just price – talk about service excellence!  Talk about points of differentiation!

On That Software Guy’s FAQ page, I talk about my Zen Cart module development services this way:

As with most things in life, with freelance software developers, you get what you pay for.

  • My Quantity Discounts and Better Together modules have been downloaded over 8,000 times each. If you look at the total download statistics for That Software Guy’s contributions, you’ll see my contributions have been downloaded over 40,000 times.
  • I have been doing commercial software development for over 20 years.
  • I have a proven track record of delivering highly functional software.
  • That Software Guy, Inc. has been in business since 2003. Government fees, insurance, accounting and tax preparation costs and other forms of fixed overhead are in excess of $1,000 per year. I wouldn’t keep the business open if it weren’t consistently making money, and the only way to make money consistently is by delivering a service which people value.
  • I am a PayPal verified, native speaker of English who’s a US resident and in the phone book.
  • Communication is a critical success factor. Is someone who doesn’t speak English really going to be able to make sense of your business needs and create proposals that work for you?

If you compare value rather than cost per hour, you’ll see that it makes more sense to hire me. Better contractors produce better results.

How can you differentiate your business?

Hiding images from Google Search

Why would you ever want to hide an image from Google?

For a long time, I had trouble figuring out why my upselling tool for Zen Cart called Checkout Candy was garnering so many hits in comparison to sales.  Then one day I was looking at Google Images, and for some reason, I did a search for “candy.”  Here’s what I saw:

candy search in Google Images

Checkout Candy was the third page.  This was drawing people who wanted “candy,” not “Zen Cart Software.”  In fact, a few of them who were not native speakers of english wrote to me to ask how they could buy some candy from me.  LOL!

Obviously this is not valuable traffic, and it distorts your statistics, so you want to eliminate it.  Fortunately, you can use the robots.txt file to stop the Googlebot from looking at this image.   It’s very simple: if the image you want to block is called candy.jpg, you do

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /candy.jpg

Google Analystics helps you find problems like this with your site.  It also explains this email. 🙂

Using the news to build your expert authority

I though it was absolutely brilliant how blogger The Budget Fashionista reworked Sarah Palin’s shopping list to slash her budget.   Is there anything you can do to build your expert authority and drive traffic to your store?   How about:

  • Answering questions on LinkedIn
  • Answering questions on forums which are related to your industry
  • Commenting on other people’s blogs in your space
  • Twittering news and announcements related to your industry or sector (not just what you’re doing)
  • Starting a blog to talk about your industry or sector.

Keep up the good work, Budget Fashionista!

Creating a Facebook Page Part IV: Creating a badge for your page

Creating a badge for your Facebook Profile is simple – click on the Profile menu at the top of the page, scroll to the bottom of your profile and click the “Create a Profile Badge” link.

However, Facebook Pages don’t automatically come with a badge creation link.   Hopefully soon, the Facebook  Pagebadge application will be fixed to make this easier, but for now, you have to do it indirectly like this:

  1. Log into Facebook.
  2. Add your corporate logo as a photo.
  3. Click on this photo, and scroll down until you see on the lower right part of the screen that says, “Make Profile Picture.”
  4. Click on the Profile menu at the top of the page, scroll to the bottom of your profile and click the “Create a Profile Badge” link.
  5. The badge will now have your corporate logo.  You may or may not want your name or other fields on the badge; adjust to taste.
  6. Save the badge.
  7. Right click on the badge and save it as an image.  Use this image anywhere you want a badge for your page.
  8. Go back to Profile/Photos/Profile Pictures and restore your original profile picture (if desired).

Here are a couple of examples of what I did; the first is with my name and the second is without.  I’m using the second one as my Page badge.

Canned Responses in GMail

The Googlers are at it again – if you receive common questions again and again in email, you can save a canned response and use it at the click of a mouse.  See the Mashable review for more information, or just  go to Google Labs by clicking the green beaker on the top right side of your GMail browser window, and enable Canned Responses.  You’ll see it right below the subject line next time you compose an email.

Creating a Facebook Page Part III: Creating a vanity URL

Unfortunately, the URL to your page on Facebook  is an impossible-to-remember huge string of numbers and letters.   Vanity URLs which are shorter and easier to remember are only available to businesses which spend a significant amount of money on Facebook advertising (for instance, The Gap has  http://www.facebook.com/gap).

But using your own website and hosting company’s “subdomain” creation facility, you can create something like http://www.thatsoftwareguy.com/facebook or http://facebook.thatsoftwareguy.com and have them point to http://www.facebook.com/pages/That-Software-Guy/29706430641.  URLs like these are much easier to remember and pass around.