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On my trip through Nevada, which is full of mining history, and long stretches of road with not much to see, I was thinking about the concept of “staking a claim”.

In literal terms this phrase evolved from the idea of a settler or prospector driving stakes into the ground to mark the property boundaries where they planned to live or work. Today that phrase is generally used to mean that someone is the first to take ownership over an idea or market area or anything they want to claim their own.

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It’s easy to forget that your website and its content are a kind of intellectual property (IP) that reflect the uniqueness and expertise of the services, products, systems, and processes you have developed and that are specific to your business and industry.

There is tremendous value in your online IP to both you and your customers that often goes overlooked.

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When it comes to owning a website, one of the worst things you can do as a business owner is fail to routinely update and maintain this asset. And I don’t mean your website’s content, although that’s vitally important also, but rather the underlying code and infrastructure that your site runs on.

I like to use the analogy that most reasonable people will not drive their work vehicles into the ground for lack of routine maintenance or care. Equally so for any other mission critical piece of equipment or technology crucial to business development and growth.

The importance of a routinely maintained and updated website can be divided into three main areas of impact – Security, Stability and Speed.

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I’m amazed at the amount of almost voodoo like superstition I get when engaging in discussions with clients over search engine optimization and what it takes to improve natural search rankings in Google.

As if a sacrificial offering must be made first to obtain the blessings of the search gods or some other mystical ritual must be imparted to succeed.

What’s worse is the number of almost predatory marketing practices conducted that take advantage of those beliefs.

The result is a large population of website owners who become jaded and cynical about SEO in general with many feeling they have been duped into paying too much with too little to show in the end; in their experience SEO did make someone money….the person they paid to help them.

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Corporations have Chief Information/Technology Officers (CIO/CTO’s) to ensure company technology, including the website, is properly aligned and able to support overall business objectives – a website alignment.

Why is this so important? If a car is out of alignment it drifts too far to the right or left without constant operator interaction. Not only is this a safety concern for the driver but also causes excessive wear on the car and tires and leads to costly repairs and early replacement. Operating a ship or plane can have disastrous consequences if a navigation compass is just one or two degrees out of alignment, resulting in a destination that is hundreds of miles off course over time and distance.

While a small business may not have the luxury of a CIO/CTO, that doesn’t mean it can’t rely on a website professional to keep a website aligned with business goals.

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Since ancient times milestones have been placed as reference points along roadways; reassuring travelers that they are following the proper path and as a reminder of the distance travelled or the distance remaining. Over time the term has also come to mean marking and celebrating major occasions and events in life.

It’s just as easy to miss or ignore life’s milestones as it is a road marker flying down the interstate at 75 miles per hour. Maybe it’s time to slow down instead and take some time to celebrate those milestones that come your way and make them memorable.

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Throughout the years I’d have conversations with other business owners and self employed individuals during which the topic of business coaching would come up.

Usually the talk would center around if we’d ever thought of using a business coach? Did we know anybody who used a business coach? What exactly did a business coach do? The conclusion being that it was probably too expensive and of indeterminate value.

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Well, not really, but if aliens got your attention then that’s a good start.

We’ve all been there, standing in line at the grocery checkout and as we glance to our right or left we can’t help being drawn into the tabloid headlines; even if all it invokes is a “You’ve got to be kidding me!” moment, that headline, sub-headline and image have done their job.

Later that same day or week your checkout line experience may be shared with someone else or spark a new conversation if for nothing else to illustrate the crazy nature of the world at large.

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When I am asked to develop a website I find that it is helpful to frame the initial discussion so that everyone is on the same page and understands the overall process and what’s involved.

This can be a real eye opener for some as they begin to realize what it takes to put it all together.

While not necessarily this linear, there are cross-over and back and forth interactions as needed, the process I explain breaks down like this: Design, Content Development, Deployment, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, Analytics and Metrics.

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WebWeevil - pronounced web•weevil not web•we•evil - is a Houston area company located in Katy, Texas offering custom, bespoke web application and web platform development services, and web technology consulting.

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