Gaming – a blessing or a curse?

29 March 2011 by Anna Mieczakowski  
Filed under News and views

In recent times, there has been a plethora of extreme and alarmist articles in the media about the impact of video games (both online and offline) on the lives on individuals who play them. For example, there has been an article about how parents from South Korea failed to attend to their baby’s basic needs because of their obsession with gaming. As well, there has been a lot of discussion about the supposedly increasing number of games addicts among children, with some sources stating examples of youngsters who have dropped out of school in order to to play games for up to 21 hours a day.

Countries such as China and South Korea have already declared battle against online gaming and introduced laws in the forms of an anti-online game addition system and gaming curfew respectively in order to curb their citizen’s usage of games.

However, I recently came across an article titled “Online computer gaming: advice for parents and teachers” that a UK games expert, Professor Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University, wrote in 2009 in response to a huge number of emails that worried parents and teachers of young gamers sent to him over the years. Griffiths argues that, while games may be problematic to some individuals, in his career he has only come across a handful of real games addicts. Griffiths, furthermore, says that “any activity when taken to excess can cause problems in a person’s life. We would not legislate against people excessively reading or exercising. Why should online gaming be treated any differently?”. With that said, parents and teachers should be educating adolescence on how to play games responsibly.

There is an increasing body of evidence for the positive influence of games. For example, a games expert from the Silicon Valley, Jane McGonigal, believes that “gaming can make a better world” though teaching people about strategising and probelm-solving. McGonigal’s research shows that games can enhance personal happiness and help society.

Shock horror – 40% of UK websites get no visitors

23 March 2011 by Kevin Holdridge  
Filed under Search Engine Optimisation

Well, at Kent House we’re as cynical as you about the robustness of surveys. But, regardless of the true numbers,  this survey published on 19 March 2011 on DMI Online makes a valid point. The survey claims to have analysed 10,000 UK websites and to have found  that 40% of them got no traffic from search engines or from pay-per-click advertising.  As they put it succintly: “It means the only people visiting these websites will be family, friends or those who know the actual website address.”

I suspect that the survey included a lot of “dead” or inactive and “amateur” sites which will have skewed the numbers. Even so, we find that many of the businesses coming to us because they are dissatisfied with the performance of their website need some help to understand where its all going wrong. This is usually just down to unfamiliarity with the model for online marketing. For instance, we met with a very experienced sales manager only yesterday who was frustrated with the level of traffic to his company’s website.  After just a few minutes of discussion, we could almost see the light bulb switching on in his head as he “got it”. There’s no stopping him now – frustration has turned to optimism and an action plan.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC – such as Google Adwords) can become enormously powerful and hugely cost-effective tools once you make the link (no pun intended) between patterns of user behaviour online and the way that search engines work.

Get better results from SEO

One of our messages is “Don’t waste your money on a website”. That may seem a peculiar thing for a web developer and online agency to say. However, we still see too many unhappy people who have spent lost of money on a website and – with charming naivety – waited in vain for a torrent of vistors and customers. As evidenced by the survey above, the principle of “build it and they will come” just doesn’t work online. With billions of web pages out there,  you need to be assertive in attracting visitors to your website and then in converting them efficiently into paying customers or at least into beginning a relationship with you. If you don’t get the marketing right (including SEO, social media, and maybe pay-per-click advertising), you’ve wasted your money on a website that is little more than vanity project generating a return only for the web designer.

We know that different clients have different attitudes and capacities. Some want to be very hands on with their SEO, others are happy to agree a strategy and then to oustource the donkey work.  On the principle that our job is to help our clients to  meet their goals rather than to make them fit into our processes, we provide a range of support offerings so you can choose something that is just right for you. Here are some of the ways in which we can help you with your SEO and online marketing:

  • Follow this blog for news and tips covering SEO and online marketing
  • You can sign up to our free email newsletter which includes regular features on internet marketing and online trends
  • Ask us for a free review of your website and SEO
  • Take one of our SEO support packages - they range from a one day small-group SEO workshop, through the SEO – Getting Started Package, to the Advanced Tailored SEO Package
  • Get results from social networking by signing up to Simple Steps to Success, a 3-month 10-point social media action plan managed by email
  • Take the Social Media Mastery programme to squeeze the maximum possible opportunity for your organisation from social networks

Alternatively,  just give us a call or drop us an email so we can talk about what you need to get the best return on your investment? We’re on 0845 638 0700 or mail@kenthouse.com.