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Recently I got a tattoo and my nieces and nephew (who are 6, 8 and 10) asked me why I liked permanent tattoos (versus the ones that you stick on and they only last for a couple days). I didn’t really have a good answer for them, I just really like tattoos. My tattoos (I have 4) are all meaningful to me and I’ve never regretted them for a second.
But their questions got me thinking about decisions we make, in life and in business, and how far ahead we look into the future when making decisions.
In many cases, you can undo a bad decision or at least find a way to recover from it. Often it’s costly or painful, but it is possible. But there are some decisions that are permanent and while you can do your best to recover after the fact, you may never get back to the state before you made that decision.
If I wanted to have my tattoos removed, it’s an option. I think it’s expensive and I’ve heard it’s painful. But I could do it if I wanted. However I would never get a tattoo that I think I may remove in the future. What would be the point? I thought about my life and my body and my future and I decided it was a permanent decision that I was not only OK with but I was happy about it.
Then I started to think about the business decisions I’ve made and started to analyze how much thought I’d put into the future and the various possible outcomes of those decisions. In general I’m a “thinker” and a “planner” so I rarely jump into things without really thinking it through.
Next I started to think about my clients and all the people I talk to on a daily basis about SEO and I realized one of the biggest mistakes a site owner makes is not thinking about things. Every site owner wants more traffic and more sales. But sometimes the desire to make that happen causes site owners to rush into a decision, without any thought to the future and the possible outcomes of that decision.
I understand that we don’t have crystal balls (unless you do have one, then I expect you to share!) but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few minutes to think about what we are doing and make the best decision we can, given the facts we have.
Of course we don’t want to get paralyzed by analysis and never take action. But we also don’t want to jump into everything blindly and without forethought. As with most things in life, it’s about balance.
Learning when to trust your gut and when to slow things down and think about it a little more is something everyone struggles with. Here are some scenarios that you may want to show down and really think about before you jump in:
A new site or a site redesign: I see people so often in a hurry to get a site up or get a site redesigned that they don’t take the time to really outline the goals of the site, the structure and the content. The success of a website (much like SEO and social media) often lies in the details. Taking the time to think about what you want and to ensure that the site will be successful at meeting the objectives is well worth the time. If you rush into a site without thinking about it and without thinking about future growth, you will likely end up with a site that doesn’t really get the job done and 6 months later, you’ll be struggling to get it cleaned up and performing how you want it to. So, slow down, think about your immediate and long term goals and needs for the site and do some planning before you get started.
Link Building: Much like my tattoo, a link is fairly permanent. In some cases, you will get a responsive website owner that will remove or change a link for you when you request it. But often, getting links removed is a painful and often unsuccessful process. So think twice about what you are doing when you set up links. I know, you don’t have a crystal ball and you can’t predict what the engines may or may not do in the future BUT you can look at the history of search engines and link building and learn from it, so you make a wise decision going forward.
SEO: I’ve seen so many people ignore SEO or go with the cheapest SEO options. While you may save in paying out money right now, what do you lose in opportunity costs when you can’t be found anywhere and your competitors are taking all the traffic? Or worse yet, the cheap SEO company did something dirty (“dirty deeds done dirt cheap” from an AC DC song comes to mind here!) and your site is paying the price by being delisted in Google. When making a decision about SEO, think about where you are at now and where you need to be to reach your business goals and choose a company and a package that will take you where you need to be. If your budget isn’t what it needs to be, you may have to break it down into steps but then it’s even more important to think about the goals and the future and make smart decisions.
I told my nieces and nephew, before they could ever get a tattoo they had to be an adult and they had to really think about the decision and the future consequences. I share the same message with you today about your business. Make sure you arm yourself with the facts and details and make sure you know your objectives and all your decisions are in support of those objectives.