All posts by Andy Walker

Andy Walker is CEO and Senior Strategist at Cyberwalker Digital. He is the author of five books and is a well known technology expert. Andy is a former G4TechTV host and currently appears in the media as a commentator of the Internet and all thing technology. He is co-authoring the book "Super You: How technology is revolutionizing what it means to be human" with CWD's Kay Svela.

Fill your restaurant or business using web marketing

Why is your restaurant or small storefront business empty Monday through Thursday? Do people stop eating or living? No. People go out less, but that doesn’t mean they are not in need of your business and what it offers. So use the down time to shake up some more business and get them in when its quieter. Here’s how using the web.

Storefront small businesses and restaurants don’t always use the web well to interact with their customers, however their customer are using the web to find them (or their competitors) so what follows are some tips on using the web to engage customers and keep your cash register ringing all week long.

When using the web to communicate, remember it doesn’t take a lot of customers to have a thriving business. An active list of 500 to 1000 regular customers can make a small business thrive. So building contacts through social media like Twitter and Facebook, email lists and even basic email. Here are some tips and tricks that should help.

1. Capture customer info and talk to them – Offer your customers a reason to receive email from you. A weekly draw or coupons or specials. Send seasonal events or products or services. Then offer a weekly or monthly newsletter. Use or For small lists these services are free.

2.Use a fish bowl – Have a weekly draw from business cards that your customers put in a fishbowl. Put those customers on your mailing list and send them reasons to open the email. 10% off coupon, 2 for 1 deals, seasonal specials and the like. It doesn’t have to take long to do. A twice weekly send on Wednesdays and Sundays to promote for the weekdays and weekend is ideal.

3. Use social media: Build a Facebook page for your business and sign up for a Twitter account. Then start posting information about your specialty. If you are a sushi restaurant (for example) then educate your followers using social media about Japanese food and culture. Use Hootsuite to schedule regular blasts of information to Twitter daily. Here’s an example post: “Did you know that okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake that contains cabbage and a mix of ingredients. The word means: as you like it.” Add a link back to your business if possible. This is a good role for a young person on your staff. If you become a source of information about what you are good at people who are interested will follow and become customers.

4. Don’t over sell on the web: People don’t want to be sold to. They want to be served. Treat your restaurant and storefront communications like you treat them at the cash or at the table. Mention and offer. Don’t sell and pitch. That should be reflected in all your web interactions.

5. Be responsive – You would never ignore the phone at your business or let it ring a long time. So be sure to respond quickly in any web communications. Check email one or twice a day. And when you post your email address let people know what turnaround response time they can expect from email.

Do you have a web marketing tip? Enter it in he comments below.

What is a domain and what do with one? Learn from the LabRats

If you are new to web development the concept of a “web domain” may be new to you. It’s the term used to refer to the web address of your web site aka or if you are more creative, – you get the picture.

A domain can have a .com extension or any number of other “top level domains”. Some of the popular types include .net, .info, .tv and your regional country top level domain (.us, .ca,

At our sister site, Sean Carruthers and Andy Walker host a weekly show that demystifies technology and in the episode below they cover domains. We used podcast recorders bought from on this episode so the sound quality is better.

They explain what it means to register your own web domain or to get one from a Domain name marketplace, and show you what to do after reserving one. They also send you to to register one, which is a good idea, in our opinion because its the service we use at


Once you’re done watching this episode see more episodes of LabRats (there are more than 300 episodes) at or on their YouTube site at

Don’t forget to visit our site here: and

Learn about your site's popularity through

If you want to understand how your site racks up against other sites in your country or against all Internet sites then you’ll want to head on over to

This web property, owned by Amazon, keeps track of each website gathering intelligence about the top web sites on the web. To use the site simply type in the URL of your web site in the search bar and Alexa spits out a wealth of stats on your site.

This is gleaned primarily from users of the Alexa toolbar, but also the company says, from other unnamed sources.

The data you want to look at is your site rank on the Internet and also in your country if you have geographically relevant content.

Sites linking in to your site shows its popularity (and likelihood of search engine love). If you are in the top 100,000 sites you’ll see traffic flow, audience snapshot, search queries ad various other useful information.

As you an see we didn’t do very well, but this is typical when a site is new. If you check today against the image captured in this post you’ll see we are coming along quite nicely since Feb 2012.

You have the ugliest web site in the world

Ugly web siteIf you are a determined web business person and you can deal with ignoring your inner perfectionist then you’ll be ok with this piece of advice.

Don’t worry about how your website looks at the beginning, just get it live.

Now many will rankle at this suggestion. We all have a need to look good. And your website is an expression of you.

So having an ugly or at least imperfect website can hurt the ego, but trust me, an ugly website is better than no website. And an ugly website with great content will be read. A pretty website with no content won’t be read.

That said the so-called brand experts will tell you this is not a good idea. But if your site doesn’t yet have a brand then who cares!

People are forgiving when you give them value in terms of a great web tool or a great content web site. So if you site is ugly but useful they will use it.

That said if you are getting growing interest in your site, you don’t want to leave it ugly for long.

We offer this advice apologetically because its advice we took from ourselves.

Take for example. (See image).

After we built the one page site to get live, we started to design a custom WordPress template to build out the site. What our webmaster put up was the ugly piece of nastiness that I show here. Not his fault, it was just the template that we chose on hand that most closely represented what we wanted to build out. It’s a work in progress. If you are reading this long after we have evolved the site then you get to peer into the past as to how we put this site together. If you are reading this any time close to February 2012 then you may even be reading this post on the ugly site.

Our process here was simple. Get something up that closely resembled what we wanted so there was somewhere to put content we were creating.

Then David started to do a custom job of pulling together the look and feel of the finish first version of the site that we were working towards. So this boxy ugly template will start to improve as we evolve it. See it here:

Our webmaster will go in and customize the existing base template to our specs. To do this find a competent web developer or learn yourself. There is a handy video on YouTube here on how to edit your WordPress theme.




Start your web site at the beginning (we started with WordPress!)

As we build,we thought it might be fun to chronicle the process in this blog, so that we can show you what techniques we use to build web properties from the group up often without much of a budget. After all that’s what you are here for — to learn how build a web property.

So it should be noted that as I write this, it is being created in a generic WordPress installation on a server that our webmaster deployed.

We like WordPress because its a very versatile (and free) content management system that originally was designed to power blogs. However its become much more than that and is the basis for many big brand and high traffic web sites.

If you don’t have a webmaster that’s ok. Just find a web host (a company that can give you some webspace) that can install WordPress for you. One place to do that is 🙂

But many web hosts offer deployment of WordPress in the control panel of the service.

In my next post I’ll show you what we did at the beginning to get the site up and running.

-Andy Walker
28 Feb 2012