This past week, I attended an all-day seminar put on by my favorite brand ever, Google. The Google for Entrepreneurs (GFE) team came to Denver to present on how startups and small businesses can use Google’s tools for everything from product development to advertising. I will admit that because this was a free event, I expected strong sales-ey undertones. What I got was a series of really helpful sessions, hosted by inspiring and educated people.

Google For Entrepreneurs

The schedule included a business and a technical track. I chose the business track. I am pretty fluent in Google’s business tools — I’m deep in Google Analytics everyday; I’ve used Google AdWords for several search and display advertising campaigns, and I’ve managed the Google Apps for Business tools for a couple of small businesses. Because of my experience, I was concerned that I wasn’t going to learn much. I was wrong.

Recently, I decided to dive into the world of usability and testing. To wet my feet, I chose to run some basic A/B tests on a website I recently started managing.

The site that I manage is built on WordPress, which is excellent. However, it’s a site that supports a company that serves a very technical industry. Apparently that means the visitors want to read a TON of content. Right? Wrong.

If you or anyone you know decides to build and/or write for a website, consider how you, personally, use the internet. If I land on a page that is clean, features high-quality images, and tells me where to go, I’m going to convert. Take me to a page that has paragraph after paragraph of content, page blocks everywhere, images, links, conflicting CTAs — and I will increase your bounce rate before you can say…well, nothing. I’m going to leave immediately.

Recently, I got together with some friends who are thinking about starting a business. We were discussing their plans and the opportunities. There appeared to be a lot of opportunity, but what I came to realize as we were talking is that they hadn’t yet determined their value proposition.

My immediate reaction was to have them stop everything <screeching car tires> and go no further until they had defined their businesses’ value.