A good friend of mine, and IT compliance consultant, John Avellanet is managing director for Cerulean, LLC. John has been working on improvements to how he connects with his customers via his website.
He sent me a couple reviews of books on website marketing, and his comments were so clear - and trenchant - that I asked him to allow me to print them here for our readers. With his permission...
" Okay, from what I’ve seen so far here are the best two out there:
What I like: Excellent “base” resource with clear diagrams, very succinct and blunt advice on when to look for a web designer and when not to (plus what to look for and what the red flags are to make you run the other way), straightforward explanations of why to do one thing (e.g., use a white background for your site) and why not to – ALL explained in terms of presenting a professional image, making it easy on visitors and encouraging them to be comfortable with you…and thus buying your services or product. Also, very focused on service / knowledge-based companies (not on small businesses selling widgets on-line). Well worth at least 2-3 times its price.
What gave me pause: There are about 3 areas where they slyly draw the reference to their own business – but frankly, if I weren’t actively hunting for that, I’m not sure I would’ve even noticed. Also, they seem to have some slight biases toward different technologies and vendors NOT to use, but don’t really go into why. However, not really a big deal and in comparison to other books that are just shameless self-promos, this book couldn’t rate any higher than a 1 on a 10-point self-promo scale (and is probably about a 0.5).
What I like: This book is so full of good ideas and tips that – only halfway through the book – I can already tell you it will take me a good six months to put all the ones that I like (not all of them) into play. Unbelievable resource, full of examples – both figures in the book and websites to go check out that exemplify what he’s discussing (good and bad). Also a lot of comments throughout reminding the small business owner to not waste time thinking his/her site will be like the sites of the big boys – so here’s where you’ll get your biggest ROI instead. I hate putting this book down knowing there are still more good ideas in it; and I hate picking it up knowing that my brain is already about to explode from the ideas I’ve read so far…. Probably worth at least 3-5 times its price.
What gave me pause: Okay, some of the points he makes are seriously cheesy and I would never adopt, but that’s a personal thing. Also, because it was written 3 ½ years ago, bits and pieces of it are out of date (frankly, if he wrote a 2nd edition, I’d pay $100 for it). Just like the book above, some bits of self-promotion are in it, and definitely a bit higher on the self-promo scale (maybe a 1.5 or 2 out of 10) – but part of that is he only has so many clear examples to illustrate what he’s discussing that he has no choice but to point you to his sites or sites of his clients or his colleagues."
-----Thanks John for the great comments!--------
About Cerulean: "Cerulean specializes in helping executives simplify and streamline quality systems and regulatory compliance, minimize their risks and liability, lower costs and put in place intellectual property and trade secret theft protection.
We have particular expertise in GLP, GMP, ICH and GHTF biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device product development, laboratory compliance, startups, FDA Quality by Design, records management and IT compliance (including FDA Part 11, EU Annex 11 and HIPAA)."