David A. West

Senior Internet Consultant & Professional Speaker

Canadian Social Media Advisor & Search Engine Strategist


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David West

Do All Calgary Businesses Need E-commerce?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Do you need e-commerce features on your business website even if your company isn’t focused on retail sales? The short answer, of course, is “no.” But, that isn’t the end of the story, either.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of different businesses could profit from having shopping carts and other e-commerce features on their websites, even if they don’t anticipate online sales becoming huge drivers of revenue.

For one thing, having a little extra money never hurts, and installing e-commerce is often a great way to put a little extra something on the bottom line. And for another, some things you can do with e-commerce can actually help lead you to bigger non-retail profit opportunities later.

To get a sense of how this works, here are a few ways businesses that aren’t stores can use e-commerce to improve their bottom-line picture:

  • A professional or consultant could add apps and e-books to their site for customers who don’t have the money to hire them. Or, these small and inexpensive products could pave the way for bigger relationships later.
  • A business that sells services could add packages (for instance, so many hours or visits) to a shopping cart, making it easier for clients to bill bigger blocks of time.
  • A retailer with large, complex products (like a furniture store) could add e-commerce features with products for maintenance (such as leather cleaning solutions) that give them a steady stream of supplemental income and reduce the burden on their retail sales team.

There are probably a dozen other examples you could think of yourself, but the point is that e-commerce isn’t just for “online stores,” but for virtually any business that wants to expand its reach. All that’s required is a little bit of thought, creativity, and web development.

Want to learn more about the ways smart companies are putting the web to use? Visit our blog again soon or contact David West today to inquire about a date on a speaking calendar.

How Long Does It Really Take to Learn Social Media?

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Whenever we come across someone who isn’t using social media very effectively, whether it’s in their personal or professional life, the excuse is almost always the same: “I just don’t have time to learn sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.”

On the surface, that makes a lot of sense. But, when you consider that social media can help you do things like save money, take advantage of specials, keep in touch with friends and colleagues, and even help you take the next step in your career, it’s easy to see that it’s a forest-for-the-trees type of situation. In other words, if you don’t know how to use social media at all, you should probably make the time to learn about it.

Luckily, that time doesn’t have to be as substantial as you might think. Usually, when clients or seminar attendees ask me how long it takes to learn social media, I give them three quick points to think about:

You can master the basics of virtually any social media site in under an hour. As complicated as they might seem to outsiders, social media websites just aren’t that hard to use, even if you aren’t very fluent with the Internet. Remember, these are pages that distracted teenagers use all the time; you can figure it out.

Advanced features sometimes take a little longer (but not that much longer). Once you get past the basics, there are lots of things to know. A lot of it, however, is just as easy, and other parts won’t really apply to you. So even then, the time commitment isn’t that great.

The real benefit and familiarity comes with practice after training. After you’ve gotten the basics from a technology speaker or other knowledgeable person, you can take what you’ve learned and build on it easily. In fact, just playing around with social media sites for 10 or 15 minutes a day should be sufficient.

Could you, or your business group, use more social media and Internet marketing knowledge? Make David West the technology speaker at your next event.

5 Ways to Make Technology More User-Friendly

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Wouldn’t it be great if every piece of technology you spent time or money on worked exactly the way it’s supposed to in television commercials… the first time and without any significant training or modifications?

As most of us have learned, things don’t usually go that way. Technology can be amazing, but it often requires more from us than a fresh electrical charge and a credit card number. That doesn’t mean you should give up, though. You just have to know how to make the hardware, software, and devices you purchase work for you.

Here are five ways to make virtually any piece of technology more user-friendly:

1. Attend a training session with a technology speaker. Granted, I have a biased opinion, but I think this is one of the best ways to learn how to use certain tools, especially social media sites and other web-based forms of technology.

2. Find the lessons you need in video format. Although in-person training where you can ask questions is best, you may be able to learn how to perform common tasks through videos on YouTube and other video-sharing websites.

3. Create or download a “cheat sheet” for important tasks and processes. Time management experts will tell you that you should never have to find the same piece of information twice. Print out important tip sheets or instructions for jobs you have to do often.

4. Find the right apps or plug-ins. Whether you are building a house or social media profile, every task is easier when you have the right tools. If you’re struggling with something, look for an app or plug-in that makes things more convenient.

5. Play and practice as needed. Part of the difficulty in learning new technology is that you don’t have a comfort level with it yet. By spending a bit of time with your new application or device, you can probably figure out most of what you need to know fairly quickly.

Could your event use a technology speaker who can make topics like social media fun and accessible? Call David West today to learn about presentations, speaking fees, and availability.

Some of David's Clients

  • Cir Realty
  • Canada Mortgage Network
  • Canasa
  • Calgary Residential