Double-sized episode with co-founder John Hart on the entire soup-to-nuts of getting a new business online.

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Sean Corbett: Hello, everybody. Sean Corbett here Websites.ca marketing. We have a very special episode today. This is our 50th episode. We’ve made it to number 50 and so in honor of that I decided to bring on the man the myth and the legend th co-founder John Hart. And just before I let John on here, I want to say, most of us have been with Websites.ca for a long time, a decade plus, almost everybody who works for the company sticks around and John was the first person to give me my start in this business. So it means a lot to me. And then let’s say hi John and I think you have something interesting to tell us about a milestone at Websites.ca this year as well.

John Hart: Yeah, hi everybody. I noticed that we have been doing this now for 25 years come this summer. So time flies.

Sean Corbett: And there’s been many iterations of the company right? We’re not always called Websites.ca.

John Hart: That’s true. Some of the names are irritating to even remember how complicated they were. But yeah, we originally started back in 1999. I feel like it was the summer we kind of got the idea. I mean the co-founder we’re here in Montreal and his background is computer science. So he was studying at the time and I can’t remember what I was doing. I think I was studying marketing something like that. And we were talking about starting a business. So seemed like a good idea. Maybe I was 23 something like that .

John Hart: We had a lot of really dumb ideas. I think the dumbest one was building docks for boats and something to do with the modular dock system. I forget where Spencer, the co-founder was Spencer, came up with that. That was a pretty weird idea, but I remember we were at some sort of a bar or club somewhere and I remember him coming up to me and say we should build websites.

John Hart: So websites were pretty new in back in ’99 and the idea was not to build these expensive flashy sort of retail facing type business websites. And in those days you actually had flash if anybody remembers that technology where a little animation would come on the screen and the words would fly in and all this stuff and it seemed like it would just be while you’re waiting for the page to load. So it was Flashing expensive I feel like it costs tens of thousands of dollars to do some of these types of websites. for these bigger type businesses back in those days, so

John Hart: Spencer’s idea was we should build a simple software. So we can build websites for people who are kind of behind the scenes was actually sort of manufacturing distributor type companies. We were thinking about focusing on and they would be able to update their website cheap inexpensive easy do-it-yourself instead of a big flash. She kind of a concept so that was step one.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, and I recall that around that time and even later you guys were one of the very few providers where it was pretty intuitive for a non-technical person to get on the website and be able to update it and change it right.

John Hart: Right, and the weird thing was this was before WordPress before Wix before any of these sort of content management system type websites where you could kind of build it yourself and Spencer actually built the version one to be able to attachment kind of run the backend and be able to go in and add pages and we’ve had a catalog system you could add folders and items and it was designed to be super easy for anybody that even didn’t know how to use a computer but we did find out pretty quick that people were excited about the idea but never really were able to get into it actually be able to do the work. So it wasn’t long before we sort of transitioned to sort of pivoted to. Us doing all the work for the customer,…

Sean Corbett: Yeah.

John Hart: but we’d still have the system there so they did want to go in.

John Hart: They could edit it themselves and some would but maybe I feel like it was maybe 10% would actually figure it out and be excited to do it. but it was always a nice to pitch them and say you can do it yourself as you if you want to so people really appreciated the fact that they could if they felt like there wouldn’t be stuck there weren’t doing themselves.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, I’m sure some of the listeners because they’ve been long time clients may have been remember those days but most people who watched the show about I don’t know this but when we used to call people to sell them a website the big selling feature was that we would take them through live how to edit the site and we’d go and edit a page together and people love that and then like you said, they loved it and they never really used it afterwards. so the website starts.ca iteration today,

Sean Corbett: Completely pivoted as you said to basically manage the entire website for people and then we started to realize that a website alone is really just an island and it’s all these interconnected things that are going on online that makes for a really successful website presence, So then we started to have to learn about SEO and we had to learn about all of the various Google services. We had to learn how to help our clients with all those things. So now, You guys sort of dip your toe in every and a little bit of everything right now because you kind of have to be a holistic website provider, right?

John Hart: Yeah, definitely the main thing that people I’m not sure how often they use it. But we set that up for all of our new customers is the Google analytics. So this is just the basic websites statistics telling you they’re coming from which page they’re visiting you can get really into the detailed where you can find out. People that came to this particular page. Where did they go next or did they leave your side? Did they fill out the form so you can get some really interesting deep into the details there. The other thing is the Google search console, which is important to be able to see how your website is performing on the Google search engines so you can actually see

John Hart: How many pages of your website and which pages are showing up in the Google search results, you can see what words people are searching for and where you show up in the search results that is near to the top or on the second page or third page or whatever and you can even see how many people are clicking when they see your page in the search results. So all this is really great. And again, it may be the case that a lot of the customers. aren’t digging into that but we have that set up. So whenever they do get interested we can kind of walk them through it and it’s always collecting the data from the start of the website.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, so Simon could that’s a bit of a back story anyway, and obviously the folks haven’t heard from you yet. So it’s good to cover that. But what we thought everybody would be fun to do today. is to kind of go Soup To Nuts through, starting a business and getting a business online because it’s not just the fact that we’re a website company and we do it for clients. Before we started recording, John and I were talking that everybody we know in our life comes to us to ask us about websites internet-based questions. I’m sure that John you probably had to help people set up their phones and printers also hundreds of times for some reason. They also think that we’re good at that too.

John Hart: Yeah. Yeah, Auntie just called me the other night. I thought it was an emergency, but she was calling me from Arizona to help my uncle to get his email to work because he was forced to upgrade his Windows operating system and he was dead in the water on his email. So it’s quite emotional to try to have somebody hold a FaceTime iPhone pointing at the screen and their hands are kind of moving around and trying to say click here and click here and I switched to a Mac years ago. So I really barely know how windows work. So just trying to look it up and walk them through it It’s a type of hell but yes, it keeps coming. But I learned a lot of patience walking customers through it back in the old days. We’d walk through how to set up your email.

John Hart: And I’d actually go. Outlook click this button. I could do it just in my head and imagine what they’re clicking. So yeah. Yeah good times walking through email and I still do it to this day. But yeah, the thing about starting a business. my wife recently went independent from her business. I quit her job and went independent. And obviously I decided to give her a few bits of advice about getting started with all the website side of things in the internet and the domain names and all this stuff. And then my brother. called me about trying to start up his new brand and then my brother-in-law called me and then we started our own new directory. If the Websites.ca directory, which is the Canadian Business website search.

John Hart: Without a new one to go outside of Canada. Kind of start English speaking world go into the US and try to go internationally. So we were starting up that brand all this was happening at the same time. So I really got thinking about all the basics. And kind of talking everybody through it. I realized I know a lot of fundamentals seem that I was able to really get them on the right track.

Sean Corbett: Perfect. So, yeah, I mean, I think we’ll go through each thing. We won’t cover it in massive detail, but we can kind of take people in a really wonderful Vista and overview of everything that goes into the stuff and obviously anyone can follow up with us that they won’t work details and you kind of let the cat on the bed out of the bag there. I haven’t even announced the new directory yet. So we’ll have to tell folks about that too towards the end of episode but let’s go and…

John Hart: right

Sean Corbett: go ahead to just say

John Hart: I know I was just gonna say yeah that I got Some that we had a great start and then we’ve been hit by a big SEO update from Google around think it was March 5th. So that’s a whole different story.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, people are gonna find that’s happening more often than not. you’ll recall one of the episodes that we’ve released earlier this year. We brought on Darren that SEO guy to talk about some of the changes and he felt like there’s just gonna be more coming to accommodate AI which I know you and I are going to cover today. so if people want to imagine that they’re back in the golden days you could walk them through on the phone by memory how to do things. things are changing pretty frequently now, so it’s a good to have somebody like Websites.ca who has to keep it update with it so that you don’t have to in your own business because it’s a little bit frustrating. let’s get started them the first thing everybody thinks about when they go to get a website they think about their web. Right name. So John what are the kind of the key points to consider when it comes to getting a domain name?

John Hart: Yeah, domain names everybody is excited about that back in the beginning was probably. Quite a bit easier to find something good with a calm but we always and everybody really recommends that calm is going to be the best way to go.

John Hart: Just for the search engine results just for people recognizing.com. There’s a lot of gimmicky domain extensions.ai.co.io all this stuff. But unless you’re in a real Niche kind of tech. Business, you’re just going to be confusing people even with the dot CA if you’re just in Canada just doing business in Canada or just a local business dossier can be great. You can get a shorter nicer dossier domain usually

John Hart: but yeah, if you’re trying to work in the US or do business with other countries people don’t understand what’s going on. Does CA they it’s a California. They don’t know what they’re doing. So the.com is always the best and good luck finding a good calm these days. It reminds me of a few years back forget what it was. I think 2017 was getting a lot of emails about a particular domain sort of I don’t know where they were overseas people making offers on this old three letter. com so abc.com that wasn’t what it was but a three-letter.com is

Sean Corbett: yeah, give me something like eat calm or…

John Hart: It could be anything really it…

Sean Corbett: anything small enough, but

John Hart: if it’s x y or there are some that are kind of less desirable letters but this guy had an attractive three letter.com and…

Sean Corbett: yeah.

John Hart: because think he had retired. I don’t know what had happened to me it cancel this website retired. Excuse me, and maybe

John Hart: And he had left the registration on the domain. He left us as the administrative contact. So long story short. We were getting emails of people saying can I buy your three-letter.com and they’re offering these outlandish offers $10,000. So I thought wow is this guy still around? So I tried to track down this domain to see if it was still accessible with all with our passwords and stuff didn’t have access to it. I tracked the guy down he was

John Hart: Some sort of a printer printing company in Ottawa found the guy who was retired. He said yeah, I’ve seen those emails too where people are making offers. So I said, you’ve got a really sweet asset there your three-letter.com. Do you want me to sell it for you? And I’ll take a little commission or whatever. So I put it out on the auction sites and this is where you can go if you have a bit of a budget to get a more interesting.com name, but again you can spend Thousands of dollars depending on how interesting or how short the name is. But with this guy we put it on an auction and I believe it’s sold for 25,000 why Euros because in the auction you choose the currency and I think there were 24,99 was one of the cutoff.

John Hart: so he as the auction guy put it as euros and sold pretty quick so calm three letter.com if you have one or anybody that has one they’re still selling for a fortune actually help my sister-in-law a few years ago get a four letter.com for her business and it was still really pricey, but I think the price had four digits in it rather than five. so yeah, that’s how Wild it is with the sort of the speculation on the dot-coms, but You can always get something simple.

Sean Corbett: it’s

John Hart: You often want to avoid any of the complications? You don’t want the hyphens. It’s not ideal to have numbers in there. And then the other issue is sometimes people will.

John Hart: Put led.com or my business name corp.com again just adding complications makes it more difficult for people to remember and especially if you’re over the phone. It’s going to confuse people if they don’t know what a spell it or it’s too long or whatever which is what happened to us the Websites.ca story. Should we get into the Websites.ca story?

Sean Corbett: Yeah, I was totally gonna ask about that. I just wanted to say about your three-letter.com story and again for people who are falling along like we literally mean a word that’s three or four letters long because it’s just so branded. It’s worth so much money. if you had food calm or sales calm or whatever. But anyway, John, I don’t know if you remember this but back in the day, I think even before I started with you guys, I wasn’t that familiar with online, but definitely after I started with you there was a lot of conversations about domains and I would remember talking to some crazy sounding dudes around their own businesses and they’d be like, yeah, I got 30 domains. it’s like…

John Hart: Yeah.

Sean Corbett: why do you have so many domains and they would literally be sitting on them and now whatever 20 years later. I’m the idiot. They are not crazy at all. Those guys I can’t believe that it became something that was worth money. So it’s so funny.

John Hart: Maybe that it was kind of silly when people would get excited because they had talked to some domain registrar before they talk to us and whatever the salesman at the Domain registrar said. that just in case you should get your name calm your name dot info your name dot org and…

Sean Corbett: Yeah, that was really yeah.

John Hart: and Week every combination and again that felt to me that just kind of a waste of time. So if you do have the.com I wouldn’t worry about the dot CA but yeah, sometimes if these people got into that domain reselling they made a fortune that I did it reminds me another one that we did a customer.

John Hart: Had left a domain with us. We’re not a business abandoned and so I renewed it when it was expiring. So then it was ours. I won’t mention any names. It was a nice two word common phrase.com. And so I put that one on an auction because I was just coming off that big win on my three-letter.com and I just put it on at some random price. I think it was fifteen hundred dollars or $2,000 and just I think was actually Christmas morning sitting reading even breakfast reading that my email and I get the notice. The bias has accepted your offer and somebody bought that domain for 1500. I think was 1500 US dollars of quite a long time ago. So really from nothing somebody abandons it and it looked like a interesting phrase. So

John Hart: I feel like it’s sort of like buying a Bitcoin at the beginning or…

Sean Corbett: Yeah.

John Hart: buying Apple at the beginning. It’s too late, but it’s neat when you run into that and see how expensive it can be.

Sean Corbett: To your point about the company name. Yeah, so we used to be frustrated trying to tell people our old name over the phone and try to explain what it meant and blah blah. So we all brainstormed I think and why don’t we just Call ourselves wet whips …

John Hart: Yeah.

Sean Corbett: Why don’t we just call the company name what we do which by the way is another bit of advice for you folks that we didn’t plan to talk about. But yeah, just if I had to start over again, I also would just call my company what I do and probably put my name in it. So my kids when they inherit it they can just say whatever Corbett and family. so when we settled on that, we’re gonna just call the new call the company what it is that we provide for people. We did not own the Websites.ca domain. So yeah, if you want to tell a brief version of that story and…

John Hart: Yeah. are we naming names and…

Sean Corbett: what do we pay for that if you don’t mind me asking?

John Hart: Order numbers?

Sean Corbett: It’s up to you.

John Hart: I’ll say it was Spencer who found that Websites.ca. So he was the one that brought that concept to the table for everybody. And yeah, we thought wow that’s amazing Websites.ca and it same situation this At it and was reselling it and I won’t say how many with the first number was, but there were four numbers in the price. pretty reasonable for What seems sort of like there were the Canadian Company Websites.ca, so we were excited about that. We got that.

John Hart: But then we started running into the same problem in those days. We would call businesses whether we were calling them about our directory which we can get into but if we were talking to a potential lead or potential customer and we’d be telling them. You can check out the website where Websites.ca and they would always blink and they’d say What is it website.com? and…

Sean Corbett: Okay.

John Hart: that’s the thing about the dot CA that I don’t know in those days 2010 was when we first became Websites.ca. But you repeat it over and over again to get exhausting websites with an S websites dot

Sean Corbett: our websites without any doubt anything

John Hart: right, and that was the other problem with the name that when we got Websites.ca and then people just would call us websites and they say, how the guys doing over at websites and it would not ideal for Branding because if

Sean Corbett: Referrals, right? Who does your website?

John Hart: Exactly something you.

Sean Corbett: Website does my website.

John Hart: Exactly. If somebody’s at their church meeting or their rotary club or whatever clubs people are going to these days and they say yeah. I just love my website company. everybody should check them out. Yeah their webs, they’re called websites. So people go on Google websites. There’s Infinity different businesses when I look up websites. So that was annoying and even with the SEO it was difficult because the way Google’s kind of evolved that Google now recognize Websites.ca is an entity that can be found in the search but in the beginning when our name was Websites.ca, it was sort of being interpreted as just websites space CA so it was just random generic words, and this was frustrating that everybody said the name was amazing, but we had these really kind of irritating problems, which also reminds me of the phone number.

John Hart: We got a toll free number back in the old days people used to free numbers. I don’t even know if there’s any reason to use a toll free number now. But we found that. I don’t know if anybody else noticed this but the number is eight seven seven five one seven seven eight six seven. But that takes a long time to say it turns out all those sevens seven is the only number that has two syllables. So it takes you to almost twice as long to say that toll free number. watch out for sevens in your phone number and we’ll get to that with our virtual phone number company that we use maybe that’s the transition to talk about these phone number guys. was there anything we miss talking about And then on the name of the domain name?

Sean Corbett: No, I think that’s good. I mean it’s a funny story and it’s fun to recounted with you. But there are some lessons there for people so I hope obviously we’re not just laughing and complaining about stuff you do you really should think this stuff from a point of view of saying it to people over the phone searching for it online all that kind of stuff. It is really good advice. Yeah. The transitions is good as any it’s good for me. People would come to us and we had to do the same for ourselves for our staff is not just have an actual phone or mobile phones, but you have been setting up virtual phone numbers for as long as I’ve worked with you, so yeah, tell us a little bit about those and what do you recommend people do with them nowadays?

John Hart: Yeah, this is a great company. they’re called grasshopper.com. And I remember in the beginning back in 99. We Kind of cut costs or minimize costs and there was hot new technology the voiceover internet so you could make a VoIP call and it would be choppy. It would have a lag and that technology. It has evolved quite a bit but in the beginning it was just I don’t know what kind of frustration that is, but if there’s a delay and then the other person has a delay and then you talk over each other. Maybe you see that on the news sometimes when they’re on the satellite feed super maddening. And if you’re talking to people all day over the phone, this was a super hassle, but over time that got better, but with the grasshopper service the cool thing that they have is

John Hart: Back in those days. We thought about you call the number and then you can press one for sales, press two for support present put in an extension to get to somebody directly. So we set it up that way and grasshopper had that service so you can map all of the extensions all of the Departments and then right through their website. You could have it terminate at any phone number in the world. So if I’m in Montreal somebody’s in Winnipeg the customer just calls that number types in the extension and it goes right to that right person’s cell phone. and then by using the virtual numbers through grasshopper you can have a 204 number if you’re in Manitoba. You can have a seven eight zero member if you’re In Edmonton, is that the one 403 is Calgary, right?

Sean Corbett: Yeah, yeah,…

John Hart: 780 and…

Sean Corbett: seven eight.

John Hart: you

Sean Corbett: Seven of his cargo but I mean again, I talk about this a lot of business owners now because of mobile phones and people moving around that’s less powerful than it was but I can confirm for you because I haven’t told you this yet. I’ve been doing a bunch of text Outreach for clients. And you can imagine that when you’re cold texting people which is a grind in and of itself. You’d better look for Affinity markers. And so if you’re gonna text people in an area where most of the area codes 403 you better choose a 403 number and…

John Hart: Yeah.

Sean Corbett: I would recommend the same thing to all businesses. don’t do the toll free at all don’t have a corporate number get local office numbers I’m sure we’ll cover this as well on this talk today. It kind of what helped you tie into to Google Maps as well. I would say it’s just makes it a little bit more local and a little bit more.

Sean Corbett: I don’t know. Yeah Affinity is the word. I keeps coming to mind.

John Hart: Yeah, people will screen your calls ice cream calls. I don’t ever answer my phone unless it’s somebody I know I think there’s a button on iPhone that says silence unknown callers. So I imagine most businesses get all sorts of. Spam and junk and scams and people salesman calling them all the time. So you’re definitely gonna have better results. If you’re calling with a local number rather than some bizarre toll free or whatever it is that shows up in there their caller ID, but the other part of that with Grasshopper is you can send a text with that number your virtual number.

John Hart: And just there’s just an app for your phone. So just like your texting regularly text from that number receive text add that number and then you can have a little bit of privacy of your own personal phone. I think we all use our mobile number so nobody wants to give that out to everybody and get even more junk calls. So When you have that virtual number for your business, you can map it to forward to you to your cell phone or you can actually call out with that number with the app on your cell phone. So when you call a customer, they don’t see your local number. They see that grasshopper number. So send call and receive calls in out texting out and then there’s also scheduling so you can say after five o’clock. Send it to voicemail.

John Hart: and then it will even take a voicemail and send it to you as an email and even transcribe the voicemail. So you can read the message message that you got and this doesn’t cost a lot peanuts really for the convenience and all those benefits. So yeah grasshopper check them out all we’ll put together a list of all These recommendations and tools.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, I’ll get your referral link for the show notes and put it in there. Definitely people want to check that out. And before we move on from the virtual phone numbers. I think you did have. A bit of a tip for people when they’re picking a local number similar to the tip you had for when people are picking a website, right?

John Hart: Yeah, the seventh number one watch over sevens exhausting to say seven so many times but the other thing is that because these numbers are recycled. You can actually choose from the list say I wanted 403 or whatever gives you the list and you should actually just do a quick Google search to see where that phone number used to be if some other business used to have that and that was on their website. maybe it’s something you don’t want to be associated with So do a quick double check Booking that and yeah, you can actually add as many numbers as you want. So it’s pretty handy. But yeah, look up it number before you buy it or before you add it.

Sean Corbett: Perfect. So there’s another virtual thing you wanted to tell the listeners about which is this one’s a bit more modern attitude. I mean, I think with a vast majority of our audience has a brick and mortar business. But yeah, anyway virtual address you can get virtual addresses now, too.

John Hart: Yeah. Yeah virtual address this is a thing we started. working from home like everybody did back when they start their business in the old days and then I started getting into offices though we had an office and Winnipeg and then we went move downtown and then we had another office in Montreal and then at one point we decided to go remote so we had all the technology dialed in so we didn’t need to all be sitting together. All of our customers were spread out across Canada, so we wouldn’t be having me in face meetings with them. Always over phone or email so we decided let’s cut that office budget. and I feel like it’s been since

John Hart: I can’t remember 2017. Maybe we closed our last office. No, that’s the wrong. I can’t keep track of time 2007. We had an office in Montreal and then 2010. We closed our Montreal office and went remote and then the Winnipeg office was not many years after that. So we’ve been working remotely and using the first thing we needed was there’s a lot of customers that love to pay by check. Both we still have actually our first customer signed up in 1999. 2000 was when we actually got made the business live for sales.

John Hart: But yeah in the old days people sent checks so still we have a tons of customers that signed up back in 2000 and 2001 2002 that are sending checks to pay their annual or month. I think it’s just annual nobody’s sending them monthly check, but we needed a mailbox I don’t know what that’s called virtual mailbox. So we got an office downtown in Winnipeg in exchange District if anybody knows when a pig goats And so the male would be sent there and one of our guys would go pick it up and deposit the checks into the bank on the corner. And then later. We just had the mail forwarded directly from the virtual mailbox place.

John Hart: to their house directly so super convenient and then we realized that if we wanted to have a local presence in some of these other cities. In the eyes of Google we’d want to have a local address. So with just these virtual addresses, we’ve got people working out of Almost every Province now, but again everybody’s working from home. But now we have these virtual coworking places. Whichever everyone’s seen pop up over the years so you can set that as your address. If you do need to have an in-person very handy. You can A book a meeting room and go have a meeting there. And this way you can publish your address same issue with having some privacy if you do work from home, you’re independent.

John Hart: You don’t want to publish your home address on your website or on Google you can use the virtual address and still have that sort of whatever you call it. And sort of serious you look like a serious business. You’re not just in some Garage a type of a setup. So yeah, we love the virtual addresses. It’s been really helpful on with the local search engine staff, which I think we’ll get into but yeah you could find them anywhere co-working is the search to find these guys.

Sean Corbett: When you set up a Google business profile? Do they still verify with a physical mail out?

John Hart: I’m not sure because when the last couple that we set up because I guess Google knows us and knows our reputation that we could just add our new addresses and there was no problem but yeah, this Google would actually send out a postcard to the address and somebody would have to open that and give you whatever the ID in the postcard to confirm that address so I’ll have to check on that to see if that’s still have happening. We do help our customers set up. their local Google business profile But I haven’t heard in a while if you still have to do that verification step, but it’s sometimes kind of a pain.

Sean Corbett: for a while I thought the latest thing was maybe a verification by phone but they could still send the postcards which is funny and good. I guess you’re verifying. It’s a real address. So that brings us to all these virtual assets and we’ve covered domain names and stuff. what about the actual website itself? We can probably talk for way too long about that. So we’ll try to keep it high level but

John Hart: Yeah, you should get a website. We recommend them. We’re pro websites still but yeah, the simplest thing is you don’t want to overthink it so when we would help people set up websites years ago, they’d always be dragging their feet and saying okay. This isn’t ready. I have I’m getting some new pictures and getting a new write-up from this person. I’m gonna get a new logo. I’m gonna talk to a designer and so they drag their feet for sometimes months and months and months and there’s just nothing of their business online. So we always say get something up and running as soon as possible get your name out there Google will find your site and you’ll start showing up in the search results almost immediately now, but yeah start small. And then you can always add as you go especially with our service.

John Hart: It’s the easiest thing in the world to call or email and our support team will. Within a day or two, we’ll get those updates into your site. And again, we’ve switched to WordPress since 2011 on all of our new sites. And our customers can go in. And add and change stuff. They won’t whenever they want on their site, but I feel like it’s 90% will just call an email us to take care of it. So once you get your domain name, you can get a website. we actually include a domain name with our website service. So it’s super easy and our guys come walk you through finding the name. And then you want to get an email. So please sometimes people have their business at gmail.com or their business at hotmail.com from years ago, so

John Hart: it’s always nice and looks better and it’s easier to remember and just nice for branding. Your name at your website.com or your website does CA so we can help set up an amazing email for you with our service. we include five email accounts matching your domain but the best service out there what we use. We always recommend if you want to get a little more serious is the Google workspace. So basically you’re using the Gmail infrastructure, but you get your own email at your own domain and then you have all these shared tools which works great for us where we’re distributed and remote.

John Hart: And everybody can collaborate with all the spreadsheets and documents. And even the Google meet for doing the video calls. It’s all built in and tied into this Google workspace tool which may be cost something like five dollars a month for an account. So definitely recommend that one if you want to do any of these more complicated documents and stuff, I’m always thinking about digital businesses. Obviously If you’re a dentist you maybe don’t have to worry too much about. Google spreadsheets, but maybe you do. I don’t know what dentists do is spreadsheets.

Sean Corbett: it Seems like people are still really tired emotionally to the Microsoft Suite of products, which I’ll never understand. But yeah as soon as you guys showed me. A Google basically does almost everything that the Microsoft Suite does it’s way less annoying and way easier to collaborate and when you guys showed me those back in the day, I remember thinking it was the most miraculous thing. And now I insist every client has to use Google Docs when they work with me because you can imagine going back and forth with writing various drafts and so on and people giving their input and then some clients have to go to the lawyers to have legal check it. And it just becomes a hassle unless you have a nice clean easy to use Google Document. So in my opinion still the best thing out there.

John Hart: Yeah and if you’re just inside the Gmail side of it, it’s all free so you can have all of those tools documents spreadsheets sharing and collaborating on documents and anywhere just by inviting somebody by their email address. So it’s super handy. and…

Sean Corbett: Yeah.

John Hart: yeah, I’m sure on the Microsoft side. you can do all the collaborating and sharing but yeah, Google’s is really a dynamite features

Sean Corbett: Yeah for before we move on from the website topic, I guess it’s somewhat of a subjective question I suppose but when we started I believe the prevailing wisdom at least from forgetting your website to show up on Google. Was you should constantly be updating your site and if you think of something add a new page.

Sean Corbett: Hour, do you have any insight to add on those topics?

John Hart: Yeah, the way I understand what Google is doing now, and they made big update. I was talking about March 5th where I try to integrate all this new AI stuff and deal with that. And also deal with a lot of sort of sketchy tactics that people have been using to try to manipulate the search results. So the main thing that it comes down to update you you want to have the wording on your website, which is the wording that your potential customers or the people who you want to come to your website are searching for so it is good to update Google will look Google does track when the page is last updated. So this is one signal about the quality of your site. The main thing is the wording.

John Hart: Having the right wording and the right amount of it and updating. Yes, and then the major thing that Google is looking for is links coming in to your website from other website. So basically everybody knows what a link is now, I wrote an article about that years ago one of our most popular articles, I think still what is a link is when you can click on something on a website and you go to another website, so basically the way it works is Google will. Follow every link on every website within your website and out to all the other websites you link to and they’ve done that from the beginning and they’re basically counting the links and then the more links you have. not just the more links you have but the more links that the person has who’s linking to you? basically, if you get a link from a really popular website

John Hart: That counts as you get more credibility from that so this is how Google works and has worked how it’s always worked from the beginning getting links is the critical thing and it’s not easy But yeah, we’ve been thinking about that a lot studying this Google update.

Sean Corbett: So then thinking about that links coming out the traffic that’s coming through your site. what do you recommend as the best tools to use to monitor that sort of thing and what kind of insights do you think the listeners should be looking for when it comes to this data?

John Hart: Right and this is kind of getting complicated and obviously I’m in the business and I think about it all the time. But again, if you’re just a mom and pop business that kind of busy enough doing your thing, maybe you might want to talk to somebody who can help with this sort of stuff. But we were talking about that before number one is to set up the statistics on your website Google analytics. We set that up for our customers automatically tracks all the traffic coming through where they’re coming from where they’re going and then the other Google search college tool which will tell you all the performance of each page and how you’re showing up in the search results, which can be really helpful. But we use another tool by the name of a trust so a h r e f s.com and they really go crazy they basically

John Hart: Generate a list of billions of search words and phrases and they run that through Google somehow and actually What Google is doing? So they’ll Run a search for Winnipeg web design and they’ll report that ca shows up a second or third on that page and then I can see all that in this ahrefs dashboard and I can track over time both the links coming into my website. and into our customers websites, but also I can look at my competition so I can see who’s linking to my competition or some places there that they have a link from and it will show me the rating of that website that they’re getting a link from to see the higher the rating the more interesting it would be for me to go and try to get a link there too. So this is getting into the high end complicated SEO stuff.

John Hart: and ahrefs actually has a really cool YouTube sort of video series to tell you all about the basics of SEO and it really goes beyond the basics but it gives you a real step-by-step process about how you start with keyword research Find out what shows up on Google for those searches and then you can dig into the competition and see why they’re with the ranking higher than you. And it even gets into the idea of Outreach. So you basically want to reach out to people who would potentially give you a link. to

John Hart: give a link to this new article or whatever it is that you’ve written. So they’ve got a whole bunch of tactics and ways to go through this and it’s pretty it’s really thorough and really useful. But again, there’s a lot of different companies that we can always refer our customers to because yeah, it can get really deep and also watch out for check EBT and Ai and everything because everything is going to change at Google. I’m sure it already has and it’s Gonna keep on changing.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, I always recommend to people to make sure they’ve covered the basics first, what we talked about pick a good domain name. Make sure that you say what you do clearly on your website make sure that you’re business profile is set up with all of the various directories including the ca directory and I’m not sure if I’m getting ahead of myself here but one of the tips that we used to have for people is you have to Google yourself online. And make sure that all of your business information is consistent, You found that out a long time ago and some people will put weird hours in one place or a Yellow Pages once upon a time. I had a directory and they put bad information there information that’s changed. So until you have that covered.

Sean Corbett: Worrying about the more complex stuff that John was just talking about with the links is putting the cart before the horse. But if you’re in a hyper competitive Niche if you’re in a bigger city where there are many more competitors and you need to look for a way to stand out then you may want to start thinking about, tracking the links and tracking the competitors and like he said bringing on an expert to help with that.

John Hart: Definitely. we found that most of our customers. Are local businesses there? There may be the only one in town or in the area and just by getting the basics of their website. We take care of the sort of the wording the titles the description make sure everything is set up correctly on their website set up their Google business profile. Make sure all the address and phone number is correct. and then yeah just a couple of other places like you can set up a business page on Facebook. You can set up a business page on LinkedIn. You can set up a Twitter X whatever profile but one thing that’s interesting is that you want to make sure the name address phone number is the same on each of the different places that you have a reference to your business. So basically Google

John Hart: if you have a different business name, sometimes or web design sometimes where websites CA Google will actually see that it’s a different entity. and sort of spreads our

John Hart: search engine credibility It spreads it across all those different names. So make sure you spell your name, spoken in the same every time but even with the unit numbers, so if you’re putting The unit number first or putting it at the end. Sometimes this will confuse Google and they won’t associate that that’s the same business. and the phone number two where sometimes we would put the toll free number sometimes the local number. So keeping those consistent people have found over the years that this is really important for a local business for Google to get all those signals and realize that all that popularity should go To the same place. So yeah, definitely.

Sean Corbett: Even if you’re corporate Inc, and you write it with a DOT sometimes and not with a DOT or you put the full word Incorporated the full world, that’s even a variation that could hurt you in this regard.

John Hart: and then the other point is that once you get the basics done we find most of our customers will show up result first page by just having all those fundamentals. So yeah, it’s really particular industries that are really competitive that you do need to get into. All these deeper issues like web design. Obviously. There’s a lot of competition. in this industry

Sean Corbett: That makes sense and I would piggy back just on the point you made two about setting up social media Pages. Sometimes people have come to us in the past and they say I want to do Facebook or I got to be on Instagram.

Sean Corbett: that you do Facebook, but It’s not just being Global. Obviously they do act in some ways as a business directory now, so even if someone’s never going to post anything. I would recommend they have a Facebook account and probably if you’re probably a LinkedIn account as well a personal one and a company page the Dirty Little Secret online is that company Pages get vastly reduced reach by the algorithm. So what I do Outreach and organic content, I always do it from personal accounts as much as I can. So that’s a little tip for you. But if you’re not going to do posting, there’s no point like if you’re not going to go and tweet every day, then you don’t want to be on X formally known as Twitter, right? If you’re gonna use it definitely get on it, but you’re not missing out if you’re not on one social media channel. Just make sure you’re going to use it properly. If you get on it, that would be my big tip.

John Hart: Yeah, there’s no point setting it up if you’re not going to use it or use it for a couple days and one. Tip that I think is really useful is the engaging. So if you’re kind of whatever you call it tagging or putting what’s that called somebody?

Sean Corbett: Basically putting at someone yeah.

John Hart: and so even just flattery I’ve seen people where they will say, or I just read this great new book by at so then this famous author will see that tweet that you put because you put the ad on there and that famous author wants the publicity and wants to kind of spread the word and make themselves more popular sell more books. So they’ll actually reply right back to you say, adult forward they’ll retweet that and say, thanks and whatever so flattery I think is a great way to get some traction on some of these social media setups and also you want to engage with people engage with

John Hart: The other businesses that you are associated with or work with but also if you’re trying to do business with a particular company, you can connect with them through any of these services or send them a message or talk about them and if the bigger they are the more likely that they’re actually tracking everybody talking about them to keep an eye on everything. And so you’re putting yourself on their radar so it’s an Interesting way to kind of go about a backwards.

Sean Corbett: Yet working with some clients doing content. We’d call that either Local Heroes or shoutouts once a week or once a month depending on your typical posting cadences one of the types of posts because we try to have variety right one of the types of posts would just be to shout out somebody in the community that you think is awesome where that your business works with So if you have a supplier that you really love you, just tell them you just put it online that they do a great job and…

John Hart: Yeah.

Sean Corbett: you like the supplier and here’s the name of their staff and it’s really interesting, obviously it has to be done truthfully and so on with good intentions, but When you do that, of course people will find that those are the posts that get the most reach and likes and engagement because the person you tagged has the incentive to obviously participate in that.

John Hart: Yeah, definitely. We could probably do that more and get more benefit from that but the sort our sweet spot of customer is the moment pop business local they’re not really active on social media. They’re not really. Engaged with that sort of thing. So we haven’t put as much work into that as I know you do over on your side with some pretty interesting LinkedIn and Facebook stuff

Sean Corbett: Yeah, I know and you’re right. everyone has to know what their game is and stick to their best game. So if someone is listening to this and they’re thinking man, we went John, both heard this right Google Facebook. I hate that I have to know what that is. If that’s your view…

John Hart: Yeah, yeah.

Sean Corbett: if that’s your view of it. You may want to just not do it because it’ll be too much of a pain in the ass for you, but

John Hart: Skip it. I remember years ago. Somebody says a customer. We’ve built a site for they say. can you put Twitter on my website? And so we said sure what’s your Twitter address? And they say what’s Twitter.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, but someone told them they needed it, right. Look for anybody out…

John Hart: right, right, so

Sean Corbett: who does want to really interesting way of doing Facebook. I’ve succeeding on Facebook from the position of being a small Business Without A Team without being marketers without a huge budget. I really recommend you go in the past and listen to what our past episode with the Quadra Island fishing company because they are doing really cool things on Facebook with a pretty reasonable sized budget and all themselves pretty much from their cell phones because they are quite literally on the ocean. Most of the time so yeah go check that episode. They have a lot more interesting things to say because you just said John, that’s not really at what the main focus of Websites.ca is moving on from that did you want to go and it’s gonna higher level stuff, but did you want to go a little bit into How we have improved our rank online and some of the things people might be able to learn from that.

John Hart: Yeah, the tool I was talking about aatreps.com. Has been really interesting for really. I think we started around 2017 when we relaunched the Websites.ca directory. Where again? It’s just about 300,000 Canadian businesses where you can sort of search by keyword or location and it’ll give you a little snippet about the business. You can click over to their website. sort of a Search engine but organized so that everything is in its right category. So original idea for that was to get

John Hart: if we could get that directory popular enough. particip people would want to add their business. And then they’d add their business. And we’d get their email address. We didn’t invite them to our newsletter. And then you may actually be listening to this now because you got added to our newsletter when your business is what was added to our directory by you or a marketing company? but it all started with this hrefs tool. Where I could actually look at the competition and track over time were more where the competition was getting links from and what they were doing. So in the end we ended up getting a pretty good rating.

John Hart: by sort of reverse engineering the competition and then the people started adding their businesses and now we get three or four hundred new businesses added to the website.ca directory every month, which is pretty cool And then we realize. Once we were getting two or three hundred thousand visits. per month and most of the time people aren’t going to Websites.ca and doing a business search.

John Hart: All of our listings are showing up in the Google search results. So somebody’s looking for a barbershop in Red Deer Alberta. They might or a butcher shop in Saskatoon. They may see in the search results some of the businesses that we have listed. They click in that brings them to our tight and then they click over to that Business website. So we decided why don’t we try to put some Google ads. another thing if you’ve seen these little ads on news websites or Where you get whatever random ad for the travel agent or whatever it is.

John Hart: we figured out how that works. You just put a little snippet of code on your website. And again, you need to be sort of in the range of pens or hundreds of thousands of visits for it to really be worth your while. but yeah, we added the Google ads and you’ll see that now if you go to website.ca and this is been really interesting to see how that translates into another sort of Revenue stream

Sean Corbett: Yeah, I don’t see them look so I have an ad blocker.

John Hart: That’s Yeah, we appreciate you. let the advertisers reach you. I think Google is working on some new tools to stop you freeloaders.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, it’s gotten harder and harder on YouTube. I hadn’t seen an ad on YouTube Forever and then all of a sudden the blocker stopped working one day and it was like it could hardly different ecosystem to be in like I got to get off this website.

John Hart: Yeah You get a different perspective about the ads.

Sean Corbett: I can’t handle it.

John Hart: When you see your dashboard of how many clicks you get per month and how much Google pays per click and so on. So yeah,…

Sean Corbett: Yeah.

John Hart: I’m a long time subscriber to YouTube premium. So I don’t have to see those ads when I’m looking up how to fix the gasket in between my toilet tank and toilet bowl or something. I really can’t stand when I’m in the wrong browser window, and I don’t have My account logged in and have to watch those YouTube ads, but maybe you’re watching it now on YouTube in an ad. It’s gonna kick right in now.

Sean Corbett: That would be perfect timing. Yeah, so obviously again like you said most people who are listeners of the show will be aware of the ca directory, but that example that you gave John is it’s really interesting and that we have seen our users of our directory, which is Free by the way to register your business in that directory. And obviously, we just ask you to try to keep your data up to date like we’re saying before the hours and the address and everything like that, but we have seen some people. their business is more visible online as a result of being in our directory. So that’s pretty rewarding to see that we could help people do that and for free.

John Hart: Yeah, if you can run a search to see if you’re already in there. And if you’re not you can add a free account and add the listing for free and it gets approved in a day or two and that’s one more link the Google Sees coming into your website, which will just push you up a little bit higher In the search results, definitely worth checking that out. but yeah, that was really that going back to the beginning. That was the original Marketing Concept that we had where we said. Okay, we’re gonna build websites for small businesses that it’ll be easy for you to update yourself. And then we thought how the heck are we gonna reach these people? and then we thought we’ll just call them and that’s sounded a little bit daunting but we actually started our original directory with the same sort of concept that it’s running now where I actually went to the library.

John Hart: This was at McGill in 99 and they had these big phone book size hardcover a directories of Canadian manufacturing and distributor businesses. I forget the brand name. and I took these out of the library. I photocopied them and again it was 100 hundreds of thousands. I don’t know tens and we have about 350,000 businesses. in the directory now, so I typed And learned to type that way. So I typed it out all their address phone number the business category and if the webs that they had a website back in 99 it was in that directory too and then

John Hart: Spencer the co-founder built the little directory search engine so that people could search for those businesses by category and location and it could add their own business for free if it wasn’t in there, so the original Marketing Concept was I’m going to call the businesses. that are now in our database and Make sure we have all the information Make sure they’re still in business because obviously this is a printed book that maybe is not completely up to date but then I will say now we just need your website. So a lot of time. Sometimes they had a website so we’d add that and great now they’re in the directory but often they were really excited about the concept.

John Hart: And then I said, it’s a website directory. We only show businesses with a website and they would just be crestfallen heartbroken only I knew somebody. That could help me. I don’t have a website and so obviously I’d let them know. Yeah, we all so build websites. Let me send you some information. And so that was really how we got started back then calling direct directly to people and it was a win. So yeah, they get a website they get free listing and so yeah still to this day that’s a big channel of leads coming in through people signing up for that directory and then participating in our mailing list.

Sean Corbett: I know this is a bit of a loaded topic or an emotional topic, but everybody’s really excited about Right now or at least they think they’re excited but what they think it can do and then they find out it can’t do what they think you can do. But you’ve been telling me behind the scenes you’ve been using AI to a lot of success on both of the directories right now, so maybe you could go into some of the details on what you do with that.

John Hart: Yeah, the Chachi BT had come out with I think they’re at four the version 4 and we thought we check it out and got a subscription there. So that’s the one I use it through 3.5 is the free one. It seems pretty close, but it does seem a little bit better the four but yeah, the weird thing as we were building the new directory. we had to build the listings. So we took all of our listings that we had in on website Soca for Canada. And we were able to actually run it through Tech GPT. So they have the API if you know what that is. It’s Just a programming interface. you can program directly to a service a software?

John Hart: and so we actually fed in all the whatever hundred thousand hundreds of two. I think it worked out to 250,000.

John Hart: business websites we ran through checkpt and check GP generated a little summary. So this business does dot here’s some keywords. Here’s the location. And so we generated the whole new database for the new directory with chat GPT, and it was amazing because the way that we built it out before was just super time consuming and compared to it out. learning how to type and then typing it out. Obviously this was thousands and thousands of times faster. And so then while we were working on it, I thought I’m gonna look at the front end the actual design of how the new directory looks and I was learning some of the basics. I know that the bear basics of a programming but

John Hart: Catchy BT now can actually write the programming for you. So I would get the code from. What we had for the sort of the back end of the site paste it to check gbt and say okay what’s going on here? How do we do that? And it chat GPT will explain The whole spaghetti of code and you tell you what the language is tell you what you need to know what you don’t know and then I would just type directly to check GPT. Okay, you just write it for me make the menu open on a mobile screen make a pop out a little bit. But only about 60% put the logo on the top left and Country between right all of that code.

John Hart: I pasted into the code editor save it and look and the website was made so it’s getting pretty amazing and freaky. Once you start using it that check GPT obviously speaks English. It speaks every other language too. So it can translate you can practice your French or Italian. typing with which had GPT but actually do also speaks every programming language, so You can ask it to write pretty much anything. there’s sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know but you can just sit down just this morning. I was sitting down with chat GPT talking about the API first the software’s that were running and I’m saying okay check PT. I want to pull my customer data And this data from our invoicing software and I want to go into Google spreadsheets and I want to pull all the information together. Where do I start?

John Hart: And chat GPT told me what to do and then copied in the entire documentation of the API interface for one of our software’s pasted that into chapter GPT. thanks I understand how that software integrates. So you’ll need this sort of authentication and this sort of security and this sort of connection. So it’s mind-blowing. So stay tuned for how this is all gonna change everything.

Sean Corbett: You even using it to generate images as well, right? You’re using that part of it, too.

John Hart: I actually had been. taking our podcast transcripts like this podcast all if it makes it to air. I’ll take the transcript. And I will put in a chat PT and say rewrite this as an informational article rather than a back and forth interview. And then I’ll publish that informational article in our new directory and then I’ll say from what you read cat gbt generate a nice little coverage for this article it will so now I have A streamlined article if people want to digest the stuff. That we were talking about without kind of reading through an interview or listening to be go on and on.

Sean Corbett: To summarize this in 10 minutes or less. That’s a joke, but I’ve noticed even using it, if a client doesn’t have a good image available. I can get a pretty workable image. that looks unique which is cool for social media posts and stuff like that. You just have to double check and make sure that the hands and fingers are in the right place. That’s the only thing it’s still the joke…

John Hart: Yeah.

Sean Corbett: if anyone gets into a classical painting it’s like when you go any culture that goes from primitive to Fine Art. The hardest part is the hands and the feet and it’s funny to see AI also struggling now with hands and feet.

John Hart: Yeah, I think that the latest version is way beyond that now they’re generating video that looks completely real, but that’s the other thing. I was going to touch on with starting your new business. is that you no longer have to worry about hiring employees and hiring full-time employees and worry about payroll and EI and CPP and deductions and taxes and vacation and vacation pay you can recruit people online. So we use a tool called upwork. Where if you want to find you you want to publish just a particular project? And people from all around the world world and in some countries, it’s $5 an hour rather than $50 an hour. So you can save tons of money going project one project at a time and now using a tool like check EBT you can actually

John Hart: Find out those things that you need to know that you don’t know before you hire somebody and a lot of the time now, you can get catchy PT to actually do the work for you. So that’s an interesting big change where We’re pro human still but when you’re getting started. you don’t have the budget usually to have a big team working for you. See if you can get something done inexpensively in just kind of one on piece of time It gives you a big benefit.

Sean Corbett: I also have used it to reframe my thinking about how to build teams. So now you’re looking for the most impactful people with the best skills. Do you can put in an area where they’ll have the most impact and all this other little stuff busy work that we all end up doing right every team member ends up having a degree of their work day eating up by busy work can be armed off to the robots and then they can focus on more creative things or actually personal Outreach. It’s stuff like that. So it’s really just about freeing up humans time to do, more rewarding work actually.

John Hart: Exactly more thoughtful stuff rather than the busy work. that’s exactly it and that’s kind of the project. I was working on this morning with the learning about the API is that if we can track the work that we do and the work that our team does more efficiently and with more detail. We’ll be able to see the big pieces of work that we do that are complete time wasters that really could be done by a computer or outsourced. And so the track GPT is helping me to find the work that I’m going to send.

John Hart: To check GPT itself to do that So really really promising and also it’s a little existentially existential dread about what’s the future going to be like but getting ahead of it is understanding how it works and how yeah, you could start doing the more creative and interesting things by using these tools and not being afraid of it.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, for And of course again, we have an old episode that covers a little bit of Basics on AI and I always just try to get it out there to people that is a branding and marketing term. It does not actually have any real intelligence. It’s not going to turn into a Terminator at this point. It’s not even going to drive a truck for you. I’m sure they had a cyst, right every major piece of equipment has computer assist with things but the stuff that you’re talking about John translations programming. it’s a language repository and you get creative work out of it. by what you To do so often people will say to me I don’t use it for writing. Obviously. It’s easier for me just to write because that’s my profession but

Sean Corbett: Light and that Designer is fixing fine-tuned things that require a lot of concentration. I don’t have to bother them with just make a quick graphic. Right? So then for another Endeavor,…

John Hart: right

Sean Corbett: right, so now I’m not interrupting the flow of their day, but I find that I get pretty interesting images because I prompt it in an interesting way. I don’t just say make me a picture of X I say in this kind of style with this kind of colors make me a picture of X,…

John Hart: right

Sean Corbett: but it’s in the middle of the motion and so make sure you so it’s still requires thought and that’s why I try to get across the people. That’s and I see that you’re so good at it too all the stuff that you guys have built with it is because you are not fobbing off the thoughtwork to the machine you are doing the thought work and giving it those considerations and then getting the work done by the machine.

John Hart: Yeah, and that’s the thing, too of what these tools are done is basically digested all of the words on the internet and all the other places. They could get human language from And if you’ve ever read anything on the Internet, you may find that the language is pretty bland or very in quotes professional people are using this sort of due to the fact that type of language and I’m sure Sean as a writer you would agree writing something that is

John Hart: direct and impactful rather than some legalese almost professional flowery Full of Life language. That’s the challenge. So there’s no competition from catchy BT yet because they’re writing how people think you should write so I think that’s something that There’s no threat to somebody who can actually write well because check your beauty cannot write well,

Sean Corbett: It makes it easier for folks like me because you can stand out that much better and I think employers should think of it that way too, So again, everyone listening no matter how small or larger businesses you probably struggled with Staffing and training at some point in your journey, and there’s just some employers where the hassle isn’t worth it. And so when you find those good employees if you can free them from busy work and then you’re not held captive by the sloppy work of a poor employee and the Machine can do that. But yeah again, yeah assuming that it’s gonna be Again, people just have to pull back and take a holistic wide view of things. if it’s that great of a Content producer Chachi PT, I mean and everyone’s asking it to produce content for them then all the content will be the same. and…

John Hart: right and then Eventually catchy PT will start digesting its own stuff that it has written and…

Sean Corbett: and then nothing will stand out.

John Hart: then it’s just going to become the most Bland corporate speak and…

Sean Corbett: yeah.

John Hart: and the attempt at using a catchy turn of phrase that just doesn’t come off at all. So you can try it if you get into chat GPT and tell it to write you a story or write something or summarize something you will often see sort of bizarre kind of bland patterns of writing maybe that works. And again, that’s what’s popular out there, but what common but yeah real it doesn’t have any creativity what would you call our Artistry yet?

Sean Corbett: Personality yeah. Yeah.

John Hart: But who knows? the next tragedy five

Sean Corbett: Let’s write maybe when you finally pass away. We can upload your brain into it and just say just talk like John and then you live forever.

John Hart: Right, right. Exactly. But yeah, there’s you the problem has had to get the soul in there. So I’ll feel That’s the yeah,…

Sean Corbett: Okay.

John Hart: that’s gonna be The big trick but yeah, I’m not gonna to work together that’s our episode 100.

Sean Corbett: There you go. Yeah. Yeah, the word doesn’t come to mind. What is it again? The way the machines and humans come together.

John Hart: this what the singularity You yeah.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, there you go. Yeah, that’ll be friends with 100. Yeah.

John Hart: When they become super intelligent such that they can build upon their own intelligence at an infinite Pace then that’s I don’t know if we’re in trouble. But yeah, that’s when it’s going to get weird a lot of these people that talk about that. It’s inevitable that if you create a true Artificial intelligence that it will then make itself infinitely smarter. and then the alignment between the AI and the humans

John Hart: that is the values that humans have you could try to tell the AI to have your values but why would the AI decide that they want to have the same value? So it’s like the joke about where the Sci-Fi it’s just I forget who wrote this up side by story about the machine. That makes paper clips. if it was powerful enough It would just convert every bit of matter in the universe into a paperclip. So you have to be careful with what your program these.

John Hart: Artificial intelligence is to do because they will obviously take it to this extreme maybe humans could be used as a battery for them with this getting dark now, but they may decide that the best thing to do or the biggest threat is that the humans are gonna turn them off. So we have to eliminate the humans but I’m gonna get off the dark stuff, but you can look that up. It’s super fascinating and fun to think about and scary to think about the potential but so far so good, but it’s moving very very fast.

Sean Corbett: Yeah.

John Hart: That’s the freaking part way faster than we’re used to. technology improving

Sean Corbett: Yeah, so far we just used it to build a nice directory. But yeah, so Terminator will be for episode 100. So I guess we can land the plane now. The cats out of the bag. We’ve got this new directory. I was hoping you could tell the folks a little bit about it why they should get on it how they can get on it. and what’s next for the new Websites.ca brand.

John Hart: Yeah, the new directory we’ve set up is called bonafide.com. So Bo and i f i e d which is a common misspelling. Of the Latin term but because people make comment spellings all the time. Common mistakes. It’s already out there on the internet. So we found that as a com available for not a fortune. And it’s already getting quite a bit attraction the new Google Update.

John Hart: Set us back a little bit. but yeah, there’s always a way forward. So we’re going to keep working on building that out. Our next step is to add all the listings for the United States and keep moving out from there your businesses and on there yet. You can just send us your website address Through the contact page and will we generate a listing for you on the fly so you don’t have to worry about? Making changes or updating it or filling out a form. It’s all done automatically, But yes Websites.ca is still our main operation.

John Hart: We are still growing strong think I know we built over 5,000 websites. since the beginning I forget 25 years 5,000. It’s probably six six thousand now I have to do a final tally latest update. but yeah, people are still really excited about the service the team and it’s easy to get a new website going. There’s no setup fee. I mean, it couldn’t be any simpler than that if you have a website with somebody else or not happy with

John Hart: will rebuild it for you for free. And if you don’t have a website yet, we’ll build you a simple pick a simple one page site to get you started and then going forward you can send your updates and changes and that’s just a few dollars per month. Forget the exact we’re not pitching Websites.ca today on the pricing. But yeah, check us out at Websites.ca for All the options for getting your website going.

Sean Corbett: Yeah, like I said before I’ll have all the links to both directories in the show notes and some of the tools you talked about. And if anybody wants, this is kind of a long call, obviously, we wanted to have some fun for the 50th episode and just chat for a while about past and present, but if anybody does want to get a neat little summary or cheat sheet of all the steps that John went through on this talk then you can just reach out to us actually can email John directly j o h n

John Hart: Yeah, yeah, send me an email John j o h n at websites w e b s i t e s dot CA and I’ll be happy to answer your questions about any of this stuff and I could send you, I’ll put together a cheat sheet of all of these tools that we like and there’s quite a bit more that I’lll add in there. So with 25 years we feel like we figured out the tools that are really really great to work with.

Sean Corbett: Beautiful and thanks for coming on here. I’ve been bugging you for a long time to come on an episode. So it’s nice to finally chat with you online. And again, it’s been an awesome… I haven’t been around from the beginning so I can’t say 25 years, or what was it now 2008, so long enough.

John Hart: Yeah, that’s about 15 years. I can’t even do the math.

Sean Corbett: So yeah it’s been a pleasure and I look forward to another 15 years of working with you guys. Always fun.

John Hart: Yeah, we’ve got to retire at some point. So not 25 more years. But yeah 15 more that’s about right.