How to Choose Keywords for Your Website

choosing keywords

How to choose SEO keywords for your small business website.

The English language is incredible. There are hundreds of different word combinations that can be used to communicate a single idea. And every combination is a possible SEO keyword phrase for some website. Maybe yours.

So how do you decide which words and phrases to use when you’re optimizing your website to increase search engine traffic? Do you choose keywords with the highest search volume? The ones that you’re already using on your site or that are already drawing traffic? Do you pick keywords with the least competition?

All of these questions must be addressed through the course of developing a comprehensive SEO plan. But for a small business website, one question rises above the rest: Which search terms are your customers using?Read More

How to Grow Your E-Mail List

how to grow your email list

How to grow your e-mail list.

A mailing list is one of the most effecting marketing tools that a small business or independent professional can develop. You can use your mailing list to build relationships with new customers or strengthen existing customer loyalty by sharing exclusive offers, inside scoops, and special discounts.

But a mailing list is useless if it’s not well populated, and getting people to sign up isn’t always easy, especially when you’re starting out.

Here are some tips for small businesses that will help you grow your e-mail list:Read More

How to Attract New Customers Online

how to attract new customers

How to attract new customers online.

All businesses want to attract new customers while keeping their existing customers interested in their products and services. But drawing new customers is hard, especially when you’re a small business on a tight budget. Fortunately, the Internet has leveled the playing field, allowing small businesses to compete in the marketplace using strategic and cost-effective online marketing strategies.

There are two important aspects of attracting new customers: first, you need to get your business in front of people, but you also need to appeal to them with a message that resonates.Read More

Doing Business Online with Transparency

business transparency

Business transparency.

One of the benefits of doing business online is that you have a platform from which you can communicate openly with the world at large. You can engage customers, relay information about your industry, and broadcast details about your business.

You can also practice transparency.

Merriam-Webster defines transparent as follows:

a: free from pretense or deceit; frank b: easily detected or seen through : obvious c: readily understood d: characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices.

Let’s examine these definitions and see how they can be applied to doing business online.Read More

Why Generic Website Copy is Bad for Business

website copy

Get custom website copy.

A few months ago I launched a quest to find a new dentist, and it was not an easy task. My last dentist, while trying to poke around inside my mouth, informed his assistant that I was a hypersensitive patient (and sent her off to fetch the nitrous oxide). I’m sure that had something to do with the fact that I was maniacally clutching the armrest while burrowing my head into the dental chair. Oh yeah, and my mouth kept closing all by itself every time he lunged at me with a sharp instrument.

A few dental procedures gone wrong had made me wary, if not downright fearful, of dentists. So I need a professional who is compassionate toward patients with dental phobias and anxieties. I’m looking for a dentist with an extra-special skill set.

Since I’m one of those technology-savvy generation Xers and because I am also an Internet professional, I launched my search online. Google gave me plenty of options, and I got busy perusing the many dentists within a fifteen-mile radius. Within minutes I had about a dozen potential dentistry websites opened, and I got busy reading through them to see which one would tell me what I wanted to hear: We are sympathetic to your fear of dentists. We won’t hurt you.Read More

How to Succeed Online with a Business Blog

business blog

Blog your way to business success.

Every day, more and more business owners are finding out that a business blog can do wonders for their websites and their businesses. But that success requires more than launching a blog and publishing posts.

A successful business blog is strategically planned and executed in a meaningful way.

Before launching a business blog, it’s helpful to understand the benefits that your company can reap through blogging. Then you’ll be able to develop a plan specific to your business needs.

Here’s a look at how business blogging can increase traffic to your website and grow your business.

Read More

Service Spotlight: Copywriting

copywriting

Spotlighting our copywriting services.

If you’re reading our blog, you may not know that Scribizzy provides a wide range of online marketing services for small businesses and independent professionals. One of our most popular services is copywriting. In fact, copywriting was originally the only service we offered. It’s no longer our core service (that would be website management), but it’s still one of our best sellers.

From writing copy for a website’s home page to editing our clients’ blog posts, our copywriting and editorial services have helped small businesses increase website traffic, reach new customers, and boost revenue.

Lots of small business owners skimp on professional copy. Some write it themselves; others get a friend or relative who majored in English to write it; a few even use canned copy that is cheap because it’s duplicated on their competitors’ websites.

The copy we provide is fresh and tailored for each business it represents. It’s crafted to speak to the business’s target audience and compel them to become paying customers.

Whether you need someone to write optimized content for your website or edit your monthly newsletter, Scribizzy can help.

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Should You Get a WordPress Premium Theme for Your Small Business?

wordpress premium theme

Getting a WordPress premium theme.

Web design and development is always changing — and not just the look and feel of what’s current in website design and layout. The code evolves, the technology advances, and even the tools and systems we use for building and managing websites change.

WordPress has been the most effective, and the most popular, website management system for many years. One of the perks of using WordPress is that there are tons of add-ons, from the themes that render a website’s design to the plugins that enhance its functionality and performance.

In the beginning, there were free themes and custom themes. The free themes were often customized, which is to say that they were slightly tweaked, whereas a custom theme was built from the ground up, usually for a specific website or client. WordPress offered a gallery packed with tons of free themes, many of them quite stylish. Meanwhile, people were creating their own themes to get the tailored look and feel they wanted for any particular website. And often, designers would simply modify the code on a free theme. All of this was relatively easy.

But everything on the Internet changes fast. From browser requirements to design trends to Google’s guidelines, there’s a lot to keep up with. It seemed websites required constant updates and revisions to the code. Soon we started seeing premium WordPress themes — premium meaning that they incurred a cost, usually a one-time or annual licensing fee. Designers started moving away from hand-coding WordPress themes. The cost of building a custom website became prohibitive, and in some cases, pointless. Why spend hours building something that you can download and then configure to your liking with a few clicks and for a few dollars?

But there are still many options when it comes to building a website. Even within WordPress’s theme environment, there are lots of choices. This raises the following questions for small business owners: Should you get a WordPress premium theme? Should you work with a designer who uses premium themes? Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of premium themes.

The Benefits of Premium Themes

As with the free themes, WordPress premium themes can be customized, and as a bonus, some customization is often built into the theme as clickable options; many basic design elements can be configured by filling out a form. This allows website developers to build faster, better websites. And it allows do-it-yourselfers more design options that don’t require learning code. For example, many premium themes include forms where you can specify background colors; font faces, sizes, and colors; and multiple templates for page layouts. Configuration options vary, depending on which theme you buy. One theme might offer lots of clickable choices in the realm of colors while another offers plenty of fonts to choose from. Some have built-in SEO tools while others allow you to customize how a site looks on a mobile device.

Premium themes keep up with the latest technology and guidelines that are set forth by companies like Google. For example, when Google decided to penalize websites that were not responsive (a responsive website contains mobile-friendly code, i.e. it renders well on a small screen), many websites plummeted in Google’s search results. But premium themes stay on top of these kind of changes (otherwise, why would anyone buy their products?). Getting a premium theme was a reasonable way to avoid Google’s penalty without spending hours learning the new code and revamping your website. To this day, quality premium themes tend to stay up-to-date with the latest rules, guidelines, and technology.

Premium themes often include support, which means you can access a forum or communicate with experts to get assistance if something’s not working or if you have questions about how to set up, configure, and customize your theme. Getting help from support can save hours of trial-and-error troubleshooting, making it an attractive perk for seasoned designers and do-it-yourselfers alike. And the more popular premium themes are so widely used that there are plenty of free online tutorials that walk you through the theme and how to use it.

Some premium theme providers offer package deals. You pay one price, usually an annual licensing fee, and you get access to dozens of premium themes. This is ideal if you want to experiment with different themes before making a final decision. And some offer a developer’s license allowing use of any themes on an unlimited number of websites — ideal for people who own multiple businesses or businesses with multiple websites as well as website developers and managers who can purchase the licenses and then provide a variety of themes to clients.

The Drawbacks of Premium Themes

The main drawback of most premium themes is the cost, although this really depends on one’s budget. For many small businesses, an annual licensing fee that’s under $100 is reasonable, but this fee is also stacked on top of the cost of hosting and domain registration and any other costs associated with your website. As a website designer and manager, I purchase premium themes with a developer’s license so I can spread the joy to all my clients at no extra cost to them. But for anyone on a tight budget, especially when you’re just starting out, it might make more sense to start with a free theme (especially if you’re doing it yourself) and graduate to a premium theme later.

Premium themes also come with some limitations. The code that is used in premium themes is much more elaborate than it was in the past and the learning curve for the new code keeps getting steeper. There are some aspects of premium themes that are difficult or even impossible to change. This can be something like showing a sidebar on the mobile version of a website or adjusting the size of various components, such as text boxes. The good news is that once you get used to the idea that there are some limitations and you must work within a premium theme’s design constraints, the payoff is worth it.

Finally, premium themes require maintenance and updates. This isn’t that much of a drawback. WordPress itself needs to be kept updated, as do any plugins. But updating a premium theme also requires that your license is current, which takes us back to cost and means overseeing another account online with a user ID and password and billing.

Should You or Shouldn’t You?

As with most things, it depends on your business’s needs and resources. Ideally, you’ll be working with a professional designer or website manager who can walk you through the best options for your business’s goals. Overall, some of today’s premium themes are an excellent investment that make creating and managing websites faster and easier, so you can spend less time and money on building a website and spend more resources on using it to promote your business.

Scribizzy offers website design and management services to small businesses and independent professionals, including licensed WordPress premium themes. Contact us to learn more.

Are You Being Misled by Your Website Performance Reports?

website performance reports

Don’t be misled by your website performance reports.

Most small business owners invest a considerable amount of money in their websites. They pay for domain registration and hosting. They hire a website designer and a copywriter. They may even have a website manager on payroll. Some go even further, hiring graphic artists, social media consultants, and SEO specialists.

And after all that, a shocking number of small business owners don’t bother to check their website performance reports to make sure their investment is paying off. I’ve worked with clients who have installed a tracking system on their websites but never checked the reports; I’ve even had a few clients who never installed these systems. They have no way of knowing how their website is performing.

These small business owners may have paid thousands of dollars over time for their websites, but they have no idea whether their sites are getting any visitors, which means those dollars might be going to waste.Read More

What Does a Website Manager Do?

website manager

Find out what a website manager can do for your small business.

Back in the 90s, forward-thinking businesses realized that the Internet provided a viable and profitable marketing opportunity. Those businesses bought domain names and hired designers. When their websites were done, their web projects were over and they went about their business.

But things have changed.

In today’s business world, a website is one of your most important marketing assets, a platform you can use to promote your business and its offerings.

The content on your site and your peripheral online marketing campaigns can strategically draw targeted traffic to your website, making a significant and measurable contribution to the success and growth of your business.

But in order for that to happen, someone has to oversee the site. That person is your website manager.

Today’s Small Business Website

The web has been growing exponentially. Ten years ago, it wasn’t difficult to set up a website and then make sure customers could find you online. But with today’s overpopulated Internet, it’s not so easy.

Websites are no longer the digital business cards or billboards they were fifteen years ago; they have become fully functional business outposts. They are still key components of any marketing campaign, but because the Internet itself is a virtual universe, small businesses need to treat their websites like storefronts in that universe. Now, instead of just using a website to market your business, you also have to market your website.Read More