WordPress for small business.
Getting a website is a big deal, especially when you’re starting your first small business. But even for mature businesses, a new website is an important step toward growth. Most small business owners are not web developers, and while they may know how to use a website, they don’t know how a website is constructed. And why should they? That’s what web designers are for.
But it actually helps to understand some basics about how a website is built and how it works.
Most modern websites run on content management systems (CMSs). WordPress is foremost among these; it’s the most widely used CMS in the world. That’s because WordPress is easy to use, flexible, and free, and there are countless add-ons available that can enhance the design and functionality–not to mention tutorials that explain how to make a WordPress website do just about anything you want it to do.
It’s ideal for most small businesses. Let’s take a closer look.Read More
Assess your website performance.
There was a time when a website’s performance was summed up by how many hits it had received in a given time period (a day, a week, or a month). It’s still an important statistic, but long gone are the days when the number of hits is the only piece of datum we consider in assessing a website’s performance.
The number of visits is just one of the basic stats we examine for any website, but there other stats we can assess to better understand how our websites are performing. And once we understand how sites are performing, we can make improvements so they perform better. As a result, our businesses will grow.Read More
What small business owners need to know about web hosting services.
Web hosting services (hosting providers) provide space on a web server, where you store your website files. This makes your website accessible to visitors via the Internet.
But hosting rates vary, and so do the services and features they offer. How do you know which hosting provider to choose, and what type of web hosting package do you need? Are there any specific features you should look for when choosing a hosting provider?Read More
What should you ask your website designer?
If you’re launching a new business and need a website or if you’re getting a redesign for your existing website, there are some questions you should ask your website designer about their work and about the project.
Most business owners aren’t web professionals and might not understand the intricacies of how a website is built and managed. For example, I’ve worked with clients who didn’t realize that their website’s domain name had been registered by their website developer. They literally did not own their own websites. I’ve also worked with clients whose websites were broken and dysfunctional; we discovered that their premium theme had been licensed by their designer, who had not renewed that license and therefore the website stopped working correctly.
Asking questions of your designer can help you avoid problems like these down the road.Read More
Do you have a web content development plan?
We’ve already talked about how to lay the groundwork for your web content development by brainstorming. You jotted down your ideas, conducted research, and expanded on those ideas. You looked at the competition and learned what your industry is doing in the online marketplace. You took notes and made lists. You asked questions and came up with answers.
You went in empty handed and came out with a better understanding of what your online presence should look like.
Now that you’re done brainstorming, you should have plenty of ideas for your web content development plan. Maybe you’ve got it scrawled on a bunch scrap paper. Perhaps you used an orderly mind mapping technique or created a PowerPoint presentation.
Take a look at your notes. Those are the seeds you’ve gathered. Now you need to plant those seeds and make them grow. You have to water and fertilize them, and make sure those seedlings get plenty of sunshine. To do this, you’re going to need a plan: a web content development plan.Read More
Just a few minutes is all it takes to do a little social media marketing.
Once you get a social media profile set up and a campaign underway, there are lots of things you can do in just a few minutes each day to boost your presence and performance.
For small businesses, social media campaigns usually involve batch-creating content that will be shared on social media over time. This includes graphics, links (often to your business’s website), and text. For example, you might create a campaign in which you share one tip with your customers each week. If you’re an electrician, you might share tips about the best lightbulbs; if you’re a hairdresser, you might share hair-care tips. You create a series of tips in advance and then share them on your social media over time — that’s your campaign.
But there are other things small businesses can do to expand social media marketing efforts, quick actions that take just a few minutes and can be done in real-time. Read More
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.
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.
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
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