Does Your Small Business Need a Google Plus Page?

Google Plus for small businesses.

Every time a new social media network hits the scene, small businesses sign up and do their best to leverage it as a new and innovative marketing platform. Google Plus has been around for a few years now, and it’s no exception. Businesses small and large have established presences there, and some have found it to be a useful way to connect with audiences.

Many marketing gurus will insist that every small business must join every social media network available. It’s essential, they’ll say, and that’s almost never true. Whether or not Google Plus (or any other social media network) is an appropriate marketing tool for your business depends on the nature of your business and the demographics of your customers.

Google Plus is particularly interesting. The number one reason cited for every business using Google Plus is that it has the potential to improve your site’s performance on Google’s powerhouse search engine. I don’t think we can know for sure whether a Google Plus presence boosts a business’s search page ranking, since Google’s algorithms are highly secretive, but I do think it’s likely. However, that doesn’t mean your small business absolutely must establish a presence there. If you cater to a small clientele and don’t require a lot of traffic to your website, or if you don’t want or need search engine traffic, then you probably don’t need a Google Plus presence.

But let’s dig deeper. What is Google Plus and how does it work?Read More

Quick-and-Easy Online Marketing Opportunities

Use these online marketing opportunities.

Are you missing simple opportunities to promote your business online?

When you’re working for yourself or running your own business, the lines between your personal and professional life start to blur. You are no longer on the clock or off the clock because you own the clock. And you want it to tick.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably don’t have time to sit around thinking about online marketing.

You’ve got a business to run and resources may be tight, but you know your customers are on the web and you want to be able to reach them. Where do you begin?Read More

Ten Strategies for Doing Business Online

Strategies for doing business online.

These days, having an effective online presence can make or break your business. Even if you have a traditional brick-and-mortar location, setting up shop online will give you access to a larger customer pool, provide a cost-effective avenue for information sharing, and dramatically open up your opportunities for marketing.

More and more entrepreneurs are skipping brick and mortar altogether and are exclusively doing business online. For small business owners who are used to working behind a storefront or in an office, making the switch or expanding into the online arena can be challenging, confusing, and overwhelming.

The benefits of doing business online are undeniable. A website costs far less than a shop or office. You can communicate with hundreds, thousands, even millions of web users at a fraction of the cost of doing a television commercial or major ad spread. And you can sell your products or services across the globe, removing geographical limitations entirely.

How you handle the details of doing business online will depend on your industry, target customer demographics, and professional goals, mission, and philosophy. You might sell products using an automated online store or you might sell a service to a small, select group of clients. You may use your online presence strictly for marketing but keep transactions offline. You might even offer free products and services, like a blog or informative newsletter, as a strategy to entice customers.Read More

An Inside Look at the Website Copywriting Process

How the website copywriting process works.

I’ve already touched on the basics of website copywriting. Now I’d like to present a more elaborate explanation of exactly what website copywriting entails.

Why should I do such a thing?

For starters, I think it’s only fair that my clients understand what I do for them, what they’re paying me for, and how I handle their projects.

Also, I’m discomforted by the idea that some small businesses are paying for website copy that’s thrown together in a matter of minutes. That gives me the shudders. If you hire someone to write your copy and pay a fair rate, you deserve quality service. You deserve someone who will put time, effort, and energy into your project.Read More

Seven Simple Tips for Business Blogging

Tips for business blogging.

When you’re business blogging, you need all the skills that every other blogger uses to establish a successful blog, plus you need a strategy to promote your business.

It’s easy to get caught up in blogging and forget about the business goals of your blog. Many blogs go off on tangents. Bloggers spend too much time on blogging tools and checking traffic statistics. They over-promote on social media. The business side of things can get lost in the fray.

Conversely, if you get too caught up in the business end of things, you might find yourself skimping on some very basic business blogging strategies. In my experience, most business bloggers pay little heed to the conventions of good blogging, because they are not bloggers by trade.

Let’s get back to basics and look at a few simple rules of good blogging that will help with establishing a balanced approach to business blogging. These blog tips will help you build a better blog whether you’re blogging for business, as a profession, or as a hobby.Read More

How Often Do You Asses Your Website’s Performance?

How often should you analyze your website performance reports?

Clients often ask me how often they should run website performance reports. The easy, canned answer is that you should run them once a month.

But for some websites, that’s too often and a waste of time. For others, it’s not often enough.

In actuality, the frequency of your reporting should depend on the size and scope of your website and business.

Occasional Reporting

Let’s say your goal is to become a full-time author. You’ve written a business plan that starts with blogging actively for three years while you’re publishing your first two or three novels. You know your business will not generate significant revenue until you’ve published three or more novels. Because you have a day job and family responsibilities, you have very little time to spend on product development (writing). Should you cut into that time once a week–or even once a month–to run and analyze your reports?Read More

How to Choose a Website Manager for Your Small Business

Tips for choosing the right website manager.

Many small business owners find website ownership to be frustrating, which is understandable. After all, not all entrepreneurs are IT professionals, website designers, or marketing experts.

These business owners encounter problems with web design projects and have to overcome challenges presented by technology, not to mention the increasingly murky waters of online marketing.

They just want their businesses to succeed, and they know that a website is mandatory. These business owners often ask: who is responsible for my website?Read More

How to Plan Your Small Business Website Design: Tips for Non-Designers

Planning your small business website design.

In any small business website design project, the planning phase is the most critical. If you’re working with a website designer, it’s essential that you communicate your vision clearly so the designer can make your vision a reality. And the designer must communicate her vision too, providing clear examples, ideas, and images that will help you understand what the site will look like once it’s completed.

There are three basic components to any design: the design itself (look and feel of the site), content (text and images that will appear on the site), and functionality (how it works).

As you work with your designer, you need to keep all of these components in mind. Additionally, there will be a learning curve for both of you as your designer studies the nature of your business in order to reflect it accurately in your design and as you learn about the many options available to you in terms of how your business will be presented to an online audience.

Throughout the planning process, clear communication is key to building a good relationship with your designer and to your designer building a great site for you.

I thought I’d share some basic small business website design tips that will help you work with a designer to hammer out the details of your design plan. By working as a team with a shared goal and by focusing on communications and smart planning strategies, you and your website designer can build a stellar website together.Read More

Beyond the Copy: The Code of Search Engine Optimization

SEO in your website’s HTML code.

Researching and choosing keywords and then writing keyword optimized copy for your website is only one part of the equation in search engine optimization (SEO).

Implementing proper HTML code is another way to give your site’s search engine performance a boost.

Many websites don’t go this deep into SEO, and some may perform well without optimizing the code, but if you can find an SEO specialist who can provide code as well as content, you’ll see better returns on your investment.

Understanding Code

Many types of programming codes can be used to render websites. HTML, CSS, javascript, and PHP are just a few examples. Within SEO, we deal mostly with HTML. Read More

Web Content Development Step Four: The Launch

Launching web content.

Building your website and developing your web content requires a series of steps: You start with a concept and then you establish a plan. You build the site and create the content. Finally, you launch.

Launches can be elaborate. You’ve probably seen a store throw a grand opening surrounded by a bunch of a hullabaloo. This is typical of a launch that involves a big release: a new business, a fresh product line, or a radical makeover in brand, products, or services.

But most launches are quiet. If the content you created was an article or a series of social media updates, you won’t launch the content so much as you will publish it.

But whether you’re launching something exciting and new with a bunch of fanfare or publishing a smaller piece of web content designed to promote or support your business, there is no guarantee that anybody’s going to visit or view it, which is a why a launch or a publication must be coupled with an effective marketing plan.

You’ve built it; now you have to tell people about it.Read More