Learn the basic terminology for a website’s layout.
A website has many parts, and it’s useful for website owners to learn the terminology for these parts in order to communicate clearly with service providers, such as web designers, online marketing professionals, or website administrators.
Consider the following scenario: A consultant is getting a new website designed and sends an e-mail to the web designer, requesting that an “icon on the home page” be modified. The designer sends the revision, but the wrong image has been changed. The consultant wanted the logo changed, not an icon.
An astute web designer might have asked for some clarity about which image to modify, but these back-and-forth conversations and various mistakes due to miscommunications can be eliminated, saving small business owners time and money.
This article provides terminology to help small business owners and independent professionals learn the correct language pertaining to a website’s structure in order to improve communications with the website professionals they work with and save time and money by eliminating miscommunications.Read More
Grow your small-business mailing 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 that will help you grow your small business’s mailing list:
- Make sure it’s easy for people to join your mailing list. Place subscription forms in convenient locations throughout your website: on the home page and in your site-wide sidebars. Popups are known to be extremely effective, but keep them subtle and don’t force a popup to appear every time a visitor lands on your website or navigates to a different page on your site. Be sure to publish a sign-up page that you can direct potential subscribers to.
- Test your forms to make sure they work and to ensure the sign-up process is clear and easy. Subscription forms are useless if they’re not functional, and they won’t generate the desired results if they are difficult to use or if the process is confusing.
- Place gentle reminders that prompt people to sign up in your communications; your e-mail signatures, social media, and the bottom of your blog posts are all good spots to remind people to subscribe. But don’t overdo it. Subtle and occasional reminders work, but annoying people by bombarding them with sign-up links, forms, and popups could push them away.
- Be upfront about how you use your mailing list. Let people know what they’re signing up for, how often they’ll receive e-mails, and what the contents will include. Then stick with the promises you’ve made.
- Provide incentives. Some people will sign up simply because they like your business offerings or find your work interesting. Others will need a reason to sign up. Exclusive offers, such as discounts that will only be made available to subscribers, are good incentives. You can also offer a freebie of some kind in exchange for a sign-up. This tends to work best if there’s no cost to you for providing the freebie (digital products are ideal), because subscribers can always unsubscribe after they get their freebie.
Many businesses set up their mailing list and then forget to put any effort into growing it. If your website gets popular, you may attract subscribers organically, but if you’re struggling to grow your list, consider using the practices above to attract more subscribers to your mailing list.
Scribizzy can help you set up your mailing list, grow your list, and develop content for your subscribers that will boost your business. To learn more about how we can help your business leverage mailing lists, contact us.
Small business website design tips.
When you’re shopping around for a small business website design, do you know what to look for and what to avoid? Do you know which design elements will make your site more appealing and which elements will turn visitors away?
If you’ve spent much time surfing the web, you’ve probably noticed that some websites’ design elements are distracting, annoying, or just plain ugly. We’ve all bumped into a few websites that make us want to scream. Luckily, escape is just a click away.
But if you’re a small business owner, you definitely don’t want visitors clicking away from your website, especially if they’re seeking escape because the design is unappealing or irritating.Read More
Are you blogging with purpose?
Does your website have a clearly defined purpose? And if so, does your blog support that purpose unequivocally?
Most websites exist to serve as online headquarters and marketing outposts for the businesses they represent. Everything about a website, from its design to its blog, should be structured to fulfill the business’s primary objective, which is usually to generate profit.
A blog is one component of a website, yet it is an area that often drifts from a website’s core purpose. I’ve seen business bloggers posting personal stories and photos, engaging in political or religious diatribes, and sharing other content that simply has nothing to do with their main objectives.
There are exceptions to every rule, so certainly there are cases where publishing seemingly unrelated content makes sense. Public figures, such as artists and entertainers, often share personal stories. Some businesses make a conscious decision to support or oppose political positions. But these actions are almost always carefully designed to build their brands.
The vast majority of websites are better served by maintaining blogs that are focused on the goals of the website and business.Read More
Scribizzy’s service spotlight: online marketing.
Once you build your website, you need to figure out how to get people to visit it. You can put your website address on business cards, in your company’s signage, and on your letterhead. But one of the best ways to draw traffic to your site is through online marketing.
Scribizzy helps small business owners and independent professionals with every aspect of online marketing. We can assess your business model and make recommendations for which marketing strategies are right for you. We can plan your marketing campaigns, develop marketing materials, and execute your marketing efforts, or we can oversee this work on your behalf, working with third-party providers.
The Internet offers a wide range of opportunities for online marketing. Some marketing ventures are free — they cost nothing more than time. Others require a budget of some kind. In some cases you might find a free marketing opportunity but you’ll need to pay an expert to plan, develop, and execute the campaign for you. Read More
Hiring a website copywriter.
Hiring a website copywriter.Hiring a website copywriter.Small business owners understand that in today’s market, a website is essential. Your business website is your online headquarters, a place where you can promote your wares, connect with customers, and provide information and special offers that enhance your brand.
Most small business owners also understand that in consumers’ minds, the text on a website speaks to its quality and professionalism. Content that is peppered with typos or bad grammar looks sloppy. Language that is convoluted and fraught with industry jargon is confusing.
Bad copy drives customers away. That’s why hiring a professional website copywriter is essential in the modern business world. But what actions should you take before you hire a copywriter? How can you prepare to ensure that you get excellent service while fostering a mutually beneficial relationship with your copywriter?Read More
What’s the purpose of your online marketing strategies?
What’s the difference between traditional and online marketing strategies?
Simple. Online marketing strategies are executed entirely on the web.
Of course, that’s assuming it’s happening at all.
Plenty of business owners and website managers are wandering around, handing out blank business cards. They are failing miserably at marketing their products and services online, even if they’ve established some kind of online presence.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 data 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 examine 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
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
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