Today, most of the business websites that you visit will probably have a blog as well. Blogs have come a long way and today they are considered a standard for a business website as well. A blog is one of the best things that a business owner can do to help increase their off-site SEO as well as to build credibility in their particular field.
Having constant, relevant fresh content is also another key component of SEO as a whole. Google in particular gives prominence to websites and blogs that are updated regularly and continuously provide high-quality content. So by simply blogging on a regular basis, you will be helping to increase your overall web presence and rankings.
With a blog also comes the importance of having your website designed with a CMS system in place. CMS stands for Content Management System and it allows one to easily update the content on their website with a few clicks of a mouse. Some of the most popular examples of a CMS system would be WordPress, Joomla, and Drupla.
All of these have a small learning curve but there is no programming knowledge needed. The point of any CMS system is to allow anyone to be able to log into their website or blog control panel and update the content on a regular basis – without having to rely on their web designer.
So when you have your website designed by a professional make sure that they are using a CMS system. In most cases, they will also provide you with a walk through on how to use the system.
Older designed websites, generally speaking, do not use CMS and this is why many people have a hard time updating their websites. If you are still using an out-of-date website, it is time to make the change to one that will allow you to change your content whenever you wish.
Do not overlook the power of a blog. If you feel that you cannot write well enough or simply do not have the time, consider outsourcing the job to a professional content writer. You will be surprised at how powerful a well written blog can be when it comes to gaining more online visibility.
How many times have you heard someone talking about ‘Googling’ a products, service or business? If you do not have a website, what happens when someone ‘Googles’ your business?
Sure, the name of your business may come up with the address and the phone number, but is that really enough to get someone to call or walk into your business? Chances are probably not. Today, consumers are used to being able to get what they want and need in a very timely fashion thanks to the internet.
So let’s say your business deals with plumbing and repair and you do not have a website. A consumer in your area has a plumbing emergency and does not have the time to pull out the good old Yellow Pages. So they quickly hop online and do a local search for a plumbing and repair company.
Two choices come up; one is your competitor who has a professional website that details all the services they provide… and the other one is your business, which comes up with only a name and phone number. Who do you think the customer is going to choose? Who would you choose? Especially in a time of crisis…
Without a website, there is a great chance that you are losing potential customers. As a small business owner, you already face a lot of challenges and you have to compete with much larger companies and organizations. Many people still prefer to buy local and support small businesses everywhere but without a website, how can they really find you?
One of the main reasons that websites have become so important to businesses of all sizes is due to the ease of finding them online. When a website is professionally designed and uses SEO (search engine optimization) finding a new business, new restaurant, or any type of business establishment becomes a snap.
In the simplest terms, SEO will help with your businesses online web presence which opens the door to new potential customers. SEO uses certain keywords that are related to your business based on what you are selling or providing to consumers.
So if you were a local pizza shop, your website would be designed with SEO in mind and certain words such as pizza, cheese pizza, stromboli, etc. would be used to help with your search engine rankings. While SEO may seem to be a complicated process, and it can be at times, all a small business owner needs to understand is that SEO means more people being able to find your business.
Back to the concept of ‘Googling’ a business. When you have a website and proper SEO is used, your website will become listed on Google. Not only will your website show up in the rankings when someone searches for your business name in particular, but you will also come up if they enter a search for your “type” of service.
So, let’s say for example that you are a small business owner that specializes in candy buffets for a variety of events and weddings. A local consumer has never heard of your business before but is in need of your services for their upcoming child’s party. So they type in “candy buffets” in your area and if you have a website, your website will show up in their search results. By simply having a website, you may have just found a potential customer.
No matter how small your business may be the benefits of having a website are enormous. Many times small business owners will think that since they are not selling something direct from their website, there is no point in having one. This could not be further from the truth as illustrated in the examples above. In today’s modern world, every business big or small needs a website in order to continue to grow.
Are you still struggling with your business Facebook page? You know it needs some serious improvements, but yet you are a bit unsure of what you need to do? There is no doubt that Facebook is one of the most powerful forms of advertising out there today, but in order to reap the real benefits, there are some extremely important factors that every business should consider…
If you are ready to finally get some results from your Facebook page, simply follow these 10 tips:
1. Spread the Word about Your Page – Simply put, the best way to gain more local followers is to let everyone know that your business is on Facebook. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as including a link to your Facebook page in your email signatures, sharing the link on your printed marketing materials, and if you have a storefront, using in-store signs to let your customers know that you are on Facebook.
Always encourage people to “Like” your page when promoting it.
2. Share More than Information about Your Business - Remember that Facebook is a social media site where people go to be social and entertained. This means that not every post on your page should be sales pitch or even about your business itself at all. Consider sharing a great tutorial video you may have found or a news article about a topic you care about. Show them that you are a real person and not just a robot posting in hope of gaining sales. Simply put be yourself.
3. Make Sure You Have a Custom URL- Facebook allows you to have a custom URL for your business page. You can set this to whatever you want but make sure that you do so because it will be a lot easier for people to find you instead of using the default URL. Generally speaking, the default URL contains a long string of numbers and is not very easy to remember at all.
4. Take the Time to Respond to Everyone - Social media is much like building a relationship; it takes time, and more importantly, it takes interacting with each and every person who responds to any posts that you make. This is where local businesses can really make a difference on social media platforms. By answering individual questions from your followers, you create an opportunity to bond with them. This, in turn, makes them feel appreciated will go a long way into creating long-lasting, loyal customers.
5. Be Consistent with Your Postings - No one wants to visit a blank Facebook page or a page that only posts once in a blue moon. Come up with a marketing strategy that will focus around you providing fresh content on a consistent basis. There are no set times or rules to follow for posting because every business is a little different. Just be sure that you create a regular schedule and stick with it. This will help to keep your followers updated and entertained, which will ultimately lead to more sales.
6. Keep Your Page Fun and Informative – Social media is a whole different ballgame than other forms of marketing. So when it comes to posting, think about what your target audience would enjoy reading about and use that as your posts. Keep in mind that not every post should be a sales pitch as your followers could become annoyed and stop following you. Create posts that spark conversations and encourage them to jump in. Consider using polls or surveys or simply asking questions as means to get your audience involved.
7. Use Facebook as a Way to Show Customer Appreciation – Facebook is a wonderful outlet to let your customers know just how much you appreciate them. After all, you would not be in business without your customers, so why not show them some love. There are many ways to do this on Facebook including simply thanking them, running specials for Facebook fans only, or invite them to tell you their ideas about how to make your products or services better. Listen to them and let them know that you really do appreciate them.
8. Use Facebook Apps – Facebook has many different built-in applications that can help to increase your online presence and help you generate new fans on Facebook. You can promote events, run contests, conduct polls, upload and record videos and much more. Take the time to learn a little bit about these apps, experiment with them, and see which ones are right for your business. The more creative your page is, the more you will stand out from the crowd. Use these applications to your advantage.
9. Offer Special Content – Give your Facebook fans something unique and different from what they can already find on your website. This can be special discounts, news articles about your business, employee recognition or anything that you feel is relevant to your business. These measures will give them a personal “connection” to your business and keep them coming back for more. If you post the same information they can find on your website along with the rest of the world, they may not keep checking back as often.
10. Link Your Facebook to Your Website – Always have a Facebook link on your business web page. Make sure all of the social media plug-ins are installed and are highly visible on your website. This lets your website visitors know that you are in fact active on Facebook and gives them an easy way to access your page. It’s also a good idea to offer your website visitors an incentive to go “Like” your Facebook page.
More than 80 percent of businesses across the globe are now using Facebook as a way to promote their business. Times have changed and social media is here to stay. Due to the number of people currently using Facebook, it only makes sense to put your business right in front of your target audience by establishing a presence there. Utilize these above tips to help make your Facebook page a huge success.
Mobile coupons really aren’t any different than the coupons we are all used to getting in newspapers, magazines, or circulars. The only real difference is that they are provided through mobile phone text messages. Mobile coupons, however, carry the same function as the normal coupons. They all aim to provide customers with a way to save money, collect freebies, receive discounts and earn rewards.
If you are looking for an effective method that will work positively towards marketing your business, then mobile coupons may be what you need. Consumers in general are in love with any opportunity that they come across to save them money or give them something free.
Most people today are going through tough times economically, so coupons have never been hotter than they are right now. This means that it is important for any growing local business to use mobile coupons to attract more customers who are interested in what they have to offer.
As mentioned above, customers will come to your business repeatedly if they feel like they’re getting a good deal and saving money. Mobile coupons can easily be sent to customers with a touch of a button and this cuts both time and cost.
When a customer receives a text with a coupon code, this will act as the incentive that will get them to come into your business to enjoy the offer; and while at it, they might see something else they want.
Instead of carrying printed coupons around, a customer will simply need to have their phones with them in order to redeem the mobile coupon, which is not a task since most people have theirs within arm’s reach at all times.
From a customer’s point of view, coupons sent by a business in the area is more likely to be redeemed since they can come in physically and since it’s so easy to claim.
In addition, there are no costs associated with mobile coupons, unlike the printing costs associated with traditional coupons. Now only does this save you money, but it also makes your business “greener.”
For business owners, mobile coupons are an easy method to attract more local traffic to physical locations without having to risk anything or spend a huge chunk of your advertising budget.
A virtual assistant is someone who helps you with tasks for your online business, but who don’t reside in the same location as you. No one can run a business by themselves and sometimes you need a little help. Because the Internet puts you in touch with people from all over the world, VA’s are often hired from other countries. When looking for a VA, your first consideration is whether you’d like to hire locally or choose someone from another part of the world.
Home Country vs. Overseas
The advantage of hiring someone from your home country is that there is no language or culture barrier. It’s much easier to communicate with your fellow countryman (or woman). For many online business owners, it’s ideal to work with someone locally who you can call and even meet face to face.
However, the main reason we often hire virtual assistants from other countries is that they’re rates are cheap. In many countries, the dollar (or other Western currency) goes much farther and this means that you can pay little but still pay well. Even though it may seem risky to work with a person from another country, there are many high quality VA services operating from countries you wouldn’t expect. If the VA is experience and professional, it doesn’t matter how far away they are.
Characteristics to Look for
When choosing a VA, there are several key characteristics to look for. First of all, have an idea of what tasks you need done and make sure they have expertise performing them. It’s much easier if your VA already has experience so that you don’t have to spend the time training them.
Your VA should be reliable and trustworthy, but how do you know at first? The best way to measure this is to start with a small task as a test run. If they do it well and in a timely manner, gradually delegate further tasks to them. You can also get an idea of their reliability by asking for references.
Of course, price is a factor. But rather than simply looking for the lowest-cost service provider, decide beforehand about how much you’d like to pay and look for high quality services at this rate. Just remember that you usually get what you pay for, so the lower the rate the less experienced the person will tend to be.
Where to Find Help
The Internet puts you in touch with the worldwide workforce and there is no shortage of places to look for help. Social media is a good way to place an ad. Make an announcement on Facebook or Twitter, or use LinkedIn’s groups. LinkedIn is a great site to use because it’s designed for professional networking.
There are sites specifically designed for finding service providers such as ELance, Guru and Freelancer. You can post jobs on these sites and VA’s will respond. A great place to post an ad is on Craigslist if you want someone more local.
Finally, you can find websites for VA services and contact them directly. They’ll usually tell you on the site exactly which services they offer, making it easier for you to decide what you want to pay for.
The Right Time to Hire a VA
Hiring a virtual assistant is a big step for any online business. It’s something you should do once your business is making a profit and you’ve got the funds to spare. Many business owners set aside a portion of their profits each month just for reinvesting in their business in the form of outsourced help. The time will come when you realize that outsourcing daily routine tasks can free you up to focus on more important things.