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The Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Small Business Online Presence

Posted on July 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

More and more people search the Internet to find local businesses, making the yellow pages increasingly obsolete. You should already have a website for your local business to make sure your business stays competitive in the digital age. Once you have a website, making it popular for the particular service or product you provide is a lot more work than you realize.

However, there are some basic tactics you can do to make sure your website reaches people looking for your services locally. Local search is not nearly as competitive as the global search market. Search for “plumber” and then search for “Orlando plumber” to see an example of this dynamic. Here are some simple ways you can optimize your local business website to outrank competitors in your market with very little effort.

1. Submit your business to Google Local.

Over 60% of all searches done in America happen through Google. Google Local is a business directory for local, small businesses. Every time someone searches for a product or service on Google maps or Google your business will show up at the top of the search results along with other businesses in the area who have submitted themselves to Google Local.

2. Add your company name, address, and phone number to every webpage

The search engines recognize the addresses from websites and add them to their index. Using a standard format like this one will help you get picked up easier by the search engines:

Your Business Name
123 Main Street
City, State, ZIP
(123) 456-7890

3. Add Google Analytics to your site.

Google Analytics is a free script you place on your site that allows you to track important visitors’ data and activity on your website. Knowing how your website gains visitors is critical in optimizing your online advertising strategy. You’ll quickly be able to figure out what campaigns are working and how well they are working.

4. Double-check your page titles

Page titles are one of the most important on-page search engine optimization factors for search engines. Search engines use this information to determine what your website is about and whether or not it is relevant to a particular user search. Titles such as “Homepage” and “Welcome” do not tell the search engines anything useful. However, a title like “Atlanta Florist” or “Chicago wedding planner” tells the search engine exactly what your website is all about. Make sure to keep the titles under 65 characters and use your most important keywords first.

5. Submit to other free search directories such as:

o Yahoo!
o Live/MSN
o Yelp
o Yellow Pages
o Super Pages
o City Search
o TrueLocal

Also search the Internet for directories related to your particular niche. For example, podiatrists have a directory at podiatrist.com.

6. Optimize Keywords

Write down any phrase that comes to mind when you ask yourself, “What would I search for if I was looking for a business that does what I do in my area?” These phrases and words should become target keywords for your website. That means you’ll want to optimize your site to feature these keywords as much as possible in the title and H1 tags, Meta description, and page content. You don’t want to overdo it and stuff your site with keywords, as most search engines will penalize you for trying to cheat the system. Just try and find a nice balance.

Another tactic is to link within your website using these keywords. For example, if you have a florist business in Atlanta, and your website has a Home, About and Contact page you can rewords these to “Atlanta Florist Home” and ‘About Atlanta Florists” in the title and H1 tags and links.

7. Create Webmaster Tools Accounts

Google, MSN, and Yahoo! each provide webmaster tools to help get your site optimized and properly indexed. Create an account with each of the three and you can see how each search engine sees your website, errors they spot, and you are able to submit your website’s information to them.

o Google Webmaster Tools
o Yahoo! Site Explorer
o MS Webmaster Center

8. Create a sitemap

A sitemap is quite simply a map of your website. When first indexing your website, a search engine will use the sitemap to find out where everything is on your site. Sitemaps utilize a standard XML format and you can build one for free at XML-Sitemaps.com. After you have built your sitemap you can then submit it to Google, Yahoo, and MSN through their respective webmaster tools.

9. Validate your HTML

Having the syntax of the code of you website validated lets the search engines know your site is structurally correct. The W3C Markup Validation Service is free and will point out any errors in your HTML code.

10. Add Video

Internet video is rapidly becoming the future of how products and services are being marketed on the Internet. Any business who has successfully used video will testify to the huge increase in web traffic they’ve received as a result. Video is not expensive or particularly complicated to do and implement on your website. More importantly, you will need to submit your video to over 40 video sharing websites like YouTube and Metacafe to really gain the true benefit of online video. There are services out there that will produce and promote your online video for under $200, so if you’re not up to doing it yourself it is recommend you seek one of these video service providers out.

These tips are designed to be a starting off point for getting your business the most exposure online organically. Granted they are ways you can pay to advertise your business, but many small businesses should first try to boost website visitation through organic, free traffic first. Most of the advice shared here can be done very quickly and with little technical skill. Get started today so you can take advantage of the “new” Yellow Pages: the Internet.

Affordable Web Hosting for Small Business Online

Posted on May 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

To be always accessible to online visitors, your small business website should be maintained by a good, affordable web hosting company.

Web hosts are companies that provide servers to their customers so that their sites are connected to the Internet 24/7 all year. The number of servers that these companies operate range from a few units to thousands of servers in their data centres.

A large company may need a dedicated server, that’s one server that provides the site needs for this company exclusively. For small businesses, one server provides all the services for any small businesses. The number can even run to thousands of sites.

This is known as shared web hosting. For the best companies, the online performance of a large company site, hosted by a dedicated server, is little different from that of a small business website with shared web hosting. That’s high value professional service at work.

But if the service is below par, the small business owner will be stuck with a site that performs very slowly. This can be a killer when it comes to sales opportunities. Studies show that if a visitor goes to your site, and it takes 10 seconds or more for your home page to load, then that visitor will leave and you’ve lost an income opportunity.

The main factor for choosing the best web host for your site is not price – but performance. Price is relative because some of the best firms have such a large customer base, and have been in the business for so long, that they can afford to offer “cheap” rates. But “cheap” only relates to price because these companies provide top rated service performance.

In choosing the best company to maintain your small business website, what quality hosting services should you look for?

  • Speed performance. How fast do your web pages load?
  • Long term reputation. How long is the company rated among the best in the industry?
  • Reliability and uptime. The industry-best standard is 99.9%
  • Standard features such as PHP, Perl, MySQL, and other bundled software; email accounts, and domain registration
  • Customer support. The level of support may vary from one representative to another within the same company, but the over-all experience should be professional and timely.
  • Price. This is a key factor. Remember, you can get the best web hosting service at a very affordable pricing range.

Best and affordable are not necessarily incompatible terms for the same host company.

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Best Practices for Marketing Your Small Business Online

Posted on May 27, 2019 in Uncategorized

The internet presents hundreds of challenges to marketers and thousands of competitors who are also trying to get a greater market share. This article highlights some of the factors that will give online merchants an idea as to how the purchasing public behaves and reacts to online offers.

  • Consumers have control over the market.

Unlike consumers in the past, present day consumers are more demanding and want results as fast as possible. Their expectations are often too high making them more difficult to please. You need to make their buying experience as quick and easy as possible.

  • Consumers consider the Web as an efficient model.

Obviously, modern consumers go for online shopping because of the convenience and efficiency that it can offer. With the amazing experience offered by most e-Commerce outlets, you have to make sure that your online business will be at par when it comes to online shopping experience.

  • Having the best technology is not an assurance of making a sale.

No matter how innovative you website may be, like having a live chat to answer customers’ questions, you still won’t do well in making sales when the products you offer are rubbish or priced too high.

  • Customers will prefer saving time and convenience over price, but overpricing will cause customers to run away.

A lot of online shoppers marvel at how fast and easy it is to make a purchase on the internet and have the items delivered at their doorstep. However, if there is a big margin between buying the item online and going to the department store to make the purchase, consumers will not hesitate to choose the latter.

  • If practiced appropriately, selling through cross-channels can work wonders.

Marketers who can successfully integrate traditional and online marketing practices will have a competitive edge against competitors. There are just those customers who would refuse to understand why an item purchased online can’t be picked up at the store. Therefore, applying a cross-channel approach will improve customer satisfaction.

  • Old rules still influence consumers in making their decisions to purchase.

For instance, offering featured products and top sellers is still a very effective technique for merchants. Shoppers will still be drawn towards products which are the latest trends in the market.

Technology will always have its fair share of limitations. But it is up to the small business marketer to meet the demands of the purchasing public as best as he can. By making the most of the resources available, an online merchant will always be able to find ways to satisfy consumers.

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