website design services

Why Your Business Needs Its Own Website

Even if your company is locally-based and relies on foot traffic, it’s still a good idea to create your own website to reflect your new business venture. We’re living in a time now when most people search for companies and services on the internet before looking anywhere else. Decades ago, it was easy to open a phone book or ask friends about their experiences, but the internet has allowed people the chance to find great companies with viable real-person testimonials. This is why it’s crucial that you create a website for your own company in order to bring in more revenue and new clientele.

Importance of Establishing an Online Presence

One of the main benefits to establishing an online presence for your business is that you’re going to attract more customers. People who wouldn’t otherwise know that you’re in business will find you on the internet and might consider using your services. You can also improve upon your customer service using the internet because you’ll be able to answer reviews, comments and inquiries in a quick and efficient manner.

Choosing a Domain Name and Registering It

marketing online for local businessesFirst, you’ll need to think of a good domain name for your company that will attract clients and visitors to your site. Next, you’ll want to click here to learn more about domain registration in order to buy the domain name legally so that no one else has access to it. It might be a good idea to go with a name that reflects your company’s title or the type of services that you’re offering. Keep in mind that you will need to pay a monthly or annual fee in order to keep the domain in your name.

Buying Hosting

Along with registering your domain name and publishing it online, you’ll need to buy a hosting package to publish your site onto the worldwide web. Without hosting, you won’t have space to upload files and images to the internet and will only have a domain name that isn’t able to do anything. There are a ton of hosting sites available to choose from, so be sure to compare a variety of them before making your final decision. You will need to pay a monthly fee to keep the hosting account active and your site published online.

How to Successfully Run a Website

Running a successful website means that you need to put the time and work into getting it known through marketing and advertising campaigns. You will also need to integrate search engine optimization into each page to rank higher on popular search engines. You can hire outside companies to do this type of marketing for you, but keep in mind that you’ll pay a fee for their services. Once your site takes off, you’ll still need to put the effort into maintaining it so that you don’t lose visitors and instead continue to grow your business’s online presence from the ground, up.

holiday blogging tips

3 Simple Blogging Tips for Your Holiday Marketing Campaign

Holiday blogging tips for your small business website

Unlike the social media platforms, blogs have much less restriction on what type of or length of content can be posted, along with what kind of content resonates with your audience. So, feel free to get creative and write long, detailed holiday posts! When looking over the ideas we present below, make sure to keep mind what type of blog posts have been particularly popular for your small business this year. Then, apply those themes to whatever type of holiday content you end up posting!

Tip 1 – Highlight Holiday Products and Seasonal Specials
While it may seem obvious, blogging on special holiday products or promotions is the perfect way to increase awareness and sales this season. Simply listing or displaying them on your website or online store is not enough! Creating blog content around each products and promotion gives you the opportunity to expand the dialogue behind them and add a more in-depth explanation on why this product is the perfect holiday gift. This is your chance to explain why your service is unique, why your product makes a wonderful gift, and why the reader simply can’t afford to live another day without purchasing your life changing, award winning product! Ok, maybe that last one is a bit hyperbolic – but you get the point!

BONUS: This is also a great way to incorporate positive customer reviews and real life success stories more organically into your marketing efforts, so blog away!

holiday marketing tipsTip 2 – Local Events Or Holiday Happenings
Considering 80% of consumer budgets are spent within 50 miles of home, connecting with your local community is important. The holidays are packed with festive activities, including parades, festivals, parties, all the way to Thanksgiving turkey jogs – what better way to get in the holiday spirit by highlighting festive, local activities on your blog! Not only is this type of article both practical and relevant to a demographic close to your company, but this highly searchable humanizes your brand and allows you to connect with your local community.

Tip 3 – Offer Holiday Advice
Whether it’s a gluten-free gingerbread recipe, tips for surviving your in-laws or advice against the dreaded holiday weight gain, people are constantly searching the Internet for practical information to make their holidays as pleasant as possible. Offer up useful holiday tips and tricks via your valuable employees for highly optimized blog content. Not only will it serve useful to people searching for holiday help (who may then become customers, once they see how amazing and helpful your company blog is), but employees whose holiday ideas and advice are featured are likely to share the article with their friends and family. Sounds like a winning combination to me!

We hope these ideas add some holiday cheer to your small businesses blog!

How Businesses Can Use Social Media And Blogging To Flourish

It needs no mention that social networking sites offer some amazing opportunities for individuals and businesses to build professional relationships and meet new people. On the internet, it is possible for anyone to find anything and social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook give the business networkers easy access to lots of people with a simple click of a mouse.

Blogging – How it can create business opportunities

Blogging always enhances the chance of being found easily by the target audience. But despite knowing all these, there are many business owners who have still not embraced blogging and the most probable reason being there’s no one to maintain and update the blog. Writing for a blog is in no way similar to writing essays that you wrote in school.

But blogging is different and unless you plan, analyze and execute everything in a proper manner, it is impossible to write a good blog post which is sure to gain attention. But once you master the art of blogging, you can use it to grow your professional network and increase visibility too.

Expanding your business network by leveraging the social media

This is almost similar to in-person networking which is one of the most critical techniques for online networking where you need to be fun to be around. Various social media networks have various etiquette and norms. For instance, Twitter is that social media site which is very friendly and casual while LinkedIn is more formal and professional. Whichever social site you choose, you have to abide by the norms and rules and yet engage with people in a similar manner.

Interacting with your idols through Twitter

You take any of the industries, whether Hollywood or international cricket or football, all the celebrities are getting increasingly active on Twitter. When a person posts something on Twitter, they do so in order to engage people and be heard among their followers. Twitter always throws an open competition and one can’t think of an easier way to start a conversation with a person.

You should reply to the Tweets with valuable questions and added commentary. Tweet their blog posts and ‘mention’ them whenever you share their blog posts. Keep participating more in Twitter so that you can soon find an increasing ‘follower’ base.

Making social networking fun

Networking, whether it’s online or offline need not be dry. From the core, networking is all about meeting new people and getting to know people in a professional environment. You can talk about topics that interest you instead of speaking on boring things. Engage professionally in a similar way as you would engage with your friends.

When you enjoy what you’re doing, people will also enjoy it and love to take part in it. Social networking can have an awesome impact on your business and hence make it a definite part of your marketing strategy.

Social media is one of many strategies for marketing your business online. Visit our site to learn how we can help you with your marketing goals.

social media and your online reputation

Good Customer Service Is Vital For Home Improvement Contractors

A professional contractor who has been in business for a while knows that the success of each job extends beyond the project. Delivering a project and great customer service can lead to more referrals and future jobs. As a matter of fact, the #1 influencing factor for how much a consumer trusts a company is customer service.

With the digital age comes social media and the power it brings to your online reputation. Website Builder has a great infographic and article showing the importance social media plays in your online reputation and how it can be used to build a strong online community.

Read the entire article “The Rise of Social Media Customer Care” from Website Builder and share your thoughts in the comments below. Learn more about managing your online reputation.

seo - article marketing

Top 5 SEO Article Marketing Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Many people who do article marketing for SEO want to get results but often their results do not meet their expectations. Here are, based on my experience, the top 5 SEO article marketing mistakes that you should avoid if you want to really get results with your article submissions.

1. Submitting an article with the same title

The title is very important from an SEO point of view. “5 Article Marketing Blunders” is not the same as “Top 5 SEO Article Marketing Mistakes You Need To Avoid” in the eyes of search engines. And if you want your article to appear unique, this is the first step you need to follow.

Make sure you rewrite your titles in order to have between 5 and 20 different versions of your title. And do not forget to put your keyword in your title. This is a must when you submit an article to both article directories and blog networks.

2. Submitting an article with the same resource box or with the same links (anchor text and URL)

seo - article marketingWhen you submit articles for SEO, the most important part of your article are your links back to the pages you are promoting. If you submit to directories, then the most important part of the article is your resource box, and if you submit to blog networks, it is your anchor text links.

Submitting the same article with the same anchor text link pointing to the same URL is a clear footprint and does not help you make your article appear as unique. What you need to do instead is vary both the URL you are pointing to as well as the anchor text of your links. With one article you can promote several pages, so just take advantage of this possibility. This will give you more links to more pages without more effort on your part.

3. Not submitting enough articles

Both when you submit article to article directories and when you post them on blog networks, you need to consistently submit articles. Promoting one keyword means you will need to submit several or many articles.

Submitting one article to directories and 3 articles to a public blog network like MyArticleNetwork might be enough if your keyword is not competitive. I have reached the number 2 on page one within 2 weeks with such keywords.

But if your keyword has some competition, you might need to submit 5 articles to directories, 10 articles to a public blog network, and 50 posts to a private blog network such as BuildMyRank before you achieve a decent position on page 1.

4. Writing promotional articles or articles that are not spell checked

Some readers or subscribers sometimes ask me why their articles get rejected. Usually they are promoting a product as affiliates and they don’t know why their articles are not accepted. Most of the time, it is because their articles are promotional. And article directories will usually not accept these articles.

What is a promotional article? For an article directory, it is either an article that is salesy (reads like a sales pitch) or an article that mentions a product name or brand in more than one part of the article: title and body, body and resource box, or title and resource box. If you want to ensure that your article is not promotional, just mention the product name in the resource box. For instance, if you are writing about some article writing software, write a general article about the benefits of using such a tool, and then only mention the product name in the resource box.

The second reason why articles may be rejected is because they contain spelling errors or grammatical errors. Make sure your English is grammatically correct (especially if you are like me and English is not your mother tongue); it does not need to be perfect, just correct.

5. Submitting badly spun articles

If you are submitting articles to blog networks, you need to rewrite and spin them. Otherwise, they will have a very low uniqueness and blog owners will not accept them. Moreover, it is crucial from an SEO point of view to submit unique articles. Submitting badly spun articles will do you no good, and you will not get good results with this method.

Many people just put their original article in The Best Spinner and use the automated rewrite function. The problem of doing this is that the outcome is usually pretty poor. Rewriting and spinning does take time if you want to have a quality output, even with a great software program like The Best Spinner.

Need help with your online marketing? Learn more about our search engine optimization services for small business.

call tracking for small business

Small Business Benefits From Call Analytics

Many small businesses make the mistake of dismissing call analytics altogether as something they will not find necessary for their business. Call tracking and call analytics happen to be two of the most basic services that a company can benefit from when it comes to marketing. Marketing is all about getting your company name and service out to those who are looking for you to fill a void they have been filling on their own. How ever you look at it, marketing costs a lot for many companies so most business owners go at it various ways. Small businesses sadly seem to try a hit and miss method, throwing money at marketing campaigns and hoping one of them hits the target and they see the growth. This cannot ensure results or profit because it is so hard to measure the success of the return on such a blind investment. Call tracking is actually an invaluable investment to cover the incoming calls for a company.

call tracking for small businessWhen creating new ideas for marketing campaigns, whether it’s billboard marketing, a commercial campaign or simply an email campaign, deciding which is the most successful and worth repeating is the most effective with services of call analytics and ad tracking. Call tracking software can actually record the data of each call including information like which line was being called, where it originated from, how long it lasted and of course which sales were completed. Using call tracking software a company can also add meta tags, meaning notes that will help those analyzing the data to know more about the call and measure success according to personal goals. For example, if a women’s supplement was trying to have a successful market directed at men for their wives it might be helpful to record when men call and when women call.

There are so many variations of what makes ad tracking successful for a company. Most of the time it’s up to those in the company who have set the goals to make sure they are reaching them. Call analytics can also be incredibly efficient for training sales reps who are answering the phones since every call can be recorded for quality purposes. So no matter what size your business is, nor what you do- cleaning services or selling antiques- you will find that your company is greatly benefited by the use of measuring calls and the success of all the variables that call tracking offers to a company.


How to Earn More Retweets with Images

When it comes to Twitter marketing, one of the most common questions that we hear is, “how to get more retweets?” Images are the key to getting more retweets.

One of the simplest ways to get more retweets and engagement is to incorporate more images into your Tweets.
“Social Media Scientist” Dan Zarrella recently analyzed more than 400,000 tweets and the number of times that each of these tweets received a retweet. In addition, he factored in the 4 most popular ways to send images to Twitter: Facebook image links, Instagram, TwitPic, and Twitter’s own uploading service. His findings indicated that images uploaded via Twitter’s own loading service were 60 percent more likely to be retweeted, which was significantly higher than any other method of sending images to Twitter.

While tweets are limited to 140 characters, opting to include an image has proven to be an even more effective tactic in inspiring people to read and share your content. Considering that 90 percent of the information that your brain processes is visual and that the brain processes this information 60,000 times faster than textual content, you can’t afford not to tweet images.

When someone else shares your posts on Twitter they most likely won’t take the time to add an image to their tweet. So the best solution is to use Twitter Cards.

Twitter cards is a great way to get your tweet to stand out. This requires a little work on your website but the end result is anytime someone shares your blog post the image shows up in the tweet. There are 7 different types of Twitter Cards you can use. The large format looks like this:

using images in twitter

Without Twitter Cards setup on you blog, your tweets will look like this:

tweets without images

You can use Twitter’s card validator to see what your posts will look like on Twitter.

Setting up Twitter Cards on your website may seem complex but if your blog is built with wordpress you can find several different plugins to help with the setup. If you use a plugin for this remember to always backup your site before installing and testing a new plugin. Learn more about our small business marketing services.

If you have suggestions on plugins that work well for you or have questions about a specific plugin, leave a comment below. Follow us on Twitter We would love to connect with you!

real estate website design

Web Design Trends for Real Estate

Each and every year, new website trends become popular. One of the main reasons that web design changes are because of web standards change and developers always want to move forward into the future and improve web designs. There are a couple of things that you may notice becoming vastly popular this year in websites. We have made a list below of the top new web trends that you will be seeing out there. Do you have any of these web trends on your site?

Mobile Menu: The 3 bar menu at the middle of the page or at the top right of the webpage is very popular.

mobile website designWhite Spaces: No more sidebars! We have entered the modern era of the web. The removal of sidebars and adding more what space gaps on a website will ultimately focus your site on the midsection.

Drop the Slideshow: Slideshows were always bad for SEO and they were too heavy for sites. Dropping the slide show will pick your websites speed and will always be positive in terms of new SEO Standards.

MLS on Home Page: More and more real estate agent are ditching the ‘sold’ gallery and they are having their developers implement the IDX/MLS right on their home page. The MLS is a great way to show a client what houses are currently available in the area. The MLS also allows an individual to search homes based on their preferences. This preference can be, for example, let’s say a couple needs a 4 bedroom house with 1-acre land. The MLS provides a custom option for this couple to search what homes are currently available based on their specific preferences.Most developers will integrate IDX free on an agents website. The MLS is a handy tool to have up and customized. All real estate agents are recommended to their MLS displayed on their site.

Faster Loading Speed: Websites that load fast are more preferred than those that load up slowly. Internet visitors have a low attention span when it comes to waiting for a website to load. When the site load time is above 1 second, it is more likely that that internet visitor will leave the page. Have a fast loading website by compressing your CSS files.

Wide Screen Design: It’s time to ditch the small boxed up screen web site design and get a nice widescreen design for yourself. It is much more professional and has a great quality to it.

Mobile Homepage: Mobile web design is very important. The primary reason why mobile web design is important is because there are millions of people browsing from their phones instead of their desktops. Developers have the option to create a custom mobile homepage for site and that is through using an if else statement to drag in certain coding based on device preferences.

Website trends are out there and happening for a reason. Sooner or later, every website will follow these trends so its best to start with them now rather than later.

smartphone marketing

Why Should You Start Marketing Your Business To Millions Of Smartphone Users?

Smartphones have become a ubiquitous part of daily life, particularly for the younger set. Those of us who remember when cell phones first came out, roughly the size of a brick and just as heavy might be a bit bemused by the latest advances in technology. Nowadays, it seems as though the latest smartphones can do everything but physically make you dinner. There are definitely enough apps out there, however, to have the phone tell you how to make dinner, at the very least.

On that note, apps are another way to harness the power of mobile marketing. This is an especially good one for startups to consider, as app development and implementation is actually one of the best ways to get the most out of mobile marketing for your money. For those who aren’t exactly in the know, an app is short for the word application. Since smartphones are like mini computers but dont work in the exact same way, there are certain programs that companies have developed to help smartphones function more like a traditional computer. These programs are the apps.

mobile marketingApps are extremely popular in todays day and age, particularly given the prevalence of smartphones. There are apps that specialize on everything from coupons to fashion to locating others in the area for potential dates. What does this mean for people who are interested in mobile marketing? Creating an app is a great way to get your message across to users and help enhance your overall marketing presence.

Companies can use apps to great advantage. Many larger companies either sell or give away apps to interested consumers, and then they pack those apps with either deals or great content to share with the consumers who have installed the apps on their phones. Having an app that centers around your business and products is a great way to keep your loyal customers up to date on what your company is doing and how they can serve the consumer better.

Not to mention, apps are definitely cutting-edge insofar as technology is concerned. If you are able to offer you consumers an app for their smartphones, youre signaling to the consumer that both you and your company are hip to the technological savvy of the populace. Youll be able to get your customers information on an as-needed basis. Apps can even help customers locate your stores or outlets if they should happen to be in an unfamiliar area and have a sudden Jones for your product.

So if you’re looking to break into the world of mobile marketing, you should most certainly give app development a second look. If you can get your idea into an app and onto the phones of your consumers, your consumers will most certainly be giving you a second look as well and a third, a fourth, a fifth, and as many more as fast as technology can travel.

The Pros and Cons of Mobile Marketing

website seo

Balancing SEO With Website Usability

Developing your site so that it enhances your visitors’ shopping experience and improves conversion rates does not automatically mean that you have a site that is friendly to the search engines. Similarly developing a site that is search engine friendly doesn’t automatically make it user-friendly. But these things are also not mutually exclusive. You can please both search engines and website visitors.

While search engines are important, keep in mind that your visitors are even more important. When making edits to your site always consider the implications on both your human visitors and the search engines as well. Every change you make will have either a positive, negative or neutral effect on your human visitors and the search engine spider. You need to know ahead of time the effect any particular change will have and use that as a basis for determining if its worthwhile or not.

For a look at some of the least desirable types of changes you can make to your website for improved conversions: Ultimately, if you have to decide between users and spiders err on the side of making your site better for people. Here are the final three paths that you may face with any site change you are looking to make. Of the nine paths, these are your best options overall.

Good for spiders, indifferent for people

Many, many valuable website changes have absolutely zero effect on your human visitors but they are necessary in order to enhance your site’s spiderability, search friendliness and overall ranking ability. Many say that you should only make website changes for visitors, not for search engines, but that’s just not good policy. While many website architectural issues can be justified as being beneficial for site visitors there are still some changes that are flat out necessary that really don’t have much to do with the visitor at all.

If a change is good for search engine spiders and you know it won’t have a negative effect on your visitors then it’s certainly a valuable change to consider. Ultimately, if you can enhance the experience for the spider you’ll be providing better opportunities for your site visitors. But again, just make sure any such change doesn’t have a negative site visitor impact.

Indifferent to spiders, Good for people

Almost universally, if you can make changes to your site that enhance your visitor’s experience while having no negative effect on the search engines you’re in good hands. Addressing things such as visitor usability and trust issues rarely effect the search engines directly but they can go a long way for improving how visitors interact with your site and the persuasion process that gets you the conversions you need.

One should always be looking for changes to make to their site that will improve visitor performance and conversions. The trick is to make sure you balance that with the net effect any change has with the spiders. If you can keep making changes that have little or no overall effect in spiderability and search engine friendliness then by all means, keep making them. Your site is only going to get better.

Good for spiders, good for people

website design and usabilityPleasing visitors should always be your first priority on your website. But when you can please both visitors and search engines simultaneously then you’re in a good spot. Making site changes that have a positive effect in both these areas is the ultimate path, goal and decision that you can make. If only every change that we make to our sites could bring improvement for both search spiders and human visitors. While that’s not always the case these are the types of changes that you should actively be seeking out.

Every change you make to your website has an effect. If possible, it’s best if that effect can be determined before the change is made. Knowing that information will give you an idea if you should move forward or not. But when it comes to predicting the effect of changes, especially those affecting the site visitor, we can’t always be right.

Don’t be afraid to make changes you may be unsure about. But it’s crucial to track what happens next. Even if you are fairly confident of a positive outcome tracking will either confirm what we already knew or point out where our logic was faulty. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s better to try, err and correct than not make any improvements at all. The goal should be to develop a site that is as user friendly and search engine friendly as possible. That’s done through a long-term process of identifying issues, making edits and analyzing the results.

Not every path is a winner and steer clear of those that have a net negative effect. But everything must be weighed. Even within the these tips there are several shades of gray and the overall gain/loss must be considered carefully. Even the smallest gains are often beneficial if they outweigh the negatives. As much as possible, though, keep on the paths that provide the best results and you’ll be on the path to business success.

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