15 Things Not to Do on Your Homepage
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Archive for March, 2013

15 Things Not to Do on Your Homepage

Posted on: March 30, 2013 by in Business Building
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15 things not to do on your homepage

A lot of times, it’s as much about what you don’t do as what you do. This could be especially true of your website. There are a boatload of wacky problems that can send website visitors streaming away from your website. Let‘s see which if any of these apply to you.

  1. No clear objective – According to DinkumInteractive.com you’ve got about 4 seconds to share what your website is all about before they bail.
  2. Not making the content scannable – We read in chunks, if you can’t scan your webpage and get the gist of it in a few seconds, you might turn off a substantial portion of your visitors!
  3. Not being mobile friendly – Not a choice, as according to Google over half of all web traffic is now mobile.
  4. Not making use of video on your site – Videos rule, but whatever you do, avoid autoplaying music at all costs!
  5. No updated, quality content – If your content is from Bush’s first term, it’s no wonder they’re fleeing! Also no fancy fonts or ridiculously long pages.
  6. No contact information – You want to be sure that your customers can contact you when they want to!
  7. Not collecting email addresses – Also a necessity. Having a list is one of the keys to long-term success online.
  8. Not utilizing Meta tags on your website – Especially the title and description tags. These can help you get indexed and ranked in the search engines.
  9. No social sharing buttons – Social media is a big part of search engine optimization now, and you want to make your content shareable.
  10. Missing calls-to-action – You want an action from your visitors; ask for it!
  11. No clear site navigation – Don’t use drop down menus, and make certain every page on your website contains a link back to the home page.
  12. Not optimizing your images – Be sure to use the ALT and TITLE tags for any images or videos you are using.
  13. Overuse of Flash – Besides being a pain for the GoogleBot to read, it might be very irritating to your visitors.
  14. No way to measure your progress – Do you have some form of web metrics measuring your stats? If not, you’re flying blind.
  15. “Intro” pages – These are simply a hurdle to your content. You really want to go there? (I’m thinking about you, fancy restaurants.)

How to Utilize Infographics in Your Business

Posted on: March 26, 2013 by in Business Building
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So should you use infographics in your business? Infographics have become increasingly popular, no doubt because all of us seem to need pictures to process anything these days instead of the written word. So Al Gore invented infographics (purely conjecture) to help us tell our stories. And help they do! According to research from 3M (maker of Post-its, among other things), visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. It’s not surprising, then, that businesses have quickly adopted these visually pleasing illustrations as marketing tools. Here’s a good example of how one online marketer is using infographics to build his business.

There are many great reasons why you should think about using infographics in your business. Here’s a handful:

  • They are visually impactful and easily scannable, both aspects that match up with today’s web browser
  • They are excellent vehicles for presenting facts easily and in a neat, concentrated fashion.
  • They lend authority to your competency on the given subject
  • One of the best benefits of using infographics is that they can go viral, which can often result in large traffic spikes and search engine benefits
  • As an image, they’re easily shared, and can make the rounds at many image sharing sites (as per social media expert Dan Zarrella, images get more shares and likes on Facebook than every other post type—even video)

So to show you some of the magic of infographics, check out this infographic from MarketingTechBlog.com.

Want to create your own infographics?

Want to create your own infographic for your business? There are a growing number of sites and tools coming around now that assist you to jump in and fashion stunning infographics. At the most basic level you can create them in PowerPoint, which is less complicated than you may imagine. If you’re seeking a bit more advanced or polished option, you might consider a tool like Visual.ly, where you can modify existing templates to your needs, or perhaps, use a service like PiktoChart or Infogram.

What if you haven’t a design gene in you?

Simply outsource them. Many times we don’t have time, skills or patience to get the job done, particularly if you’ve never really opened Photoshop before. No worries, as there are top-notch designers willing to create your infographics for you,and for a reasonable expense. A few of these places include 99Designs, Elance, Odesk, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com. Make sure to ask for samples of their work, set clear boundaries and expectations, and communicate clearly your vision, so there are no surprises come delivery time!

Your Customers: Talking Trash or Making You Cash? Why You Need to Know

Posted on: March 19, 2013 by in Business Building
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Learning what your prospects and customers really think about you can be both a fearsome and instructive thing. Doesn’t it just make sense to locate any problem areas or holes in your customer service you’re unaware of? The best way to obtain this type of data is to simply ask them! Developing a thoughtful customer survey can be a super tool to help you learn answers to questions you didn’t know you had!

So why ask questions at all?

The primary reason to ask is to head off potential problems and uncover which of our ways are working and which are not. Most of the time, we never get negative feedback unless there’s an egregious error. Most people won’t bother; they’ll simply look somewhere else. Furthermore, they’ll most likely tell their friends and family about their experience with your company. Some may even write an unfavorable review on Yelp or Google Local. And their report will have a lot of weight—even among people that aren’t in their social circles. According to a study by Erik Qualman of Socialnomics, nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers say they trust the info offered by total strangers online! According to CustomerThink.com over 50 percent of the buying public have issues or complaints with the goods and services they purchase. Doing a survey that can help you identify and correct mistakes can be the difference between keeping a customer or not—and getting a good review or a bad one.

What type of survey questions work best?

Make sure you have a clear purpose to your surveys, and that you ask questions that require  more than ticking a box, or assigning a number to your query. Avoid “Yes” or “No” questions. Allow them to expand on their experiences and opinions. (This can also be a great way to collect testimonials!)

How exactly should you hold the survey?

There a variety of ways to conduct a survey. However, if possible, the best way appears to be via an online survey, this provides the respondent a good chance to think about and form well thought-out answers, something that may not take place through a phone call or personal contact. Look at offering a bonus for filling out your survey, and try to be timely as to when you send it. If you’re new to this, use a company that specializes in this type of data collection, such as SurveyMonkey. However you accomplish it, getting a read on the way your customers view your company is invaluable data to possess.

5 Online Reputation Management Strategies You Need to Start Using NOW

Posted on: March 15, 2013 by in Business Building
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You may think that online reputation management isn’t something you need concern yourself with. I would implore you to reconsider!

According to eMarketer 83% of consumers say that online reviews affect their opinions about a particular company, and 8 of 10 of these people added that a damaging entry on the internet has caused them to change their opinion. One negative review, whether true or untrue, can frustrate all your best efforts if you don’t have an online reputation strategy in place. Keeping that in mind, we’d like to offer five strategies your business can use to monitor and strengthen your online reputation management.

  1. Monitoring your brand names – Listening what’s being said about you and your company is critical. There are a number fantastic free tools to help in this regard. Check out Google Alerts, Hootsuite, and Social Mention and others.
  2. Claim all of your social properties – Unclaimed social media sites can be used by your competition for nefarious exploits. Make sure you claim all social sites that could relate to your brand.
  3. Dominate page one of Google for your brand name – A great way to make sure what people see and read about you whenever they Google you is to own all the virtual real estate! If all they find every time they Google you is wonderful stuff about you and your brand, you’ll not be affected from the occasional attack.
  4. Go after customer reviews – Customer reviews aren’t just going to appear on your site: you need to request them. Don’t be shy about asking for reviews. In most cases, your clients are going to be flattered you asked. And if you offer incentives, make it clear that you’re not trying to bribe them or manipulate their review!
  5. Engage with your people – Interacting with those writing comments, Facebook posts and tweets is a great strategy to head off any issues from the get-go. Don’t engage in mud-slinging however, regardless of how justified you feel! Thank them for their contribution to the discussion, and politely disagree, standing up for yourself. (If they’re not right, of course!)

Online reputation management is incredibly important these days, when customers can tweet, post or video form wherever they are. Don’t forget this one!

Google Local – A Great Tool for Prospecting!

Posted on: March 13, 2013 by in Business Building
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Ever since Google merged with Google Places to be Google Local, there’s been uncertainty as to making use of this platform for business. It has now become much clearer. Companies are beginning to see the tremendous opportunity Google Local is offering, and they’re finding innovative ways to find buyers and prospects.

So let’s examine some of the best ways your small business can leverage this platform.

  • Be sure your Google Local page stands out – The first and probably most important task is to be sure that your page is entirely filled out. Fill in all text areas that are called for, as this makes a difference in how Google ranks your page. Also, use a ton of images, as this also affects the ranking of your page. There’s also the benefit of being able to present a vivid look at your site and merchandise.
  • Use the Google Local Search function to seek out buyers – Using Google to look for new buyers and customers is a cinch. Just use the search bar at the top of your Google page to look for those people who are already talking about your niche or company. Add them to your Circles and start connecting with them!
  • Engage with Google Communities or video – A very good way to leverage your Google Local page is by engaging directly with your people in Google ‘Communities’ or via video chats. One excellent example of a company that has gotten this down is Cadbury. You could also lead people to appealing offers and coupons which can be accessed directly from your site. This is an brilliant method to convert Google visitors to onsite buyers.
  • Use Google Hangouts as a media channel – There are a number of ways to use this versatile tool to pump up your business. You can conduct webinars, training sessions, online press conferences, offer free consults (related to your business) and possibly even host your own show. Google records these sessions, sends you the file, which you can then upload to YouTube. Beginning to see the possibilities?

I hope you’re discovering the potential of what Google along with Google Local, YouTube and the rest of the Google suite can do for your business. Get started on Google Local today!

How to Use Mobile Devices to Make Money for Your Small business

Posted on: March 8, 2013 by in Business Building
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More people these days are accessing the web using their mobile devices, and if you’re not at least mapping out a mobile strategy for your small business to get a piece of this, you’re leaving a lot of cash on the table. Over half of all local searches are carried out on mobile devices of some kind. People are doing business on the go, shopping and price checking on the way to a store. You simply need to ensure that it’s yours! Here are five ways to make this happen!

  1. Having a mobile ready site – Making sure your website is able to be viewed on any mobile device is a mandatory first step. There is something of an art to building the mobile version of your website, because the emphasis here is on speed. It is estimated you have about five seconds for your site to load on a mobile device or they’re on to greener pastures. Make sure your site loads fast and looks great! According to Google polling, 52% of users say a bad mobile experience makes them much less likely to engage with a business.
  2. Offering deals, coupons and incentives to readers – 29% of consumers indicate a willingness to download a coupon from their mobile device. Take them up on it! Presently, only 10% of customers have gotten a coupon from a local merchant, according to a poll from Mercator Advisory Group. It’s time for you to get out ahead of this trend and stake your claim!
  3. Utilizing inexpensive mobile ads – Mobile paid advertising remains relatively in its infancy, but there is a lot of opportunity here. Prices are still very low, and you can get a lots of traffic to your site utilizing mobile ads.
  4. Create a loyalty program – Using a mobile platform to institute a loyalty program is an concept that is no longer just used by restaurants. You can create rabid fans by having a simple, easy to use digital loyalty card app that works entirely on their mobile device. A great way to reward regular customers.
  5. Utilize mobile email and SMS – Mobile email is now being opened at a rate of 41%, and is on pace to surpass PC open rates by the end of 2013, according to MarketingLand.com. SMS (texting) has a whopping 95% open rate. These two stats by themselves ought to be enough to get you involved in the mobile side of marketing!

Are You Making These Costly Social Media Marketing Mistakes?

Posted on: March 5, 2013 by in Business Building
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Understanding what NOT to do in relation to social media is nearly as critical as knowing what you should do. Here are several social media blunders to avoid at all costs!

Jokes at other people’s expense – It should go without saying, but you really need to think before you send anything out into cyberspace for the world to see. Most importantly, don’t try and take advantage of someone else’s bad luck or indiscretion to promote your own products or services. While a celebrity death or shameful scandal might appear to be easy fodder for attracting eyeballs, you’re almost certainly going to tick off as many people as you tickle!

Offensive statements and political rants – Closely related is the tendency to broadcast your preferences political, social or otherwise, which may well have the misfortune of NOT aligning with your your clients and customers. Don’t go there! Keep from sharing anything that could possibly be misunderstood, or you’ll end up scrambling for cover! Once trust is broken, it’s very hard to rebuild.

Not making business only accounts – An account solely devoted to your company has not only a far greater chance of being found in the search engine results, it projects an altogether more professional image for your business.

Not using social media buttons on your site – These are very easy to apply, and available for all social media platforms. You’re literally throwing traffic away if you don’t make use of these simple tools to extend your reach by making them accessible for your homepage and all the content you create. This is extremely easy to do.

Not using the links from your social sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google all allow you to link back to your website from your profile page, as well as from posts. This is an fantastic way to obtain some easy, authoritative links that will help others find you as well.

Here’s how Google+ can enhance your content strategy

Posted on: March 1, 2013 by in Business Building
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So far, Google+ has been sort of like that dog that keeps coming back into your yard looking for scraps. I mean, what should you do with him? The fact is, this dog can hunt! Businesses are starting to wake up to the opportunities with Google+, aiding not only with social media interaction, local visibility in the search engines, and helping establish your brand; but the many ways it can help you with content. And it’s obtaining results: websites using the +1 Button increase page traffic by 350%, and more than 925,000 people join Google+ every day!

Seven Strategies for Utilizing Your Google+ Page

Here are seven ways to get your Google+ page to help your small business.

  1. Complete your Google+ profile – Give this plenty of thought as you’re doing it. Use compelling photos and images, and make sure you link out to your other social media accounts.
  2. List your key information – Especially business hours, contact details, along with maps and directions.
  3. Link to your blog or site – You should definitely link to your primary business blog or site. This will result in added traffic and a great link.
  4. Create a business page – Showcase your business where it matters. This has direct benefits for search results as well as for people that find you on Google+.
  5. Link to your other material – Link out to your blog posts. Along with getting them indexed nearly instantly, this also has a number of SEO advantages. You can also use your Google+ page for making posts, complete with multimedia that can link to your pages elsewhere. The possibilities are amazing.
  6. Utilize Direct Connect – Utilize this feature in Google+ to let visitors to add you to circles whenever they find you in search. Think of this as a Facebook “Like”.
  7. Use video chat in Google+ Hangouts – When you hold a video chat, Google+ streams it, records it, and supplies you with the recording via email. You can then upload to YouTube if you wish, or use it on your website or privately. One fantastic option to use these is to create impromptu product demos.

This barely scratches the surface of what’s possible with Google+. To discover even more strategies along with a cool infographic on the subject see this post on CopyBlogger.