Blog

Small Business Marketing – Why a Small WordPress Blog May Be All You Need?

Small Business Marketing

Small Business Marketing – You Don’t Have to Be “Big” Online to Be Seen

“They know who I am, they just need to know how to find me on the Internet!” said one of my clients who is a construction contractor.

Web designers and Internet marketers alike often pooh-pooh so called “brochure” or mini websites or blogs because they are usually very simple designed without a lot of bells or whistles.

Basically these types of sites are online versions of a small business’s printed tri-fold brochure.  I believe that a simple yet affordable “brochure” website or blog may be the smart choice for a small company on an extremely tight budget.

It doesn’t matter if your small business is home-based or just a start-up being run from a cubby-hole in downtown office building, a beautifully designed brochure site can help put your products or services on the map.

While it’s true not every small business has products and services that can readily be sold via the Web, they can provide prospective customers valuable information.

As more and more people use the Internet to gather information, find solutions and make buying decisions  a company website is vital to a business’s offline or real world success.

Almost any small company can host a basic site where potential clients can view photos of products for sale or get more detailed information on the  services being offered.

And with a blog a small business person can display their expertise, build rapport and gain the trust of their visitors by sharing their knowledge of their industry or field .

For example, a chiropractor can publish helpful and free articles on her site teaching simple bodywork techniques her clients can do on their own to relief painful spasms — along with advice on when to come in for an appointment.

She could also supply visitors with detailed information and her expert opinion on various topical ointments or natural supplements that she offers via an online affiliate commission network.

A local plumber can offer a map of his service area, provide a Q&A contact form, offer preset “package” pricing for minor jobs or even sell DIY kits for some customers.

A small site doesn’t have to be a useless one — a nice looking and well designed website or blog might be all you need to be “found” by your prospective clients or customers.

However if you need to maximize your website (big or small) and want to put the power of online marketing towards building your business, then I invite you to check out my latest free ebook: “Boost Your Sales!”

Online Marketing in a Recession?

Online Marketing – the Key to Success In a Recession?

Marketing  in a Recession?

Even through the Great Depression, some businesses were successful.

Will yours be one of the successful ones?

Although things can be difficult in any economic hard time, many companies not only survived the world depression from 1931 until 1937, but thrived!

Great organizations such as Proctor and Gamble, Chevrolet, and Kellogg came out of the depression ready to take advantage of the new opportunities after all the dust had settled.

So how did the successful business do it?

How did they move up and not down?

Successful businesses continued marketing, unlike their competitors. They kept promoting their businesses, kept working hard to keep clients, and kept customers aware of the valued products or services they offered.

To be blunt, the companies that demonstrated the most growth, rang up the most sales, and prospered were also the ones that did the most marketing.

Marketing in a Recession is Not for the Faint of Heart

I can show you the right way to market your organization online. As more and more people use the Internet as a combination phone book, comparison shopper and private investigator; small businesses are at greater risk than ever before due to lost sales or a poor online reputation.

I not only understand the power and potential of the Internet, but I’m an expert at using it for the benefit of my clients.

To learn more more how today’s online marketing can help your small business in survive (and thrive in a tough economy), I invite you to click the link to download and read my free ebook “Boost Your Sales!

Why WordPress is Better – for Small Business?

why wordpress is better

In my experience, most small website or blog owners know bad web design when they see it (on someone else’s site, of course).

Naturally we all have seen those horrible sites, where the either the owners or the design crew are a bit color-numb and have put up a website that only a mother could love.

Why WordPress is Better, for a Small Business?

Now I am not going to beat anyone up over how their website looks…after all there are lots of truly “ugly” websites in cyber-space that make lots of money for their owners.

And there are also lots of great looking sites on the Web that have never paid for their monthly hosting fees.

A factor which helps an “ugly” website become a profitable business or income stream is simply its usability or user-friendliness.

Usability or user-friendliness is “the ease with which people can employ a particular tool or other human-made object in order to achieve a particular goal.”

The “tool” in this case is your website and the goal can be to share your ideas, educate people about your products or services

But shouldn’t this “usability” be part of the whole web design thingy? Why can’t the web guys take care of all that stuff?

Why do I, a non-technical, person have to even know what it is let alone worry about it? Okay, you are both right and wrong.

How your site is designed is ultimately part of what you made so much money to have done in the first place, but let think of your site as an iceberg…okay bear with me a second, will ya?

Your website is like an iceberg. As you know 90% of the iceberg’s mass remains hidden below the surface of the waves. 10% is on surface.

Most of what makes your website functional is hidden from view. Only the 10%, called the User Interface (that the stuff that makes the site user-friendly is visible.

All of the usability stuff or “User Interfaces”, means is the doo-dads and buttons and links you the web visitor sees and clicks on.

This also includes size of the lettering, the colors, the patterns, the photographs, even the words or content  you use (text layout and blocking ).

All of this is basically what is considered the interface or user. This is what typically a visitor sees and uses to move around your site.

You want people to find your phone number quick and easy so they can call you or print off a copy of your Google map so they can drive to your business location.

But the main parts of the site, the hidden, geeky bits are what you are paying the big bucks for and what take up the most time in a web designer’s schedule.

Without the 90% that makes up the “engine”, your website would be just a pretty picture in cyberspace.

Okay…let’s try this, using an example that is closer to home, think about trucks vs. SUVs for a moment.

Almost all SUVs are built around the framework and engine model of its closest automotive cousin; say a heavy duty 4×4 pickup truck.

Despite all its plush interiors, heated leather seats, DVD screens and CD combo MP3 players, all SUVs are built to carry similar size payloads as any truck in its weight class.

But most people would naturally be very reluctant to pack 8 kids and their band instruments in a 4×4 truck for a 3 hour trip to an out-of-state band competition.

Nor would most sane folks load 2000 pounds of bricks along with bags of mortar in their SUV to haul to a rural construction site.

But both vehicles are structurally similar, inside! Same hauling capability but each has radically different “facades” or user interfaces and different functions.

See where I’m going?

Automotive engineers are responsible for making sure that the 90% of the car you never really see: the engine, chassis, drive train, wheels, brakes, safety features, electrical harness and computer units all work together and play nice.

While the vehicle’s body style, finish, color and interior design features (i.e. the user interface) are handled by an entirely different type of design team.

The same goes for web design.

Web site design requires 2 different but very closely related skill sets – graphic designing and programming code.

A designer needs to do both in order to create a site that is attractive yet error-free and functional.

But unlike in an auto company, your web development crew will probably NOT have 2 separate teams of specialists.

In fact with most small web design teams, you will get the code programmer (i.e. the engineer) and the graphic designer (i.e. the user-friendly or usability person) wrapped up inside a single person.

Sometimes you may find a firm that has two people, but you still can’t be sure you haven’t gotten two coders or two graphic art lovers.

Naturally as the owner and usually the only non-technical on the design team, you are not expected to understand the 90% of designing a website. But you do have a responsibility to do more than sign off on the basic aesthetics of the site.

Your job is to approach your blog as your prospect visitors will. You need to be able to land on any page on your website or blog and within 7 seconds be able to answer these 5 questions:

  • Where am I?
  • What’s this page about?
  • Where have I been?
  • Where can I go next?
  • Where’s the “Home Page”?

You only have 3-5 seconds because; university studies have shown this is how much time a visitor will spend looking around an individual web page.

If your visitors can’t figure the answers to at least 2 or 3 of these questions, then they will click away (probably never to be seen again).

This what this usability stuff is really all about – can a stranger come to your site and figure what those 5 questions?

If yes, your site, no matter how “ugly” can be successful…if not, no matter how nice it looks, you still have a “dawg” on your hands.

Where am I? – People can get click happy on the web and may land on your site through some obscure link from a site that is sorta-kinda-maybe-vaguely related to yours (web links can branch off funny sometimes).

So the first thing you need to check when you inspect your site…can a newbie person tell what your site is about almost instantly?

Internationally known Internet marketer Seth Godin, calls it “Where’s the banana?”  He likens people to “monkeys” that are searching the web for information, i.e. “bananas”.

Godin asks that show your visitors the biggest banana (your website or blog’s main topic or subject matter) right away.

If your site is for a non-profit for the white mountain squirrel, then say so…don’t “hide” what you do or who you are.

You will miss some visitors who are looking for what you are offering but who clicked away because they were uncertain about what your site is about.

Remove anything that confuses them!

What’s this page about? – Similar to the banana theory, how well does that individual page “show and tell” a new visitor what’s it all about?

If you have a site that deals with jewelry, don’t talk about necklaces and rings on the same page. One topic (or mini-banana) for page, please. Don’t clutter up pages with multiple ideas.

Where have I been? – Keep navigation links clean, consistent and simple.

No one would like going into a room and having the door they just came in suddenly disappear or change color or look like something else all together, but people have sites that do this kind of thing all the time.

Have your friends click on all the links and tell you the honest truth about how they feel when moving from one page to another.

The navigation links and moving from one page to the next, should be smooth and flawless.

Where can I go next? – What do you want your visitor to do next? You have got to tell them. Yes, you will have to be blatantly obvious and grab their hands (digitally of course) and lead them to the next step of the process.

If you want comments on your blog say…”to leave me comments, scroll down to the bottom of the page and let me know what you think…”.  Or to visit us, print out the Google map to our store and come see us next Saturday for our sale…:

Why be so obvious? Because people are tired, stressed out, in a hurry and distracted.

They want to do something (oh, yeah, what was it?….gosh…can’t remember) but before they can remember, they get emails, phone calls, kids, spouses, co-workers and bosses (drat!) interrupting their surfing experiences.

Your job is make sure your site helps them when they have those little “brain-fark” moments.

Where’s the “Home Page”? – E.T. isn’t the only one who wants to go HOME. Nothing ticks off people (me) as not being able to find the home link, quickly and easily.

And please, call your home page, “Home”. Do not name it the “index”, “front page” (I know…I did this once…until someone emailed me and wanted to know where the “back” page was), the “Menu” or a cute little image of a “front door”.

Call it what it is…the “Home Page” or “Home”. Make sure it is always in the same place and that it is obvious…no fancy web design tricks like drop-down menus or mouse-overs, or clickable pictures. Use just a plain BIG button or link that says HOME and that takes you the main index page of the site or blog.

Don’t make people roam around like Moses searching for the “Promised Land”.

Install a good WordPress theme that is especially designed for your type of business.

Link Building Tactics – The “Bad Old Way”

IMPORTANT NOTE: Below is an actual sales page, complete with my old style link building course based on what was “hot, hot, hot” just 5 short years ago.

It’s free for the taking…but remember I don’t recommend the article spinning, etc. but if you want check out, go for it.

link building tactics
Is link building really like being a cheerleader?

 

For Professional Web Publishers and Bloggers who would love to generate even more traffic – but can’t figure out how to make it happen…

…Then the training course described below might be right for you.

Hi, my name is Chancer Reese and I’m a former webmaster to a top-ranking web publisher and affiliate marketer.  Let me tell a little bit of my story.
Read More

Blogging for Business – Are You Making These 5 Deadly Mistakes on Your Blog?

Blogging for Business – How to Avoid these Common Mistakes

blogging-for-business

Blogging for business or content marketing is not difficult.

I have had an online presence  in some way since early 1999, when a friend and I were scheduled to graduate from tech school and wanted to take the Internet world by storm; me with my desktop support skills and Mary with her computer programming.

Read More