Small Business

5 Ways to Improve Your Business Website

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In today’s digital world, not having a decent online presence can make or break a business. Today’s list outlines 5 things that can be done to give potential clients a better idea of what you offer, and hopefully, increase leads and sales.

1. Fix the problems – As websites get older and more content is added, things can sometimes get a little crazy. Images won’t load, fonts aren’t the right color…things like that. Take the time to make sure everything is loading and displaying fine. A lack of upkeep on your business’ website shows a lack of professionalism and care.

2. Clean it up – Simplicity is king for websites. Users don’t want to visit a business’ website and instantly be bombarded by a horde of links and an overwhelming amount of text. Keep the navigation bar efficient and easy to use, so customers can quickly get to what they’re looking to research. Try and follow the Three Click Rule.

3. Update your “About” page – Keep your clientele up to date on your business’ current or recent projects and any new information about the business. Potential clients are able to develop more of a relationship with a business when they realize the business knows what they’re doing, and that they are doing it well.

4. Provide links to the social network sites you’re a part of – People are using things like Facebook and Twitter more and more every day. Increase your level of communication with your clientele through these networks by posting interesting articles that you or someone else wrote. People like to know that they’re talking to a person on the other side of the computer screen. Stay active.

5. Improve your landing page – It doesn’t take very long for a user to visit a site and decide whether they like it or not. Take the time to write a brief and to the point message on your homepage highlighting what products or services you offer. If it’s interesting or convincing enough, people will dig a little deeper around your site to learn more.

Increasing your online presence really isn’t that difficult. It just takes a little bit of time and the determination to make it work.

New Years Resolution Ideas for Small Business Owners

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The holidays are not only a time to cherish friends and family, but also a time to look forward to a fresh new start as January 1st rolls around. For small business owners, this is the time to stop procrastinating new ideas, and to actually implement them. Here’s a small list of things that you can do in 2012:

1. Go Mobile – By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the web through mobile devices than through personal computers. On average, 15% of all searches on Google today are from a mobile device. The mobile site traffic is out there. How much of it are you getting? Make 2012 the year you optimize your website for mobile devices.

2. New Points of Customer Interaction – Whether it’s blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, mobile coupons or QR codes, new ways to connect with customers seem to pop up daily. As a small business owner, you don’t have to excel in every new technology or network that comes along, but you should try to be wherever your customers are. Ask your current customers where/how they’d like to connect with you, then spend some time in 2012 to make it happen.

3. Give Your Website a Fresh New Look – In the race to master Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for business purposes, don’t overlook your own website. After all, social media efforts like Twitter campaigns end up driving traffic somewhere, right? It doesn’t make any sense to build a beautiful and savvy Facebook presence that funnels people to a bland and badly designed website. Keep it current and engaging so they keep coming back.

4. Promote Your Services – The internet is a big place. If you want to get new clients or sell more products this year, you need to get your name out there. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Advertising has really thrust themselves into the limelight as a way to generate to leads or sales. Search engine optimization is a cost effective way to increase traffic to your site via increased rankings in the search engines, while paid advertising is a faster way to increase traffic, while adhering to a strict budget with quantifiable reporting.

Why do small businesses need a website?

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Back in the 90’s, the internet was just beginning to flourish and people weren’t really sure if e-commerce and online stores would go anywhere, if at all. In today’s world however, that question has been answered by online giants like Amazon and eBay. Even if you’re a local business that doesn’t sell any goods online, you should still have some sort of online presence. If, however, your products are something that could be sold online easily, you should be considering the additional source of revenue because of the continuous increase in the number of online shoppers.

Let’s assume for the sake of this article though, that you’re just a small local business that is strictly a brick and mortar operation. Why should you have a website for your business, if you don’t plan on dealing with any online transactions? The most important answer to this, in my mind anyways, is that people are using online resources more than ever to find and products or services they’re looking to buy. Let’s say you are a small clothes store here in Fort Collins. Just imagine the amount of people that search online every month for Fort Collins clothes stores, finds the store’s website that sells what they’re looking to buy, writes down the store’s address that’s listed on their site, then goes there and buys what they’re looking for?

The second answer that comes to mind is how much a professionally designed website can help establish credibility for the business involved. I have seen countless websites for small businesses that look like they were designed by colorblind monkeys in the mid-90’s. What kind of image does that reflect on the business itself? Bad for them, good for you. If you have a website that not only looks good, but also stays in line with the branding of the business, it creates a feeling of stability and trustworthiness that could lead to increased revenue for your business.

Your website is an important part of your business’ brand. Treat it as such and you will notice an increase in store visits and, in turn, profit.