Website development has come a long way since the days when businesses could just whip up a cool-looking digital brochure, and leave the rest to their Sales team. In the current online market, an effective business website is a critical tool to help Sales close leads by leading prospects through the sales funnel stages, from awareness of your brand, to interest, toward a buying decision and taking action. In a sense, a well-designed website functions as a member of your sales team, by tag-teaming with your salespeople.
Most small business owners begin by doing everything themselves. Soon, the business begins to grow, and those entrepreneurs can quickly go from the heady feeling of freedom to the crushing burden of wearing all the hats.
If your local business is having special holiday hours, make sure you use your digital presence effectively to let holiday shoppers know – especially if you're planning to close your storefront so that your employees can spend the holiday with their families.
When Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security came into use, it was primarily for banks and other companies that conducted financial transactions online. More recently, though, SSL has become a ranking signal for Google, which means that businesses without an SSL certificate for their websites suffer in Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rankings.
Starting and running your own business is filled with challenges and rewards that make for a unique type of life. We get the heady rush of being in control of our own destiny, following our passions, and working toward goals that matter most to us. Of course, the other side of that rush is the occasional feeling of having large waves crashing down on our heads: Deadlines, mistakes, tax filings, managing clients. For better or worse, there's never a dull moment for an entrepreneur. Successful business owners learn rather quickly to find the silver linings, even in situations that seem bleak, and in those dark moments, they take the time to think of their reasons to be thankful.
When it's time to re-design your company's website, or build your first site, you've got plenty of questions of your own. How much does it cost to design a website? Should I build my own site or hire a web designer? Start with the understanding that in today's marketing world, a website is much more than an online brochure; it's a highly specialized tool.
Ten years ago, businesses could put together a nice-looking website that basically acted as a digital brochure, and feel confident that they had built a web presence. On today's information superhighway, that type of website design is destined to become roadkill.
Facebook can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses, but in order to wield that tool effectively, you need to understand what its strengths are, and how to use the myriad of metrics provided to determine what's working and what's not. Many business owners are under the mistaken impression that Facebook page likes are the most important statistic for their accounts. Page likes are important to a point, but in the end, they don't directly equate to leads or sales, and counting them doesn't even tell half the story.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) have become critical issues for any business with an online presence. The Internet is full of advice on how businesses can improve traffic, conversions, and sales by using better SEO and SEM techniques. If your business doesn't depend on customers coming to your physical location, a generalized tune-up of your SEO and SEM practices may yield adequate results, but if you rely on local customers being able to find your business, you need a more specialized approach for local lead generation.
It can be discouraging when you find customers leaving negative reviews online or negative comments on your social media, but the way your company handles those instances tells people far more about your business than the negative remarks.