How do I Use a Website to Promote my Business?

Do you need a website?. Well that depends entirely on how you wish to market your business and whether your competitors have an online presence, it also depends on the type of clients you hope to attract. Let me ask you a straight question – Do you want to increase business for a minimum outlay?.

Most people now have some form of access to the internet, whether at home, at work or through their school or university. For many, searching for a service or product using Google is now much the preferred alternative to opening a phone directory, or scanning the Yellow Pages. With the increase in Broadband technology and the rapid fall in prices then this trend is very likely to continue and grow, with more and more people of all ages having some form of regular internet use. Do you want to miss out on this potential and growth?

Many small business owners and CEOs think nothing of spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on conventional advertising such as that in Yellow Pages and similar directories, and yet are still missing out on the earning potential of having a website presence. For some this is simply through not having the relevant skills or feeling that they have no webdesign capabilities to even begin to build their own site. However with many webhosts now offering WYSIWYG web creation tools and web builder packages, anybody who is capable of booting a computer now has the possibility of creating a basic website to promote their business.

After word of mouth, my website accounts for nearly all of the new business which my own business gets. Given a price versus revenue comparison, it is the most competitive form of advertising which I have ever used, and the one which yields the most success when it comes to new business leads!.

Remember that the more professional your website looks, the greater chance of impressing potential clients, and of getting an enquiry. For this reason, employing the services of a webdesigner may be a preferred alternative. But for now, let’s talk about how you can build your website with only limited knowledge. Your options are popular software such as Microsoft FrontPage, or other software such as x-site pro. Many internet users have found great success in designing their own websites. Some webhosts now include free website building tools in their hosting packages. Whichever option you decide to choose, when building your website and promoting its existence, there are a few points to consider, and we will discuss those below.

Always avoid free hosting. These are webhosts who allow you to upload your own site for free onto their server. However in return they often add Advertising banners and pop ups onto your website, and these can prove very annoying to internet users, look cheap and tacky and do not portray a professional, business image. You may have a very professional looking website, however if you use free hosting then you do so at your peril and when masses of pop ups great your visitors, then they’ll often close their browsers or surf away without bothering to read any further. Professional webhosting without any form of banners is available for as little as the price of a coffee per month! – far cheaper than any form of newspaper advertising, so don’t skimp when it comes to reliable hosting.

Buy a domain name. This promotes your unique company identity, and it is also a good idea to use your company name, as your domain name. Domains ending in .co.uk are often cheaper than .com and will also boost your search engine rankings in geographical area based searches such as Google UK. This may be useful to businesses only serving clients in their country, or those with overseas offices.

Remember to try and incorporate a relevant keyword describing your business service or product(s) within the domain page name. So for example, if you had a business called Acme Widgets and you had a product called Mighty Widget – then you could name the page name extension as mighty-widget.html so the url to that page would look like [http://www.your-domain-name.com/mighty-widget.html]

We will get to other keyword use later.

The most effective websites are the ones which load fast and offer a clean, smooth appearance free of useless information and which are largely uncluttered. Make sure that your name and description of your business appears on each page, and that if your site has more than one page that they are all linked together using an HTML Menu. Do not be tempted to use flash or other fancy image type menus, because search engines will not be able to index the site easily. If you do decide to use a flash based website then make sure that there is an HTML alternative, complete with HTML menus.

Keep the site simple. Remember that you have to make the site appealing to search engine spiders as well as human visitors in order to get your website onto the search engines. After all, it is pointless having a good, professional looking site, if nobody can find it!. Avoid the use of fancy flash based websites and splash pages, although they may add an initial wow factor to the first impression, they are often difficult for some search engines to spider and index, plus they may take forever to load on a slow connection. Very few visitors will wait 30 seconds or more for pages to load, or install special viewers so avoid going over the top with these types of presentation!

Keywords are the words that people use to enter into search engines in order to find a site. Consider which keywords people will be using to find your website. Don’t just concentrate on the obvious and most popular words which describe your business, since these will be difficult to rank highly for, due to the competition!.

Instead, look for other niche search terms and phrases too. Your website should contain as many keywords as possible on each page. Don’t be tempted to just add loads of raw keywords in meaningless strings onto your page, since search engines are wise to this practice of cheating and will penalise your site, plus it looks messy to your human visitors too!. It is far more effective to incorporate these keywords into text paragraphs and try and vary their frequency, so for example if you were a company suppling widgets in London, you could try the following:-

Widget and Sons, a family company suppling widgets in London, we are retailers of the popular Mighty widget range

And then later in the page…

For the best price on mail order widgets and sole distribution of the mighty widget contact our sales department

By doing this, and varying the phrases whilst keeping them keyword rich, you are effectively giving Google something to work with. Hopefully, by adding as many keyword strings as possible your site will (hopefully) appear for several different search terms such as ‘Widgets’ or ‘Mail order widgets + london’ or ‘Mighty Widget’

A Picture paints a thousand words, so don’t forget to add pictures to your website!. But keep the, fairly small so that the site loads quickly. Often 640 x 480 resolution is ideal, or use thumbnail software to load a gallery of clickable smaller images neatly onto a webpage. Remember if you use images that clients like to see happy smiling staff! and a structured, well organised company, so make sure that you don’t accidentally capture your warehouse man reading the paper, or that rubbish in the corner of the office!.

Unless your business is technical or technology based then avoid long descriptions about specifications of products and what machinery you use!. Comparing equipment is only of interest to others in the same industry as you and rarely of concern or top priority clients just looking to buy and end product or obtain service. Besides they can see just how good and how neat and tidy your business looks from your pictures!.

Always display clearly your contact information, and this should include a telephone number. Avoid Hotmail and other free web email addresses such as MSN or Yahoo because this doesn’t look professional and can also be blocked by your recipients spam filter. If you have registered a domain name for your site you will be able to set up email based on this, and cutomise it to your own requirements, for example:- [email protected] or [email protected] . Offering an enquiry form on your website is also a good idea, since it will prevent your email address being copied from your site to be used for Spam (Unsolicited Emails), and ensure that you have all of the relevant information from the client to be able to quote accurately.

Getting your site onto the search engines is the hardest part of the exercise, and this may take between 3 and 12 months to get a decent rank. The more you promote your site the easier it is, and the more successful the results. Simply submitting your site URL to Google’s Submit a Site page is not the most effective way of listing your site and neither is it the quickest. The most effective way of getting your site visited by Search Engines is to add your link to Existing websites of a similar theme and subject and the many online directories which already have a search engine presence.

Another very effective way of boosting search engine presence and getting your website onto search engines quicker is to swap links with other sites. Why not build a simple links page or invest in a topsites script on your website and use this to return links?. Remember that it is only polite internet etiquette to link back to websites which link to you, so it is often expected that you will have a link already in place on your own website, when you contact another webmaster and ask to add your link to his /her site!.

There are many other features which you can build into your website, such as e-commerce features including shopping carts and credit card processing facilities, if your company offers products by mail order. However adding these usually requires some detailed knowledge of website building and other skills in website code and is therefore outside of the scope of this article.

Hopefully, this website article, has given you some information on getting your business a web presence on a budget!.

Make a Business Plan for Working from Home

One of the biggest mistakes those who work from home make is neglect creating a business plan. Oftentimes they are thinking that because they work at home, a business plan does not apply to them as it would for other types of business startups where financing is needed. Of course there are home businesses that need financing to start up but oftentimes the reason why people choose a home business is because little startup capital is needed (i.e., financing). But you still need a business plan. Lets look at a few reasons why.

A business plan defines your product or service. First, you need to decide what products or services you are going to offer when you work from home. You need to take your business idea and write it down. This will be the basis of further market research to test your idea. For example, lets say you make a great blue widget and decide you want to go into business and sell it. So, you declare that you will sell blue widgets. However as you do market research you find out that everyone is now buying yellow widgets and blue widgets are no longer in demand. This means in order to work at home and sell widgets, you will have to adapt to make and sell yellow ones. Our example uses imaginary widgets but you can replace widget with your idea and see if there is a market for it. Deciding what it is you want to sell or the service you want to offer now will save you expense later on.

A business plan identifies your target market. If you have no idea who your target market is for selling your product or service then you do not know where to focus advertising for your home business. Using our widget example, it could be that younger people like yellow widgets with green stripes while senior people like plain yellow widgets. With the business plan, you can write this research down so that you can refer to it as you build the marketing strategy for your home business.

A business plan identifies your competition. You have to identify your competitors and as much as possible pinpoint what they do right and how you can do it better. Remember that in order to increase the chances for success of your home business, you must have characteristics that set you apart from your competition. A business plan lets you identify what it is that will set you apart and by writing it down you can refer to it and stay on track.

A business plan defines the daily operation of your business. Your home business [http://www.beasuccesfulconsultant.com] might be a one-person shop but you still need an operational plan. For example, what are your terms of service? What are your payment policies with your clients? What are your delivery procedures? Who are your suppliers if you have them? These are just a few of the questions you will answer in a business plan for your home business.

A business plan identifies any loan requirements. As mentioned before, one of the big reasons why people set up home businesses is that the capital investment requirements are lower. However there are certain types of businesses where you might need people to invest money or you have to get a loan from a bank. These people wont even meet with if you have no business plan.

Get yourself a self-help book and read how to make a business plan [http://www.beasuccesfulconsultant.com] for your home business. It might seem labor-intensive but it will help your business be more profitable and run smoother in the long run.

What Are Interactive Apps and Widgets?

We live in a world today in which internet has exploded tons of information which can be accessed with the help of certain man made application programs by the names of interactive apps and widgets.

Interactive apps essentially speed up business processes to a great extent. These are development tools with which a developer creates internet applications. Some examples for interactive apps are Flash, Adobe etc. which help to increase web traffic to specific sites portraying state of the art technology.

In addition there are interactive apps that can be customized according to the needs of the user to share business intelligence. These multipurpose apps are called Dashboard applications. These contain tabs that help to share reports on any network.

Interactive apps and widgets have in fact brought the world closer through the World Wide Web. With the help of these online applications, it is now possible to see and learn the contents of any extensive course from any institution or university of your choice located in any part of the world.

Widgets are applications into which chunks of codes have been embedded into. They can be placed in any third party site which allows the user authorship rights. You can locate plenty of them on social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut etc. Suppose you want stock updates on your homepage in your website, a stock update widget may be placed on a web page and clicking on it will get you the latest in stock prices directly from a stock market site. It’s also possible to access the same data from another location by simply copying the embed code and pasting in the site of your choice.

There are mainly two types of widgets namely web widgets and desktop widgets. It’s the web widgets that are extensively used in SEO processes not to leave out back link campaigns. Widgets are developed using software programs such as JavaScript, HTML, Flash etc and function as downloadable applications. They are generated by widget engines like Widget Box, Snack Tools etc. Desk top widgets on the other hand can be embedded in local computers only. For example: – Apple Computer Widget.

Today there are numerous widget companies offering various management tools for controlling these embedded applications. Their use has become so widespread that you can even find them inside mobiles which are known as mobile web widgets.