Category: Website Content

Quick Tip: Use Live Text to help with SEO

Text that’s NOT part of an image is HTML text, also referred to as Live Text. Having live text is an important aspect of search engine optimization because search engines can’t read text that’s part of an image. Be sure when you’re working on your website content that your pages use live text.

Year-Round Holiday Promotions for Your Small Business

It’s always important to make sure you stay ahead of the game regarding your small business. This means taking advantage of every opportunity to boost your sales. Every holiday is a great occasion to promote your product or service. Mother’s Day is quickly coming up on May 8th, 2011. Unlike the big holiday season, these smaller holidays often leave people shopping at the last minute. They’re not thinking about Mother’s Day sales weeks ahead of time. That’s why it’s up to you to promote your Mother’s Day specials early and remind them not to forget Mom, or your website!

Timely promotions as part of your small business design is essential growing your clientele. Want an easy way to endorse your business? Consider the simple art of newsletter design to let those on your email list know what specials your company will have for Mother’s Day shoppers, or any holiday. They are not difficult to create and it’s really efficient at getting your information across to interested parties. What’s the difference between constructing a newsletter as opposed to just creating a newspaper ad or a social networking ad? It’s not that those are bad ideas either, but when you present a newsletter, you can share a lot more information than you can cram into a small, pricey ad space.

Electronic newsletters are great because if you make them yourself, it’s free! You can include everything you want your customers to know about: your promotional deals, your contact information, website link and even coupon codes. There’s no postage needed and no paper wasted. It’s a very smart way to promote small business success.

It cannot be stressed enough that when holidays or events roll around that can bring in revenue, you need to be well-prepared, ahead of time. This doesn’t mean a week before Mother’s Day; if your small business newsletter hits inboxes promoting free shipping, you would probably be too late. Try shooting for the 3-4 week mark. Finding that sweet spot that isn’t too early or late to contact customers can be discouraging, but the payoff is worth it.

Now, just because your newsletter or ad is out there for potential customers to see doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. You need to make sure your website is ready as well. Do this by making sure the promotional material or deals are listed on your homepage. Why else is this important? It not only reassures your newsletter readers that the promotion is valid, if they pass your website information on to other potential clients who didn’t get the newsletter, they’ll want to make sure they’re at the right place.

Every holiday is a reason to celebrate your small business and promote your products or services. Stay on top of upcoming promotions and let your clients know about your specials in a timely manner. If you’re interesting in learning more about newsletter writing, check out a helpful article on how to properly write newsletters for your business without having them sent to SPAM folders.

Black Hat SEO: Not Worth the Risk

Many small business owners run their websites on their own. This means they handle all of the work, including the SEO or “search engine optimization” on their own. There’s a lot of information on the web about SEO techniques to improve website traffic, but know that a lot of the information out there is not helpful and possibly even harmful. We call this: Black Hat SEO.

Link Exchanging
“Hey, put my link on your webpage and I’ll put your link on mine!” This practice of link exchanging was popular for quite a long time, but search engines are wising up. There is nothing wrong with relevant links on your website to lead visitors to other great products and services, but when you make a career out of getting reciprocal link deals, it can mean the end of your small business URL. Search engines know when link exchanging is going on and they are not a fan. This is one of the biggest SEO techniques gone bad; black hat SEO all the way. Yet, some SEO businesses are still trying to sell this tactic to business owners, promising higher page ranks and more business. Don’t fall for it. You don’t need pointless link exchanging with websites. Don’t pay for pointless links to wreck your small business website design; just say no!

Hidden Text
Once again, this trick worked back in the day, but search engines are aware of this black hat SEO practice. This is when you hide links and keywords on your website by having them be the same color as your website’s background. You can also type the list of links and written content in super small font, so it’s not “hidden,” it’s just not readable. It is still considered hidden text and is caught by the search engine bots that crawl around your website. Improve your SEO for your small business website with professional, relevant written content that contain a few keywords in each paragraph. Boost your SEO some more with a well-written blog that contains helpful and interesting content that you can also add a keyword here and there. Those are the text/link practices you want to be using.

The list of Black Hat SEO techniques goes on for miles, but just remember that a legitimate website with fresh content and realistic key wording (not key word ‘stuffing’) will get your website where it needs to go. Black hat practices almost always get you nowhere these days, and in some cases, they will get your website completely banned from search engine results.

These techniques are still being used; some “legitimate” SEO companies are trying to sell these packages to uneducated business folk. Don’t be fooled by these companies promising to help you increase your website traffic, you are throwing your hard earned money away. Remember, to have a successful website, you need fresh, well-written content with relevant keywords placed comfortably within the text. If you have trouble with writing, or simply do not have the time, hire a writer to help you out!

A Clean Website with a Clear Focus

You may have a lot to tell visitors that come to your website, but you need to know when enough is enough. Putting too much on your small business website can be distracting to your clients. Learn to focus on the important things that your customers will want to know. With well-designed, organized web pages, you should have plenty of room to say what needs to be said, and it will be appropriately placed.

The most important webpage a small business needs to tend to is the homepage. This is the first thing potential customers see. It needs to be fresh, fast-loading and it needs to be relevant. Slow graphic downloads will send people back to the search engines. If content on the home page is dated and is a few years old, it’s time to add some something new. Make a webpage for archiving if you want to keep old news on your website, but don’t have it showcased on the homepage. Out with the old and in with the new. How often should you be putting fresh content on your website? There really isn’t one right answer. If the year on the article doesn’t match the current year, pitch it.

Blinking, flashy graphics all over your homepage as part of your small business website design is also a bad idea. You would see this type of design a decade ago, but like white eye-liner and slap bracelets, it was a fad. It’s distracting to have little blinking gadgets all over your website, enticing visitors to “click here.” Now, more than ever, clean should be the theme of your website. Clean-looking websites are not only going to be well-organized, they also appear safer than the glitzy, disheveled websites of the past. Website bling (if overused) can give a sort of feel to the website that makes it seem unsafe, juvenile or selling a poor product. If the product or service is good, there is no need to bombard your website with flash, jazz and glitter. Less is more.

When your small business website design is complete, it should easily take your customers to what is important: the product. It should do it quickly, effortlessly and cleanly. It can sometimes be difficult when you’re selling a product that might not be very unique and you want that niche that makes your small business website stand out from the rest. You won’t get first place for adding banners, tickets and animations all over your website; find another way to stomp out your competition. Make sure your website is organized and ready for the 2011 business year.

Wow Your Customers with Website Design Techniques

If you’re in the small business realm, you know just how important having a well-designed, consumer-friendly website can be. The hard part is knowing what small business website design techniques are going to get you the most business. It’s one thing to have a great website, but it’s another to have one that works well for small business sales. Let’s look at a few, good methods you can implement into your business to make sure you’re taking care of the customers.

There is an unusual acronym to remember some great ways to keep your customers in mind while constructing/updating your small business website: CRAP

Consistency: Common flow/feel as visitors browse your website

Repetition: Use appropriate repetition of imagery and text throughout

Alignment: A place for everything, and everything in its place. Don’t stick anything on the website for the reason of just “having it on there.”

Proximity: Make sure you group appropriate parts of your website together. Can your clients find what they need, easily?

Color is an important aspect of your small business design. Although consistency is important, choosing the right colors are a must to help you get the sale. Customers shop with their eyes; use colors that complement each other. You want them to be agreeable with the nature of the website, but not overwhelmingly bright or annoying to look at. You also don’t want a bland color palate. Try to pick one bold color, keeping the contrasting colors more neutral.

Advertising

Many small business websites have advertising space they can control. You really want to make sure that any advertising you have on your website is relevant to your small business. If you sell handbags, your best advertising would also be in accessories, clothing, cosmetics and so on. If you have a family member who has a tree stump removal business, they have no purpose on your website, family or not.

Finally, your patrons want to know what’s in it for them. Save a webpage to talk about you and your business; leave the rest to cater to the shopper. Talk about what they’re going to get when they do business with you. Make sure to mention everything from a detailed description of the product or service, right down to your mission statement, guarantees and return policies.

As much as we may pride ourselves on the time and love we spend on our small businesses, we have to remember that the consumer tends to be a bit more “selfish.” Their concern is a getting a great deal on a product or service on a website that’s easy to use and good-looking. Remember: If you don’t take care of your customers…someone else will.