Don’t Have Time for a Website?

Websites For Businesses Who Don’t Have Time For Websites

You know the importance of your business having a presence on the internet. You may have heard or read about the buzz surrounding the new local search initiatives on the part of Google and other major search engines. Maybe you already know that 73% of all searches are somehow related to local searches and that 51% of people who search for product information characterize themselves as “shop online purchase offline.”?

There’s a huge hungry crowd of customers out there. But you just don’t have the time or resources to put up an efficient, effective website. You’re too busy doing what you do best, running your business.

Maybe you’ve done a few things like signing up with some directories. Maybe your industry has a directory service as well. You get your name and contact info out there along with millions of others. But have you ever received a lead or a sale from those efforts? Would you even know if you did?

The Challenge

Marketing is a vital part of any business. You can have the best bicycle shop, or be the best tax accountant in town but if nobody knows you exist it just doesn’t matter does it? That’s why you spend money on the yellow pages and local advertising.

But websites are different in your mind aren’t they. With the yellow pages you call your account representative, work out an ad, pay the bill and it’s done. You don’t need special skills. But a website? A website takes technical skills and knowledge of search engine optimization so it can be found. Specifically local search engine optimization so it can be found by local people who are potential customers or clients.

You simply don’t have the time for that which means you’d have to pay big bucks to outsource the job right?

The Solution

Actually the answer to that question is ”not necessarily’? There is a remarkably functional, flexible and user friendly free website software called WordPress. It is an open source platform available to everyone and millions have used it for their blogs and small businesses. The only costs associated with it are the purchase of a domain name ($10) and a hosting service ($10 a month).

WordPress websites are loved by Google because they are structured in a way that makes it easy for the Google spiders to crawl. It’s loaded with automatic features that even let the search engines know immediately when you update the site with new content.

But the design and the structure of a blog is not ideal for either the professional look of your business or, more importantly, local search.

There is a solution though that is effective both in terms of ranking in the search engines and low maintenance. The SmallBiz WordPress Theme provides a professional business theme and design that can quickly get you in front of local customers and do it with a minimum amount of time required by you. You can have an effective presence on the web without digging into the time you need to run the business. That of course does not count the time you spend responding to customer requests that are generated by the site.

If you want to take advantage of the enormous marketing power of local search, visit check it out today and at least investigate the possibilities of a search optimized website for your business.

Linda
PS I am use the SmallBiz Theme for this website!

How to Create a Mobile Website – 3 Essential Components

How to Create a Mobile Website

With the explosive growth of mobile devices it is critical that you create a mobile website that engages your mobile user! A mobile website has a totally different set of criteria compared to a traditional website designed for desktop or laptop computers.

Before you create a mobile website for your business go over these essential elements that you need to consider before embarking on this endeavor.

  1. Layout

Create your mobile website with a single column layout that is easy to consume and view. The visitor should not have to zoom in to understand what your site offers.  They should not have to zoom in or scroll to navigate your website. That is why we recommend that you use a single when you design your mobile website.create mobile website - made easy

  1. Navigation

It is absolutely critical to have “fat finger” friendly navigation buttons. There is nothing more annoying to a visitor than not being able to tap on the navigation button of choice!  Do not make your visitor zoom in to tap on a button.

Also keep the navigation options to a minimum. Think about your target audience and why they might be looking for you online.  Offers options that will relate to why they are there.  You can also use a drop-down menu as long as it is easy to use with thumbs.

There are several built-in functions that you can utilize.  Connecting your navigation for ‘tap to call’ makes it easy for your visitor to call you.  Connecting to their GPS enables your visitor to tap to find you.

  1. Graphics

Traditional websites have increasingly gotten graphic intensive as consumers more readily have high speed Internet connections. Mobile is different! Mobile users have a limited amount of data bandwidth and don’t want to blow it just looking at your website. So when you design your mobile website, use only website optimized graphics and use them sparingly.

You may have noticed that I did not mention content when listing the 3 critical aspects of creating a mobile website.  I am a firm believer that “content is king” but the use of content is different in the context of a mobile website.

When a visitor consumes content on a mobile it is scanning on steroids. They want the meat and an overview of what you are offering.  If they are interested in really consuming your information they will want to read it on a larger device.  (Always provide a link to your regular website for those who want more information now.)

In summary, when you create your mobile website, make sure that you understand what you mobile visitor is looking for and how you are going to engage them.  If is absolutely critical that you have a mobile friendly layout, navigation and minimalist approach to graphics. Provide the content they need concisely at the touch of a button.

Call us now for a free consultation on how to create an effective mobile website for your business. (Don’t let your competition steal your potential customers!) Here is more information on how to create a mobile website. If you  think you are fine, click do I need to create a mobile website, then just go look to see what your visitors see.

Mobile Marketing – Mobile Commerce is on the Rise

Is your Website Mobile Commerce Ready?

 

Mobile is not only here to stay but is growing!  If you are not thinking about how to optimize your business for mobile, your business is going to be left in the dust!mobile website made easy

If you haven’t looked at the mobile stats, you better take the time soon!

Look at:

  • The number of mobile users
  • The amount of time that mobile users spend on their phone
  • The number of searches by mobile users
  • The number of text messages by mobile users
  • The open rate of text messages (compared to email messages)
  • The number of smart phones
  • The growth rate of smart phones
  • The number of sales completed on a smart phone
  • The amount of time smart phone users spend on social media
    (Is your business where your customers are? – an important topic for another post)
  • How fast is mobile commerce growing?

 

A recent post from Mashable had some great information about mobile commerce as well as mobile stats.  They also included a great infographic on the subject:

About 30% of mobile phone users spend an average of about 27 minutes each day text messaging, using the telephone and video chatting, according to retailer CultureLabel.com. The company put together an infographic that highlights the bright outlook for the mobile commerce industry, helped along by the massive growth of smartphone adoption.

 

As CultureLabel looked to expand its own mobile strategy, the company compiled stats to reinforce the need to grow its m-commerce channel. According to its findings displayed in the online art retailer’s infographic, 5.9 billion out of the 7 billion people (87%) worldwide already have mobile phones. Smartphone sales are up 63.1% from 2010, and a whopping 488.5 million devices were sold in 2011.

Mobile commerce usage infographic

 

 

I don’t know if mobile commerce will pass e-commerce.  I don’t know how your business will be affected by these trends.  But I do know that your business needs to carefully examine the role mobile will have in your future.

Please contact us today about having a mobile friendly website – at a minimum!

What is Pinterest?

 PINTEREST –What is Pinterest?

Staying on top of the latest social media sites is a full time job! I am a little leary of jumping

what is pinterest

What is Pinterest

on every new site and wait for it to demonstrate that is has something unique to offer and some ‘staying’ power.

Along comes Pinterest.

Unique – no words – just images

Staying power – it has hit a cord with millions!   (There were about 120, 000 users about a year ago and today there are over 6 millions users!)

What is Pinterest?  Pinterest is nothing more than a virtual bulletin board where you can display and organize all the awesomes images you find while browsing.

Find a great idea for decorating your house – pin it on your  ‘home decorations’ board.
Find some fab shoes for an outfit – pin them on your ‘wish list’ or ‘shoe board’.
Find that dream vacation pic – pin it on your ‘Wish I was There!’ board.

I can tell you that it is addictive!

What is a Pin?

A pin is simply any image/photo/pic you add to your Pinterest account.

You can add a ‘pin’ from a website or from you computer.

A great way to get started is to peruse some of the boards on Pinterest and re-pin images that you like.

Let’s say that you are interested in wreaths. Just enter the term ‘wreath’ in the search on the Pinterest home page and you will find more pictures on a variety of wreaths than you can imagine.  Scroll through and simple click on the images that you like and re-pin them to a relevant board.

You will want to install a ‘Pin It” button on your browser  to make it easy to pin images you find while browsing the web. (Just go to the “Goodies” page and find instructions specific for you browser.)

How to Get Started…  Coming soon..

To get a Mind Map on Pinterest, please send an email to pinterest!@aweber.com or use the form on the right.

Should We Create a Mobile Version of Our Website?

Should We Create a Mobile Version of Our Website?

If you have wondered about whether or not you need a mobile website for your business, you need to watch this video! NOT

Ok, here Matt sounds like a politician where he really doesn’t answer the questions!

The answer: it depends… if you have mobile users searching for you business then a mobile website is imperative!  If  mobile users are not searching for you then, it would be nice to accommodate mobile users but not critical.

There are two different posts on how to handle mobile sites.

 

If you have any questions, please comment below.

Linda
PS Mobile Website Design Demo – Dentist

Mobile website design dentist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply scan the image on your smartphone and you will be taken to the demo site.

Indexing a Mobile Website – Video

Indexing your new mobile site

Video by Google’s Matt Cutts

I just watched this video by Matt Cutts, a well-known Google reprsentative. In this video he explainsMobile Website for Integrity Piano

  •  Googlebot has a specific user agent – Googlebot-mobile
  • Use a separate URL for your mobile site
  • Serve up your regular website for the Googlebot and your mobile site for Googlebot-mobile

Questions to ask your mobile web designer:

  1. Does the redirect script differentiate be Googlebot and Googlebot-mobile?
  2. What is the URL of my mobile site?
  3. Does the robots.txt file allow the Googlebot-mobile?
Helping you get found!
Linda
New mobile website design demo: Spa
Mobile website design deom for spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Use a mobile scanner to see the mobile version.)

Getting Your Mobile Website Indexed

Mobile Web Design – Helping Google Index Your Mobile Website

As with a regular website, you want your new mobile website design to found by the search engines!Newtown Christian Fellowship Mobile Website

Here are a few basics you need to consider:

  • Mobile Sitemap – a mobile sitemap contains all pages that are mobile optimized. There are a few differences from your current website but your mobile web designer should be able to take care of creating a mobile sitemap for your mobile website.
  • Accept mobile bots – make sure your robots.txt file accepts mobile search bots.  The Google bot is: “Googlebot-Mobile”
  • Mobile Friendly – your mobile site has to conform to certain standards.   Check that your mobile-friendly URLs’ DTD (Doc Type Definition) declaration is in an appropriate mobile format such as XHTML Mobile or Compact HTML.
Here is what Google says about mobile site indexing:
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It seems the world is going mobile, with many people using mobile phones on a daily basis, and a large user base searching on Google’s mobile search page. However, as a webmaster, running a mobile site and tapping into the mobile search audience isn’t easy.
Mobile sites not only use a different format from normal desktop site, but the management methods and expertise required are also quite different. This results in a variety of new challenges. As a mobile search engineer, it’s clear to me that while many mobile sites were designed with mobile viewing in mind, they weren’t designed to be search friendly.
I’d like to help ensure that your mobile site is also available for users of mobile search.
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Once you have made sure that your mobile website is indexed, go to the Google mobile search engine and search for your business.   (http://www.google.com/m/)
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Linda
PS New Mobile Website Design Demo Available: Attorney
View on Mobile phone:

Mobile Websites: Mobile Users & TV

Mobile Internet Users Multi-Tasking

There are many companies that study the how consumers use their smartphone as well as the environment in which they use their phones.

  • Are they using mobile Internet while in their cars?
  • Are they at work?
  • Are they at home?
A recent study by On Device Research has found that a third of mobile Internet users browse while watching TV!
Here is a summary of their findings:

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The explosion of mobile internet usage has enabled the mobile advertising opportunity, but as most advertising planners know, truly engaging advertising doesn’t work in silos, it works together.

The findings show that:

  • A third of mobile internet users also watch TV whilst browsing via their mobile.
  • Of these consumers 91% either use their mobile to research or directly purchase items via their mobile phone.
  • Contrary to popular belief most mobile internet interactions happen in the home

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You should be asking yourself, how can I jump on the mobile bandwagon?  Well if you are a business owner you need to have a mobile website!

I am not talking about scrunching down your current website so it fits on a smartphone.  I am talking about having a mobile optimized website.  Your mobile website should have the key information that your prospects are looking for.

In fact if you can deliver what you market wants before your competitors you are will get first mover advantage!

Your mobile website doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. It just has to have what your potential customers are searching for!

You don’t have to change your current website!  Just have your website designer add some code which detects whether your visitor is on a mobile browser.  If they aren’t, the user is directed to your main website. If they are a mobile user then they are sent to your mobile website.

The problem is that most business owners don’t realize that mobile websites can be relatively easy and are very affordable!

Think through what your potential customers may be looking for while they are watching TV. How can you solve their problems?  How can you get your solution in front of them?

Mobile usage is only growing and you need to have a mobile optimized website in order to start engaging them.  The will just leave a traditional website!  Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for… Make it easy for them to navigate your mobile website,,, Make it each for them to take action.

Mobile Websites: Internet Will Be Bigger Than Desktop

Mobile Website Design is Critical

At the end of 2009, almost two years ago, Morgan Stanley published a report:

The Mobile Internet Report: Ramping Faster than Desktop Internet, theMobile Website Internet Report Morgan Stanley Mobile Internet Will Be Bigger than Most Think

Morgan Stanley did a thorough job of analyzing the mobile market and you can certainly read the entire 96 page report. (Link at the end of the article.)

As a business owner here are some of the key take-aways that you need to understand to grow your business.

  1. The mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015
    The mobile web is growing faster that desktop  and will continue to grow way beyond desktop usage.
  2. The growth of global wireless data is expected to grow 29% per year
  3. The mobile platforms are raising the bar for mobile users allowing them to connect and communicate in an unprecedented way.
Now you need to evaluate what potential the mobile trend has on your bottom line.
First is your business the type that would be searched for while on a smartphone?
If you are a local business, then there is a 90% chance that your audience may be looking for you while on their mobile phone.
Secondly you want to know the top 2-5 things your mobile user is looking for.  Your mobile website should NOT be a miniature of your regular website.
(For a report on the five most common mobile website mistakes read the last paragraph.)
Give your mobile visitors exactly what they are looking for.
  • Do they want to call you? Give them a touch to call.
  • Do they want to know your hours? Give them your hours on the home page.
  • Do they want directions? Give them touch for directions
  • Do they want to make reservations? Give them touch to call
  • Do they want to know this weeks special? Give them your ‘specials’
What happens when a mobile user goes to a non mobile friendly website?  They hit the back arrow!  You have just lost a potential customer!
Now, on the other hand, if a mobile user comes to your mobile friendly website, you have just gotten your foot in the door. And you are light years ahead of your competitors!
Carpe diem – Seize the day!
If you could go back 10, 20 years, would you invest in Google… or Apple?  Of course you would. You can now lead the way in your market by being a first mover.  It isn’t that difficult!
We can help you create your fast and affordable mobile website.

Email Marketing – Developing Customer Loyalty?

Are You Missing the Boat with Developing Customer Loyalty?

If you are not collecting information from your current customers, you are missing the boat!Email Marketing & Customer Loyalty

Why? Because every customer who comes in your door has the potential to come in on a repeat basis if you give them the right incentive. If you are not collecting their information when they come in the door then you may never see them again.

Have you noticed that different websites offer you free information in exchange for your name and email. This is typically called an ethical bribe.

The website owner offers you something of value.  If they are good at marketing, they will offer something that is relevant to why you landed on the website.  It is an offer that interests you then all you have to do is give them some information.  In most cases this is just your name and email.

Have you thought about why they ask for this information?  They know that they may never see you again!
They know that there are millions of places you can go for information and they want to be able to continue
to give you value so that you are inclined to come visit again and eventually buy from them.

As a local business owner, you are no different.  Customers arrive at you place of business for a variety of
reasons.  They may have seen a print advertisement in a magazine, newspaper or flyer.  They may have
seen a coupon in paper.  Maybe they found you in the Yellow Page.  More often people are now searching
online for local information.

You have paid money to bring in customers and now you want to keep them coming back. You can do this
by offering coupons through emails.  It isn’t hard to do but you do need the name and email of your  customer.

There are a variety of ways you can do this. The easiest is to have a form for the customer to fill out while
they are paying for their merchandise.  Remember you need to give them an incentive to sign up. You could
offer a coupon that they can use on their next visit.

Every so often you could send different incentives to bring your customers back.  You can also offer news,
tips and information that will help your customer make better buying decisions or will educate them in some
way.

The key is to offer value!  This is a great way to begin to develop a relationship with customers and keep
them coming back.