Business

Your Website Should Help Your Business – Not Hinder It

It is now rare that you will see a successful business that doesn’t have a strong approach towards its web presence and influence. Many of the strategies which might well have been considered revolutionary only a few years ago are now basic flatline essentials, and it can be hard for new entrepreneurs and business gurus to keep up to date. But staying at the forefront of web design is important if you want your business to remain competitive. The only question that matters is: is your website helping your business, or harming it?

The Host With The Most

Most of what you need to ensure a strong and reliable website happens behind the scenes. Web design and appearance is important, as we shall see, but you first need to lay the foundation for your website – and what better place to start than with the hosting? One of the first decisions you will make is what hosting service to use, and it can immediately seem like something of a minefield. It is helpful to focus on a few key aspects which you generally want from your hosting. A chief quality to look out for is support; as long as you have that, you don’t need to worry. If you have heard about hostgator support you will know that it can make all the difference. You should also look into how much storage you are getting – it’s best not to have to switch things up too early. As long as you are happy with the host, it is likely you will get off to a good start with your business’ website.

What’s Its Function?

You need to decide early on what kind of function your website is going to serve. For some businesses, it is a matter of simply advertising the brand. This surface level marketing is a particularly quick and easy way to set up a website, and it also has the distinct benefit of requiring very little in the way of maintenance. If you run an ecommerce business, however, it is likely that the website itself will act as a store, in which case much more work will be required. Whatever it is that your website will do, you need to make sure that it is clear to you and your team in the beginning. Knowing the function means that you can effectively build it much faster.

The Secrets Of SEO

These days, SEO is so everyday and well-known that everyone does it to some degree or another. However, there are still many techniques bubbling away under the surface which you might want to look into. The more you know about how SEO actually works, the more likely it is that your website will receive the kinds of numbers of visitors you hope for. That will mean that your business itself is benefiting much more from the website, and that is exactly what you are after here.

By paying attention to these three areas in particular, you can ensure that your website does much more for your business – and more efficiently too.

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Business

Out Of Site: Why Customers Aren’t Coming Back To Your Website

The need for your business to have a website is something that most people just take as a given at this point. It’s actually kind of amazing how much we take for granted something that only the biggest and most advanced businesses were using even a decade ago. Thanks to the rise of services that allow you to create a website without knowing even the slightest bit of code, any small business owner is now in a position to get a website up and running in less than a single evening.

This is useful because without a website your business is likely to be pretty much doomed. What might have been a neat optional extra not that long ago is now one of the central aspects of your marketing, promotion, and commerce. Without a website, it’s hard for customers to even find your business, not only that but there’s a pretty common perception that without a website your business isn’t worth taking seriously.

So every business owner is aware of the importance of having a website in the first place, but it’s surprisingly common for them to drop the ball when it comes to thinking any further ahead than that. It’s not just about having a website; it’s about creating a website that customers are actually going to be interested in visiting time and time again. This is one of the most common problems that many small businesses have. They might have decent traffic to their website, but it’s rare that customers are actually returning to it. As important as new customers are, you should never neglect the need to for customers to keep coming back over and over. With that in mind, here are a few surprisingly simple reasons why customers aren’t coming back to your website.

Bad design

It might sound shallow, but it’s human nature to be interested in things that are visually engaging. After all, the design of your website is always going to be the first thing that customers see. They’ll have taken in the overall visual aesthetic well before reading and engaging with any of the content on it. Because of this, it really can’t be overstated how important the design of your website is. Think about some of the most successful companies in the world. A company like Apple has thrived almost entirely based on its design alone. Everything from its products to its website has a consistently sleek, elegant design that customers love. It’s an unfortunate fact that if your website is badly designed, hard to navigate, or just plain ugly, customers are going to lose interest in it. Not only that but a bad website reflects really poorly back on your business as a whole. The best thing to do is to hire a professional web designer to help you create a visually engaging and attractive site.

Poor functionality

Of course, even the more beautiful website in the world isn’t going to get much repeat traffic is it’s practically unusable. We live in an incredibly fast-paced world, and customers simply don’t have the patience to sit around waiting for web pages to load anymore. You need to make sure that your site runs quickly and smoothly, even during high traffic periods. Whether you’re implementing some performance tools for Java or optimizing CSS delivery, there are plenty of things that you can do to make your website run more quickly and smoothly. Don’t let your site get bogged down in flashy gimmicks and graphics either. Not only do they look incredibly dated but they often make your website far more difficult to navigate. Keep it simple and make sure that customers have access to all of the areas of the site that they really need.

Lack of content

Your customers are pretty unlikely to keep coming back to a totally static web page that never gets updated. Of course, if you’re running an ecommerce store from your website then they’re more likely to come back, but it’s still important to keep your site constantly updated with fresh content. For one thing, the more new content that you upload to your website, the better your SEO is going to be. If you leave it too long without adding anything to it, then you’re going to see your site slipping down the rankings. But content isn’t just a matter of search engine rankings; it’s a matter of customer engagement. You’ve got to be able to write meaningful and interesting content that your customers actually want to read. If you can provide them with that, they’re going to keep coming back time and time again.

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Business

Green Lights: Signs That Your Blog Could Start Making Money

Anyone who starts a blog probably does so with the knowledge that it could turn into a money spinning opportunity. Online advertising, ecommerce opportunities, and a lot more besides are all common knowledge these days.

That said, the first few months of starting a blog are always a little difficult, and making a dime or two can seem a long way off. And, despite what you hear, there are no quick fixes for getting rich with a blog, especially when it’s new. The big question for bloggers is; when is a blog ready to make money?

The good news is there are clear green lights that will arise once your blog is finally in a place where you can start earning – and we’re going to go through some of them with you today.

There is a genuine interest in what your blog is about

The golden rule of blogging is to write about your audience’s interests. Sure, you need to love what you are doing, too, but if your speciality is too niche, you will struggle to get visitors – therefore things like Google’s Adsense or Amazon affiliation will earn you next to nothing. So, make sure that your chosen topic has some popularity, but also offers something interesting and original to say.

You have a substantial amount of visitors

If you are struggling to get traffic, your blog will not be an attractive proposition to anyone, and it will be difficult to attract advertising prospects. So, until your blog has excellent ‘viewing figures’ – including thing as like bounce rate and time spent on page – you probably aren’t going to earn anything like real money.

You have a good email list

Building an email list is the single most important thing you can do when it comes to blogging. It gives you instant access to people that are already interested in what you have to say – all you need to focus on is giving them more of what they want. With your email list, you can encourage people to visit your site, introduce them to products or services, and even use it to help you sell more affiliate products.

You have a high-quality website

Be careful to ensure your blog is hosted on an excellent website. User experience is becoming more important than ever these days, and a poor quality site that looks dated and is hard to use won’t do you any favors. These days, it’s possible to create a marketplace website without coding at all. Drag and drop templates seem to be becoming more popular as times go by, and services are certainly far better than they used to be – so take a look around and see what you can find, to give your blog the home it deserves.

You promote your content (with success)

Even the best bloggers in the world need to promote their content, so unless you are doing so – and having success – you won’t be able to give up the day job just yet. Spreading the word on social media, and creating shareable posts and interesting info will help your blog grow.

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How To

The Basics of Building a Website

Read below to learn all about the ABCs of building your own website:

Set Goals

Committing yourself to building a website from scratch is just like committing yourself to most other ventures in life. You must have goals, a vision, and a long-term strategy for your site. Without these, your site will most likely go nowhere. Or you could spend all your money redesigning your site over and over again every time you change your mind. Therefore, write down the goals and hopes you have for your site. Make sure that these are realistic first.

Get Your Own Domain Name

Before you start the site design process, you must obtain your own domain name. Having your site hosted on someone else’s will not do, unless your target audience is extremely limited, to your family for example. Therefore, come up with a simple and memorable domain name for your site. Use an online tool to ensure that this name is not too similar to another site’s. Then get a domain extension, usually provided by the server you hire. When you hire a server, check their web reviews first.

Brainstorm

You will first need to brainstorm design ideas for your site. You might come up with a thousand ideas or nothing at all. Get inspiration from acclaimed sites you can find online. Also, you must check out the sites created by the competition. See what they are doing, and make sure not to do something that looks awfully similar.

Open Source Design

You will mostly likely need a content management system (CMS) to design your site. Three are essentially two different kinds of CMSs: proprietary, which charge licensing fees from users, and free, which charge nothing for basic designs. Popular CMSs like WordPress are free. You can use such a service for your site to cut costs. However, if your site needs an advanced design or specific components, a proprietary CMS that has all the features you need will be worth the money.

Make Site Mobile Compatible

Most users browse sites on their handheld mobile devices. Therefore, if your site is not compatible with mobile phones, you are losing out on millions of potential visitors. Therefore, use a design template that is compatible with Androids and iPhones. You should also think about creating an app to complement your site.

Start Creating Content Early

The content on your site will be blog posts, pictures, product descriptions and so on. All this material should be prepared well in advance, so when the design layout is done, content can be uploaded instantly. Do not send your site online with missing content. You will gain a bad reputation even before you have started.

Often Ask “Why”

If you are adding or removing a component from your design layout, always ask ‘why’ first. Why is a good question to ask whenever you have to make a decision regarding your website? Doing so will minimise the risk of you making a mistake.

Hire Professionals Whenever Necessary

If you have no prior experience doing something, or if your skills are subpar, do not hesitate to hire a professional to get the task done appropriately. Spending a little money now on expert input is better than losing visitors in the future because of bad quality.

Before you go on about designing your own site, learn all of the above until you know them like the back of your hand.

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Business

6 Ways High Street Shops Can Influence Your Website Design

Working on a new website for your business? If so, there is a lot of inspiration you can take from physical retail outlets and high street stores. There are plenty of similarities between a successful store and a profitable website. We’re going to go through some of the most important factors with you today.

They look clean, tidy and welcoming

When you walk into a successful and popular high street store, they look clean and tidy. There is no clutter anywhere, and they have a clear definition of sections and product areas. You have to treat your website the same, to make it easy for your customers to focus in on the information they need. Avoid busy and cluttered design that makes it hard for people to see what you do straight away. You only have a few seconds to make an impression – it’s vital that you make them count.

It’s easy to find things

It’s simple to find what you’re looking for in a high street store. Signage will point you to the right department, and it’s clear to everyone where they need to go. Make sure the same can be said about your online presence with clear and obvious navigation. Signpost anything that your customers might want to see. Consider everything from your best selling products to your different services and departments.

It’s up to date

When you walk into an offline shop, you will notice if things look dated or aren’t being looked after properly. It’s the same principle for an online store or ecommerce site. You should look to refresh your site with the help of a Website Design Company every so often. If it looks just like it did 3-4 years ago, it’s unlikely to fit with current trends.

It’s helpful

In a physical store, you have lots of employees to help give your customers vital information and a lot of help about products and services. You don’t have that online, of course. But, you do have lots of tools to help, such as blogs, product descriptions, and FAQ pages. Make sure you give your customers everything they need in the form of helpful blog posts and preempt all their questions.

It’s in a good location

The location is critical to the success of any retail outlet. The closer a shop is to the high street, the more footfall it will see from passing trade. You have to take this concept to your online store, too – through using SEO. SEO can get you that high street location, and pull in visitors who are looking for the products you sell.

It’s easy to pay

Finally, successful stores understand that they have to make it easy for their customers to pay and leave. Of course, there will be times when the queues go crazy – especially over the Christmas period. But, good stores offer a variety of payment options these days. The will all have the sales desk, of course, but some may have handheld terminals to use on the shop floor. There are self-pay terminals, too, of course. Think about this when you design your site and give people several ways to pay for your products. Don’t just take cards, but also think about using PayPal or similar services.

Image Credit: Matthew Dixon

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How To

How To Make More Money From Your Website

If you have a website, then it’s a great way for you to make money. Selling things online can lead to lots of profits. And, there are ways for you to take things further, and start earning even more. If you want to know how to make more money from your website, then read the article below:

Advertise

The easiest way to make more money from your website is to advertise on it. If you haven’t already got ads on your site, then you need to get some. The represent a great way for you to generate secondary income. And, if you have some, then maybe you can add more, or find better ones? Look for advertising services that pay you more for the ads they put on your site. Likewise, you might find more success by contacting companies personally. Get into contact with people and let them know you’ve got space for them to advertise. Maybe you can offer them a priority contract? Give them the biggest ad space on your homepage, the place most people will see it. This entices them to pay more, and you earn some extra money.

Improve CRO

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is crucial for making money. If you have good CRO, then more of your visitors will become customers. It’s something that I think a lot of people don’t understand or tend to forget. They put all their efforts into increasing web traffic and don’t think about CRO. You could have thousands of people visiting your site each day. But, out of these people, only one hundred could become customers. By improving CRO, you could change this so five hundred become customers, or even more. Naturally, getting more customers, every day, leads to an increase in money made. Improving CRO can be very technical and involves lots of research and testing. You need to do things like AB split testing and conduct data analysis. But, the result of all this is that you have a website that functions a lot better. Instead of wasting your impressive web traffic, you’re making more money, every day.

Start A Blog

Personally, I think that everyone should have a blog on their website. They’re just so beneficial and make your life a lot easier. With a blog, you can write articles and post content relevant to your website. How does this help you make more money? Well, for starters, you could write sponsored blog posts. Companies could get in contact with you and pay you to write something promoting them. This is a handy way to make some extra cash. But, I advise you to be careful with the sponsored posts you accept. The last thing you want is to promote a rival company selling the same things as you. Furthermore, a blog can help with the first two ideas too. You have more space on your website by adding a blog. Therefore, more places to put adverts. Also, people will come to your blog to read your articles. Once there, you can persuade them to buy things during the articles. As a result, your CRO can increase.

Use this advice and you’ll soon maximize your earnings!

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How To

How to Make Your Website More Appealing to Visitors

Every modern business requires a website. A business without a website does not have much credibility. In this tech savvy day and age, such a company might as well not exist. The majority of people who want information about your business will head directly to your website with their queries.

Of course this means that your web site must also be appealing to users. It must encourage them to visit your site and to explore further once they are there. This is where the blueprint of the site comes into play. To ensure that you create the best website possible, hire a Pattaya web design company that will build the site for you. This way your website will have structure and be more aesthetically appealing. There are still some things you should monitor, however, as the site is compiled:

Organize Your Pages

Your potential consumers can only benefit from your site if they are able to make sense of it. To make the website more appealing, it needs to be organized in a logical manner. You should figure out the structure that you want your pages to follow. Make sure that it will make sense to your users, not just to you. Have several directories, and even sub-directories for maximum organization.

Your homepage should provide newcomers with a brief outline as to your company’s purpose. They must be able to know exactly what products you are selling or services you are providing after reading that page. This page determines whether or not a user will go further into a site so make it good. If you frequently add articles or announcements to your site, it is better if you archive them according to the date. It will make the site less disorderly.

Create a Navigation System

When users visit a site, they usually have a specific goal in mind. There is a certain aspect of your business that they would like to view. You should make it as easy as possible for your visitors to find what they are looking for. This is why an appropriate navigation system is an important part of your website. This will help your user to maneuver your site.

Menu lists, tabs, and site maps are all excellent ways of guiding your potential customer through your platform. They will be able to quickly and easily locate what they are looking for. You can further improve on this function by having a search option. This will allow the visitor to type in the search term and have it highlighted on your website.

Make it Appealing

Packaging matters. If your website does not look nice or looks like it was thrown together, people will not want to visit it. The quality of your content should be reflected in how you present it. The design of your site should be based on the product or service that you are providing as well as your target audience.

If you want to cater to an older, more distinguished audience, your site should be more professional. If your intended audience is younger and your company feel is more fun, have a relaxed site with engaging videos and images. Remember that it is the appeal of your website that will get you those initial visitors.

Websites are an important aspect of your business and should be treated as such. You should spend a considerable amount of time and effort perfecting your site. It is the platform through which people will view your entire company.

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Business

Quick Tips for Better Online Visibility

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a company, a freelancer or an aspiring student, a prolific presence on the Internet can only help in your ventures. Online presence is unavoidable in this day and age.  You probably already have more than one social media profile and maybe even a blog. Unfortunately, so do your competitors. You will have to be a bit more web savvy to stand above the fray, or at least to not fade into obscurity. Building up an online reputation will take time, effort and a whole lot of patience. You will, however, have to start somewhere, so here are several useful tips for marketing yourself:

Create a professional website

A professional website is not the same as your blog or LiveJournal account. The difference is in the audience: your personal websites, if you have any, are for viewing by friends and family, while the website for your freelancing career or small business is intended to be seen by the whole world. Entrepreneurs who run companies should never use personal social media profiles, blogs or web pages for business purposes. You can market your products on your personal Twitter by all means, but the product really should also have its own official site. This is why you should begin by designing a professional website. Do a Google search, like “web design company Sydney” for example, to find a local service provider if you are unable to do so yourself. It’s all right if your business website doesn’t look the way you want it to from the first go. The secret is to keep improving the site with little user-friendly additions over time.

Blog

The blog you keep about your cats is not sufficient to promote your business or your career prospects as a freelancer. Once you design a professional website, you will need a tie-in blog to write about your products, services and anything else that might interest your target audience. You can start a blog for free on Blogger or WordPress. It’s important that all the content on your blog is well-written and interesting. Professionals without any writing experience should hire a coach or outsource all content generation to an actual writer. Post only pictures that you own the rights to, or are free to distribute for commercial purposes. Never, ever plagiarize content from other sites, as this will get your blog blacklisted and possibly sued in a real court.

Chances are rare that you already have a successful blog, but if you do, you can begin to promote your business there, as long as the content remains relevant. There’s little sense in promoting self-published books about trekking on a blog dedicated to fashion. You should decide if cross-promotion would work in a certain context.

Post frequently

Post daily on your social media profiles and blog to keep your site trending and relevant.  No one likes to linger long on a blog or a Facebook profile that hasn’t been updated in months. You want to give your target audience the impression that you are always here catering to their needs. New material attracts new users and garners better search engine rankings. That’s why you should take an hour or two each day to update your website and social media sites.

Your online presence will gradually build up with the right tools mentioned above. Update everything frequently, and keep up with the latest trends and ultimately you will have the prolific online presence you’ve always wanted.

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