5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need Websites

Do you run a small business and are not sure whether you should have a website?

In this article, USA TODAY CLASSIFIEDS BLOG explain that even the smallest business could benefit from having a website. Why?

5 Reasons Why Small Businesses Need Websites

 

1. Credibility – Consumers Expect Web Presence

2. Brand Development – A Strong Narrative Sells & Generates More Leads

3. Marketing – SEO Is a Marketing Powerhouse – Content Is a Commodity

4. Competition – Small Businesses Need to Compete with Consumer Expectations

5. Control – A Small Business Can Expand Beyond Local Borders

 

5 REASONS WHY SMALL BUSINESSES NEED WEBSITES

 

How often do you search for products and services online before looking in the Yellow Pages?

More times than not, you probably use the Internet for most of your needs as a consumer. Even the Yellow Pages made the big transition from print to cyberspace.

With everything going digital, how well are small businesses coping?

In short, businesses that have a web presence perform better than those that don’t. It seems that in this day and age, even the smallest of businesses could benefit from websites.

How?

Here are 5 reasons why small businesses need websites!

1. Credibility

It’s more common for businesses to have websites than it is not to. As a result of this, consumers are generally turned off by companies that don’t have a web presence.

This is one of the biggest reasons why small businesses need websites.

A website not only puts the business out there and makes itself known. Because modern consumers expect it, it instantly gives a business credibility.

Consumers Expect Web Presence

Even businesses that do have websites can still leave bad impressions on web consumers.

Think about when you have come across outdated websites…

Old design and layout. Poor use of colors and font. Spelling errors. The whole nine yards of a bad website.

You probably click away every time you encounter one of these ancient sites.

And unfortunately, a lot of small business owners succumb to this because they don’t have the skills nor the time to design a functional website.

Luckily, website builders and developers can help businesses look both legitimate and professional. In the digital era, this is a wise and a practically necessary investment for both big and small businesses alike.

2. Brand Development

When people think of branding, they usually think about a logo.

It’s true that a logo is a big part of a company’s image. But it’s so much more than that.

A brand is the entity of a business. It’s what comes – and stays – alive in the minds of consumers.

It not only makes a business recognizable from the rest. It’s the personality that consumers come to know and trust.

A Strong Narrative Sells & Generates More Leads

A website is the most relevant and useful platform to make this personality known. There’s hardly a limit to how a company develops its brand online.

Businesses can both illustrate and reflect their brands with design, layout, and content. But most importantly, they can more easily tell their story.

People, in general, like stories. And consumers are the same way. When they buy a product or service, in a way, they become part of the brand and its story.

3. Marketing

Long gone are the days of billboard and radio advertisements.

Whenever a person searches for something online, they get a long list of websites to click on.

While this is great news for websites that rank higher, it’s not so good for those that rank lower. And small businesses are usually the ones that don’t fare well on search engine result pages.

With lower visibility, it becomes harder to compete and generate more web traffic. But with SEO and digital marketing, small businesses can rank higher.

SEO Is a Marketing Powerhouse

When a website is chock full of 404 errors and slow page loading times, web users are more likely to click away and move onto the next website.

This is one of the things that affect how a website ranks on search engines. Search engines not only favor websites with more web traffic. They also favor ones that maintain their web traffic.

Websites that implement strategic keywords in their web content tend to rank higher, as well. These keywords are the terms and phrases that web users search for.

Content Is a Commodity

The Internet is a trove of information. Because of this, information has become a commodity that’s both valuable to the consumer and a business.

Content is a big reason why small businesses need websites. And websites provide the most optimal space for content.

By providing information in the form of keyword content, businesses can better sell themselves to consumers. If the consumer “buys” into a business’s information, they’re more likely to end up buying the business’s actual products and services.

Keywords make up a large component in Google’s PageRank algorithm. By applying keywords into their content, websites optimize and make themselves more visible.

4. Competition

Competition is fiercely digital these days. This is a big reason why small businesses need websites.

The majority of small businesses have an online presence. Whether they have a website, social media accounts, or both, small businesses, in general, have caught on.

But those that don’t have a website simply can’t compete with the companies that do.

Online consumers are only going to see the businesses that have websites.

That means all other businesses that don’t have a web presence will stay in the dark. Meanwhile, businesses with websites will outshine them.

Small Businesses Need to Compete with Consumer Expectations

Additionally, consumers don’t take businesses seriously if they don’t have a web presence. To them, if businesses aren’t investing in web presence, they must not care about their performance.

To consumers, this translates into poor business. And they don’t want to waste their time and money on low-quality products and services.

Instead, they’d rather invest their money on something worthwhile. Or, at least, on a business that takes itself seriously.

5. Control

With websites, small business owners are at the wheel. They can drive and control what people see and how they’re perceived.

There is also a lot of data available on a website. It’s easy to see where your audience logs in from, at what time, and what they searched for to get there.

This is powerful for small business owners. There’s less guesswork and more concrete evidence on people’s behavior and thought patterns.

Website owners can see how long their audience stays logged onto a page. They can see which keywords they searched for. They can also see which sites they go to after theirs.

Social media and discussion forums have also made it easier to understand audiences. Business owners can then target their audience with engaging and well-researched content.

A Small Business Can Expand Beyond Local Borders

With web tools like Google Analytics, it’s possible for small businesses to see where their audience is logging in from.

Even if a local company can generate traffic from out of state (or even out of the country), why wouldn’t they try to sell that far beyond?

It means more eyes are seeing their business, and ultimately, more business is to be had.

Understanding Why Small Businesses Need Websites

29% of small businesses still don’t have a website. That’s more than a quarter of small businesses still left in the dark, unable to compete and get the recognition they deserve!

Do you own a small business? Are you part of the 29% that still doesn’t have a web presence?

Don’t let your business stay in the dark another day! Get your website up and running today.

(Source USA TODAY CLASSIFIEDS BLOG)

The Definitive List of SEO Trends to Prepare for in 2019

Today I’m sharing from a Wix blog post which I always find nice and clearly written.

I used to make my websites mainly on Wix and  – although I have moved on to WordPress now, I still like many things about Wix, one of them their blog posts. 

 

 

01. Mobile’s on first

Mobile devices are getting upgraded to first class aboard the Google search plane. In March 2018, the company announced the rollout of something called the mobile-first index.

02. Adopt the featured snippets* look

(*the paragraph excerpt perched above the more classic blue-linked listings on the SERPs, often appearing in response to a question.)

Put this trend into action:
Escalating to featured snippets level will involve going a bit beyond your standard keyword research. Here, your task is to find the exact question words that might introduce a search. For this, you can use a tool like Answer the Public. Once you have your question words down and are clear about what kind of snippet your page is ripe for, you can start formulating your page’s written content to fit.

Or, if you’re going for a list featured snippet, make each item on the list an H2 or H3 subheader. Known as heading tags, these elements catch Google’s eye more than regular text.

03. The new video carousels

This past June 15, Google switched out the static three-video display for a more wide-ranging video carousel. The new version allows users to keep on scrolling through around eight separate listings. If you weren’t already convinced that video marketing is a must, now you have proof.

Put this trend into action:
The process to do so is quite similar to landing your page in the featured snippets from step two. It requires first doing some good keyword research, then formulating those words into likely questions a curious mind might pose to Google’s search box, and, finally, structuring your video’s title and description to reflect what you’ve found out. Hint: ‘How To’ videos have had a lot of success making it on these carousels.

04. Brand reputation

How the Internet perceives the trustworthiness of your brand can have a tangible impact on Google’s decision to favorably display your page… or not. One common method for demonstrating your reliability as a brand is through something called backlinking. That’s when external sites link to yours, which is like Google speak for ‘voting’ for your site. The more link votes you get, the more legit your web presence seems.

However, backlinking’s influence – while still important – is being surpassed.

Taking first place as a ranking factor, is direct website visits.

Put this trend into action:
One way you can bolster your brand image is through ordinary mentions of your name across the Web, even if it’s not accompanied by a link. That means showing up in relevant Facebook forums or discussion posts and mentioning your brand. Another way is maintaining an active social media presence for your business, especially when it comes to customer support. Engage with clients who ask questions on your social channels, and show the world not only that you exist, but that you’re actively involved in your field.

Those are all good signs to Google that your brand would make a good recommendation high up in the SERPs. Finally, consider reaching out to social media influencers who you think would rep your brand well. Taken together, these strategies will spin a web of brand mentions across the Internet, sending a clear message to Google that you exist and are well-trusted.

05. Produce quality content

Many SEO experts are speculating that Google’s August 1, 2018 broad core algorithm update has something to do with a more advanced ability to evaluate how much websites are meeting the company’s E-A-T standards – this acronym stands for Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness.

Put this trend into action:
E-A-Ting up at the competition is about offering your web visitors fascinating blog posts, thorough knowledge bases, and engaging video materials. Find the format that fits your industry, and make it a New Year’s resolution to devote time and energy to delivering new, quality ideas for content on a regular basis. Within this content, remember to offer internal links to other pages on your website. Doing so directs Google bots to more of your material faster than they might have gotten there on their own. It also guides visitors farther into your website, as they start swinging from one link to the next like a little kid on the monkey bars. All of this is good for getting your site noticed, and signaling to Google that people like hanging out at your place.

06. Website security

If you’re a Google Chrome user, have you noticed recently how a little message or a lock icon will pop up in the left hand corner of the URL bar? And, super alarmingly, sometimes this corner starts frantically waving a red flag. “Not Secure,” it says. Although, if you ask us, it feels like Google is shouting at us: “Turn back at all costs!” Definitely not a reassuring welcome to a website.

These messages are a result of a July 2018 Google security update, whose implementation means non-HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) sites now load with that warning, plus are seen less favorably in Google’s ranking preferences. Overall, this is great news. HTTP websites leave users’ data more vulnerable to being accessed or manipulated by outsiders. As Internet users ourselves, it’s good to know that Google is takings steps to ensure our security online.

Put this trend into action:
Enable HTTPS on your website.

07. Get inside Google’s (Rank)Brain

Put this trend into action:
Getting more people to click on your site in the first place will depend a lot on writing a superb title tag and description that makes Google’s heart sing. That’s the information that shows up on your listing on the SERPs. You need to make sure the right keywords are there to get it found, and then that your phrasing is enticing enough to get searchers excited about selecting your page as the fairest of them all.

Upping your dwell time, A.K.A. how long guests are spending checking out your page, depends a lot on the user experience you offer them. It’s tempting to think something like font size or image arrangement couldn’t possibly be included in the same conversation as AI. Yet, web design affects SEO, and should be taken seriously as a result. You can conveniently use Google Analytics to track your numbers, and measure the impact design tweaks you make might on the average user’s browsing time.

08. Sprinkle LSI keywords in your content

Imagine you’re telling a good friend about your favourite band’s concert that you went to see this past weekend. Even though the ‘Beatles’ concert’ (sorry, we’re still stuck in the ‘60s) is technically the subject of your conversation, it would be kind of weird to keep robotically repeating the phrase every time you want to refer to some part of the night. You’d find other ways to say it, for instance ‘the show’ or the ‘Beatles performance.’ We bet other topics would naturally work their way into the conversation, as well. You might mention the crowd, the band, the encore, the sound system, and more.

LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords operate with a very similar logic in mind. Google is so over keyword stuffing, which describes the practice of websites packing their pages with whatever keyword or two they’re hoping to compete for. As you can imagine, this can lead to some not-so-great content, plus it’s not always a reliable indicator that a page will actually meet the searcher’s intent. For example, if someone is browsing for “mouse,” there are so many possibilities about what they could be referring to! A computer accessory? A pet guide? An unpleasant rodent invasion? Now you see how it can get confusing.

That’s why LSI keywords are in. Not to be mistaken with synonyms, you can think about them as contextually-related words. Together with your main keywords, they form nice little word families that give Google important context for assessing and organizing your page within its SERPs. As the search engine better understands the context of what you have to say, they can more effectively match a search query with the answer your page has to offer.

Like the conversation above about the hypothetical Beatles’ concert (we wish), reaching for related words as you talk about the primary topic at hand is what we already naturally do in everyday conversation or writing. So this is just one more way technological advancements are letting Google more closely mirror the way we already think, talk, and ask questions as humans.

How to put this trend into action:
First, you need to find your LSIs. Take your target keywords and do a simple Google search. Next, scan the page for any words that appear bolded in the listings or in the suggested queries under the ‘Related Searches’ box at the bottom of the page. This is Google serving you up a generous helping of LSIs. You can also use a free tool like LSIGraph to round out your list of context ‘cousins.’

Once you have your LSI keyword family in hand, it’s time to distribute them throughout your website. You would put them all the same places you would put your primary keywords: SEO title and description, heading tags, URL, and in the text itself. Remember, these don’t fully replace your main keywords. Rather, they give you alternate ways to phrase your material, giving your page a more natural feel and helping Google understand what you’re all about so they can recommend you to the most suitable searchers.

09. Optimize for voice search

With 30% of web browsing expected to go screenless by 2020, this is a major – and still growing – trend to keep optimizing for (Gartner: 2016). Even though this capability has been making the SEO trends lists for some time now, it’s still relevant as ever. That’s because with technology as recent as this, each year brings new developments, as well as more data we can use to understand how exactly listings are being categorized.

Like just this past year, a Backlinko study of 10,000 Google Home results taught us that the system seems to talk up suggestions that are already ranking high on the SERPs, even more so ones that have landed that special 0th place in a featured snippet. We also learned that finding a way to literally write out a question in your content, before moving on to the answer (FAQ page style), seems to perform well on these voice search systems.

How to put this trend into action:
If you’ve taken the steps to pursue trend #2 and land a spot in a featured snippet, then you’re already in good shape to take on voice search. To summarize, that includes adjusting your target keywords to reflect how someone would speak a search, rather than write it. That often means two things:

First, users can get super specific in their queries. Therefore, using long tail keywords (highly descriptive search phrases of at least three words) become more important. Second, they will often spin these long tail keywords into questions when turning to dear friends Alexa, Siri, et al. As we mentioned earlier, using a site like Answer the Public can help you identify likely questions potential customers might be asking.

Once you have that information, the second thing you can do is organize your content in ways that prove to search engines that your business is the one with the answers. One good SEO practice for voice searches is slipping those probable questions into the H1, H2 or H3 headers on a FAQ page, or forming blog post titles around them. That same Backlinko study found that excerpts from FAQ pages make an appearance more frequently on voice search results than they do on regular desktop SERPs.

10. Explore the world beyond Google

There, we said it. There is search territory beyond the famous search engine with the iconic color scheme. (Is this what it felt like to discover the world isn’t flat?) One of the main contenders to pay attention to is Amazon. A Kenshoo survey of consumers showed that 56% usually head straight to Amazon before looking elsewhere. This is an especially significant statistic for eCommerce owners everywhere to take note of. Having a presence on Amazon is a must for making sure your beautiful wares are found.

Another platform to pay attention to is YouTube. Yes, we know it’s technically owned by Google. Yet, because more people are heading straight to the video sharing forum before trying their luck on Google’s conventional search page, it’s also critical to think about how to expand your online presence to include this arena. In case you’re not feeling convinced that finding your inner YouTuber is worth it, listen to this: by 2021, online video is expected to account for 80% of all online traffic. You will definitely want to get your brand in on that predicted audience growth.

Even though YouTube is its own standalone search entity, Google is also finding ways to merge its listings in with its own. We mentioned above, in trend #3 about video carousels, how the search engine is increasing the number of vids a searcher can scroll through right there on the SERPs. Videos pulled straight from YouTube have a big presence, and will continue to do so.

Now, we’re also seeing some of these videos make an appearance in Google Image Search. Plus, there is a video featured snippet, too. Similar to the text-based featured snippets we looked at earlier, the selected videos are aiming to quickly pull answers to users’ questions. That means ‘How-Tos’ and tutorials will make a big splash here.

To put this trend into action:
If you’re a small business owner with an online presence, optimizing for Amazon will mean doing some independent keyword research that is specific to the online retailer’s own database. Take a look at how products like yours are listed on the site. You can also turn to a free tool like Sonar for some guidance. Once you have your magic words, you can stick them in your product title and description. Remember to outfit your product pages with stunning images, and to keep track of what customers are saying, frequently responding to questions and concerns (and words of praise!). Another tactic to take is driving traffic to your online store and then seamlessly displaying your Amazon gallery right on site.

It’s not so different from the Google SEO thought process. Amazon’s interest is connecting their users with products, and converting browsers into buyers. The clearer and more targeted you make your pages, the higher the chances the eCommerce search engine will suggest your product to a potential customer.

When it comes to YouTube SEO, a simple way to get ahead in the game is thinking back to the steps we suggested for getting mentioned in a featured snippet or on a voice search (you know, way back when in steps #2 and #9). Literally writing out a question that is likely to get searched as an FAQ page or blog post header can be a great trigger for Google to produce your content as a result.

So what about answering one of those FAQ questions on your page with a video offering a tutorial for a common question your customers have regarding your product? Or swapping out that numbered list of how to make pesto sauce with a video showing you performing all of the steps. Or both?! Whatever you would have previously written as the header text simply becomes the title of your new video, all set to be uploaded to your business YouTube channel. Bam. You’re a video SEO pro.

Just one more thing before you’re on your way! Because bots can’t actually “read” your video, they’re looking for any other text you can give them to help them sort out what’s going on. The title and description of the video is a great place to start. The video transcript is another good place. While YouTube does do an auto-transcribe for each video, what emerges, let’s say, does not always sound like the words you spoke. A lot can (literally) get lost in translation. Which means Google also won’t get the message. You can solve this by either adding your own closed captions, or running through the copy generated by YouTube and cleaning it up yourself.

Once you’ve created your website and pressed ‘Publish,’ you want to make sure all of that hard work and creative thought gets seen by your target audience! Optimizing your site for search engines is an essential method for making that happen. And by following the action items that accompany each of these ten trends, you can get your website on the cutting edge of SEO in 2019.

 

Joanna Kramer
By Joanna Kramer
Community Writer, Wix About the Wix Blog
 
 
 

 

12 SEO Tips to Boost Your Website

12 SEO Tips to Boost Your Website

This is from Wix but applies to all websites. A nice clean overview on how to boost your SEO.

02. Use long-tail keywords

03. Choose the right domain

04. Write unique titles & descriptions

05. Make it mobile friendly

06. Submit a sitemap

07. Go local SEO

08. Structure your site

09. Describe your Images

10. Write valuable content

11. Get more backlinks

12. Keep it up

and number one is only for Wix

01. Try Wix SEO Wiz

Read the article here

 

 
Need a website, want to build your own, but ….

Need a website, want to build your own, but ….

You know that you really want and need a website but …

  • you haven’t got a clue where to start
  • you are not exactly clear what should be on it
  • you say to yourself you could build it yourself but it’s too complicated and you can’t dedicate all that time to building it yourself as you have a business to run
  • … fill in any other ‘buts’ in the comments below …

You can probably still do it anyway!

and I only say ‘probably’ because you might just not really want to just yet –
but if you know you do, you definitely can!

I show you how.

This is for you if you are a total newbie to website building, you want to do it yourself because you don’t have the budget for a designer/developer,  but you have no inclination of going through the long process of learning how to build a website from scratch.

What you will need is

  • time
  • curiosity to play and explore, otherwise also called ‘patience’ 😉
  • a feel for design
  • just a little bit of money (a fraction of what it would cost you to hand your project over to a web designer)

 

And because I believe in Goethe’s wisdom up there, the first person to act will be rewarded with a huge discount!

Watch the short video below to see how it works. (about 5 minutes)

In brief: if you want to make your own website but don’t want to spend weeks just learning how to set it up to start with, a prototype is a good starting point. It’s a fully functioning version of your final website, without the design elements. You will learn (I’ll show you) how to add your content – text, images and design elements.

Why not just get a premade theme then? Isn’t that the same?

Well, not really. I started with pre-made themes on WordPress and it drove me nuts. I didn’t find it very intuitive and I’m not someone who likes to read a lot of instructions. So finally I invested in a WordPress developer course and sat through the lessons for 2 full months.

You could still do that, go through youtube videos or Udemy courses if you have the time, but we established before that this is for who wants to get results quickly, who wants to get straight to the point. With this offer, you get your custom made prototype AND the know-how to finish the website yourself. So then you are set up for life!

The Prototype is a custom-made website, built for your exact business needs and goals.

Your business needs and goals that we establish in the Discovery Session, beginning with the Website Worksheet that you would have filled in beforehand.

If you are ready to go for it - hit the button below.

The first one to act will get 50% off  – which is €200 off!

What you will get

  • a business discovery session
  • a custom-made WordPress website based on your business goals and needs**
  • personal tutorials on how to upload your content and create your designs

for just €200 – (only for the first person to act)

or €400 (if you missed that first spot)

This is a limited trial offer.  Expires on 30th December.

** without the design elements, as you saw in the example video. You will learn how to add your content and design ideas.

What do WordPress websites cost?

A typical breakdown of expenses required to get up and running might look something like this:

  • Domain: $12/year
  • Hosting: $10/month – $30/month
  • Premium Theme: $50-$200
  • Premium Plugins: $15-$200 (each; some are one-time purchases, others are monthly/annual licenses.)
  • Rough Totals: $200-$1,000+

This is of course assuming no one already owns the domain you want (which could set you back hundreds or even thousands depending on the situation), that you can keep premium theme and plugins to a minimum, and that you personally have the time and experience to set everything up by yourself.

Read the full article to find out more.

How to create and organise content for your website that will speak to and attract your ideal client.

Join my 4 week coaching programme where we dive into the foundations you need to create a website that actually works for you!

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