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Nancy's Notes

Nancy's Notes about webinars, videos, internet marketing, SEO, small business tips, etc.  

Dreadfully boring BLOG topics made delightfully interesting and inspirational through thoughtful commentary!

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Oh no, my domain is expiring! Or is it?

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Please be on the look out for fraudulent domain companies – they prey on domain owners and they are downright criminal.

 


WARNING: I have received several emails from the same company trying to scare my clients into renewing their domain through them. The reply email address is: noreply@chbserver.com - they are saying your domain is going to expire and you have to renew through them - this is SPAM and it is so frustrating because they are confusing and scaring my clients. I have gotten two of these emails in the past two days - please be on the look out. The email looks legit, and it comes from "domain service", in the very fine print it says "notification purchase offer" They told me my domain was expiring next month and so nicely offered to renew my domain for $54, when it does not expire until September and I purchased it through GoDaddy for only 9.99! PLEASE be on the look out for this and just delete it. I hit "unsubscribe" but that may not work - you should just block this address. This stuff really makes me mad and can cost my clients way more than the $54 they charge - it can cost hundreds to get your domain back! UGGGGG

 


PLEASE delete it. It really did cost one of my clients about $500 to get her website and domain fixed after these jerks took her money too.


The emails look very legitimate; they are offering you to renew, and the "offer" is what is expiring, not your emails.  But for busy small business owners that don't understand the terminolgy and language of cyberspace, it is misleading and they are trying to scare you into thinking your domain is expiring and you must renew it.  


Ok, enough said about that.  Have a Happy New Year!  

 

What do I post on my Facebook Business Page? 10 easy steps

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 12:45 AM

As a business advisor, I see many small businesses that are start-ups, or many that have been in business and they are just now at the point where they want to tackle social media and the owners just don't know what to do first. When I give them their list of social media accounts to create, I usually see a twinge of fear. Social Media can be very overwhelming! Especially for those of us who grew up without a smart phone attached to our hips, or, OMG, us really old people that didn't have a computer because they weren't invented yet. I try to break down social media into easy steps for my clients to follow.


To me, the most important social media account a small business can create is, hands down, a Facebook Business page. Most of us are very active on Facebook on a personal level, although I have had several clients sit in my office and look me straight in the eye and say, I'm not making a Facebook account and you can't make me.... Like I say over and over, the Internet is NOT a trend. We need to embrace its capabilities and take advantage of free resources that will help our businesses grow. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to learn how to help your business. Mainly because your competitor down the street is already using Facebook and other social media platforms, and you are just giving him your business. Or maybe he isn't yet, so now it's your turn to grab more market share!


So anyone can do this. Easy Peasy. Go to Facebook.com and create your page - the site will walk you through it. Add your logo as a profile picture and your store front or products as a banner photo, and boom, you are done. Now what? Well, this is where I can help you. Here are a few tips that will help increase the visibility of your posts.


(These are actual notes that I took from a client session and turned into a guide that I can share with my other clients - you can visit this brand new website at www.stormseekersurplus.com/ or go to their Facebook page and hit LIKE and SHARE to really help them since they have so graciously allowed me to use them as an example to help folks like you: /www.facebook.com/StormseekerSurplus)


Facebook Business Page Posting Instructions

1) Always post as the business page, not as your personal page


2) Always post with a picture. If you are posting a product, you will want to add it to your online store first, so you can include the URL/Web address/domain in the post and your fb fans can go straight to the store from that post and purchase that item. (We did that this morning with the strap cutters).


3) Hashtag items that would be indexed – example, name of product and if it would be a gift, mother’s day, etc. # hashtagged items can’t have a space, or it loses the index. This is what we posted this morning: Instead of saying: Strap Cutter, great Stocking Stuffer, we hash tagged them so they would show up as an indexed item that would show up on search results: #StrapCutter #StockingStuffer, be sure you don’t leave a space between the words in your phrase.


4) Add a photo – we added the same photo of the item that we used to create the item on the website.


5) Add a link to that item that points directly to the store item so your fans can buy it now online.


6) This will Automagically be on your connected Twitter account - you don’t have to repost there.


7) Now go to the post and change how you are posting to YOUR PERSONAL PAGE, click the down arrow on the right hand side under the post



8.)  After you change who you are Liking and commenting as, hit the LIKE button and SHARE the post on your page


9) You can write something when you share it, but make sure that you change your settings for that post to PUBLIC before you post it (you can edit it to public afterwards if you forget) and you have to change that at the bottom next to the post button


 

10) You can add another link to your website on that post, you could say, Buy these Strap Cutters now, great Stocking Stuffers! (You don’t need to hashtag on your personal page) then paste your URL and friends and family can go right to that item. Or you could say Visit our Web Store and send them to store in that post so they can see all of your store items


Keep in mind, the more people that LIKE and SHARE your post, the more visibility you will have - ask the people that work for you to do this too! 


And that is how you post – I know it sounds like a lot, but it will be automatic soon!


Please visit my https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaWebDesignServicesLlc" target="_blank">Facebook business page for more tips to help your small business. 

Do you have a specific question?  Email me and I'll try to help! Nancy@CarolinaWebDesignServices.com

Help me please - I want my website to rank higher in Google!

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 12:35 AM

Help me please! I want my website to rank higher in Google!

It’s no secret that Google’s ranking algorithm is a huge secret. Is ranking an enigma? Not really, use relevant content on your website; write for humans and not spider-bots and you will naturally help increase your website’s ranking. Google is now looking at everything you write, not just key words, phrases, and paragraphs – there are over 200 dynamics that are taken into account. The key is still content – write unique work/verbiage/text. Don’t copy your information from another site, Google is smarter than your 8th grade English teacher and knows if you have stolen your content. Look at your website as a basic conversation about your products and services, but not above the middle school level. Keep it simple – write for your audience, not your peers. Google also rewards frequent updating. Many sites don’t really need frequent updates, and that is where a blog about your business or industry would be very helpful. You can pay for companies to help you do this, or you can do it yourself – just beware of any SEO/SEM company that promises you #1 page ranking, as that is not a guarantee anyone can offer, not even Mr. Google. There are things companies can do that will help you improve your ranking, but there are not magic shortcuts to search engine optimization. If you create content for your website and Facebook business page that is readable and relevant to your customers, then you should naturally rank well. I always say, just think of what your customers would Google to find you. How would they phrase it? What words would they use? Write those things down and then think about how you can connect with them. An FAQ page can help cover many questions and phrases about your business.

So what is the “secret” to ranking well? The secret is not being secretive; write about your products and services in a conversational way so that your customers can understand your business, frequently update your website, and use original content. That should cover the 200 aspects that Google looks at when ranking your website.

Here is a great short video from marketing Guru Eric Spellmann:   http://www.pinterest.com/pin/109493834664212648/  He has a great way of explaining this confusing topic in plain English.  



 

iPhone Update driving you nuts?

Posted on October 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Is your iPhone iO7 update driving you cRaZy?? Mine sure is!

Here are some tips to help you save battery life and sanity!

 

Number 1: battery saving tips:  

  • Switch your phone off when you're asleep.
  • Switch off Bluetooth if you're not using it.
  • Switch off WiFi if you're not using a wireless network.
  • Switch off location services and automated Mail checks
  • If you don't need to use data services or call features on your iPhone for a while, switch it to AirPlane mode. You can do this using Control Center in iOS 7, and/or in Settings>Airplane Mode>Off/On, otherwise.
  • Reduce display brightness (Settings>Brightness/Wallpapers & Brightness. Disable Auto-brightness and manually reduce the brightness of your screen).
  • Disable 4G/3G: doing so reduces battery drain as your cellular radio seeks a signal. Settings>Cellular and switch off the Enable LTE or 4G button does the trick.
  • Disable vibrations on your iPhone in Settings>Sounds.
  • Notification Center is another feature you can control. Settings>Notification Center lets you switch off notifications for those apps you don't need to know about, or altogether if you just need a few more minutes of battery life.

 

Number 2: touch down with AirDrop (Not Gonna Lie... I have no clue what this means! Please comment if you do)

Number 3: Close your Apps! press your round home button twice, then slide the apps straight up the screen to close them

Number 4: Seriously, control your apps, turn off auto updates: Settings>iTunes & App Store and turn off the Updates and Apps settings. Alternatively, scroll down the page and switch off the Use Cellular Data setting: now your apps will only update when you have a WiFi connection.

Number 5: Reduce Motion: Go to Settings>General>Accessibility>Reduce Motion and set this setting to On. Doing so prevents the motion in the user interface, including the parallax effect.

Number 6: Static wallpaper: turn it off: iOS 7 lets you use animated wallpapers. These are nice and pretty when you have enough battery in there, but switching to a static wallpaper will slightly reduce battery drain. You'll achieve this following these steps: Settings>Wallpaper & Brightness > Wallpaper > choose a static wallpaper for your phone.

Number 7: Lose Location Turn Off: Settings>Privacy>Location Services. This gives you the choice of disabling Location Services on a per-app basis, or of switching this feature off altogether.

 

Please visit the site below for the full article: http://blogs.computerworld.com/ios/22982/seven-power-saving-tips-ios-7

 

Ok, one more tip that has nothing to do with saving power.  Since I updated my phone, I am having a hard time seeing the text messages with the green background and white letters.  If you bold the text, this will really help! Settings>General>Accessibility>Bold Text

Please post any other iPhone or Smartphone tips you have that may help others.  THANKS! 

Google Can Help YOUR BUSINESS Get Found!

Posted on September 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM

I attended an awesome ASBDC conference last week. I am not only a small business owner myself, but I do run the Newberry Area SBDC, located at Newberry College. So, when I'm not focusing on my personal business clients, I am helping Newberry County residence with their businesses as well. My personal business philosophy is the same as the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): Teach, train, empower small businesses; I share with them the knowledge that I have to help them succeed so they can be more successful. Many time folks come in for a loan and I can't help them with that because of other circumstances (normally credit score), so I say.... BUT WAIT, I'm sure there is something else I can help you with. The SBDCs are the best kept secrets around; they are run on grants by federal, state, and local municipalities, and many banks and local economic development groups also help support them. In my particular case, Newberry College houses me and donates all of the overhead and IT support for my office. I love working with small businesses, and my goal is to get them all on-line so they can at least be found, and this will naturally help their businesses grow. I offer several "learn to build a website" workshops throughout the year. I have found though, that many small business owners are swamped and either can't take the time off to take the classes or simply do not want to learn. After years of trying to cheer them, (come on, YOU can do it! Let's build your site together! Blah blah blah), I finally started my business last fall to focus on the entrepreneurs that don't have time to come to the SBDC. That is where my business, Carolina Web Design Services LLC, comes in. My philosophy is the same: I teach them how to maintain it after it is built so they don't have to depend on someone else to make edits, or pay someone else to make changes. Many web designers think I'm a fool; yes, I could make more money if I made them depend on me, but then, how well would I sleep at night?

 

Ok, enough of that. Let me share some juicy tidbits I learned last week at conference:

Google has 95% market share of all the searches done on the Internet. HMMMM....so they are the King. They are also preaching to small businesses to get on-line, and they make it pretty easy. They have a great GYBO (get your business online) program and they travel from state to state trying to help businesses. It's a win win: they have better content for people searching, and businesses get found! It is a free program the first year, and then it costs less than $10 a month after the first year. You get 3 pages, which is the minimal amount that any business should have. They also have templates and it is a very affordable and easy option.

Some Google facts that I borrowed from the VP during my lunch presentation:

  • 94% of Smartphone users research LOCAL businesses
  • 70% call the business from that search
  • 66% visit the business in person
  • 90% act within one day

Google may have been a bit biased, but no one can argue their title as KING of the Internet, so like them or not, we need to play by their rules. I love Google, and that's not just because they gave me Ben and Jerry's ice cream for snack either. They offer tons of FREE tools for small businesses, so please contact me if you want to learn more about that. I don't want to bore you with the details...

Who else was at my conference? Many guest speakers and experts. They all concurred - follow Google's rules and take advantage of Google Plus and Google Places (this is what I preach to all my clients).

So is there another option, do you have to go Google? No, you don't, so here is another option. GoDaddy also spoke at my conference. They have a free page if you purchase a domain from them. I can't say that I love working with GoDaddy's websites (sorry Daddy), but I can say that I've recommended them a ton and since they were nice enough to share their discount with me for my clients, I thought I'd share it with you too. Here is the GoDaddy discount promo they shared with us: 25% off your domain using promo code EXPO25. Many times my clients will purchase their domains from GoDaddy, have them for years, and then not know what to do next. Well, you can come to the SBDC for help (that is free), or you can pay a web designer, oh, like say, ME, to help you. I'm not a fan of using their web design products, but I can point that domain anywhere. They also have very reasonable email options.

My personal favorite? Well, I have several, but for training purposes and Small Business Owner's ease of editing after I make it, I use an on-line template based company. There is no pricey software to download, and no coding or Kling-On knowledge required. I offer an illustrated instruction guide so that my clients can edit their site themselves, or they can hire me to edit. Although remember, my goal is for the business owner to become EMPOWERED and not dependent on me.

SEO --- yikes, that is a whole nother blog. I learned a few more sites that can help increase SEO so I'll be adding them on to my Organic SEO worksheet. Please don't pay mystery marketers 100s of dollars a month to do this for you! You can help your ranking yourself. Email me and I will share this information with you. I give this to my clients AFTER I build their website, since this can be a bit confusing. No reason to overwhelm them...

More on that later. Just remember: Google is King of the Internet, and Google's spiderbots love good, unique content. Give that to them in form of blogs or keyword rich content/berbiage on your pages. Don't over fluff with keywords though - your website should be built for your HUMAN customers, not for the spiderbots. If you build it for your target market, then spiders will naturally have lots of great content to work with.

 

 

Managing Your On-Line Reputation

Posted on September 10, 2013 at 2:35 PM

 

I attended a great class this morning, presented by Eric Spellmann (he has a great selection of brief videos for small businesses - all business owners need to check this page out: http://www.ericspellmann.com/videos.html)

I learned a few new things that I want to share. We discussed what an On-line reputation is - his first suggestion was that everyone Google your name and your business name and check it out. *use quotations for a better search. Look for bad reviews and negative posts. If you don't already have a domain for your business name, Eric suggested that you purchase it so your website will always come up first if someone googles your business name (and point it to your other website if you have an established one already).

If you have Bad Reviews:

  • Try to combat them by asking the poster to remove the review by responding to the review itself. Always be nice, ask kindly, and use your best customer service (kiss booty) attitude. As it turns out, many small business owners don't like to say they are sorry and the lack of apology is what keeps that review alive. (Sometimes these reviews are disgruntled customers, but some are disgruntled employees, and unfortunately you are at their mercy for removal).
  • So if you can't get rid of that bad review? Then create your own items that will show up higher on a search. Eric suggests joining the BBB, which I have never really encouraged my clients to do simply because of the cost. The BBB has extremely high google ranking so your "membership" will show up. If I remember correctly, the last time I checked into this for a client, it was over $300, and I didn't feel it was necessarily worth it (what can it do for you?) BUT, if you are in a situation like this, it might be helpful and the benefit of that listing showing up higher will help you.
  • Purchase a company domain for your business name, if you don't have a website, get one!
  • Create a Facebook Business page and Linked in account for your company. I also suggest creating a Twitter account and linking it to your Facebook page so you can post once and it automatically updates. We don't use twitter, but the young customers do (and it is FREE)
  • Get a lawyer if what is written is libel or slander.

Where do you go to search your reputation?

  • Google your name and business name first (Google gets about 95% of search requests - much higher than I thought!)
  • SocialMention.com (he actually did this in class and my Facebook post showed up that I had made moments before!)
  • Topsy.com - twitter
  • glassdoor.com - anonymous employee reviews (you can claim your business existing/ create one and be proactive)
  • Tagboard.com - searches all hashtags.

Other free business listings you should create:

  • Plus.google.com
  • zaggot.com
  • yelp.com
  • tripadvisor.com
Eric’s advice when responding to reviews:

  • Don't get angry or emotional or unprofessional
  • Don't link to business to personal stuff
  • Don't tag pictures, and untag yourself
  • Don't friend your Boss or children, only friend your real friends...
  • Don't be totally invisible on the internet (that is spooky too)

Eric is a great speaker and I enjoyed his very animated seminar! ...just disappointed he didn't have his crazy floral print shirt on! :-) Maybe he will wear it tomorrw when he discusses "Using Social Media to Generate Leads"

FREE Ways to Promote Your Website & Increase Organic SEO

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

So you finally have an awesome website to show off your business products or services - Yay! Don't be discouraged if your business doesn't automagically pick up - you still have to do some promoting on your own so the public knows that you are there.


Think of it this way. You are out in the middle of the country (the Internet) and you build a fabulous Margarita Bar (your products or services). The problem is, no one knows you are there! You have to get a huge flashy billboard and then build more signs that point to your business (register on Google Places and other search sites). Then you need to tell your friends and family to come out and patronize you (build a Facebook Business Page), and then they need to spread the news about your new business using word of mouth (Facebook Business Page "likes" are virtual word of mouth recommendations). As the news gets out, more and more people are coming to hang out at your place. Your business will grow, but not overnight. A website helps you, but it is still a way to market your business, and you need to take advantage of all of the marketing vehicles out there so that each piece builds your overall web presence in a synergistic way.


Ok, blah blah blah, here are some FREE ways to promote your website and help people find you:


Here are 10 Free ways to Promote your Website:

1. Promotion starts earlier than you think! Choose a domain name that reflects your business and area if possible. Example: www.ChapinWebDesign.com that is one that I have that points to my www.CarolinaWebDesignServices.com site.

2. Create a matching Facebook business page - they are FREE, then LINK that to your site

3. Create other social media accounts and link them to your site: Linked In, Twitter, etc.

4. Make sure you have a mobile version of your site - Duda.com does this free, and so do most hosts.

5. Register on Google Places and other search sites

6. Email your friends, family, and business contacts a note that you are now open (and ask them to LIKE you on Facebook)

7. Add a link to your website when you update your Facebook posts (weekly)

8. Create a QR code to put on your marketing materials and invoices

9. Register at Brandify.com for your FREE analysis & recommendations

10. Promote your domain/URL/ Website address in your email signature with a hyperlink, on your business cards, invoices, everywhere!


If you need help with any of these steps, please contact me! I not only build websites, but I also help small business owners promote their business online and TEACH them how to understand social media and internet marketing. My goal is to help you understand how this all works together so your business can be a huge success! I want your business to take advantage of all of the free ways to improve your SEO (or page ranking). Then once you have done all of the organic SEO you can, I can teach you how to advertise on Google and Facebook. I even have $100 Google AdWords certificates for my clients to use when they spend $25 on Google advertising. Please call or email me to get your $100 Google AdWords certificate! (803) 629-0101, or Nancy@CarolinaWebDesignServices.com.

Nancy Williamson, CBA. Certified Business Advisor for Carolina Web Design Services LLC

 


Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) = Best Kept Secret Around!

Posted on May 17, 2013 at 10:45 AM

So what is the best kept secret around?  Sometimes I feel like it is the Small Business Development centers (SBDCs) that are scattered across the US. We provide FREE and confidential training to small business owners, and to those folks thinking about starting a business that may need some help planning or obtaining a loan.  My office is located on the Newberry College campus at 1814 College Street, Newberry, SC. 

Why are we a secret?  Well, we aren't really a secret, but we are a non-profit organization so we don't have the budget for a huge marketing campaign.  We funded by a federal grant with state and local funds.  There are over 900 SBDC offices throughout the US, so odds are there is one near you.  I run the Newberry Area SBDC, located at Newberry College, in Newberry, SC.  We have come a long way though - with the assistance of a FREE website and Facebook Business page, you can now find my local office on the first page of Google.  We make the most of our own FREE resources to help spread the word. 

What do we do?  So what does "small business counseling" consist of?  We can help our clients write business plans, help them talk through some issues, work on pricing, marketing, internet marketing and social media, and so much more.  We have established relationships with the bankers in our are - that means we can contact them for you and help you through the loan process.  I always start by advising my clients to get a free credit report to check their score.   To be quite honest, even the most fantastic business plan or business idea will not qualify for a loan if the person needing the loan has a poor credit score.  Seriously - they won't even read the first page of your business plan.

If you are already in business, what can we do for you?  In addition to free counseling sessions, we also offer workshops for on-going training, on any topic that the business community ask for.  In my particular office, I present a "How to Make a Free Website for Your Small Business" workshop four times a year, and then a few weeks later I follow with "How to Market My Website" and that class is an introduction to online marketing and social media and search engine optimization (SEO).  I teach a free Excel class that magically explained the basics of a very complex computer program  in about an hour.   I have topic experts present through out the year as well.  We have a fantastic three part Quickbooks training class taught by a Certified Quickbooks Pro Advisor.  

We can help with just about any facet of your business - since we are FREE, you have nothing to lose!  After becoming one of my clients, I will keep you informed with business tips and upcoming local business events via email (only if you want to recieve them).  This is great - as I learn new technology  (like what is a QR code and how do I use it?), I can send it out to my list of 300 clients and share with them business tips that will help save them time, money, or stress.  Or, as my HR pro says, it keeps Officer TEM away: Time Emotion Money... either way you look at it, the SBDC is here to help you.  

SBDC offices are in every state - over 900 offices hosted by 63 universities or technical colleges. We are never too far away, and often times I can even help my clients via email.  

Look for us! Google Us!  Use your free resources - if you don't have time or want to learn how to do something, like create your website, then your SBDC counselor can recommend you to someone who can.  (Like Carolina Web Design Services LLC - I created this business to help the clients that didn't have time to come to the SBDC.  I saw a huge need for affordable business assistance, and I created an affordable solution).  

Contact your local SBDC office for an appointment - just googe your location + SBDC, and you will find us!

Here is an example of an email I recently sent to my network of clients copied an pasted below.   I send them out sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, depending on what's happening.  Not all SBDC Busness Advisors do this for thier clients, but I think it is important to share knowledge. If we help each other be more successful, then we are in turn helping ourselves.  

If you would like to be included in my email distribution list, please send me an email at Nancy.Williamson@Newberry.edu

Most recent network email:  


SBDC Network: an update from Newberry Area SBDC

Please join one of our own: Daniel DeWine, owner of Bomb Island Auto Glass LLC has joined the Newberry Chamber of Commerce and will be celebrating a ribbon cutting at 1:00 today. If you are in the area, please stop by. Daniel does mobile auto glass replacement on vehicles and has actually changed one of my windshields in my office parking lot and one in my driveway at home. (I never wanted to take time out of my schedule to replace the cracks in my windshields - it was nice having Daniel make the phone calls and take care of the paperwork - it was no hassle at all). I've personally known Daniel for many years; we attend the same church and our sons are good friends. I'm happy that he has "taken the plunge" and joined the Chamber of Commerce. It shows that he is dedicated to his business and he is investing in his business's future. This is a great opportunity to network! Bring your business cards and come on out - the newspaper will be there interviewing and taking pictures and the media and press will be there too. I had planned on attending, but duty calls and I am going to be at school for my youngest child's parent's literature program this afternoon so I am bummed that I won't be there. Please come out and get YOUR picture in the paper today too! (and there is a rumor that he may be serving a great mid day snack)

 Bomb Island Auto Glass LLC will host a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday, May 17 at 1:00pm.

1839 Wilson Road , Newberry, SC 29108, 803-944-7661 Click here to visit his FACEBOOK Business Page -

Please hit LIKE to help promote his business.


 Another networking opportunity: The Newberry Business Alliance meeting is Monday, May 20th at 6:00pm. Arrive early to meet other local business owners, socialize from 5:30-6:00pm. This is always a great place to find out what's going on economically in our Newberry Community. You do not have to be a member to attend, you can come as my guest. I will be there. More details on that below.

TIP: Need another line for your fax? Or, want to CUT costs of $80 or more per month by canceling that second phone line for your fax machine? I learned about on-line faxing this week (from Daniel actually). There are several online companies out there that will give you a free fax number and you can send and receive faxes via your email. http://www.faxbetter.com/Options.aspx for $5.95 per month you can send and recieve up to 500 pages! I have never used this before, but some of the members in my Lake Murray Preferred Networking group have used these companies before and it has saved them a huge amount of money and time. Imagine receiving your faxes on your smartphone or ipad while you are out on job site? That could save you a tremendous amount of time and money! Don't have an ipad? Well if you save $80 a month, you could purchase one in a few short months with your savings, and that tablet could help you tremendously with your business.

Another TIP: Some of you don't have smartphones yet - Did you know you can get a smartphone that looks almost identical to an iPhone for only $79 at Walmart? And, you can sign up for Straight Talk and have unlimited talk, text, and internet for only $45 per month. THAT is probably way cheaper than many of you are paying per month now. If you want more information on that, you can call me. Don't think you can learn how to use a smartphone? Well, I just got this for my 73 year old momma, so I know if she can do it, YOU can do it! (of course she enjoys playing games on it, but you could use it to accept mobile payments; he also checks her emails, and is even texting. She even uses phrases like TY-thank you LOL-laugh out loud OMG - oh my gosh & ROTFLMBO- you can try to figure that one out...whoda thunk?) And, I'm ALWAYS FREE AT MY SBDC OFFICE if you need help!

Facebook business page - currently the NUMBER ONE way to promote your business, free marketing. Please make an appointment with me and I'll make one for you and teach you how to update it.

QUICKBOOKS class next week - Part 3 - sign up online. This class teaches how to put it all together; learn how to get the MOST of your quickbooks program. Register and Pay online: http://www.uscregionsbdc.com/newberry_seminars.php I have about 3 seats available.

Have a great weekend! -Nancy

 If you would like to be removed from this email distribution list, please reply back “remove” in the subject line. I promise we will still be friends :)


If you think about it - that email alone could save each client over hundred dollars per month on smartphone and fax tips alone.  Imagine what they could do for your business every month! :D

Ugly sites rank higher?? Say what?? Content vs. Web Design

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM

This is a 5 minute video that explains MANY of the questions I get from my small business owner clients about web design... please watch it. Eric Spellmann sends these out weekly and is a speaker/trainer for the SBDC at our national conferences. He explains things at the "normal person" level! :-)

 

http://www.ericspellmann.com/does-website-content-trump-web-design.html?utm_source=Spellmann+%26+Associates+List&utm_campaign=afcac5b54a-S%26A-0031-DoesWebsiteContentTrumpDesign&utm_medium=email

 

My notes:

 

  • Website content matters a smidgeon more than design now (to Google Bots)
  • Blog or add a text page about your business
  • Update your website frequently so the spider bots will continue to index your site
  • Get rid of FLASH!, get rid of extra graphics - google bots can't read or interpret flash or graphics.
  • Make content for humans - if its too wordy or ugly, you still won't get your conversion
  • Remeber WHY you have a website (and please don't make it ugly or too wordy), you still want your viewer to be able to navigate your site and convert to a lead or sale!

 

The Social Media Conundrum

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 6:45 AM

If I build it, will they come?

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM

But I have a website ... isn't that enough?

https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaWebDesignServicesLlc" target="_blank">

 

  • If I build it, they will come? Nope, sorry boo.
  • It isn’t automagic
  • You still have to tell the world you are on the web
  • You are competing globally
  • The Big Competitors have deep pockets, us little guys don't
  • Organic (free and natural) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) takes time
  • Continue to maintain and update your website
  • PROMOTE your website everywhere: on a FREE FB business page, letterhead, marketing materials, your email signature, business cards, use QR codes, etc.
  • Contact me - I can help!

Notes on Facebook Marketing Webinar

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM


 

I encourage everyone to dedicate an hour to this FREE webinar that will help you understand how Facebook can help you market your business and reach your target audience - if you own a small business you have got to watch this and take notes! If you don’t have a hour to commit, I have some notes to share with you.

"Sharing is Caring" by: www.marketingprofs.com. You can see the link from my Facebook business page: https /www.facebook.com/CarolinaWebDesignServicesLLC

Don't have time to watch it? Here are my notes:

What can a free Facebook Business Page do?

  •  You want to market to the 90% of people that are on the internet that use Facebook
  •  Avg time is 20 minutes a day
  •  Avg time someone visits a website is only 1 minute
  •  Facebook will push people to your website

 Free Marketing: 

  1.  build brand
  2.  protect reputation
  3.  build customers
  4.  entertain customers
  5.  facilitate R&D
  6.  Drive sales - POINT people to your website  
  •  40% of followers are looking for discounts
  •  39% "like" your page to support you
  •  34% want to stay informed

 Use Photos for posts/updates - they are more effective 

  •  Shockingly 30% of questions go unanswered (no one is maintaining page)
  •  71% of Twitter complaints are ignored or unseen
  •  89% of corporate blogs is just me. me. me. me. info, nothing for customers to 'enjoy'

 How do you encourage interaction? 

  •  Ask your audience a question
  •  Ask audience to send in pics with the products they are wearing
  •  Ask audience to email with subject line of "xxx" to get a discount
  •  Make your photos and posts funny "I love Mutts and I cannot lie"
  •  We interrupt your busy day for this special announcement:
  •  JUST IN:

 Want more followers? 

  •  US QR codes to get people to your page
  •  Make posts FUNNY so people will share and like
  •  People lose interest quickly
  •  Use Animals, have an office mascot
  •  Make posts human, post pics of 'behind the scenes' Unpacking boxes, at trade shows,
  •  Have a photo contest (check Facebook rules)
  •  SHOW don't tell, more videos and pictures

 Follow your competition - how are they marketing? What are they posting? What are they sharing?

You can't just "Build it and they will come"... like a website, you have to promote it (QR codes) and be engaging in your posts

If you get a negative comment: 

  •  Try to diffuse publicly, but take it off line "I'm so sorry you feel that way, please call XXX at XXX right away to take care of this"
  •  Don't accept blame, but sound genuine
  •  Delete comment if it is negative and attacking, Block user if they do it again

Other questions:

  • Do you need fancy software and tools to organize a Facebook Social Media Advertising campaign? NOPE!
  •  You can use your camera for candid photos, they don't have to be professional
  •  Check your page for messages! Can you imagine if you ignored 30% of the customers asking you questions in your store? Yikes!

Nancy's Notes: on HubSpot's WEBSITE 'MUST HAVES'

Posted on December 30, 2012 at 4:05 PM

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  

Ok, you know that these HubSpot guides are free, right? I love reading them, and I think that all small business owners need to print them out and read them frequently.  But the problem is, you just don't have time to sit down and read 53 pages... well, here are my notes from the latest free download from Hubspot...


Website 'Must Haves'

  • Oh NO! 40% of small businesses are still not on-line. A website is an essential piece of your marketing strategy
  • Today's buyer (97% of consumers according to a Google workshop I attended) researches their purchases on the internet

 1. Get Found online 

  • You need to get found on-line; effective inbound links come from Google, YouTube, Ask, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Create good content that is made for HUMANS not search robots
  • On page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) -Use important key words relevantly (not too little or too much); use in headlines and titles, body, and footer. *Interesting tidbit I learned - name the graphics you use with your keywords. Instead of Logo.jpg, name it WebDesign.jpg; search bots do look at graphic file names, but can't read the graphic itself.
  • XML sitemaps - I don't know a thing about this; this is a new term for me that I'll have to look into. You can create a sitemap generator online that you can upload to your file manager. It will improve your SEO but it is not a huge component of SEO. Hmmmm...
  • 301 redirects - remember to direct your old URL to point at a new address and test it 

2. Design & Usability 

  • First Impressions count on websites! Consumers will judge your website by these components: does the site look credible, trustworthy, like a professional company, do I feel welcome, and am I in the right place? Think about these things while designing your website.
  • Credibility indicators include having a privacy policy, awards or certifications.
  • Is content the deciding factor? NO, aesthetics mean more initially to consumers, so be sure the colors are well suited and easy to read. Don't distract people with extra bells and whistles (either Google or GoDaddy instructors told me: Remember people are LAZY and Have ADD - make the website's product or service obvious to consumers within 4 seconds or they will bounce out, and give them BUTTONS, not just a phone number or email address to write down, give them a button to push... think lazy and attention deficit).
  • Maintain consistency in colors and layout; only use pictures that are meaningful.
  • Make Navigation EASY PEASY - keep it simple. Avoid flash and use links in your content and be clear where they go.
  • Flash animation bad, relevant graphic/logo named with a keyword good.
  • Accessibility -- CRUCIAL to have a mobile website! Many consumers use their tablets or smartphones to surf the web. I believe my smartphone marketing instructor told me there were 4 times as many smartphones in the world as toothbrushes. Ewe. Here's the kicker, mobile site conversion is FREE, but you don't know what you don't know... 

3. Content 

  • Do people understand what you do in 4 seconds? Do they know which page they are on? (That personally drives me nuts) Do they know how to purchase from you? Did you remember to tell them why to buy from YOU and not your competitor?
  • Clear Message on Home page: What your product is, how you learn more, and who it is for, call to action buttons
  • Offer more than your product - offer education, free downloads, and value. Be transparent and be human - speak their language and not industry "gobbledygook" or jargon. Make your product sound like it can solve their problems. This is how we help you...
  • Be Clear, Not Clever - reminds me of fancy commercials you see on TV and then wonder what the product was. I get very confused on drug commercials - are they treating insomnia, depression, or erectile dysfunction? Who knows, but it is a beautiful commercial with happy people - not a good marketing campaign if no one knows your product.
  • Keep content fresh; remember to update your website
  • Blogging is important and is great for SEO, but it must provide value and education for your clients (would you rather read a page of my notes or a novella? I agree blogging is painful sometimes, but it helps increase SEO. And what else am I gonna do on a Sunday when the family is watching football? Unless of course it's the Patriots and Tom Brady is playing :-) darn, none of those last few sentences contain my web design or business consulting keywords... write for HUMANS not SEO, then the SEO will come naturally.
  • Make content shareable and social - use Facebook Share and Like buttons, and any other form of social media.
  • Use a variety of elements to convey your message: videos that are relevant, audio clips, imagery, logos, games and tools (otherwise known as widgets). Don't go crazy though, don't use unnecessary tools that confuse or clutter
  • Use testimonials - it's sometimes hard to get people to give testimonials, but if you ask them in an email after a job well done, they will be happy to ...so long as there is a link to your testimonial page or they can just reply back you can copy and paste it on your website.
  • The more proof the better; recommendations are powerful! 

4. Conversation 

  • Effective Calls to Action (CTA) blah blah blah... a fancy word for BUTTON, which is a link...like "Contact Us" or "Email Us" use buttons that are easy to read and link to where they say they are going to. I'm always reviewing my buttons and just added another one to my homepage "Make My Website". You need to clearly state what the button does and make the font big enough that they can read it without squinting. Your button can link to a page in your website, an email address, another website, or a file that is a document or graphic. They can be used very effectively so you don't give out too much info at once. Of course I seem to be a hoarder, I like to put too much stuff on my pages so I need to practice what I preach and clean up my pages and CTAs.
  • CTA positioning - above and below the fold. The fold is the bottom of the page that comes up. You can scroll down of course, but CTA needs to be on each part of the page. If my page is 3 pages long (which I don't recommend) then I need to be sure that the CTAs are in each section (this is for the lazy people with ADD).
  • Some studies say the CTAs need to be on the bottom right, but it should be placed wherever it works best for your content
  • Use thank you pages, such as, thank you for submitting an inquiry/email blah blah blah....
  • Landing pages - different than HOME pages. Landing pages can contain a special or ad and is usually hidden from the navigation menu. Landing page is like an ad and needs a title, brief description of deal, and photo, and a CTA like a button that links to a form for them to fill out. *collect only the information you need, people are hesitant to give out information (and lazy...guess we can add paranoid to that). I know that when someone asks me for a credit card or even my phone number, I'm outta there...
  • Forms - speaking of CTA forms - just ask for name and email and message.

Conclusion: You need a website, keep it simple, design it for lazy people with ADD and a bit of paranoia, make it mobile, make it pretty, and make it functional. Convince your audience you have value for them and they need you. Give them buttons, and don't ask too much from them. I hope my notes gave you VALUE. 

 

If you do not have a website for your business, then email me and I can create one for you for $299, up to 10 pages. I will keep it simple, dazzling but not blinking; I'll design your website with good content and keywords, tell you more about organic SEO than you ever wanted to hear, and identify your internet marketing needs. I make free mobile websites for all of my clients, and I link your social media (in-bound links). You don't need to spend thousands on a website! Contact Me: Nancy@CarolinaWebDesignServices.com

 

What's a Search Engine and How does that work with my website?

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM

What is a Search Engine? What can I do to help optimize my website for a Search Engine Program: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A. The History of Search Engines -

1. Created to read every page on the internet to INDEX them by keywords

2. Crawler - Spider-Bots read each word and test each link on every page on the internet to rank them

B. How are they Ranked?

1. Ranked by phrases used on each page (but not too many – you can get de-listed = very bad)

2. Amount of incoming links to that page

3. Content is important

4. Now there are 150 aspects that go into Ranking, not just words and links

5. Google #1 search engine; they change algorithm frequently

6. Other things important: Age of domain address, how long in future it is registered for, How many inbound links are there (relevant links, not paid ‘link farms’), inbound links from “higher quality” sites are more valuable (example, if CNN linked to you rather than Joe’s Bakery it would be a higher ranking)

C. 5 steps to improve Google Ranking

1. Give Google good HUMAN content, use descriptive words that represent your business, Blogs do well because they have lots of words/verbiage

2. Have good quality in bound links (Google places, search sites, brandify.com, etc)

3. Update your website frequently – don’t let it be dormant, action gives you ranking (a Blog works well here too)

4. Don’t use FLASH – Google can’t read it (it is Animation – I don’t know coding for Flash, so if you worked with me, then you don’t have it  ) use words, not just graphics (Spiders can't ready graphics or videos)

5. Get help from a RELIABLE person, not a charlatan making false claims (see someone like Nancy Williamson at the Newberry Area SBDC, I’m free when you come into my office!)

D. No Fast way to get to the top

1. No one can guarantee you first page ranking (hang up if they do)

2. SEO – there are legitimate ways to increase your ranking, takes time, up to a year even

3. Different computers get different Google results, based on browser history, location, etc

4. Give Website time to improve ranking – be patient, may take a while for the SPIDERS to CRAWL on your page

5. Expect ranking fluctuations, as your competitors will try to get to the top too

Please post a comment to my Blog page if you have any tips to help small businesses improve their SEO!

 

Facebook LIKE button quick tip

Posted on December 1, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Facebook LIKES are valuable to Small Business owners: If a visitor comes to your website and hits your Facebook LIKE button, your website link will show up on that individual's Facebook wall- and has the potential to show up on other users’ walls. This increases awareness for your company and can encourage other's to LIKE your business as well. If you don't have a Facebook LIKE button on your website, ask your web designer to add one on to your home page!

Marketing - Internet & On Land REFERRALS

Posted on November 29, 2012 at 9:05 PM

My first attempt at a BLOG... I'm hoping that we can all share our marketing tips - please add your thoughts on the subject.  I hope that others will use this as an opportunity to share their tips as well.  I've actually borrowed these REFERRAL tips from a friend.  

Just Give Them Something To Talk About... 

If You're Not Going to Ask for Referrals...You Better Give them Something to Talk About!

 

 

 

Some folks just won't ask for referrals. Try as I might to give them the tools to build confidence and not seem pushy or begging, they just won't go there. And that's fine! You don't have to ask for referrals to be successful in business. However, if you're not going to ask for referrals,

as the song says, "Let's give them something to talk about." Word of mouth can make the phone ring and lead to new business. I get a lot of word of mouth and our phone rings and emails buzz everyday with people who have heard about us through word of mouth and other strategies. Here's a check list of ideas I hope you're executing now or plan on executing in the future. Don't try to do all of these at once. Start a new one each month (or even every other month) and pretty soon you'll have a word-of-mouth machine in place.

1. Have an initial process that dazzles your new clients. Give them the
"Ritz" treatment in whatever fits your business.

2. Help them feel a sense of accomplishment as quickly as possible. The
result may be the sale of a product, but do it in a way that they truly
feel glad they moved forward with something important. Help them grow from
Point A to Point B in a short period of time.

3. If you have staff, find a way to have them meet them as soon in the
relationship as possible. If you go to their place of business or home,
sometimes bring your staff with you. They need to see what you do anyway.
At least have them call the new client and introduce themselves and to say
"welcome aboard."

4. Handwritten "thank you" notes shouldn't just come from you. They should
come from members of your staff as they work with your clients.

5. Always prepare a summary letter or email after a meeting. State what
decisions you made, what you said you would do, what they said they would
do - and give time frames. Then make sure you keep your promise.

6. Have fun with your business. Bring a sense of humor - not silly, but
just be fun to work with. Okay, some prospects and clients don't want that.
Fine! Be appropriate.

7. Teach them how you handle referrals (confidentiality and handle with
care) - so they feel safe talking about you to others.

8. Teach them how to talk about you - so they say the right things. (Avoid
the dreaded, "I'm just going to tell them that if they need _______ talk to
you.")

9. Teach them who your business is geared to - so you get the right kind of
referrals.

10. Receive referrals in a way that encourages more. Act on referrals
quickly. Make a big deal of saying "thank you." You don't need to spend
much money, just be appreciative. Keep them in the loop. Let your referral
source know you're following up. Get the new client to thank the referral
source.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On another note - be sure to thank those people that take the time to "LIKE" you on your Facebook business page.  By thanking them with a quick sentence and your Facebook business page URL in the post, you will be sure to make your friend feel appreciated and create more awareness about your business (their friends and family may LIKE your page as well).  Good manners are never wasted! :)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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