|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:
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.