business website http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12585/all en-US 6 Common SEO Mistakes On Small Business Websites http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-common-seo-mistakes-on-small-business-websites <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-common-seo-mistakes-on-small-business-websites" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-common-seo-mistakes-on-small-business-websit...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/6-common-seo-mistakes-on-small-business-websites" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000017003347Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="219" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the last decade plus that I have been working in the search engine optimization industry (SEO), I have been fortunate enough to come into contact with many small business owners looking to build a brand on the web.</p> <p>Since the small business owner's first priority is to run their business and not to be an SEO &quot;expert&quot;, I wrote a popular <a href="http://www.sugarrae.com/seo-sphere/seo-checklist-for-local-small-business-websites/" target="_blank">primer for small business SEO</a> to help small business owners get started with step by step basics that will lead them in the right direction.</p> <p>While the primer covers a lot of &quot;what to do right&quot; with your SEO efforts, it&rsquo;s always a good idea to look at some &ldquo;what not to dos,&rdquo; too. With that in mind, here are six common SEO mistakes many small businesses make&mdash;and that you shouldn&rsquo;t make, too.</p> <p><strong>1. Building a Site on a Free Subdomain or Social Media Site</strong></p> <p>As a website accumulates inbound links, it begins to rank better within the search engines. When you build your site on a free subdomain, you risk that if you ever choose to move your website (and there are numerous reasons that you may decide to do so), you will lose credit for all of the links aimed at your &quot;free subdomain&quot; website.</p> <p>Why?</p> <p>Because most free subdomain providers don't allow you to <a href="http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=93633" target="_blank">301 redirect</a> your old site on their service to your new one. A 301 redirect is the only way to &quot;tell&quot; a search engine your site has moved without having to start over again from square one with your search engine rankings. Same goes for using a social website, such as a Facebook page, as your only online presence.</p> <p><strong>2. Duplicate or Non-Descriptive Title Tags</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/title-tag" target="_blank">Title Tag attribute</a> is largely agreed in the SEO community to be one of the most important &quot;<a href="http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/on-page-factors" target="_blank">on page</a>&quot; aspects of SEO for each page of your website. Simply stated, the Title Tag attribute tells the search engine what your page is about. Many small business owners make the mistake of making their homepage Title Tag attribute merely contain something generic like &quot;Home,&quot; which does little to tell the search engines what your website is about&mdash;and therefore what words and phrases they should be ranking it for.</p> <ul> <li>Bad homepage Title Tag: &quot;Welcome&quot;</li> <li>Good homepage Title Tag: &quot;Tampa FL Widget Store | ABC Widgets&quot;</li> </ul> <p>Additionally, many small business owners often use the same exact Title Tag attribute on every page of the site. Each page should have its own individual title describing the content on that specific page.</p> <p><strong>3. Building Primarily Flash-Based Websites</strong></p> <p>It used to be that search engines couldn't index the content on Flash sites&mdash;period. Flash optimization <a href="http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/06/improved-flash-indexing.html" target="_blank">has come a long way</a> since then, but if you think regular SEO is tough, then <a href="http://www.adobe.com/devnet/seo.html" target="_blank">Flash based SEO techniques</a> will seem like rocket science. While having Flash based components isn't a problem (such as a flash banner rotating images of your products), most small business owners would be better off avoiding heavy use of Flash, unless they also have the budget to bring in Flash SEO professionals to ensure the search engines can read it.</p> <p><strong>4. Using &quot;Splash&quot; Pages as Homepages</strong></p> <p>We've all been to that website that has the very sexy graphic or Flash animation on its homepage that users need to click to enter the &quot;real&quot; website. Not only is this bad from a usability perspective (these pages confuse some people and they simply leave the website) but it's also bad from an SEO perspective, for a couple of reasons.</p> <ul> <li><em>The splash homepage traditionally contains little or no written content.</em> Given that the homepage is typically the strongest page of your website in terms of &quot;ability to rank&quot; in the search engines, you want to be sure there is content on the page that tells the search engines what your site is about.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>A splash entry page is a sure fire way to produce &quot;split link popularity&quot; issues.</em> For example, when a visitor goes to yoursite.com, they see your splash page and then have to click in order to &quot;enter,&rdquo; which takes them to <i>yoursite.com/secondhome.html</i>. When people link to your website, some will link to yoursite.com while others will link directly to <i>yoursite.com/secondhome.html</i> to avoid the splash page and connect users with the &quot;real&quot; homepage immediately. So, if you have 100 links to your homepage, they could be split between the two pages. You&rsquo;d be much better off having one homepage with all 100 links aimed at it, making it a &quot;stronger&quot; page that will ultimately rank better in the search engines.</li> </ul> <p>Everything we've discussed above has been related to &quot;on page&quot; search engine optimization efforts. But not everything you can do for your site SEO-wise actually happens ON your website. SEO also involves &quot;<a href="http://searchengineland.com/guide/seo/types-of-search-engine-ranking-factors" target="_blank">off page</a>&quot; factors. Below, we'll discuss two that small business websites typically ignore.</p> <p><strong>5. Not Optimizing Local Listing Pages on Popular Local Sites</strong></p> <p><a href="http://sites.google.com/a/pressatgoogle.com/googleplaces/metrics" target="_blank">Twenty percent</a> of all Google searches are local in nature. And lately, Google Places is showing up at the top of the search results for more and more of those search queries. If <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-claim-your-online-identity-and-keep-it-relevant" target="_blank">you want to be found for locally based searches</a> on Google, <a href="http://www.google.com/placesforbusiness" target="_blank">claiming</a> and <a href="http://www.sugarrae.com/seo-sphere/how-to-pimp-your-google-places-page-for-better-rankings/" target="_blank">optimizing your Google Places listing</a> is vital.</p> <p>Additionally, Google pulls data from many other websites and it's <a href="http://www.davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors.shtml" target="_blank">believed</a> that they take that data (mainly reviews) into account when ranking your Places page within the Google Places results. This means that claiming and monitoring your listings (and <a href="http://www.localseoguide.com/10-tips-to-get-more-customer-reviews-sel/" target="_blank">getting good reviews</a>) on sites like Yelp, CitySearchs and others is important to your SEO efforts.</p> <p><strong>6. Doing Nothing on the &quot;Link Building&quot; Front</strong></p> <p>Links are still widely believed to be the single most important &quot;off page&quot; SEO factor. Simply put, without links from other websites, your site won't rank. The more competitive your niche? The more links you will need to get.</p> <p>Unfortunately, many small business owners put their sites up and completely ignore the inbound link building process afterward. While link building can often be confusing to some small business owners, and it can definitely be time consuming, there is no doubt that if your goal is to improve your search engine rankings, you absolutely need inbound links.</p> <p>Luckily, many folks in the SEO industry share their link building knowledge on a regular basis. Two guides to check out? <a href="http://www.seobook.com/archives/001792.shtml" target="_blank">101 Link Building Ideas</a> and <a href="http://www.seomoz.org/article/the-professional-guide-to-link-building-2011" target="_blank">The Professional Guide to Link Building</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rae-hoffman-dolan">Rae Hoffman-Dolan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-common-seo-mistakes-on-small-business-websites">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business website marketing SEO SEO best practices SEO mistakes small business website design Mon, 12 Dec 2011 00:07:07 +0000 Rae Hoffman-Dolan 816781 at http://www.wisebread.com How To Claim Your Online Identity and Keep It Relevant http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-claim-your-online-identity-and-keep-it-relevant <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-claim-your-online-identity-and-keep-it-relevant" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-claim-your-online-identity-and-keep-it-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-claim-your-online-identity-and-keep-it-relevant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000017463125Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="210" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your customers are looking at <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/forget-the-phonebook-3-local-marketing-initiatives-with-higher-rois-1" target="_blank">your online business listings</a> whether you&rsquo;ve claimed ownership or not. In fact, they may be writing reviews and telling the world about how much they love your company, regardless of whether you are actively involved on Yelp, Google Places, Foursquare, etc.</p> <p>This scenario is what Bob Young of <a href="http://www.computertree.com/" target="_blank">ComputerTree</a> encountered when he did an Internet search on his business. He stumbled upon Yelp and read positive reviews already posted by customers.</p> <p>As a seasoned entrepreneur in the technology industry (his company is an Apple reseller and training provider), Bob knew that people rely on the Internet to get information needed to make purchase decisions. But reading <i>The Referral Engine: Teaching your Business to Market Itself</i> by John Jantsch reinforced the notion that he should take control of and manage information contained in online directories and review sites.</p> <p>Claiming the listing was a first step. Building out a profile and adding content were natural next actions, enabling him to direct the flow of conversation and deepen engagement with interested visitors, prospects, and existing customers.</p> <p>Many business owners are very involved in managing their virtual presences on multiple sites while others are still figuring out what to do. Here are a few tips for those just getting started.</p> <p><strong>Claim your online listings</strong></p> <p>Start by identifying the business listings and review sites that appear on the first page of search results for your company. Depending on your market, these are likely to include Google Places, Yelp, City Search, Insider Pages, and Yahoo! Local. Then, take these actions:</p> <ul> <li>Register for a business account, which should be free and easy;</li> <li>Stake your claim as the owner of your business;</li> <li>Confirm your ownership, generally through a verification process that may involve responding to a call or entering a code from a postcard delivered to your physical address.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Build your profile</strong></p> <p>Review the information that is already posted on the business listing. Determine what information and categories to keep, remove, change, or embellish.</p> <ul> <li>Verify basic information such as your address, phone number, and business category. Update whatever is outdated or just plain wrong.</li> <li>Add your website URL and pertinent facts that you want to customers to know prior to making a visit to your location, such as hours of operation, and whether you accept charge cards.</li> <li>Post photos of the exterior of your facility, which is helpful for those who may need assistance in locating your office or storefront in a business park, office complex, or shopping center.</li> <li>Publish images of your space&rsquo;s interior, which can give people a better understanding of your operations and help those who may be reluctant more comfortable with the idea of visiting your location.</li> <li>Write a paragraph or two about your business, its history (or back story), and you, the owner. Give customers insight into your approach to doing business along with specifics about product and service specialties, areas of expertise, and credentials.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Take care of listing annoyances</strong></p> <p>Claiming your listing is generally a simple process. Problems arise when information contained in a main source is incorrect or outdated.</p> <p>Business directories proliferate and tend to use one or two main sources. So, amending some listings does not seem to stop the spread of false data, such as a wrong address or old phone number.</p> <p>To assure that the right information multiplies, pinpoint the source of any errors and correct information at its origin.</p> <p>For example, I have found that updating Google Places was more effective than correcting off-brand listings, as the bad data kept reappearing until the Google info was corrected. In a <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/events/past/building-your-business-using-online-tools" target="_blank">webinar on local marketing</a> sponsored by OPEN Forum, John Jantsch of <a href="http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/" target="_blank">Duct Tape Marketing</a> mentions key sources that compile and disseminate data as <a href="http://www.infousa.com/" target="_blank">infoUSA</a>, <a href="http://www.localeze.com/" target="_blank">Localeze</a>, and <a href="https://www.ubl.org/index.aspx" target="_blank">UniversalBusinessListing</a>.</p> <p>Also, make sure that company information is consistent. If you have multiple phone numbers, websites, email addresses, etc., choose one to represent your business in online directories.</p> <p><strong>Engage customers and prospects</strong></p> <p>Both standard and advanced features on business-listing sites can help market your business as well as build and deepen relationships, online and offline.</p> <ul> <li><b>Create deals</b>. These offers may be more meaningful to site visitors than those on an email list of a deals service. A deal can act as an incentive to prospects that have shown interest in your company.</li> <li><b>Encourage loyal customers to review your business</b>. These folks will often highlight the best attributes of your company compared to your competitors.</li> <li><b>Interact with customers</b>, whether they provided a positive, so-so, or negative review. Claiming your listing typically will give you the opportunity to respond to reviewers, address concerns, and thank people for their patronage directly.</li> <li><b>Add video to offer a multi-dimensional perspective profile of your business</b>. This step can further clarify your brand message and business strengths.</li> </ul> <p>On Bob&rsquo;s agenda is the addition of video footage from an upcoming customer appreciation event. He plans to show the joy of interacting with his business and capture customer testimonies.</p> <p><i>Have you experienced success by claiming your online listings?</i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-claim-your-online-identity-and-keep-it-relevant">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business listings business website google places online business listings online marketing small business yahoo! local Yelp Thu, 01 Dec 2011 00:30:21 +0000 Julie Rains 792187 at http://www.wisebread.com Building A Business Website Is Cheaper And Easier Than Ever http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-eas...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004591261Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20111018/FREE/111019886/google-goes-searching-for-michigan-small-businesses">recent study</a>, 63 percent of small businesses don't have a website. If yours is one of them, you're missing out on one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to expand your business and increase your income.</p> <p>I built my first business <a target="_blank" href="http://web.archive.org/web/19980710071601/http:/www.barnstorming.com/">website in 1997</a>. Over the next 10 years, it went from generating a few hundred dollars a month to hundreds of thousands a year. I also built a website to sell a database of venture capital sources &mdash; a companion site to a book I co-authored on the topic. That site produced $40,000 a year in sales with no action required on my part except to answer an occasional email.</p> <p><strong>It's Not As Difficult or As Expensive As You May Think</strong></p> <p>You may be more familiar with traditional Yellow Pages or newspaper marketing, and consider an online presence a huge unknown. Or perhaps you recognize the value of a website but worry it will be too expensive or too hard to maintain?</p> <p>Twenty years after the Internet opened for business, what works and what doesn't is no longer a mystery. And the skills and technology required to develop a site are widely available and cost less than you might think.</p> <p><strong>What Does it Take to Get Online?</strong></p> <p>One-stop shops, such as <a target="_blank" href="http://bordesdesign.com/index.html">Bordes Design</a>, can quickly set you up to do business online. Or you can do it yourself if you have the time and skill. Either way, you need a few basics.</p> <p><b>1. A Web Address or URL</b></p> <p>Just as every company has a name, every website has a domain name &mdash; a web address or URL. Usually your URL will be the same as your company name, or a variation, but you might decide to use something descriptive for your online presence. Or you might discover your name is already in use by someone else and have to find another.</p> <p>Wile E. Coyote's favorite mail order supplier, Acme Corporation, might want to use something more descriptive such as jetpoweredrollerskates.com. On the other hand, Acme is so famous anyone looking for dehydrated boulders or earthquake pills would think first of acme.com so they might do best to stick with that. Or they could have both and make one forward to the other.</p> <p>Whatever you do, use a name that ends with .com. If you use something like wizbang.<i>biz</i>, people will assume you're wizbang.<i>com</i> and end up at your competitor's site most of the time. You can check on the availability of a URL at places like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp">Network Solutions</a>.</p> <p><b>2. A Web Host or ISP</b></p> <p>The collection of programs, files, and pictures that are used to create your website have to &quot;live&quot; in a computer someplace. That means once you have a URL you need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Such companies have rooms full of computers, called server farms, where they host websites.</p> <p>These days ISPs are eager to find anything that will differentiate themselves from their competition. So most offer a web address registration service along with web hosting, and a surprising array of free software to help you make your site a success.</p> <p>While all that's convenient, what you want in a web host is reliability and good customer support. It can be hugely in expensive If your server goes down, say, right in the middle of holiday buying rush and you can't reach anyone to fix it.</p> <p><b>3. A Website</b></p> <p>If you know something about computers and enjoy tinkering, you can build a website on your own. <a target="_blank" href="http://wordpress.org/">Wordpress</a>, for example, can be installed by your ISP for free and then you simply configure the site using the built in templates. Or you could develop a site from scratch with a program such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html">DreamWeaver</a> from Adobe.</p> <p>If you don't have the computer knowledge, the inclination, or the time to build a site yourself, you can hire a developer to do it for you. We did this when we recently renovated our web sites. But buyer beware. Website development is a combination of art and science. There are good artists and there are bad ones. There are good computer scientists and there are bad ones. And there are outright scammers who are neither artists or scientists, just thieves.</p> <p>One way to find someone to develop a site for you is to use a freelancer from <a target="_blank" href="http://upwork.com/">upwork.com</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://vworker.com/">vworker.com</a>, or similar sites. You describe what you want, people bid on the job, and you <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/10-tips-for-landing-the-right-freelancer-1">select the provider you feel will do the best job</a> for you at the right price.</p> <p>The best part of using one of the freelance job boards is you can see how other people have graded the work of the providers, so you aren&rsquo;t hiring the proverbial pig in a poke. Plus the job boards help you properly document the contractor relationship and ensure that you get what you pay for.</p> <p><b>4. Content</b></p> <p>A website can be made up of static pages with fixed content that you rarely change. It can be blog that continually offers new content. Or it can be both.</p> <p>If you have a good website structure to begin with, keeping your website fresh and making minor changes is easy. So, unlike Yellow Pages ads or brochures, you can change product offerings, phone numbers, special offers, and other content as frequently as you like.</p> <p>Obviously, a website developer won&rsquo;t know anything about your business, your brand, your message, or your personal preferences, so you&rsquo;ll have to provide that. However, you can use print ads, brochures, speeches, and even personal photographs to give them what they need.</p> <p><strong>OK Already, How Much and How Long?</strong></p> <p>We recently had two sites built for us by <a target="_blank" href="https://www.elance.com/s/hivista/">HivistaSoft</a> through Upwork.com: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en">Undress4Success.com</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://teleworkresearchnetwork.com/">TeleworkResearchNetwork.com</a>. The work cost us $600 for each site, they were up and running in a couple of weeks, and we can easily maintain them ourselves. To host them, we pay $7.95 a month to <a target="_blank" href="http://dreamhost.com/">DreamHost</a> (for as many sites as we care to put online), plus $9.95 a year for each web address.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re computer savvy and decide to got it on your own, sign up for a web address and hosting, install Wordpress, pick a template, and start adding pages, pictures, and blog posts. You can probably be online in a couple hours and fully functioning in a week of spare time. Another of our websites, <a target="_blank" href="http://findingmoneyadvice.com/">FindingMoneyAdvice.com</a>, is an example of a home-built Wordpress site. It doesn&rsquo;t have the glitz of our new sites, but it does have solid content and a built in shopping cart. It took me two days to do it, mostly editing all the text.</p> <p>But keep in mind that having a website is just the first step in creating an online business. If you build it, they won&rsquo;t necessarily come&mdash;there are millions of websites. So marketing your site is important. Here are some tips on how to do that:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/7-deadly-assumptions-of-online-marketing-success-1">7 Deadly Assumptions of Online Marketing Success</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/10-free-tools-that-can-help-your-site-rank-above-the-rest-1">10 Free Tools that Can Help Your Site Rank Above the Rest</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-step-process-for-dominating-your-local-search-landscape--1-2">5 Step Process for Dominating Your Local Search Landscape</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-search-engine-marketing-trends-that-impact-your-business-1">5 Search Engine Marketing Trends That Impact Your Business</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/3-not-so-obvious-things-your-blog-needs-1">3 Not-So-Obvious Things Your Blog Needs</a></li> </ul> <p>So are you going to build a site? If you aren&rsquo;t, why not? Let us know in comments!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business website frugal websites marketing online advertising small business web designers website Sun, 13 Nov 2011 01:11:48 +0000 Tom Harnish 781130 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Your Online Business In Danger of Privacy Violations? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-your-online-business-in-danger-of-privacy-violations <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/is-your-online-business-in-danger-of-privacy-violations" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/is-your-online-business-in-danger-of-privacy-v...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/is-your-online-business-in-danger-of-privacy-violations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016239830Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In case you haven't noticed, online privacy has become a hotbed of controversy. For example, Facebook's recent privacy debacle centers around the fact that <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2393564,00.asp#fbid=bbPCytF8K8k" target="_blank">users are tracked</a> even after they're logged out of Facebook. A 24-year old law student in Austria even found that Facebook was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/facebook-privacy-policy-europe-student-complaints_n_1022988.html" target="_blank">storing data that he had previously deleted</a>. And Facebook is not alone in growing concern over privacy. Google has <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8836415/Google-is-selling-your-privacy-for-a-price.html" target="_blank">had</a> <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/warning-google-buzz-has-a-huge-privacy-flaw-2010-2" target="_blank">its</a> <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/google-cops-a-plea-with-ftc-on-privacy-violations/1568" target="_blank">share</a> of controversy recently, too.</p> <p>Web companies continue to push the boundaries of <a href="&rdquo;http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/pros-and-cons-of-online-visitor-registration-1&rdquo;" target="_blank">what information they can keep</a> and redistribute of their users. It's become commonplace for sites to pull as much information as they possibly can out of each user.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, Washington is getting more involved in the privacy debate. Techcrunch has <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/18/ftc-privacy-czar-to-entrepreneurs-if-you-dont-want-to-see-us-dont-collect-data-you-dont-need/" target="_blank">a recent article</a> on the head of the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection putting a major emphasis on online consumer data protection. There's even a <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/02/do-not-track-me-online-privacy-legislation-introduced-by-calif-congresswoman.html" target="_blank">&quot;Do Not Track&quot; bill</a> (similar to the Do Not Call registry created in 2003) that was introduced last February.</p> <p>Online privacy for consumers is starting to reach a boiling-over point. I personally won't go around wearing my tin-foil hat just yet, but the amount of data that is <em>available</em> and being <em>collected</em> by some sites is scary. A great illustration of this fear&mdash;just in time for the Halloween season&mdash;is the <a href="http://www.takethislollipop.com/" target="_blank">Take this Lollipop</a> site.</p> <p>Now, I'd wager that your website is probably not pulling in or storing as much data as Google or Facebook. But here's a quick overview that you can take to make sure you're playing within the government's rulebook.</p> <p><strong>Make a Privacy Policy</strong></p> <p>Your website does have a privacy policy, right? If not, you can hire a lawyer or use one of the <a href="http://www.w3.org/P3P/implementations.html" target="_blank">W3C P3P-approved software</a> to generate one.</p> <p>One thing that that can be helpful for users is a human-written, non-legalese paragraph at the top explaining <em>your core privacy values</em>. Take the first paragraph of your privacy policy and outline the core concepts. Nobody really wants to dig through the legal jargon (except your lawyers, maybe?), so make it easy on everyone else.</p> <p>Automattic&mdash;the company behind Wordpress.com&mdash;has a great <a href="http://automattic.com/privacy/" target="_blank">privacy policy</a> that takes the first fold of the page and explains the core values of the company concerning user privacy.</p> <p>Not only that, they've open sourced their privacy policy for anyone who wants to modify and reuse it. Generous and helpful.</p> <p>Users want to be reassured that you're not scamming them. Adding a privacy policy helps, but adding a bit of text beforehand simply explaining the policy and your core values can go a long way to making users feel comfortable.</p> <p><strong>Get Certified</strong></p> <p>The best way to make sure that you're following the proper protocols is to get certified. <a href="http://www.truste.com/" target="_blank">Truste</a> is a service that audits commercial and enterprise websites to make sure they're falling in line with privacy and data collection practices. It's a paid service, but adding a Truste seal to your site can drive conversions, too. (Gaining a customer's trust can be a great help in <a href="http://www.askdavetaylor.com/hackersafe_truste_bbb_trust_guard_seals_improve_sales.html" target="_blank">improving </a>conversions and shopping cart <a href="http://www.howdyapp.com/blog/improve-bounce-rates/" target="_blank">bounce rates</a>.)</p> <p>There's also a few other certifications that are worth checking:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.controlscan.com/index.php" target="_blank">Control Scan PCI Complancy</a>. PCI compliancy is a must if you're storing credit card numbers.</li> <li><a href="http://www.mcafeesecure.com/us/products/mcafee_secure.jsp?tab=1" target="_blank">McAfee</a>. McAfee offers products that scan for site vulnerabilities as well as PCI compliancy certifications.</li> <li><a href="http://www.trust-guard.com/" target="_blank">Trust Guard</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.bbb.org/" target="_blank">Better Business Bureau</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Online Privacy Resources</strong></p> <p>Becasue your first defense is education, here are some resources to make sure that you're not in the dark about online privacy.</p> <p><em>The Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center</em>: While it's not a very fun afternoon, you should check out some of the resources that detail online privacy issues. The Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center is a great place to start, with it's <a href="http://business.ftc.gov/privacy-and-security" target="_blank">detailed discussion of privacy issues</a>.<b><br /> </b></p> <p><em>Epic.org</em>: Epic is a public internet research group founded in 1994 to focus on civil liberties issues related to online privacy. A quick pass at their <a href="http://epic.org/privacy/" target="_blank">privacy issues page</a> gives some of the recent hot-button issues that are irking the public.</p> <p>Get more business insights from Glen at <a href="http://lifedev.net" target="_blank">LifeDev</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/glen-stansberry">Glen Stansberry</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-your-online-business-in-danger-of-privacy-violations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business website customer data customer information privacy policy small business Mon, 07 Nov 2011 19:17:07 +0000 Glen Stansberry 772483 at http://www.wisebread.com Improving Your Online Community http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/improving-your-online-community <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/improving-your-online-community-glen-stansberry" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/improving-your-onlin...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/improving-your-online-community" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000005539144XSmall.jpg" alt="Friends at a computer" title="Friends at a computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Business News Daily</em> outlines an <a href="http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/study-local-economies-thrive-on-resident-attachment-0723/">interesting study by Gallup on local economies</a>. In the three-year study, 26 American cities were researched on factors of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The study had a crucial finding that pertains to those of us with small businesses online (and offline): &quot;Communities with highest levels of resident attachment &mdash; a person's passion for where he or she lives &mdash; also had the highest rates of GDP growth over time.&quot;</p> <p>&ldquo;Our theory is that when a community&rsquo;s residents are highly attached, they will spend more time there, spend more money; they&rsquo;re more productive and tend to be more entrepreneurial,&rdquo; says Gallup deputy director Jon Clifton.</p> <p><strong>How to Apply the Study to Your Website</strong></p> <p>There are some key concepts that translate from this study of local communities to our site's communities. After all, community <em>is</em> community, whether you're online or off. Your site is (over time) going to get the most boost from &quot;regulars.&quot; Regulars:</p> <ul> <li>Share your articles with friends and social networks</li> <li>Provide comments and insightful conversations</li> <li>Send you encouragement, ideas, and advice</li> <li>Most importantly, continually buy your products</li> </ul> <p>When it comes to small business, often your &quot;rabid&quot; customers and fans are the ones who continually buy your products. So if you want to improve sales and overall interaction on your website, attracting more of a local feel is a fantastic method. Here are a few ways to do just that:</p> <p><strong>1. Immediately provide ways to join the community</strong></p> <p>As soon as a visitor lands on your site, you want to provide them with ways that they can join your little community. Obvious newsletter subscriptions forms, boxes for joining Facebook pages and groups, even subscribing to RSS feeds give the casual visitor a way to instantly turn into a &quot;member&quot; of your community. While it's never a good practice to clutter your design with too many choices, make it clear right away that you want them as part of your community, and make it as easy as possible for them to make the first step towards joining.</p> <p><strong>2. Make your visitors feel welcome</strong></p> <p>This isn't easy, but it's very important. If the user hasn't been to your site before, you could provide them with a message that says you're glad they're here and where they can learn more about what your site is all about. On a more aesthetic front, take care of the design of your site. Is it easy to navigate? Is it cluttered? Does your site look good in all current browsers? You'd be surprised how often site designs are broken in different browsers. <a href="http://lifedev.net/2010/06/lost-potential-subscribers/">I lost over 200,000 potential subscribers</a> because I didn't pay attention to how my site looked in some browsers. Utilize services like <a href="http://browsershots.org/">BrowserShots</a> to ensure your site design is consistent for every visitor.</p> <p><strong>3. Give them responsibility</strong></p> <p>Communities thrive because they provide ways for members to get involved. This provides a sense of ownership and makes a strong tie to your brand. You never know what each community member might find satisfying. Some might have a &quot;civic duty&quot; and find it their call to moderate comments. Large online forums often have moderators who are key to the community. Most of these moderators aren't paid for their work, either. They do it because they are so deeply-rooted into the community. While every website is different, there are plenty of opportunities to give your community members some responsibility.</p> <p><strong>4. Stop trying to please everyone</strong></p> <p>Trying to please every site visitor is a terrible idea, but it's a mistake almost all of us small business owners make. Not everyone is going to stay in your community or will want to join in the first place. You <em>have</em> to stay true to your community. <a href="http://www.digg.com/">Digg</a>&nbsp;is a social news website that has faltered greatly because over time they stopped trying to please their core community (technology fans) and branched out providing news for wider audiences in hopes of bringing in more eyeballs. The result: Digg is sliding, losing core community members left and right. Just like a tiny knitting shop isn't going to appeal to the whole town, your site isn't going to appeal to every person on the Web. Embrace your niche, and foster your little community. It will grow on it's own, without shifting your focus.</p> <p><strong>5. Appeal to the community</strong></p> <p>Every once in a while, communities need a goal or something to rise up against. What's a good community without a little activism? Showing that your organization does more than make widgets is powerful. <a href="http://www.charitywater.org/">Build a well</a>&nbsp;for a real-life community without clean water. Pool resources to <a href="http://www.ijm.org/">fight slavery</a> (yes, that still exists in the world). The goal is to accomplish something <em>as a community</em> that couldn't be accomplished by an individual.</p> <p><strong>6. Reward them!</strong></p> <p>This should be your favorite thing to do. Give back to your faithful community! Coupons, rewards, free products or downloads, anything you can give away. When they sign up for your newsletter, give them something. When they reach a milestone, give them something. When they're not expecting anything, <em>give them something</em>! Think of your site like a local bar. There's always a contingent of regular customers who come in on a daily or weekly basis. These return customers are the most valuable to any bar, and the bartender knows this and will often reward them with cheaper drinks. You can't afford to be stingy. Your generosity will be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/how-a-14-gift-increased-sales-by-669-percent-glen-stansberry">rewarded many times over</a>. There's no better PR than goodwill.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/glen-stansberry">Glen Stansberry</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/improving-your-online-community">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center build community business website customers small business Fri, 10 Dec 2010 19:40:21 +0000 Glen Stansberry 358931 at http://www.wisebread.com Underpaid? Here’s How to Fix It. http://www.wisebread.com/underpaid-here-s-how-to-fix-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/underpaid-here-s-how-to-fix-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012361531XSmall.jpg" alt="Happy woman at a computer" title="Happy woman at a computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you underpaid? If yes, are you prepared to do something about it? The folks at <a href="http://www.getraised.com">GetRaised.com</a> are willing to bet $20 that you&rsquo;ll have your raise inside of six months with their help.</p> <h2>Find Out Where You Are on the Pay Scale</h2> <p>By simply inputting your career, location, and income data, GetRaised will tell you if you may be underpaid or not. Their sophisticated salary engine derives this conclusion from amalgamated government data, user data, and current job postings.&nbsp;In putting together this research, GetRaised noted that a huge majority of employees are actually underpaid. Some know it and aren&rsquo;t sure how to ask for a raise, while others wrestle with issues of whether they deserve a raise or not.</p> <p>GetRaised solves both of these problems by telling you if you are indeed underpaid, and then giving you the tools to successfully get a raise.</p> <h2>There Are Good Reasons to Ask for a Raise</h2> <p>The majority of the team behind GetRaised started off at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thrive-your-online-personal-financial-planner">Thrive</a>, an online financial planning service. &ldquo;When our data scientists were looking at the Thrive data, we noticed that women were actually better savers than men in that they were saving a higher percentage of their income, but because their income was so much lower, they were actually saving less money in total,&rdquo; says Matt Wallaert, Lead Scientist at GetRaised.com.</p> <p>And concerns about the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-are-responsible-for-inequalities-in-the-workplace">increasing gender-wage gap</a>&nbsp;extend to everybody &mdash; male, female, overpaid, and underpaid.&ldquo;When people feel underpaid and undervalued, they aren&rsquo;t good, productive workers. They still go to work, but they go feeling miserable, and they make other people miserable,&rdquo; says Matt. And this contagious attitude can create some pretty miserable workplaces.</p> <h2>How GetRaised Works</h2> <h3>Step One</h3> <p>Input your career and location data for free on the <a href="http://www.getraised.com">GetRaised website</a> to discover if you are underpaid. If you are, move on to step two. (If not, pat yourself on the back for having an awesome employer.)</p> <h3>Step Two</h3> <p>Sign up to &ldquo;Get Raised&rdquo; for $20. They&rsquo;ll ask you a few more questions about your goals, employer, job, and circumstances. From this you&rsquo;ll receive a custom &ldquo;Raise Request,&rdquo; which is a letter for your boss that logically outlines your case for getting a raise and requests a meeting to discuss it.</p> <h3>Step Three</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll receive a Raise Guide, which walks you through the process of getting a raise and gives you tips for making your request successful. In addition to the guide, you&rsquo;ll also gain access to your own Process Page, an online tool that keeps you on track to getting that raise, complete with checkpoints, reminders, and task lists.</p> <p>If you follow the process above and don&rsquo;t get a raise in six months, then your $20 is refunded from GetRaised. And since most raises are considerably more than $20, this appears to be a bet you can&rsquo;t lose.</p> <h2>Customer Support and Success Rate</h2> <p>Knowing this basic information about GetRaised, I had a few more questions about usability of &mdash; and rationality behind &mdash; the program. For example, I was concerned about customer service and their true dedication to helping people get the raises they deserve. Can a computer program alone really determine if you're underpaid and help you get a raise?</p> <p>&ldquo;While the site is designed to be self-contained and to have everything you need, customer support is something that is important to us: If you get stuck or have a special situation, you can always ask us and we&rsquo;ll try to help, usually within a few hours,&rdquo; says Avi Karnani, Lead Strategest at GetRaised.com. And it&rsquo;s not some underpaid (ha ha) pencil-pusher helping you either; even founding members of the team have been known to hop on the phone to help customers with their raise strategies.</p> <p>What is the success rate of Get Raised customers so far? &ldquo;GetRaised went live in early October, so it's still pretty early,&rdquo; says Matt. &ldquo;There isn't a lot of time for people to have generated a raise request, to have turned it in, to have had their meeting, and to have received their raise. That said, of the people who have gone through the process so far, all but one has received a raise, and that young gent is working for a startup that simply couldn't afford an increase: They instead gave him increased equity (which is the currency they have).&rdquo;</p> <p>Debbie (who asked that her last name be withheld) had an inkling that she was underpaid when she checked out GetRaised. And after going through the GetRaised process, she got her raise. &ldquo;The most helpful aspect of GetRaised for me was that the process guided my focus to what matters: Achievements, responsibilities and such. It's easy to get lost in details when trying to examine the job in which you're immersed on a day-to-day basis. GetRaised cleared the fog and helped me clearly identify what I needed to say to make my point.&rdquo;</p> <p>And try as I did to find a disgruntled GetRaised customer, I couldn&rsquo;t. As Debbie says, GetRaised is &ldquo;good value and a win/win situation. You'll either get your raise, or your money is refunded.&rdquo;</p> <p>Plus, financial assistance is available. &ldquo;We built GetRaised as much for waitresses as physicists,&rdquo; says Matt. So if you can&rsquo;t afford the $20 package, then you can apply for sponsorship. GetRaised will find an individual or organization willing to pay $10, and GetRaised will cover the rest.</p> <h2>Tips for Getting a Raise</h2> <p>Here are a few of the tips for successfully getting a raise that GetRaised walks you through:</p> <h3>It&rsquo;s Not All About You</h3> <p>Refrain from telling your boss that you &ldquo;want&rdquo; or &ldquo;deserve&rdquo; a raise. They care surprisingly little about what you want, and much more about how you add value to the business.</p> <h3>Keep Track of Your Accomplishments</h3> <p>Note dates of tenure, certifications, training programs, awards, or initiatives you spearheaded that resulted in new business. This is great fodder for creating your case as a raise-worthy employee.</p> <h3>Know Your Company&rsquo;s Budget Calendar</h3> <p>Asking for a raise just after the annual budgets have been submitted won&rsquo;t be very successful if there isn&rsquo;t money in that budget for you.</p> <h3>Go Above and Beyond</h3> <p>&ldquo;Raises really are earned more than given,&rdquo; says Avi. Although this is true, don&rsquo;t go and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">give up all your vacation time</a> in an attempt to become the model employee. I believe that even when you&rsquo;re gunning for a raise, a balanced approach to work &mdash; and life &mdash; speaks volumes.</p> <h3>Know What Else to Ask for If Money Isn&rsquo;t Available</h3> <p>There are lots of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/9-tax-free-employee-benefits">tax-free employee perks</a> you can ask for if a monetary raise isn&rsquo;t in the cards. GetRaised&rsquo;s Raise Guide identifies these alternative options and helps you to pursue them.</p> <p>Right now, the only thing disheartening limitation I see with the GetRaised program is that only US residents can take advantage of it. Then again, you&rsquo;ve got to start somewhere.</p> <p>Are you underpaid? Go to <a href="http://www.getraised.com">GetRaised.com</a> to find out. You&rsquo;ve got nothing to lose, and possibly a higher paycheck to gain.</p> <p><em>Writer's note: I have no affiliate or vested interest in GetRaised. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/underpaid-here-s-how-to-fix-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-women-dont-negotiate">Why Women Don&#039;t Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-bug-your-boss-for-more-money-and-get-it">4 Ways to Bug Your Boss for More Money – and Get It!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building asking for a raise business website self improvement Tue, 09 Nov 2010 12:00:11 +0000 Nora Dunn 272496 at http://www.wisebread.com How an Exact Match Domain Can Launch a Successful Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-an-exact-match-domain-can-launch-a-successful-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/how-an-exact-match-domain-can-launch-a-successful-business-chris-birk" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/how-an-exact-match-do...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-an-exact-match-domain-can-launch-a-successful-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013915369XSmall.jpg" alt="business domain" title="business domain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>To exclaim that entrepreneurs need a good web domain is to trade in marketing cliché.</p> <p>It's almost 2011. Fledgling business owners know this one by heart &mdash; but here's a different way to think about domains: as a crucial first step that can make future online marketing efforts infinitely easier and more effective.</p> <p>Or, perhaps, as the genesis of a business you've never even considered.</p> <p><strong>Exact Matches Made in Heaven</strong></p> <p>There's no formula for choosing a successful domain. A litany of companies built brands and booming websites from the thin Internet air (think <a href="http://www.zappos.com/">Zappos</a>, <a href="http://www.yahoo.com/">Yahoo!</a> and every other quirky site consumers relish). For the rest of the entrepreneurial world, the more common approach is rooted in transference. You hunt for a domain that brings your business name to the web.</p> <p>It's worth considering another option, though: Forget choice altogether. Let due diligence and data be your guide. Pour your time, effort and money into chasing down an exact match domain.</p> <p>In short, an exact match domain is a website comprised solely of critical keywords for your industry or business type (think <a href="http://www.cars.com/">Cars.com</a>, <a href="http://www.weddingdresses.com/">WeddingDresses.com</a> or <a href="http://www.wine.com/">Wine.com</a>). They're also highly sought-after commodities. Exact match domains are inherently imbued with credibility, authority, and search marketing potency.</p> <p>Users and search engines alike revere exact match domains. Google gives these types of domains a boost in the search engine results, a nod to the authority behind the exact match. An exact match domain also takes much of the work out of traditional online marketing efforts. Site owners, bloggers, and consumers who link to your site will likely use your domain name, creating a stream of high-quality, keyword-rich links.</p> <p>That's the kind of stuff that sends sites rocketing up the search results.</p> <p>At the same time, scores of consumers still open a browser and type &quot;Tickets.com&quot; into the URL bar to find a pair of concert tickets. Owning an exact match domain allows you to grab that one-off traffic and sink your teeth into maximizing conversions.</p> <p>So why doesn't everyone go the exact match route?</p> <p>Because the good ones are long gone and often expensive to acquire.</p> <p><strong>Finding a Home</strong></p> <p>Exact match domains make everything easier. Obtaining them is typically anything but. Odds are those bold, umbrella domains within your industry are out of reach, unless you're sitting on a sprawling pile of seed capital. Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Start by doing some keyword research in your space &mdash; not just for your ideal phrases, but for secondary and tangential terms that the average consumer might wind up searching.</p> <p>A great resource is Google's <a href="https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&amp;__u=1000000000&amp;ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS#search.none">External Keyword tool</a>. Filter the results through the &quot;Exact&quot; field and look at one tally in particular: keyword search volume. This is a simple, no-expertise-needed way to see what other exact match domains might be worth pursuing.</p> <p>The right opportunity is worth busting your marketing budget wide open. Spending heavy for a great domain at the outset will eliminate much of the cost and hassle of building an online marketing campaign down the road.</p> <p>An exact match domain doesn't tie you to decades of boring business cards. You don't have to ditch the business name you've spent years developing. Instead of &quot;Natalie's Knitting&quot; consider &quot;Natalie's Knitting at KnittingNeedles.com&quot; or &quot;Natalie's Knitting brought to you by KnittingNeedles.com.&quot;</p> <p>Perhaps it isn't the T-shirt friendly moniker you always wanted, but the last thing you want to do is purchase an exact match domain and use it to redirect visitors to your homey, niche website. Diverting traffic and links from the big-dog domain will dilute the search marketing boost big time.</p> <p>An exact match domain isn't an excuse for complacency. Building a brand and establishing authority still require dedication and a clearly developed marketing strategy. But there's no better foundation out there.</p> <p><strong>The Chicken, the Egg and the Exact Match Domain</strong></p> <p>Exact match domains can also spur business creation. Nathaniel Broughton knew little about the surety industry when he purchased <a href="http://www.suretybonds.com/">SuretyBonds.com</a> in 2009, but the online entrepreneur behind three Inc. 500 companies can spot a great opportunity miles away.</p> <p>His research uncovered an exact match domain with loads of potential. Instead of squatting on the site as an investment, Broughton ran some projections and decided to build a surety bond business from the ground up.</p> <p>SuretyBonds.com now has four full-time employees and the No. 1 spot in Google's search results for the phrase &quot;surety bonds.&quot; The startup is licensed to issue bonds in 25 states and counting. (Full disclosure: I was an unpaid writer for the company's blog).</p> <p>Many entrepreneurs enter the market with that cradle-to-grave concept, the business idea they've incubated for years, but it doesn't have to be that way. The power of an exact match domain, in the right vertical, can serve as the springboard to building a thriving business outside of that life-long calling.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-an-exact-match-domain-can-launch-a-successful-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology business website small business Mon, 25 Oct 2010 17:42:06 +0000 Chris Birk 255887 at http://www.wisebread.com