Archive for January, 2008

Success Breeds Success

January 30, 2008

Another saying, “it takes money to make money” is appropriate for this post…

Just the other day, a client called me saying, “Larry a number of folks have found me on-line and just signed contracts. I know we do not even have the number #1 ranking. What can we do to keep this going?”

On e of the first things, I telll clients is that you have to start somewhere and to be patient. This client has been on-line for some time and we did some conservative marketing. Well now it is beginning to show some fruit and time to step it up a bit.  (If you can do well on-line without spending any money, more power to you.)

When Small Businesses Shouldn’t Act Like A Small Business by Stoney deGeyter is great article to read.  “if you’re one of those that likes being “mom and pop” then this article isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you’re a small business owner that has big dreams and big goals there is no better time than now than to start getting out of the small business, mom and pop mindset and start thinking like the business you want to grow into…”

It is all about your mind frame. The attitude you take is important and yes some times some risk is involved but again, one needs to move forward.

Stoney says and I totally agree with; “You don’t have to be a big business to win in the on-line marketing game. But you do need to get out of the mom and pop rut. Be willing to take risks but do so wisely and well-informed. “

Being informed is what we are trying to do here at ShowMeLocal blog. So please read these articles, ask questions, surf around but do something!

Taking The Fear Factor Out Of Paid Search For Small Businesses by Christine Churchill is another great article for small business, to help understand paid search and how to use it for their on-line promotions. Christine takes a very realistic approach to things and I think does a great job explaining things.

Paid search is simply one aspect of on-line marketing that small business can take advantage.  But remember you need to do something to get your promotions moving as things improve, add to it.

Q&A About Small Business Websites

January 21, 2008

We want to make the ShowMeLocal blog a useful tool to our readers. To that end, we are going to periodically post answers to questions small businesses have about being successful on-line. If you have a question for me, shoot me an email.

Some of the major questions I get from small business owners is regarding websites–should I have one? how much does one cost? how big should it be?

Well, in general, I think (as well as the experts) all small business need to have some web presense. A website, if done properly can be very effective in building your online visibility. A good website will contain all of your basic information: services, hours of operation, contact info, your policies, past customer reviews, etc. A look at a website as your 24/7 sales person. You should have on it, everything you think is important for your visitor/customer to know.

Pricingon designing a website will vary. There is no industry standard, so when speaking with a web designer make sure you agree on what you are getting, how long it will take, and that you get a copy of the work on a cd or dvd when they are done. Also it would be good to get references on past work too. Again, in general, a basic website should probably cost less than a thousand dollars but again, there is not standard. Most designers will charge on a per page basis.

Regarding size, it should be as big as you need it to be.

For some small business, a web site is too much (either in time, effort, or finances) so what is the alternative? The business profile page. When I first found ShowMeLocal, it was the business profile page that attracted me. ShowMeLocal has a very easy to use and update business profile section that any small business can and should take advantage of. The business profile page provides small business owners an avenue to put all of their vital business information on-line economically. Even if you have a website, using a business profile page is still recommended. More ways a potential customer can find you, the better. (In addition to ShowMeLocal, you can create your business profile at numerous other directories or search engines.)

What is web hosting?

Web hosting is the service of providing a space for your website to reside. Web hosting is one of the more critical aspects of a website and most website owners do not even think about it. If your website is not up and running, you have a problem.

When looking for a place to store your website, check out the web hosting companies past record: number of current websites they host, monthly or yearly pricing, security, file backups, email accounts, statistics, ability to run various scripts. A good web hosting company should be able to answer all of these and more. My recommendation is to start out small and then expand. No need to pay for 1 gig of space when your few html files only take up a megabyte of space.

Again these is not any standard pricing but you should be able to get some quality web hosting for under $10 a month. It seems like everyone is providing web hosting, so take a few minutes to review what they have and provide. Again web hosting is your silent partner, and if things are going well, it is one you should never hear from 🙂

We hope this information was helpful. Again if you have questions email me and I will do my best to answer them for you. Have a great week.

Your Local Business Profile

January 7, 2008

Today your homework assignment is to read Anatomy & Optimization Of A Local Business Profile by Chris Smith. This article comments on the importance of using or having a local business profile.

“Optimizing business listings and profiles can make all the difference in enabling potential customers to find you and in selecting you from your pack of competitors.”

Since you are reading this blog, I assume you are a member of ShowMeLocal, if not, join today. When I first found ShowMeLocal, I was immediately impressed with the site layout, content and marketing potential. (honest, no BS). Remember it is all about your business growing its visibility online. If no one can find you, what is the point?

Business profiles will add to your visibility, can be a useful tool to augment your website (if you have one), and can provide links to your website(s). In the article, Chris provides great details on what a business needs to pay attention to: maps, geocodes, zip codes, phone numbers, categories, keywords, etc. Most small businesses simply put the basic address, phone, fax, etc. on a profile but if they take the time to create an “optimized” profile, it can be a real benefit to them.

ShowMeLocal’s business profiles allows you to create a very through business profile and one that you can use with an existing website. Coupons, blogs, reviews, widgets are available at ShowMeLocal. Eugene Belenky founder of ShowMeLocal says “ShowMeLocal profiles are highly SEO optimized and that is why deliver top organic! results in the search engines for our clients (not only navigational results but discovery as well). They will not get those results anywhere on the web for free.”

Now results will vary but here are a couple of examples were ShowMeLocal business profiles are showing up:

Massage Therapy on Comcast.net

Massage Therapy on Google

Pharmacy results per zip code

Chris ends his article, “Take advantage of the free advertising through all the business profile directories out there, and you’ll start pulling your business ahead of the pack.”

Can’t agree with Chris more. ShowMeLocal currently is free so it represents one of the best avenues for a small business to promote itself. If you are not here sign up. If you are already here, take a couple of minutes to review your profile. Is there anything you can do to it?