Ways You Can Improve Your Small Business Website

In the early days of the internet, a few businesses decided to take advantage of this promising new communication forum by creating their own pages. These often had some contact information, a photo or two, and the hours of operation, but little else. However, as the internet quickly became a more integral part of everyone’s life, companies of all sizes realized just how incredibly important it is to have a robust internet presence.

Nowadays, it is pretty much inconceivable to have a business without a website. However, a lot of small business people could be doing a better job of using their sites to find and retain customers. Read the following suggestions and see if they could help make your site the most effective it can be:

Blogging

No matter what you business does, start up a blog. You don’t have to put up something new several times a week, but adding fresh content regularly is important. It not only keeps visitors informed, but also helps to ensure that your site builds its search engine rankings. Still need convincing? Read this.

Contact Information

This is common to every site, right? Sure, most all sites have a Contact Us page, but some lack basic information like the company name or they contain careless errors (double and triple check this section). It is also wise to have your phone number visible at the top of every page. People are very impatient online; they want the information right there in front of them. Make sure that the link buttons (like Contact Us) are easy to spot and have the correct URL.

Videos

People watch a staggering amount of internet video each year, and much of it on their mobile devices. Having videos on your site is not only a good way to show off your products and location, but also to connect. Having your managers and staff appearing on camera and discussing the advantages of your service helps to make a connection with the viewer. You don’t need to hire a video production company for these, but make more of an effort than just shooting on some raw footage on your phone. Not doing a video properly can have a negative effect.

 

Money Saving Tips for Small Business

Small business owners know all about working long hours and having to make their way in an often-crowded market. The ones that thrive use all manner of strategies to stand out, lure in new customers, and stay ahead of the competition. Some of these involve innovation, extensive planning, and careful timing. However, one of the main assets of any small business is shrewd financial sense. Very few have an unlimited source of capital, so what are the best ways to not only use the cash available, but also generate more?

Here are some common ways that a small business can save money:

Utility Costs

Use a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat/air conditioning during off-hours. Inspect the property for gaps in windows, doorways, and cracks that can be causing hot/cool air to escape. Also, think about whether you really need to have your sign and equipment on after a certain point in the evening.

Paper Usage

With digital storage, there is no need to print so many things. Implement optional e-mailing of customer receipts, and when you do have to print, always do it double-sided.

Consider Used Equipment

If you are running a cupcake store in a small town, you don’t really need new, top of the line equipment every few years. However, many large businesses insist upon this, even if they don’t really need it either. As a result, if you hunt around, major bargains are available when it comes to things like used computers, cash registers, printers, etc.

Take Full Advantage of Social Media

Television advertising is rarely within the budget of small businesses nowadays, and newspapers are a dying breed. However, the internet offers many cost-effective (read: free) ways to attract new customers and remind previous ones that you would love to have them back.

Create an active presence on big social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also engage the services of a digital marketing company specializing in this sort of promotion (many offer small packages for companies that don’t have a lot of money set aside for advertising).

Repealing Net Neutrality and Its Possible Effects on Small Businesses

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made it clear that he wants to eliminate Net Neutrality, and the vote is scheduled for later today. In short, if it passes, the Title II classification of internet providers would cease. That would remove any legal barriers the FCC has for stopping internet providers from throttling a person’s service, blocking users from certain websites, and implementing paid “fast lanes.” This could also lead to new limitations on free speech. All of these should be of concern to the average American.

It is clear that corporate megaliths like Comcast will benefit from the abolition of net neutrality, but how will small business people fare under these changes?

Online Business

If a good portion of your business takes place online, this could definitely impact your bottom line. Consumers like to save money, but they also don’t like to wait. If a site becomes noticeably slower and more cumbersome to navigate, people will be less inclined to use it.

Theoretically, if your business is deemed to be in competition with say, AT & T, there would be nothing to stop that company from slowing down their subscribers’ access to your website. In addition to declining sales, fewer visitors per day will also cause your site’s search ranking to sink, making it less likely to attract new traffic. Also, if you host promotional videos, slower speed will cause them to freeze and buffer, leading to fewer views and people exiting prematurely.

Extra Cost

Of course, should these changes occur, your business would likely have the option to pay the provider a higher fee and not face these speed limitations. But who wants to pay extra for their internet, particularly when it seems likely that said fees will regularly increase? It’s essentially the equivalent of paying protection money to the mob and being subject to their whims.

It is possible that such a situation will motivate start-up companies to offer cheaper packages aimed at the small business person. Alas, everything about this bill seems like a handout to the big boys, so it is tough to say whether such upstarts could even get enough of a foothold to make a go of it.