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  • 08Apr
    Web Site Usability Comments Off

    Top Web Design Trends For Small Business In 2010
    A website is a great branding and marketing tool for any small business. It is also essential for a business strategy to ensure its brand, location and products are  found in search engine listings.

    In 2009 it became easier to design your website. Businesses had the choice of do-it-yourself website builder’ tools or open source software like WordPress etc. The open source software may require some initial setup help unless the business owner is technically savvy. In 2009 ready-to-use templates also got more sophisticated in the appearance of the finished product, i.e, the published web site, and at the same time got easier to use for the end user. Another new trend for 2009 was getting a design for your website or logo as a contest through “crowdsourcing” with sites like 99 Designs, CrowdSpring and Genius Rocket.

    For businesses that do not yet have a website, their goal for having a website in 2010 should be:

    * Discovery: Make sure your business can be found on the internet by users searching online for a business in search engines, maps and local
    * Engagement: Save your customers time by providing them an easy way to get information on your business.
    * Sales: Get sales and leads from engaged visitors
    * Service: provide information and tools for website visitors who have already made the purchase

    2010 will be the year of both the website owner and website visitor. Businesses will rediscover the marketing power of their websites. Users with an extensive choice of information on the internet will give their blessings to simply designed sites with easy to find information. Search engines will bless sites that are updated more frequently with ranking blessing. Social media integration will help websites spread their information far and wide and savvy website owners will use analytics to continuously tweak their websites based on visitor behavior. Entry pages, bounce rate, click paths will become easier lingo to follow and use for business purposes.

    2010 will be a call to action to those business owners who used the build –it-and-forget it policy for their websites to wake up and get the online marketing and brand engine going. If you don’t believe me, search Google for your competition or look how your customers are reviewing you on social sites like Yelp.

    2010 Trends for web design

    Find me on the Internet: Year of the Web presence

    As 2009 comes to an end and small businesses look to 2010, and an online presence will become important. Highly competitive businesses use technology like websites, online marketing tools etc to succeed (Small Business Success Index June 2009). With over 47% of small business not online 2010 will be an important year to get their business online and have a web site.

    Low cost or no cost ways to get a web site increase

    With the enormous variety of web site tools available for small business, it may be easy to start a web presence for almost no money at all. Hosting providers offering free websites tools, blogging software providers like Blogger, Wordpress etc also let you start a web presence easily. Small businesses could try these free tools to experiment and then advance to a customized hosted option. A hosted option with your own domain name would be more credible and more brand friendly for your business.

    Updating frequently. Realizing the power of a Blog as a business tool

    In the previous years Small businesses had set up websites and did not update them often. Even if they are not online businesses in 2010 these businesses will pay attention and update the content of their websites more frequently.

    More businesses will add Blogs to their existing websites. This will give them an additional way to interact with customers. Customers can comment and give feed back on the blog. An added bonus is that these businesses have a better chance to be in search engine results as blogs are updated more frequently and search engines like blogs. Customers will like this as they get a chance to comment and also get to know the business in a very friendly and conversational way. See Lisa Barone’s  tips on cleaning up your website.

    Flashy out;  practical in

    2010 will be the year of simplicity. Information on the internet is already overwhelming for users. Websites that quickly provide the information without too many flashy promotions will get more visitors. Of course the exception is if you are in the entertainment business.

    Personalized experience

    Greeting your visitors when they visit your website will become expected in 2010. Giving them a personalized experience based on their interests will make them WOW your business. No longer just limited to sites alike Amazon, show visitors what they looked at and recommend products they may like or content that is related.

    Are you for real?

    Security is increasingly a concern and the importance to establish credibility will continue to be important. Visitors will look for security seals, ssl certificates, secure forms (using https:) and also validation seals. This is even more important if you are selling products online and collecting information.

    You should make sure you add your website to the web master tools of Google, Bing and Yahoo. Security of your website will be very important against hackers and malware. To prevent this keep your website software always updated.

    Do you know who is knocking on your web site door; Web Analytics are a crucial tool

    Websites without analytics is like running a business without accounting. Websites will focus on using web analytics tools to learn which content is more popular, who is visiting and from where. Tools like Google Webmaster tools will be important to find stats for indexing.  Read Clate Mask’s article on using Web Analytics tools.

    Widgets and Apps

    Widgets showing collaboration between your website and other properties will become expected for websites. Some examples of using widgets is adding your latest Twitter comments, best selling products, most popular articles. This will extend to the ability to share the content using widgets like Share This, Add this allowing the website content to be shared by the visitors to their own networks.

    Some great info on Lisa Barone’s post here.

    Can I call you now? Adding Interactivity to your website

    Chat and calling buttons on your website will be back. If people find something interesting on the website, features like ‘Click to Call “and chat or send a message will reemerge. This will also be an important analytical tool so as to track where the lead came from by using different incoming phone numbers. Earlier, these tools were only affordable by large corporations in 2010 these tools will become affordable by more small businesses. More website owners will start using  Skype , Google Voice or several commercially available options.

    More Multi-media will be added to web sites

    Videos and photo galleries will form part of websites . Small business will use cheaper and convenient options like FLIP HD cameras to tell the behind the scenes stories of their business and products. Uploading them to video sites like YouTube, Blip.tv etc for videos, and Flickr for Photos and embedding them in their own website and will have the advantage of being seen in both the website and the photo or video network.

    In 2010 using websites like BlogTalk Radio businesses will show their thought leadership through podcasts and even their own live TV show using web sites like Livestream.

    Links links links

    Websites home pages will morph into portals to cater to a wide audience visiting them. Links between websites and other local community websites, events, news will be part of the website content strategy. Media rooms i.e sections of the website where small business owners can showcase coverage of their business will be an essential part of the website. Business websites will show their support to local and community causes. Content will include links to industry trends and news.

    In summary if you are a small business owner you should be prepared in 2010 to show personality in your business by using your website and multi media tools to tell your story to your customers and prospects. Keeping an ear to the ground to learn about the conversations about your business like product reviews etc will become very important. You may get media and press attention by exposure of your business in social media channels. Any effort in 2010 you invest in your website will be highways to your getting more traffic customers and a better bottom line. 2010 is the year of the small business web site.





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  • 24Aug
    Affiliates Comments Off

    Which Affiliate Networks To Look Out For When Promoting

    There are many horror stories about affiliate programs and networks. People have heard them over and over again, that some are even wary of joining one. The stories they may have heard are those related to illegal programs or pyramid schemes. Basically, this kind of market does not have real, worthy product.

    You do not want to be associated with these schemes. It is obvious you want to be with a program that offers high quality product that you will readily endorse. The growing number of those who have joined already and are succeeding immensely is proof enough that there are reliable and quality affiliate programs out there.

    Why participate in an affiliate program?

    It allows you to work part-time. It gives you the opportunity to build a generous residual income. And it makes you an owner of a small business. Affiliate programs have already created lots of millionaires. They are the living testimony of how hard work; continuous prospecting, motivating and training others pay off.

    If ever you are deciding to join one, you must take note that you are getting into something that is patterned to what you are capable of. This will be an assurance that you are capable of doing anything to come out successful.

    How do you choose a good affiliate program to promote? Here are some tips you may want to look over before choosing one:

    1. A program that you like and have interest in. One of the best ways of knowing if that is the kind of program you wish to promote is if you are interested in purchasing the product yourself. If that is the case, chances are, there are many others who are also interested in the same program and products.

    2. Look for a program that is of high quality. For instance, look for one that is associated with many experts in that particular industry. This way, you are assured that of the standard of the program you will be joining into.

    3. Join in the ones that offer real and viable products. How do you know this? Do some initial research. If possible, track down some of the members and customers to give you testimonial on the credibility of the program.

    4. The program that is catering to a growing target market. This will ensure you that there will be more and continuous demands for your referrals. Make inquiries. There are forums and discussions you can participate in to get good and reliable feedbacks.

    5. A program with a compensation plan that pays out a residual income and a payout of 30% or more would be a great choice. There are some programs offering this kind of compensation. Look closely for one. Do not waste your time with programs that do not reward substantially for your efforts.

    6. Be aware of the minimum quotas that you must fulfill or sales target that is too hard to achieve. Some affiliate programs imposes pre-requisites before you get your commissions. Just be sure that you are capable of attaining their requirements.

    7. Select one that has plenty of tools and resources that can help you grow the business in the shortest possible time. Not all affiliate programs have these capacities. Make use you decide on one with lots of helpful tools you can use.

    8. Check out if the program has a proven system that can allow you to check your networks and compensation. Also check if they have it available online for you to check anytime and anywhere.

    9. The program that is offering strong incentives for members to renew their membership each time. The affiliate program that provides continuous help and upgrades for its products have the tendency to retain its members. These things can assure the growth of your networks.

    10.  Be aware of the things that members are not happy about in a program. Like with the ones mentioned above, you can do your checking at discussion forums. If you know someone in that same program, there is ho harm asking if there are many downsides involved.

    Have a thorough and intensive knowledge about the affiliate program and network you will be promoting on.

    Knowing the kind of program you are getting yourself into will make you anticipate and prevent any future problems you may encounter.
    Which Affiliate Networks To Look Out For When Promoting





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