Category Archives: Understanding SEO for Small Business Websites

Learn more about SEO (search engine optimization) and why it matters for your small business website in this section.

Understanding SEO for Small Business Sites

Stay updated on the topic of understanding SEO for small business sites in this section of StartUpaSmallBiz.com .

WordPress Hosting



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Your Small Business Website: Planning Tips

The purpose of a small business website is to increase sales, leads and exposure to your brand. It’s also a way to inform prospective buyers and clients about your products and services so that they can make an educated buying decision. But your website has to be planned and executed correctly in order to be effective. Here are some tips for planning and developing your website.

Picking the Right Domain Name

The first detail to consider when you’re planning to create a small business website is the domain name you will choose. This is not a small matter — this is the name that people will come to recognize you by over time. Here are a few tips for picking the right domain name:

  • Use your company name for the domain name (i.e. HomeDepot.com or Forbes.com) if this website will be used mainly to establish and build your brand.
  • Use a name that describes what you do (FlowersandVeggies.com) if your main goal is to increase web traffic from search engines.
  • Do keyword research to find out what your target audience is searching for online when they want what you sell, then try to incorporate that word or phrase into your domain name.
  • Keep your domain name as short and catchy as possible so that it’s easy to remember.
  • Use simple, everyday terms in your domain name; words that an 8th grader would understand.
  • Stick with a dot com or dot net domain name whenever possible (maybe dot biz); most people trust clicking to a “com” or “net” address over the others.

Will Your Website Be Information-Rich or Action-Oriented?



Some business websites are designed to educate the consumer and provide extensive guidance or advice on a subject while others are meant to inspire quick action (a sale or a sign up). Decide which method best fits what you’re trying to sell because it will have an effect on how you build the site (the approach to designing and planning your site is also called “website architecture”).

Choosing a Design Platform

Once you know the general style and focus for your website, the next step is to decide which tool or program you will use to create it. Here are a few of the most popular methods:

–          HTML text editor. This is the most basic yet time-consuming way to create a website. You would use Notepad or a similar text editor program to manually type in HTML, PHP, JavaScript and other code to develop the website. Heavy website coding skills and knowledge are needed.

–          Web-based multiple page website builder. A number of online website building services give you web-based tools that you can use from your browser to put a multiple page site together using drag and drop features.

–          Web-based one-page website builder. This is a fairly new way to create a small business website. It is a web-based tool that also has “drag and drop” and “type and save” functionality, but it creates a dynamic and responsive one-pager site. All this means is that the entire website, including specific sections, is on one scrollable page that’s mobile-friendly. This is best for a modern, action-oriented website.

–         Standalone Software. There are standalone web design software programs that you can use to build a basic multi-page or mobile-friendly website. You should be at least moderately familiar with HTML and web design.

–          WordPress.org (or WordPress.com). If you’re planning to create an information-rich small business website with plenty of content (namely blog posts) posted over time, a WordPress site may be your best bet. It allows you to set up your site design using a free or paid WordPress template, then post blog updates whenever you want. You can also add new pages to your site that have the same design with just a few clicks. With WordPress.org you host the files on your own server (maintaining total control; flexibility) and with WordPress.com they are hosted by WordPress (limited control and options).

If you are not familiar with how to use these tools to create a website and would rather focus your time on other matters, hire someone who does. A designer will also be able to provide more guidance on what tool is best for creating your small business website.

Your Content Plan

Once your small business website is up and running you will quickly realize that you need content — a whole lot of it — on a regular basis. The more high quality, search engine optimized content you post to your website (namely the blog), the higher its chance of being picked up by search engines. One statistic shows that companies who blog get 55% more web traffic. So if there’s an investment you definitely want to make in your website, it should be in writing content yourself or buying content from skilled writers.

Planning your small business website will take some time, but that’s okay — it’s best to take your time to ensure that it’s right. Once your site is finally up and running you can focus your attention on other details, like how to funnel more traffic to your site using social media, ads and promotions.

 

Louise Gaillard is a professional writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.





Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Picking a Keyword for Your Small Business Press Release

You want to write a small biz press release that gets the right attention from media sources, journalists and bloggers. Here are a few tips.

Though many internet marketers have discovered that using press releases strictly for SEO (search engine optimization) linking purposes is not as effective as in the past, it is still valuable to write them when announcing important new business developments and offerings. One of the most important decisions to make when writing and submitting a small business press release is to choose the keyword phrase that would best attract the right attention to your story. Here’s a few tips for how to pick the right keywords for your small biz press release.

What Is Your Goal?

Decide what you want to achieve by writing this press release. For example, let’s say that its purpose is to announce the opening of a new online store that sells bird cages. Your main goal here is to attract editors at bird magazines, the pets and animals sections of popular news websites, shops and bloggers who write about pet birds. Now create a list of the types of things these people might type into a search engine when looking for stories. For instance, new bird cages, designer bird cages, bird cage technology, etc.

Google Keyword Tool

Pull up the Google Keyword Planner tool (available to Google AdWords subscribers) or a similar tool that will help you select keywords that will apply to your small business press release. What would people who are interested in your business search for online? In the earlier example obviously a keyword phrase containing the words “bird cages” is a wise starting point. Start with that and the keyword tool will provide you with more suggestions.

The keyword tool suggests a number of similar or more specific search phrases that you can use, such as “wooden decorative bird cages” or “Feng Shui bird cages.” Choose keywords that have low to medium competition and a solid number of monthly visits (at minimum of 1,000 per month). You may have much more success being found using keywords that don’t have too much competition with moderate monthly traffic over those with a lot of competition and a very high number of monthly hits.

Inserting Your Keyword Phrases

Choose your main keyword phrase to use in your press release and mention it three times in a 350-400 word piece – once at in the headline, once in the beginning paragraph, once in the middle and once at the end. Don’t overdo it, because that could turn off some search engines — they might look at it as keyword stuffing. If you’re going to provide a link to a page on your website, only use one (maybe two) that fit naturally within the context of your story so that readers can seek more information about the topic.

If you take the time to write it correctly, a small business press release can be a very valuable tool for your company. In addition to grabbing the interest of potential media contacts and announcing your plans to the world, it could also improve the visibility of your company website.



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

Make Cool Interactive One-Page Websites with this Free Website Builder

My review of Strikingly – a web-based Website Builder that produces attractive one-pager sites for businesses, projects and personal branding.

Let’s face it, the usefulness of developing a full scale website with countless navigation options is pretty much over — at least for small to mid-sized businesses. Most people visit a website, look at one or a few pages/blog posts, and then move onto other things. This is especially true for social media users.

Website visitors just don’t have the time to luxuriously browse every site they encounter.

So what if you offered them a one-page site that was fully equipped with everything they need to know in a quick and attractive responsive format?

That’s basically what Strikingly offers. It’s an online website building software that allows you to create modern-looking one-page websites using easy clickable tools — you don’t need any coding skills. You can pretty much see what they offer by visiting the Strikingly home page and scroll down.

My Experience

I tried out the software for myself because it looked like something that would work for a few of my offerings, including my Kindle books and content writing services.

These were the benefits / results that I found after using this software:

  • Strikingly gets you started right away. Literally in seconds you’re designing. There are no delays or requests for a credit card, etc.
  • There aren’t too many choices for templates, which is actually a good thing. There are studies about how the more choices someone has, the less likely they are to make a good choice. One of the templates they provide will likely work for your specific purpose (business/project, personal or portfolio).
  • The software provides tracking details for the previous 24 hours or 7 days. Longer analytic reports are available to pro users.
  • The final result after using the web builder is a very attractive, responsive site that inspires quick ACTION. This is the site where people will go when they’re ready to make a purchase. The entire finished site that you create is basically a very nice looking squeeze / sales page.
  • The mobile version of the site also looks great (automatic) and is easy to navigate. It funnels the visitor quickly to the “buy now” link.
  • The publishing process is nice and quick, just how I like it. It took me about 2 hours to edit and publish.

I have created and managed many websites over the years, and though I love doing it, it can take days to get it just right. So 2 hours (which includes the time I spent creating a custom header) is pretty great. I decided to feature one of my books on Twitter advice and tips on my first Strikingly site. Here is what the finished product looks like:

home
The “Home” Section
The "Info" Section
The “Info” Section
The "Benefits/Features" Section
The “Benefits/Features” Section
The "Buy Now" Section
The “Buy Now” Section
contactme
The “Contact” Section

 

These are all elements of the same “page.” Looks pretty nice, huh? I’ve already been getting some traffic to it after tweeting it to my followers and will probably be tweaking it some more, possibly adding a different background. Everything is pretty much already set up, including the contact box at the end — I just had to add my email address to receive messages from customers.

Here are some other notable features of this website building software:

  1. Social media “share” links are automatically provided.
  2. It offers simple publishing tools (simple enough for a beginner).
  3. Custom settings can be made for the title, descriptions, header and footer.
  4. It offers options to adjust the style (fonts and colors) to fit your branding.
  5. Upgrading to a pro plan provides even more options (like adding a custom domain or buying a domain, adding more sections and adding custom codes).
  6. Strikingly has a “Discover” page where people can go to browse all of the current sites using this software — another way to draw new traffic to your site.
  7. SEO-optimized design.

So Who Would Love This Software?
Here is a short list of the people who I think would love  and benefit from the Strikingly one-page website builder:

  • A seller who has a clearly defined product that can be purchased online/shipped. If you sell one or two products, you’ll like this software. It allows you to feature the product front and center and then provide more information about it.
  • Someone selling a package or basket of products related to a specific theme. A lot of retailers are finding success combining existing products into convenient packages for sale, like Valentine’s Day packages, haircare products or “new pet kits.”
  • A professional who offers a set of services that can be packaged neatly. Writers, consultants, graphic designers and other service providers can use it to set up a portfolio and list their offerings in an attractive format.
  • A local business that wants to attract new business online. Advanced mobile options are available to pro plan users like calling, texting and getting directions to an address.
  • Folks who don’t have the time or know-how to create an attractive responsive website. It’s just a matter of clicking, typing and uploading images.
  • Entrepreneurs who know the art of the “squeeze” page. Sales writers will have an easy time setting one of these pages up for quick sales.
  • Businesses that want to collect email addresses from social media users. Most social media marketers understand that your best shot at turning a Twitter user into a customer is to get their email address. You can create a compelling argument for why they should do that in an easy to follow format using your Strikingly one-pager.
  • A marketer who writes sales pages and needs a better looking way to present them. A lot of online marketers swear by long-form sales pages, but they aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing sites. Strikingly allows you to set up a sales page that’s more interactive, attractive and easy to navigate.
  • Story telling. Some businesses need to tell a story in order to sell their product or service effectively. These one-page Strikingly sites provide a simple platform to do just that — section by section you can tell your story then give them a “buy now” link at the end.
  • Someone promoting a crowd funding effort or social cause. The one-page style of a Strikingly site makes it a perfect place to talk about your fundraising project or to promote a charitable cause.
  • A job seeker. The site offers a resume builder (integrated with your LinkedIn profile) so that you can create an interactive resume to distribute to prospective hiring companies.

The paid plans are pretty affordable, ranging from $12-$20 per month (less if you purchase a yearly plan instead of monthly). You can try out an upgraded plan for 14 days before paying to see how it works.

A Simple Solution

If I could use one descriptive word for Strikingly, I would say “simplicity.” As someone who has managed many different websites and keeps a fairly busy schedule, anything that makes my life easier and simpler while giving me nice results is a winner. I’m thinking about using these Strikingly sites to set up a new business.

Bookmark this post — I may do an SEO update in the future.

 

About the Author:
Louise Gaillard is a prolific writer, marketing consultant and the author of Easy Twitter Marketing Tips for Business Success.


Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.

3 Simple SEO Tips for Small Businesses

When you put your small business website online you’ll quickly learn that SEO (search engine optimization) is key to your site’s overall success. Search engine optimization is the process of publishing your site so that search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing will index it and find your posts for the best possible ranking. Here are a few simple SEO tips for small businesses that might help you get better results. The effectiveness of these tips may vary depending on the latest Google update (as of this posting it is called “Hummingbird” — who knows, it could be Elephant, Tiger, Bear or Kangaroo in the future) but they are still good practice, no matter the algorithm.

Use Long Tail Keyword Phrases

Sites that have been around for 3, 5, 10 years or more are likely going to occupy the top spots of popular one and 2-word keyword phrases that get a lot of traffic. If you want to get more traffic to your business website, start using long-tailed keywords in your posts and pages. For instance, instead of optimizing a post for the search term “cat advice” you might use “long-haired Persian kitten advice” instead. Get specific and use those phrases in your posts. Sometimes all you need to do is add a couple of adjectives to make it a good long-tail keyword phrase. Use keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword planner (available to AdWords accounts) to learn about long tail keyword ideas that get a good amount of monthly traffic.

Title, First Paragraph, Last Paragraph

Keyword stuffed articles don’t work as well as they did in the past (repeating the keyword phrase over and over again). However, it’s still valuable to use keyword phrases in your article. Try posting the phrase once in the title, once in the first paragraph and once in the last paragraph as a rule of thumb.

Focus on Quality over Quantity

There was a time when website publishers thought that quantity was the most important thing. The strategy was this: just throw up as many keyword-rich articles possible, even if they barely made sense, and get a good ranking. Back then, that strategy worked, but now it’s probably the worst idea you could possibly implement if you want your small business website to succeed and get ranked.

Focus on publishing high quality content over publishing a high quantity of content. Search engines are looking for sites that provide searchers with the answers that they’re looking for in a well-written, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand format. The general rule of thumb is to write your website content (especially blog posts) in language that an 8th grade student would clearly understand.

Provide Value

The best advice I can give you about SEO optimizing your website for success is to provide your web visitors with value. When you do get a click, your visitor should leave feeling as if he’s learned something new — preferably he won’t leave until he buys your product or service!



Starting up a small business, even if it's just on the side, is no longer an option -- it's a necessity. Why? Because everyone needs an additional source of income in our new economy. Click here to sign up for educational and motivational posts to keep you on track.