Does Your Small Business Need a Website?

Does your business have a website? If not, you are not alone. The question is, does your small business need a website?

Chris Brogan said, “60% of U.S. businesses are not online in any fashion — a huge mistake in an age in which most people rely heavily on search engines to find information about businesses.”

Consumer shopping often starts online where we begin our research. If your company is not online, you miss the opportunity to be considered in the first round. Without an online presence, your company is eliminated before you have a chance to compete for the sale.

Brogan compares using a Facebook page instead of your own website to living in a hotel rather than a home. The content is yours through the site owner can kick you out or change the rules at any time.

The same holds true for other free hosting sites like wordpress.com, Blogger and Typepad. The sites are attractive to those just starting out. If you are just getting started with your first site, you may consider free hosting as a place to experiment with layout and content. These sites have tools and templates to get your site up and running within minutes. Advanced technical skills are not required.

Business Website

Does your small business need a website?

Once you determine the type of site and content that works for your company, consider moving to your own domain. The benefits of hosting on your own domain include:

  • More credibility for your business
  • Full control over your site and content
  • Greater flexibility of platforms and software
  • Improved optimization for higher search engine ranking
  • Ability to monetize your site

Costs to register a domain are about $10 a year. Hosting fees vary. If you are serious about your business, it is worth investing in your online presence with your own business website.

Blog Rules on Endorsements

Did you know the U.S. government enacted new laws impacting a blog, bloggers and endorsements effective December 1, 2009?

These revised rules require anyone who blogs about products, including books, to disclose any connection with the company. If the blogger receives a free product to review or some other benefit from the blog post, they must disclose this fact.

Not disclosing a relationship with the product or service may result in fines.

Unmatched by anything
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheeErin

On occasion I am asked to review a product or service and give my opinion. If the product is of benefit to my target audience, I will investigate or test it out. If I feel the product or service is valuable to my readers, I will comment on my blog.

I only promote or cover any products or services I have used and believe in.

Are you a blogger? You can learn more about this law from information available on the FTC website.

Portfolio Careers is the New Jobs

CNN reports the traditional job and career path is going away. More and more employers will hire contract workers to fill new openings. Get ready for change.

What does this mean for employees? No paid health care, vacations or pensions.

What does this mean for employers? Ability to staff to meet demands, reduced cost of labor, organizational and management style changes.

You're So Vane
Creative Commons License photo credit: dcbprime

Let me introduce you to portfolio careers. I heard this term several years ago from my friend Chris King. By portfolio, I refer to a collection of paid and unpaid activities which, as a group, make up your career.

Chris’ portfolio career includes storyteller, human development specialist, artist, storyteller, trainer, consultant, web site designer and developer, TV announcer, model, mathematician, marketing manager, newspaper editor, salesperson, waitress, writer, speaker and mother of five.

My own portfolio career includes personal development coaching, adult education, marketing plan development, professional speaker, career blogging, travel blogging and author.

How is your career portfolio evolving?

Ford Fiesta Movement Blog Campaign

Instead of using old marketing techniques, Ford is introducing the new Fiesta to the U.S. with the Fiesta Movement Campaign. During this promotion they are giving the cars to 100 bloggers throughout the country. During the next six months, Ford hopes the bloggers will promote the car to their followers through social networking.

My brother, in the market for a car heard about the campaign. There were a couple cars in the Chicago area but he could not find a way to contact the drivers. He called me for assistance.

I went online and found one of the bloggers Derek PrettyBoy Dow @Oprettyboy1 on Twitter. A few tweets between us and we had an appointment scheduled for my brother to view and sit in the car. Less than twenty four hours elapsed between my brother’s first call to me and his email to all thanking everyone for their help.

Thanks for your help Derek. Search for hashtag #fiestamovement to learn more.

Professional WordPress Blog Themes

Are you using a WordPress blog for Your Business? Are you using a professional blog theme?

Some of you may be just getting started with blogging and find your choice of free themes limited or cumbersome. If you are ready to take your blog to the next level, check out the professional themes from StudioPress. They have a variety to choose from and each can be customized to reflect your business look and feel. Colors, fonts and graphics can be configured.

I installed the Serenity theme on another blog site recently and like the ease of installation and support that comes with all the themes. Each theme comes with text and video tutorials to get you started. If you get stuck, send an email to the forum for a quick response.

Check out the professional looking themes from StudioPress available for your blog. Disclosure: this is an affiliate link. I will help you install this theme for free if you purchase through my link.
StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

What questions do you have about setting up or upgrading your business blog?

Blog 30 Day Challenge is On

Today, June 1, 2010 is Day 1 of the Blog 30 Day Challenge. My goal is to post 30 new blog postings here over the month of June. Inspired by Connie Green, I accepted the first Blog 30 Day Challenge in April. I had fun, learned a few tips and met interesting bloggers from around the world. I decided to participate in the new challenge as a way to stretch outside my comfort zone and learn more about blogging.

Web 3.0
Creative Commons License photo credit: videocrab

Over the past two years I started two blogs. I am learning more about working with WordPress blogs and I’ll be sharing this experience with you on this site in the near future. You will see changes to the look and feel of this blog also.

What do you to stretch outside your comfort zone? Where do you look for inspiration and information?

To find other bloggers who have joined the Blog 30 day challenge, search Twitter for hash tag #blog30

How Often to Blog

I am often asked, “How often should I blog?”

Those who study industry trends generally recommend bloggers post new blog entries at least every fourteen days. Why? Posting on a regular schedule keeps your content fresh and interesting.

Where Are You Today Travel Blog

Search engines love blogs for this reason. Google and other sites will visit blogs often to look for new content. The return to learn how often to expect new content from your site. By writing new blog posts on a regular schedule, you will train the search engines to return more often.

There are a few bloggers who post daily or even more often than that. Seth Godin comes to mind. His posts are short, maybe two or three paragraphs on a topic.

Whatever schedule you choose for yourself, be consistent. It is best to under promise and over deliver. If you write an extra message or two, it is a bonus!

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