With the tragedy of the Boston Marathon still fresh in everyone’s minds, it revives memories of other recent disasters that have misplaced citizens, families and businesses of all sizes. Even if your business is not located in a disaster-prone area, you never know what else could happen that would interrupt the normal operations of your company. Plan ahead by making sure your critical business information is backed up and stored offsite, diversify your suppliers in case something happens to their business and obtain business interruption insurance. Most important: Make a plan with employees to set up a chain of communication to make sure everyone is accounted for so you can let worried family members and coworkers know.Google+
Most liked posts
Popular Tagsaccounting and taxes blogging blogs Branding Business Development business travel Capital Access Compliance Customer Service ecommerce Email marketing entrepreneur entrepreneurship Facebook Generational Marketing GrowSmartBiz Conference Grow Smart Business lead generation LinkedIn Marketing michael dougherty mobile marketing networking online marketing Raising Capital Resources retail sales sales process SBSI Search Marketing seo small business small business accounting small business hiring small business loans small business marketing small business resources small business technology social media Technology trends Twitter Web Design Workforce
- Advanced Degrees
- Allison Kapner
- Best Of…
- Business Development
- Capital Access
- Carol Roth
- Cover Letters
- Customer Service
- Email marketing
- Jennifer Nycz-Conner
- Job Search
- Life Transition
- Lunch with Entrepreneurs
- Patrick Madsen
- Patti Nuttycombe Cochran
- Personal Brand
- Robin Ferrier
- sales process
- Sarah Morgan
- Small Business
- small business
- Small Business Success Index
- social media
- Thomas Madrecki
- What's next Gen Y
- Working World
Small Business News
I was recently tweaking my website, and one thing I did was make sure I had the right keywords integrated throughout the site. That little exercise got me thinking about how to identify the best keywords for a business, especially one that is in a highly competitive industry or market.
Let’s back up real quick. For those who don’t know what a keyword is, Google defines it as “any word or short phrase that describes a website topic or page. The more a keyword is used by searchers and websites, the more attraction power it has.”
Keywords are important. If you want to rank high on a search list, you need to do two basic things: create new content to keep your site fresh and use strong keywords throughout your content and Web pages.
Here’s how to audit your website and identify what keywords to use:
Give each Web page a purpose
Look through your website and make a list of each page: name, category (product page, about page, etc.) purpose. By defining your pages, you will have a clearer idea of what keywords to research and which keywords to use on which pages.
Brainstorm keywords for each page
Go back to your page list. Quickly think of the keywords that are most likely to be used when conducting a search on that topic. If keywords overlap from one page to another, that is perfectly OK. No need to edit – yet!
Check your list against the Google Keyword Tool
This tool sets the standard when it comes to keyword research – webmasters and SEO experts rely on it. Simply type in a word or phrase, and you’ll get a list of similar keywords with a count of how often each word is searched, along with info on which words advertisers think have most value.
Keep in mind that the more competitive (valuable) a keyword is, the harder it will be to rank high in search results for that keyword. Revisit your list, and throw those out. Don’t be tempted to use keywords that rank super low; no one uses them. Your best bet is to go for medium-values.
Consider using long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are entire phrases – like “non-toxic ways to get rid of ants” rather than “pest control.” They are less competitive, but they work very well for SEO purposes, and they convey user intent, which is great for lead conversion purposes.
Do some competitive analysis
Use the keywords you chose to conduct searches. As your competitors pop up, take a look at their sites. What meta-titles are they using (those appear at the very top of the browser window)? Next, conduct a keyword search for your competitors’ sites using semrush.com (handy little tool, isn’t it?) to understand what they’re being found for.
Finalize your list
Now that you have done all that research, plug your almost-final list of keywords back into the Google Keyword Tool to make sure they’re not too competitive, but that they do deliver results. Finalize your list, integrate them on your website, and you’re good to go!
Have you ever done in-depth keyword research? What did you learn?
Image courtesy of 123rf.comGoogle+
If your business is involved in the travel industry, benefits from travelers or markets to them, you’ll want to know what luxury travelers are planning for this year. The news from Unity Marketing is positive: The company’s latest report, Affluent Consumers & Their Travel Plans for 2013, surveyed over 1,300 affluent consumers with an average income of $267,800 and found that nearly half (45 percent) plan to spend more on travel in 2013 compared with 2012.
Where are luxury consumers planning to go? Internationally, three destinations were especially popular compared to 2011: the Caribbean, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. In the U.S., Las Vegas and Nevada in general topped the list of planned vacation spots, followed by New York, Florida, Boston/New England and Los Angeles. 15 percent of consumers plan on visiting Western Europe, especially France, Germany Italy and Spain.
What else do you need to know about luxury travelers?
Luxury travelers typically take multiple long vacations. In 2013, the average luxury traveler will take 2.8 separate vacations lasting four days or longer.
Luxury travelers don’t want to spend a lot of money getting to their destination. They rarely fly first-class, for example, and they seek to use frequent flyer points and other means to economize on the trip. Receiving discounts was cited as more important this year than in the prior 2011 survey.
Once they get to their destination, however, luxury travelers splurge, typically staying in four- to five-star hotels. Experience is key for luxury travelers, and the types of experiences they want most this year are relaxation/stress reduction, sightseeing, and fine dining/food and wine experiences.
This year, luxury travelers are relying much less on travel agents and much more on online reviews and other online tools. Less than one-third will use a travel agent to plan their trips, and the importance of online reviews rose compared to the 2011 survey.
But there is still opportunity for travel sellers, tour companies and other travel-related businesses. To make the most of luxury travelers’ growing budgets:
- Provide or link to online reviews of your business on your website.
- Offer discounts, special offers or packages to appeal to luxury travelers’ desire to save.
- Provide a curated experience. Luxury travelers care greatly about creating meaningful memories and having unique experiences, so if your business can help them discover or enjoy unusual experiences, you’ll appeal to their interests.
- Focus on high quality. Luxury consumers demand the best, so make sure your service is up to their standard.
Image by Flickr user breezy421 (Creative Commons)Google+
The Small Business Administration just announced this year’s National Small Business Week (NSBW) will be held June 17-June 21. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the SBA and the 50th anniversary for NSBW. To help celebrate, instead of just holding one event in Washington, DC where the festivities are traditionally held, the SBA is hosting daily events around the country. According to the SBA, this will help “ensure that during National Small Business Week we celebrate all small businesses…and reach more individuals in our small business communities.” Local events will be held in Seattle (6/17), Dallas (6/18), St. Louis (6/19), and Pittsburgh (6/20). If you can’t attend any of the local events, they will all be live-streamed on the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov.Google+
In a recent blog post, I wrote about how to turn difficult clients into customer success stories. Sometimes, though, despite your best efforts, it is just not working.
Here are 8 signs it’s time to fire a client:
1 – Your client undoes all of your work
Have you ever delivered a project to a client, only to have them dismantle it piece by piece and then rearrange it so that it makes no sense? For me, this is a sign that they don’t recognize or appreciate your expertise and have decided that they are the true expert. If that’s the case, well, good luck to them!
2 – Your client is never available
If your client is very slow to respond to emails and voicemails – or doesn’t even bother to respond – and is constantly cancelling and rescheduling meetings, then the project you are working on is not a priority for them.
3 – Your client withholds information
At the beginning of your project, you told your client what resources and information you need from them in order to do your job and meet their goals. If they withhold that information, it might be literally impossible for you to complete the project.
4 – Your client does stuff behind your back
This is always a fun one to deal with: clients who hire another consultant without telling you, shift strategies, or ignore your recommendations (for a graphics firm, manufacturer, etc.) and go with someone else instead (who turns out to be, oh, not very good).
5 – Your client asks you do something unethical
Thankfully, I have never had a client ask me to do this, but I did work for a company in which the CEO asked a colleague to do a whole list of unethical things. Going to jail for someone else’s hubris is not a good idea.
6 – Your client doesn’t pay
I just got paid for a small project 8 months after the work was complete. This client had the audacity to brush it off and then ask me to work on another project with him. Um, no.
A corollary to this is if a client balks at the price and tries to negotiate it down or push it back. You might never get paid (this happened to me on a big project).
7 – Your client constantly changes scope of work
Changing the scope of a project happens often, and it is usually not a big deal. What is a big deal is when the client expects you to do more work for free.
8 – Your client is never satisfied
Some people are literally impossible to please. Maybe they ask for one tweak after another, thus dragging out the project. Maybe they take one look at what you did and say they hate it – and refuse to pay. The stress of trying to please a negative Nelly is just not worth it. Save your sanity, and say good-bye.
Have you ever fired a client? Why?
Image courtesy of zainjoyce.comGoogle+
If you’re considering using a crowdfunding website to finance a product launch, you’re not alone. Global crowdfunding grew 81 percent to $2.7 billion last year and successfully funded more than 1 million campaigns. But did you know you most likely have to pay fees to participate? Depending on how much money you need to raise, crowdfunding may or may not be a viable option for you once you consider how much the crowdfunding website charges in fees. Kickstarter, one of the most popular crowdfunding sites, charges a 5 percent fee for every successful project. Some sites charge even more for projects that don’t meet fundraising goals, so check the fine print before you sign up.Google+