Posts Tagged ‘Small Business’

Blogging for a Small Business

Blogs are easy way to communicate with the customers, and employees. From past few years, blogs are continuing as one of the effective channels of communication when compared to other advertising channels. Blogs for business can help to strengthen relationships with targeted audiences. A blog can help in as many ways, from a business perceptive.


Reasons why a small business needs blogging
Small businesses need to be more effective in building a potential and loyal customer base when compared to large businesses. Blogs helps in increasing the consumer base.
• Building customer relationships: Blogs are very helpful to increase the brand loyalty in customers by engaging with them through blogging on their favorite topics. Regularly updated blogs can help businesses in making readers to visit the website on regular basis. This may steadily enhance the business opportunities of the organization. Blogs became easy and effective medium to make the customers to join in discussions, providing tips, insights, etc., about the products and services of many businesses.
• Blogs at workplace: Employees can write their opinions, views, and recommendations for any developments in the business. Blogs helps small businesses for effective cross-functional communication with employees. Companies can create internal blogs within organizations where project members and employees update project information along with reports without having to waste time for interaction and responses for minor updates.
• For brand awareness: Small businesses can easily update their recent achievements in products and services in blogs and can create awareness to the customers about them. With regular reading of blogs, customers can know the latest developments in the business. Blogs help small businesses to create brand awareness for the products or services they offer.
• Better communication: Blogging for small businesses facilitate to increase the integrity in the organization with the easy communication process between the employees and the management. Blogs are also created to attract the readers of targeted markets. Companies update their respective blogs frequently with opinions and reviews of customers along with their new achievements in their products and services, and make them visible to almost everyone online.

Blogging enables the small businesses to stay in business, to connect with its customers, clients. This can indirectly help to increase their sales. Blogging can make your customers relate better to company on a personal level. Blogging is a great way to set your company apart from the group of small, and home based businesses through Internet.

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Jump Starting a Small Business Presence Online

The traffic statistics page for Robert's new small business web site starts to load. He scrolls down the page, dismayed. Just one or two visitors daily. Robert sits back and sighs. Most were probably curious friends and family.

When his internet-savvy nephew suggested promoting his small business on the Internet, Robert designed a simple but attractive five-page small business web site. He added meta-tags and keywords, and waited for the search engines.

Robert wonders, "What now?"

Robert's experience is common among small businesses getting started on the Internet. He has just faced the first big lesson for a small business web site: the web site is not enough. Unlike the weekly advertisement Robert places in the local paper, he needs to promote the web site itself. In a sense, he needs to advertise the advertisement.

What Robert doesn't realize is that he already has the most valuable asset a small business can leverage online -- knowledge and experience. Anyone who runs a small business off-line is an expert on something that other people would like to know about. Writing articles can turn that knowledge into targeted traffic. Article writing is the ideal free method for a small business to promote itself on the Internet.

Every small business has expertise it can share in 500-1,000 word bites. A landscaper could write about the uses for different kinds of turf grass. A window installer can describe new types of energy-efficient windows. A home cleaning service can provide cleaning tips.

Customers ask Robert five questions repeatedly. He can easily write five simple articles to answer them. Then, he just needs to add a "resource box" which advertises and links to his web site.

Robert can also include a few of his web site's keywords in each article, and, if possible, in his resource box. Robert's business depends on local customers. Including his city's name in anecdotes within the articles, or in the resource box, can help his articles to appear in local searches for that city.

Robert would start by uploading his article to a new web page. This gives visitors more to read -- and starts to establish Robert as an expert. More importantly, the article becomes "spider bait" for the content-loving search engines to find and index.

He could stop there, but his new article gives him a more valuable opportunity to promote his site.

Next, Robert can offer his article to other web sites. Most article directories accept submissions of articles. They offer those articles for others to use in newsletters or on web sites. A quick search for "article directory" will yield a sizable list of sites that accept article submissions.

Prepared, with a simple text file ready to copy and paste, it takes just minutes to submit an article to an article directory site. Once posted, the article provides a link to Robert's site. Other webmasters may reprint his article, also linking to his site.

Article marketing is viral, multiplying the links -- and visitors -- to the author's site each time an article is republished. Just one popular article can attract a growing number of information-hungry visitors as the article spreads across the Internet.

Many article directories also include new articles in RSS feeds and e-mail announcements to their lists. Robert doesn't even need his own e-mail list or feed to advertise his web site to readers of his article.

Finally, if Robert has more time, he can search for "ezine directories" to find newsletters that accept articles and offer his article directly to them. If he is willing to spend some money, he could use article submission services.

Over time, the growing number of links to a web site can improve its "link popularity" and Page Rank. As the site rises in the search engine rankings, it attracts even more visitors.

Articles spread those all-important links across the Internet without the tedious process of sending out link exchange requests (often declined or ignored). Better still, webmasters who reprint articles rarely ask for reciprocal links back to their own sites.

The benefit of writing an article builds over time, yet articles require no ongoing maintenance once they are written and submitted. Other options like newsletters, blogs, and forums can demand more upkeep than a small business can afford.

Best of all, articles can remain up on web sites indefinitely, driving free traffic immediately -- and long-term. Most other kinds of advertising stay posted only as long as they are paid for. An article's "views," "reprints," and "click-throughs" can increase -- without increasing advertising costs.

Writing articles is a powerful way to leverage a small business' expertise, transforming it into traffic. The currency of the Internet, information, makes advertising a small business web site affordable. Promoting with articles can jump-start the online presence of a small business and continue to market it for a long time to come.

(c) 2006 Wendy Maki
May be reprinted in email newsletters and on web sites. Must be unedited and include the resource box. All other rights reserved.

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10 Reasons Your Small Business Needs A Technology Services Provider

Can your small business get both affordable professional-class IT service and peace of mind? The secret lies in having a technology services provider handle your technical solutions.

To stay competitive, small businesses must make the most of current technology. But it's expensive, time consuming, and inefficient to maintain a full-time IT department like larger companies. A true Professional Technology Services Provider offers on-demand talent, depth of experience, deep resources and huge economies of scale. Here are the top 10 benefits you'll see.

Benefit #1: Stay Focused On Core Business Functions

People are happiest doing what they do best. And they get frustrated by tasks that distract them from it. Researching solutions, implementing new technology and fixing IT-related problems are extremely inefficient for non-IT professionals. Free up internal staff for revenue-generating functions and the business of business.

Benefit #2: Tap Economies Of Scale And Purchasing Power

Due to a single focus on IT, sechnology services providers achieve greater efficiencies and economies of scale. They consolidate purchasing power and have access to deep and broad knowledge bases. Using developed best practices, tasks are completed more efficiently than small businesses can do on their own. The means real cost savings-- both in time and money.

Benefit #3: Reduce Cost and Control Operating Expenses

The business value of technology services providers results in very hard dollar savings. In almost all cases, small businesses will spend 25% to 50% less than the cost of even one mid-level IT professional. Then take recruiting, training, vacation, sick days, turnover and other management issues out of the equation to see even more savings. Costs are budgeted, predictable and controlled.

Benefit #4: Access Highly Specialized Talent

Small businesses cannot cost effectively achieve the scale and flexibility to properly support their technology environments. Even a very experienced and dedicated IT employee has limits to skills and avenues for help. Professional technology services providers offer access to teams of IT specialists that deliver the cross-sectional IT knowledge needed to provide both on-going and critical support for small business networks.

Benefit #5: Get Services On-Demand

Many small businesses face the challenges of growth and the burden of scaling back. Both cases present a genuine HR problem when relying on in-house IT resources. Small businesses need the agility of just-in-time resources for emergencies and the flexibility to adjust technology support levels. With a professional technology services provider, sudden changes won't affect the livelihood or morale of employees.

Benefit #6: Help Employees Innovate and Stay Productive

Communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing allows employees to innovate. These capabilities are delivered through a multitude of technologies including file servers, central databases, broadband connectivity, mobile platforms, email communications, and many others. However, true productivity and business benefit can only be realized when this complex technology is properly planned, implemented and maintained. The best practices and comprehensive experiences around planning, implementing and maintaining such systems allow technology services providers to successfully deliver these productivity improvements.

Benefit #7: Reduce Downtime

Even a few minutes of systems downtime carry enormous business costs. Maximizing uptime must be a high priority. Small businesses can longer afford issues with internet connectivity, email communications, corrupt data or systems failure-the cost of reacting to these events is just too high. Professional technology services providers offer planned, measured approaches to pro-active systems maintenance, security, backup and disaster recovery.

Benefit #8: Get A Technology Edge Over Competitors

Don't just level the playing field: take advantage of new technologies for a competitive advantage. Technology services providers keep up with the latest solutions through ongoing training and real-world experience. They know how to implement the latest hardware, software, and network applications available. Just as important: they know which technologies are not worth the investment.

Benefit #9: Attract and Retain Employees

Employees want to work in an environment where their computers are up and running. Employees want to be competitive with their rivals and they want the technology tools that really help them deliver. Potential new talent will weigh your company's technology prowess. Utilizing a professional technology services provider allows small businesses to meet these expectations and increases the ability to attract and retain employees.

Benefit #10: Access Otherwise Unavailable Vendor Support

Access to manufacturers is crucial in effectively supporting complex technology. When available, technology manufacturers traditionally provide basic or unreliable direct end-user support. With a well-established professional technology services provider, small businesses enjoy the benefits of priority access to Microsoft, Cisco and thousands of other technology vendors.

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The Easy Way to Market Your Small Business on the Web

Recently, when doing research for my Internet marketing advice column, I've been talking to small business owners about why they originally decided to take the risk of entrepreneurship, and to strike out on their own. Most of them, when they think seriously about why they first started their business, offer no single reason, but instead cite a variety of factors that contributed to their decision.

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