Wednesday, May 27, 2009

5 Websites to Ramp Up Your Online Business

Lead Generation.

If you had more customers would you sell more product?

Sounds pretty obvious really.

So, where are the customers? Where are your potential customers?

If you have a retail business selling products or services there is a very good chance that some of your customers are hanging out on these websites.

Put your business in front of them.


PageRank 5
Compete - Approx 428000 unique US visitors in April 2009

Classifieds for Free

PageRank 4
Compete - Approx 48000 unique US visitors April 2009

Free Advertising Forum

PageRank 5
Compete - Approx 26000 unique US visitors April 2009

Web Classifieds

PageRank 4
Compete - Approx 88000 unique US visitors April 2009

Inet Giant

PageRank 4
Compete - Approx 165000 unique US visitors

There are a few things that you need to realise about online classified websites

  1. People that look at online classified websites are looking to buy stuff
  2. These websites come up in Google search results and rank highly.
Just these 5 websites alone in April 2009 had 745000 unique US visitors.

Now, not all of these people are going to see your ad, but even if just a very small percentage of people see your ad you could significantly increase your business.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

31 Things to Consider When Planning Your Business Website

What do you need to consider when planning your business website?

Here is my checklist -

1. Domain Name - do you have one or do you need one?

2. Main Purpose of the Website

3. Your Target Market - what do they want and where do they hang out online?

4. Launch Timeframe - what is your launch date?

5. Your team - inhouse or outsourced?

6. Layout - must lead people around your website and allow them to uncover the things that interest them.

7. Navigation - easy to use and consistent across the website.

8. Integration with your corporate or business image - be consistent across your online and offline business so that your customers recognise you.

9. Color Scheme - use colors to highlight the key areas of your website.

10. Content - text, images, photos, articles, product info

11. Artwork - professional, and consistent with your business image.

12. Banners

13. Fonts - easy to read, consistent across your website, and not too many

14. Photos - professional

15. Internal Linking - this ties in with your navigation and contributes to your search engine rankings.

16. External Linking - what websites will add value to your visitors. These are the ones you should link to.

17. Ecommerce - do you need it?

18. Members Section - do you need a members section? Do people have to pay for it? What value can you give in return for this?

19. Forum - create a community around your website and your business

20. Newsletter - communicate regularly with your online customers

21. Video - a personal touch. Be professional

22. Audio

23. Blog - post new content regularly to your website and communicate with your customers.

24. Content Management System - do you need one?

25. Site Updates - how often? Who is responsible for these?

26. SEO - your website must be found.

27. Keywords and Keyphrases - research, research, research

28. Budget

29. Marketing - how are you going to promote your website? Online? Offline?

30. Code Validation - is your code valid? This could affect how search engines index your website. Make sure you have valid website code.

31. Programming Languages - does your designer have the necessary skills to build your website? Flash? PHP? Javascript?

Great website design comes together when the whole adds up to more than the sum of the individual elements.

Each element must support the main aim of the website

And, each element must support the image of the business.

'Your website is your business representative in the online world. What message are you sending to your online customers?'

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Monday, May 25, 2009

6 Ways to Save Money on Your Website Design

As a business owner, one of the things you are always conscious of is saving money on expenses.

$1 of extra sales might equate to 10cents of extra profit.

But $1 saved on expenses is $1 of extra profit.

Efficiency is all about taking your available resources and making them go further.

So how do you do that when you are planning your business website.

1. Have a clear idea of what you want your website to achieve.

Is your website for e-commerce?
Is your website about lead generation?
Is your website an information resource for your customers?

Having a clear idea of what you want your website to achieve will allow your website designer to get a clear idea of what they need to do for you.

It is a bit like when you build your house or you do a fitout on your business. If you have a clear plan when you start and you don't make too many changes you will limit your cost over-run.

When you have a clear idea of what you want from the start you can then ask your website designer for an estimation of the cost of your project.

2. Prepare your Content

You know your business and your products probably better than anyone else. So having your content prepared will allow your website designer to properly plan your website.

They may need to make some changes to your content to enhance your conversion or your search engine rankings. But if you have your content prepared in advance this will allow your designer to see more clearly what they are dealing with.

Again this will prevent revamping your website part way through the project which can inflate your cost.

3. Find some websites that you like.

This can be as simple as punching in one of your key search terms into Google and looking at the top ranked websites.

Grab a pen and paper and go and do this exercise.

Write down the website address and 3 things you like about the site and 3 things you don't like.

Do you like the layout?
Do you like the colors?
Do you like the images?
Do you like the navigation?
Do you like the content?

Be objective.

Doing this exercise with 4 or 5 of these websites will give your designer a good idea about what you do and don't like and they can prepare your website accordingly.

A word of caution, just remember that you are not your customer. A few years ago I had a retail business and some of the things that I used to sell in giftwares I just could not understand why anyone would buy them, but they sold so I sold them.

You are not your customer.

4. Don't redesign your website unless it needs to be redesigned.

If you have a website that you are looking to redesign, answer me one question?


Don't get me wrong here, I am a web designer and I make money when people decide to redesign their website.

But, you must have a valid reason to redesign your website.

And, these are not valid reasons -

  1. The website is 12 months old
  2. You are tired of the current design
  3. Someone in the marketing department thought it was a good idea.

5. Have an understanding of how long things take.

I once saw a sign in a business that said -

We offer the cheapest, fastest and most professional service to all of our customers. Please choose carefully because we can only do 2 out of these 3 things for you.

Cheap and Professional but not Fast
Cheap and Fast but not Professional
Fast and Professional but not Cheap.

If you are not sure how long your job will take, ask for a clear indication from the designer when you have an outline of what the project will involve.

If the timeframe does not match your needs, either be prepared to pay extra or find another designer.

6. Ask for a mockup of the design before your designer starts to code your website.

Make sure your website designer provides you with a visual picture of what your website will look like before they start to code your website.

I provide all of my clients with a mockup of their design. Over the last couple of years I have changed a few designs at this stage because the client wanted something to look a little different.

Once the client signs off on the mockup then I start to prepare the code.

A wise man once said -

Expect to get what you pay for and be happy with that
Be surprised if you get more than what you pay for, but don't expect it
Don't be surprised if you get less than what you pay for, but don't be happy about it

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Freebies for your Business Website

I don't often post on a Friday but I have decided that from now on, Friday will be freebie day.

One of my business aims is to help business owners add value to their websites and to improve their online business profitability.

So, when I find something of value I am going to give it to you for free - but only on Fridays.

For today I have a couple of Freebies for you.

Freebie Number 1 - Ebook about SEO for Business

This is a great ebook about how to improve the rankings of your website in the search engines. How much extra free traffic could you be getting to your website by improving your search engine rankings.

Freebie Number 2 - Free Website Review

Do you want to know what to do to your website to get in the Top 10 rankings on Google?

Find out what your major competitors are doing and how to beat them at their own game.

As part of my web design and seo services I offer a free website review for business owners that are looking to maximise their online business results.

Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Domain Name - Keywords or Business Name?? What do you Use?

Are you just looking to start your online business?

Are you creating a website for your 'bricks and mortar' business?

At some point in time before your website goes live you will need to register a domain name.

What factors do you need to consider when you choose a domain name?

Do you just choose your business name?

Do you incorporate your keywords?

Do you include your location?

Do you separate the words with hyphens?

How much are you prepared to pay?

The answer to these questions?? IT DEPENDS.

Let me take you through a scenario. I am working with a business selling computers in the retail market. The business is named after the founder of the business - 'Sullivan Computing' and is based in California.'

This business has been established for a long period of time and is well know in its local area.

BUT it is looking to expand its business across the US, into areas where it is less well known?

What domain should you register?

Would you register

Or would you register

2 Rules for Choosing a Great Domain Name

Rule Number 1 for choosing a domain name - MAKE It Easy to Remember

Rule Number 2 - Make it Search Engine Friendly by including relevant keywords

Do you include your Location?

Would I include the location? Not in this case because the business is looking to service the US market. If you have a local business you may benefit from including the location. And I would certainly include your location in your page title and meta description.

Would I use hyphens?

Hyphens can make your domain name difficult to communicate to people. Same goes for fullstops. It can however significantly reduce the cost of the domain name. It may also mean the difference between being able to register the domain name and it not being available at all.

Have a look at and search for your desired domain name with and without hyphens. And compare the difference. - $2232.50 - $13.21

BIG DIFFERENCE in terms of cost. Minimal difference in terms of search engine performance.

Can you get the benefit of both??


What would I do in this instance?

Depending on the budget I would

1. Register

2. Register either or or

3. Place a permanent redirect from to

Make sure you get the redirect done properly.

That way you get the benefit of people already knowing your local business and being able to find your website easily. And you also get the benefit of including some of your keywords in your domain name so you get some extra search engine ranking power.

For more info on keywords check out my post on Keyword Research for Business Websites.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blogging for Online Business Success

A blog is a vital element for the success of an online business.

There are a number of important reasons that a business should have a blog -

1. It creates a community allowing you to interact with your customers on a more personal level.

2. You can quickly and easily distribute important information about new products or services that your business is offering.

3. You can educate your customers about your business products and services and why they should take advantage of them.

4. You can use your blogs to create targeted links back to your main website, bringing you traffic and improving your search engine rankings.

So, have I convinced you that your business needs a blog.

If I have you need to go over and check out Problogger and let Darren teach you how to setup and run your blog the right way.

Like everything, blogging when done correctly is a very powerful way to market your business online. But when done poorly it can be a waste of your valuable time and resources.

Go over and check out Problogger and find out how to do business blogging the right way.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Get Top 10 Google Rankings - DIY

As a business owner it is often tempting to want to do things yourself to save money.

As a result of this the usual cost is time. Because it is your business you don't want to do a terrible job. Yet, maybe it is an area that you don't know very much about.

So, what do you do?

Well, from personal experience I can tell you that what you do is -

1. You invest a lot of time and maybe even some money trying to find out how to do it properly. This takes you away from your family and upsets your wife.

2. When you are finished you are not really sure whether you have done a good job or not.

3. You bring in a professional to sort out what you have done and do it properly.

Sound familiar?

What you need in order to save you time and money are the right tools from people who know what they are doing.

That is why you need to check out Internet Business Promoter if you are looking to improve your search engine rankings.

Not sure about the cost? What is it costing your business to not be on the front page of Google?

It is not very often that I do a review for a paid product as you know. I often review free products but I will only review a paid product under the following criteria -

1. I have used it
2. It does what it said it will
3. I believe that it is great value for money.

Internet Business Promoter fits all of those categories.

Here is just a little summary of what it can do

1. Keyword research - get the right keywords for your website.

2. Find out what you need to do to optimise your website to get on the front page of Google

3. Compare your website to your major competitors to find ways to improve the optimisation of your website.

4. Help you find websites to link to

5. Submit your website to major search engines and directories so that it can be found bny more people.

If you are looking for a DIY SEO program you could do far worse than check out Internet Business Promoter

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