BizSite Blog

The Most Important Question to Answer Before You Build Your Website

Carlfred Giles - Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Building a website can be fun. You’re putting your company out there for people all over the world to see. You get to tell others about your passion. You get share your service with the rest of the world. You get to SELL and make $$$!

Everyone needs a website. Years ago when telephones came about they were quickly adopted by businesses as the first means of customer contact. Today, would you open a business without a telephone? Of course not!  And so it now goes with websites. Websites legitimize your business and are the first thing people go to when trying to find your service (and for those of you still using a phone book, check out Google Places…)

 

So what’s the first thing you should do before creating your site?

Ask yourself why you need it.

Occasionally the simple answer is “just because everybody else has one”. If that’s your answer, then you need a brochure site. A brochure site is an information website that provides basic data about your business. Usually it has pictures, hours of operation, services provided, and contact info. Brochure websites can be REALLY cool – surely you’ve browsed through ours…

However, most companies if they really think about it, can use their website for more. MUCH more. And THIS is the most important question of all:How can I get the most use out of my website?”

 

Some obvious ways to maximize your site:


  • Calendar of events

  • Collect potential customer contact data

  • Take customer sign ups/waiting lists


But let’s go a step further and think about your business specifically: are you a church? Warehouse? Insurance agent? Hydraulic company? A cleaning service? What are the things that take the most administrative time and how can they be automated so that the public can help themselves? Do you get phone calls all the time asking what’s on your menu? Post it online. Does your secretary spend most of her time rescheduling appointments? Let clients do it themselves from your site. Is your cash flow slow at the first of each month because customers forget to pay? Make it easy for them by accepting payments online. Think of what would make your world perfect and easy, and start with that!

 

Other ideas for good use of your website:

  • Message boards

  • Payment collections

  • Customer/Product reviews

  • Appointment scheduling

  • Account login

  • Sell products/services

Instead of trying to model your website after your competitor, think about how you can make a website do a little extra work for you. And if you get us to design the site, you won’t have to worry about it looking as good as your competitor…it will look better…

5 Questions to Ask Your Web Developer

Carlfred Giles - Monday, May 13, 2013

Building a website can be a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle--sometimes the picture looks good, but when you look closely, pieces are in the wrong places. A website might function, but as soon as you make a change or an update, the picture falls apart.

How do you avoid hiring a designer or developer that builds a website like this? Here are some questions you can ask and some feedback to help you understand their answers.

1. What web standards do they follow?
This is a great question that will fluster someone who doesn't have standards. What are web standards? This is the way of designing and coding a website that allows the website to grow with technology and the web visitor. This means using clean code and technologies like:

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): a simple mechanism for adding style like fonts, colors, and spacing to web pages
XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language): a markup language that has the same depth of expression as HTML, but also conforms to XML syntax
ECMA Scripts: the standard version of JavaScript used on most web browsers.

You don't have to know how to write the languages; you just have to know what the standards are to understand the answer.

A simple way to help you connect to this question is to remember that people online don't all use the same web browser or operating system. Designing and developing to standards gives your website the ability to look and function the way it should on different platforms.

2. Do they design for SEO best practices?
It's no secret today that everyone wants a website that can be found on search engines. Implementing search engine optimization may not be what you want your designer or developer to do for you; however, how your site is designed or coded can affect your strategy when you are ready. When you interview developers, this is a great question to ask and see if the person you're interviewing is familiar with how to code to meet SEO standards. Here are a few items that affect SEO best practices:

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): Designing a website to meet SEO best practices means using style sheets to cut down on the amount of code on your web page. Search engines like text, not code.
Script files: When you use dynamic items on your site like image galleries or mouse-over menus, usually these are created through JavaScript. To follow proper SEO standards, script files should be created for pages instead of having the script on your web page.
Web page content: Your text or content should be on the page as much as possible this can even include your website navigation. There are ways to make text visually appealing without having the designer put it inside an image. Images that contain words are not picked up as content by search engines.

If SEO is a strategy you are considering down the line, it's a good idea to make sure your site will be built with this strategy in mind.

3. How do they plan for change or growth?
One of the most stressful lessons learned is that the website you built yesterday will not allow you to grow tomorrow. Being told you have to start over is one of those statements every business owner can't bear to hear. Before you begin, ask the question, "Does the technology you're using allow me to grow or add additional functions?" You may even want to take this further and think about tools you'd want to add down the line. You can also ask designers or developers to provide you with a brief list of tools they have already integrated with sites like yours. This allows you not only the opportunity to see if they are knowledgeable, but also whether they're supportive in providing you with ideas.

4. How do they test their work?
As I mentioned above, not all of your consumers use the same technology. But to ensure things are operating the way they should or displaying correctly, web developer need to test their work. This issue might seem trivial, but you'd be surprised how many firms only test for one web browser. I recommend you ask specifically what web browsers and versions they test for during the development process. If you're building an online community, social or e-commerce website, testing is an important part of your success. Secure payment gateways need to be tested in a real environment. Be sure to get the specifics of what your firm considers to be part of a test phase and what it's being held accountable for after the website has gone live.

5. How do they handle support requests?
After a website has officially launched inevitably there will be a problem--it's technology; it happens. The question you want to know before you put pen to contract is how does your new firm handle support or bugs--technical hiccups with the website? Every firm will approach this differently, so pay close attention to how it phrase its response and commitment.

Building a website depending on the functions you need can be a lot like putting a puzzle together. The key to success is finding the right firm who understands the pieces that need to come together for your business.

5 Must-Read Marketing Books

Carlfred Giles - Sunday, December 30, 2012

Do you need a good read that will help you expand your career and business efforts? The New Year is the perfect time to pick up something new! If you’re a business owner or marketer who would like to pack something with a bit more substance into your suitcase or beach bag, consider these five must-read marketing books...

1. The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund

Instead of simply describing how to graft social media onto an existing marketing strategy, authors Baer and Naslund focus on changing organizations to respond more quickly to new developments. They argue that taking too much time to make informed business decisions about real-time crises can lead to extinction and provide seven shifts that can help a business move faster and smarter while becoming more social. The book’s format is highly interactive (especially its Kindle version) and provides real-life examples and advice.

2. Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon

Described as a business book for people who don’t read business books, Different offers a unique combination of wit, insight, and compelling storytelling. Dr. Moon, a popular professor at Harvard Business School, looks at how some familiar brands like Apple, Ikea, and Harley Davidson have used product differentiation and unconventional marketing to break away from the competitive herd and transform their products into something new in the eyes of consumers.

3. Social Media and Public Relations: 8 New Practices for the PR Professional by Deirdre Breakenridge

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to gaining the social media skills needed by PR professionals, this is a good place to start. Breakenridge, a PR veteran and author who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, describes eight social media skills and mindsets that are needed for various PR jobs. Useful tips and strategies that target both PR novices and pros are presented in a straightforward, textbook-like style.

4. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Every professional can benefit from a professional network. Trust Agents describes how businesses and individuals can use social media tools to enhance their online reputation, foster trust, and build a positive brand image. Brogan and Smith are social media experts who espouse the idea that being helpful, establishing relationships and building trust online is the best way to leverage social media. Case studies that show the power of trust are included and actionable steps for using social media to earn trust are described in detail.

5. Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan

Youthful marketers are probably not familiar with the impact of the Grateful Dead on the music industry. Originating in San Francisco in the psychedelic ’60s, the Dead held the record as the top-grossing concert band for many years despite their lack of chart-topping hits. Scott and Halligan describe how these music pioneers used bootleg albums, direct mail, and the establishment of a Deadhead culture to build a dedicated community of fans. The authors then tie the Dead’s marketing strategy to today’s social media tools and describe how businesses can learn from the band’s success.

This article was written by Social Media Outreach Coordinator Harrison Kratz on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2tor — an education technology company that partners with institutions of higher education such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to deliver a one of the top MBA programs online.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 

smartphone traffic to Ecommerce sites up 103 percent since 2011

Chris Brown - Tuesday, September 04, 2012

How important is mobile optimization to your ecommerce website? If going mobile isn't already one of your priorities this year, you might want to clear some space in your strategy for it. The following infographic, brought to us by the folks over at digital marketing technology company Monetate, highlights the impressive growth in traffic (103%!) from smartphones to leading ecommerce websites over the past year.

The infographic also calls attention to the battle for smartphone supremacy between Android and iPhone devices, both of which represent the most growth in smartphone-driven traffic to ecommerce sites. Furthermore, the graphic analyzes the various shopping activities of smartphone users as well as the mobile marketing tactics currently being used by marketers, with website mobile optimization topping the list at 46%, followed closely by mobile apps (45%), and trailed by mobile email optimization at 35%. Check it out!

Read more here

Next
 

A-Z Tips to Increase Site Visitors

Carlfred Giles - Saturday, September 17, 2011

We said A-Z and we meant it. Here are 26 sure-fire ways to increase web traffic and site visitors to your website. Use some or all of them, and let us know which ones worked best for you.

  1. Optimize your site (SEO).
    Win on the search engines when people search for keyword phrases related to your products or services.
    (More about search engine optimization.)

  2. Get your site listed in directories.
    Submit your site to all the major web directories. This will generate traffic directly from the directories themselves and will also help to improve your link popularity. That helps you win on Google!
    (More about web directories.)

  3. Get listed in search engines.
    Submit your site to all the major search engines.
    (More about search engines.)

  4. Get links to your site.
    Get people with complimentary sites to link to yours. You offer rental kayaks on the beach. Ask the local restaurant owners to link to you, and offer to link to them. Ask the local tour guides, the real estate agents, the night clubs, and everyone else. Links lead to clicks onto your website and help to improve your search engine rankings.

  5. Buy links to your site.
    Buy text links on other websites. That means more spiders stopping by, more people clicking through, and better search engine rankings.

  6. Buy banner ads.
    Buy banner ads on other websites. It helps to build brand recognition.

  7. Participate in a banner exchange program.
    It won't cost you anything, and will lead to a few extra visitors. Plus, you're spreading your brand all over the place.

  8. Participate in a WebRing.
    Connect your site with other sites in your niche.

  9. Pay for clicks to your site.
    Pay for clicks or inclusion on the search engines so that people will see your site in the sponsored links section of the search results when they search for keyword phrases related to your products or services.
    (More about pay per click.)

  10. Set up an affiliate marketing program.
    With affiliate marketing, you can either pay per click, pay per lead generated, pay per sale, or pay per customer acquired.

  11. Use smart public relations (PR).
    Get news coverage of your business and your site. Approach online and traditional media. This will often lead to others placing links pointing to your website, which leads to more clicks and also to improved search engine rankings.

  12. Use E-mail marketing.
    Ugly, but effective for the cost. Blast out your special offers, but be nice about it.

  13. Use off-line marketing.
    Promote your site. Put your url on all your license plates. Paint it on your car. Buy newspaper and yellow pages ads with your url. Put up flyers and stickers. Sponsor a little league team. Do anything and everything to spread the word about your website around your city.

  14. Run regular promotions.
    Stage regular giveaways and spread the word about it.

  15. Get published.
    Write articles for publication on other websites. The author profile will link to your site. The article will show that you're an expert.

  16. Publish yourself.
    Write articles for your own site regularly. This will help you to win on the search engines and gives your visitors a reason to come back over and over.

  17. Ask for reviews.
    Ask for reviews of your self-published articles on other webmasters' websites. Ask for reviews of your website, your products, your software, your services. These will usually include links to your articles.

  18. Write briefs.
    Write daily or weekly news briefs focusing in on your industry or specialty area. This keeps your site "fresh" in the eyes of the major search engines and helps you to spread a wide net when fishing for top search engine positions.

  19. Create a newsletter.
    Ask your visitors to sign up for your newsletter, and encourage them to send it along to people they know. Send a newsletter regularly with teasers or lead-ins to your in-depth new articles or with special offers and the latest products.

  20. Post in chat rooms.
    Become active in bulletin boards and chat rooms focusing on your industry. Leave inciteful comments, and people will click on your profile, then visit your site.

  21. Give away free stuff.
    Offer something people want at your site. Give them a reason to come back and get more. Offer free downloads and update them regularly. Offer coupons or discounts. Content content content.

  22. Give awards for excellent sites in your niche.
    This builds more links back to your site and establishes you as a credible reviewer, an expert in your space.

  23. Run a contest and promote it.
    Photo contests, essay contests, goofy contests, random drawings, anything. Example: Messiest Garage in America contest on OfftheFloor.com.

  24. Join your local business organizations.
    Chambers of Commerce and other organizations will often add your site to their member directory. That's an added advantage over the obvious business-building and networking opportunities.

  25. Create an RSS feed.
    Give people another way to interact with your content.

  26. Be accessible.
    Build your site so that it is accessible to all browsers and to PocketPC and Palm Pilot users. Don't forget, people with disabilities buy things too. Make your site Section 508 complaint. Your competition probably hasn't.

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Website

Carlfred Giles - Thursday, July 28, 2011

1. Your Business is Open to the World 24/7, 365 Days a Year
Unlike your company's office that may be open from 8-5, Monday thru Friday, your company 's website is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are many different time zones that may affect your business, which is why being on the web makes it time convenient for everyone.

2. It's Your Online Brochure / Catalog That Can Be Changed at Anytime
A website is easier, cheaper and quicker to update than print material. Its' capacities are almost limitless which allow you to provide users with more comprehensive information. This will save you money on printing and distribution costs as well.

3. Reach New Markets with a Global Audience
On the Internet, you aren't that local little business anymore. You have the potential to be seen by millions across the globe. Did you ever think your company would have the possibility of doing business around the world? Well, now you can. Without a doubt, the Internet is the most cost effective way to trade nationally and internationally.

4. Improved Customer Service
By providing answers to questions on your website, sales and information requests can be processed automatically and immediately, whether someone is in the office or not. Online forms can be used to allow customers to request quotations or ask further information. Save costs by allowing users to download invoices, proposals and important documents.

5. Present a Professional Image
For a small business, a well-designed web site is a great way of instilling confidence and looking bigger than you actually are. In this day in age, customers assume that you already have a website. By now, your primary competitors probably already have a presence on the Internet. If they do, keep up with them and find ways to make yours better.

6. Sell Your Products
Why pay expensive rent, overhead, electric bills, and all the other costs that go along with owning a bricks-n-mortar business? Selling in cyberspace is much cheaper and a good way to supplement your offline business. Providing secure online ordering is very affordable for even the smallest businesses.
7. Promote Your Services
Lawyers, doctors, financial consultants, entertainers, realtors and all service oriented businesses should let customers know that they have a choice. Millions of users are referring to the web and are using company's websites to make major decisions when they need a specialized service.

8. Gather Information and Generate Valuable Leads
You can gather information about your customers and potential customers by using forms and surveys. Rather than going out and getting leads, let them come to you. This is a great tool for prospecting targeted customers looking to use your products and services.

9. Provides Instant Gratification
People are busy and don't like to wait for information. Give them what they want, when they want it. If your product is suitable, offer them free samples or trials to download. This includes pictures, brochures, software, videos, Power Point slides, music and more.

10. Great Recruiting Tool
Whether you are looking for talent or posting job opportunities with your company, your website is a great recruiting tool for building your business.

More Great Tips!

The Do's & Don'ts For Website Success!
• Do invest in a secure online ordering system.
• Do keep your audience in mind and create copy that personally speaks to them.
• Do create a clear and compelling sales message.
• Do update your site content and keep it fresh and current.
• Do anticipate and answer your visitor's questions.
• Do check your site to ensure all forms and links are working.
• Do include a call to action on each page. You won't get business if you don't ask for it.
• Do include your contact information.
• Do offer links to programs like Acrobat Reader needed to view your site information.
• Do choose a Web host that provides exceptional service, minimal down time, and consistent site backups.
• Do carefully check your content for spelling and grammar mistakes. Errors are unprofessional and show a lack of attention to detail.
• Do title each page to be search engine (and bookmark) friendly.
• Do use a URL and domain name that accurately reflects your business or company name and is easy to remember.

...and

• Don't confuse your visitor with too many topics on one page. Organize information logically.
• Don't let your site become outdated. Your credibility will disappear if you offer Mother 's Day specials just in time for Father's Day.
• Don't include too many colors, fonts, or font sizes that distracts your visitor.
• Don't yell at your visitor by using all capital letters.
• Don't take your customer's privacy for granted. Create a privacy policy and stick to it.
• Don't insult your customer by selling his information to third parties.
• Don't ignore or delay customer requests. Return all customer inquiries promptly because you never know whom they may recommend you to even if they don't buy from you.
• Don't add a “visitor count” to your site. No need to brag how many or show how few visit.
• Don't include graphics that fail to add importance to your site.
• Don't use silly clip art unless absolutely necessary.
• Don't add unnecessary "extras" that will take a particularly long time to load.
• Don't ignore customer complaints, just because you're on the Web doesn't mean your business won't be affected by dissatisfied customers sharing their experience with others.


What is Twitter and How Does it Work?

Carlfred Giles - Thursday, June 30, 2011

Twitter is becoming the fatest growing social networking tool available. Find out exactly what it is and how to use it. Send a "tweet" in minutes.

The Internet is all a-buzz about Twitter. What is Twitter? It's a way to keep family, friends, and coworkers up-to-date with what an individual is doing by using an instant messenger service, the web, as well as with mobile texting, plus other venues.

Messages sent out by Twitter users are limited to 140 characters, which is just enough for a quick update.

How Twitter was Created

Twitter is an interesting concept that was created by Jack Dorsey and became an incorporated company in May of 2007. Since then, it has grown to be an Internet phenomenon, often featured on news channels on the web [Twitter Breaking News Video, Chris Pirillo, CNN News, April 17, 2008]. It is also call microblogging. It works much the same way as a blog, only with the character limit. Once a Twitter is posted on the website, people are able to easily see what other people are doing. Individuals can, in turn, let others know what is going on with them as well.

The concept of Twitter relies on messaging services, whether it uses a cell phone, instant messager, such as Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger, or through specific websites. It allows the user to send messages to friends and family quickly and easily. Twitter only asks one question, “What are you doing?” As long as an answer is 140 characters or less, it is possible for thousands of people to see the answer immediately.

Using a Twitter Account

One must create an account, but it only takes minutes. It is free to join. Simply complete a profile, including uploading a picture. Link the newly created account to a cell phone, web page, or instant messenger program, which allows the user to receive and send messages to and from others. An update that is sent to friends is called a “tweet."

Twitter can be linked to other social networks, blogs, and websites. For instance, post a blog update and use the Twitter button. The blog entry will be sent to the people specified by the sender. This only works when logged into the Twitter account.

A user can also follow other users as well. It's easy to have conversations with other people, and before long, many people will be watching updates from many different people. Twitter is a really unique social media tool that helps individuals with:

  • Article marketing

  • Social networking

  • Promoting website traffic to specific websites

  • Staying in touch with people

The website is user-friendly and walks a new user through the entire setup process. There is also a frequently asked questions page to help those with questions about how to use Twitter for the first time or on different devices.

Twitter Advice

Don't overdo it with the updates. Keep them to a minimum to avoid annoying people. By sending too many messages in a day (or week or month), it runs the risk of individuals beginning to remove people from their list. Consider sending one message a day or setting up different groups, so as to target specific updates to those who are really interested in the messages sent. By setting up groups, personal messages will go to only those it is intended for as well.

Unfortunately, Twitter has also become very popular with Internet marketers that are realizing that most people will open a message from Twitter. There are many spammers that are using it to exploit their business. Twitter is working to correct this issue.

Twitter is a terrific tool for today's busy individual. The company is growing very quickly and expects to offer a way for people to access groups, much like Yahoo has now. This is in response to so many people asking for this type of service. Twitter is committed to providing a terrific social media for many years to come.




Five Reasons Why You Need a .mobi Domain

Carlfred Giles - Friday, June 17, 2011

According to analysts group Quantcast, the mobile Web grew 148 percent worldwide in 2009. Obviously the mobile Web is exploding in popularity. If you’re looking to join the mobile revolution, you should get a .mobi domain. Here are five reasons why …

1. .mobi is emerging as the de facto standard for mobile internet domains
With the growth of the mobile Web comes the need for standardization to allow consumers to easily find mobile content. Numerous times in the past, competing technology standards have delayed widespread adoption. In the ‘70s, it was VCR versus Betamax. In the 1990s it was Digital Audio Tape versus MiniDisc versus CD. In both of these examples, it was the format that got in the lead first, and enjoyed the widest industry support, that eventually triumphed. Today the .mobi domain enjoys this same position as the most prevalent mobile domain in use and was founded by a veritable who’s who of the mobile Internet.

2. .mobi domains are white-listed by network level transcoders
Designing great mobile sites takes time and effort to get the most out of the limited screen resolution and navigation mechanisms of mobiles. Having created your mobile presence, the last thing you want is a third-party transcoder modifying your site … but this is exactly what happens when you use a non-standard domain name. By industry convention, .mobi sites are automatically white-listed by all network level transcoders so you can be 100% sure that your site will render as you intended on every mobile device.

3. .mobi domains offer better search engine performance
Search engine performance is crucial to the success of any business. Because every .mobi domain registered gets its own entry in the Internet Zone Files, which are the files that search engines use to start their crawls, your site will automatically perform better than if you use any other naming convention. Additionally, search engines detect when searches are being made from mobile devices and prioritize their results accordingly. Because .mobi sites are high-quality, made-for-mobile sites, they are automatically brought to the top of the mobile search results.

4. .mobi names are designed for mobile use
Despite having close to one million names, the reality is that a lot of great names are still available. And having short names is essential for mobile where entering long URLs can be cumbersome. This is great news for companies who did not get their first-preference .com address. With the mobile Web experiencing triple digit growth year-on-year, and forecast to continue doing so, creating a memorable mobile presence now represents a huge opportunity for future growth.

5. .mobi is actively promoted and industry supported
The goal of dotMobi – the company behind the .mobi  domain – is the widespread proliferation and usage of the mobile Web. For consumers, mobile content needs to be easily found and navigated. It’s this need for standards that prompted ICANN to make .mobi the only authorized top-level domain for finding mobile content. And by having the support of industry heavyweights such as Microsoft, Vodafone, Nokia and Google, dotMobi is able to promote a single, globally recognized, domain naming convention for the mobile Web: .mobi.

Source - DomainNews.com

How to Create New Business with Email Marketing

Carlfred Giles - Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Yes

Every time a person visits your web site and leaves without taking action, you have lost a prospect. The easiest way to capture that prospect and lead them into your online sales funnel is through the effective use of email marketing. Building an email list through your web site is a crucial element of keeping in touch with your prospects and increasing your sales.

Once visitors reach your website, they’ll do one of three things. They take action (make contact, sign up or buy something), bookmark you or click away. If someone takes action, great! If they click away, there’s not much you can do. And don’t count on those bookmarking you to come back anytime soon.

Fortunately, with a smart email marketing game plan and the right invitation, you’ve got your best shot for capturing their email addresses. And that can only mean one thing; more business.

Step 1
Utilize a professional online email marketing service that provides the tools and support you need to be successful. There are several options depending on the size of your company, Business Catalyst comes complete with email marketing at your disposal.

Step 2
Create the form (simple) at your email marketing services website and paste the code for that form into your web pages. This is not as hard as it sounds. The email marketing service will have a simple way to create the form, and you or your webmaster can just paste it right into your web site.

Step 3
Create a compelling offer why a visitor should join your email list. Best ideas include a special white paper or special report, a helpful top 10 list about your business or industry or even a coupon for toward their first purchase. If you want the best shot for getting those email addresses? Offer all three for signing up.

Step 4
Create a thank you or autoresponder message. This is the email your new subscriber will receive after they’ve signed up on your web site. This is a great place to introduce yourself, provide them what you offered in your invitation and let them know how you can help them any further.

Step 5
Stay in touch with your subscribers every couple of weeks. What should you email your list? Well, anything that would interest them as a potential customer.

- Think about the frequently asked questions people ask you about your business or industry. Each of those answers could be a future eblast (email broadcast).

- Send them other interesting articles or blog posts you come across. No, you can’t just copy and paste an article you found and treat it as your own. But, you can make an opening statement or provide some tips surrounding an article, and then include some of the article’s text, as well as a link where your subscriber can read the rest. Commenting on other articles or blog posts of interest to your prospects is a great way to stay in touch with little work on your part.

- Sales and special offers are perfect for email marketing. You can notify your subscribers about anything you need to promote. You can pre-schedule your emails weeks in advance.

These days, it’s all about building relationships and making an impact with those that visit your site. Email marketing is one of the most effective tools you can use to connect with your web site visitors and stay in touch until they become a new client or customer.

This article was originally published by Gregg Murray for AllBusiness.com.

Does My Restaurant Need a Website?

Carlfred Giles - Monday, May 09, 2011

Yes

Without a website you are missing out on potential customers. More and more people are going online to look for places to eat.

Instead of browsing newspaper adverts or looking through a copy of the Yellow Pages people are just going on Google and searching using phrases like "Italian Restaurant" or "Thai Restaurant in Watford" to decide where they are going to eat out. If they don't find your restaurant's website they will find someone else's and most likely dine elsewhere.

When potential customers visit your website you are given an opportunity to entice them into your restaurant. It provides important basic information to the potential customers, listing details such as your location, a map, opening hours and perhaps the ability to book a table online.

Your website acts like a preview for the customer. You can display your menu, specials for the day and pictures of your food and restaurant so people can judge the ambience. If the customer likes what they see on your website, you can expect them to be a patron of your restaurant in the near future. If you would like to experience the benefits of having a successful website for your restaurant please contact us.


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