Top Six Reasons why SMBs in India Need A Website

Top Six Reasons why SMBs in India Need A Website

In India, about 57% of SMBs use a company website as their primary online presence. 1 A website allows you to promote and engage with customers directly. It is also easily scalable to meet the needs of your business. So you can start small and invest more as needed. It is the best online marketing tool to invest in.

There are six reasons why SMBs invest in building a website:

  1. Reach new customers: The top priority for most small business owners is finding new customers. A great way to find these new customers is by expanding your business footprint through a website.
  2. Increased credibility: About 62% of SMBs in India created a company website because it makes the company look more credible. 1 A website lends a sense of legitimacy and credibility to businesses.
  3. Improve customer interactions: About 73% of SMEs in India would recommend investing in a website to their peers.1 Websites help businesses create awareness and strengthen customer relationships. They also help establish and maintain communication between businesses and their current and prospective customers, which may include among other things, business initiatives and promotions.
  4. Increased visibility online: You can start taking advantage of marketing tactics such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). So it’s easier for potential customers to find you online.
  5. Complete brand control: With a website, you control how your business is presented and can manage your online identity according to your individual preference. Even free, template-based, website builders offer a good level of customization.
  6. Enhanced marketing opportunities: With your own website, since you’re no longer restricted by the limitations of someone else’s site, you can provide ample information about your business in the most optimal way. In addition, a website can act as an aggregator of all your marketing activities including, among other initiatives, what you do in social media. You can also take advantage of free cloud services, such as video creation tools and blogging tools, to amplify your marketing efforts.

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Choosing the right Domain Name for your website

Choosing the right Domain Name for your website

So you’ve finally set up your business, everything is in order, got your products ready. You even have the name of your business sorted – Amma’s Homemade Treats. The next step being putting it out there – letting people know about you and creating demand through your website. But despite all the confidence you have, it can be a nerve-wracking to pick the perfect domain name and extension. This is potentially permanent, so you want to get it right.

There are plenty of different aspects to consider before selecting just any name. So how do you ensure your website is represented by the best possible domain name and extension?

Here is just a bit of information on how domain names came about: Before 1984, when University of Wisconsin (USA) technicians developed a name server, there were no domain names, only numbers like http://174.120.153.75/ to designate a website address. That would look awful on a business card and definitely not SEO friendly.

Suddenly in 1985, domain names using the extensions .com, .net, and .org were available to the world. And today, tens of thousands of new domain names are registered every single day – with over 300 domain extensions ranging from .ac to .zw!

Domain names generally cost a few hundred rupees a year – a basic fee, but premium domain names can go up to a lot more.

A .com domain name – It is advisable to get a .com domain name as it’s one of the most common, and generally what people relate to when they think of a website. A majority of websites are .com sites. If you’re going to be telling people what your website address is (as opposed to them finding you in search engine results), there are benefits to using the “default” domain extension .com simply for easy recall.

Availability – In case your domain name is unavailable, there are a few workarounds, such as utilizing a hyphen or an underscore. If you choose do so, limit yourself to one to avoid looking spammy, but consider the possibility of missed opportunities when you tell someone, “That’s ammas-homemadetreats.com.” They may forget the hyphen, or type in “ammasdashhomemadetreats.com.” Seems like a silly mistake, but it does happen.

To avoid these mishaps, consider using keywords in your domain instead of your company name. For example, you could choose the domain name Freshhomemadetreats.com. If you’re concerned about branding, you could always purchase a branded URL later and redirect it to your generic domain name. This is a considerable project, as each individual page must be redirected.

Related extensions – Experts do not recommended that SEO-conscious webmasters purchase low quality TLDs such as .biz, .info, .ws, .name, etc. as a means of increasing traffic.
But, if you’re concerned about protecting a branded website address, then you may want to purchase related domain extensions and redirect them to your home page, just to avoid brand confusion in the future.

Picking the appropriate non .com domain –

1. .Net – If you simply MUST have a domain name that is not available with the .com extension, consider a .net address. These are a good option for tech companies since there is a subtle mental hook – .net = internet or network. This is the second most popular extension and is widely accepted for businesses of all types.

A .net domain is not advisable when you can have the .com or if the resulting domain name gives the wrong impression. “GreatHair.net,” for example, might be good for supplying hairnets to the food service industry, but not for your high-end hair salon!

2. .Org – If you are a non-profit, the .org extension make sense. Technically the .org extension is open to all, but is not recommended for business ventures, as there is an expectation that .org = non-profit.

3..Info – If your site exists purely to compile and provide information, as opposed to promoting a product or service, you could use a .info domain extension. But, if you’re clearly promoting yourself, a product, or a service, a .info extension might be misleading and not even get you the target audience you desire.

4..Biz – If you’re a business owner, you are allowed to use .biz. But deserved or not, it has a trust problem, being frequently associated with poor quality, spammy websites.

5.Lesser Known Extensions – With 300+ available, all can’t be covered, but here are a few examples:

.name – For use by individuals only.
.me – Good for personal branding, or if you can cleverly make it part of your business name (i.e., chaiti.me).
.pro – For registered professionals.
.tv – Technically for websites in Tuvalu, this is open to everyone and is a good option for a television-related site.
•Specialty domains such as .aero and .travel are reserved for their specific industries and might be a good choice only if your customer base and business associates are extremely well-accustomed to the domain extension.

The Bottom Line on Domain Extensions – While choosing the perfect domain for your new website might feel like a hugely important decision, much more important to the ultimate success of your online endeavours is your decision to commit to creating plenty of quality content, ensuring ease of use, and fostering lead generation potential.

You should also make sure the domain you’re considering doesn’t come with any built-in Google penalties. If purchasing from an existing site owner, ask to see the Google Analytics overview from the last six months. A dramatic drop in traffic is a good reason to reconsider.

Finally – before there is no going back – ask around, friends, family, colleagues, business associates, what they think of your domain name. They just might point out something that you missed, saving you time and trouble before investing in a disastrous domain name.

How important is Responsive Web Design?

How important is Responsive Web Design?

How important is Responsive Web Design, you ask. Very important, we say. As smartphone and tablet adoption rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile-friendly websites. Also, these devices are being used not just for surfing, but for online shopping as well. There is ample data to support this fast growing trend. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KPMG report the number of mobile internet users in India grew from 173 million in December 2014 to 213 million users by end of June 2015. This number is expected to reach 314 million by 2017. The average mobile app usage in India has grown by at least 131%, far outpacing the global growth rate. The shift from e-commerce to m-commerce and more engagement with mobile shopping, news and personalized apps are factors responsible for the growth.

One cannot ignore these numbers and lose out in an already competitive market. It would be a shame to get visitors to your site, and then lose them to poor website design.

While we are stressing on the importance, some of you may be wondering what it is exactly. Responsive Web Design is a collection of techniques that allow a website to flex and adapt to the size of screen it’s being viewed on. Someone opening your site on a small smartphone will be shown the same site as the person opening it on their laptop but the site will have noticed the constraints and automatically reformatted to give the user an experience better suited to their device.

It simply means a website that has been constructed so that all of the content, images and structure of the site remain the same on any device. No more loading a huge website and having to zoom in and out to find the content you’re looking for. Responsive web design takes into account interaction too and makes your site easier to use by acknowledging and integrating things like touch screens to aid navigation. With a responsive website design, you don’t have to have worry about having different websites for various devices or making sure that your site runs properly on a mobile device.

There are certain misconceptions when it comes to Responsive Web Design, that prevent people from adopting it.

1.There’s no rush to switch now – The world is quickly changing how it accesses the web and as mobile usage rapidly increases, the more important it is to make the switch. You don’t want to be left behind.

2.It’s too expensive – In reality, the cost is no different from other website types, and in the long run you may find that the reduced maintenance costs far outweigh any other site.

3.It won’t look as good on desktops – Actually, responsive web design looks great on mobile devices, but it looks just as good on desktops.

4.I pay for my ads, organic ranking isn’t important – 70-80% of users ignores the paid ads and only click organic. It’s also a waste of money if your paid ad gets a click on a mobile device, but your page is not optimized for it.

If you’re still not convinced, here is a list of major advantages that come with going with Responsive Web Design:

1.Gearing up for the future – Responsive sites work well across the multitude of existing devices on the market. As internet traffic originating from mobile devices is rising exponentially each day, and as people increasingly get used to browsing the web through their smartphones and tablets, the “One Site Fits All Devices” approach will soon be the norm.

2.Enhanced user experience – Designing your site for optimal viewing experience, no matter the device makes the user’s life easier. Thus, responsive web design is about providing the best user experience irrespective of whether they use a desktop computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a smart-TV.

3.Cost Effective – While the cost to make a responsive website is somewhat more than making a conventional website, the expenses to duplicate a website for mobile and other devices gets completely eliminated, as a result total development costs come down, significantly. Also, they survive longer and the unified approach means management, support and upgrades need to be applied to one place only, instead of multiple sites for multiple devices, thus saving time and money in the long run.

4.Optimised for Google – Google states that Responsive Web Design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even refers to Responsive Web Design as the industry best practice. This is because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Additionally, Google is now focussing on the user experience and wants to return search results that will enhance that irrespective of the device used. Websites that do provide a better user experience through well written content and a well-designed user interface across multiple devices including mobile phones and tablets will take priority in searches, thereby improving their Google ranking.

5.Higher conversion rates – An optimised and consistent site, no matter which platform it’s viewed on, provides a better experience for the user which is more likely to lead to them engaging with you than going elsewhere. These direct results can be seen on Google Analytics as well.

6.Flexible – Responsive Web Design sites are fluid, meaning the content moves freely across all screen resolutions and all devices. Both the grids and the images are fluid. This flexibility makes it agnostic to devices and their operating systems. As a result website owners and content publishers don’t have to build versions of their website for every popular device platform that they expect their audience might be using.

7.Easy to manage – Having a separate desktop and mobile site requires having separate SEO campaigns. Managing one site and one SEO campaign is far easier than managing multiple SEO campaigns. This is a key advantage a responsive website has over a separate mobile site. Also, a separate mobile site is not a requirement for a mobile-specific SEO strategy, as mobile-specific keywords can be incorporated into a responsive design site as well.

8.Staying ahead of competition – Outpacing your competition is the key to surviving and thriving in the highly competitive business world. You have to grab every opportunity you get, however small it may seem. Having a Responsive Website that offers a great user experience across multiple devices could be what sets you apart from your competitors.

If you want to be where your customers are, then Responsive Web Design is the way ahead, as it is fast evolving from being a trend to being the norm.

How to pick a great name for your Business

How to pick a great name for your Business

What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to the success of your small-business. The right name can grab attention and generate a buzz, whereas the wrong one can doom it to obscurity and failure, even before people try your products/services. Ideally, your name should convey the expertise, value and uniqueness of the product or service you have developed.

The process of picking the right name for your business can be quite stressful. You want to choose a name that will last and, if possible, will embody both your values and your company’s distinguishing characteristics. The name of your business is a first impression and if it’s not a lasting one, for the right reasons, then you might end up being just another face in the crowd.

Considering how important it is to get your business’s name right, here are a few tips to guide you.

1.Keep it simple – A strong name should be simple. It should be easy to spell and pronounce for starters, and meaningful to your audience, not just to you. Also, a short name might be an advantage as it would be easier to recall and find.

2.Avoid puns in the name – A pun in your company name is risky. If you land a good one it can make your name catchy, but you don’t want to end up with a cliché.

3.Be original – While a company in your space might have hit the jackpot with a name, it’s not advisable to follow suit and have a similar sounding name. People will notice and might consider your product/service as a mere copycat, without any unique features. Find a name that suits your business and is original, at least in your field.

4.Think Long-Term – Keep in mind the long-term goals of your business when picking a name. An extremely narrow and specific name comes in the way of future expansion and diversification plans. So, choose a name that has scope to include changes in your products and services, while also being relevant.

5.Check the Website Domains Available-Before registering your name, find out if the website domain is available. You do not want to have a website URL that is different from your business name, as it will be confusing to the customers and make you harder to find.

6.Appealing to your customers – The name you pick must be one that your customers can relate to and identify with. A name that is very personal to you might not necessarily work for them.

7.Avoid Acronyms and Abbreviations – They are easy to misspell and misremember. Unless you have a robust marketing strategy to make it memorable, avoid them.

8.Think of Your Target Market – If your customers are big businesses, make sure your name sounds professional and has appeal to upper-level managers. A business name with abstract words like heart, soul, balance, passion, might not be taken seriously by a corporation, as they will be conscious of the impression they’re providing stockholders.

9.Get Feedback – Upon short-listing a bunch of names, run them through friends, family, colleagues and potential clients if possible. A fresh pair of eyes will always provide a new perspective. Ask for their initial impressions and any suggestions they might have, and then include their feedback in your process.

10.Take a break – Put your shortlist of names aside for a day or two and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. You may feel differently about a name you were extremely enthusiastic about before, or your working list may help you develop a new and perfect name when you review it again.

Once you have picked a name and registered it, start generating awareness to create a buzz, so that it sticks in the minds of your customers. The name of your company is the first step towards building a strong brand identity, one that should last as long as you’re in business.