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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Advantages of getting a Personal Domain Name

Advantages of getting a Personal Domain Name

A personal domain name acts like a digital CV. It is an extension of your image and a great platform to showcase your work. It allows you to have a professional presence on the Internet and makes you look like one of the “big” players. You don’t have to have a Domain name to be on the net. Individuals can also own a personalised domain name – e.g. www.anitasingh.in. You can brand yourself through a personalized domain and e-mail to help your online image.

Once you own your own domain, you can do anything you want with it. If you are a business owner, you can use it to host your online store or share critical information with a global customer base. If you are an individual, you can create a digital home base that you can use to communicate with friends, family and acquaintances. It’s a real online location to refer people if they want to learn more about you.

Owning a personal domain name is especially important for those offering professional services as individuals. It gives you a strong online presence and identity, making it easy for people to find your website and information about you.

Here are just some of the benefits of having your own personal domain name:

1.Rights to the domain name – Like any trade name, logo, or brand name, your domain name represents a part of your business identity – something customers and business associates can recognise, remember, and positively associate with your services or products. Since names are issued on a first come, first served basis, even if you don’t have a web site yet, or perhaps not even e-mail, it’s important to register your preferred domain name now in order to secure your naming rights. Registering your domain name will at very least prevent someone else from using it.

2.Simplicity – With your own domain name, access on the World Wide Web becomes a simple matter of entering Yourname.com. It is easy to find as people just need to recollect your name. It will also look better on your business card or any other place you plan to mention your website.

3.Credibility – Having your own domain name projects a professional image of you and your company, normally associated with large companies. It tends to say to others that you’re a serious business person, operating an established business, in a professional manner. Prospective customers will more readily transact with businesses with a professional, established online presence – made possible with a personalized domain.

4.E-mail – By doing business under your own domain name, you can use multiple e-mail “aliases”. Every e-mail message affirms your name, e.g. sales@you.com, manager@you.com, service@you.com. A custom e-mail address goes a long way in maintaining professional communications with your customers.

5.Portability – Without your own domain name, your Internet address is tied to that of your service provider. Thus, if you want to change providers you also change your web address and probably e-mail address as well. This involves time and money spent in notifying your clients, suppliers, business associates; and getting the new address printed on cards, brochures or any physical communication you may issue. You can avoid this hassle when you own your domain name, and wish to change your service provider.

6.Permanence – Also, you can keep your domain name for as long as your business is online, and maintain your subscription. No one else can use your domain, unless you sell it to them.

7.Avoids Loss of Momentum – As any web marketer knows, it takes effort to promote a web site, and sometimes months to get it listed on the popular search engines. Fortunately, over time, some of those marketing efforts can build momentum, bringing more and more traffic to your site without additional marketing effort. But, if you can’t take your web address with you when you switch to another ISP or host, you can lose much – if not all – of the momentum gained by your previous web marketing efforts.

8.SEO – Having your own domain name will increase your website’s positioning under search results on top search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

9.Geographic targeting – Google searches can be heavily influenced by a user’s geographical location, so if you appeal to regional customers, take advantage of country extensions in your domain name e.g. “www.yourname.in’’.

10.Future potential – You will have the opportunity to acquire multiple domains with different suffixes (like .org, .net, .me, .co) and associate all of them with your existing domain name.

In today’s internet era, you are expected to be online and have your own website. It becomes the basis on which those who want to associate with you do an initial evaluation of your offering. If you are unavailable on the web, then you might lose out on prospective customers.

The first step in making a digital presence is the registration of a domain name. It is a vital step for all businesses and organisations, whether or not you currently feel the Internet is important to your business. Internet growth continues at an exponential rate and it won’t be long before your customers, suppliers and others demand it from you. Registering your preferred name now will allow you to secure a valuable identity for yourself on the Internet to ensure you make the most of the available opportunities.

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.

SEO tips for beginners

SEO tips for beginners

You have a website, but that is not enough, it also needs to be optimised for search so that it appears in the top results provided by the search engines. As a beginner you must know and understand that there is no short cut to getting your website to rank on the first page of a Google, Yahoo or Bing. These search engines function on the basis of very complex algorithms and it takes sustained effort to crack the code.

Nevertheless, there are certain basic rules you can follow to optimize your web site and provide the search engine bots with the necessary signals.

1.Page titles – Page titles are a very important aspect of SEO. The most important characteristics of a page title are:

• Each page needs to have a unique page title that accurately describes the page’s content.
• It should be concise and help the user understand what the page is about.

Home page title: The title for your homepage can include the name of your website/business and other important information like location of the business or services offered. For example:

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Post/other pages title:

Title of other posts/pages of your web site should accurately describe what the page is about and be attractive for the searcher. For example:

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2.Page Description – A page’s description meta tag is also very important. It gives users, Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. The guidelines for writing a good description are:

• Always provide a unique description for all pages, posts, products of your website.
• Keep the size between 150-160 characters.
• Avoid repeating the title in the description
• Don’t add too many keywords
• Try to use the description as a way to ‘advertise’ your page to the reader so that they click on your title and visit the page.

3.Permanent link structure
The permanent link structure is a term used to describe the format of URLS for pages (categories/tags) or individual posts of a web site. It is shown in the browser address bar and in the search results (below the page title).

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Tips for SEO friendly link structure

• The URLs should be simple and easy to understand for search engines and users
• Avoid lengthy URLs with unnecessary information
• Use hyphens to separate words
• Use words that describe what the page is about, but avoid excessive use of keywords

Bad URL structure – http://www.example.com/UK/123213/5005.html
Good URL structure – http://www.example.com/social-media-news

4.Fast loading page – The time taken by a page to load time can affect your search ranking, so get rid of any non-essentials that slow down your website. These may include music players, large images, flash graphics, and unnecessary plugins.

5.Keywords in images – Include words that reflect your site topic in the image title, description, and alt attributes. Also, re-title the file name if it doesn’t reflect your main keywords (e.g. SEO-tips.jpg instead of d1234.jpg).

6.Internal Links – They refer to links in a page that lead to other pages within the website for additional information, and not external links. Internal linking is a very important factor for web site SEO, and the rules to it are quite simple:

• Link related articles together either by using keyword anchor text or by using the full article title
• Make sure that the links are useful both for the user and easy to understand by search engines.
• An internal link should help the user navigate the site better and not just be optimized for search engines.
• Avoid terms like ‘click here’ or ‘[..]’ for internal linking.
• 4-5 internal links per page are enough, create more only if absolutely necessary

7.A mobile friendly website – A significant number of searches performed each day are through mobile devices, and this number is steadily increasing, especially with respect to e-commerce. Keeping this in mind, it’s imperative to have a website that functions well on a mobile device as well. This ensures you don’t turn away visitors checking your website from a smartphone or tablet.

8.Content – Good content is a great way to attract visitors and get a better ranking in search results. Your content should be relevant, original and helpful to those visiting your website. Always prioritize quality over quantity. Also, having fresh content is an incentive for visitors to come back and for search engine bots to visit and crawl your website more often.

9.Linking to other websites – You can do this by including a blogroll, link list, or resources page on your website. Be careful when doing this, as each outbound link is a “vote” for another site. However, if you do it well and people click your links; this tells search engines you are a trusted authority on your particular topic.

Additionally, you can have other websites link to yours through creating great content and authoring guest posts, as those inbound links greatly help in SEO.

10. Stick to your domain name – The age of your URL is a factor in your site’s search ranking, so be patient. If you’re launching a new blog every six months, you’ll never see your site get the value it deserves.

These are just a few basic tips to get started on having a website that is optimized for search.

Establishing Website Credibility

Establishing Website Credibility

It is easy to take for granted how we subconsciously assess people for credibility every day. Think of your inner monologue when your phone rings and your caller ID identifies an unknown caller. You’re already on the defensive, and you hear something like this:
[su_quote]Good morning Sir, this is Sonia from American Financial Partners in Mumbai…[/su_quote]
You’re probably not likely to listen to the next sentence. However, something like this next approach might trigger a completely different response.
[su_quote]Good morning Mr Singh, this is Sonia Sharma Your accountant, Anil Singh, suggested I give you a call. I’m with American Financial Partners; we are a 90 year old wealth management firm owned by Warren Buffett…[/su_quote]
What’s the difference? Credibility. The similar rule applies when it comes to Website Credibility, here are ten simple points to consider to build Website Credibility

1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.

You can build web site credibility by providing third-party support (citations, references, source material) for information you present, especially if you link to this evidence. Even if people don’t follow these links, you’ve shown confidence in your material.

2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site.

Showing that your web site is for a legitimate organization will boost the site’s credibility. The easiest way to do this is by listing a physical address. Other features can also help, such as posting a photo of your offices or listing a membership with the chamber of commerce.

3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide.

Do you have experts on your team? Are your contributors or service providers authorities? Be sure to give their credentials. Are you affiliated with a respected organization? Make that clear. Conversely, don’t link to outside sites that are not credible. Your site becomes less credible by association.

4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.

The first part of this guideline is to show there are real people behind the site and in the organization. Next, find a way to convey their trustworthiness through images or text. For example, some sites post employee bios that tell about family or hobbies.

5. Make it easy to contact you.

A simple way to boost your site’s credibility is by making your contact information clear: phone number, physical address, and email address.

6. Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose).

We find that people quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and more. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like IBM.com. The visual design should match the site’s purpose.

7. Make your site easy to use — and useful.

We’re squeezing two guidelines into one here. Our research shows that sites win credibility points by being both easy to use and useful. Some site operators forget about users when they cater to their own company’s ego or try to show the dazzling things they can do with web technology.

8. Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently).

People assign more credibility to sites that show they have been recently updated or reviewed.

9. Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).

If possible, avoid having ads on your site. If you must have ads, clearly distinguish the sponsored content from your own. Avoid pop-up ads, unless you don’t mind annoying users and losing credibility. As for writing style, try to be clear, direct, and sincere.

10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem.

Typographical errors and broken links hurt a site’s credibility more than most people imagine. It’s also important to keep your site up and running.

How to get more visitors to your website, for free!

How to get more visitors to your website, for free!

One of the critical problems faced by internet businesses is lack of visitors to their website. The following free and easy tips should help address the issue.

1.Make your website SEO friendly, for Google and more

One of the best, but most difficult ways to attract visitors for free is through search engines. A website that is optimised for search has a much higher chance of being in the top position in a Google search. This is a great source of free traffic, as Google holds more than 70% of the search engine market share. To ensure that you are website is optimised for SEO, conduct an SEO audit. Your website really needs to stand out in terms of both content and SEO, to beat competition.

Other search engines like Yahoo and Bing are also a good option for getting free traffic. Register your website with Bing websmaster tools, the process is much like Google webmaster tools. Also, being active on Facebook and Twitter helps in boosting your search ranking, as Yahoo and Bing take into account (in their ranking algorithm) the number of Facebook likes, and Tweets.

2.Website for mobiles

The increasing use of mobiles for internet based activity demands that you create a version of your website that is smartphone/tablet friendly. This way you ensure that you don’t turn away any visitors on account of having a website that isn’t optimized for a mobile device.

3.Create an App

There are over 1 million new android users every day. This signifies immense potential in terms of traffic. To exploit this potential, create an app and publish it to the Google Play store for the many android users to download, and visit your website. Similarly, create an app for Amazon’s appstore and publish it there as well.

4.Add your website to the Chrome web store

The Chrome web store is a great source of free traffic, still not too many people take advantage of it. It is very easy to add your website to the Chrome Store and the traffic you can get is free , immediate and continuous.

5.Guest articles on high-traffic websites

Posting content as a guest author on other relevant websites is another way of directing traffic to yours. A trusted website in your niche which has many visitors will prove to be a good source of traffic, as you establish yourself as a credible author and post content that is of interest to the visitors.

6.Quality Content

Post content that is fresh and relevant to your readers on a regular basis. New and quality content can get you more free traffic either through more loyal visitors (people will come back to check if you have published new content), more social media mentions or more organic visits (search engines will crawl your website more often).

7.Make use of Social media

Social media platforms are getting popular day by day, so you should make optimum use of them. The best social media platforms in terms of traffic are believed to be Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Make sure to have a presence on these channels. You may require some time to figure out how each platform works and how best to use them, but they are proven ways to get visitors to your website for free.

8.Post on Slideshare.net

Slideshare.net is a website that allows users to upload and share presentations. An interesting and relevant presentation is bound to get a lot of views as Slideshare has a lot of traffic. Not a long way from views to visitors to your website. It’s easy and free to create an account on Slideshare.

These are just a few ways to boost traffic to your website that don’t cost anything but are quite effective.

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