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Advantages of Online Video

2011 April 8
by Mana Nahavandian

More Click Rate
Research has shown that users click on videos more than any other online advertising such as images or  banners.

User Friendly
Online videos make it easier for your visitors to find out about you and your products in few minutes and have a  pleasant experience visiting your website.

Visitors stay longer on your website
People are more visual and ratter watch a video than reading an article. Therefore visitors stay longer on the websites with videos and giving businesses the opportunity to convert more sales. This create the perfect opportunity for you to send your message across in just 60 seconds.

Rise above your competition
Having a video on your site is a great way to stand-up from your competitors. You can present your products and services in a different way and attract more visitors and future clients.

Brand recognition with Online Videos
It is very easy to share videos online. Everyday, more business accounts are created on Youtube, Facebook or Dailymotion. You can upload a video on Youtube and share it on Facebook, Twitter or other places and if your video is interesting, it will be shown around the world in a short period of time.

 

Grow your business with testimonials and reviews

2011 April 7
by Mana Nahavandian

Nowadays, reviews are one of the most effective online marketing tools available. Testimonials have the power to influence a potential buyer or client into deciding to buy what you are offering or sign-up for your services.

Almost all the websites selling products or offering services have client’s testimonials. Unfortunately slight doubt lingers in consumers’ minds regarding the authenticity of these reviews. Saying that, what can you do to assure the interested party to believe what the reviews are saying?

Don’t lie
ask your clients to write a review for you not your brother. People can recognize which review is real and which one is fake.

Where you should put your testimonials?
Of course your home page is the most valuable real estate on your website but since no one likes hard-selling, your home page might not be the best place for reviews. The best solution is to have a separate page for your reviews and make its button or link visible on all the pages.

Although, the most effective reviews are not the ones on your website. Outside reviews are much more effective than the reviews on your site and have a strong effect on your business growth. People trust more what they read about you somewhere else, where you had absolutely no control over them and they can also read about people who wrote those reviews.

The more positive reviews you have, the more your website will be recognized by search engines. I should also mention, that while positive testimonials can bring lots of new clients to your business, at the same time negative testimonials can also have a long lasting opposite effect.

The most effective websites who offer reviews are:

Yelp.com

Buying the right domain name for your business

2011 April 5
by Mana Nahavandian

Things to consider when you are buying your domain name:

Usually, everyone want to get a domain name based on their business name but there are many other important factors to consider.
Buying a domain name can be very time assuming because most of them are already taken but this should not stop you from buying the right one for yourself.

  1. First thing you should know is that your domain name plays an important role in your website’s optimization. For example if you are selling tea baskets and your business name is Sara shop, you might be able to buy sarashop.com but this domain name wouldn’t help your SEO (search engine optimization.) In the other hand teabasket.com is the perfect domain name for your business and it will help your business to show up on the search engines, every time someone is searching for Tea Basket. Make sure that your domain is relevant to your business.  It is always better that you buy more than one domain name. You can set up your website with your desired domain name and direct the other domains to your site.

  2. A short and memorable name is also a winning factor. People should be able to easily remember your website’s address. The advantage of buying multiple domains is that your website’s name can be very short while you can use long keywords in your other domains.
    For example if teabasket.com is taken, you can consider tea-basket.com, tea.basket.com, tea.baskets.com, teagiftbasket.com. You should not be afraid of using long keywords in your secondary domain names.

  3. It is always better to buy a domain that ends with .com unless you are an organization and you should get a .org. Since most domain names end with .com, automatically people remember a .com much easier than any other kinds like .biz

  4. If you are buying an old domain, you should make sure that they were not previously used in pornography, hate violence or things like this. http://www.archive.org/

  5. Check your URL at: http://www.moensted.dk/spam/ and make sure that it is not in their black list.

  6. You should also pay attention to the pricing. Many places offer you free domain name or $1.99 domain for the first year but they will charge you more than others after the first year. An average price for an average domain is around $10. Read the offer carefully.

Here some places that I recommend:

www.cheap-domainnames.com

www.godaddy.com

www.cheapdomainnames.com

Where to get Free Website Templates?

2011 April 5
by Mana Nahavandian

Using a free template is still much better than asking your cousin to build you a website! BUT still you get what you paid for.

Nowadays, there are many places that you can find free website’s templates. Usually, you have to pay for the hosting services and your domain name otherwise, you can only add your name to theirs and use it as your domain name, which is not good for business.

Using a free template is still much better than asking your cousin to build you a website! BUT still you get what you paid for.

The most economical way to have a website for a brand new business with a small budget, is to customize a website template.

You should work with a designer but instead of paying lots of money to have a custom-made website, you can only pay for the time that your designer will spend to customize an already made template for you. There is a big difference between these two. Customizing a template can only cost you few hundreds but a custom design website will cost you thousands!

Another advantage of hiring a designer to customize a website for you is that you don’t have to settle with very basic templates that your hosting company is offering. A professional designer knows where to find a very nice, classy and up-to-date template that matches your business for less than $100.

Here are some places that you can find free website templates:

1-Google    sites.google.com

2- wix.com

3- godaddy.com

4- www.intuit.com

5- www.freewebtemplates.com

How to start an online retail store?

2011 April 5
by Mana Nahavandian
  1. Come up with a new product. Research the online market for your idea to determine if the current Internet marketplace is already saturated with this product or not?
  2. Write a business plan. Describe all the details about your business, list all your products, define your target audiences including age, demographic, geography and income level. Calculate your costs and define your desire income.
  3. Find your competitions online and describe how your online store can be more attractive and different than theirs. Find our where your target audience hang out on the Internet.
  4. Determine if there are any required state or local licenses and permits required for your business.
  5. Create an inventory for your business. Contact the manufacturers that you want to purchase your products from and find out all the details about purchasing in bulk or any other negotiable details, also you should find out whether they will handle the storing and shipping and handling of the products for you or not? If they don’t, you have to find a place to store your products.
  6. Purchase a domain name and website hosting. For best results, you should talk to a professional before taking this step.
  7. Online Marketing. You should set aside a good budget for your online marketing. The future of your online store is totally depended on how well you will market it online.

How to get a website design for your business.

2009 April 30

If you are thinking about getting a website design for your business you’ve probably come across many different solutions and don’t know which one is the best for you. If that is the case you’ve come to the right place for advice. In this article I will go over the pros and cons of a few of the major options you have at your disposal for getting a website design. 

What options are available for website design?

There are three major options available on the internet today for businesses looking to get a website. Either you hire a design firm to produce you a custom website design, you purchase a template and have it customized or you use a content management system. A custom website design is tailored exclusively for your business, while a template website design is filled with stock photography and dummy text, ready for your content and logo to be inserted. A content management system has tools to edit the content of a website and the design can be custom or template.

What option is right for my business?

Each option has different pros and cons that need to be weighed when considering the right choice for your website design. The budget and goals of your business can be a big factor in your decision, with options available for all types. 

Custom Website Design

If you want your business to be competitive on the internet you will have a custom website design backed by a good content management system and quality content. Good design and interesting content that people will read can give your business more credibility and increase your revenue, It has many marketing and advertising opportunities for your business as well.

A design firm can create your custom website design and offer branding and marketing services. If you are looking for custom features that require a programmer such as many database driven applications, a design firm can provide the necessary personnel. A design firm will offer you a level of personal attention and customization for your business that site-builder and template services don’t offer.

Template Website Design

Template Website designs are pre-designed websites that you can have customized with your text and images. Some of them are simply amazing, while others look like quick exercises in 90s website design. 

You can get a template for around $50 to $150 but keep in mind that somebody still needs to customize the template with your content. Unless you know some XHTML - and possibly Javascript and PHP – you’re going to have to pay to have your template customized, either from a firm or an online service. 

This can be an affordable solution for those who don’t have the budget to pay for a custom website design. The templates available online today are well designed and built for growth.  Most companies offer templates that are designed for different types of businesses. You may be able to find a template that needs very little customization and is well-suited for your business.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

There are two types of CMS: onsite software installed on your own server space, and software hosted by a company such as Yahoo. Typically onsite CMS are installed and customized by design firms while hosted solutions are paid for monthly and require a do-it-yourself approach.

CMS have tools that  allow a user with absolutely no XHTML knowledge whatsoever to perform content editing. These tools are essential for serious businesses because they cut site maintenance costs. Features that can be added to CMS systems include photo galleries, blogs, forms, document upload and e-commerce.

A design firm can design a custom website design for your CMS or you can opt for a template design. Site-builder programs generally come with templates and tools to add and edit the content. If you do not have the time to add the content yourself, design firms will work with site-builder programs to create your website. A design firm can build and market a site-builder website just as effectively as website on your own server space, although site-builders are not recommended for larger businesses that are better suited with a customized CMS solution.

Conclusion

A website is becoming the storefront of the 21st century and has become as effective as traditional methods of advertising. Businesses that reinvent themselves and embrace new technologies are constantly leading in their markets. When considering a website keeping in mind the budget and goals of your business will lead to success. Take your business to the next level with a website today.

SEO 101: Search Engine Optimization Guide for Businesses

2009 April 13

You can’t have a website these days without hearing the acronym SEO from just about every marketing professional you talk to. The term stands for Search Engine Optimization and covers a broad spectrum of techniques used to influence the ranking of a page on the major search engines. Top rankings can bring in more client inquires equaling big bucks.

Why SEO?

The term SEO doesn’t just mean optimizing your site for top rankings in the major search engines. A basic SEO plan maybe, but a serious marketing campaign reaches potential clients with unique content, social media marketing, photos, videos and creative thinking. Any level of optimization is better than none because having your business found is key to increasing inquires and sales on the web.

How is SEO achieved?

• Keyword research

Search engine optimization is achieved by targeting keywords that you believe potential visitors will be typing into search engines to find products or services related to the page being optimized. An SEO expert uses special tools on that analyze search data and make it easier to find relevant keywords with a high search volume. Every page on a site is about something different and should have keywords that are relevant to the content of the page.

• Optimizing your site

One thing you need to know about search engines is that they don’t rank websites, they rank the individual pages of a website by “on-page” and “off-page” factors. There is much debate as to whether on-page factors are more important than off-page factors. The key issue is that both on and off page factors are essential to a successful SEO campaign – regardless of which you believe is more important.

On-page factors are anything that resides on the page, including text content, links, and the underlying code. The text content of a page can be the deciding factor in its ranking. When optimizing a page, make sure to have keywords that are relevant to the content of the page, meta, title, h1, <b>, and <i> tags. When search engine crawlers reach a page they read the content like a newspaper, looking at the headings first then the content, paying special attention to words in bold or italics.

• Linking

Off-page factors are techniques used to receive links back to your site that include search engine submission, directory listings, blogging, social networking and press releases. Search engines, specifically Google, use these factors to weigh the popularity of a site and use it as the basis of a page’s “Page Rank.”

Search engines love blogs and press releases; they are full of content. When you write a blog not only are you becoming a voice in your industry, you are establishing a repository of credible content that links back to your site. A reader may link to your blog and that link may be followed by another visitor on the reader’s site.

Linking can be a very powerful tool in your SEO tool bag. When optimizing your site, consider other relevant businesses and organizations that you can request to link to your site. Receiving links from a few popular sites may be all that a page needs to achieve a higher ranking.

• Analysis and re-optimization

The content of a page and density of keywords residing in the content may need to be analyzed and updated periodically before any results are achieved. Any SEO expert will tell you that optimization can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months. Bute note: optimizationcan take 6 to 9 months, but it will not necessarily take that long. It is possible for a page to rank much quicker. A variety of factors – including the popularity and competition of a specific keyword or phrase – influence the time a page takes to rank.

Is SEO right for my business?

Search engine optimization is not a magic formula for getting new inquires or clients. It requires as much research and analysis as traditional methods of marketing. If the proper time and devotion is given to an SEO campaign results will follow. Visibility is everything: if you put yourself out there, they will come.

I cannot say that SEO is for every business. If your business is primarily online then you probably can’t get away without doing some SEO. If your business is land-based you may get plenty of clients from local advertisements and referrals. Expanding your business to the internet however, has many benefits. For instance when was the last time you looked up anything in the Yellow Pages?

Google, anyone?