Nowadays, a website is pretty much essential for any business but as I said last week, today's business operators need more than just a website if they're going to successfully reach their customers AND beat their competition - they're going to need knowledge. Some of the variety of options to consider as part of a complete online web presence include:
If the Internet is not your core business, you could be forgiven for finding all of this quite overwhelming. Where do you start, and what do you do next?
If your company is large, you could probably afford to hire someone like me, full-time, to handle all this online stuff for you, but small business operators usually don't have the budget for that. That leaves small business operators with a few choices:
Provided you're considering one of the first three options, it never hurts to come to the table armed with some basic knowledge. Unfortunately there's just too much information on the Internet now, and sometimes one page directly contradicts another, so how do you know who or what to believe? Who has the time or the inclination to sit there scouring through all that information anyway?!
Well, as it happens... I do. :-) During my years on the Internet, and in IT management, and setting up and running my own small business, and studying Internet Communications, I've picked up lots of interesting ideas and learned many tips and tricks on the best ways to get things done. So please consider this blog my gift to you. :-)
Joomla! have recently upgraded Joomla.org to version 2.5x. They have previously announced that version 1.5x will reach end of life sometime this year, although not before September 2012.
When a version of software reaches end of life, it means that official support for that version stops and usually, as a flow-on effect, people who have written components/modules/plugins for that version will also stop creating/supporting their own software versions not long after.
Having said that, some people are still successfully running Joomla 1.0x websites (which reached end of life in July 2009) so just because your website is 1.5x, doesn't mean you need to rush to upgrade it immediately. But it's definitely something to keep in mind for the future. Here's why:
If you decide it's time for an upgrade, you know where to find me. :-)
So you've created your business Facebook Page and sent the link to all your friends and colleagues and asked them to "Like" it - right? Good. :-)
Next you decide to add the Facebook address to your branding, along with your normal website URL. And suddenly you realise - instead of a nice, neat www.facebook.com/WebSolutionZau, you have something that looks like this:
So how you do get a nice, neat custom URL for your business Page?
Well, the quickest way is to visit this page to register what Facebook refers to as a username:
Select the Page you administer, type in the username you'd like your Page to have, and click on Check Availability. Once you find an appropriate name, register it. Done! :-)
Facebook provide a Help page here, with some answers to common questions. I suggest you read it before you select your name. Remember - you can only change your Page username ONCE and then it's yours forever, so choose carefully.
Don't have a Facebook Page yet? Visit here to get started. Good luck! :-)
Ever thought about creating a blog? It's not that hard! Two of the most popular blog tools are Blogger, which I use, or you could also try Wordpress. Or just try searching for "blog" in your favourite search engine. Sign up and away you go!
This study period I'm studying Web Publishing, which is primarily about blogging and I found a couple of this week's readings really useful for thinking about how to present items for my own blog, so I thought I'd post a link to them here. Happy blogging!
Blood, R. (2002). Weblog Ethics. In The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog. Perseus.
Rowse, D. (2008). Nine Signs of an Effective Blog Post. Retrieved September 9th, 2009, from http://www.problogger.net/archives/2008/07/10/nine-signs-of-an-effective-blog-post/.
This week I attended some free seminars at the Internet Show Melbourne, which wasn't too bad. The seminar I found most enjoyable was presented by Cara Pring, Social Media Manager at Servcorp, entitled The Future of Social Media. Thought it was interesting enough to share. :-)
I'm often asked "now that I've got a website - what should I do next?"
The best way to promote your business online, is to get your website as high as possible on search engines (ie. Google or Bing). But this isn't easy, because everybody wants to be on Page 1.
Google uses over 200 fancy algorithms to determine where websites appear on their search engine results, and nobody really knows exactly what they all are because Google keeps them secret. However, Google's goal is to provide the best results for people who perform searches, and they value good, original content over dodgy tricks. So if an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) company contacts you and makes fast/cheap promises about Page 1, it would pay to do some research before immediately signing on.
WebSolutionZ can assist with basic SEO but if you want full-service SEO (ie ongoing monitoring and tweaking) then there are specific SEO companies that have the expertise, resources and time to do it properly. However, there are a couple of ways you can help yourself.
First, make sure they know you're there! You can submit your URL to Google here, and Bing here. This lets the bots know to come and visit you, which usually takes a few days. If you've updated your website recently, it doesn't hurt to let the bots know.
The next best way to get noticed is to use social media. If you've done a project with WebSolutionZ, we've already done this but in case you need assistance, please click here.
Next, list your website on some directory sites. Here are some free Australian directories that may be worth a look. There are obviously hundreds and it pays to be discerning - if Google doesn't like a directory then your site may be better off without!
http://www.banyulebusiness.com.au/ (this is my local council and I think you need to live here to register, but check your local council for similar)
Obviously you can also pay to add your website address to some paid sites. Make sure you investigate the costs etc. carefully, to ensure you're getting the "most bang for your buck".
Got questions? Feel free to drop me a line. :-)
A report was released this week in the United States by Nielsen and BabyCenter entitled 2012 American Media Mom, which has basically found that mothers are now multi-tasking, technological geniuses. Well, as a multi-tasking technological Mum, that's my take on it anyway! In all seriousness, this doesn't surprise me - the number of enquiries I get nowadays from Mums wanting a website has increased quite substantially since I first started doing this in 2006.
So what? Well, information like this is also worth considering when marketing your own business. For instance, the report says mothers spend an average of 66 hours per month online - 66 hours! And that compared to the general population, mothers are 38% more likely to own an Internet TV device, 28% more likely to use a tablet and 38% more likely to own a smartphone. At the same time, a greater percentage of mothers say that they now spend less time with live TV and radio than they did three years ago.
What does all this mean? Well, if your target market is the Mother-hood, it means a few things:
Very interesting report! Definitely worth a read. There's also a bunch of other statistics about how Mums are using their mobile phones for a whole range of things like price comparisons. So if you're not already considering Mums as a sizeable target market in the first place, then you should be. And if you are, then hopefully this report and my analysis will help you to clarify your own direction a bit. :-)