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Cleveland Small Business Website Design – How to Make the Most of Your Website

No longer are websites only necessary for big corporations and those selling online…..a website is now almost an essential for any type and size of business! I mean, when you look at all the solid, useful benefits to your business, it is really an easy decision for most small business owners to take that plunge and put their businesses up in the virtual world.

But, you may wonder, since you do not do any business online, and all of your business is done locally, what are these “benefits” that a website will provide your business? Let’s take a look….

1) NEW BUSINESS - Probably the single most important function a site can provide for your business is a steady, permanent stream of new business. In the past, this could be compared to advertising in the phone book. Today, the ways in which people gather information has changed a little. Latest stats suggest that up to 80% of US consumers use the net to look for local businesses to frequent. This represents a tremendous opportunity for highly-targeted, very low-cost advertising for your business. Get a site, optimize it to hit these local searchers, and you will have a whole new outlet for gaining new business that works for you 24/7 and requires little to no cost to maintain!

2) Build Credibility - That’s right, it does not matter how anti-internet you are, the simple fact is that too many consumers are pro-internet! This means that many people actually expect you to have a site. They see a business with a sleek, professional site as more trustworthy and dedicated to whatever it is the business is doing. Why miss a chance to gain confidence from your prospective customers?

3) Communication - Communication can be expensive….a website can take away a lot of that expense! Through your website, you can keep customers informed of news/events/products of interest,etc., create mailing lists that allow you to market directly to your most responsive group with the click of a mouse, give more info about your business, and a wide assortment of other communication functions.

4) Maximize Other Advertising - When you place an ad, or send out printed material, one of the biggest challenges is getting as many points across as you can in a limited space. By being able to give interested prospects a way to learn more about you by putting your website address in your advertising, you can get even more information out without any extra cost. Theoretically, this should help you see an even better response from your advertising dollars.

There are other important reasons you should have a website for your small business, but the above reasons should be enough to at least get you thinking how and when you are going to get your business online.

Now, let’s take a look at what to look for and how to go about getting your site up…..

Fortunately, it no longer takes a small fortune to build a site for your business. In fact, if you are savvy enough, you could do it yourself for free! If you are on a very limited budget, this is ok, but I would still recommend hiring a professional company to help design and code your site. I say this for a couple of reasons….

1) Time Is Money - Your time is money. While it may sound romantic to build your own site, do you really have the time to invest to learn how and make sure it is going to look professional? You could learn accounting and do all of your own bookkeeping and taxes, but you are probably going to hire an accountant….this way you know it’s done right and you can spend your time focusing on what you do best….your business! Same theory here.

2) Technical Stuff - Do you also have time to learn about SEO, tags, content/keyword ratios, etc.? Each of these could very easily cover a whole course, yet they are essential to getting the most results from your site. What would take you weeks to months or more to learn are things a professional designer will already know and make sure are correct in your site. This is important, because it doesn’t matter how great your site looks, if you make mistakes in these arenas, your site will just sit out there in cyberspace and will not do what you need it to do.

With that said, I’m sure you can see the advantages to having your site built professionally. Now, when looking for a good design company, here are some key points to keep in mind during the interviewing process….

  • Pricing – Some designers work on a per-job basis, while others work on an hourly basis. This is something you want to know right away. Are you getting a flat-price, or are you subject to an hourly rate. And hourly rates can vary anwhere between $30/hr all the way to $100+/hr. Try to get a flat price if possible. Since you are most likely not doing anything complicated with your site, you should be able to find a designer who will give you a flat price. Be careful of a company who is hesitant to give you a good idea of cost. You don’t want a designer who says they work at $70/hr, then run 8 hours over their estimate.
  • Business Knowledge - Look, this may sound dumb, but it is very, very important! Many designers do excellent work, but they are not in the same mindset as you. They may be more focused on design and less on the end result for your business. Just like many accountants and bankers act as business consultants, so should a web designer. They should know the ins and outs of the online business climate and be able to guide you in the right direction.
  • Intellectual Property - You are paying for your site….it should be yours! Run the other way if a designer wants to keep your site as their property. I don’t need to elaborate on the problems this could cause! You want to hear or read that you are going to own the “source files”. Also, make sure you own your domain name.

You now should know why you need a website, as well as have the basic knowledge you need to figure out how to get one up. If you want a great place to learn more about small business website design, check out http://medinawebmarketing.com/small_businss_solutions [http://medinawebmarketing.com/small_business_solutions]

Internet Business Wealth Creation – A True Portable Business

Internet business is a growing multi-billion dollar industry and anyone can be part of this with just a computer. In my opinion, it is the best home business as well as a ,alternative income, business. Multiple avenues of income streams can be found. Compared to a bucket income like regular job where 1 ‘bucket’ of work equals 1 ‘bucket’ of pay, the internet business is like building our own pipeline to wealth with very low investments. This make it a truly Home Based or computer business and is the best way in my opinion to create multiple income streams for yourself. With conventional work, if we stop working for any reason, the income stops.

It is relatively easy to launch a website which is tantamount to opening a shop so to speak. One can open multiple ‘shops’ with little capital and sometimes even no capital other than time and effort and a internet connected computer. For beginners, it may be interesting to learn that on the Internet some things can be done for FREE! For example, there are internet sites offering free webdomain. These are functional although a dot com site is always the first preference. Whatever business or project we do, we have to firstly plan, organise, execute, recheck and fine tune etcetra. Basically a system has to be in place so that the business can run and be executed smoothly over and over again.

It is generally best firstly to get your own domain name. This itself takes abit of creativity and honestly hard work as good names are usually taken up especially for .com names. Domain names should be short to be easily remembered. Preferably catchy 2 to 4 syllables so it is better remembered. The easier to remember the site the better. It will be good if the name does not have any negative connotations as with anything else, positive branding is best. Ease to pronounce your site name will also help people remember it. Preferably do not use generic names as if you want to later register a company or product using that name may be difficult. It would be good to also indicate the market you are in in the name. This makes it easier for people to immediately identify with your focus area. Search engines tend to pickup better if your name includes the market you are in.

Next is to sell a product or service which is in your area of specialty or interest. With interest or if you are already skilled in that area, one can find it easier to identify areas or topics where one can start a internet business. One can also present it with more confidence.

There are many ways to do the business. Say for example you decide to sell products but do not have the product in hand to sell due to stocking or whatever reason. Now Drop Shipping is an area that getting very popular. Drop shipping works like this: You setup your website or internet storefront. Any orders goes directly from your website to the manufacturer or wholesaler and they will complete the transaction from orders to delivery. You then get your share of the commission or profits. In this way you do not have logistic and other headaches. Another popular method is Affiliate Marketing where the products or service is already there and you just have to promote the product for a commission. In all of these few examples, the main other work comes in marketing your site. As with a physical store, promotion or marketing is done to attract customers. The more marketing and advertisement is done as well as if properly exercise, the higher the interest and more customers to your site and business.

As with any business, once you have customers, present or past, it is better to value a customer in hand more than to look for new ones. Both are important but taking care of existing customers will be better as a relationship has already started and chances of repurchases is greater.

How to Start a Home Based Franchise Business

These business don’t necessarily need to be fully run online per se, but if that’s what you choose to do its okay. These businesses are for people that are looking for opportunities to have franchises they can do from home. There are many different options you can choose from depending on your personal preferences such as:

Automotive
Business and professional
Child Related
Cleaning and Maintenance
Computer and Tech
Educational
Food and restaurant
Health-care and hospital related
Home
Pet
Real estate
Service
much more!

These are businesses that you will be buying into. Some of them cost a few hundred and others cost thousands of dollars. It seems like the more popular the brand name and the more potential money you can make with it, the more expensive it is to buy it. A really good magazine to read if you are looking to buy into a franchise is Entrepreneur magazine. They have tons of “hot lists” along with some really good information like how much it costs to get into it, how much you can possibly make, things included in the business and a lot more.

A few months ago they had a 150 page “guide” with all this info in there and I have to say its pretty darn interesting to see all the different things you can get into. Some of the business were ones I had never heard of and others like Petland, Jiffy Lube and Pizza Hut are obviously pretty well-known! Here are a few examples for the categories listed above:

Auto –
Appearance Plus
Fabrion
Matco Tools

Computer and Tech –
1800905Geek
WSI
Mobile Computer

Food –
BP
7 Eleven
Dunkin Donuts
Pizza Fusion
Ritas Italian Ice

I know what your thinking. Dunkin Donuts? BP? These aren’t home businesses! Well they sort of are. You could make it into whatever you want to. You can work at the actual place you buy, you can work at home, you can work online, you can do whatever you want, it’s YOUR business! All this info and much more can be found on the Entrepreneur site online. You can also be connected directly with the company at hand so you can find out more about the financial and personal relationship they have with the buyers (you), minimum/maximum investments, and much more. There are several other sites you can find online that offer these types of directories but, I think Entrepreneur is by far the best. Everyone else seems to have scattered companies across the board but Entrepreneur has everything in one place, and I think this makes finding an op a lot easier for people!