• Website Essentials 9
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    Earlier this year, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I am breaking the article down into different sections and giving my opinion on each section. Today we look again at some of the SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, section of your website.

    35. Automatic Sitemap creation:A sitemape is simply what it sounds like. It is a file that simply 'maps' all of the pages of your website to make it easier for search engines, such as Google or Yahoo, to find how your website is laid out and where to find information.

    36. Ability to update page titles and meta description:Page titles and meta descriptions are quite often what show up in search engines as the subtext under the website name. Well crafted meta descriptions will serve your website well in optimizing your website.

    37. Easily Updated URL Structure:URL structures should be easily updated, and using a CMS (Content Management System) quite often makes this task automatic. Keep your URL structure up to date so that search engine can quickly and efficienty link to your pages.

    Written on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 17:33
  • Website Essentials 8
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    Earlier this year, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I am breaking the article down into different sections and giving my opinion on each section. Today we look again at some of the different aspects of a good website, including mobile responsiveness.

    31. Links that are easy to recognize:If you have links to other pages on your site, other downloadable resources, or links to externals sites, make sure that the links are easy to recognize. Style them differently than your regular font. You don't necessarily need a different font, change the color or weight of them, and make them stand out when a cursor is moved over them.

    32. Clean Font:Clean fonts are a must these days. With all of the options for modern, stylish fonts, avoid the temptation to use 'gimmicky' fonts such as Lobster, Comic Sans, or Jester. Your website needs to convey your message clearly. Don't take the chance of losing a customer because you like a particular style font. Your customers may not. Also, and I have not really mentioned this before, make sure you have great contrast between your font and your background. Red on yellow or green will be hard on the eyes. Medium gray on light gray will make people strain. Avoid using true black if possible.

    33. Mobile Responsiveness:More and more people use mobile devices to surf the web. If your website is not repsonsive to mobile devices, UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE IMMEDIATELY. You will lose business if your site cannot be navigated on a mobile device.

    34. Hamburger Menu:While on the topic of mobile devices, make sure you have the 'hamburger style' menu icon on your responsive website. This will make your site easier to navigate on mobile devices, and also make it easier on the eyes when using your site.

    Written on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 19:13
  • Website Essentials 7
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    Earlier this year, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I am breaking the article down into different sections and giving my opinion on each section. As we pass the halfway point, we look again at some of the different items on the sub pages of your website.

    27. Blog Search Function:Much like the search function on your website, this will help your users search for topics within your blog pages. If you have a large number of blog pages, this will help them locate specific information.

    28. Social Media Share Buttons:If you have no other options on your blog page, have this one. Post regularly to your blog. Create fresh, new, good, relevant information on your blog so that your blog readers want to share it on their social media pages. These buttons make it easy for them to share it with their friends.

    29. Comment Feature:With a great blog entry comes great discussion. Allow your visitors to interact with your post and each other by adding a comments section to each blog entry you create. This will generate conversation, which in turn, creates interest, which in turn, generates traffic to your website.

    30. Side Bar:This is another option that I am not sure is a 'must have' but it does give you an easy format for placing things like your search function, your cloud tags, your other articles (like most common) and other items on your blog page that you might find difficult to place without the side bar. While not necessary, it is a great idea, for sure.

    Written on Monday, 28 November 2016 21:04
  • Website Essentials 6
    Written by
    Earlier this year, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I am breaking the article down into different sections and giving my opinion on each section. As we reach the halfway point, we look again at some of the different sub pages of your website.

    24. Privacy Policy Page:Yes, privacy policies do exist, and yes they are important. Your client (or, more importantly, potential clients) want to know what you are going to do with their information. Put your clients at ease by having your privacy policy available on your website.

    25. FAQ Page:No matter how great your products, services, or web pages may be, people will have questons. In fact, you will have several questions that almost everyone will repeat. Having an FAQ page not only makes your job easier by not having to answer the same questions repeatedly, it makes your visitors' experience easier by allowing them to get the answers they are looking for without a time consuming and somewhat awkward phone call.

    26. Blog Page:If you don't understand the value of a blog page, let me explain it quickly. A blog page that is updated frequently shows activity to web crawlers and search engines. This will make your site seem more relevant and get your page found more often and easer. This will increase traffic, which will increase sales. Also, make sure your blog pages have relevant information on them. Search engines and web crawlers are pretty intelligent these days, so they can tell the difference between important information to your site and information that is just filler. In other words, don't put information about a BBQ recipe in a blog on a page that sells hospital equipment. Make sure your blog entries connect to the products and services your website offers.

    Written on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 20:41
  • Website Essentials 5
    Written by
    In April 2016, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I am breaking the article down into different sections and giving my opinion on each section. Today's we begin to look at all of the sub pages of your website. These pages will not get nearly the traffic your home page does, but if your home page grabs the attention of your users and visitor, these pages are just as vital.

    20. Contact Form:At the very least, your clients should be able to contact you via a contact form, even if you don't have or want a business phone. When creating a contact form, keep it as simple and short as possible. This form is for you to be able to contact your potential client. A name, a phone number and an email should be the minimum required fields on your contact form. If you would like to be better prepared for your return call you can ask what the client would like to talk about. Those are the fields I recommmend to my customers when I create a website for them.

    21. Captcha or Anti-Spam:Captcha is a service that requires some interaction that needs to be completed by a human being. It can be in the form of a checkbox stating that "I am not a robot" to words/numbers in a text box, to picking pictures form a list. Whatever method you prefer, use one. If not, then you will be flooded with junk mail that will waste hours of your time.

    22. Personalized About Us Page:This is where you get to give your existing or potential clients a glimpse of who you are. While I am not sure that it is a requirement, it is a really good idea. Once again, keep it short, keep it about the people, products, and services that are about you as a company.

    23. Inner Page Content:The Nielsen Norman Group did a study on how people read the internet. " We found that users' main reading behavior was fairly consistent across many different sites and tasks. This dominant reading pattern looks somewhat like an F and has the following three components". Those components are: Horizontally across the top... Horizontally across a second row... then finally Vertically down the left side. Read the article here.

    Written on Tuesday, 22 November 2016 20:16
  • Website Essentials 4
    Written by
    In April 2016, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I am breaking the article down into different sections and giving my opinion on each section. Today's we look at the footer of the website, a section that used to be under-appreciated or ignored all together. But with the popularity of using the internet on mobile devices, the footer has become very valuable real estate.

    14. Contact Information:Even if you have placed your contact information on other places of your website, repeat it here. The footer will most likely show up on every page of your website, so it is never out of site. Also, if your website has a lot of information on a page, having your contact information on the footer makes contacting you much more convenient if your clients have scrolled down to the bottom of your website.

    15. Business Hours:Whether you have a storefront business, a supplier or offer support of any kind, make sure you tell your clients when they can contact you. Also, it is helpful to list your timezone to help clarify exactly when you are available for business.

    16. Social Media Buttons:If you are not on social media with your business, get on it NOW. When you post anything to social media, it will be shown on the pages of all of your followers. It is simply free marketing. There is no better advertising time spent than posting up to date information and sales to social media to be shared by your followers. At minimum, have a Facebook page. But it is also very advantageous to have a Twitter account, Google + account and any one of the other various social media outlets that are available to businesses.

    17. Online Chat Feature:If you have the ability to chat live with your customers, then DO IT!! Nothing will help you make a better connection while your clients are online than being able to chat with you or someone from your company. While this is a great tool to have, it is optional.

    18. Newsletter Signup Form:This is a great tool for collecting contact information from your clients or prospective clients. Emailing a newsletter is a great way to send out up to date information about your company, your products, or any sales you may be having now or in the future.

    19. Navigation:Even you already have navigation in other places of your website, repeat it here. The footer should be on every page of your website, so it is always. Also, as with your contact information, having navigation on the footer makes it convenient for your clients who have scrolled down to the bottom of your website.

    Written on Monday, 21 November 2016 22:12
  • Website Essentials 3
    Written by
    In April 2016, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I have been breaking the article down into several sections and give you my expertise and opinion on each section. In today's installment we look at the heart of the website: the main features, your content, and your internal links.

    11. Main Features:This is the section that you must, MUST, keep up to date and relevant. Even if your product never changes or has any recent upgrades, keep this section fresh. Because even if your product or services don't change, your customers do. Refresh your wording. Refresh your perspective. Speak with your existing and prospective cleintele and listen to what they say and the questions they ask. Address those comments, concerns and question in your main features. To make my point clear, let's look at McDonals. Over the years, what has really changed about a Big Mac. It tastes the same as ever. It has not been made any healther. But over the years, McDonald's keeps changing their marketing of Big Macs, simply to stay in touch with customers.

    12. (Quality) Content: Here is where you can elaborate on your products or services. Make sure your website speaks to your customers. For example, if I am selling computers to an IT professional, I am writing in terms of bus speed, solid state mechanisms, internal cache, and memory and CPU clock speed. If I am speaking to a non-technical client, I will use terms like ample storage space, lightning fast, etc. After, and only after you write for your clientele, then write some body text for web browers to properly search and place your website. Also, and this is true of every section of your website, make sure to spell check and grammar check your work. You may not think it matters much, but your customers, and even more so, your potential cusotmers, might think it matters... a lot.

    13. Internal Links: These are exactly what they sound like, links to other pages of your website. However, the number one thing most people do when updating their website is they do not check to see if their internal links are still working or pointing to the proper place on their website. I understand why. It is tedious, boring work. But think of this. Have you ever been on a website and clicked on a link that when nowhere? Or went to a wrong place? Or even worse, went to 404 or 505 page error? That will almost ensure that customers won't continue to use your products or services. They may think that if you can't take care of your website, how will you take care of them.
    Written on Friday, 18 November 2016 18:18
  • Website Essentials 2
    Written by
    In April 2016, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". In this blog series, I will be breaking the article down into several sections and give you my expertise and opinion on each section. In today's installment we look at the top navigation and top section of a website.

    6. Top Navigation Bar:There is simply no better advice I can give to you other than have an easy to read and use naviation bar. When users encounter a website that is difficult to navigate, they will simply move on. Keep your naviation bar simple. Do not have too many topics. Keep your font clean, simple and large enough to read easily. If you cannot make all of your subjects fit on the top navigation bar, make them sub-menu items, or have them accessible on another part of the website, either through a different menu (we will discuss that later) or through buttons or hyperlinks. Quite simply, keep the navigation bar a clean as possible.

    7. Breadcrumb Navigation: This is one of those areas that I do not believe is a 'must have', but it may quickly become one. While it can be helpful on a site with many sub-menu layers, it is now becoming what Google shows in their search results. There have also been studies that show that users have less anxiety when using sites with breadcrumb navigation.

    8. Slider or Image: This is a 'must have' for me. Images portray so much more than words could ever do. Your images should be clean, simple and have a modern look to them. They should also reflect the image of your brand and products. A website that sells pet products should not have images of sports cars. It is most likely the first thing your users will pay attention to, so use the image or slider space to its fullest advantage.

    9. Crucial Business Information: Yes, yes, yes. Informtion about you should be easy to find, easy to read, and easy to use. Put your phone number on the site if you have a business phone. Put your address on the website if you have a brick and mortar building. But, at minimum, have a contact form or email link so people can contact you right from your homepage.

    10. Testimonials & Reviews: Nothing will put new clients at ease more than real life customer reviews. Having testimonials and reviews on your website is like having a Yelp review right there for people to read. Ask your clients for a review or testimonial and get them on your site. I also recommend putting reviews on several areas of your site.
    Written on Thursday, 17 November 2016 18:31
  • Website Essentials 1
    Written by
    In April 2016, entrepeneur.com wrote an aritcle titled "50 Must-Have Features for Small-Business Websites". While I do not agree that all of the items in the article are 'must haves', I do agree with over 90% of them. I will break the article down into several sections and give you my expertise and opinion on each section. Today we look at the header.

    1. Domain Name: It is a very good idea to create a domain name that is easily identifiable. In my case, onestoneweb.com, it is simply my company name. With the internet becoming so over-populated, it is sometimes difficult to create the perfect domain name. Sometimes you many need to add extra characters, such as a dash (-) or underscore (_), but remember to keep the name easy to remember, and as short as possible. www.remembermydomainnameplease.com is much more difficult than www.remember-me.com.

    2. Logo: A logo is a graphical representation of you. Classic great logos are easy to identify: the Nike swish, the Chevrolet bowtie, and the Apple logos are great examples. If you are not a graphic designer, hire one to create one for you. There are internet services that offer pre-made logos, but remember, these logos are also being used by other companies as well.

    3. Tagline: while it is a great idea, I am not sure it is a 'must have'. I currently do not have a tagline on my website. I have other clients who do. In either case, create a tagline that is short, to the point and easy to remember. My current tagline is "We create stunning websites that get you remembered." The theory on taglines is 5-9 words.

    4. Phone number: This is an area where the world is changing rapidly. I currently do business with companies around the world. I do not want them calling me during the middle of the night, nor do they want me to return that favor. However, if you have a dedicated phone line to your business, or you simply do business withing a small radius of your location, then absolutely you want a phone number. Also, when a mobile device recognizes a phone number and you click on it with your finger, it will ask you if you want to dial it. It is a great tool for making sure you don't lose customers due to having to leave your page to dial a phone number.

    5. Call to action button: You are in business to sell something. If you don't have a place where people can contact, call or otherwise let you know they are interested in your product or services, then are missing out on sales opportunities. Make sure your call to action button is easily identified and easy to get to.
    Written on Wednesday, 16 November 2016 20:50
  • 7 Step To Starting A Small Business
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    According to an entrepeneur.com article, there is a proven sequence of 7 steps to starting an online business. They are:

        1. Find a need and fill it.
        2. Write copy that sells.
        3. Design and build an easy-to-use website.
        4. Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
        5. Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
        6. Follow up with your customers and subscribers with e-mail.
        7. Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.

    Onestoneweb.com is here to help you with steps 3 and 4. If you have an idea for a unique business opportunity and would like to harness the power of the internet to help grow your business, feel free to contact us at www.onestoneweb.com/contact.

    Read the entire entrepeneur.com article here.
    Written on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 22:49