Here is a reprint of an article that ran a few months ago. It covers internet marketing which is a very hot topic with our client base. I hope you find this useful. The link we had to the original story is broken so if you come across a new location for the original, please send it to us for update.
Do-It-Yourself Internet Marketing for Small Business
Posted by Blake Barnett
Businesses seeking increased traffic to their websites and social media profiles can hire an SEO expert to review and revamp their current pages. While this is sure to pay off in the long run, it can come at a steep cost. Fortunately, there are many ways for web marketers to increase their search rankings without spending any money whatsoever.
Here are three excellent methods to improve your web presence and drive inbound leads at no cost.
1. List your business in free business directories.
Business directories are an excellent vehicle to promote your business because they are already optimized to show up high in web searches. Any links you receive from these directories will have a greater weight, due to the elevated Google PageRank that the directories enjoy. Reputable directories include Thumbtack, Merchant Circle, and Contact Squid.
Of these, the Contact Squid free business directory probably offers the most internet marketing “oomph” thanks to built-in Facebook and Twitter feeds as well as the ability to optimize your profile page for the search engines.
When submitting to directories, make each separate profile unique. Write up a good description of your business using the keywords you want to rank highly for. Take advantage of any additional media the directories allow you to upload, such as pictures and videos.
2. Produce as many backlinks possible yourself.
Backlinks are simply links on websites around the ‘net that point back to your page. They are one of the most important components in search engine optimization, so time spent getting backlinks to your site is time very well spent.
Sign up for accounts on bookmarking sites such as Digg, Stumbleupon, etc. and submit your websites and your business directory pages to them. Also, Tweet, +1, and “like” the pages as well, including the URLs with your posts.
3. Optimize your actual links and URLs
The last tip for free do-it-yourself internet marketing is to optimize your URLs and links. First, place keywords in the URLs themselves. If you are trying to rank for “Fresno Bridal Jewelry,” then the URL for your bridal jewelry-based page should be something like “http://www.contactsquid.com/fresnobridaljewelry“.
Next, when submitting links around the web, it is better to place keywords in the anchor text instead of your URL when allowed. Anchor text consists of the words that make up a hyperlink. Taking our bridal jewelry page example, the anchor text should appear as “Fresno Bridal Jewelry” instead of “http://www.contactsquid.com/fresnobridaljewelry.” In addition to linking to your main website, make sure you also place some links pointing to your directory profile pages as well.
Following the tips in this article will give you a very good fighting chance among the thousands of other businesses in your industry competing for search engine rankings. The results will make you very glad you invested all the time and effort to do it right.
LinkedIn is known as a social media site for recruitment, but people who are self employed, entrepreneurs and small-business owners all use the networking of LinkedIn to find new clients, solve business problems and connect with other professionals. If you are uncertain why or how you should you use LinkedIn, please join us for our newest workshop – Introduction to LinkedIn. presented by Amy Matney, Vice President of Training Solutions, Omnicom Solutions Group Inc.
Ms. Matney will cover:
- How LinkedIn is different from other social media sites
– The etiquette of LinkedIn
– The key sections of the LinkedIn profile
– The differences between connections, groups, endorsements, and recommendations
– LinkedIn security settings
– What potential LinkedIn has to help you with your business.
This free workshop will be held on September 30th from 1-3 PM. To register, please go to our events page at SBDC Training and Events.
Starting this month, Chase and Google just kicked-off the 2014 MISSION MAIN STREET GRANTS PROGRAM, giving away $3 million to 20 small business in the United States. To promote small business development, each winner will receive:
- $150K Grant to help grow the business
- Trip to Google Headquarters for a marketing workshop with industry experts
- Google Chromebook Laptop
- $2,000 coupon toward one market research study with Google Consumer Surveys
All applicants will not leave empty-handed, however. Each participant will receive a marketing toolkit to help grow their business and a $150 coupon toward one market research study with Google Consumer Surveys.
To qualify, your business must be a U.S. based, for-profit entity, employ less than 100 employees, and have been in business for two consecutive years.
How to apply:
Applicants need to complete a grant questionnaire which includes answering five (5) short essay questions explaining their business; what inspired them to start a business; a description of their community involvement; what they would do with the grant; and their short-term and long-term business growth plans. Deadline for applying is October 3rd.
Furthermore, applicants need 250 Facebook votes for their business through the contest’s website. For more information, or to vote, click here.
But don’t worry. Deadline for the counted votes is October 17th.
Winners will be determined by a panel of expert judges from a selection of business organizations who promote economic development. Winners will be announced in January, 2015.
To learn more about the 2014 MISSION MAIN STREET GRANTS PROGRAM, register or vote please visit Chase’s website.
Get ready for TWO days of WordPress!
Wright State University’s Small Business Development Center and the local WordPress Meet Up Group have teamed up to hold the FIRST Dayton WordCamp.
The dates are set for March 7th and 8th.
Friday will be hands-on training. A refresher course for those interested in starting from the beginning.
Saturday will be filled with tracks for the novice, power-user, developer and all of those in between.
Trying to find internet resources to help you on your entrepreneurial journey? Forbes has searched high and low to bring you the top 100 list of Best Websites for Entrepreneurs. Save yourself some much needed time and check out the list here.
Below are some links that will help jump start your business.
Basecamp.com is an online project management portal. Basecamp uses cloud computing to store all of your projects, data and contacts in one place.
Nozbe.com is a project management application. This web based app is available for Windows operating systems and is also offered in the Apple app store.
Other Similar Sites…
TeamViewer is a downloadable software package that will allow you to remotely manage and facilitate team meetings, presentations and training sessions.
Skype is a internet based messaging service that allows you to instant message, call and video chat other users all over the world.
ZenDesk.com is a customer service management tool. ZenDesk uses cloud based software that allows users to step up their customer service game.
Low cost email, surveys, newsletter distribution and light CRM (customer relationship management)
Maxemail.com is an internet-based fax and voicemail service that allows you to send and receive faxes without a fax machine or additional phone line.
Uservoice.com is feedback and helpdesk software that allows you to easily engage with your customers.
Dropbox is an internet-based file storage service. Dropbox allows you to easily store and share files.
Volusion.com is an ecommerce software site offering templates to enable clients to open a successful online store.
Other similar sites:
Freshbooks.com helps you send and manage invoicing online.
A similar site:
Customer Resource Management
Highrisehq.com allows you to manage all interactions with your clients.
The following websites will help you find freelancers and contractors.
99designs.com is a website where you can bid on designs for logos, websites and other creative pieces for your business
These websites will help you build your own website.
The following websites will help your website get more traffic.