Tag Archives | seo/smo

11 Things Your Business Needs Online

Whether or not to maintain an online presense is no longer an option for most businesses. Businesses and consumers both are turning to online research when they want to find a vendor or product to fill a need. Ensuring that your business has a solid presence online can help keep your brand and services in the running when someone goes looking for the answers and solutions you can provide.

Many small and medium sized businesses do not have the internal resources to create an online presence that goes beyond the digital equivalent of an introductory brochure.

Forming a marketing consulting partnership with a team of experts like those here at Unlimited Prioritiess, is often the best way for these organizations make the jump to a twenty-first century online presence smoothly and effectively — and without breaking the bank.

Here are eleven things every business services company needs to have as part of their online presence:

1. An Understandable Address

When people are talking about your business and sharing information about your products or services they will need to tell others how to find your website or contact you by email.  This means your domain name needs to be clear and easy to communicate in writing and verbally.  If you cannot pronounce your website’s address you may need to think about a change or at least a name that can redirect to your site.

2. A Clean Homepage

You must have specific goals in mind when planning your homepage.  This may be the first impression you ever make on a potential customer so make sure it is the right impression.  When people are researching businesses online they can make a snap judgement about you based on very little information.  Your company’s mission should be clear immediately.  Web pages are relatively cheap; there is no reason to cram everything onto your homepage.

Your homepage should be welcoming and provide an easy to grasp introduction to your products and services.  Keep page elements separated and use short lists so new prospective customer can see and understand your core business at a glance.

3. Findable Pages

Your existing customers know who you are and where to find you.  New business can come from a variety of sources, but one major way to ensure that your website can be found by prospective customers is to ensure that your website is built with solid white-hat search engine optimization techniques in mind from the beginning.  Search engines read your web pages with programs called crawlers.

Web crawlers have come a long ways in the last few years, but they  still need your help to properly index your website and return links to your pages based on search terms entered by their users.  By using well crafted pages, complete with quality metadata and good document structure can help your site be found by the right people.

4. Scannable High-Level Pages

Prospective customers will land on your website with a single question in mind.  “Does this company provide the products or services I need?”  This means that your pages should be crafted to answer this question quickly for a visitor who is just scanning the page quickly.  It is hard to resist dumping a lot of information about your company and its great products and services right up front but this should be avoided.

After providing a clear answer to that initial question, you can provide links deeper into your site to pages with plenty of details about your business and services.

5. A Unified Look

Branding goes way past the logo on your letterhead and your business cards.  Do not skimp on the services of a skillful designer to create a branding scheme that includes logos suitable for a variety of sizes and uses, fonts, and color palettes. A prospective customer who stops by your booth at a trade show or receives a marketing email from you should recognize you immediately when they land on your website — or vice-versa.

6. Clear Contact Information

Your online presence does not operate in a vacuum.  Your site should be designed in a way that ensures visitors are never more than one click away from your contact information.  Your contact information should include online and offline methods to reach you.

No matter how complete you feel your website is, there may be prospective customers who want to pick up the phone and verify something they read about you online.

7. Some Customer History

Web giants like eBay and Amazon learned early on that customers like to hear from other customers —  even when they know nothing about the person providing feedback.  If at all possible your website should contain some testimonials from your existing customers.

Past customers who are willing to give a good reference can go a long ways towards building trust and comfort on the part of new business relationships.

8. A Long Reach

Your website should be a central hub of information about your business and your products and services.  Keeping that information limited to just that site is a waste of your online efforts.  Look at sites like LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter as other avenues where you can keep in touch with prospective customers.  If you take the plunge into the world of social media for businesses, make a real effort and stay on top of it.

A Facebook page or Twitter account with a few lonely updates from months or years ago is worse than no presence at all.  Share news and information about your business, but also share wider industry news that would be useful to your prospective customers.

Don’t be one of those businesses that fail at the social part of social media.

9. A Visible Human Side

Online communication is easy and is becoming expected by consumers.  If you have a presence on social media do not try to hide the fact that human beings are behind the tweets and updates.  This is not a suggestion to go wildly off-message, but your social media followers will appreciate the presence of a genuine personality behind the presence.

10. Depth of Expertise

Earlier we talked about making pages scannable with clear information that can be quickly absorbed in a few glances.  That is the way to draw in customers by explaining what you can offer.  Create additional pages on your site where you explain the how and why of your business offerings.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”  Keep that in mind while writing your deeper explanatory pages.  You are writing for a prospective customer with the goal of inspiring confidence in your ability to provide the services they need.  Many companies create pages that read like a technical training manual instead of an explanation of their services.

Get a non-expert in your circle to sign off on every page of your site to ensure you are not writing copy that is only meaningful to people who know as much as you do about your business.

11. Fresh and Relevant Website Content

Do not treat your webpage as if it is chiseled in granite. Search engines reward fresh and current content that is relevant and well presented.  In your professional life you are always learning as new information becomes available and technologies evolve.  Your website should reflect any changes and new information as quickly as possible.

Revisit your entire site at least three times a year and make sure every page is fulfilling its mission in the best way possible based on today’s understanding of your business and your customers needs.

If your business presence online is missing some or all of these critical business building tools, contact us to learn how Unlimited Priorities can help take your business to the next level.

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Unlimited Priorities develops a new Accessible Archives website

Unlimited Priorities has developed a new website for Accessible Archives. Like our own website, we implemented and will manage this one using a content management system (CMS). Unlimited Priorities continuously assesses the state-of-the-art in Content Management Systems for the development of websites for small and medium sized companies. For Accessible Archives, we chose WordPress, which presently drives over 59 million websites world wide, including many large organizations, like CNN, TechCrunch, NBC Sports and CBS Radio. Users also include millions of small to medium sized organizations. In fact, we use WordPress to manage our own website.

Using a CMS makes it much easier and faster to develop and manage a user and social-media friendly site that complies with all current standards and, importantly is very search-engine friendly as well. Issues that proved to be difficult, time-consuming and expensive using traditional website development methods are simple and quick when using a content management system.

An additional issue that organizations often face is the migration of large amounts of existing content. For the Accessible Archives site, the use of a CMS made this straightforward and importantly enabled us to modify the structure of existing content to comply with current web standards.

Besides being cost effective to develop, maintain and update, using a modern CMS ensures the site will remain current as new standards are developed, ensures that new technologies can be easily integrated, enables integration with popular social media, ensures that both current and future search engine standards will be followed and makes it easy to incorporate new design ideas, content areas and added functionality.

There’s more information about our approach here: Website Development, Website Analysis

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Goodbye to IE6! (In the United States anyway.)

Time to pop open the champagne because, based on the latest data from Net Applications, IE6 usage in the US has now officially dropped below 1%!

Goodbye Internet Explorer 6

Goodbye Internet Explorer 6

IE6 has been the punch line of browser jokes for a while, and we’ve been as eager as anyone to see it go away. In fact, we launched the IE6 Countdown site last March to help accelerate the process. Less than a year later, I’m thrilled to say that the United States has joined the ranks of Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway in dropping below 1% usage of IE6.

via The US Says Goodbye to IE6.

What does this mean for your organization?

This means more developers and IT professionals can officially consider support for IE6 a “low-priority” stop spending time and resources supporting such an outdated browser.

This also means that if your website has been around for a few years it may be limited in its design and functionality in order to ensure that it looked and worked okay with the old Internet Explorer 6 web browser.

This may be a good time to get an unbiased report on your current website along with recommendations on how your online presence can help drive your organization’s goals forward.  Unlimited Priorities provides the website analysis, development,  and social media coaching you need to help your enterprise stand out in the crowded online world.

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Google and the Evolution of Search

In August, Google posted a video, Another look under the hood of search, that shows some of the things they do to make changes and improvements to their search algorithm.  They followed up up last week with new 6-minute video on the evolution of search summarizing key milestones from the past 10 years and ending with a brief taste of what’s coming next:

The highlights include:

  • Universal Results: finding images, videos, and news, in addition to webpages.
  • Quick Answers: including flight times, sports scores, weather others.
  • The Future of Search: Their goal, to make searching as easy as thinking.

The full post is here:  The evolution of search in six minutes

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Unlimited Priorities Expands Its Team to Cover Social Media, Information Technology

CAPE CORAL, Fla., Oct. 26, 2011 – Iris L. Hanney, founder and president of Unlimited Priorities®, has announced two additions to the firm’s team of executive-level professionals which bring increased capabilities in Social Media and Information Technology.

JD Thomas has a passion for exploring new ways to communicate, collaborate, and share information in ways that enhance the value and usefulness of the information. His expertise includes search engine optimization (SEO), social media optimization (SMO), website analysis and website development. JD gives workshops on crafting websites to be both discoverable and socially engaging using strictly “White Hat” search engine and social media optimization techniques. His skills and perspective have helped numerous businesses and libraries create a stronger connection with their patrons.

Albert L. (Al) Stevens has spent his career applying advanced information technology to solve complex problems. His expertise includes open source technologies, cloud computing, network architecture, complex Web hosting, databases, XML, semantic modeling and technology sourcing. Prior to joining Unlimited Priorities, Al recruited and led the development team at Credo Reference to re-architect, design and implement the company’s reference service using best-of-breed open-source technologies and move it onto a 100% cloud-based architecture.

I am delighted to welcome individuals who complement our existing team and add to the depth of our expertise in Social Media and Information Technologies. The pace of technology change continues to increase and Unlimited Priorities is committed to remain on the cutting edge. — Iris L. Hanney

Coincident with the addition of the new team members, Unlimited Priorities has launched a new version of its own website which highlights many of the new social media and information technology skills the company can bring to its clients.

Commenting on the latest additions to the Unlimited Priorities team, Iris L. Hanney, President, said: “I am delighted to welcome individuals who complement our existing team and add to the depth of our expertise in Social Media and Information Technologies. The pace of technology change continues to increase and Unlimited Priorities is committed to remain on the cutting edge. The addition of these new team members will help ensure that we do so.”

Unlimited Priorities is completely in step with the management requirements of small to mid-size organizations in the information industry. We provide executive-level support services by utilizing a highly skilled group of professionals with abundant experience. Our practice specialties include Sales and Marketing, Business Development, Financial Services, Operations Management, Production, Information Technology, Social Media and Content Development and Licensing. Our new Archival Initiatives Division provides advice to libraries, historical societies, and industry associations in selecting, distributing, and monetizing their valuable archival content. Our goal is to enhance our clients’ abilities to succeed, offering solutions that are realistic, practical, achievable and affordable.

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