3 Ways to Build a One Page Website

website designRecently, I wrote about DIY website builder options, all of which are great alternatives for small businesses who cannot afford a $5,000 semi-custom website designed and built on WordPress.

But what if you don’t even need a full website – or, at least, not yet? One option is to make sure you claim all your local listings on sites like Groupon Pages. These listings can stand in for a website if you don’t want to create your own independent presence. Even if you do want to build a website, you should still claim your listings and pages. Doing so will help drive traffic to your own site.

You can also build a one page website, a great option when you want to get your name out there, start list building, find objective (ahem, not your friends or family) beta testers to help your refine your product, and just stay in touch with prospects before a full company launch.

Here are three one page website builder options for your to check out: Continue Reading ❯

6 Ways to Build Your Own Website

websitedesignIt’s pretty clear that today almost every business needs a website. That doesn’t mean that every business owner is prepared to hire a web designer and programmer.  You can save money by building your own website using one of the following 6 DIY website builder options, all of which were created for small business.

Just a heads up though: building a website does not happen in five minutes! Be prepared to set aside time to figure out what pages you need and how to organize them; write content; find and add images; etc. Your beautiful new website will be worth the effort! Continue Reading ❯

5 Tips for a Better Domain Name

naming a websiteSpecial to GrouponWorks from Erica Bray of Name.Kitchen

You’ve come up with a brilliant idea.  You’ve got the perfect name for that brilliant idea.  You want to build a website for that idea … but brilliantidea.com is already taken. What to do?  Give up?  Change the name?

While ‘dot-com’ is the default standard for most people, the Internet real estate has shrunk considerably during the past several years, as more people make their small businesses and entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Rather than rethink the name of your business, blog or project simply because the ‘Dot-Com’ domain name is snapped up — or is being held hostage by someone demanding mega bucks — consider some creative alternatives that might make even more sense than a long and cumbersome URL(after making sure that your brilliant name isn’t already trademarked, of course.) Continue Reading ❯

7 Ways to Tell if You Need an Ecommerce Site

ecommerce site for brick and mortar storeDoes your bricks-and-mortar retail business need an ecommerce site? Consider these numbers:

  • Global B2C ecommerce sales are nearly $1.3 trillion
  • B2C ecommerce sales in the US are nearly $600 billion; of that, $210 billion is retail purchases
  • Mobile retail commerce revenue in the US is $12 billion

Need I point out that these numbers are growing? That is a LOT of money your business could be leaving on the table. However, before you start building an ecommerce site, you have to decide if it’s actually worthwhile financially for you.

Here are seven questions to ask as you decide whether or not to build an ecommerce site: Continue Reading ❯

9 Things Every Mobile Site Must Have

mobile friendly shoppingIn 2015, it is estimated that 1 billion people will be mobile-only – and that number will likely only grow. If one of the things on your to-do list is “Create an awesome mobile site this year,” then good for you – perfect timing!

One of the easiest ways to ensure your website is a mobile-friendly site is to use a responsive design. If you have a WordPress site, you can find those themes here, or you could use a plug-in. If your site is built on a DIY platform like SquareSpace or Shopify, your site should be responsive, but double-check just to be safe. Continue Reading ❯

Webinar: From Search to Shopper

msh_webinar_blog_greyWe’re excited to partner with Main Street Hub to present a webinar for local businesses! “From Search to Shopper: How to attract customers with local business listings” will be hosted on Wednesday, February 4 at 3-4 p.m. ET / 12-1 p.m. PT. Join us live to hear industry experts discuss how to leverage online local business listings to get customers through your doors and back again.

At this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Why local business listings are important for your business
  • How to optimize your listings to attract customers
  • How to use listings and social media to keep customers coming back

Spaces for this free webinar are limited so register now to hold your spot! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about how to join on February 4.


How to Prepare Your Website for the Holidays

web presence for holidaysThe holidays are right around the corner. In fact, you may have already seen foot traffic increasingly slowly over the past few weeks. Chances are, your store is ready for seasonal shoppers. Can you say the same for your website? Customers increasingly go online to do research before they hit the stores. Others like to keep in touch by following your business on Facebook or other social media platforms. Optimizing your Web presence to prepare can make a big difference when it comes to sales this winter.

According to this infographic from Grazia, 64 percent of shoppers that intend to buy in the store still research online ahead of time. Whether customers want to check out your wares before coming in or simply need to determine where your store is located, the more information you have online, the better. This information doesn’t need to be just on your own website. Your own social media channels and external review sites are good places to look for data about your business.

Here are some digital tips for a successful holiday season:

Make sure customers can find you

Business hours and address should be easy to find on your website. But don’t stop there. Customers don’t always go directly to your website to find maps and other information. Instead, they might turn to Google, online review sites, or social media. If they find incorrect or outdated information, they may miss you completely. Chances are slim they’ll try to stop by again. Double check that addresses are correct. If your business hours have changed, be sure to update them. If you have different hours for the holidays, be sure to let people know.

Review your online reviews

When shopping or choosing a place to eat, user reviews are one of the first resources customers will consult. Take a look at the most recent comments. Are they positive or negative? If you can, respond to negative reviews to do some damage control. Another important thing to look at is whether reviews are recent. If the comments are all from a year ago, customers may wonder where you’ve been for the past 12 months. If you need more reviews, don’t afraid to ask for them, Search Engine Land suggests. For example, you could include a note on receipts or emails that encourages customers to leave you a review.

Use social media and email to get them in the door

If you have a storefront, the goal is generally to move customers from your website into your actual shop. In theory, this isn’t hard to do. People genuinely enjoy the experience of going out to the store. In addition, they can see a product in person and take it home immediately if they want to. Promote the in-store experience to get customers in the door. Here are a few ideas:

  • Email coupons or other special promotions that encourage customers to stop in
  • Create a special invite-only event with special prices for loyal shoppers
  • Tweet or post on Facebook about Black Friday deals to keep customers in the know

You don’t need to communicate with customers just with email. This type of messaging goes both ways. Once customers are in the store, post signage encouraging them to follow you online, and keep them engaged over time, even after the holidays are long gone.

The Internet can help drive customers to your store this season. Just make sure you are making it easy for shoppers to find you. Keep all your information up to date and build your presence online to develop relationships with customers over time.

Kate Blair is a Senior Writer for Brafton, Inc. She has written extensively about small business and marketing. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Any views, opinions, advice, or endorsements herein are the author(s)’s and are not necessarily the views of Groupon or its partners.

How to Build Trust for Your Online Site

build trust in your online storeAn ecommerce site is a beautiful thing – your store is open 24/7, allowing you to reach more people and process transactions even if your bricks-and-mortar store closed five hours ago. If you don’t have a bricks-and-mortar location, even better – you are saving a lot on overhead!

However, for your site to be successful, it has to immediately inspire trust, especially if you’re a new business. Here are 8 ways to do that:

Make your site beautiful You know the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, people judge websites by their home pages all the time – and with so many competitors out there, it’s easy for a customer to jump to someone else if they don’t like your site. Seduce them with a beautiful site and encourage them to stay and explore with the imagery on your home page.

Prominently display your SSL certificate SSL stand for Secure Socket Layers system, and, if you already shop online, you are familiar with it. It’s a system that encrypts online payments and transactions; you can most likely buy it through your web hosting company.

Display social proof People trust social proof, because they can quickly see that other people “like” you. It’s great for building credibility, especially if you’re new. Add a “Like” box widget for Facebook to your home page, and show off the number of likes you have, plus the photos of people who like you.

Show off reviews and testimonials Reviews and testimonials absolutely build credibility. When a potential customer can clearly see (or read) that others have had a great experience with you, he or she trusts that they will also have a great experience.

Share your story On your about page, share the story of why you started your business. Include high-quality photos of you and your team, too, so customers can see that you are “real.”

Provide contact information everywhere Your phone number and email should be included everywhere on your site, and it should be easy to find. Definitely include it in your shopping cart, too, just in case people have last minute questions before they hit “buy.”

Use high-quality images This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. If you’re struggling to take great shots of your products yourself, hire a professional. The investment will be worthwhile.

Include specs and policies with product information The more details, the better. When someone looks at the product detail information, give them everything – materials used, source of materials, place it was made/manufactured, dimensions, etc. Include important shipping and return policies, too.

What makes you trust an online site?

 Monika Jansen is a copywriter and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, website content, and other marketing materials for her clients, who tend to be startups and professional service providers. She is a blogger for GrowSmartBiz and the managing editor of UberStories. You can follow her on Twitter (@monikacjansen) or find her on LinkedIn.

Any views, opinions, advice, or endorsements herein are the author(s)’s and are not necessarily the views of Groupon or its partners.