Tools and Tips to help your business grow
You're running a business but feel as though you're not growing at a rate you like, you're doing most of the work yourself and are learning some of the things as you go along.
We thought we would ease the pressure a bit and provide you with some useful tools to help you run your business, and hopefully lead your business to growth.
A website can make or break a business, you need to make sure your website looks the part and can be found by new customers. If your website looks outdated then it could put customers off using your services/products.
What should you ask a designer?
If you're looking for a new website or a refresh on an existing one you can go to a designer and ask them to realise your vision. A good designer will guide you through the process, inform you of any problems regarding expectations of the design and give you a rough idea of the cost of the design during the initial meeting. They will then go from the meeting and draft a proposal, you should then look this over and make sure they have understood what you are looking for from them.
Build your Own
There are several pieces of software available to create your own website, these are known as Website Builders. They can be less expensive than hiring a designer and can allow you to design and manage your own website. A quick search on Google reveals some of the top website builders - 1 and 1, Go Daddy, 123-reg and wix.com.
Images for your site
Now that you have a website you need to have images on there to entice the viewer to stay and read about you and what you have to offer. But where can you find free or low cost images?
Another thing to consider is you need to have the correct copyright permissions for the images.
Luckily for you 123-reg have compiled a list of stock image website for any size this can be found here.
Promoting your business will make you more attractive over your competitors. There are several different forms of marketing and finding the correct one for your business can really make the difference.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
This is the main way for a business' website to get noticed online. The more optimised your website is the better a search engine such as Google will understand your site and could potentially improve your position on a search engine results page (SERP). This sounds a little complicated but there are a few typical rules for you to follow which would set you on the right track. Deepbluesky.com has written an interesting blog post on the subject of SEO along with a few useful links at the bottom of where to get more information. This is a good starting point for if you want to dip your toe into SEO. However, to see real results it may be better to hire an agency who specialises in SEO services.
Pay per Click Advertising (PPC)
Have you seen the adverts and sponsored links that appear on Google? These are done through PPC. This can be really quite confusing to use and hard to master. Fortunately 123-reg has created a useful guide on how to use PPC advertising through Google Adwords. However, like SEO, you may find it more efficient to invest in hiring an agency to do this for you.
So you have a website, but do you know how it's performing? How customers are interacting with it? How many pages have been visited? Probably not. The answer to this is Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracks your visitors (anonymously) to help you realise what pages are performing. You can use this to build and improve poor content, and develop good performing content further. It also shows you where your traffic comes from - a good way to see if your PPC and SEO is performing.
Have you been collecting your client's email addresses? Have you considered buying a list of email addresses? If not then you could be missing out on potentially a large area of the market. There are pieces of software available that allow you to send out email templates advertising your services and any other information you may want to send. All you have to do is customise them and provide a list of email addresses. Some of the top companies providing these services are: Mail Chimp, ReachMail and SendGrid.
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