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5 Basic Ways to Help Your Website Become SEO Friendly

If you are responsible for developing a website for your business, then you should know the fundamentals of effective web design. One behind-the-scenes success factor for any website is that of search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization is the process of making your site as visible and relevant as possible to search engines so that it ranks as highly as possible when people are using the web to find products or services related to your business. Here are five basic ways to help your website become SEO friendly:

Optimize your graphics

Search engines do not recognize graphics (even graphics with text and Flash graphics, for that matter). Therefore, if your pages are image-heavy, the search engines are missing out on a lot of what makes your site relevant to site visitors. Optimize all of your graphics by adding descriptive alt tags.

High quality content

When search engines “crawl” your site, they populate the content in a way that enables them to determine the relevance of your pages. Therefore, if you want your site to rank highly for searches related to your business, your content should be well-written and targeted to your audience.

Keywords

Keywords and keyword phrases are terms that web users might use to query a search engine for your business product or service. In addition to loading your content with high-quality keywords, you should also use relevant keywords when titling your pages and writing your page descriptions and headers. Use an online service like Google’s free keyword tool to find keywords that may be most effective for your purposes.

An SEO-friendly URL

Your site’s URL should be short, concise, and descriptive of your business brand. It is a good idea to use relevant keyword phrases in your URL, to make it as SEO-friendly as possible.

Site structure

Search engines need your help in identifying relevant content on your site. One of the best ways to do that is to structure your site in a way that flows and is easy to follow from page to page. Your sitemap should make sense logically, and should efficiently lead to any and every pertinent page of your website.

When it comes to building your brand, your website is one of your most powerful tools. Make sure you get the best of the best by contacting the experienced professionals at identityXperts to handle all of your web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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5 Tips to Help Your Website Load Faster

When it comes to your website, you must consider more than just design. There are some factors that determine whether or not your site visitors will stay to explore or leave without so much as a goodbye. One thing that can make or break your website’s success is the amount of time it takes for your pages to load. After all, web surfers are a finicky bunch; they lose interest quickly if they can’t move around your site quickly and efficiently. So, what steps can you take to prevent page load lag? Here are five tips to help your website load faster:

Cut out unnecessary coding

Bulky coding slows downloading speed because browsers must read through everything as they load your pages. Therefore, just going through your coding to eliminate unnecessary white space and tag elements can reduce the amount of time it takes for your pages to load.

Enable caching

PHP caching will store images and other vital information from your site on visitors’ computers when it is downloaded the first time so that your site visitors can subsequently retrieve that data in the blink of an eye.

Trim your images down

Graphics take much longer to load than text, so you should be strategic about your use of them. There are a few things you can do to trim down your images. First, assess the images you are using to determine which are necessary, and then keep only those. Second, scale the images down if you can (as smaller images will load faster than larger images). Third, if you have a page with many images (an online catalog page, for example), then you can give each image its own page instead of including all of the images on one, slow-loading page.

Optimize your database

There are numerous ways you can optimize your database to decrease your site’s load times. Simple search the web for “database optimization” to learn the details of how to get optimal performance out of your site by optimizing your database.

Find a new host

Believe it or not, the distance you are from your host affects how quickly your site loads. You can decrease your page load time by simply choosing a host that is nearby.

Additionally, some of the cheaper hosting companies use cheap equipment. This can significantly delay your site load. Consider upgrading.

When it comes to building your brand, your website is one of your most powerful tools. Make sure you get the best of the best by contacting the experienced professionals at identityXperts. to handle all of your web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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Why Navigation is So Important in Your Website Design

Any good web designer knows that there are specific aspects of web design that cannot be overlooked. One of the most important elements of website design is navigation. Navigation is just what it sounds like – how someone gets around on your website. If your site is lacking in effective navigation, it is not going to work for your business the way you need it to. Here are some reasons for why navigation is so important in your website design:

Navigation

People can enter your site from a number of different pages.

Some people make the mistake of designing their website entirely around the home page. However, it is important to remember that a multitude of your site’s pages may be ranked simultaneously by search engines. This means that people will be able to access your site from pages other than your homepage. Without good navigation, visitors could get stuck on a page and not be able to move on to explore more of your site.

You don’t want to put your site visitors to work.

Simply put, they don’t want to have to put in a bunch of work just to be able to explore your site. A bad navigation network can mean multiple clicks (and guesses) to get to the desired information. If you force your visitors to put in too much effort when it comes to moving through your site and finding what they want, then you will lose their interest. And you will lose them.

Your site should be well-organized.

Again, this comes down to helping your site visitors find what they need, with as little effort as possible. You can’t expect people to automatically understand how your site is organized and where they should click to get where they want to go. Navigation is your way of organizing your site. For example, by making good use of primary navigation, secondary navigation, menus, and internal linking, you can create a user experience that is likely to keep people interested, and loyal, to your site.

If they can’t find it, they can’t read it.

You put a lot of money and time into creating, aggregating, and commissioning content for your site. Simply put, if your website is not effectively designed with navigation in mind, your visitors won’t be able to find your content. If they can’t find it, they can’t read it . . . So what good is that content?

Don’t skimp when it comes to building your brand. Contact the experienced professionals at identityXperts to handle all of your logo and web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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Design Essentials for Websites: 5 Must-Haves

When people think of web design, they often think of things like graphics, page layout, and attention-grabbing fonts. And yes these elements are certainly part of web design. The truth is, however, that web design essentials encompass much more than just aesthetics. Are you interested in learning more about what makes a great website design? Then check out these five must-have website design essentials:

Navigation.

This pertains to how people will get around on your site. You can’t make them work for it. You want all of your content to be readily available and good navigation is the answer. Use primary navigation, secondary navigation, text menus, internal links, search boxes and breadcrumbs wisely. Do this throughout your site to ensure your site visitors can easily find what they are looking for.

Leading the eye

In addition to navigating through the site, you must also help visitors determine how to focus their attention on each page. You must “lead the eye,” so to speak, by strategically applying weighting, placement, positioning, spacing, and highlighting techniques to guide your visitors from areas of primary importance to supporting, or secondary, areas.

Typography

The type and size of font you use will greatly impact the user experience, and will go a long way in creating the impression you want (or even one you don’t want, if you are not careful). Additionally, you must consider line spacing, text effects, line length, paragraph size, and emphasis (italics and bold) when placing your typography.

Clarity

While it may be tempting to pack your website with all the neat graphics and informative content you can, it is more important that your site visitors can easily ascertain what is on your page. Keep in mind that simplicity is almost always preferable over complexity when it comes to web design, and that too many visuals (and/or too much information) could end up looking like nothing more than a jumbled mess to your site visitors.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Your site is no good if others can’t find it on the web. When it comes to design essentials, good SEO practices include using alt text for images, no-following outbound links that are irrelevant to the site, and labeling page titles and headers effectively.

Don’t skimp when it comes to building your brand. Contact the experienced professionals at identityXperts to handle all of your logo and web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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A Great Website is a Branding Opportunity

If you know anything about marketing, then you know that branding is tantamount to your business success. There are numerous ways to grow and strengthen your brand, and you should be taking advantage of all of them. Your company website is one such branding opportunity that you just cannot afford to miss out on, and you should, therefore, put some serious time and effort into creating a site that works for you. Want to know why? Here are some ways in which a great website builds your brand:

Your logo

There’s no doubt you understand the importance of your logo when it comes to branding. Your website should display your logo prominently and on every page. Doing so is just another way of etching that logo (i.e. your brand) into customers’ minds.

Your image

You know who your target market is, and your business image should be relevant to that audience. When you create a business website, some choices must go into the design – choices like color, content, layout, graphics, and navigation. All of these design choices will contribute to your business image, which in turn will help strengthen your brand.
Connection. By creating a website that is inviting, informative, and easy to navigate through, you are giving your customers (and potential customers) and an avenue through which they can keep in regular “contact” with your business. Remember that your brand is an abstract thing, based on the impression you give people, as well as all the things they associate with your business. Forging a connection with your business is integral to strengthening your brand, and a great website is a very effective way of doing that.

Personality

Your website is a great place to express your business’ perspective, philosophy, and experience. A website gives your brand a personality. It is imperative that your brand is personable in this way, as this is what will endear it to customers, giving them a lasting impression that will keep them coming back for more.

Call to action

When you create content for your website, you have a great chance to inspire your site visitors to engage – thus strengthening your brand. Do this by way of a call to action, such as, “Contact us today to learn more about this exciting opportunity!”

Don’t skimp when it comes to building your brand. Contact the experienced professionals at identityXperts to handle your branding opportunity. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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The Differences between HTML and WordPress

If you are responsible for developing a website for your business and you know very little about web design, then you may find that the various choices you have when it comes to building your website can be quite confusing. After all, how do you choose between a WordPress site and HTML when you don’t even know what those terms mean? If you are having a hard time sorting through the jargon and deciding which option is right for you, then you’ve come to the right place. Here to help is this rundown of the differences between HTML and WordPress:

Coding versus using a template

One of the most definitive differences between WordPress and HTML has to do with how you execute your site creation. HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is a programming code (or, language) that you use to design static web pages from scratch. For example, in an HTML document, you would see something like this, “

Hello. I am a web designer.

,” representing a single line of text with a header. If you don’t know what all of that means, then you would need to learn HTML to write the code. Otherwise, you could create HTML pages on a platform like Dreamweaver (in which case you should still know a thing or two about coding). WordPress, on the other hand, is a platform for building dynamic web pages (we’ll get to the difference between static and dynamic later), using a template-based format that allows you to easily create websites by adding content and dragging/dropping features you want on your pages.

Static versus dynamic

HTML pages are static, meaning they stand alone and stay the same unless you go in and manually change them. That means that if you want to change the look or feel of your entire website, you will have to open up the file for each page manually and make the necessary changes separately. WordPress pages are dynamic, meaning they are all stored in a single database and linked together in that way that allows you to make style changes with just a few simple clicks from a single user interface. (It is worth mentioning that you can also create static pages using WordPress if you so desire).

Closed source versus open source

HTML is closed source, meaning only you (or the person who wrote the code) can make changes to, or embellish, the code. This is fairly limiting unless you have a very skilled coder on hand. WordPress is an open-source platform, which means that anyone can develop additions (like plugins) that you can apply to your site to make it better-looking, more functional, and highly customized.

When it comes to building your brand, your website is one of your most powerful tools. Make sure you get the best of the best by contacting the experienced professionals at identityXperts to handle all of your web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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How a Good Website Design Creates a Great Impression

It goes without saying that your business needs a strong web presence to be successful in the Age of Information and that your website is integral to your web presence. However, do you realize the importance of good web design, when it comes to your business brand? That’s right – it’s not just enough to have an aesthetically pleasing site with good content. Good design is more complex than that, and it can mean the difference between having an effective or ineffective website. Want to know why design is so important? Here is how a good website design creates a great impression:

Professionalism

When you take shortcuts, it shows. Don’t make the mistake of taking shortcuts with your web design. Sure, your teenage cousin knows a thing or two about creating websites, but unless he can create a top-notch, professional-looking site for your business, your site is just going to look amateurish, and your site visitors will get the impression that you are an amateur. Spring for a good website design.

Navigation

Good design is centered on creating an effortless experience for your site visitors. You don’t want people to have to work or make guesses to find their way around your site. By providing them with straightforward, simple, and well-organized site navigation, you are not only giving your visitors the impression that you care about catering to them, but you are also ensuring they can find (and read!) all of the valuable content you have on your site.

Branding

Your website design should be in line with your business branding in every way – from the colors to the fonts. That means that good web design, with your brand in mind, will elevate your brand and increase brand awareness, thereby creating a lasting impression for your visitors.

Attention grabbing

You have a very limited window of time in which to grab new site visitors’ attention and pique their interest enough to want to stay and explore for a while. As a matter of fact, studies show that a first impression in the web world may take as little a fraction of a second to form. Good web design will snag your site visitors and enable you more time to get your message through to them. In a world where first impressions are so vital, you can’t afford not to invest in good design.

Don’t skimp when it comes to building your brand. Contact the experienced professionals at identityXperts.com to handle all of your logo and web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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5 Reasons Why Good Content is Critical for Your Website

If you are in the process of developing a website for your business, then you’ve probably heard the phrase, “content is king.” However, do you understand why, exactly, your site’s content is so imperative to its success? Here are five reasons why good content is critical for your website:

Conveys a clear message

This may seem obvious, but many people miss the boat on the concept of getting a message across. It’s not enough to attract attention with a catchy slogan or a slick story. When it comes down to it, those are just words that must be backed up with clear meaning about the purpose and scope of your site. Good content will actually inform your potential customers about your business, and assure them that they can count on your site to provide what they are looking for.

Lends credibility

High-quality content will help you establish your voice in the industry. When you provide valuable information in an effective way, you automatically have an air of authority with your site visitors. This type of credibility is what will help make you a web leader.

Keeps people coming back for more

One of the most important jobs your website has is to mediate an ongoing relationship between you and your site visitors. Web page content that is informative, entertaining, and relevant to your visitors’ needs will keep them engaged on the page for longer, and it will also inspire them to check in periodically for new content. This is a very effective way for you to stay in touch with your audience and develop lasting relationships.

Supports search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is a term used for the process of making your site visible and relevant to Internet search engines. Good SEO is how people will naturally find your website when they search the web for a term related to your business product or service. Part of SEO is weaving the right “keywords” into your content; additionally, high quality (relevant) content ranks higher with search engines.

Incites action

Good web content includes a strong call to action that will invite your site visitors to engage even more. Additionally, a call to action will instruct your visitors as to what, exactly, they should do next. This converts mere visitors to into paying customers.

When it comes to building your brand, your website is one of your most powerful tools. Make sure you get the best of the best by contacting the experienced professionals at BrandMasters, Inc. to handle all of your web design needs. We can be reached by phone, at (239) 400-0622, or email: jelcik@identityXperts.com.

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The Power of Online Directories and How to Get Started Fast!

More and more small businesses today are using online directories to their benefit. If you run a small business, odds are you spend a great deal of your time thinking about your marketing plan. Online directories can be a great addition to your current small business marketing strategy. Online directories can help your small business expand its website traffic, increase the likelihood that your website will be found by interested viewers and increase your bottom line. If you haven’t taken a look at online directories and considered how your small business could use them to increase its market presence- then now is the time to start!

What Are Online Directories?

There are many different types of online directories available on the Internet. Each of these online directories serves a specific purpose and can be used by your small business in specific ways. An online directory is a website submission service that allows your small business’s website to be added to a specific category where it can be searched for by interested viewers. These searchable online directories allow their viewers to search for websites and businesses that they find interesting or that they want to learn more about. Listing your small business on an online directory increases your website’s visibility on the web and helps to create inbound links to your business’s website. Online directories make it easy for people to find what they are looking for. These directories can be accessed from just about anywhere that has an internet connection. This means that people could find your business’s website from their home, office or even while traveling.

Every website that is submitted to an online directory is placed in a specific category. These categories can range in how they are organized. Some are organized by business-related categories, some are organized according to personal preferences and others are organized by subject. Each category consists of several websites relating to a specific topic. Each website listing features the name of the website, a direct link to the website and a short description of the website. Interested internet viewers will be able to browse through the various categories in the directory and locate websites like yours that they may be interested in viewing. Essentially, online directories make it easier for random viewers to find your business’s website.

How Do Online Directories Work?

The concept of online directories is actually a pretty simple one. Online directories are very similar to the Yellow Pages in the real world, only these listings are only online. (Actually, Yellow Pages.com is now an online directory as well) A directory is just a listing place for a number of websites. Any type of website could be listed in an online directory. Some online directories are huge and cover every topic that someone could create a website for, while others are very small and specific to a specific niche.

Let’s use an example. Say you are a model airplane enthusiast and you want to find some websites that cater to your specific interest. You could look through a huge online directory such as Yahoo’s online website directory and find several dozen websites that are related to model airplanes. Or you could look for an online directory that is niche-specific, which means that the entire online directory would be based on hobbies such as model airplanes. With a niche-specific directory you may find even more websites that are based on your specific interest than what you could find on the larger directories.

Since online directories are organized by categories, finding websites that relate to a specific interest such as model airplanes is very easy. You could find information and websites about model airplanes in your local region too if you use a regional-specific online directory. So if you live in Phoenix you could find websites that relate to both model airplanes and the Phoenix area. Online directories will direct you to websites that you want to find. All you have to do is perform a search in the online directory for a specific topic or browse through the various categories until you find the type of websites you are looking for. When you perform a search you will be given a list of all of the websites that relate to your search term. You will be presented with a number of links to these websites and each link will have a short description of what you are likely to find on the website. You can read the descriptions and choose to click on the website that best suits you.

There are many different types of websites that you could find under a specific topic as well. For example, if you search several online directories for information relating to model airplanes you may find websites that are about building model airplanes, flying model airplanes, creating historically accurate model planes, tips and instructions about how to fly model planes, websites that sell model airplanes and charters and associations that you could join regarding model airplanes. These are just a few of the examples you could find using an online directory. There are simply too many topics to list them all here.

You can see how anyone can use an online directory to find websites relating to things that interest them. As a small business owner you can see how people who could be potential customers of yours are using online directories too. Now that you understand how online directories work it is time to see how they can work for your business.

How Do Online Directories Benefit Small Businesses?

There are many benefits associated with listing your small business in an online directory. The more online directories you can use to list your business the more benefits you will reap. Here are some of the benefits of using online directories:

Exposure

Exposure is important for all business marketing strategies. After all, the more people who are exposed to your business the more people are likely to utilize your business’s services. If online viewers aren’t able to see your website or even know that it exists, then they probably aren’t going to purchase your products or services. Listing your business’s website in online directories helps your website to gain exposure. Thousands of people use online directories everyday to find things they are interested in. These are people who are actively searching for websites that are directly related to your products or services. They are already looking- all you have to do is make it easy for them to find you. Online directories will expose your business to more online viewers, which could increase traffic to your website.

Increased Traffic

There are several ways that online directories can help you increase the amount of traffic your website receives. For starters, the more exposure your website has the more people are likely to visit it. But online directories offer more than just exposure from potential viewers. They also offer exposure to the various major search engine crawlers like Google and Yahoo. This increases the chances that your website will appear on major search engine results pages or SERPs, which will allow more people to see the website when they perform a regular search. Both search engine optimization exposure and exposure to more people who are searching for your website could result in increased traffic to your small business’s website.

Cheap Advertising

As a small business owner, you already understand the importance of advertising. You know that it helps customers to find your business and recognize your name and brand. You probably have little room in your budget for more advertising right this moment. That is one of the major benefits of listing your business’s website in an online directory. Online directories are inexpensive to join and they offer a lot of exposure for the price. Some online directories will allow you to list your business for free, while others will charge a minimal fee. Either way, you are getting a lot of exposure for less money than you would spend on a TV or radio advertisement.

Professional Appearance

You want everything about your business to look professional in the eyes of your customers. A professional appearance enhances your status and makes customers more likely to patronize your business. Online directories help you to look like a professional business. When an online consumer sees your business listing in an online directory they will consider your business to be an authority on the subject and a professional place to do business. Unlike a search that is performed on a major search engine like Google, where there is little difference between the legitimate websites relating to a topic and the less than useful websites, online directories are mostly legitimate websites. Online consumers are more likely to trust what they see on online directories.

SEO Benefits

Online directories offer several search engine optimization or SEO benefits as well. Firstly, these online directories offer you more inbound links. When an online viewer sees your website link in an online directory, they will be able to click on it and be instantly re-directed to your website. This is a great way to increase traffic. It is a great way to improve your status in the eyes of search engine crawlers too. The more backlinks that a search engine crawler can find, the more relevant they will rank your website. This is especially true of authoritative online directories. Being linked to a major online directory, such as Google Places, will give your website more relevancy in the eyes of Google’s search engine crawlers. This will result in a higher page ranking on the SERP. As you know, a higher search engine result page rank you get, the more people are going to click on your website link.

Increased Revenue

When more people are able to find your website it increases the chances that they will visit your website. When people visit your website they are more likely to purchase your goods or services. This means that online directories can help you increase your revenue stream. Online directories are good for your bottom line.

Increased Brand Recognition and Customer Interaction

When an online viewer locates your website through an online directory, they are more likely to remember your business’s name and directly interact with it. Online directories can help your business stand out to customers as well. Overall, listing your small business in an online directory will help you to create a more comprehensive and effective online presence.

Listing your small business’s website with several online directories will help more people find your website, whether they are specifically searching for it or if they are just browsing around. In addition to gaining exposure, online directories will provide major SEO benefits, which will help your website get found by search engines. Increased exposure and higher search engine rankings will result in more traffic to your website, which will result in higher revenue.

There are many different types of online directories, from large global directories to small, niche and location-specific ones. Some examples of other types of online directories can include reciprocal link directories, free directories, paid directories, Business 2 Business directories, theme-related directories, small business directories and many, many more.

Why You Should Consider Listing Your Small Business in an Online Directory

Apart from the concept that online directories will increase the amount of exposure your website gets and help with your SEO strategies, they are also a very effective way to directly target potential customers. Online directories make it easy for online users to find something they want. According to a study performed by Burke, 8 out of 10 people will use a print or online directory to find companies or products they are looking for. The same study also suggested that 8 out of 10 people who use these directories to locate a business do so with the intent to purchase a product or service from them. This is a very effective form of targeted advertising. The customer already needs or wants your product or service and you can directly target them by listing your website in an online directory.

Another reason why you should consider listing your small business has to do with your Return On Investment or ROI. Since the potential benefits of getting increased website traffic are great compared to how much you will have to spend to list your website in an online directory, you can see a great return on your investment in the form of increased revenue. You also want to keep your brand and your company name in the minds of consumers at all times, which is something else that an online directory can help with.

What Online Directories Should You Use for Your Small Business?

Even though listing your website in many online directories will improve your website’s exposure and SEO ranking, it is not effective to just SPAM your website into every single online directory you can find. You will want to take some time to consider which specific online directories will give you the best ROI. The best option is to find a great combination of directories to join. If you run a small business the best place to start may be with a local directory. This is because most people will search for businesses in their area they can patronize. Local market and niche-specific online directories can offer extremely targeted advertisements to potential local customers.

After your business is listed in these directories you can take a look at the larger and potentially more expensive general-interest directories. You will probably want to consider listing with the top 10 online directories, as these will be used by a lot of people and will offer higher relevancy and authority in the eyes of search engines. Google Places and Google Maps are large general-interest directories that you will want to list your small business in. If your website sells tangible goods you may also want to consider listing it in comparison shopping websites and product listings directories. Studies show that 42% of consumers will look at a comparison shopping website before they decide to purchase a specific product.

The best way to figure out which specific online directories your small business should be listed in is to start with your competitors. Take a look at your local and niche-specific options and figure out if your competition is already listed. If they are you need to be listed too. If they are not listed you may want to list your website as a way to beat them to the punch. In some situations, it may not make sense for you to have a listing in a specific online directory, even if your competitors are listed in it. Your goal should be to be listed in every relevant and niche-specific directory you can find as well as many of the major directories, but no so many directories that you appear SPAMMY.

In addition to listing your website in online directories, you also need to maintain these listings. It is important for your online directory listings to be up to date and accurate, or else you could just be wasting your time. If your directory information seems out of date your customers will probably look elsewhere.

It will probably take some time to see the results of listing your small business’s website in so many online directories, but eventually you will see results. The best way to find the perfect combination of online directory listings for your business is to use some sort of tracking or analytics system. You will want to be able to see how many people clicked on your website links from within the directory and if your website has shown increased traffic since then. You will want to stop wasting your time with online directories that are not producing results and increase the time and effort you spend on online directories that are productive.

Best Practices for Listing Your Small Business in Online Directories

Now that you understand why your small business should be listed in online directories and have started locating the directories that you want to be listed in, you are ready to begin creating your business listings for submissions. Here are some tips and best practices for listing your small business in online directories.

  • Start by choosing local directories and directories that are niche-specific. So if you own a model airplane hobby shop in Phoenix, make sure you find a local Phoenix business directory and a directory that is related to model airplanes. If you can find a model airplane hobby directory for the Phoenix area, you are all set.
  • Once you’re in local directories, start searching for larger and more generalized directories. Pick directories that get a lot of traffic and that are listed highly on major search engines like Google. A higher search engine ranking means that the directory will be considered as both authoritative and relevant in the eyes of search engines, making any links you get through these directories more valuable to your SEO strategy.
  • Include all of the relevant information regarding your small business in your website’s directory description. This should include your business’s name, location, telephone number, contact information and possibly reviews, business hours and anything else that is relevant. Add in photos, maps or other interactive features if the directory lets you.
  • Try to keep your information consistent across all of your online directory listings. This will help your website to retain its credibility in the eyes of search engines and will assist with your SERP rankings.
  • Try to make your business stand out by offering an explanation of your business or any specific message the customer should know in your description.
  • Keep all of your information up to date. This may mean frequently updating all of your listings several times per month.
  • Allow customers to leave positive reviews and use them in your listing if the directory allows it.
  • Always be professional and consistent with your business’s listings and message. This includes any information regarding your brand.
  • If you sell products or services to a local market, make sure your business is listed in a local business directory. Include geo-specific keywords and information. An example would be: “Dave’s Model Plane Shop” + “Phoenix”.
  • Optimize your website for SEO purposes and include the relevant keywords in your meta titles and listing descriptions. Keyword research is important.

Get Listed in the Top 15 Online Directories

Now is a great time to get your small business listed in the Top 15 Online Directories. There are few other internet marketing techniques that will offer so many benefits for such a small investment on your part. Listing your business in an online directory will increase your website’s online presence and help more people find you, which can help you increase your business’s revenue.

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The Top 10 Ways to get Positive Reviews on Your Local Listings

Local listings are a great way to market your company and get the word out about who you are and what you do. However, if you don’t have Positive Reviews on Your Local Listings they can do more harm than good. This is because when reviewing all the different businesses within your industry or category, users will always look to the reviews to give them a better idea of the service and quality of the product they can expect. And if you don’t have any reviews but your competition’s page is filled with positive reviews, you’re sending customers directly to them instead of to you. In order to get positive reviews for your business, follow these tips and get ready to watch customers line up at your door.

Use surveys

Surveys are great for business. Whether they’re online or in print form, they can provide insight as to what your business is doing well, as well as areas that need improvement. But in addition to that, surveys can also help you get positive reviews within your local listings. Make sure that you ask customers for their email address somewhere within the survey. Then you can use those to browse through them, find the positive surveys, and ask those customers to leave a positive review for you on the local listing of your choice.

Leave the link to review on sites

Customers are becoming so accustomed to looking at receipts for discounts, deals, and surveys that leaving a link to a review site on them is a great way to get positive reviews. Tell your staff that this link is there, and encourage them to tell customers about it. This will help reinforce the idea that the customer needs to look at the receipt, and may prompt them to leave you a positive review.

Know when to give incentives, and when not to

It can seem like a good idea to give customers an incentive to leave a review, however this is something that could backfire. Often customers get turned off even when they’re offered something for free, thinking that they’re giving you good feedback when they may not have otherwise. Word can quickly spread, and it could end up tarnishing the name of your business. Trust that customers who want to leave a review will, and provide them with the link to do so. The people you can offer incentives to are staff members. Each time they refer a customer to the link on their receipt or direct them to the review site another way, give them a small percentage more on their pay cheque or another incentive, such as making them Employee of the Month.

Utilizing a tablet makes it easier

If you simply tell your customers about the review site and give them the link, you need to rely on the chance that they might go home and find it on their own on their computer. However, that may not always happen. Instead, have the review site already up and ready right within your business and hand it over to them after you’ve made a sale. They’ll be able to do so without having to do any work or being inconvenienced, and you will see the number of positive reviews on your listing increase.

Watch your social networks closely

You don’t always have to work so hard to find people saying nice things about your business. Check out your social networks and see what people are saying there. Follow up any positive comments with a simple ‘thank you’ and ask them to share their opinions on the review site. Chances are, if they’re that impressed with your company, they won’t mind saying so again.

Know where and when to refer customers

It won’t do you or your customers any good if you give them the link for a review site that doesn’t apply to them. For instance, it’s not so easy to send customers without a Gmail address to Google+, and if they’re not a registered Yelp user but leave a review there, the chances are good that Yelp’s filters will simply send it to the trash bin. Knowing which review site is best for certain customers will make it even easier for them, and will increase your chances of receiving a positive review.

Use your database

The chances are good that you’re already using your database for different marketing campaigns, so why not use them to get reviews as well? Set it up just like you would any other campaign, telling customers that you’re now on Yelp, Google+, the Yellow Pages, or any other business directory, and invite them to join in the conversation and leave a review. Remember to leave the link to the review site within the email to make it even easier for them.

Respond to existing reviews

People like to know that they’re not just sending something into cyberspace so it can get lost somewhere along the way. Respond to the reviews that are currently on any review site, good or bad. Thank those that have left good reviews, and try to help those that have left negative reviews. Even if it’s just to say you’re going to contact them, people like to know that if they’re taking the time to get involved, you are too.

Ask for them

Business owners sometimes believe that asking for a review will look desperate, or will turn their customers off. It won’t. How else are customers supposed to know that you’re even on a review site, or that you’d like them to leave a review for your company unless you say something? Right after you make a sale, any sale, ask the customer to leave a review for you in any one of your local directories. Again, make it easy by providing them with the link. Sometimes, you have to ask in order to receive.

Ask immediately

If a customer purchases something from you, they’re likely not going to give you a review if you ask for it three weeks later. Instead, ask right at the time of sale, and you’ll be much more likely to get the results you’re looking for.