Basic Small Business Website Tips

Measuring success is easier than you think.


The Secret Is Out; As Many As You Can Find

Building web references.
I do this already but now the crowd has caught up!

Nice article.


New Post, Yes I have Been Negligent Here

Relying On Print Yellow Pages? Most Local Customers Turn To The Web!

This post by Greg Sterling tells the entire story.


SEO, SEM, SMO & Baseball?

Marketing Pilgrim Andy Beal offers a smart baseball analogy to the SEM game.


Local, Targeted Ads, Are You Ready?


The Kelsey Group forecasts that $5 billion of locally targeted, small-business advertising will move online by 2009--

Is your business being left behind?

Search Engine Land points us to a recent study on Yellow Pages usage statistics.


When Someone Bids Your Business Name

Someone bidding on your name or trademark? SEOptimise covers the issue in this article as it pertains to major brands in the UK.

The subject is timely as it pertains to my local clients and what I see occurring in the local space in general.

Talk to any small business owner and watch their reaction when they see or hear a competitor is bidding on their name or business. Someone like Sony or Apple can send a legal team to Google's door to fight back retailers from bidding on their products. A local plumber, roofer or glass repair business doesn't have the resources or know where to start.

Google offers this page for a general discussion on trademark abuse. Basically the business owner is urged to take direct action on the infringing party.

"...the advertisers themselves are responsible for the keywords and ad content that they choose to use. Accordingly, we encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the advertisers, particularly because the advertisers may have similar advertisements on other sites."

So they advise the offended to talk to the offender. This is a touchy area. If your competitor has the brass to advertise using your personal or business name, effectively stealing your business, you are not in the greatest mood when you pick up the phone.

Who needs this headache?

What happens if the offending party tells the offended to blow off?

One tact is to have an attorney draw up cease and desist letter. The advertiser may simply cite Google's own Terms of Service and say too bad.

Another angle is to fight fire with fire and bid on the offenders business name, key services or products.

Yet another is to hire an online marketing specialist to deal with the issue.

A simple test to determine if a competitor is bidding on your personal or business name is to search Google for all of your identifiers. If you see your competitor's bidding on your name or business service don't panic. In some cases the business may not even know they are doing it.

In my experience it's an even split between business owners and unscrupulous marketers taking advantage of the lack of a competitors understanding of the process. So put your shotgun away and call in the virtual gun.

The link is above.

Consultation is always free.



Microsoft's Open Live Small Business

Microsoft's Open Live Small Business site offers you "Everything You Need To Grow Your Business Online".

*Create your own professional Web sitefor FREE

Microsoft Office Live Small Business makes it easy to create a professional-looking Web site for your business. Sign up and you’ll have everything you need to get started – including free Web hosting, a custom domain name, e-mail accounts, e-commerce, and more.

*Attract Customers

Reach new customers and stay connected to existing ones

Microsoft Office Live Small Business has easy-to-use, affordable online marketing products to help get your business noticed. No long-term commitments or costly up-front fees mean you’ve got nothing to lose but potential sales opportunities.

*Manage Your Business

Stay on top of your business with simple online tools

Managing and tracking information isn’t easy when you’re busy running your business. But powerful online applications can help you organize and access sales opportunities, contacts, project schedules, documents, and more. So whether you’re in the office or on the road you can stay on top of your business."

Visa is a site sponsor/partner in a promotion called Business Break Though, Presented by Visa where businesses can sign up for a shot at 10k worth of consulting. Talk about paying for a lead.

Visitors will find slick, well produced videos offering small to medium businesses previews of their services. The videos show consultants visiting businesses that either lacked a web presence, marketing plan or sufficient technology infrastructure.

Microsoft partner consultants of course can sell you solutions to get your business on course.

Slick, very slick.

Read the New York Times take.


Small Business Marketing & HP

I was reading Mashable this morning and noticed a sponsored add by HP pushing small business marketing. Clicked over and landed on Small Business Trends, an SMB marketing blog operated by Anita Campbell.

The site is a success judging by the amount of readers (137k) and all the comments or suggestions posted on the tips page by celebrated personalities in the online marketing realm.

The tips page sponsorship by HP is smart, marketing on a marketers site. They expose readers to HP computers, office supplies, copies etc.

I'm not a fan of full site or even dedicated special event page sponsorship. I understand the idea from HP's point of view however when a site is 'owned' by a particular brand objectivity is automatically questioned.

If this site was fully sponsored by someone like Idearc's Superpages I would not be able to point my clients to advantages offered by competitors.

Once I take a dedicated sponsorship I become a blogger for them, not an objective agent for my clients.

On the other hand life would be simpler.