Press Marketing

12 Small Business Podcasts That Will Help You Sell More

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Running a business is often about setting goals and putting in the long hours and hard work to achieve them. Regardless of what type of business you run, it’s likely that “selling more” has a frequent, if not long-term, place on your to-do list. It’s a goal that requires staying up to date on new techniques, honing strategies, and being in touch with the latest industry news.

The sad part? It’s difficult for small business owners, many of whom have little downtime. Podcasts, however, afford busy professionals with the opportunity to digest powerful and life-changing information while they’re commuting, working out, making dinner, or participating in any number of daily tasks that are well suited for audio media.

You can spend hours—if not days—sifting through all the many podcasts out there, but if your goal is to sell more, then these 12 podcasts can help. Plus, many of them offer valuable information for not only running a business, but living the entrepreneurial life.

1. Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast

Bowery Capital’s podcast is designed specifically to help businesses improve their sales, and for that reason, it’s an obvious win for this list. With industry experts hosting and joining the podcast, it’s hard not to learn something new—and ultimately valuable—to your sales and overall business strategies.

Audiences can expect a healthy mix of topics, including those focused on everything from SaaS to recruitment. There’s something for everyone, but startup founders are especially likely to find this podcast invaluable.

Listen to Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast.

2. B2B Growth

Does your business sell to other businesses? Hosted by James Carbary, Nikki Ivey, and Logan Lyles, this daily podcast for B2B businesses brings listeners one-on-one interviews with industry leaders who specialize in all areas of marketing strategy including content, technology, and social media.

B2B Growth is known for offering solid business advice in succinct episodes that typically don’t run over 25 minutes. For the small business owner on the run, this is the perfect way to grab some valuable knowledge while commuting, during a lunch break, or at the gym.

Listen to B2B Growth.

3. Accelerate Your Business Growth

The Accelerate Your Business Growth podcast regularly makes top podcast lists, and perhaps one reason is host Diane Helbig’s diverse yet strategic approach to business success. Avid listeners include small business owners and salespeople alike, all hoping to gain insights from Diane, who has become a well-known business advisor, sales trainer, author, and all-around growth accelerator.

Though Diane covers many aspects of business, for those seeking sales-specific advice, her interview with Stacey Brown Randall, which focuses on gaining referrals without asking for them, is well worth the time.

Listen to Accelerate Your Business Growth.

4. Sales Evangelist

Donald Kelly’s motto is “when you find something of value you should share it,” and that he does. Donald is utterly passionate about B2B sales, but his podcast is far from preachy.  

As with many of the other hosts on this list, Donald brings in a solid number of high-performing guests who share their wisdom with the audience. What’s great about his show is it’s perfect for listeners at various stages of their business journey, from students just entering into sales and business to seasoned entrepreneurs looking to hone their skills.

Listen to Sales Evangelist.

5. Liz on Biz

Running a business isn’t just about financial decisions and market strategies—it’s a lifestyle. Liz on Biz host Liz Theresa offers a refreshing take on business that takes into account everything from lifestyle choices to online marketing, and seemingly everything in between.

Liz’s show is high-energy and fun without sacrificing content, and when engaging with her well-chosen guests, Liz offers listeners a nice pick-me-up with a healthy side of business acumen. Though any entrepreneur can benefit from this podcast, female business owners should make it a point to subscribe and listen ASAP.

Listen to Liz on Biz.

6. The Marketing Book Podcast

Do you find yourself with no time to get to that list of business books you’ve been meaning to read? Douglas Burdett, host of The Marketing Book Podcast, offers interviews with best-selling authors of sales and marketing books. You’ll get actionable advice, but be warned: Your list of books to read may get a little longer!

It’s worth noting that Douglas is a stand-up comedian, making this podcast as entertaining as it is informative. If you want to end your week on an upbeat note, you’ll want to check out the new episodes that air every Friday.

Listen to The Marketing Book Podcast.

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The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
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50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business

7. AM/PM Podcast

If you’re selling on Amazon— or want to— then Manny Coats and his AM/PM Podcast may be just what you need. Manny, who started selling on Amazon in 2015, has worn many hats in his lifetime, the likes of which range from humor site founder to mobile game developer. His eclectic experience and drive for success make this podcast entertaining and informative.

On AM/PM Podcast, Manny takes a straightforward approach to Amazon FBA advice. What’s great about this podcast is that Manny discusses and guides listeners through a wide range of topics and consistently offers detailed, step-by-step, action-oriented solutions for FBA sellers at various points in their journey. One example: You can’t sell a product you can’t produce. Here Manny shared how he used creative financing from his manufacturer to launch a product without having to pay for production up front.

Listen to the AM/PM Podcast.

8. Success Unfiltered

Does selling make you feel uncomfortable? Does a “no” from a prospect make you feel like a failure? Michelle Weinstein, who goes by the moniker “The Pitch Queen” wants you to know you’re not alone. Selling doesn’t come naturally to many entrepreneurs, and whether you love it or hate it, Michelle wants to help you embrace this essential aspect of growing a successful business.

Michelle’s podcast shares stories from entrepreneurs who have experienced both success and setbacks in an effort to both inspire and educate. Her own sales experience includes selling real estate and food products, as well as raising $1 million for her most recent company. Tune in and you may just find yourself learning to love selling.

Listen to Success Unfiltered.

9. In the Arena

Advice that’s practice, valuable, and executable—doesn’t that sound nice? That’s what you can expect from Anthony Iannarino’s podcast, In the Arena. Anthony, who is the author of several well-received books, including The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, brings over 25 years of experience to his audience to help them increase sales and take their business to the next level.

Though Anthony brings plenty to the table on his own, listeners also get to hear from authors and industry experts, like Seth Godin, Jeffrey Gitomer, and Tiffani Bova. This healthy mix of top-notch interviews and personal experience have made In the Arena a popular podcast for both B2B and B2C professionals.

Listen to In the Arena.

10. Growth Everywhere

Growth Everywhere is another podcast that recognizes the importance of maintaining personal and business growth in an effort to maximize sales and create a successful business. Eric Siu, CEO of the digital marketing agency Single Grain, uses his platform to impart a wealth of knowledge on everything from sales to productivity.

Growth Everywhere is an accurate title as listeners can expect to listen to everything from interviews with top industry moguls—like Tim Schmoyer, Master of YouTube— to podcasts centered on industry basics, as is the case in an episode titled “The 5 Rules for Ads that Convert.

Listen to Growth Everywhere.

11. Get WealthFit!

At one point in his career Dustin Mathews traveled the country selling from the stage. His experience as a successful public speaker comes through in these fast-paced, no-fluff interviews with successful business owners and advisors.

Many Get WealthFit! episodes focus directly on sales, such as Dustin’s interviews with Susan McVea on selling to women, Kevin Harrington from the original Shark Tank cast on how to pitch to a “shark,” and his conversation with $250 million marketer Geoff Chadwick. As the name implies, some interviews focus on health and wellness for the entrepreneur, which can also have an impact on sales and income.

Listen to Get WealthFit!

12. Sales Babble Podcast

“Great selling is about helping,” says Pat Helmers, host of the Sales Babble Podcast. Pat doesn’t believe you have to be sleazy or pushy to be successful in sales, and he speaks from experience: He built an inside and outside sales team for a SaaS startup that generated eight figures in revenue.

Pat interviews sales experts from a range of industries; the main focus is B2B sales, but business owners whose primary customers are consumers won’t be left out. Pat posted his top episodes for 2018, and not surprisingly the number one overall topic was cold-calling.

Listen to Sales Babble Podcast.

RELATED: 9 Must-Watch TED Talks That Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur

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Press Marketing

E-Commerce Sales Taxes: What Your Online Business Needs to Know

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By Tom James

In years past, sales taxes were a relatively simple matter for online businesses. A company only needed to collect and remit sales taxes when selling to residents of the state where the business was located. That changed, however, in 2018 when the Supreme Court handed down South Dakota v. Wayfair. Inc., a landmark case which abolished the “physical presence” requirement. Now a company may be required to collect and remit sales or use taxes if the company has an “economic nexus” with the state.

Unfortunately, it is not yet clear what exactly this means. Some believe it means a high volume of sales or a large amount of revenue from sales in a state; others say it has only to do with a merchant’s intention to sell to a resident of a different state. Congress has the constitutional authority to settle the question, but so far it has not done so. Until it does, it is up to individual business owners to figure out how to comply with the sales and use tax requirements of the states in which the business has customers.

There are no simple answers. An e-commerce business that sells to customers in other states will need to have a sales tax compliance plan that answers, with respect to each sale, the following questions:

Does the buyer’s state have a sales taxes?

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia require merchants to collect and remit taxes on sales to residents of the state; Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon are the five states that do not tax sales. This statement is subject to some qualifications, however. Although Alaska does not have a state sales tax, about 40% of Alaskan cities impose taxes on sales to their residents. And although Delaware doesn’t have a sales tax, it does impose a gross receipts tax on sellers of goods (tangible or otherwise) and providers of services in the state.

Does the merchant have a physical or economic nexus to that state?

A business is not required to collect and remit sales taxes to a state unless it has either a physical or an economic connection (“nexus”) to the state.

“Physical nexus” means tangible property (e.g., storefront, warehouse, inventory) or person (e.g., officers, employees, salespeople) in the buyer’s state. If your company sells a product or service to a resident of a state in which the company has a physical presence, and if the state (or locality) taxes sales to its residents, then a merchant will need to collect and remit taxes on sales to those residents.

States vary in their definitions of physical nexus. Most include the kinds of things previously mentioned (physical storefront, employees, etc.), but some go further, declaring that the presence of an affiliate marketing program participant in the state suffices to establish a merchant’s physical presence in the state. Still others have experimented with things like “click-through nexus” (existence of a link to the merchant’s website on an in-state website) and “cookie nexus” (placement of software coding on an in-state computer or device). Still others impose reporting and use-tax notification obligations on out-of-state sellers even if they do not collect and remit taxes on their sales to residents of the state.

Now that physical presence is no longer necessary to establish a nexus, states are adopting “economic nexus” thresholds for the imposition of tax collection obligations on out-of-state merchants. These laws specify an annual sales volume and/or revenue threshold at which a merchant’s tax collection and remittance obligation kicks in. Companies that make a specified number of sales or derive a specified amount of revenue from residents of the state must collect and remit taxes on all sales to residents of the taxing state. Companies with a smaller number of sales and a lower amount of revenue from sales to residents of the state are not required to collect and remit the tax.

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Are the products or services taxable in that state?

The kinds of products and services that are subject to sales tax vary widely from state to state. For example, some states tax digital products like software programs and digital downloads; others do not. Most states exempt a variety of products and services (e.g., certain items of clothing or food, legal services, etc.) Exemptions vary widely from state to state, too.

There are also variations between state and local exemptions. In Tennessee, for example, food is subject to local sales taxes but not to state sales tax.

If so, at what rate?

State sales tax rates range from $0 in states that have no sales tax to 7.25% in California. Combined state and local sales taxes are as high as 10.02% in some parts of Louisiana and 9.46 in some Tennessee localities. Adding to the complexity is the fact that even within the same taxing jurisdiction, some products and services are taxed at higher rates than others.

How does a merchant collect and remit the tax?

It is unlawful to collect sales tax without a required license or permit. Therefore, a business will need to register for a sales tax permit in each state in which it expects to owe sales or use taxes. The taxing state should make information about how to file and the frequency with which tax payments must be remitted (quarterly, annually, etc.) available.

For direct sales from a company’s website, the site will need to be set up in such a way that the correct amount of sales or use tax will be collected from a buyer based on the buyer’s place of residence. Care should be taken thereafter to remit these payments to the appropriate taxing authorities.

Sales through marketplace platforms

If the company uses a third-party platform, such as Amazon, Shopify, or Etsy, to sell its products or services, then it should check these platforms to make sure that appropriate sales tax collection is enabled. If it isn’t, then the merchant will need to communicate with the platform provider regarding how to set up the site so that appropriate sales taxes are collected.

Some states have enacted laws to require marketplace platform providers like Amazon to collect and remit sales and use taxes on behalf of the vendors who use their platforms. Some states, such as Iowa, do not require a merchant to register for a sales tax permit or file returns if all of its sales in the state are made through marketplaces that collect and remit the taxes on its behalf. Other states require the merchant to register for a sales tax permit, even under these circumstances. In all events, a merchant that uses other channels in addition to (or instead of) a marketplace platform provider will need to assume direct responsibility for compliance with all state sales and use tax laws.

A state’s volume or revenue thresholds apply to a company’s total sales and revenues from all platforms and channels. For example, if a state has a 200-sale threshold, and a company conducts 180 sales through a third-party platform like Amazon and 21 sales through its own website to residents of that state, then the threshold is met and the company must collect and remit taxes on all 201 sales.

Summary of state sales nexus laws

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following information is, to the best of my knowledge, valid as of April 2019. But laws in this area are constantly in flux, and many bills are now pending that could change the information provided here. It is also possible that Congress may intervene in this area soon. The reader should check with a state’s department of revenue or other appropriate agency for current information.

Annual sales volume thresholds:

Alabama ($250,000 sales and certain solicitations)
California ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Colorado ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Connecticut ($250,000 and 200 200 sales and systematic solicitation)
District of Columbia ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Georgia ($250,000 or 200 sales)
Hawaii ($100,00 or 200 sales)
Idaho ($100,000); Illinois ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Indiana ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Iowa ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Kentucky ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Louisiana ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Maine ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Maryland ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Michigan ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Minnesota (100 sales or at least 10 sales totaling over $100,000)
Mississippi ($250,000 and systematic exploitation of Mississippi market)
Nebraska ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Nevada ($100,000 or 200 sales)
New Jersey ($100,000 or 200 sales)
New Mexico ($100,000)
New York ($300,000 and 100 sales)
North Carolina ($100,000 or 200 sales)
North Dakota ($100,000)
Pennsylvania ($100,000)
Rhode Island ($100,000 or 200 sales)
South Carolina ($100,000)
South Dakota ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Tennessee ($500,000 and systematic solicitation)
Texas ($500,000)
Utah ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Vermont ($100,000 or 200 sales, plus systematic solicitation)
Virginia ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Washington ($100,000)
West Virginia ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Wisconsin ($100,000 or 200 sales)
Wyoming ($100,000 or 200 sales)

Physical presence (storefront, etc.) nexus:

All states.

Affiliate/click-through nexus:

Arkansas
California
Colorado
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Maine
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Nevada
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia

Cookie nexus:

Iowa
Massachusetts
Ohio
Rhode Island
Tennessee

Marketplace tax collection obligations:

Alabama
Arizona
Connecticut
District of Columbia
Hawaii
Idaho
Iowa
Kentucky
Minnesota
Nebraska
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wyoming

Use tax reporting obligations for non-collecting sellers:

Alabama
Colorado
Connecticut
Georgia
Hawaii
Louisiana
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Vermont

RELATED: Are These Tax Deduction Mistakes Costing Your Small Business Money?

About the Author

Post by: Tom James

Tom James is an attorney in private practice in Minnesota and the author of Website Law, Copyright Protection for Websites, and the forthcoming book E-Commerce Law, available from Echion Books through Amazon.com.

Company: Law Office of Thomas B. James
Website: www.tomjameslaw.com
Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Press Marketing

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes to the Google Algorithm

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Dearest Google,

We enjoy you, however likewise, in some cases you’’ re THE. WORST.

.

.

It ’ s like, all of us understand we require you, however why you got ta be so mean …

Just when we believe we guide it, you alter it up on us once again.

 Chelsea Manning GIF

Just inform us what you desire! We WANT to deal with you…… WHAT do you require?!

 simply inform me what you desire and ill be that for you ryan gosling GIF

SINCERELY,

Marketers

Okay, now that we have that out of our system, all of us understand by now that we need to play great with Google, and this month is no exception. Google is carrying out some major modifications, and as online marketers, we need to remain on top of it.

After this week, all of us have a great deal of concerns. This newest modification was a huge upgrade. And we’’ re doing whatever we can to keep our finger on the pulse of what online marketers in (and beyond) the market are viewing as MULTIPLE updates are presenting.

Learn more about what’’ s going on today and what you can do to fight any traffic or ranking drops in the search results page. Don’’ t lose out, and remain ahead of the video game!

( NOTE: Need an assisting hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or perhaps you simply desire tested, actionable marketing design templates, strategies, and tools to execute in your service? Check out the most recent offer from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your method to assisting your company grow.)

.Video Transcript:.

Hey Guys! If you sanctuary’’ t heard yet, Google simply launched a significant algorithm upgrade on Monday, June 3! And wear’’ t panic, however A LOT of websites are currently seeing an effect. The Daily Mail in fact saw over a 40% DROP in natural search traffic! Yikes.

So what does it all suggest?!

Well … for one, this is no small upgrade that you can simply overlook. It’’ s so huge, in truth, that in the spirit of being transparent, Google in fact revealed that they will launch a core upgrade.

This doesn’’ t typically occur, so we understand it’’ s severe.

But here’’ s the important things … that ’ s not the only thing altering in the searchresults today!

.

On June 5, Google likewise dropped a little nugget of understanding that different from this core upgrade is their Diversity Update… … yep … these are all coming at as soon as, so hang with me!

The Diversity Update is a modification that’’ s created to offer more website variety in our search results page… … suggesting a single website most likely won’’ t have more than 2 outcomes on the exact same page for a provided inquiry.

And so you understand, subdomains and root domains will be dealt with as the exact same website. Buckle up, due to the fact that things are getting CRAZY in the SEO world.

So how can we conquer all of these modifications?

Well, due to the fact that the greatest modification is originating from a ““ Core Update ” which indicates there is absolutely nothing in specific we can ““ repair. ” But here ’ s what we do understand– we understand quality material is among the most crucial aspects when it pertains to Google Search Results, and we have you covered.

We simply upgraded our Content Marketing Mastery Course , and today it’’ s 80% off! So have a look and start diving in to discover precisely how to construct the ideal type of material in 2019.

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(NOTE: Need an assisting hand with your digital marketing efforts? Or perhaps you simply desire tested, actionable marketing techniques, tools, and design templates to execute in your service? Check out the most recent offer from DigitalMarketer, and you will be on your method to assisting your organisation grow.)

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Press Marketing

The Benefits of Accepting Mobile Payments at Your Business

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Do you accept mobile payments at your business? If not, you could be missing out on a valuable—and growing—source of income. Although some 61% of small businesses admit to having cash flow problems, many aren’t taking advantage of smartphone technology to accept payments from customers.

Small business owners and mobile payments

Today, there are more and more ways to pay than ever before—so many, in fact, that it can get a bit overwhelming. According to a new survey by TSheets, nearly eight in 10 survey respondents accept cash and more than six in 10 accept credit cards, but just 29.05% say they don’t accept any form of mobile payments. Why?

Some 38.08% say they are happy with their current payment options, 19.48% say they don’t have the technology to accept mobile payments, 11.92% think it’s too complicated and 6.69% believe it’s too expensive. In addition, about 13% express concerns over security and fraud.

Risks of not accepting mobile payments

If you don’t accept payment in the way that your customers want to pay, you could be cutting yourself off from potential income. Even if you are happy with your current payment options, that doesn’t mean your customers are.

I still remember once years ago when I was on vacation and found a cool souvenir I wanted. Unfortunately, the business owner didn’t accept any credit cards (he told me he didn’t want to pay the transaction fees), and I didn’t have enough cash on me to buy the item. I still regret not being able to take home that memento and recall being irritated that the shop owner cared more about saving a few cents than making a sale.

No wonder the primary reason that small business owners in the survey say they accept mobile payments is that it’s convenient for their customers (27.14%).

According to The Future of Money, 63% of U.S. millennials rarely use cash. But it’s not just millennials who are turning to mobile payments. A study by Zelle reports consumers of all ages are now using digital peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps such as Zelle and Venmo, and this growing comfort with mobile payment apps is extending to businesses, too.

By 2020, in-store contactless payments (including mobile wallets) are projected to hit $2 trillion, accounting for one-third of total in-store transactions, according to Juniper Research. The most popular payment methods are those built into smartphones—Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, the report found.

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17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting A Business

Reasons to accept mobile payments

Customers aren’t the only ones who benefit when you accept mobile payments. Nearly one-fourth of entrepreneurs in the survey say they like being able to accept payments anywhere, anytime. In addition, 18.33% say accepting mobile payments is convenient for them, while 8.69% say it helps improve their cash flow.

Among those who do use mobile payments, the most popular option is PayPal, which 76.19% use, followed by Apple Pay (30.36%), Square (26.67%), Google Wallet (23.10%) and Venmo (21.43%). Zelle, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are each used by about 18% of those in the survey.

As consumers increasingly rely on payment cards and smartphone apps rather than paper money, if you’re still sticking to cash out of some misplaced fears or worries about costs, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Concerned about risk? Accepting mobile payments is actually just as secure as using EMV chip credit cards. The apps use tokens to encrypt the information during transmission and the consumer’s payment information is never stored.

Concerned about costs? When deciding if a particular mobile payment option is right for your business, it’s important to be aware of all the fees involved. Consider factors such as the volume of transactions you’re likely to be processing, the size of the average transaction and the setting in which you take payments (a brick-and-mortar store or on the go).

The reality is, there’s a cost to every type of payment acceptance other than cash. However, the benefits in reaching a wider customer base, increasing transaction size and capturing sales you might otherwise lose far outweigh these costs. Ultimately, the more types of payment options you accept, the more options you have for making a sale.

RELATED: How to Collect Money From Slow-Paying Customers

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10 Key Steps for Building a Great Small Business Website

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By Allison Bowlus

Whether you are a freelance photographer, own a hardware store, or have another type of small business, a great website is essential for your company’s success. As a webmaster who has worked on building or marketing over 100 small business websites, I know what it takes to create great and engaging business websites.

If you are looking to build a new startup website or make your current site more effective, here are 10 key steps to getting started and helping your small business website compete effectively in the online marketplace.

1. Obtain a good domain name

Your domain name, also known as your website address, is often the entry point to your site. It is important that it makes a good impression for usability purposes, as well as for search engine optimization (SEO).

Here are some tips for coming up with an optimal domain name:

Make it easy to spell. Try not to use slang, made up, or extremely esoteric words.
Keep it as short as possible. The shorter it is, the easier it is to remember and type correctly.
Use the proper domain extension. Try to always make it a .com domain name (as opposed to .net, .co, etc.) unless it is more appropriate to use another extension, such as .gov, .edu, or .org.
Avoid numbers and hyphens. They are hard to remember and less elegant and memorable than word-only domain names, and may be misunderstood when vocalizing the domain name.
Make the address broad to facilitate future growth. For example, Amazon.com is a much broader website address than BooksOnline.com and allows Amazon to sell pretty much every type of consumer good instead of books only, as was its original purpose.
Ensure it is memorable. With so many websites on the internet, it is important that your website name is catchy so people will remember how to access it in the future.
Research the domain name. Google it to see if a similar website address already exists online, and search on USPTO.gov to make sure it does not contain any registered trademarks.
Check if the price is right. Determine if you can purchase your desired website address at a reasonable price since most good domain names are taken and will need to be bought from the current owner.
Avoid nonsensical names. Choose a name that conveys a meaning so that users will know immediately what your business is. Yahoo and Google are catchy names, but they were very expensive to brand, and your small business may not have the same budget.
Create an SEO-friendly URL. When appropriate, try to come up with an SEO-friendly website address that includes keywords and geo-location; for example, “www.LasVegasElectrician.com.”

2. Purchase secure, scalable website hosting with good tech support

A website host (or sometimes referred to as a website hosting provider) is a company that offers the technology and services necessary for a website to be viewed on the internet. You connect your domain name to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they are shown your website that you store on your hosting account.

Hosting services can cost anywhere between $2 to $100+ per month, depending on the kind of technology and support you choose. You can usually get a discount if you purchase a yearly plan as opposed to a monthly plan.

Here are some guidelines for choosing a good website hosting plan:

Although you can get a “shared server” hosting plan for as little as $2 per month, I would typically advise against this. Shared hosting means you are sharing a server and its resources with other customers, which can make the performance of your site suffer. Also, if one of the other websites on your shared server is hacked, it is possible for your website to also be infected.

A “dedicated server” hosting plan is the most expensive option—cost can range from around $100 to $2,000 per month—but it would make your website perform the most optimally. Having a dedicated server plan means that the physical server machine is entirely dedicated to your site; therefore, all the resources are yours and it is more secure than a shared hosting plan, as long as the technology is optimal. However, it is much more expensive than what most small businesses usually are willing to pay. Once you have a very high-performing site, this may be what you need, but it is overkill for most early stage and small businesses.

The compromise I typically recommend is a “virtual private server” (VPS) hosting plan which offers the best of both worlds. The cost ranges from around $20 to $50 per month, which is affordable for the hosting services you will receive. A VPS is one machine that is partitioned to act as multiple machines, which gives it a similar affordability to shared hosting, with similar security and performance potential as a dedicated server hosting plan.

Make sure your hosting company has phone and/or chat support so you can be helped quickly if you have a problem. Email support can often take too long and become frustrating when a problem needs to be resolved immediately. Phone support is best, but chatting works well, too.

There needs to be an easy to use server interface like cPanel to access your server. You do not want to have to use terminal commands to view your server contents and make changes, unless you can afford to hire a professional server administrator to help you.

Check to see what kind of server security is in place on the server you are considering. You will want to be able to access your server via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). There should be daily backups being made of your server contents. There should also be an easy, one or two-click method to install Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. Make sure the hosting company performs regular security maintenance. Ideally your hosting company has a published security protocol you can review so you know how they keep their servers safe.

Some popular website hosting companies include:

GoDaddy
DreamHost
Bluehost
InMotion
SiteGround

3. Prominently display a clear description of your business

It is important to let people know who you are and what you do right away so they don’t feel confused when they visit your small business website. Make sure your main homepage banner (also known as a “hero image”) and subsequent banners are visual representations of your services, and also that you have an introductory text blurb near the top of the page that describes who you are and what you do.

Additionally, make sure both your main and footer navigation menus have “About Us” page links easily accessible so people can click them and read more about your business in depth.

4. Implement the best content management system

A content management system (CMS) is a software program or application that is used to create and manage digital content. A good CMS will help you maintain your site, and you don’t need much technical knowledge to use it. You should choose a CMS that is designed for your unique needs; different systems are used for different reasons, such as user-friendliness, extensibility, and budget.

The following are some popular systems with descriptions of their strengths and weaknesses.

WordPress: WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It has a vast, active support community and many useful plugins to extend the functionality of your site. (And if you cannot find a plugin that does what you want, it is easy to find a WordPress developer who can make one for you!) WordPress is also free and relatively simple to install. Most website developers are familiar with it so it is not hard to find an individual or agency that can work on your site. I normally recommend that small businesses use WordPress to create their websites, due to its flexibility and extensibility.

It must be noted, however, that WordPress’s biggest weakness is security—because it is so popular, hackers target it the most. Your WordPress site needs to be regularly maintained and secured so it is not hacked. Also, it is difficult to secure every single third-party plugin, so keeping your WordPress site secure must be a an ongoing commitment through various best practices (checking to see if your plugins have been updated within the past few months, making sure it is a plugin provided in the official WordPress repository, deleting unused plugins immediately, etc.).

Drupal: Drupal is another popular CMS. It offers many of the same benefits as WordPress, including flexibility, ease of use, and a large support community. Notably it is a more secure CMS than WordPress (safer from malicious activity); however, it doesn’t have as many plugin or theme options, which makes it less extensible. For many years, the White House website (Whitehouse.gov) was run with Drupal, but has since switched to WordPress, which it still uses today.

Joomla!: Another popular CMS is Joomla! Out of the box, it has better SEO, security, and multilingual capabilities than WordPress; however, with the help of a few plugins, WordPress surpasses Joomla!’s capabilities.

Squarespace: Squarespace is a service you subscribe to monthly or annually that makes website and blog creation an easy “drag and drop” experience. It includes website design, development, software maintenance, metrics, domain name with annual purchase, SSL security, 24/7 support, and unlimited bandwidth and storage hosting all in one package. It is especially suitable for creatives and provides you with top-notch design templates. If you are on a tight budget, need a simple and beautiful site, but cannot afford a website designer, this is a great service for you.

There is a much smaller learning curve with Squarespace than with WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!, but it doesn’t have nearly as many extensibility options. However, if you if you have little or no technical knowledge and are looking for a quick and easy way to put up a website, Squarespace is an excellent option for you.

Wix: Wix is very similar to Squarespace, but it is a bit more user-friendly. It offers a monthly, but not annual, subscription and includes similar features. Wix is also a drag and drop builder—you can freely drag and drop elements anywhere on the page; in comparison, Squarespace is more structured in where you can drag and drop on the page. The learning curve to using Wix is even shorter than Squarespace, so if you need to publish a site quickly, this may be your best option.

Wix has a lot more templates than Squarespace to choose from, but once you choose a template, you must stick with it or be forced to completely rebuild your site. With Squarespace, you can change your template anytime without having to rebuild the entire site. 

5. Choose a good e-commerce platform

If you plan on selling goods and/or services through your website, you will need the right technology to do so. (If you do not currently sell anything, you may want to consider doing so since e-commerce could potentially increase your profits.) If you decide to allow users to financially transact with you online, you will need to choose the right platform for your business model.

Here are some popular small business e-commerce platforms:

WooCommerce: WooCommerce is one of the world’s most popular e-commerce platforms—it can turn your WordPress website into an online store. Like WordPress, there are many plugins available, and it attaches to WordPress, which makes it extremely flexible. There are many free and premium themes pre-built for WooCommerce. (As a rule it, is better to use a premium theme from a reputable developer because it will offer better security and support.) If you are not tech savvy, you will most likely need a WordPress developer to help you set it up and use it. WooCommerce also offers a very high amount of capabilities and scalability that your small business might need.

Shopify: Shopify is a cloud based e-commerce platform that allows you to create and customize an online store, and to manage products, inventory, payments and shipping. It is not a WordPress extension like WooCommerce—it is a standalone platform that is hosted on the Shopify server—so if you have a main website, your e-commerce site would technically be separate from that. You can link to your Shopify account from your regular website built with WordPress, Drupal, Wix, etc., unless your main website has a Shopify integration plugin.

Features include unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, fraud analysis, discount codes, reports, and much more. The key benefits of Shopify are that you do not need a developer to set up a store, and everything on the backend is already set up for you when you subscribe. The downside is you do not have as much control or flexibility over your store as you would with WooCommerce.

Shopify Plus: Shopify Plus is Shopify, but with a higher level of customization, more staff accounts, and international e-commerce options. It also has a higher level of support. However, all of this obviously comes with a higher subscription cost, and it still does not have all the flexibility and customization abilities as WooCommerce.

Business Squarespace: Squarespace has an e-commerce subscription option, so if you chose Squarespace to build your site and have very simple e-commerce needs, you can choose this route. Business Squarespace charges a transaction fee, but this can be bypassed by upgrading your subscription to a basic online store. It includes a free domain, SSL security, SEO, abandoned cart recovery, discounts, real-time carrier shipping, and more. However, it has been noted it is not as user-friendly as Shopify. And like Shopify, it is simply not as flexible as WooCommerce.

Wix: Wix actually has a Shopify extension which is very user friendly. You will have to upgrade your Wix account and subscribe to Shopify in order to use it.

GoDaddy Online Store: GoDaddy has a relatively new e-commerce standalone subscription platform that is relatively easy to set up and use. Very little technical knowledge is required to launch your shop with GoDaddy Online Store. The templates are simple and clean, and somewhat customizable. Features include marketing and SEO tools, social media integration, appointment booking, SSL security, rapid page loading, and more.

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 6. Create an interesting, memorable, and engaging website user interface

Make sure your small business website interface leaves a positive impression that drives results. You can do so by implementing the following suggestions:

Use beautiful graphics and easy to read fonts.
Make sure your graphics are compressed and optimized for fast loading. If your website is slow, search engines like Google will penalize your ranking.
Research the competition to see how they have designed and optimized their websites; implement similar components that will work for your small business website.
Research your target audience to see what they want from your site and make it easy for them to accomplish it.
Stay consistently on brand throughout your website design.
Design an intuitive navigation system which allows users to get to the pages they need quickly.
Publish easily accessible contact information.
Incorporate obvious call-to-actions (especially “buy now” buttons).
Create pages that are standard for small business websites, such as:

Home
About us
Products/Services (with descriptions and visually appealing images)
Sitemap (for SEO purposes)
Management team
Contact us
Terms of use (the online contract governing how users can use your site)
Privacy policy
Additional pages relevant to your specific small business

7. Optimize your small business website for search engines

SEO is a set of practices you apply to your website to ensure search engines index and rank your website appropriately and then show it to search engine users. Once your website is “crawled” by search engines, it competes with websites that have similar content. The better your website design and content is, the higher your site will show up on search engine result pages.

SEO mainly includes the following practices:

Keyword research and implementation
Optimal website code
Fast loading speed
Being secure and having an SSL certificate installed; SSL is the standard security technology that ensures data passed between web servers and browsers remains private
Having a mobile-friendly site
Existence of high quality backlinks (links on external websites with related content) that lead to your site
Having lots of positive reviews online (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
Using internal links throughout your site to keep people clicking and reading
Using social media to link to your site (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)

SEO is an extremely important ongoing process that can mean the difference between showing up on the first page  of search engine results pages (resulting in large amounts of free traffic to your website) or page 300 (resulting in no traffic).

8. Regularly create and publish quality content

Both content quantity and freshness are important to search engines, so it’s important that you create a plan to publish quality articles and/or blog posts on your site and on external sites that link to your site. If you want to rank highly in search engine results and encourage people to return to your site again and again, you will have to update your website with new and relevant content as frequently as possible.

In addition to static page content and articles, a great form of content to post on your website is testimonials. Asking for testimonials from your customers and then publishing them on your website is a great way to post fresh high-quality content on your site that makes your small business more attractive.

Make sure your content uses an appropriate, on-brand tone that people will enjoy reading.

9. Install webmaster tools

Make use of vital data to help you analyze traffic and site performance by installing Google Analytics and Google Search Console (both preferably via Google Tag Manager), and Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools can be used to track the following types of information:

Daily, weekly, and monthly visitors to your site
Number of views on each page of your site
“Bounce rate”—the percentage of users who come to your site and leave after having only viewed one page (Google algorithms give higher rankings to websites that have a low bounce rate, on the theory that visitors are spending more time on the site and find it valuable.)
Average time spent on site by visitors
Crawl errors on your site (errors that the search engines found on your site in crawling its content)
Broken links on the site
Keywords that lead users to your site
Backlinks to your site
Web page download time
Other information that can help you enhance your SEO

10. Implement a website maintenance plan

A website shouldn’t be created and then allowed to grow stale. In order to have a successful website that ranks well in search engines and doesn’t get hacked, you need to make sure it is properly maintained.

Here are some tips to create a small business website maintenance plan:

Check Webmaster Tools data at least once a month and have any vital errors emailed to you in real time.
Use traffic data to learn more about your audience so you can better cater to them.
Use performance data to optimize and fix warnings and errors.
Make sure all software is always up to date.
Run security scans so you know your website is clean of malware and hasn’t been hacked.
Use “split testing” to see if certain variations of your website help performance; for example, if you are selling a product, you might have two versions of a particular landing page with different images and wording—the split testing allows you to see which version has a higher conversion rate.
Follow my advice about SEO (see point #7), and continually publish quality content (see point #8).
Find on-trend and effective ways to market your business online.
Allow website users to provide you with feedback about your site.
Continue to check out your competition from time to time to see what they are doing with their online presence and see if what they’ve done can work for you as well.
Make sure your website is backed up in multiple ways at least once a day and at least 10 days back.

Conclusion

As you can tell after reading this article, creating a great small business website may not be as simple as you first thought. However, if you follow the steps set forth in this article, your small business will have an excellent chance at succeeding in the online marketplace.

RELATED: How to Install WordPress in Under 30 Minutes

About the Author

Post by: Allison Bowlus

Allison Bowlus is a Webmaster who specializes in WordPress, graphic design, mobile friendly website development, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) advertising, user interface, e-commerce and blogging/social media marketing. She is originally from Ohio and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, focused on Web Design and Interactive Media. She has been involved in building or marketing over 100 business web sites. To find out how to drive visitors to your website, check out Allison’s article, Small Business Internet Marketing Strategy: Pay Per Click Advertising and Search Engine Optimization.

Visit my website: www.allisonbowlus.com
Connect with me on LinkedIn

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