Free Websites – Are They Worth The Cost?

Many micro-business owners start off knowing that they need a website, but opt to go the “free website” route in order to “save money.” With all the free website choices that are out there, who could blame folks for thinking, “I don’t see a difference, and I’d rather save money.”

So, this is where I have to step in and say, in my experience, this is kind of going to an auto parts shop and having the salesperson tell you, “Here, you can take this car – it’s free … as long as every time you need it serviced, you bring it back here.”

Let me explain more.

I often say that a business website plays all of the following roles, and works 24/7 (since your prospects can access your site at any time, even after hours or the middle of the night)

  • Salesperson
  • Receptionist
  • VIP Concierge (shows VIPs around your business or organization)
  • Customer Service Specialist
  • Marketing/Public Relations Manager
  • Warehouse Manager
  • Recruiter

Until and even after you actually hire someone for each of these jobs, your website Continue reading “Free Websites – Are They Worth The Cost?”

Small Businesses are Big Business

The ISO* published this article about Small Businesses which I found perfectly parallels what I’m accomplishing with Biz Web Trainer. The article avers the impact of small businesses on the economy and how standardization could help decrease the failure rate of start-ups. To quote from the article,

“For smaller firms, some of the benefits of using International Standards include:

  • The opening up of export markets as products become compatible on a global scale
  • Heightened operational efficiency
  • Increased confidence as customers from all over the world recognize ISO International Standards

Be that as it may, for many small businesses, making the decision to participate in a standards development process remains difficult, as managers are typically reluctant to allocate resources to a long-term process that promises, at best, intangible benefits. However, if the company is committed and participates actively in the process, the return on investment can be substantial.”

So how does this jibe with the mission of Biz Web Trainer? Small business owners typically do not have resources to invest in things that would be of long term benefit to them, whether those things are International Standards or Web Marketing Best Practices. On the other hand, Continue reading “Small Businesses are Big Business”

SEO For Small Business Owners – Course Description

SEO FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

Course Objective

After applying the lessons taught in this course, participants will see their web pages found more readily in Google searches for generic, “non-branded” terms related to the product or service they offer. The result will be more visits to the website from interested prospects.

Importance of SEO

Showing up at the top of a Google page means that very interested prospects will be able to find your business. Yet, appearing at the top, or at least ahead of the competition, is difficult for many Small or Micro Businesses. It takes good SEO to have your website’s pages rank well – towards the top, and ahead of the competition.

Lack of resources typically make it unrealistic for a small business owner to hire someone to do SEO or to take time to figure out “DIY” SEO. So how can a small business compete? In this course, we review and demonstrate several effective white hat SEO strategies that small businesses should employ to improve their web page rankings in Google searches. We break these strategies down into specific steps that participants can realistically take to help their web pages be found by people searching for non-branded terms. In other words, participants will learn how their site can show up for non-branded search terms.

Google Search Bar, SEO Importance

What is non-branded search, and why does it matter?

Non-branded searches are so important for gaining new clients because people searching this way are interested in that product or service (or else why would they search for it?) yet have not necessarily decided who to buy from or hire.

To illustrate, one of our previous course participants owns a business called  Hummingbird Macaroons. A person searching on Google for the term “Hummingbird Macaroons” is using a branded search term, i.e. a term that includes the company name. That searcher is obviously already familiar with the bakery, and thankfully, this participant’s site already ranked well for this term.

To contrast, a non-branded term for this business could be “specialty bakery.” As you can imagine, people searching for “specialty bakery” are people who might not have not heard of and/or are less familiar with this establishment, yet are looking for the service they offer. Thus, the term “specialty bakery” is an important non-branded term for this business. The bad news was that, before the class, her web pages were on Google’s page 5 for this term, which means that when potential clients searched for this term, the chances of them visiting her site were extremely low.

The good news, as you can see below, is that the participant applied what she learned during the course, and it worked! Update: as of Dec, 2015, she is now ranked #3 for the term “specialty bakery.” She went from being on page 5 in June to page 1, position 3, in just 8 months!

Hummingbird SEO Results

 

So a non-branded search term is simply a search term (the thing someone types into the Google search bar) that doesn’t include the company’s brand name. Another example of a non-branded search term would be “chimney repair” instead of the term “Jensen’s Chimney Sweeps.”

In this course, we teach you white hat SEO techniques that you can apply to rank better for non-branded search terms.

Available Formats (click to sign up)

Prerequisites

  • You have a website (Facebook pages and Google+ pages do not count)
  • Your website is currently published (not under construction)
  • You can control the contents of your website, which means either you make changes to the website yourself or you are in direct contact with the person who makes changes to the website
  • You can provide the company names and website addresses (URLs) of 3 competitors
  • Your business is NOT in one of these industries (sorry, due to their competitive nature, for these industries, a more rigid approach to SEO is needed*)
    • Home Contractor services, e.g. HVAC, Plumbing, Roofing, Electricians, carpet cleaning, etc.
    • Certain medical practices: Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, Podiatry, Chiropractic
    • Lawyers / Attorneys

*We reserve the right, before you begin the class, to refund your tuition if we find that your business is a highly competitive industry for SEO, regardless of whether or not that industry is listed above.

NOTE:  No prior knowledge of coding, HTML, or SEO is necessary. Watch the video snippet below – if you can make sense of it, you will be able to understand and apply the contents of this course to your site.

Video Snippet:

 

Testimonials

Jocelyn demystified SEO practices such that you could immediately implement and see results.

Karen Todd Marketing and Operations Manager, Changes City Spa, Norfolk, VA

Jocelyn gave a great, easy to understand workshop on search engine optimization (SEO). I left the workshop with a to-do list of what and how to help my specific website. Thank you Jocelyn.

Donna W. Harmond Owner, The Harmond Group, Virginia Beach, VA

Technical info was delivered to me easily in a way I can understand. I highly recommend these workshops to other business owners.

Leslie Sink OwnerHi-Ho SilverLocations throughout Coastal Virginia / Hampton Roads

I really appreciated the interaction with the instructor, Jocelyn Pena. This was a valuable course.

Rebecca Shultz Marketing Director, Peerless Carpet Care and Restoration Services, Serving Richmond, Peninsula, and the Southside, Coastal VA/Hampton Roads

I attended the workshop SEO for the Small Business Owner upon being referred from another business owner. I learned things that I could implement myself or explain to someone else. As soon as the workshop ended, I signed up for the next one!

Marcus Williams Owner, Intellect Media, Chesapeake, VA

Very helpful information for any business!

Craig Moore Emerson's Cigars, Five locations throughout Hampton Roads

The SEO workshop provided me with the tools and information I needed in order to successfully update my business page. After implementing these tools I am happy to announce that I am now located in the top portion of search engine results! I’m even above one of my primary competitors! If you are willing to put in

Kathy Knack Owner and Designer, Kathy Knack Interiors, Serving all of Coastal Virginia / Hampton Roads

Great workshop! I thought I knew a lot, but there was a ton of clarification on things I thought I understood. I can’t wait to implement these SEO practices with our business.

Misty Prewitt Director of Marketing, House of Maya Bridal, Locations throughout Coastal Virginia / Hampton Roads

Excellent information to help increase business to my web pages. Jocelyn made this information easy to understand!

Kitty Broerman Coastal Benefits of Virginia, Chesapeake, VA

The best tools presented by the best communicator. A must-attend to optimize your web presence.

Susanne Ott Manager, Martin Mansion, home to The Women's Club of Norfolk, Norfolk, VA

How Your Company’s Virtual Presence Affects Your Bottom Line

The Multichannel Retail Survey showed that 94% of U.S. consumers always or sometimes check the internet before making a purchase. That means you may be losing potential clients simply due to the quality of your virtual (or online) presence – be it your website, social media pages, email campaigns, online reviews, mobile activities or digital advertising.

Are your site’s pages easy to read on a mobile device? Do your marketing campaigns send visitors to the right pages of your site? Are you listed before your competitors in Google searches? Do you have different ways that prospects can engage with you virtually? And by engaging, I mean more than just e-commerce. For example, can they download a Continue reading “How Your Company’s Virtual Presence Affects Your Bottom Line”

Do You Own a Micro Business?

There are small businesses. And then there are Micro Businesses. The definitions vary, but generally, Micro Businesses have less than 20 employees and less than $3 million in annual revenue. And I believe that just because you don’t have the resources (money and bodies) that your larger competitors have, doesn’t mean you can’t compete successfully in the digital marketing space.

Micro Business owners are the folks who do it all! I can always tell successful Micro Business owners from the rest – they are constantly selling, they walk around adorned with their business paraphernalia, they demonstrate (not just talk about) their passion about their values and beliefs, they always come up with better ways of doing things, they execute their ideas, and they take full responsibility for their choices.

But just in case you still aren’t sure if you qualify, to paraphrase the old Jeff Foxworthy line, “you might be a Micro Business owner if”  you point mostly to yourself (or maybe to just two or three other people total) if you are asked any of these questions: Continue reading “Do You Own a Micro Business?”

Why I Enjoy Helping Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. Small business owners are the smartest, savviest, friendliest, most passionate, most civic-minded people I know. I believe that products and services from small businesses are better quality, have better craftsmanship, taste better, come with better guarantees, and are delivered with the best customer service available. And that’s why I want to help you and other small business owners compete against the big companies… I want you all to win!

The digital space is where small businesses can compete evenly with the “big boys” – if you have the right tools and know how to use them. My company, biz web trainer, gives small business owners the expertise to use online marketing competitively.

For example:

  • Your business can appear at the top of the Google results pages without paying for ads.
  • You can maximize the ROI from your social media campaigns.
  • You can spend more time in front of clients by pre-planning and scheduling your blogs, reports, and email campaigns.
  • You can make your marketing more efficient by using analytics reports.

That’s what the big companies do, and that’s what I teach biz web trainer clients to do!

Continue reading “Why I Enjoy Helping Small Businesses”

Welcome to Entrepreneurship!

Does one of these scenarios fit you? You found your passion – that thing that you love doing that you do better than most anyone else you know. Or you have seen your peers be successful at something you know you could do just as well, and you want your piece of the American Dream. Or your friends, family, and colleagues have told you over and over, “you need to do (fill in the blank) for a living- you should start a business!”

And so you decide to make a go of it and start a business (or organization.)  Welcome to entrepreneurship!

The thing about being an entrepreneur is that we L-O-V-E what we do, and more often than not, that thing we do isn’t something that provides a framework for our business to grow. i.e. We love making widgets, but (usually) we aren’t as in love with marketing, human resources management (including leadership development and team building), staying on top of technology, social media, etc. But we need to excel at all those things in order to keep making more widgets. Without being on top of those disciplines, it is difficult to expand and grow our business in a healthy way.

If we make the best widgets in the world but haven’t marketed properly, we might not ever Continue reading “Welcome to Entrepreneurship!”