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Why Is It Important to Have a Blog on Your Business Website

Blogging has done wonders to many business websites since when it started and it is expected to grow in the future. But sadly, many business owners ignore this fact and don’t take the advantage of blogging. Having a blog on your business website is a great way to make your audience get to know about your knowledge, experience and your business expertise.

If your business website does not have a blog that is regularly updated then you are missing out a great opportunity to interact with your audiences, increase your business’ online presence and spread brand awareness.

This article helps you understand why we are stressing on the point to have a blog on your business website.

It shows your expertise in your field
You know your business better than anyone else. By sharing your expertise you will establish yourself as an authority in your field and it will also build confidence in your audience that you know your subject well. Provide your audience with information that they are looking for. It will not only solve their problem, but they will also recommend your site as a credible one.

It keeps your customers informed about your business
A blog keeps your audience informed about the latest happenings in your business. It provides your audience with information on the business, product, new offers and more. It is a source of information that keeps the audience regularly updated about your business that gives them a reason to go to your site.

It engages prospective customers and attracts new customers
The blog in your business website will not only keep your prospective customers coming back to you, but it will also attract new customers. You can use your blog as a marketing tool to update your customers on your products/services, special deals and discounts, upcoming events and more. It will not only promote brand loyalty, but it will also lead to sales and profitability.

It establishes credibility and builds your brand
When you write a blog that is informational, you gain credibility and build trust with the audience.

If you want to stand out in a crowd and build your brand, you need to build trust among your audience. For that, you need to share useful information with the audience, so that your audience will consider you different from your competitors and they will not only appreciate you, but they also share your blog with others. In this way, you will be reaching to a large group of audience that helps you in building your brand.

You can also add RSS (really simple syndication) feed to your blog, so that your latest blog goes directly into your readers email box or RSS feed reader.

It is an interactive medium
Blog gives you the opportunity to share and interact with your audience in a personal and meaningful way. It provides feedback and interactions with audience and they get to know you and your business and it makes them feel connected. It shows that you care for their queries and which in turn will promote brand loyalty and sales.

Today, no business wants to be left behind. So, why lose this opportunity when you can make the best use of it to share your experience and opinions. Therefore, consider your business website as a platform to increase your brand awareness through actively blogging on a regular basis on your business website.

10 Steps to Setting Up an Internet Business

1. Research the market

Before you start your business, do yourself a favour and research the market:

- what consumers are buying. There’s no point selling things people do not want.

- what other businesses are selling (ie. the competition)

- what prices your competition is selling things. If you can sell it for cheaper than your competitor or offer “added value” for your product to the consumer, then go for it. If you can’t, look for another product

- from where you can get the products (ie. your supply source)

- what gross profit you can make from each product (roughly the retail price minus the cost to you)

- How or where you will store the stock; home garage? Self-storage unit? Industrial warehouse?

2. Write a business plan

Failing to plan = planning to fail. Write a business plan. Did you hear that? Write a business plan. It will force you to think of issues you’ve not thought of and show you any areas that need more attention. It’ll show you if you need more money and whether you’ll make a profit. Many businesses fail because of lack of cash flow or working capital. A business plan will alert you to potential cash flow problems, which means you can look into funding before a crisis hits!

You can use Business Plan Pro, Business Plan Template or any other software. Get advice from gov.uk, your local Chamber of Commerce, an accountant or a business person.

3. Legal & admin

Are you going to incorporate your company to form a limited company or sell as a sole trader? A limited company means your personal assets are safe in case something should go wrong but you will have more admin like filing for incorporation at Companies House, filing Annual Returns etc. See companieshouse.gov.uk for guidance.

If you decide to incorporate a company, you will either need to prepare the documents yourself or use a Company Formation Agent. There are plenty on the internet.

You’ll need to think of a company name. Search the list of companies at Companies House to see if the name is taken. If it isn’t quickly snap it up!

If you go down the sole trader route, good luck; we can’t help you there!

You will need a business bank account. Shop around for free banking for start-ups. You may also find a package that includes Business Plan writing software or accounting software included for a monthly fee. That might get you started quicker than having to buy them individually.

Don’t forget to set up some insurance for your business. You’ll need some for stock cover, employer’s liability, product and public liability etc. Perhaps business interruption insurance too.

If you don’t intend on holding stock, at this stage reach an agreement with your supplier for them to drop ship the goods to your customer when the sales come in.

If you haven’t done so, read up on Distance Selling Regulations!

4. Branding

Now that you’ve found your product and written your plan, work on your branding:

- Business name. Linked with this is the domain name (ie. your website name)

- Logo

- Tagline

- Your Unique Selling Point (“USP”)

- “Corporate” colours

You can pay a graphic designer to design a logo or you could use websites like Graphicriver for logos.

You will need to register your domain name. We have used sites like Domainmonster or 123-reg.

Get business cards done following your corporate colours and in line with the image you’d like to portray.

5. Web design & hosting

Get quotes from web development or marketing companies to design an e-commerce website and host it. Check where servers will be located, server capacity, and speed and so on. Check whether you will have complete access and control of the Content Management System (ie. the backend of your website) or whether you will need to pay the web company to manage and maintain your website. You can see where the costs are going to rack up.

Alternatively, explore a WordPress site. You can purchase a WordPress template for $30. That’s what we did. Provided you get someone to download it and host it, you can then do your legwork filling out the site with pictures, descriptions and so on. With Word press, you can add the e-commerce shopping cart yourself and whatever plug-ins thereafter. With something like £300, our website was up and running.

At this point, you’ll need product images and descriptions. You can pay a professional photographer to take images or you can ask your supplier for images. Most have high resolution images that they can supply to you for free. If you get your own photographer you will have to purchase some stock beforehand.

Set up your payment gateway from your website. You’ll need a:

- Card payment processing provider (eg. WorldPay, Ogone, Sage Pay)

- Merchant Account to receive funds (this is different from your current account but check with your bank or shop around to see what rates are for debit cards, credit cards and how many transactions can be processed for free)

You can also integrate PayPal as a payment mechanism relatively easily. See their website for details on how to integrate that into your website, if compatible.

6. Search Engine Optimisation

The internet is a competitive place. If you aren’t on page 1 of Google, you won’t get much business but not everyone can be on page 1. So you’ll need to work on Search Engine Optimisation. There isn’t an overnight solution but rather a consistent effort to improve your search ranking. Please read up on SEO. We aren’t experts but here’s what we do:

- Create fresh content on our site regularly

- Keyword our products and tag our images with words that people are using in Google searches (Google Keyword Tool can help)

- Create backlinks by listing our business on other business directories, third party websites

- Blogging

- Social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on

- Commenting on forums

- Writing articles

ETC

You can pay a SEO company to this for you for a monthly fee or you can plod through yourself!

7. Marketing

This will require more time and effort than you think. You have to consistently market your business. This is what we’ve done:

- Google AdWords

- AdSense

- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

- Email marketing

- Print leaflets

- Magazine advertising

- Memberships of the Chamber of Commerce and local networks

- Attending networking events

- Prizes/Competitions

- Corporate sponsorship

- Attendance at fairs/markets

- Word of mouth referrals

The list is endless but you’ve got to do it.

8. Processing orders & postage

Now you’ve done all the behind the scene work and your website is up and running, look forward to some sales!

When orders come through, you will need to process them from book-keeping, generating sales receipts, packaging your product safely (to withstand bashing around) and then dispatching it to your customer, within 2 working days generally.

If you are not intending to hold stock, then you will pass the request to your supplier to drop ship the goods to your customer.

Make sure you inform the customer when the goods are dispatched. Our WordPress e-shop has an automatic dispatch notification function.

Investigate the most cost effective and reliable delivery service for your parcels. It could be Royal Mail or private couriers like Collect+, MyHermes etc. You can use courier brokers like Parcels2Go to search for prices. If you are sending large items, you could set up an account with companies like Interlink, DPD, City Link, UPS, and Fedex etc whereby they will collect the parcels from you.

The receipt of the parcel by the customer is the first bit of real contact they will have with the product, so make sure it’s packaged well and your delivery service is reliable. If the couriers damage or lose the item, although it’s not your fault, your customer will be unlikely to buy anything from you again.

9. Third party platforms

In order to reach more customers when you are starting up, it’s not a bad thing to experiment with selling on eBay, Amazon or Etsy. They all have pros and cons and you’ll soon see which platform is paying off for your type of product and price range.

You’ll need to set up accounts on each site and follow their rules and payment mechanisms. Their fees also vary, so remember to check your statements at the end of the month to see whether selling on those platforms are profitable for you.

10. Stock control

As you sell stock, you’ll need to replenish. Keep an eye on stock levels. Your accounts software, if you have one, should be able to generate a stock take sheet and report stock levels by item or supplier. Re-order in regular intervals. Watch your cash flow levels to see how much you can afford to buy. Order more of the popular items, less of the unpopular items. Physically count your stock from time to time (some people do a yearly stock check). It is boring and tedious but has to be done to account for deterioration, loss, theft and so on. Adjust your stock numbers on your website when new stock arrives or when stock is lost, damaged or no longer available (assuming the website adjusts stock when sales are made through it).

I hope you find this guide useful. It’s in no way meant to be comprehensive and the companies or websites mentioned here are in no way recommendations but merely examples of what we have used. If you have any questions or wish to have more information, do contact us via http://www.littletrove.com/contact-us/

Importance Of Professional Web Design For Business

With the technology innovation and increasing numbers of internet users, having a website for every business is very important. Many companies and professionals are opting to establish a web presence through developing a website that serves as their virtual location to easily connect with customers or clients locally or worldwide. Having a professionally designed website can provide a business with several benefits. Let’s break down some of the importance of having a professional business website;

1. Your business is accessible 24/7

Having a website allows your business to function 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as your business information, products and contact details are always available on the site. It would be a huge advantage if your industry is running for international customers as whatever time zone or country they may be, they can always visits the website anytime.

2. Reach audiences and customers worldwide

Having a professional website for business gives an opportunity to reach millions of audiences worldwide. Meaning the more audiences who visits your site, the higher potential customers you can get.

3. An impressive website can boost up business credibility and customer’s loyalty.

As potential customers stumbled on your page, they might have a first impression and upon reviewing your impressive and easy to navigate website, it can definitely boost their interest and it develops trust while improving your company’s credibility.

4. It saves you thousands of dollars

Having a website can definitely save you thousands of dollars. Why? No need to print materials for your advertising campaign as there are numerous networks where you can promote your website with your service and products at no cost, no need to hire too many employees to handle accounts or administration and no more paperwork to do as all transactions can now be done online and most importantly, it doesn’t require you to pay too much on your electricity, as long as you have your laptop or personal computer, you can maintain a just enough power consumption to smoothly run a business.

5. Keep ahead of your competitors

Your competitors absolutely have a website and glad that your business has it too. By having an online presence and professional website, you can keep track of your competitors and therefore come up with a more effective and continuous strategies to further improve your business.

These are just few of the several importance of having a good and professionally designed website. Moreover, hiring a website design company is also an essential factor to keep in mind when planning to have a website for your business or services. When searching for one, make sure that they have these characteristics; technical and creative expertise with understanding with the latest web design features and site usability, can provide quick and accurate design samples, can help with the maintenance and the one who will respect your privacy and could go within your requirements. It may take some time, money and effort to build a website, but when you think of the advantages and the overall results it can present to you and your venture, you will realize that it is well worth.