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How to promote your business during the holiday season 2015?

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Promote your business online 2015October is one month of the year where promoting certain products becomes more important than at any other time of the year. There are special sales days and of course the winter holiday season. If you have followed our series “Promoting your business online” you may have found some useful tips and tricks. If you may have misses an article let us provide you with an overview. In our series we have published the following article:

Promoting your business online: Website
Promoting your business online: Online Marketing
Promoting your business online: Website Structure
Promoting your business online: Online Advertisement
Promoting your business online: Social Media
Promoting your business online: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Promoting your business online: Blogging
Promoting your business online: Facebook
Promoting your business online: Twitter
Promoting your business online: LinkedIn
Promoting your business online: Social Media Advertisement

In the following weeks we would like to follow up our series with additional posts starting with “Social Media Management” followed by “Social Media Management Tools”

If you are located in Vancouver and like to learn more about promoting your business online, we offer our Online Advertisement Seminar again and would be happy to welcome you in our consultation location. More information about our seminars can be found via the event list link or simply by clicking here https://teccrab.wordpress.com/event-list/

But unfortunately the upcoming holiday season also attracts those how like to find ways to trick you into providing your money to them. Those who will try to steal your identity and credit card information. Just like last year we have also for this year planed to host some events regarding Internet Security. We offered last year two different seminars with overlapping topics and combined the two into one seminar we like to call Internet Safety Seminar. You can find the seminar details at our event list or by clicking this link: https://teccrab.wordpress.com/event-list/

To learn more about us please feel free to follow the links below.

http://teccrab.com – Web
http://blog.teccrab.com – Blog
http://twitter.com/teccrab – Twitter
http://facebook.com/teccrab – Facebook
http://plus.google.com/+teccrab – Google Plus
http://www.youtube.com/user/teccrab – YouTube

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Promoting your business online: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

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SEM-SEOTodays topic in our series Promoting your business online is certainly a more complex one and we feel it might be a good idea to start with some basic information. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is what you need to do to get your website found on platforms such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, to name a few.

Depending on who you are talking to the opinion on what kind of work is involved varies. Some will see the implementation of keywords in your website, listing your business on search engines and some other more technical aspect as what SEO is about. Others might see everything to drive traffic to your site as SEO.

Beside the definition there are also many different ways to actually get your site up in ranking and there are even reasons why you may not want to do it. Yes this may sound strange, but you may not want to increase the traffic to your site and we will try our best to explain why.

Lets say you are selling products on your website you also manufacture. The traffic to your website is decent but not amazing. Now imagine the traffic to your site suddenly increases so much that the amount on orders you are receiving exceeds your production capacity. Soon you will find yourself in the unfortunate situation that you can not satisfy your customers anymore. They start to leave bad reviews all over the internet and the entire experience did hurt your business more than it helped.

A much better approach is to increase the traffic to your website slowly so that you have time to adjust and to decide if you need to hire more people and invest in new equipment. This is why you may want to consider getting help from an agency or hire someone to help you in this regard.

Now the problem is that anyone can call themselves SEO Expert and the unfortunate truth is that there are so many bad once out there. To find a good one is very important. We therefore encourage you to shop around before you decide who should support you and we hope some of the following tips will help you in your decision.

  • Be sceptical if someone promises you to get you on top of every search engine in just a few weeks.
  • A good agency will not only explain what they want to do, but also involve you in the decision process as much as you want
  • A good agency will explain everything in terms you understand and will try their best to secure you feel included and be able to ask any question you may have
  • A good agency will provide you with a long term plan and will inform you if adjustments are needed
  • We here at teccrab will secure you have access to your Google Analytics Reports so you can check your traffic anytime you want. Even if other agencies prefer to use a different software to track the traffic to your website, you should get frequent reports regardless.

We had the unfortunate experience to meet some business owners who got burned by some “experts” who promised them to be on the 1st page on Google. This may sound strange but we as well get frequently Emails from “experts” who tell us our site needs help and promise us to be on the 1st page of Google. They claim to have analyzed our site meticulously without realizing we offer SEO services as well.

The problem as we see it is that good agencies have not only to comped with those “experts” but also get harmed by their business methods. We had clients who raised their eyebrows the moment we mentioned SEO, just because they get flooded with junk Emails. An even bigger problem is when you trust your website to the wrong SEO expert. Because it can be much more dangerous than trusting a bad printer or designer for example. Even if you have to pay for an awful designed website, a brochure or business cards you probably won’t be out of business. Trusting the wrong SEO expert can put you on the so called Blacklist and getting your domain off this list is very time consuming and to repair the bad reputation you may have received online can cost you even more.

Good agencies and experts will support your business with so called white head SEO. They will inform you about changes and advise you what to do. The process to increase the traffic to your site will be managed in a way that is beneficial to your business. A good agency will become a valuable partner you can trust.

We offer free consultations and encourage you to take our offer and compare it before making a decision. To learn more about us please feel free to check out the following links:

http://teccrab.com – Web
http://blog.teccrab.com – Blog
http://twitter.com/teccrab – Twitter
http://facebook.com/teccrab – Facebook
http://plus.google.com/+teccrab – Google Plus
http://www.youtube.com/user/teccrab – YouTube

Mobile-Friendly Website

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Mobile-Friendly-300x300In our series Promoting your business online, we have talked about building a website and website structure. We as well posted a general article about online marketing and hope each of those articles were helpful. Today we want to inform you about a very important change from Google. We are sure you are well aware that Google is the most used search engine today. It is therefore important to get your website listed via Google and to make sure you are building your site based on the latest Google standards. To help users to get the best possible search experience Google had changed their search engine over the years many times. Certain standards are required to secure that your website is in good standing with Google and it is advisable to check them out if you are going to build a website.

One of the latest and very important changes is related to the increasing use of mobile devices. In the last couple years users have changed their behaviour when searching for information. Many are suing their mobile phones instead of their desktop computer to look up information. With this in mind Google has announced to change their algorithm in a way that would benefit those website that are mobile friendly compare to those that aren’t.

What does that mean for you?
Based on the information we have, mobile friendly websites will benefit from this change, if users are searching via mobile devices. Apparently the desktop search is not effected. However we have noticed a significant traffic increase to one of our websites in the last couple weeks. It is of course possible that this increase is due to the fact that Google is testing their system. We also would like to mention that we have not noticed the same change on other websites we maintain.

How to check if your site is mobile friendly?
It is very easy to check if your website is mobile friendly. Google is providing a tool to check your site for free. If you want to try it just follow this link:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

What to do to get a mobile friendly website?
If you are working with a professional website developer we are confident you will be in good hands. Especially if your website was build in the last couple months, we are sure your developer team has taken care of it. If your site is a little older you may want to talk to your developer. It is possible that simple changes can improve your site and if they are easy to implement it is very likely you will get them for an affordable price. In case you have build your website yourself and don’t know how to get it mobile friendly, we can offer you to take a look and to give you an estimate. If you are planing on building a new website we would be happy to take care of your project.

How much does a mobile friendly website cost?
The cost for a website depends on so many factors. We have build a tool to calculate the cost for a website which you can find here:

http://www.teccrab.com/index.php/website-development-cost-calculator

It is important to mention that the calculator was designed to help you to get an idea how much a website can cost. To get a real estimate you will have to talk to a developer about your project. A good developer will not only take the information and put them online, but will also advice you which elements are necessary and what you can add later.

We offer free consultations and work with many creative developer together. If you want to talk to us about your project we are happy to assist you. Hopefully this article was useful and if you like please feel free to share it. If you would like to learn more about us check out the links below.

http://teccrab.com – Web
http://blog.teccrab.com – Blog
http://twitter.com/teccrab – Twitter
http://facebook.com/teccrab – Facebook
http://plus.google.com/+teccrab – Google Plus
http://www.youtube.com/user/teccrab – YouTube

Promoting your business online: Website Structure

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WWW-Promo-IconWe hope you enjoyed our first two articles Promoting your business online: Website and Promoting your business online: Online Marketing. In this article we would like to go a little deeper into the structure of a website. Certain pages are needed in order to have a successful site. Also pages need to be structured in a certain way to make it easier for search engines to scan the content of your page. We will try to be not to technical in our post and to give you an overview what to look out for.

About Us Page
An About Page will help visitors to learn more about your business. If you are a small business you may want to have the people listed who are working in your company. A mission statement and a little history about your company will give visitors an idea what your business is about.

Contact Page
Beside the About Page the Contact Page is in our opinion essential. You want that visitors become clients and therefore give them options to contact you. The address, phone number and a general Email address is enough, but if you have the opportunity to add an info form we encourage you to add this too. If you are running a home business and don’t want to have your address on your website we recommend getting a PO Box. Another option is to use a office sharing service where you can also get a separate phone number.

Product / Service Page(s)
Since you want visitors to know what you have to offer you of course also need pages to showcase your products and or services. Depending on the nature of your business this can be one page or multiple pages. If you want to build an online store you also need a checkout system.

Privacy Policy and Disclaimer
Some countries have strict rules when it comes to do business online. Some may even charge you a hefty fee if you don’t have such a page on your website. The content of the site has some main elements such as Copyright and Privacy Statement, how you handle Personal Information and Security.

Sitemap
This will help search engines to scan pages on your site. It might not be the first thing on the list of pages you consider adding to your site, but should be on your to do list regardless. It is also not necessary to have a link in your navigation to this page.

The pages mentioned above are in our opinion the essential pages you should have when developing a website. Keep in mind that you might be able to create a one page site that includes all the details mentioned above, but we encourage you to consider building a website with many pages at some point. Beside the content of a page we also would like to mention some more technical things to think about.

Content
You may think that this is obvious and not worse mentioning, but we saw websites were simply a flyer was scanned and uploaded. Some other mistakes are poor descriptions, not using keywords or having to many of them. We suggest writing articles for your audience and to keep in mind that even if Google and other search engines need to be able to find certain keywords in order to list your website you shouldn’t consider them your main audience.

Images
Even if writing is very important, pictures can help visitors to put an images to the text. Try to optimize your images to reduce loading time. Make sure that your images have an so called Alt Text so search engines know what this images is about.

General Structure
Some SEO experts will tell you that Meta Keywords aren’t important, some will say they are. We think as long as you have just a few and not an endless list of Keywords you will be fine. The so called Meta Description is in our opinion much more important. The Meta Description is a short description what your business is about. Try to keep it under 160 characters because some search engines will cut your description short if you have more. You also need to secure your site with so called <H1> to <H6> tags to define HTML headings. The <H1> tag is for the most important heading and <H2> to <H6> for the lesser important. Depending on what kind of website you are building you may have to consider familiarizing yourself with the so called “.htaccess” and how to configure your so called “robots.txt”. Some platforms such as Joomla will have standard files already included. Also some of the “ready to use” website builder are taking care of this for you, but you may want or need to make some modifications.

We hope this article was informative and that you enjoy our series. Some of our upcoming topics are Online Advertisement, Social Media, Blogging and Videos. As always if you like to talk to one of our experts, we offer free consultations to help you making the right decisions for your business. Visit http://teccrab.com to learn more about us.

Promoting your business online: Online Marketing

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WWW-Promo-IconIn our previous post in our series of “Promoting your business online” we talked about some steps you should consider when you are going to develop a website for your business. Today we would like to talk about Online Marketing and like to give you an overview what to do after your website is ready. Online Marketing starts more or less already when you are developing your website. You may have heard the term SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization and is important to make sure that a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo actually finds your site.

But Online Marketing is so much more and includes developing strategies for your Social Media Activities, Online Advertisement, Videos and your entire Public Relations you do online. So where to start you may ask and we would like to try to point you into the right direction with this post.

1st Question: Your Website
Remember that you won’t have any traffic to your brand new website, except from yourself and your developer in case you have one. A good idea is to make sure the content on your site describes what your company has to offer. Make sure your website is optimized and easy to navigate. If your site is ready start submitting your website to search engines to get listed. Make sure you have important information on your site such as a sitemap, disclaimer and contact details. Google as well as Bing have so called Webmaster Tools which are very useful. You also should think about using Google Analytics to keep track of your traffic.

2nd Question: Budget
Make sure you have a budget for Online Advertisement and other Online Marketing Activities. If you have a developer on your site you may already have a starter package included to help your site getting a boost. If you want to try it yourself we recommend starting with a small budget to collect some data and increase the budget a little bit after the first month. Be aware that you probably won’t get any new clients when you run an ad for just a few weeks. But you should see a return after running an ad for 3 month. Many small business owners are not aware that Video Advertisement isn’t as expensive as it seems. Our CEO has published an article about this topic on LinkedIn which you can find here: “Why you should consider Online Video Advertisement

3rd Question: Platform(s)
There are several platforms that might fit your business better than others. Make sure you are investing in the right once but be open to experiment with other options if you have the budget for it. Diversity is the key and better than putting all your money into one platform and hope for the best. If you are not sure which platforms are the best for your business we offer free consultations to help you finding the right once for you. Running a few ads on Bing or Google is for sure a good idea as well as starting building an audience via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

We hope our tips helped you to get an idea what to do. If you have any questions or would like to see what we have to offer visit http://teccrab.com

Promoting your business online: Website

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WWW-Promo-IconIn our opinion the first step to promote your business online should be a website. A website is like your store, but in the World Wide Web. You can showcase your products and services, can have contact details available and depending on the nature of your business maybe even a shopping cart system in place. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before getting started.

1st Question: Your Budget
The first question you should asked yourself is how much money you have available for your website project. Your available budget will help you answering the next questions.

2nd Question: Platform, Host, Domain Name
Depending on the product or service you have to offer you may want to go with a WordPress Blog, a Joomla website or maybe an online store build with Magento. There are many other platforms to choose from and some are more suited for your business than others. If you are not sure which one to choose you can contact us for a free consultation. Some platforms require to be setup proper so you should check which website host is offering them. Last but not least you will have to get a domain name preferable something that is also the name of your company. Depending on the Host and the kind of domain name the cost can vary and the cheapest you can get is under $10 per month.

3rd Question: Developer
You may feel comfortable to build your first site by yourself but maybe you need professional help. Picking the right developer is an important step. Consider how much money it will cost to build the site by yourself and compare that with the costs of a professional developer. We have created a tool to give you an idea how much a website can cost. The calculator is designed to give you a general idea, prizes can vary a lot and also depend very much on the project. But we hope it will give you at least an idea. So please feel free to follow this link. We suggest to “shop around” a bit to see if you can find a developer that fits your needs, budget and can earn your trust. Trust is a very important factor when picking a developer. We suggest not to go with the fist guy, check out other options and find the one that is the right fit for your project.

After you have asked yourself those 3 questions you can go to the next step which is building the website. You may have seen many one page websites and those are often a great way to get started. But keep in mind a good website is changing, a successful website is growing and you should always try to add new content. Think of your website like a real store where you change the decoration depending on the season or add new products to your shelfs. With the right platform you will be able to create new content easily and if you have the right developer on your site it won’t be a problem to keep your website fresh and interesting for your visitors.

You also want to consider Online Marketing options such as Online Advertisement and Social Media to increase the traffic to your site. We can help you with every single step and even if you decide to go ahead and try it on your own first, it might be a good idea to have the knowledge that a professional have pointed you into the right direction.

Social Media – Possible Game Changers in 2014

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SocialMedia2013vs2014Before we all go into our well deserved Holiday Mode we would like to encourage you to take a moment to read this post with our opinion on the topic Social Media in 2014. If you follow the changes some platforms made or announced in 2013 you can maybe already guess what will become important for your business in 2014. But for those who are not following every single announcement or like to hear what we think, please read on to see our prediction for 2014.

Let us start with online videos. We think this will play a much more important role in 2014. Some social media experts pointed already last year out that 2013 is the year where you need to start a YouTube Channel and we think everyone who did will have an advantage in 2014. Not necessarily because of subscribers but because they already know what works for their business and what not. How much they need to invest in 2014 and how often they need to produce videos to keep their audience entertained and informed.

videoWhen talking about videos we need to talk about video advertisement too. Video ads will also become more important in 2014. But we think you should be careful because video ads can also become an annoying factor in 2014. You may have seen the announcement from Facebook regarding video ads in their newsfeed. We are sceptical and would like you to imagine the following to understand why we are not sure that this is a good idea. Imagine you login to your Facebook account and suddenly hundreds of video ads play their message at the same time. Well, even one or two at the same time will be annoying don’t you think? Now imagine your target group will get your video message on Facebook and the reaction might be that they are annoyed by it and do not buy your product or ask for your service just because of an automatically played video ad on Facebook.

prSince we are on the topic. Did you noticed that the Rating System on your company Facebook Page is now much more visible? The rating system was implemented a while ago and is around for some time now, but was never really a big part of a company Facebook Page until recently. Now the problem is, and we know that as a fact, if you have only a few followers and even fewer rate your site just one bad rating and you end up with a low overall score. Bigger companies with many ratings may not need to concern themselves with this, but small business owner should. Because one bad rating and you suddenly have to deal with a two star overall rating and this can become a problem to encourage new customers to try your product and services.

SEO and SEMWe are sure you have noticed that videos are the main thing that will become more important in 2014, but we also would like to mention copyright issues on YouTube. If you create a video, upload this to YouTube and include any kind of footage, sound effect or music that is not 100% yours, it can happen that suddenly an ad, even if you are not monetizing your videos, is playing in front of your video. This is because of the Copyright ID system from YouTube which became an important debate in the YouTube Gamer Community. We posted about this in one of our previous posts which you can find here: “Google / YouTube Copyright controversy

We hope that our post gave you a few ideas what to do in 2014 with your Social Media and Online Marketing Strategy and Budget. What do you think will become important and to watch out for in 2014? Leave a comment below and we wish everyone a Great Holliday Season.

Your teccrab Team