Make Your Business More Web Wise
Most small businesses use the Internet in some fashion, be it a Web site, e-mail, search engines or e-commerce. But even if you’re using the Web, there are many ways you can likely be using it more extensively, more fruitfully or more efficiently.
If your Web site was created several years ago, for example, it could be time for a makeover. What seemed sophisticated back then might now look simplistic—or worse, downright hokey—compared to other sites. In short, the Web is becoming an ever more vital part of small business operations with every passing day, and business owners are finding new and better ways to leverage the power of the Internet to help them build profits, save money and operate more efficiently.
Making your Web site more interactive is one way to spur action. Try adding surveys, guest books, auto responders, downloadable documents and an e-newsletter. Your current Web host may offer some of these capabilities. And why not take orders online with a simple shopping cart feature, if you don’t already? Resources include PrestoCart.com, MyCart.net, PayButton.com and EarthStores.com.
Animated art, professionally designed buttons, bars and banners can help supercharge your site. You can acquire them quickly and inexpensively with software and online delivery from providers such as NetStudio.com and ScreamDesign.com. You can add interesting and timely content to your site as well. Consider hiring a freelance writer to produce original news, feature and how-to articles for your site that are related to your business. Putting fresh content up monthly could cost as little as a few hundred dollars.
The Web offers tremendous potential for researching your markets and competitors. A few top resources—some free, others fee based—include: Business.com for general business research, KnowX.com for public records research and Hoovers.com for company profiles and contact information.
To get the most from the Web, make sure your site is listed in search engines. You’ll find just about all the search engine submission help you need at SearchEngineWatch.com, including search engine submission tips, Web searching tips, search engine reviews and resources.
For additional planning help for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call (570) 851.1608 or visit www.scorescranton.org to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.