Tuesday, July 23, 2013

4 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs a Website

Too often we hear the story of a passionate, hard-working small business owner who offers incredible products and services to their customers, yet doesn't embrace the power of the web to grow their business.  Would it not be more beneficial if your potential customers could easily find and learn about your business from your website?  Sure, you may have some sort of social media presence by having a Facebook page or a Twitter handle and maybe you even go as far as sending out a monthly email newsletter; however sadly, the efforts stop there.  Over the next three years  - "business that make use of the web are expected to grow 40% faster than those who don't."  Source: BCG Report, "The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity," March 2012

Here at SITEFLY, listening to stories like the one stated above is what motivates us to lead an effort to raise awareness and to empower small business' to take advantage of the web. In this post we will cover why, in 2013, it is an absolute necessity for every small business to have their very own website. 


1.  Websites help you 'Get Found' on the web.


With the volume of searches growing rapidly through the roof, the importance for local, small businesses to have indexible content is vital to a business success.  Relying on social networks like Facebook and Twitter are not enough to boost your customer base via organic searches taking place in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. 

Did you know:

  • 95% of smartphone users have search for local businesses.
  • 77% of which contact the business.
  • 44% make a purchase from that business  

Keep in mind, when creating your site, it is important to populate your sites content with pertinent business information like, your business address, phone number, products and/or services, relevant news, descriptive titles and more.  By incorporating these types of content into your site, search engines will have a higher chance of targeting your site as a reputable source to deliver in search results thus, increasing your search engine rankings. 

2.  Customers "Do" judge a business by it's website.


Making a great first impression is a major step in the right direction when trying to convince potential new customers that your business is exactly what they're looking for.   A good website is often times the first-line in communicating your companies story to your audience.   Websites give new visitors a sense of credibility along with the feeling that you take your business seriously and are committed to your customers by providing them with a valuable resource to help guide them through purchasing decisions.   According to HubSpot: All-in-one Marketing Software - 78% of internet consumers research products online prior to making a purchase.

3.  Good websites lead to better revenue.


According to eMarketer"the number of U.S. digital shoppers is expected to grow from 137 million to 2010 to 175 million in 2016."   These numbers clearly illustrate the nature of consumer behavior is changing.  There is a level of 'trust' taking place online where consumers are feeling more and more comfortable to make purchases online. Subsequently, it is ever so important your small business opens an extended channel to drive revenue into your business online. 

Whether you're a small boutique retail shop selling tangible items or a services company selling gift cards, the opportunity to drive in extra revenue via online stores are becoming increasingly valuable. Remember, when selling goods online, you are granting your customer the freedom to purchase at their own pace thus, eliminating any un-needed pressure felt by the consumer to make an impulsive designer resulting in a happier customer. 

4.  Your competitors already have websites.


Competing for customers online has already proved itself to be a necessity of success for large businesses and brands but for very small, local business' the importance of converting new leads into customers could be the difference of expansion or bankruptcy six months down the road. 

Savvy business owners understand that having a website is an unquestionable part of any marketing initiatives.  You may have the best bakery in the World with customers who rave about your cupcakes. However, right up the street is your competitor who could only dream of baking cupcakes as good as yours but, what they do better than you is, they know how to position and market themselves online.  Their savvy approach and understanding of the web gives them the upper-hand when generating leads on new customers.  Their sub-par products will overcome any deficiencies through the execution of a beautiful, professional website. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

How to: Add Your Custom Domain to Your SITEFLY Website.


There are many benefits associated with owning your own custom domain for your site. Some of which include:

  • It's good for your brand image.
  • It will make your site more visible in search.
  • It's better for SEO.
  • Your customers expect it!

So, what happens when you create a site and it's now time to attach your custom domain? For tech-savvy individuals, logging into your DNS manager and changing your A Record to point to a new IP is a breeze; however, for some users, this task is not only foreign but also quite intimidating.

In this post, we will provide an overview of a general set of instructions along with a list of registrar specific support to help get your custom domain quickly added to your site.


General Instructions


Step 1: Add an A Record to point domain to your new site.

These instructions are in place under the assumption you have already purchased/registered a custom domain name.  If you have not completed this step, you will first have to purchase a domain using a 3rd-party registrar like GoDaddy, NameCheap, DreamHost or any other provider who offers Full DNS services.
1.     Login to your chosen Domain Registrar- E.g. GoDaddy, Dreamhost, Network Solutions.
2.     Go to their DNS management  or Zone File settings page.
3.     Create an A Record
4.     The IP address of your record must point to: “166.78.40.60

Step 2:  Add Domain to site:

a.     Within your sites editor, click the "Add Your Domain" button.
b. Then, within the entry box labeled "Link an Extra Domain" type in your custom domain.



c. Click "Add" before exiting workspace. When added correctly, you will notice we display you
new domain as 'Current domains linked to your site'



            Note: DNS changes may not go into effect immediately.  In cases,
                      may take up to 48 hours.

Registrar Specific Instructions

If you are new to DNS management, please follow along with the following registrar specific instructions to assist you in adding your custom domain.


GoDaddy:
Step 1: Login to your GoDaddy Account
Step 2: Access account settings
Once in your account, click the Domains link under the list of All Products.  In the menu,
navigate to Domain Management and click through.
Step 3: Access GoDaddy Domains
Click on the domain you would like to use within the Domain Name list.

Step 4: Access Advanced DNS Settings
Navigate to the DNS Manager and click Launch
Step 5: Point your Domain to SITEFLY
In the space labeled A (Host), click the box where you find @ followed by an IP Address.
 Here you will enter: 166.78.40.60 and click ‘Save Zone File”
Step 7:  Add Domain to your SITEFLY site.
When in your SITEFLY account, click the “Go Live” button for the site you wish to 
publish.  In the space where it says “Link an Extra Domain”, enter your new domain and
click “Add”

Need more help? 

Call GoDaddy Support to have a rep help you: (480) 505-8877

Dreamhost:
Step 1:  Login to Your Dreamhost Account
Step 2: Access Dreamhost Account Settings and Domain
        After clicking the Domains link, then click Manage Domains
Step 3: Deactivate Fully Hosted setting
        Within the Web Hosting column, if it says that your domain is Fully Hosted/user: you, the  
click the Remove button.
Step 4: Access DNS Settings for your Domain
        Click the link below your domain name where it reads “DNS”
Step 5: Point Your Domain to SITEFLY (Part 1- CNAME Record)
Navigate to the Add a custom DNS record to mydomain.com: For the Name you need to  
add www. Set the Type to CNAME.  In the Value section, enter www.sitefly.co .  Then click
Add Record Now!
Step 6: Point Your Domain to SITEFLY.  (Part 2 – A Record)
In the Add a custom DNS record to mydomain.com section, leave the Name blank.  Set 
the Type to A. The Value is 166.78.40.60.  Then click Add Record Now!
Step 7:  Add Domain to your SITEFLY site.
When in your SITEFLY account, click the “Go Live” button for the site you wish to 
publish.  In the space where it says “Link an Extra Domain”, enter your new domain and 
click “Add”

Network Solutions:
Step 1: Login to  Your Network Soutions Account
Step 2:  Create Custom DNS Setting
Within your Account Manager screen, under the My Products & Services tab, click the 
Edit DNS button.
Step 3: Edit Advance DNS Records
        Click the Edit Advanced DNS Records link for the domain you want to modify.
Step 4:  Edit A Records
        In the IP Address (A Records) section, click the Edit A Records button.  On the next 
scree, enter your Numeric IP in all active fields to read 166.78.40.60.  Then click 
"Continue."
Step 5: Confirm and Save A Record Changes
        After confirming A record IP address changes, click the Save Changes button.
Step 6:  Add Domain to your SITEFLY site.
When in your SITEFLY  account, click the “Go Live” button for the site you wish to 
publish.  In the space where it says “Link an Extra Domain”, enter your new domain and 
click “Add"

Need more help?

Call Network Solutions Support at: 1-877-811-0755


1&1.com:
Step 1: Login to Your 1&1 account
Step 2: Enter Your Domains
        Click Domains under Domains & Web Space
Step 3: Edit DNS Settings
Check the box next to your domain name, then click DNS.  Within the drop down menu,
select Edit DNS Settings
Step 4:  Enter IP Address once in the Edit DNS Settings
Step 5: Point Your Domain to SITEFLY
Under the Control Panel, make sure DNS box is checked.  In the Basic DNS Settings 
menu, select 1&1 name server.  Under Advanced DNS Settings, check Other IP address
then add new IP: 166.78.40.60.  Click OK.
Step 6:  Add Domain to your SITEFLY site.
When in your SITEFLY  account, click the “Go Live” button for the site you wish to 
publish.  In the space where it says “Link an Extra Domain”, enter your new domain and
click “Add”

Need more help?

Call 1&1.com Support at: 1-866-991-2631


Hover:
Step 1: Login to your Hover account
Step 2: Switch to DNS tab
If you only have 1 domain with Hover, you will automatically be taken to the domain 
interface for your domain name.  Then simply click on the DNS tab to edit your DNS 
 records.

Note:  If you have multiple domains, you first need to select the domain you wish to map.
Step 3:  Edit DNS records
By default, Hover already has 2 A Records added  to your account.  Hover your mouse 
over the entry for the @ record and select Edit DNS.  In the IP address field, enter: 
166.78.40.60 and click Save.  Repeat this step for the * record as well.
Step 4: Add Domain to your SITEFLY site.
When in your SITEFLY account, click the “Go Live” button for the site you wish to 
publish.  In the space where it says “Link an Extra Domain”, enter your new domain and 
click “Add”

Need more help?

Call Hover Support at: 1-866-731-6556

5 Places to List Your Business Online to Increase Your SEO

While the majority of small business site traffic derives from organic, local searches it is inevitably important to practice effective SEO (search engine optimization)  tactics in order to increase your sites search engine rankings.   The higher your sites rankings are in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, the higher volume of organic, target specific traffic your site will receive.

It is predicted by Google that "between the years of 2012-215, businesses that make use of the web are expected to grow 40% faster than those that don't"

An immediate step to take to begin increasing your sites SEO is to get your site listed on as many possible business listing sites.  Please keep in mind, when listing your business to these local listing sites, it is important to manually list your business to each directory by choosing the correct business categories and entering consistent information throughout.

When your business is listed to these sites, search engines will notice the citation of your business, which will impact local search results giving your site an advantage agains the competition. 

 1.  Google Places




 2. Yahoo - Basic Listing (Free) 



 3.  Yelp



   

4.  Bing



 

5.  FourSquare




Once you have listed your site to each of these directories, it is important to keep each listing up-to-date with relevant information as your business continues to grow. 

Not sure if or where your business may already be listed online? 

Check our getlisted.org to check all your business listings on Google, Bing, Yahoo as well as other local search engines.



Don't have a website for your business?  Sign up with  SITEFLY today and instantly create your site with 1-click using your Facebook page