6 Things People Might Hate About Your Website (And How To Address Them)

6 Things People Might Totally Hate About Your Website (And How To Address Them)

Whatever the size of your organization, one of the first things a business owner seeks to sort out is your website – understandably so, given the digital age in which we live.

A good website is an integral part of any business’s success; but for e-commerce companies, in particular, it’s absolutely essential. Notwithstanding, businesses are often quick to launch a website without making certain that it functions in a user-friendly manner. 

Making the effort to ensure that your website is fully operative – both from a design and usability perspective – can help your site become a chief source of both leads and revenue. But neglecting to do so could bring about an infinite number of missed opportunities.

In this article, we’ll take a look at six key components that people generally hate about websites in order to help you avoid making the same mistakes with your site.

Dumbledore is waiting for something to happen...impatiently.

Slow Loading Times

Let’s start with one of the greatest nuisances for web users today – loading time. In this day and age, people want instant gratification in every area of their lives; rapid access to web pages is merely another “necessity” that we’ve come to expect. Indeed, the impatience level of most people is about 3 seconds – with approximately 40% of individuals reporting that they’ve exited a site which has failed to load in that time.

There are a number of ways you can effectively overcome slow loading times. These range from quick fixes such as decreasing the amount of media on a page as well as compressing large image sizes, to more technical solutions – some of which might necessitate the services of a professional web developer.

Jocelyn from Schitt's Creek: So what does this mean?

Keyword-Stuffed Copy

Website content that’s jam-packed with keywords does nothing but lead to haphazard copy providing very little value to consumers. Moreover, it actually undermines your search ranking, as Google now penalizes sites observed to be employing this method – meaning that there’s no good reason for businesses to persist in this practice.

The concept of keyword stuffing came about at the turn of the century when Google’s search algorithm leaned heavily on the amount of keywords featured on a website. This led to marketers incorporating as many keywords into their copy as possible, without regard to the overall quality of the content – which, at the time, saw their websites ascending through Google’s search rankings.

Since that time, Google’s ranking algorithms have progressed by leaps and bounds, and now a considerable burden is being placed on website reputability and user behavior. Regrettably, many marketers are still seeking to optimize their sites through the now-antiquated practice of keyword stuffing.

You ought to have a good idea of the content that’s currently on your site. However, it’s never a bad idea to revisit your copy to make certain that it provides genuine value to website visitors and hasn’t fallen into the trap of keyword stuffing. You can have an in-house employee refresh your copy or hire a professional copywriter to update it for you. The long-term effects of being penalized by Google will outbalance the short-term commitment of time and money in rewriting the content – the sooner you get this taken care of, the better.

Steve Harvey is a bit overwhelmed by all the messages on his computer.

Too Much Text

While it’s important to provide quality content that users will find beneficial, websites should also be visually appealing. Content doesn’t only consist of written copy; nowadays, images play a critical role as well. Not only do images help provide a visual reference, but they’re also ideal for splitting up large portions of text.

Websites featuring an excess of verbiage will instantly turn off many users. In this day and age, when people’s patience levels and attention spans are perpetually declining, it’s unreasonable to expect them to wade through multiple paragraphs of text.

Britney Spears is very confused...as per usual.

It Doesn’t Clearly State What Your Business Does

Having a website that doesn’t explicitly spell out what your business does is a surefire way to suffer defeat at the hands of your competitors. As with many decisions these days, consumers are likely to hop online and research their options before investing in a particular product, business, or service.

When a user visits your website, they’ll expect to quickly find out what it is you do and how your product or service could be of use to them. It’s vital that you communicate this information right away, as consumers are typically only a couple of clicks away from looking elsewhere.

If you know your target audience would prefer to be spoken to in plain English, then you’d be wise to stay away from industry jargon as this could make your product offering hard to understand. It’s always best to keep your message as clear and concise as possible.

Overusing Stock Imagery

Users welcome an image or two to break up sections of written copy. Regardless, businesses that choose to utilize stock imagery have to take into account the types of images they use. A huge number of identical or similar-looking images are being overused these days. Adding to these trends could leave your website looking tacky and outdated while failing to reflect the true nature of your business.

The images you choose to use on your site should add value as far as providing a visual aid for the information on the page – or, at the very least, be aesthetically appealing while still being relative to the page itself.

Stock images (such as the two pictured above) are classic examples of the type of imagery that will leave your business looking dull and unimaginative. Make sure your brand identity isn’t obscured amidst the excessive use of generic images.

girl scrolling on her mobile device

Not Optimized for Mobile Devices

While mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are being used to surf the internet more than ever before, a staggering number of websites still aren’t optimized for mobile. This often makes for a lousy user experience for visitors attempting to browse a site that lacks mobile functionality.

Whether it’s persistent pinching and pulling to navigate each page, multiple clicks on the wrong tabs due to the display screen being too small, or a section of the web page not showing up correctly on the screen – the end result is typically that visitors will no longer wish to return to the website, at least not on mobile devices.

If you have yet to optimize your website for mobile, it’s time to take a look at how much of your traffic is arriving via mobile. If it’s a considerable chunk – and let’s be honest, it almost certainly is – then optimizing your website should be your primary concern. You don’t want to be turning away potential customers due to negative experiences while navigating your site.

Final Thoughts

As demonstrated here, there are a number of elements that visitors dislike or find annoying about business websites. Hopefully, this list will help you identify any trouble spots on your site while also offering some practical ideas for how to improve it.

Before you go about making drastic changes, though, it’s important to take a close look at how your website is currently performing. Doing so will allow you to better track how the changes you make now will impact your site’s performance going forward.

If you’re like a lot of small businesses, the highly technical task of updating and optimizing your website might be a bit outside the scope of your personnel’s capabilities. Never fear! The knowledgeable web designers and developers at HighClick Media are ready, willing, and able to help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website for more information!

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How to Grow Your Business by Optimizing Your Website

How to Grow Your Business By Optimizing Your Website

Prioritize Creating a Data Recovery Plan

Unfortunately, business owners too often minimize the importance of cybersecurity until after their company has been targeted and compromised by cyberattackers. Rather than waiting until disaster strikes, it’s imperative to educate yourself about cybersecurity data protection and be proactive about protecting your company’s website.

Coming up with a cyber-recovery plan to safeguard your company’s digital assets – including your website – should be your number one priority. This will allow you to get your website back up and running quickly in the event of a cyberattack. You’ll want to establish a proposed timeline with your preferred “deadlines” for system recovery, as well as details about which programs and applications will have to be addressed in order to execute recovery. Finally, make note of who will be responsible for conducting each task included in your recovery plan.

Develop Educational Content

Sure, your website is a sales and marketing platform – but it can also serve as a vehicle for customer education. Whether your typical customer is another small business, a nonprofit organization, or an individual consumer in your area, you can establish your website as a place that visitors can turn to for up-to-date resources on everything from product use cases to new developments in your industry.

So, how can you ensure that your marketing content is also educational? Business 2 Community recommends publishing blog posts that address your audience’s most common “pain points,” hosting live video lessons with product demonstrations on your website, or even establishing a special membership section of your site with bonus content for paying subscribers.

Integrate Your CRM & ERP

Your customer relationship management (CRM) system and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software are both indispensable to your business. From tracking and capturing leads to managing your overall operations, these software programs can be leveraged to carry out a plethora of key business functions. You can use these programs to their fullest potential by integrating them and then connecting the internal, integrated system to your website. In doing so, not only will you boost your team’s productivity and efficiency but you’ll also be able to seamlessly transfer information from your website to these interconnected programs.

User-Friendly Design

Have you ever had an unpleasant experience while browsing a particular website? Maybe you found it difficult to find the particular page you were looking for. Perhaps you tried to use the search function to find an important piece of content, but it didn’t deliver accurate results. Or, maybe you were seeking contact information so that you could get in touch with a customer support specialist – but no matter how hard you looked, you didn’t see any contact forms, email addresses, or phone numbers.

Crafting an enjoyable user experience should be at the heart of your website design and management approach. But, how can you go the extra mile to make sure that your customers can easily navigate your website and make the best use of all its features? Rock Content recommends designing a clear menu that allows your customers to visit key sections of your website with one click, including an easy-to-find contact form.

In addition, it’s also essential to make sure that your overall site layout looks attractive – after all, visually appealing content might prompt visitors to stay on your website longer (and the longer visitors stay on your site, the more likely they are to take action, such as making a purchase or booking an appointment). If you can’t find a theme that you like with your current content management system, you might consider enlisting the services of a professional web design and development firm that can create a custom layout for your site.

Local SEO: How to Get Found Online by Customers in Your Area

You might be acquainted with the basic principles of search engine optimization (SEO), and perhaps you’ve even been incorporating some useful keywords into your website content already. But have you taken the time to focus on local SEO? By emphasizing local SEO in your website strategy, you can specifically target customers in your area who are seeking products and services like those that you offer.

What can you do to reach customers nearby using SEO tactics? BrainChild Studios recommends putting your city and state on your homepage, adding your city to your page title tags (including the local schema code in your website pages), claiming your Google Business Profile listing, and including your business in local online directories.

Boost Your Conversion Rate

The ultimate goal of your business’s website is to convert visitors into paying customers. Therefore, you need to find ways to boost conversion rates with your website. While implementing user-friendly website design principles can help in this area, there are also some other steps you can take.

A/B testing is key to increasing conversions – you can run tests to analyze your conversion rates with your current site features. Then, as you implement new features like headlines, calls to action, or contact forms, you can run additional tests to compare their effectiveness. By conducting multiple A/B tests at once, you won’t have to wait until a new feature has been thoroughly tested to analyze the impact of another.

Speed Up Your Website

The ultimate goal of your business’s website is to convert visitors into paying customers. Therefore, you need to find ways to boost conversion rates with your website. While implementing user-friendly website design principles can help in this area, there are also some other steps you can take.

A/B testing is key to increasing conversions – you can run tests to analyze your conversion rates with your current site features. Then, as you implement new features like headlines, calls to action, or contact forms, you can run additional tests to compare their effectiveness. By conducting multiple A/B tests at once, you won’t have to wait until a new feature has been thoroughly tested to analyze the impact of another.

Final Thoughts

Your website doesn’t exist just so your company will show up in search engines. In reality, your website might be an unrealized tool for your business’s growth. If you haven’t prioritized growing your business by maximizing your website’s potential, you can get started by integrating some of these recommendations.

If you need help with optimizing your existing website, creating a new website from scratch, boosting your SEO for greater discoverability in Google searches, or any other aspect of your digital marketing, you don’t have to go it alone! HighClick Media is here to help! Contact us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help #elevateyourbrand!

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Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice and troubleshooting tips.

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An Approachable Guide to Starting Your Own Business

An Approachable Guide To Starting Your Own Business

Ready to get the ball rolling on your entrepreneurship dreams? It’s common for prospective entrepreneurs to feel overwhelmed by the steps involved in launching a business. Between coming up with a viable business idea and introducing your product to market, there’s a lot to do! Don’t let the steps ahead paralyze you. Take it day by day, chip away at each part of the process whenever you have the time, and try not to overcomplicate things.

Professional service providers can offer a lot of value while you work to build your startup. For example, if you’re looking for branding, digital marketing, or web development assistance, partnering with an agency can help. Having the right professionals on your side will make your entrepreneurial dreams much more attainable.

To make business ownership seem a little more approachable and guide you through the startup phase, we’ve put together this guide packed with tips and resources!

Develop Your Business Idea

Before you do anything, you will need to pick a business idea. Try to keep it simple! Some businesses are easier to start than others. Inexpensive, service-based businesses are great for first-time entrepreneurs on a limited budget, especially those going at it alone. You won’t need to hire a team of employees, lease retail space, or purchase large quantities of inventory. Plus, you can always scale your business later when you have the funds to hire help!

Some great examples of easy businesses include pet sitting, residential cleaning, landscaping, hauling, exterior home maintenance, painting, and event planning. If you’re looking for something more remote, consider services you can offer virtually, like tutoring or personal training. Offering services to other businesses is where you’ll make the most money. Think freelance copywriting, web design, web development, marketing, consulting, and social media management.

Launching a service business will serve as a great introduction to business ownership while minimizing the risks involved. Service businesses generate cash quickly, enjoy good profit margins, and can get off the ground in a matter of days!

Register Your Business

Once you have your business idea, your next step is to decide whether or not to register your business. In some cases, you might not have to register at all! As long as you do business under your legal name, you are not required to register anywhere. However, you might still want to register your business with the federal government for trademark protection and with your state agencies for legal benefits and liability protection. You may also want to file a Doing Business As (DBA) so that you can legally conduct business under a name other than your own.

Streamline Your Business Finances

Financial organization is another important part of starting a business. When your finances are managed properly, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the financial health of your business. Keeping track of the cash flowing in and out of your business is essential for ensuring you have the money to pay the bills before they come due. Carefully tracking your expenses, staying on top of your accounts receivable, and managing payroll effectively will help you keep your finances on track.

Online accounting tools make it easy for business owners to manage these financial tasks without hiring an accountant. For example, if you’re short on time, you can automate repetitive tasks with invoicing software. A reliable invoicing system will help you send detailed estimates, create invoices quickly, send invoices to multiple clients, track client payments, duplicate invoices for different customers, and more. Tools like these will make quick work of all your time-consuming administrative tasks, giving you more time to focus on what you do best.

Access Startup Capital

Most entrepreneurs need some level of funding to get a business off the ground. Fortunately, you have several different options when it comes to funding your new venture. Startup Nation explains that crowdfunding is one such method that has become incredibly popular in recent years. Using crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you can raise money directly from people who support your business idea.

You can also try soliciting startup capital from angel investors and venture capitalists. Just make sure you’re willing to give up some share of equity in your company if you go this route! Small business loans, grants, and contests can also help you access the funds you need.

Market Your New Business

Marketing is one of the most challenging parts of launching a startup. What’s more, lack of budgeting resources is a common marketing problem among small business owners. Focus on low-cost, high-value marketing strategies to attract your first clients and continue growing your business from there.

For example, social media marketing can offer some incredible value to local businesses. Use social media to build a following of engaged locals around your brand and give your audience a reason to care about what you’re doing. Content marketing goes hand in hand with social media and is a great way to position your business as a trusted leader in your industry. Produce blog content and YouTube videos sharing valuable content with your audience. Aim to deliver a high level of value to your followers with the content you produce so they have a reason to keep coming back!

Build a Solid Online Presence

Make sure your customers can also find you on Google. Listing your business on Google My Business will allow customers to find your business when searching for local services in your region. Beyond this, Google My Business provides tools that you can use to engage with your customers, evaluate data insights, and share updates about your business. Google My Business further provides tools to streamline appointment booking, showcase menus, and advertise promotions.

Starting your own business is a great way to carve your own path and take full control over your earning potential. If you’re feeling hesitant about getting started, you’re not alone! Thankfully, there are plenty of great tools and resources out there that will make business ownership more approachable.

Need help with website design, digital marketing, or branding? HighClick Media can help! Contact us at 252-814-2150 today and see how we can help elevate your brand!

While you’re at it, check out this article from our friends at FirstSite Guide to discover more than 50 online business ideas that you can start right now!

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Guest blogger Alyssa Strickland created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. Alyssa believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but she also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever and she hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she learns through experience and from other young parents in three key areas – Education, Relationships, and Community.

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8 Generation Lead Tips for Small Businesses

8 Lead Generation Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses have to overcome numerous hurdles before making a name for themselves and ensuring an ever-increasing revenue stream. Naturally, some of the biggest obstacles are generating leads and inspiring loyalty.

At first glance, it seems simple enough – find a market gap and have your business fill it. Customers will flock to you without much effort on your part. In practice, it’s not nearly as effortless.

If you don’t want to be in the 70% of businesses that fail within a decade, you need to ensure that your lead generation tactics are flawless.

Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks that will help set you up for success:

Start with an Impeccable Website

Most members of your target audience will have one thing in common – when they need products or services (that happen to be in your offer), they’ll first look them up online.

Over 97% of users search online to find local businesses and make purchases. So, only having a website will immediately up the ante on your lead generation.

Still, it’s not enough to simply have a website. You need to make it a great one if you’re going to generate and convert your leads.

Create a clean design that makes it easy for your website visitors to scan your pages and find the information they need. Be clear about who you are, what your business does, how it can help your audiences, and how interested prospects can contact you.

It’s also always a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their websites and gather some inspiration from that.

Perfect Your Landing Pages

With your website done, it’s time to start developing landing pages. One of the worst mistakes you can make in this regard is to use your homepage as the go-to landing page for all your ad campaigns.

Your homepage is already the most frequently visited page on your website, so there’s no reason to keep directing your audiences to it during your campaigns. Instead, create dedicated landing pages focused on converting visitors.

You’ll need to make your landing pages enticing, relevant to your ad content, concise, and direct. Present your offer, highlight your brand’s value, and include a clear call to action.

The better your landing page, the higher your conversions will be. Do some A/B testing to find out which landing pages perform the best, find out what your audiences want, and keep tweaking your pages until you get the desired results.

Improve Your SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest prerequisites for successful lead generation. By enhancing your SEO, you will:

There are a number of factors that impact your SEO ranking, including:

  • Page loading speed
  • Internal and external links
  • Quality of your content
  • Security
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Keyword usage

If you want to rank on search engines and attract audiences, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive SEO approach. You can’t just improve your page speed, neglect all the other aspects of SEO, and expect to rank first.

SEO is a slow and steady approach, so take your time perfecting it.

Provide Relevant Content 

One thing that will help you improve SEO and boost lead generation is content. In the online environment, content is king.

Content marketing allows you to improve keyword usage, take your external and internal linking to a new level, engage audiences, enhance your visibility, and display your expertise.

 Whether you’re creating blog posts, e-books, video guides, infographics, Facebook Stories, or any type of content in between, your focus should be on quality. Keyword stuffing and improper backlinking are a no-go. Here’s what you should do instead:

  • Provide valuable information that will help your audiences
  • Offer solutions to your target customers’ most common problems
  • Provide relevant insights
  • Entertain your audiences

Before long, you’ll notice just how helpful content marketing can be for your lead generation.

Make Use of Social Media

We can’t talk about lead generation for small businesses without mentioning social media. It’s a gold mine for attracting customers and inspiring loyalty.

Whether you like it or not, you need to have a social media presence as a small business owner – it doesn’t matter if you’re running a small antique shop, a dropshipping business, or a family-owned pizzeria.

However, before you join all the most popular networks and get in over your head, analyze your target audience. See which platforms most of them use and examine how they interact with other businesses on them.

Then, only join those platforms that you can easily manage. After all, you’ll need to stay active on these platforms by regularly posting fresh content and responding to comments and messages. If you’re on more than a couple of platforms, you’ll likely find it difficult to keep track of them and use them to your advantage.

Take Advantage of Lead Generation Quiz Makers

A reliable lead generation quiz maker is ideal for engaging your audiences. It makes quiz creation a breeze, allowing you to know your target customers better and offering you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

You can create any type of quiz you want:

  • A fun personality quiz that grabs the viewers’ attention
  • An assessment quiz that tells you how much your audience knows about you and your products
  • A market research quiz, which allows you to assess your target audience’s most common pain points 

Share your quizzes on social media to reach a wider audience, add them to your lead generation emails, and embed them on your website to convert visitors.

With a lead generation quiz maker, it will take you no more than a few minutes to create engaging quizzes that boost your visibility and help you attract customers. You can also integrate it with email marketing tools or customer relationship management tools to nurture leads efficiently.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

To generate leads as a small business owner, you need to keep a very close eye on your online reputation.

You could have the perfect brand persona, excellent products and services, top-notch support, and a bulletproof content marketing strategy – and yet your reputation could still suffer. You need to be careful to pay attention to what people are saying about you and your brand.

Your customers and even competitors will talk about your brand on forums, social media groups, review sites, personal accounts, and more. Keep a close eye on all brand mentions.

If someone is harming your reputation online, you’ll need to be ready to clear things up, highlight your brand value, and present your business in the best possible light.

Respectfully respond to negative reviews, engage in discussions on public forums, offer solutions to public complaints, and ensure that your online reputation is excellent.

Spread the Word About Your Business Through Different Channels

Even with the best strategies at your disposal, it can sometimes be challenging to significantly increase lead generation on your own. Sometimes, you’ll need a little bit of help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

Spread the word about your business through different channels. For instance, you could try guest blogging, wherein you create content for other websites in your niche. Doing so will help you expand your reach, showcase your expertise, and attract a wider clientele.

Alternatively, you can reach out to influencers who make sense for your industry and who can connect you with their followers. Influencers inspire trust among their followers, enjoy an excellent reputation, and can easily impact their fans’ purchasing decisions.

Final Thoughts

Lead generation for small businesses can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But it’s easier than you may think when you have a few tricks up your sleeve and know what you’re doing.

So remember, if you want to boost your lead generation and conversion, you’ll need to: 

  • Create a great website 
  • Perfect your landing pages
  • Work on your SEO
  • Create relevant, engaging content 
  • Make use of social media 
  • Use a reliable lead generation quiz maker 
  • Monitor your online reputation
  • Spread the word through channels, such as guest blogging and influencer marketing

Follow these tips to ensure the success of your small business and start generating leads like a pro. Your business could also benefit from some creative experimentation on your part to complement the ideas discussed above.

If you need further help developing a lead generation strategy for your business, reach out to the small business experts at HighClick Media. We’ll take the time to get to know your business, identify its particular needs, and come up with solutions that will help your business grow. Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here.

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Guest blogger Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing. Specifically, she writes in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. She is a researcher at a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools called ProProfs Quiz Maker.

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5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

Is your business ready for the transition to the metaverse? Yeah, we get it – that’s a loaded question! After all, there’s still a fair bit of speculation and rumors about exactly what’s involved with the metaverse and what it will mean for us and our businesses.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed businesses placing a greater emphasis on ecommerce and digital transformation – thanks in large part to the global pandemic. But we’re also seeing businesses begin to shift their attention even further toward digital as the virtual world becomes less of a fantastical idea and closer to reality.

With internet users spending more time online than ever before, and many small businesses falling on hard times, it’s time for us to rethink how we will connect with our audiences going forward.

In this article, we’ll explore five ways to help your small business weather the world-changing transition to the metaverse – and thrive in its aftermath.

Know Your Niche

The concept of the metaverse – connecting people to technology (and vice versa) using virtual and augmented reality – isn’t a new one. In fact, the idea has actually been kicked around for decades, to varying degrees of execution.

No one seems to agree, or know for sure when the metaverse concept was originally conceived; it’s equally difficult to find an agreed-upon definition of what the reality of the metaverse means for us now.

What’s certain is that the first (and perhaps best) way to make sure your small business is ready for this new era of digital transformation is to have a clear idea of what you want for your brand and how you can make the most of technology to achieve your goals.

For one company, that might mean developing better AI in order to be able to better address customer questions through your website. For another, it might entail creating an entire virtual reality world that allows potential buyers to examine products before buying them as though they were actually there with the items.

Let’s face it: you know your business better than anyone else. Accordingly, only you can determine what the metaverse can (or can’t) do for your business.

Consider Updating Your Branding

With new tech initiatives and the emergence of newer, more diverse social platforms come new branding opportunities. This is a great time to take a long, hard look at your visual brand.

One of the great things about the metaverse is its focus on connectivity. Startups and small businesses alike must ensure that the visual aspects of their messaging make clear how important communication is to the business. As one of the founding values behind the metaverse, paying special attention to your visual branding must always be a top priority.

Claim and Update Your Business on Search Engines

More than half of business owners haven’t claimed their company’s listings on tools like Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). This is a huge mistake!

Claiming and maintaining your online presence is absolutely crucial for a small business in today’s digital world. Without it, you’ll miss out on countless opportunities to drive traffic to your site, or to the business itself, as well as risk frustrating customers who can’t find the information they need when they need it.

Keeping this information up to date is just as important, particularly for things like holidays or hours of operation, as incorrect information could easily turn off potential customers.

I am not ready for that.

Don’t Abandon the Old Ways Too Quickly

Try to avoid the temptation to go “all virtual, all the time” too soon. Yes, the idea of the metaverse is exciting, and it’s likely that at least some of your customer base will be ready for it.

But good business dictates that you should always give the customer what they want – and the majority of consumers aren’t quite ready for this new way of doing business. At least not yet.

Even as you’re positioning your business to be ready for “the next big thing,” don’t be too hasty to cast aside the old ways completely. Many of your customers are going to want to stick with what they’re used to, for as long as possible. You should continue to give your audience the option to engage with your brand through more traditional methods.

Remain Adaptable

Last but certainly not least, be ready for anything! One thing that many entrepreneurs and small business owners know well is that right about the time you get comfortable, that’s when change comes fast and furious!

Sure, we have an exciting future ahead of us, thanks to an increasing tech-minded push, and it’s going to change the way we view and interact with our world. But if you get too hung up on tomorrow’s virtual reality project, you might not see what’s coming up next week.

 
 

Final Thoughts

Transformation is coming – that’s a given. How will your small business ride out these changes over the next decade? Well, that’s up to you. At the very least, you should be prepared for what comes next.

If you need help transforming your business for the digital age, HighClick Media can help! Whether you’re looking to update your website, get started with social media marketing, or optimize your website for search engines so it’s easier to be found online, we have a solution that’s right for you! Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help elevate your brand!

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An earlier version of this article appeared on Entrepreneur’s website and can be found here.

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How to Advance Your Small Business Objectives

How To Advance Your Small Business Objectives

While small business owners and entrepreneurs are typically savvy business professionals, there are several tried-and-tested best practices that can help you stay organized and productive, allowing you to advance your business with speed and at scale. Let’s take a look at a few of these.

Organizational Skills

Organization and time management skills are both crucial to the success of your small business operations. This means utilizing project management planning and tracking tools; having a living, breathing business and marketing plan that you consult regularly; and establishing measurable objectives to help ensure that you’re hitting your goals.

Clearly defining operational functions for yourself, employees, and contractors can also go a long way toward ensuring overall productivity. You can achieve this by creating an employee training manual, drafting detailed job descriptions, and developing a defined organizational chart with a reporting structure.

You can keep your projects on track by using a process map to organize your project. A process map helps define the tasks needed to achieve your goals and breaks down deliverables at each stage of your project.

Developing Protocols

As there are several different ways a business can choose to operate, it’s imperative to clarify expectations with your staff in order to maintain smooth operations. According to Business News Daily, establishing best practices, chains of command, and an organizational hierarchy can help keep everyone on track.

It’s important to state, in writing, how projects are determined, defined, and implemented. Who signs off on purchases, training, or software implementations? Who is responsible for reviewing and approving marketing messages or social media strategies?  Who interviews, hires, and trains new staff members? Having these outlined in writing and used for employee onboarding is a must.

Communication Channels

According to Forbes, having open channels of communication – both internally and externally – can help your business run smoothly. Consider using a company intranet in which coworkers can stay connected. Have an email distribution platform in place for keeping in regular contact with your customers. Being on the same wavelength with vendors and contractors is also critical, whether that’s through regular email correspondence, routine telephone check-ins, or even in-person connections. If you haven’t already, create an employee manual including best practices – with examples and templates – around all communication protocols to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Innovative Practices

For a company to remain competitive and keep advancing, innovation is essential. This means continually looking for new ways to improve your products and services and deliver top-notch customer care. Conduct brainstorming sessions with employees to gain their unique insights. Attend conferences on a regular basis and join industry associations – this gives you numerous opportunities to ask questions and learn about policies and practices that work well for other organizations. Be open to new ideas and take calculated risks. This can include continually updating training protocols, conducting in-depth market research, and discovering new ways to outpace the competition.

Enhanced Productivity

When everyone has a well-defined job description and is able to focus on their particular area of work, productivity is sure to improve and employees will experience a sense of accomplishment.

Consider outsourcing key services when necessary. For example, you might enlist the services of a digital marketing agency to handle your social media and manage your marketing strategy, or hire an accountant to do your books and your taxes.

If your business’s invoicing process is cumbersome and time-consuming, making use of a bank account balance API can help you verify whether customers and clients have the funds available to pay for products on the spot. This helps ensure a steady cash flow for your business and helps customers avoid overdraft fees.

 

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of moving parts involved when it comes to operating a small business. Effective communication, time management, and regular collaboration meetings can all help your team stay focused and on track. Don’t be afraid to frequently revisit your planning documents and adjust accordingly. It’s all part of embracing an innovative mindset!

If you’re looking to scale your business through digital marketing or give your marketing strategy an overhaul, HighClick Media can help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help #elevateyourbrand!

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Guest blogger Alyssa Strickland created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. She believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever, and Alyssa hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she’s learned through experience and from other young parents in three key areas: Education, Relationships, and Community.

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10 Overlooked Benefits of Google Business Profiles

10 Overlooked Benefits of Google Business Profiles

 

If you’re a local business seeking to succeed in the digital age, you’re probably already using Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). The tech giant’s extensive, listing-based platform is geared toward helping internet audiences discover and connect with businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Functioning as a kind of online directory, Google Business Profile (GBP) enables businesses to transmit reliable information about their company across the web, along with providing tools for engaging with customers (current and potential), sharing important updates, and evaluating data insights. Utilizing Google Business Profiles is a no-brainer for local businesses aiming to broaden their audience – and ultimately – increase sales.

Captain Obvious

THE BLATANT BENEFITS OF GOOGLE BUSINESS PROFILE

There are a number of clear, unambiguous advantages to making use of the GBP platform. Let’s take a look at a few:

It’s Free

You can start promoting your business, developing your brand, and forging customer relationships – all important goals – without having to shell out tons of your hard-earned money. Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows you to start marketing your business easily and economically.

In addition, signing up for GBP isn’t a long-drawn-out or elaborate process. Getting your business included on this free platform is an easy, budget-friendly way to start building your business.

Consistency

You want to be sure that any information about your business that’s posted online is factual – regardless of where your customers might find it. Google Business Profile allows you to enter, manage, and update the relevant details about your business across the internet in one directory, ensuring that searchers are receiving the correct information via search engine inquiries. However, this comes with a caveat: you must keep the information up to date in order to reap the full benefits of this Google-powered tool.

Local SEO Boost

GBP can be a critical component of your local search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing strategy, helping local customers find you and improving your business’ search engine rankings.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy - Google My Business Is Easily Manageable

Easily Manageable

Providing audiences with information about your business can be done effortlessly on one master dashboard within Google Business Profile. This offers you a hassle-free way to boost the visibility of your business online. Furthermore, GBP has its own app for easy management when you’re on the go.

Helps Create Favorable First Impressions

Crafting an accurate and comprehensive Google Business Profile listing can help present your business in the best light. By availing yourself of GBP’s photo and video upload features, you can provide your customers with the most comprehensive representation of what your business can offer them.

Streamlined Review Management

Track, manage, and reply to reviews from your Google Business Profile dashboard in order to keep engaged with customers and improve relationships with them.

I Love Making Connections - David, Schitt's Creek ~ Google My Business

Additional Engagement Opportunities

You don’t want audiences to simply find your business; you want them to connect with you. GBP provides a number of opportunities for customer interaction, such as posts and messaging, and makes it easy to cultivate relationships with your audiences.

Valuable Insights - Google My Business

Offers Valuable Insights

Google Business Profile provides you with insider knowledge about your business listing, delivering useful insights into what’s working and what isn’t. These insights pinpoint exactly how customers locate your listing on Search and Maps, and what they do after finding it. This will help you make any relevant updates in order to improve your listing – and, by extension, your business.

Provides Perspective

With profound insights, review integration, and customer interaction features, GBP lets you gain perspective on the online reputation of your business. Understanding how audiences regard your business will help you improve and grow.

10 OVERLOOKED BENEFITS OF GOOGLE BUSINESS PROFILE

It’s plain to see that taking advantage of GBP’s vast array of features can help you manage your business information and market your company effortlessly.

But what about the less-obvious benefits of Google Business Profile? Are there hidden perks to this service? Unquestionably! Here are ten top-notch features and benefits of GBP that you might not be aware of:

Bookings

Whenever you’re offering a service to prospective and returning customers, you don’t want to overburden them by requiring them to jump through convoluted procedural hoops in order to contact you or track down relevant information.

In conjunction with an integrated provider, GBP’s Bookings feature makes it simple for visitors to schedule appointments directly through your listing. Within a single online interface, it’s also much easier for you to manage those bookings.

Greater ROI

Research has shown that local search delivers a greater ROI than other digital marketing channels. Not only that, but local search also delivers higher-quality leads and better engagement (i.e., clicks and calls).

When you optimize your Google Business Profile listing, you’re making significant headway toward building your local SEO and attracting customers to your business. That’s a HUGE plus!

Menu Tool

If you’re a local restaurant, salon, or other business that offers list-style services, you can use GBP’s Menu tool to showcase to audiences what you offer directly within their Google search.

Without having to engage a third-party service, you can modify menu selections, including titles, prices, descriptions, and even nutritional stats. Consequently, your audiences won’t have to scour the web for the info they want to know about your business’ offerings. Customers will appreciate the practicality and user-friendliness of this.

Heatmap Insights

Along with basic insights about how customers are arriving at your GBP listing, Google also lets you keep track of which areas customers are requesting directions from to get to your business, and at a range of zoom levels such as zip code, city, and country.

This offers valuable insights into which geographical areas are being drawn to your business. In turn, this can help you design and execute your marketing efforts more efficiently. Heatmap insights can be reached via your Google Business Profile dashboard.

Offer Post Tool

It’s common knowledge that people are intrigued by a good deal. GBP offers you an easy way to market to value-conscious shoppers with Offer Posts, through which you can advertise discounts and solicit new business. As an added bonus, it’s absolutely free to use!

“People Also Search For” Footer

While you would certainly prefer that audiences take a fancy to just your business, GBP delivers simple but helpful insights into your business’ competitors with its “People Also Search For” feature.

Positioned at the bottom of your Google Business Profile listing, this footer enables you to see what other kinds of products customers might be searching for, and which other businesses might be similar or otherwise related to yours. By familiarizing yourself with the competition, you can step up your efforts to provide the best value in your field through your business.

Website Builder Tool

Did you know that you can generate a free, customizable, mobile-friendly website through GBP? Their easy-to-use builder tool enables you to create, edit, and publish a simple, yet professional page site that users can access through a Google Search to get in touch with your business. Not only that, but you can equip your site with a customized domain and link it with Google Ads for easy advertising integration.

Relationship-Building Opportunity

Creating and managing a Google Business Profile listing isn’t a unilateral effort; it’s a golden opportunity to form engaging, mutually beneficial relationships with customers before you even meet them in person.

By creating a comprehensive business listing, updating it frequently, and connecting with audiences through posts, responding to reviews, and messaging, you not only exemplify strong customer service skills, but a bona fide interest in personal connection.

Community

Due to the fact that it’s Google, GBP grants you access to a wide-ranging and internet-savvy community that can help as you navigate the tool and attempt to optimize your listing. Within the community, you can request information, gather educational resources, and find solutions to how-to questions as well as best practices.

Partnership

Ingratiating yourself with Google by deploying their tools is never a bad idea for your business. In point of fact, engaging with the “search engine to end all search engines” can only help your business in the long run. Allying with Google’s virtual preeminence will help you establish and boost brand visibility.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, Google Business Profile is good for your business. Making the best use of this tool isn’t just about having easily accessible hours of operation info or a few flashy photos on an online directory.

Harnessing the full gamut of GBP’s extensive and useful features in order to create and maximize your listing can take your organization to the next level of growth. You’ll generate new leads, develop strong customer relationships, and cultivate a favorable online reputation.

If you haven’t done so already, you can get started building your listing on the Google Business Profile website. Or, if you prefer, you can enlist the services of a digital marketing agency like HighClick Media to set up and optimize your GBP listing for immediate and prolonged success.

When you’re ready to elevate your brand, give us a call at 252.814.2150 or visit highclickmedia.com to find out more about the various services we offer.

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An earlier version of this article appeared at Podium.com.

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