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DIY Small Business SEO

Search Engine Optimisation

Small business owners can do more damage than good when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Owners need to seek professional advice from Melbourne Marketers or Marketing Consultants when it comes to SEO. Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing, over optimizing your website, too many backlinks with keyword anchor text, lack of diversified backlinks and other tactics can get you in trouble with the search engines if you are not staying on top of it. One thing to remember is that Google likes sites and content that other people enjoy, find useful and share with others. Here are some tips that can help improve your website’s SEO, without doing any SEO: 1. Incorporate Social Media Share Buttons On Your Site Social media icons are being taken into account by search algorithms as people share content that’s worthwhile. Having social media buttons allows your online visitors to share your website and its content. You’ll also want to incentivise people to share such as creating a competition to give away a product that will trigger your target audience to share your website URL. 2. Website Content Is King As a small business owner, your time and money is best spent on generating original, useful content for your site. Try to post a new piece at least once a week, if not three times a week. Google loves fresh, original content. 3. Include Your Keywords In Your Articles And Titles  Write articles that incorporate your keywords within your article and in the headlines. 4. Be Active On Social Media Sites Most blogs, magazines and news sites welcome content submissions. Not only can contributing to other sites help generate awareness about your brand, it’s an effective way to getting high quality, non-spammy links back to your site. If you do it right and people like what you write, this can help establish you as an industry expert as well. Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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Things To Avoid When Starting Business From Home

Brand Identity

Launching a business from home can provide tremendous flexibility and the kind of work-life balance that we all crave. But the reality is that home businesses bring their own set of challenges. Here are eight mistakes to avoid when starting a business from home: Mistake 1. Failing To Create A Work Space Set up one work space where you can set a professional tone for your business. Mistake 2. Keeping A 24-7 Work Schedule Working day and night is a recipe for burnout. You start to feel guilty that you’re not working, and there’s no disconnect. But this feeling will go away once you schedule your day, when you start, take a break and finish. Mistake 3. Starting The Day Without A Plan Create a schedule and stick to it. Rather than making to-do lists, enter tasks directly into your daily planner, which allows you to set a specific deadline for completing each task. Also, ensure that you leave unscheduled time in the day to deal with any unexpected issues that may crop up. Mistake 4. Allowing For Interruptions Without a boss breathing down your neck, it’s easy to take a phone call or two from family and friends. But when you’re constantly in an “interruption mode,” it hurts your business focus. To combat disruptions, schedule your day to include quite times when you don’t allow phone calls or email alerts. You also need to be careful about getting pulled too often into distracting chores like laundry or childcare. Remind family members and babysitters of your work hours and explain you’ll be answering only urgent requests. Mistake 5. Letting Employees Abuse Your Home You risk damage to your home if you don’t establish rules for how employees should behave there. Set employee expectations from the get go, that may be, taking their shoes off when walking on carpet, limiting eating areas, cleaning their own workspace at the end of the day. Mistake 6. Getting Too Busy To Stay Organised It is easy to succumb to disorganization when you are working in the same place that you live. Ensure you file papers away before they pile up. Keep your workspace brightly lit as this will motivate you to keep it clean. Mistake 7. No Personal Contact With Your Clients While it may seem easier to do everything virtually, that isn’t the best approach. Instead, take time away from your home office for face-to-face meetings that will help build your business. Mistake 8. Depending Too Much On Loved Ones Without coworkers around, you can easily fall into a habit of talking out your business problems with your family. But loved ones may get weary of talking about your business all the time. More concerning, they may provide advice that may harm your business in the long run because they don’t always understand your business. Instead, connect with others in your field to develop an informal network of advisors. Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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Avoiding Social Media Blunders

Social Media

Social media can be great for your small business, however when used inappropriately, social media can be quite dangerous potentially it can ruin reputations. Listed below are elements that can destroy reputations and tips to assist in getting out of the sticky situations: 1. Avoid Posting Irrelevant Comments An irrelevant post is anything that lacks your unique personality or simply does not interest your target audience. Giving a fresh perspective on an old topic, possibly incorporate humor with every post. 2. Disrespecting Others Social media is not the place to work out your problems with people. Unfortunately, the higher you climb in social media, the more people will want to throw stones at you. Address the issue privately, dont delete the comment, simply post that the issue will be resolved offline. 3. Not Replying To Comments Actively monitoring comments and questions on every post can be time consuming, but even posting one follow-up comment per post can show you care and that you’re engaged. 4. Failing To Promote Others When it comes to building your business and developing a powerful network, you’ll want to develop a reputation as someone who highlights others. Not only does this give credit where credit is due, it also communicates that you’re secure with your success and have the ability to promote others in your industry. Some effective ways to highlight others: When someone gives you a great piece of advice, post it on Facebook or Twitter and tag that person. Utilize the Endorsements feature on LinkedIn and begin endorsing people within your network. 5. Being Tagged In Questionable Photos As funny as some photos can be, think twice about allowing yourself to be tagged in questionable photos. As a business owner, be mindful of how you want to be perceived publicly. Untag or delete yourself from any inappropriate photos. As long as you’re consistently infusing your unique style and communicating with the same class that you would in public, you’ll do just fine. Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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Recommended Virtual Meeting Tools

Customer Experience

So your small business has clients, consultants, and employees, one way to keep all on the same page is by conducting virtual meetings. Beyond the common used digital conferencing tools such as Skype or Go2Meeting, other low cost options have come about, allowing entrepreneurs to efficiently collaborate over video, and these are: 1. Google Hangout If you have Google Plus, join a Google Hangout. Launch the application from inside Google Plus then invite up to 10 people to join you. What makes Hangout unique is that it allows you to view and collaborate on Google docs while still maintaining visual contact with multiple people on the webcam. You can also add voice-only participants by clicking the “Telephone” tab at the top of the page, or the “+telephone” link on the left side of the invite screen. Since no download is required, Google Hangout is one of the fastest ways to set up a virtual meeting. 2. WebEx Meetings  Cisco’s WebEx Meetings can be a handy tool for group projects and the key feature is the Meeting Spaces. It’s a cloud-based file sharing site that houses all the documents your team needs for the meeting. Upload presentations, checklists, budgets and agendas. Team members can access the information prior to the meeting so there’s no wasted time once you get started. Also while you’re on the call, you can use the instant messaging feature to have a side chat with another member. WebEx Meetings if free for up to three people per meeting. 3. FuzeBox  Fuzebox can handle any kind of high-definition content including slide shows and movies. You can have up to 12 participants, each on their own HD video feed so it’s as close as you’re going to get to a face-to-face meeting. The prime feature of Fuzebox is using its native apps. Instead of sending everyone to a browser site, users connect through apps specifically designed for the iPhone, iPad, Android phone, PC or Mac. That means no connection or compatibility issues. When you run a Fuzebox conference, you can share your desktop or files, annotate on screen and control another computer remotely. Fuzebox starts at $15 a month for up to 15 non-HD attendees and goes up to $69 a month for full-featured service. If you routinely share videos or large files in your meetings, Fuzebox might be worth the price. Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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Reaching Your Customers In A Different Way

Mobile Marketing

Attention all small business owners, there’s always a way to tighten your grip on your customers, and building an app for your business will make that happen. One of the most important keys to building a great business is to turn the customer experience into a dialog, developing rapport and sending constant little reminders that you exist by means of branding. Applications provide the best platform for a high level of customer interaction and branding in this day and age. Here’s why you should consider in creating a business app: Business apps establish an element of convenience for your customers, often keeping the level of interaction in the palms of their hands and reducing the need for on-site visits – a convenience for both! With regards to Android applications, you end up squandering less money into proprietary development environments and licensing, allowing you to just focus on development. Intelligent small business owners make their own apps to benefit from an extra revenue stream without having to worry about losses in the long run. No matter what your business offers, you can always find a new way to reach out to your customers and establish a closer relationship with them. Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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Internet Browsing On Mobile Devices Has Doubled

Mobile Marketing

The number of consumers accessing the internet on their mobile phone and other mobile devices has more than doubled in the past three years, from 26 per cent to 58 per cent. The annual Sensis e-Business Report 2012 shows significant growth in the ownership of smartphones, tablet devices and wireless internet access among small businesses and consumers. Australian consumers were increasingly relying on their ability to access to the internet at all times, and rarely relying on accessing the internet from their desktops. Consumers are constantly looking for more information, and small businesses have the opportunity to use the internet and mobile devices to reach customers and grow their market. The Sensis survey found that more than half of all Australians now own a smart phone. Smart phone ownership has jumped by a third in the past year, up from 44 to 59 per cent of the population. Smart phone ownership among small businesses is even higher, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) now using such a device, up 17 percentage points on last year. The popularity of tablet devices has also more than doubled during the year, with 30 per cent of Australians saying they currently have one, up from 12 per cent last year. Another 16 per cent say they plan to get one in the next 12 months. The most popular use of the internet on mobile device is looking for maps and directions (69%) and looking up weather information (69%), followed by social networking (64%), and looking for information on products and services (62%). These factors indicate how important it is for small businesses to be active online. Business owners are gradually getting more savvy about responding to an increasingly mobile online customer base. While only 9 per cent of SMEs have mobile-specific websites, a further 21 per cent say they are planning on getting one in the coming year. There has also been a 10 per cent jump in the number of businesses loading location maps onto their website. So if you need your website on a mobile device, talk to...

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Web Browser Compatibility Tips

Website Design & Development

These days, everyone’s using a different browser to surf the internet. Between popular options like Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer, which make up close to 98% of the internet market share of browsers, and the other little known browsers like Konqueror, there are a multitude of browsers being used to view your small business website, which is why it is important that your website is usable across all major media. Check Your Browser Compatibility On Your Website How does your current website perform in the multitude of browsers that are out there? Why not check for yourself? If you don’t want to install all the major browsers out there on your own personal machine, here are some links to help you out. 1. Adobe Browser Lab Adobe BrowserLab is an online service that helps ensure your web content displays as intended on various browsers. Accurately preview web pages across multiple browsers and operating systems, navigate links, and use diagnostic tools to optimize websites efficiently. 2. Browsershots Makes screenshots of your web design in a lot of different browsers. After you submit your URL, it gives you a url where your screenshots will be loaded up.     So Your Website Is Not Compatible, What Do I Do? So turns out your site doesn’t function as expected across all the major browsers? Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us. Now it’s time to go about fixing it. Step 1: Validate Your URL First, validate your site. Ironing out those XHTML and CSS errors can often solve those pesky browser bugs. I suggest running your site through W3′s XHTML Validator and CSS Validator. Step 2: Reset Your CSS Another great way to ensure your site is cross browser compatible is to always reset your CSS before working on a project. There are many different global CSS resets, but Eric Meyer’s one and Yahoo’s one are considered to be the most correct ones: Eric Meyer’s Reset Reloaded html, body, div, span, applet, object, iframe, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, blockquote, pre, a, abbr, acronym, address, big, cite, code, del, dfn, em, font, img, ins, kbd, q, s, samp, small, strike, strong, sub, sup, tt, var, dl, dt, dd, ol, ul, li, fieldset, form, label, legend, table, caption, tbody, tfoot, thead, tr, th, td { margin: 0; padding: 0; border: 0; outline: 0; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-size: 100%; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; } /* remember to define focus styles! */ :focus { outline: 0; } body { line-height: 1; color: black; background: white; } ol, ul { list-style: none; } /* tables still need 'cellspacing="0"' in the markup */ table { border-collapse: separate; border-spacing: 0; } caption, th, td { text-align: left; font-weight: normal; } blockquote:before, blockquote:after, q:before, q:after { content: ""; } blockquote, q { quotes: "" ""; }   Step 3: jQuery Browser Detection For a jQuery-based solution of detecting browsers and adding a corresponding class to the body of your site. The script adds a class to the body, which you can then style in CSS. All you have to do is include the JavaScript file in the head of the page and it’ll attach 2 classes to your body tag to say what browser and what version is being used so you’ve got 2 levels of granularity. Possible values are: .browserIE...

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Good Website Design For A New Business

Website Design & Development

Having a good website design is one of the most important business tools and building a solid and positive web presence is key to your small business survival. In the consumer’s eyes a website is a reflection of the business itself. If your website looks cheap and is difficult to use, consumers will assume that your products or services are too. If you are running an online business or e-commerce, having a poor quality website will almost certainly result in failure. Online businesses also need to keep in mind the quality and functionality of the e-commerce/shopping carts. If your website makes it difficult to purchase items due to poor design and maintenance you will be losing sales and money! The process of purchasing from your website should be as simple as possible. A high quality and clean website is vital to your small business, if you want customers to have a positive perception of your business and products. Website design that is visually appealing will increase customer engagement. An increase in engagement will encourage customers to spend more time on your site leading them to view and process more information about your business. It doesn’t matter how much money you invest in perfecting your product or investing in SEO to drive traffic to your site, if you website isn’t up to scratch there is little likelihood that customers are stay on the site and convert. The quality of web design is not enough, the content must be informative and engaging. Where possible you should provide as much information about your products, services, locations, opening hours and contact details as possible. If a customer has all this information readily available without having to carry out further searches, they will be in a better position to make an informed decision to buy. Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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How To Get Twitter Verified Tick Badge?

Social Media

We’ve all seen the Twitter tick verified logo on Twitter profiles, but what does this logo really mean to small businesses? People want to prove their accounts belong to them, especially as fake and impostor profile accounts keep popping up. But just who gets verified by Twitter and how? Who Can Get Verified? Twitter only gives the blue verified tick badge to highly sought celebrities and public figures or those at risk of impersonation, to establish authenticity of identities. Currently, general users cannot get Twitter verified. And the verification process is unknown. There is nothing to suggest that Twitter will ever verify accounts for the general public. There Must Be Another Way, Surely? What is needed is a way for users to be able to prove their own identities and social profiles on all the social networks. If you think you meet the criteria for verification and have not yet received a badge, please be patient with Twitter. Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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Your Business Needs Social Media Listening Tools

Social Media

What your small business needs is a good social media management system. Listening to online social mentions about your business should be part of your day. Here are a few reasons why you should monitor your brand online: Discover early warning signs of negative or false information that can trigger a crisis, if left unattended. Identify your key critics and watchdogs; key influencers and advocates. Identify which social media channels best suit your organizational culture, and which ones your stakeholders frequent. Follow your competitors and discover what is engaging and trending in your sector. Uncover ethical blind spots your organization may have. Depending on what you want to monitor, below are some examples of social media management systems. 1. Hootsuite The free version of HootSuite allows you have the ability to manage a total of five accounts  from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Ping, WordPress, MySpace, or Google Pages. You are allowed one admin to control those accounts. But when it comes to monitoring, you have the ability to stream search terms, hashtag feeds, and Twitter lists as well. You can monitor up to ten streams per tab and have 20 tabs on your free account.   2. Google Alerts Set up Google Alerts for a daily delivery of feeds to your account. Find out where your keywords are appearing in search terms. 3. Social Mention Social Mention is good for real-time searches. Depending on how strong and precise your search term is, you will get good results.  You can see from the dashboard above that there are two ways to search: on social platforms or on the web platforms on the “All” pull-down menu on top. I recommend trying it out and seeing if it works well for you. 4. RSS Readers Set up RSS feeds to track what your competitors are up to. There are a number of news aggregators out there including Netvibes, NewsGator, Feed Demon etc. Find one you like.   Consider hiring a Melbourne marketing expert for all your marketing needs, contact Milkshake-factory.com for complete marketing...

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