Own your own domainWhen you decide to host your own website and need to select a domain name, many website owners are at a loss. They often have a coworker, employee, webmaster, or someone other than themselves do this for them. However, you should register and purchase the domain name and hosting in your name because of the following advantages:

It gives you a business identity that no one can take away: Your domain name is an important part of your corporate or business identity. It is something that your business associates and customers can remember, recognize, and positively associate with your offerings. So, even when you part ways with your business partners, you will not stand the risk of losing your unique domain name.

Portability: When you decide to change your physical business address or service provider, notifying everyone will be easier with your own domain name. Having your own domain name also gives you flexibility to bring such changes as you no longer need to wait for the approval of others involved, which is the case when the domain belongs to your associate, prior webmaster or someone else. Ownership of your own domain name also enables you to move your website to another host, that too without losing your web address.

Prevent loss of momentum: Promoting a website takes a lot of time and effort. In case your domain is in someone else’s name with whom your business relation sours over time, you will need to secure a new web domain. Thus, you will lose all the momentum and web traffic that your previous marketing efforts have brought. You will have to begin all over again.

Helps your SEO efforts: Getting registered with search engines and climbing the ranks among search engine results becomes easier with your own domain name.

Security: In the course of business, there are chances of your relationship with your partners/co-workers/web developers/webmasters going sour. If you have the domain in your own name, these people won’t be able to charge you an astronomical amount to “hand over” your domain name, or worse yet, sabotage your site by doing malicious things or hold your website hostage

Select a domain name that reflects your business or your offerings and is registered in your name and payment method to eliminate unnecessary hassles in the future should your relationship with your business partners or others working on your website takes a turn for the worse.

blue-bird-twitterIf your small business already has a presence on Twitter, chances are that you are using Twitter hashtags with gusto. But do you feel that you are not yet getting the response that you had envisioned in the first place? Or that you don’t seem to connect with your peers? If yes, here are some tips, which if followed, can help your business:

Keep your hashtags consistent and simple: Rather than using long and complex hashtags, which are not search-friendly or user-friendly, you can use smaller and more targeted ones with better results. For example, if you want to tweet about your latest blog post that addressed apps for small businesses, you should prefer to pair tweet with hashtags like #SmallBiz and #apps, rather than using long ones like #SmallBusinessApps. Also, you should select only one or two hashtags per tweet rather than stuffing 6 in one tweet, as the latter would seem like a desperate marketing measure, which in turn would drive your followers away.

Use hashtags for promotional events and competitions: You can generate a buzz around your marketing campaign by using hashtags the right way. For example, you can launch a contest, and ask people to tweet with a particular hashtag when they submit jokes, ideas, or photos. Once the entry to the contest closes, this would help you to locate all submissions at one place with ease. If you are planning any special event for your business, you may give it a unique hashtag and trigger conversations around that hashtag. This way, even before the actual date of your event, you would be able to generate content and dialogues about it.

Use hashtags to organize your social dashboard: You can assign easily accessible columns within your social dashboard to stay on top of pertinent hashtags. Irrespective of whether you use TweetDeck or HootSuite, you can set up columns by social network, search term, Twitter hashtag or list. You can set up a hashtag column based on the small business theme and check it whenever you get time. You can add further columns when the need arises, like when you are launching a hashtag contest or marketing campaign, and delete the respective column once the hashtag has run its course.

Search for business-specific conversations: To learn from industry leaders or to connect with them, you can head to hashtags like#smallbiz or #SMB for resources and advice. Though you would get to see a lot of tweets every day on such broad hashtags, taking some time out to scroll down the feed could help you find what you were looking for, not to mention inspire you with an idea that you can use in your next marketing tactic or blog post.

So, start using these tips to empower your business’s social media strategy.

content-marketing-strategyWith the attention span of web surfers decreasing steadily, it pays to entice them within the first few seconds after they have landed at your website. You should learn the fine art of balancing keywords and readability so that your content attracts search engine spiders and human readers alike. If you are still not sure about the importance of compelling and optimized content for your website, here are some factors that will drive the point home.

Helps to attract the readers and add stickiness: Your readers are your future clientele. So, you need to have content that attracts readers to your website and entices them enough to stay for a long time on the site, exploring different web pages, special deals, services or products offered etc. Since you can’t talk to the reader directly, having a compelling content is the best thing that you can do to attract and retain web traffic.

Assists in creating an effective online presence: To captivate your targeted market, the content of your website should have a zing in it. Since most visitors will be wondering – “what is there for me in it?”, you have to address them in your content and keep the focus on how your clients can benefit from your services rather than beating your own drum and having a content that’s all about you. Remember – the key is to make the prospective and existing customers feel important. This way, you will also ensure a strong web presence in your niche market.

Adds value to your offerings: Since many companies these days offer the same kind of products or services, it becomes important to stand apart from the rest. Compelling and exclusive content can help you in this endeavor and add value to your offerings. If you can offer some analysis or insight that nobody else has done, or share something important that no one else has shared, you stand the chance of being noted and talked about.

Gives a timeless feel to your site: Compelling content doesn’t become dated with time. By having such content on your website, your message will stand relevant and memorable even a few years down the line just as it is today. So, you won’t need to sacrifice on a steady stream of visitors who will continue to come to your website.

Helps you to bait the search engines: By having optimized content on your site that comes with an adequate keyword density, you can bait the search engine spiders and get ranked favorably on the search engine results for your targeted keywords. This will help your site get featured on organic search results and drive traffic to your website. You can turn such leads into sales and make a killing on the web.

Though producing compelling content is not an easy job and often has a steep price tag attached to it, it can turn out to be a valuable tool to help your business rise to the next level. If you haven’t thought about it yet, it’s time to figure out a strategy for having compelling and optimized content for your website.

increasing comments on your blogBlogs are an excellent way to interact with your customers, both present and prospective, provided they are informative. According to most expert bloggers, successful blogs are those that help the reader or customer find timely solutions to their problems. Solution oriented blogs are not only good for reading but contribute to sound business sense as well. Recently, however internet marketing and blog specialists concur that blogging has taken a completely different route - it has gone vertical. In other words, vertical blogs are the current blogging sensation making huge rounds in the business world.

In order to understand vertical blogs, it’s important to have an idea about vertical markets. Vertical markets, also called niche markets, are essentially those areas in a business that are closely connected to yours. Businesses that are closely aligned with each other, often share similar customers - if not the same and should be targeted using the same marketing strategies for successful promotion.

Given that aligned businesses are coming closer and sharing marketing strategies, it’s not surprising that they have adopted the concept of vertical blogs. Vertical blogs are nothing but blogs that focus on a particular niche or aspect of the industry connected to your business. In other words, vertical blogs talk about a specific aspect of your business, which is related to yours, although it is not your exact area of business.

The biggest advantage of vertical blogging is the direct increase in traffic to your website. In other words, when you write blogs on topics that are broadly connected with your area of business but not specifically limited to yours, you are targeting all those people who are interested in such areas. For example, if your business is kitchen décor and you have many blogs on that matter, a vertical blog could be specifically on topics like in-house lighting or recipes or even nutrition etc. Experts believe that people interested in any one of these similar topics will automatically link to your site, if only to find out more about you and your business. This results in more traffic to your website, especially to the interested category.

The first step toward incorporating vertical blogs in your marketing arsenal is to identify all allied niches. Identifying such niches is easily done by searching the kind of audience you want to reach out to and matching it with the kind of websites it usually targets. In short, make a list of the people who are likely to require and benefit from your services. Secondly, it is important to ensure that your message in such vertical blogs is essentially what the customer wants to hear or learn about.

Finally, focus on offering timely solutions in your blogs as this is the key to successful vertical blogging. Understanding your target audience and their needs and requirements will help you in developing these specific blogs. Furthermore, it helps in determining the kind of engagement you visualize and expect from your audience.

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