What Does Your Companies Web Presence Say About Your Business?

I work with many great small businesses on a regular basis, and see how much money is spent on various forms of advertising. Phone book, radio, newspaper and some even television advertising. What amazes me is that in 2012 these companies spend thousands on all kinds of advertising but never realize the incredibly important need a great website is to their business!

There is no better marketing tool available right now then your company having a great website.  Think about it once you pay to have it developed, the only remaining cost is the hosting and domain registration. Both combined for a small business will cost probably under $200 a YEAR! Thats less then the cost of a single newspaper advertisement. Now don’g get me wrong, because updating your website with new features is always a great idea too, but even that is an affordable business expense when you consider the impact the website makes on your business.

With smartphones in everyone’s pockets these days and the amount of time people are spending online, there is no question your customers are going to check out your website. If you are a restaurant, they will make their decision to visit your establishment based on online reviews and your website. They will want to see pictures of what the restaurant looks like, what is on your menu, daily specials, the ability to make an online reservation and directions on how to get there. If your website looks like a 5th grader did it for free, your customer is going to get a bad image of your business right off the bat. They may just on that impression alone start looking for the next closest restaurant on their smartphone. This doesn’t hold true for just restaurants, its the same for every business. A small businesses websites should be top of the priority list for every businesses marketing budget.

So what goes into creating a good website then for your business?

1. Professionalism: The website should look as professional as you want your company to be thought of by your customer.

2. Simplicity: The website needs to easy to navigate and allow your customers to get to the most important information quickly.

3. Message: The website needs to quickly, as in a few seconds, get your main message to the customer upon them visiting your website

4.  Functionality: Your website should incorporate common functionality with other websites in your field. With restaurants for example: allowing online reservations or ordering, and driving directions with Google Maps.

5. Usability: Keep the site simple enough that even the novice computer user can figure it out

6. Branding: You want to keep the same branding for your company on your website as well as your other advertisements, business cards, menus, etc.

7. Engaging: Give your customers a reason to come back to your website. Include daily special information, information on upcoming events, maybe a recipe occasionally, and anything else that keeps them visiting and sharing information from your website


A Backup Plan for a Stolen Laptop

With college students preparing to head off to college again for another year, its important to be prepared if somehow they have their laptop stolen. College students take their laptops from classroom to dorm room, to the library and even the park. The availability of free WiFi on campuses makes studying almost anywhere possible.

Taking your laptop with them everywhere gives it a lot of exposure to falling out of a bag, forgetting it on a table, or even being stolen in the blink of an eye from another student. We all hope that they never lose their laptop, but its much more common than many think on campus. The best plan is to be prepared!

1. Backup, Backup, Backup!

Every student today needs to be constantly backing up their documents, pictures, videos, music and more. Online companies are everywhere that offer for a small yearly or monthly free online storage. Companies such as Carbonite Online Backup, Mozy, Crashplan. There are also completely free solutions out there such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.com to name a few that offer as much as 5GB of free storage. All of these solutions offer a way to backup selected folders automatically so you never need to worry about losing your homework.

2. Install Tracking Software

If the unfortunate thing happens and your laptop has gone missing, wouldn’t it be nice if you could go online and track where it is? Guess What? You Can! Well you can if you plan ahead and install a program called Prey Project on it. The Prey Project, open source FREE software, that allows you to track your laptop (Windows, Mac, Linux) online using Google maps as soon as it is brought online again. The software can even take a picture of who stole it using the laptops installed webcam! The software also grabs screenshots of what they are doing on the laptop. The list of additional features is amazing. With this installed you can call campus police and have them get the stolen property back, just in time to write that term paper. The Prey software can be downloaded directly from http://preyproject.com/.

With these two simple tips you can rest assured the data on the laptop and the laptop itself have a good chance of getting back home.