Archive for Small Business Guides

Are You Paying for Yellow Pages Advertising? Why??

In the “old” days (actually 4-5 years ago) every business both small and large had at least one Yellow Page ad in their local phone directory. The reason of course was this was how people could find your and or your business.

The reality is the way people find your business has changed dramatically and is continuing to change. People just are not using the local Yellow Pages, instead they are using their computers and Google to locate and learn about local businesses. What that means is it has become far more important to have a web site than it is to have a Yellow Pages listing in the phone book.

Perhaps the most dramatic change is people are using their cell phones to find businesses. The number of people that have and use cell phones is growing every day and more importantly the number of people that have “smart” cell phones increases daily. The “smart” cell phones have internet access. The way people are finding local businesses is with their mobile phone. These phones not only can find local businesses they can give you a map that will take you directly to the business or they can call your business directly.

What this change means to business owners is you not only need to have a web site about your business, you also need to have the website optimized so that your information will be readable on mobile phones.

Web sites are something else that is changing. The “traditional” web site used to be done by a Web Master. It used to be that to make any change such as a price change, or put something on sale, or even changing the wording or a photo meant you had to contact your webmaster, explain what you want to change, review the changes and have them make the changes. The web master bills you for their time. This often is very slow and cumbersome and so the end result is that your traditional business web site is totally static. The information is probably out of date. It just takes too long to make simple changes.

A far better way to deal with your business website is to do it yourself. If you are doing your own website you can make any changes yourself and have them up and available instantly. Can you do your own web site? Probably not if you are using traditional websites and website software. That is why you are using a webmaster – the traditional web site requires knowing how to use some very complicated software. The reality is you actually can do your own website. The way to do this is with WordPress, a theme, some plugins and widgets and spending some time to learn how to do this. This site is a Word Press site.

There are some other guides here on how to do this and there will be more. The point of this article is to take a look at your Yellow Page advertising. Is this serving you at all? Perhaps it is time to evaluate your Yellow page ads.

It is also time to take a close look at your internet presence. Google your business type and town or city, do you show up on Google, what information is showing up. The next step is to see if your mobile phone can find your business. Are you showing up on mobile programs such as Google Places, Yelp, Around Me or Where?

The thing to be aware of is when people leave their house they always take three things with them. Their keys, their purse or billfold and their mobile phone. More than half of the mobile phones are smart phones and this number is increasing every day. More and more people are using their mobile phones to locate businesses or services and so business owners need to know if their business is visible on these devices.

Verizon just announced that the iPhone will be available for Verizon customers. This means there will be a lot more iPhones out there. Android and Blackberry and a lot more “smart” phones are also being sold by the hundreds. The number of people using these devices is increasing at a major rate and the people using the phone book to find your business is decreasing.

A lot of us when traveling used to stop at a payphone and look up businesses in the phone book at the payphone. When was the last time you even saw a pay phone?? How about a pay phone that actually had a phone directory? Another was to stop at a business and ask to see their Phone book – when was the last time anyone came into your business and asked to see your Yellow Pages? When you stay at a hotel or motel do you look at the local Yellow Pages?

Those with smart phones simply do not do that anymore at all. How many people actually have a road map when they travel?? I just got back from a drive across several states. I forgot to bring an important part for my laptop and so needed to get a replacement. All I did was go to “Around Me” on my iPhone – enter “computer store” and I had several choices nearby. Click on “take me there” and I get a map. I knew what exit to get off the interstate and where exactly the store was and how to get there.

I use my phone to find everything – restaurants, hotels, fuel, stores when traveling. Lots of other people are doing the same thing and that number is growing everyday.

I will be doing a number of guides on some of these advances and how to use them. Also while I am not a webmaster and have no desire at all to become one, I can help you set up a Word Press site, and get you started to where you can do your own web site. I can also help you set up and optimize the mobile sites so that your business will be visible to smart phone users.

Building a new site with Word Press – Builder – Astro Child theme

Builder is new to me.  So as you see me doing this site what you are really seeing me learning a new to me theme.  There are a number of child themes – I think the Astro theme is pretty kool so that is what I will start with.  The neat thing with Word Press is if I get so I do not like the theme I can change it without changing my content – IE my pages and my posts.  So here we go with Astro.

The first thing to know is you must have a place to put your site.  This is called web hosting.  I use and recommend Blue Host – next you have to have a domain name = in this case I am using and I have added the new site as an add on to that site. Here is the Child theme

Small Business Guides – Do your own website

In the last post I started to discuss the advantages of doing your own site.  As I put this site together I will be showing you how I put up a site.  I will be recommending some really great instructors and coaches who I know, have taken their classes and highly recommend for you to learn how to set up a site.

The thing to know is YOU can do this, you can set up and maintain your own site by yourself.  What I have done so far is put up a new Word Press Site, I have added the Builder Theme, and uploaded the child themes which allow me to have different looks and feels for the site.  With Word Press you can change themes without having to redo your posts and pages.

Here are some screen shots of  some of the child themes

Small Business Guides – You can do your own website!!

Today I am starting to build a whole new site.  You can watch as I put it together.  The very first thing to know is if you have a small business or want to create a small business or expand your business you MUST be both present and visible on the internet.  In the past that meant you had to have a web site AND you had to have a webmaster to design and update your site for you.  The biggest problem with web sites is if you want to change anything you have to contact your webmaster, explain what you want done, look at the changes and approve them or perhaps you may want to revise the changes your web master has done.  After a lot of back and forth with your webmaster you get what you want and you also get a bill from your webmaster for doing the changes.  Even simple things like a price change or adding a new product or putting a product on sale.

The is time consuming, and costly and terribly inefficient because something really important like you web site is something you do not really have control of.  How would you like to learn how to do everything yourself on your website?  That means if you have say a price change you just go to the dashboard of your site and make the change and publish it.  What you want to say to your customers is finished – you did not have to contact your webmaster, you made the change yourself and new message is already out there on the internet on your site, or like in this case the change is not only out there on your site, it shows up on your Twitter site and your FaceBook site.

The magic that can make this happen is Word Press.  Word Press is normally thought of as blogging software however it is a whole lot more, with Word Press you can create pages that look and like web pages, you can put up posts like this and probably the most important thing you can totally change the entire look and feel of your site by using themes.

The site I am building where I will be showing you how you can to all of this yourself is being done with a theme called Builder that comes from iThemes.

With Word Press there are two different types of themes – there are thousands and thousands of free themes – some are great, some are OK and some just do not do what you want.  The other type of themes are called premium themes.  You pay for these.  Two of my favorite premium themes are the ones from iThemes – This site is iThemes Flex and the new site is iThemes Builder.  The other premium theme I like is the Dream Theme from Go For You Dream.  I will have links to both as I put the site together.   The new site is a part of Geezer n Geek where I help people learn to use their computer.  The new site is Geezer n Geek Small Business Guides just click on the link to get there.