Archive For: November, 2013

5 Tips For Building Your Dream Forum Or Website

5 Tips For Building Your Dream Forum Or Website

A new year is approaching, and with it comes the annual list of resolutions and goals to mark the calendar. High on the list for most people is improving their website (or starting one). Gone are the days when websites were only owned by tech geeks and big companies.

It’s as simple as ever to get started with your own website or forum. Companies like WordPress and XenForo have paved the way for software solutions that are about as ‘plug and play’ as it’s going to get, without shelling out the big bucks. It’s also more easy than ever to have a website look just as professional as ones costing thousands of dollars.

Of course, an investment is still required. You need a domain. You need hosting. Most of all, you need a plan and a direction for your new website. It won’t build itself. Whether you plan on hiring a designer, or you are more of the do-it-yourself type, following some basic steps during the launch process will allow you to build a forum or website that stands out and looks they way you want.

Follow these five simple steps and you’ll have the website you want in no time.

Work Within Your Budget

It’s very easy to get sucked into thinking that you need everything at once. In reality, you don’t. Getting started is half the battle, and the sooner you get online, the better off your website will be down the road. Set yourself a budget — and stick to it. There will always be room for improvement. The important thing is getting online.

Choose The Perfect Domain

We’ve talked about choosing a domain name for your website before. Your domain will be something that everyone will use to identify your site, so you should definitely do some thinking on this before you launch. Switching to another domain down the road has a lot of drawbacks; you’ll lose a bit of search traffic, you’ll have to implement 301s and watch out for 404’d urls. Basically, it’s a big hassle. Better to chose the perfect domain name right from the beginning.

Bookmark What You Like

Chances are on your quest to build a forum or website, you’ve checked out other sites and got an idea for the look you want. Before the design process kicks in, you’ll need plenty of sources for inspiration. What will help the process along is having examples of the look and features you want to see on your site. A handy little tool for this phase of your website launch is Evernote. Simply install the browser tab and when you come across a feature or website you would like to model your site after, hit the bookmark button and comment on what exactly it is that stood out to you.

Implement What You Can

Once you know what you want to see on your site you’ll be able to start implementing what you can. There is a very real chance that you won’t be able to implement everything. You may not have the budget, or lack the skills to get the implementation you need. Do not let this discourage you. Once your site starts becoming successful you’ll be able to revisit these ideas and implement them if they are still important to you.

Let Consistency Pay Off

Consistency is the key to successful marketing. You will not get anywhere without putting in the work. Once your website is live the work is only beginning. You’ll have a lot to learn, but what you need to remember is that baby steps count. Do what you can and spend time learning about marketing, SEO, and social media. In time, and with enough effort, you will grow the successful website you are dreaming about.

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A Turkey’s Guide To Thanksgiving Marketing

A Turkey's Guide To Thanksgiving Marketing

Thanksgiving is about fun, family… and eating a lot of good food. It’s also the time of year we reflect on our blessings and be thankful for what we have. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. There is nothing quite like relaxing with the family, with the bustle and activity of food being prepared, children playing, and the football game sounding in the background.

That’s not all the holiday season brings. It’s also a time of year when shoppers come out in full force. For a lot of businesses, this is the “make or break” season, so it’s incredibly important to be prepared for what’s coming.

A lot of shopping occurs this time of year, so much in fact that Adobe is forecasting the biggest Thanksgiving, the biggest Black Friday, and the biggest Cyber Monday in history.

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6 Small Business Marketing Tips For Thanksgiving

Creating an incredible Thanksgiving feast is a lot like creating the perfect marketing plan: it takes preparation, skill, a bit of cash. You also need people to show up. You don’t want the bird on the table without guests, just like you don’t want to put in the work and not have customers showing up to your business, or clicking the order button on your website.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a bit of information to get you going in the right direction.

1. Get started early

Procrastination will not get you to where you need to be, so the only way to pull this off is get started early. You don’t rush out on Thanksgiving to shop for supplies. If you have before, you’re well aware that it turns Thanksgiving into a stressful chore; scrambling to the store, preparing the bird, hoping to get dinner done in time. It takes all the joy out of the holiday and you work yourself to the bone trying to get everything done at once. More times than not, quality suffer as well.

Start your planning early. Don’t put yourself in the position to have to make a mad dash to get things done. Strategize what you want to accomplish this holiday season and start laying the groundwork for a successful Thanksgiving marketing campaign.

2. Dress up for the holidays

What is a Thanksgiving meal without the dressing? It’s all the little things to make a great meal. You need stuffing, pie, mashed potatoes, and all the other fixings — especially if I’m coming for dinner.

The same goes for your business. Let your customers (and potentials) know you are one with the seasons. If you own a brick-and-mortar establishment, make sure to add some festive Thanksgiving decorations. This simple touch will add warmth and get people in the spirit of the holidays. If you only do business online, why not add some Thanksgiving touches to your website?

3. Host an event

Beyond the food, Thanksgiving is about coming together with family and friends. Hosting an event for your customers, whether online or in the store, is something that can help you leverage the holiday season and bring your customers closer to you.

This is important. It will help you build brand loyalty. Without differentiating yourself from the competition, customers are left comparing apples to apples.

4. Send calendars or cards to your customers

Have you ever sent out postcards to family and friends during the holidays? The reality is that with social media becoming such a huge part of our lives, the old pen and paper often fall by the wayside.

This makes the impact of receiving a postcard, letter, or calendar, even stronger. Try to put together some gifts for your customers. I’m sure they will be “thankful”.

5. Don’t skimp on marketing materials or advertising

There are a lot of people that go all out for Thanksgiving. Maybe that is not you, but I will venture a guess that there is at least someone in your family or circle that is known for cooking an excellent meal for Thanksgiving. They don’t skimp on things. They take no shortcuts. Everything has to be homemade (or close to it).

You should take this same approach to your holiday marketing. Pay attention to the details and don’t skimp on doing what you need to do to get the word out. Set aside a budget for paid advertising, and be sure to have money / time set aside to bring the best to the table.

6. Cross promote

Thanksgiving is about coming together, so a cross-promotion strategy this holiday season might be the perfect choice. Teaming up with another business doubles your audience, and increase your marketing budget — you don’t have to worry about everything coming out of your pocket. On the other side of the coin though, you’ll want to make sure you partner up with a business that does not compete with you directly, but offers something that your customers would appreciate.

Do you have any Thanksgiving marketing tips to share?

 

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How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name For Your Business

How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name For Your Business

Domains are the real estate of the internet. A great domain name can be the foundation for an empire. A bad one can be exceptionally forgettable. There are a variety of factors that go into choosing the perfect domain name for your website, but at the end of the day it comes down to one thing: you have an important decision to make.

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