Write Better, Now.

If you’re like most small businesses, you slave away on your website design and spend sleepless nights worrying about SEO. But have you neglected your writing – one of the most important parts of any website?

The words you use have the power to instantly convert (or chase away) potential customers. Nothing is more saddening than a beautiful website with poor writing – it implies that the business is carelessly run, or at least lacking.

Writing is something that you can never perfect, only improve upon. Make a promise to yourself today to improve your writing. (Find a couple websites you like and ask yourself how they use their copy effectively.)

Here are my three favorite tips to get started up your copy, right now.

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Weekly Small Business Roundup

richard-branson-picture-1

In this week’s Small Business Roundup, there’s a smorgasboard of everything from Search Engine Optimization to keeping on top of your business’ cashflow.

Richard Branson tells Entrepreneur.com that having fun is just as integral to success as anything else.

Marketing Sherpa wraps up the B2B Marketing Summit with 7 Takeaways to engage new customers.

Alex Whallye of FamousBloggers.net dives into Keyword SEO with 7 Tips to Dominate Google.

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) – one of the most respected associations among professionals – takes a look at  Financial Management 101 with 7 Tips to Get Organized and Be Smart.

Penelope Trunk of BNet explores how to beat the disease known as perfectionism.

What interesting reading have you come across recently? Share it in the comments below!

Advanced Design Tip #2: Technical Tips for Call to Action Buttons

Last week, we introduced Call to Action buttons (CTAs) as a great tool to help increase conversions on your small business website. This week we will give you some techniques to maximize effectiveness and boost sales! Read on for some great tips from our Brand Manager and Creative Director, Joe Deobald.

Group the Elements

Grouping elements together is a great way to help emphasize the importance of the CTA button. In the example below, the text above the button helps earn the visitor’s trust – giving a sense of “it’s safe to click.” The whitespace to the right helps to separate blocks of elements from each other, allowing for a clear indication that they are different.

donortools_whitespace_grouped

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SEO Building Blocks: Use your Headlines

headline What you don’t know about headlines may be hurting you and your small business. No, really.

We’ve talked before about using effective headlines on your website to entice customers and state the value of your business. But they also have another valuable attribute: the H1 (or <h1>) tag.

H1 tags are one of those things that search engines look for in your website when they’re crawling your pages and trying to figure out what your site is all about. The logic behind it is that if you’re emphasizing that information on the page as a headline, it probably means something – which is why you should always include keywords in it.

H1 tags are found in the HTML code that makes up your website. If you’re using a website builder like CityMax.com, the HTML is created automatically for you and there are ways to apply the H1 tag without having to mess with any code – keep reading to find out how.

Here’s the Golden Rule:
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Advanced Design Tip #1: Intro to Call to Action Buttons

Due to popular demand, today we kick off a new series of posts: Advanced Design Tips with Joe Deobald, Brand Manager and Creative Director at CityMax.com.

Call to action buttons: Let your visitors know what’s important

Congratulations! So you’ve finally got your site up and running. You’ve added products and great SEO content, and you’re ready to launch your site. You even have a great offer that you want your site visitors to buy. With Call to Action Buttons (CTAs), you can literally guide your visitors that awesome deal on a hand bag, or to join your special newsletter.

First off: let’s talk about what a CTA actually is. Simply put, it’s a button that tells the user to perform an action like “Buy this now!” or “Learn More…”
Before just throwing any old button up on your site, you need to plan it out. You want it to grab their attention – not just with a bright orange or green, but the text needs to be short, descriptive, and entice them to click. You want to tell them what to expect once they click the button: you need to build trust. Think about the questions and expectations your visitors will ask before making the decision to click. If it’s a free trial, then put that in the CTA.

onehub_tell_users_expect1

The old wives’ tale that size matters isn’t a stretch in this context. For website design, the larger the element is, the more important it is. This is a main focus on your website. You need to figure out exactly how important the action is, and design your buttons accordingly.
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3 Top Tips for Dealing With Information Overload

is-information-overload-taking-its-toll-on-our-brainsEmails. Twitter. Facebook. Blogs.

We live in an age of infinite information and perpetual data. It’s easy to waste an entire morning reading Tweets, watching YouTube and checking your LinkedIn. Sometimes there’s just so much incoming material that it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lose productivity.

So – how do you get anything done? How do you take action and regain your sanity?

Here are three ways.

1. Check your email just twice a day.

Yes, that’s it. Unless it’s a medical emergency or the Wall Street Journal calling to put you on the front page, do NOT stop what you’re doing to even scan it. Studies have shown that it takes as long as 20 minutes to recover focus if you are interrupted while in the middle of a task.
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Website of the Month: More Than Cloth Diapers

www.MoreThanClothDiapers.com
www.MoreThanClothDiapers.com

What if you could clothe your baby while saving the environment AND hundreds of dollars a year? At More Than Cloth Diapers, our Website of the Month, you can do just that – find cloth diapers, cloth diapering accessories and healthy environmental options for everyday products.

While sustainable products might seem like a trend that companies are scrambling to adopt nowadays, Laura Beaton founded her entire business on her passion for the environment. The online store has been running since 2008, and recently Laura shared her story with us:

“I’ve always been environmentally conscious. My dad used to call me a hippie “granola cruncher.” Cloth diapers were up and coming six years ago, with new designs – reusable, disposable, not the old squares my parents used on me. I got in at the right time, while they were hard to find – and the more brands I found, the more I wanted to tell other people. If I can save people from throwing stuff in the landfill, that’s awesome.”My target market is now younger moms who are just getting into it – planning outfits around them, even buying designer diapers. But saving money is what really talks to people – you’ll save as much as $400 a year using cloth over disposables!”
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