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5 Tips To Move Your Business Forward

Whether you're dreaming big or small, here are 5 things you can do to move your business forward.

1.Websites. The majority of small and home-based businesses have a website of some sort, but have you really thought about your website's impact on your customers/clients?

Some common pitfalls of websites are:

- unappealing colours
- too many advertisements
- overused flashing items
- too many different fonts
- spelling/grammar errors
- having to scroll a lot to read things
- an abundance of unrelated material
- pop-ups
- every link opening in a new window
- image overload

Your website is a reflection of your professionalism, and if it isnít up to par, you could be losing money. Go to your website now and view it with a critical eye, or have a friend give you their honest opinion. You might not want to hear what they have to say, but it's only going to work for you, not against you.

Visit your favourite websites and really look to see what it is that makes their website so appealing to you. Are the colours relaxing? Do they have good, related content? Can you read through a page without being bombarded with spelling errors?

Once you have an idea of what's working and what's not, make a list of all the things you can do to improve your website, then do them. Keep it clean, simple, easy to read, and you will be well on your way to website success.

2.Email Newsletters. This is an obvious, and widely used tool in business today, but it takes more then placing a signup box on your website to get subscribers, and keep them.

Boost your subscriber list by offering a free reward for signing up. This can be an ebook, special report, entry into a draw for a prize, or even a discount coupon to be used on their first order. You'll be surprised by how many people signup just to get the free stuff.

Avoid lengthy newsletters. Focusing on four or five topics is enough for your readers to feel comfortable with. Keep articles between 300-500 words, anything longer and your readers will be clicking that little x button because they don't have the time to read it.

People are more apt to read a lengthy article on your website then in your email newsletter, so if you can't get away with articles that short, then use teasers. Provide a couple of paragraphs from the article and include a link to your website where they can read the whole thing. This is an added bonus because it gets your subscribers to your site, which could result in more sales.

Do not take advantage of the fact that your subscribers opted into your newsletter. This doesn't mean that they want to be bombarded with emails from you. Anything more then once a week, and you're likely to get people opting out. Your readers sift through piles of email everyday and adding to the slush pile can mean bad news for you. Keep them looking forward to your newsletter by limiting how often it goes out. Provide fresh, interesting content, and make them feel special by offering special discounts, coupons, gifts, etc. every so often.

Take the time to think about what makes you type your email address into someone's signup box, and use that knowledge to improve your own service.

3.Blogging. This is a huge phenomenon on the Internet today, and people all around the world have them, but can blogging be beneficial to your business?

Yes, it can. If you build up a following of people who read your blog on a regular basis, then you could be setting yourself up to gain allies, partnerships and referrals. As readers get to know and trust in you, they are far more likely to buy from you and tell others about it.

Avoid making your blog too personal; customers do not want to read about the new kitten you got. Instead, share the resources you found that deal with your specific business and talk about your dealings with those resources. Make recommendations of other business products and services that might interest your customers (use your affiliate link). Announce freebies, contests, coupons that you or other companies are offering. Write an informative column with tips and information that others can put to use in their own businesses.

Try to keep your blog on track. Readers will come to expect and like your blog entries, so donít steer too far away from what they like. Update your entries frequently to avoid losing readers. If you have the same old stuff on there for weeks at a time, people won't bother coming around to read it anymore. When you sit down to write a new entry, write an extra one to keep in a folder on your computer for times when you are rushed, gone on holidays, or ill. This way, you are able to quickly copy and paste the pre-written blog entry in just a couple of minutes.

Donít forget to include the link to your blog on your website, in your email signature, business card, and all your other marketing materials. To gain a following of readers, you have to advertise.

4.Press Releases. No matter what type of business you have, whether it's big or small, you can benefit from the use of press releases. If you don't know how to write one, have someone do it for you.

There are hundreds of websites on the Internet that you can submit your press release to for free. But don't forget about offline opportunities. Submit it to your local media, they may run a story on you and your business in the paper, which means free publicity.

To get the best results using press releases, prepare a new one each month and re-submit it. Every month brings about change in your business; it could be a fundraiser, Christmas sale, new staff member, special promotion, etc. Whatever you have going on, share it in a press release.

Keep track of your press release. Compile a list of all the places on and offline that you submitted your press release to, this will save you time when you are ready to send out a new one. Set up a special link or email address that only people who read your press release use, this will give you an idea of the traffic generated from it. You can even offer a discount with the mention of the press release.

Ensure that your press release is professional, and well written so that it replicates the quality of your business to the media.

5.Articles. Like press releases, articles are an excellent way to gain exposure to your business. You can write about anything that relates to your business, if you're not good with articles, get someone to do it for you.

Like PR outlets, there are hundreds of places online where you can submit your article for free. Your article should be informative, easy to read, and well written. You also need to include an author's resource box at the end of it. This may contain information about you, your business, a website, or even an email address. You can put as little or as much as you want in the resource box, but always give readers a way to get in touch with you.

While writing an article, be sure to include your link and relevant keywords. This will help to improve your search engine rankings. Avoid making it sound like an ad. Most article submission sites must approve your article before it is posted, and if it isnít beneficial to readers it won't get used.

You article will end up being used in personal and business newsletters, posted on websites and blogs, but wherever it ends up, remember that your business info and link is in that article, and could generate sales.

Websites, email newsletters, blogs, press releases, and articles can all work to help you accomplish your goals of growing your business. Get yourself into the habit of casting a critical eye on your business practices, because there is always room for improvement. Learn from other people who have found success, and follow suit.

Thinking about what can and needs to be done to get your business moving forward is a place to start, but you need to take action and get it done. So make a plan now, right now, and get yourself moving ahead, you are the only one who can make it happen.

Submitted by:

Melissa Ingold

This article is brought to you by Writing From Home: Writing for work at home mom businesses, website content, articles, marketing materials, and free reprint articles will improve your sales, website traffic, and help you build customer trust. Visit http://www.writingfromhome.com.




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