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Before you know it, Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving) will be here, and you need to be prepared.  Many eCommerce websites see an increased traffic and checkout count on Cyber Monday, so looking ahead now can help you get more sales on that day.  Here are a few items you should check on quickly to make sure you and your website are ready:

  • Make sure your checkout actually works; many people think it does and it doesn’t
  • Make sure that it is clear to the user when the checkout happens
  • Verify that you have up-sell opportunities on the site
  • Make sure that you have social media options on your products for people to share
  • Be prepared to spend some time that week for Online Customer Service
  • Be sure to know your inventory for that week and keep it updated online so that you don’t oversell

With just a few tips, you can be prepared for the online shopping season, which begins in earnest on Cyber Monday.  Don’t wait, and don’t procrastinate.  The sooner you look at these things, the better you will be prepared to handle any issues and moreover, your website will be much more effective for the shopping season.

If you would like some help with your eCommerce website, we would be happy to help you with that!  We have website maintenance plans available that fit many small businesses. Just contact us!


© Lisa March for Reliable Linking, 2012. |
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You and I don’t know what the future has in store for us. Life is funny like that and yet, many of us are so totally unprepared!
I get lots of emails each week asking me for my best tip or even what I would do differently if I had the opportunity to have a second […]


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2012. |
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Podcast Powered By Podbean
Download this episode (right click and save)
There truly aren’t enough hours in the day for us to kick butt, take names or if you’re struggling . . . enough hours to keep your head above water.
Things are moving at a crazy pace and yet . . .
We absolutely MUST get smarter at […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2012. |
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Many of our customers already have websites when they come to us for the first time. Some of them only need a new web maintenance team because their old web people were unreliable or hard to work with. Others ask us to redo their entire site. Since our web work is performed using WordPress, sometimes that means we have to duplicate a website that’s in another format by using WordPress to recreate it.

Step 1. Install “bare-bones” theme on WordPress.  Basically, there is no styling whatsoever, so everything looks like default, plain HTML. The background is white, the text is black, and the hyperlinks are blue.

Step 2. Start with simple things like body background color, fonts, etc. These are considered the basics of designing for the web.

Step 3. Create HTML container elements (usually divs) to wrap the different sections.  It’s important to be sure that these elements are wrapped around the WP-specific code properly, so that the content will show up in the appropriate places. Different sections can include complex pieces of the site; the code for the navigation bar is a good example of one separate section. It’s helpful to implement borders around the different sections at first, so the web programmer can set the sizes, then worry about background colors, images, and other things that won’t change the layout of the page.

Step 4. Make sure to hide things like “proudly powered by WordPress”, comment links, and other things that don’t fit into the design. These may be the default WordPress settings, but they are optional, so we usually remove any “free advertising” to make sure the focus of the website is on our client.

Step 5. Once the page is laid out roughly the way it should be, it’s time to get more involved with padding, complex backgrounds, images, links, etc. If you don’t know what “padding” means when it comes to websites, think of the same kind of soft padding one might add to a package before it’s mailed. It’s a way to add filler space around an element on the site, such as a paragraph of text.

Step 6. When duplicating styles from an existing website, it is helpful to use the “inspect element” function in Google Chrome or Firefox. It’s like taking a sneak peek at the code that someone else already wrote.  This helpful tool will easily tell you exactly what files are being applied to what elements, and it makes duplicating websites much easier.

Step 7. At this point, the only thing left to do to set up the layout is to start whittling away at the smaller things.  It helps to have the existing site and the new site open side-by-side for comparison, like a “spot-the-difference” challenge. With this method, differences are quickly and easily pinpointed.

Step 8. Once the layout seems to be the way it should be, the content can finally be added to all the different pages in the WP backend. In this situation, “content” means text, usually written by one of our content writers or by the client personally. After our team in the office reviews the content for accuracy, spelling and other possible flaws, all that is needed is client approval before the website can be launched.

If you have any questions about this process or about other aspects of web work, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d love to hear from you.


© Lisa March for Reliable Linking, 2012. |
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As many of you know, Hurricane Sandy was no joke!
Lives were lost, homes ruined, electric has been out for several days now, long lines at the few gas stations that still have gas, stores running out of supplies . . . This is what things look like in my neck of the woods!
Want to know […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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I believe it was the great Dale Carnegie who once said that there are essentially three presentations that we all make.
The one we planned to give
The one we actually gave
The one we wished we had given
I’m sure you’ll agree that “presentations” aren’t just given to large groups or exclusively in some  formal setting.
They are also […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2012. |
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I was brainstorming with one of my coaching clients on additional ways to increase business between now and year end.
My client suggested that he could add a really simple question to his arsenal.
“How can I help YOU finish strong this year?”
It’s a brilliant question because we often forget that OUR success is a direct result […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2012. |
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Understand that it has an expiration date!
Understand that most people . . .
Either don’t have a plan from the word “no” or . . .
Simply give up after the word “no”.
No is not a door slammed shut for all eternity . . . it simply means “Not Now”

Think I’m kidding?
Here’s some proof . . .
Did […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2012. |
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How much do you know about YouTube? It’s a pretty powerful tool, not just an entertaining time-waster. You can find all kinds of different content in the videos posted there, from videos of cats to intelligent lectures and tutorials to music videos. In recent times, it has also become a powerful tool for political and social movements. Did you know YouTube is ranked as the number two search engine in the world, second only to Google? That sounds like a pretty good reason to establish a YouTube presence for your company.  Even without a lot of views, simply posting videos and linking to your website in the description is another great way to improve your search engine rankings.

You don’t need fancy camera equipment, either. You can use a smartphone (if you don’t have one, ask a friend) to record a simple video and post it straight to YouTube. Technology today has really made it easy for people to put themselves out there. So now the question you have to ask yourself is “what’s stopping me?”

If you have no idea what types of videos to post, don’t worry. There are plenty of different ways to create content for videos without being a professional videographer. If you sit down and brainstorm ideas for videos that you think your potential clients will be looking for, you are off to a great start. If you’re a landscaper, try filming a walking tour of your recent beautiful project, and narrating what you did to make it so nice. If you’re an artist, film yourself at work. Maybe you have products for sale – ask your customers to send you videos of your products in action. If you think your job is too boring to document, then it’s time to whip out your marketing skills and create a scenario worth watching.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. There is no one specific way to create a video that will go viral, nor is there a checklist on how to do it. You need to figure out what makes you stand out and use that to your advantage. If that involves writing a script and practicing ahead of time, then so be it. You can also hire professionals to help you brainstorm, plan and develop a video campaign. Check out the options that we offer here at inConcert, or take a peek at our channel! If you haven’t seen our Tuesday Tips series, you’re seriously missing out.

 


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What is your website marketing budget?  The typical response I get to that question is “HUH?”  So I often repeat the question.  Many people still have no idea what I mean nor have they ever thought about it.  Website marketing and maintenance have evolved over the past few years.  It used to be that you didn’t have to market your website much at all, but no more.  Now, the first thing I tell clients is that building the website is the first step in a long process of building and effective website.  You cannot just stop the process after the first step.  You need to complete the entire process, as you would with any project.

When defining your Website Marketing Budget, I advise folks to make it 20% of your overall marketing budget, as a minimum.  If your site is your sole driver of sales, then of course this number needs to be much higher than 20%, it might need to be 70% or even 80%.

Defining what goes into your website marketing budget is usually pretty simple, here are few items that you should find within your budget:

  • PPC Advertising
  • Link Building Costs
  • Website Maintenance Plan Costs
  • Banner Advertising
  • Content Writer
  • Code and Content updates

Like anything, if you plan accordingly, your website can be very effective.  With a proper budget, you can continue to grow your website, and make it more effective each and every day.  If you need someone to help you work through your budget, just contact us, I would be happy to assist you.


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