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Internet Marketing Blog

September 2010

Small Business Guide to Making a Spider Friendly Site for SEO

 
Recently I wrote an article on the best practices for Search Engine Optimization in Search Engine Optimization
Guide for Small Businesses. The article talked about 4 components that make up strong SEO. One of these components is making your site spider friendly. This article gives some tips and tricks on how to make a spider friendly site to improve your SEO.
A Search Engine Spider is a robot that reads the HTML code of a website and uses it to find out when to show your website in search engines. So, the first step in optimizing your website for SEO is making sure that your website is as spider-friendly as possible. This involves a number of things, but the most important aspects to consider are:
 
    1) Make sure that your website has a strong URL structure
 
Your site’s URL is a key factor for how a page is ranked within search engines, as it tells online users and search engines what your site is about. Make sure your Website name contains your company name in it, that it isn’t too long, and that you’ve defined the canonical URL. The canonical URL is the primary URL for your website. You may have “www.yourwebsite.com” as well as “yourwebsite.com” and it’s important for search engines to know which one they need to refer to. Without this, you would be dividing your SEO efforts between two websites. Also, if there are multiple words in your URL, search engines can read them better if they are separated by hyphens.
 
     2) Use “description” meta tags, which give Google and other search engines a summary of what the page 
         is about

The page description (or meta description), is designed to provide a brief description of your page for search engines and your visitors. It will appear in search engine results under your website link.  Each of your page descriptions should be unique, include some of your search terms and should not be longer than a small paragraph.
 
     3) Create unique and accurate page titles
 
The page name is added to your website’s title tag following your website name. Each of your page names should be brief, accurately describe its contents and include one of your search terms. The words in your page name should also be incorporated in the text.

      4) Improve Site Navigation
 
For easy site navigation, your website should have text links between every page on your site. One easy way to do this is to add text links to the footer of each of your website pages.
 
      5) Optimize Images with alt-descriptions
 
The descriptions or “alt tags” allows search engines to better understand your images and will help you rank higher. Plus, the descriptions will also display on your site if your images don’t load to help visitors understand what the image is illustrating. Use brief, but descriptive text and include your search terms.
 
Making sure your website is “spider-friendly” is one of the most effective ways you can improve your ranking in search engines. Don’t be concerned if you don’t get to all these items at once; search engine optimization is a process and you won’t be done in one sitting. If you’re looking for a tool that automatically lets you make your site “spider-friendly”, check out our Search Engine Optimizer that lets you view your website’s SEO analysis and make automated quick fixes.
 
What questions do you have on Search Engine Optimization? Feel free to share with a comment.

Adding Facebook and Twitter badges/buttons to your website

 
 
 
Due to a number of questions on our Blog, Facebook and twitter this week we have put together some instructions for how to add both facebook and twitter badges to your website.

This can been done in two different ways: The first Option uses the images extra in the website builder, and the second uses the HTML extra that comes with the Advanced Design Tools upgrade.  See which one best suits your needs.
 
Option 1: Using Images and Links

Step 1: Save the image you want to use into a folder on your computer.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Step 2: Log into the Website Builder and click on Images at the top of the toolbar under “Insert” tools.

Step 3:
Once the image up loader pops up, click on browse to add the image from your files.
 
Step 4:  When you see the image loaded into the Website Builder, “Right Click” on the image and you will see “Link” as the top option on the menu. Click on the “Link” option.
 
Step 5: Grab the URL (website address) you want to link the image too. Do this by going to the respective page (Facebook or Twitter) and copying the URL.
 
Step 6: Go back into the website builder and select the option “Link to another page on the web” and paste or type the URL into the text box and click ok.
 
Option 2: Pasting HTML

Step 1: Log in to your Facebook and twitter accounts to get the badge HTML code.
Facebook

FB 1: Log into your account and open up your business Facebook page.
 
FB 2: Click on Edit Page and on the lower right side of the page click on the link “Get your Badge” or click here to go straight to the Facebook Badges page. On http://www.facebook.com/badges/, you can choose which type of badge you’d like to use . You’ll be prompted with what you’d like to use the HTML text for.  Select “Other” and you’ll be provided the text to copy and paste into the website builder
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FB 3: Select the type of badge you want to create

FB 4:
Customize the size and how you want it to look on your site.
 
FB 5: Click "Get Code" and copy the iframe code from the text box.
 
See step 2 for adding it to your site
 
Twitter
 
T 1: Log into your twitter account
 
T 2: Click on the settings tab at the top of the page.
 
T 3: Once your settings page is open scroll down to the Footer where you will see the links specific to twitter like “About Us” “Contact”, the one you want to click on is “Goodies”. The Goodies (http://twitter.com/goodies) page will bring you to the twitter "Buttons and Widget Page".
 
T 4: Select the type of button for your website and you will then be prompted to select the actual image to display on the page. Select an image that you like best. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
T 5: To get the HTML code for the button you need to click on the image and copy the HTML code displayed above the image.
 
It will look like this: 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Now see step 2 to add it to your site.
 
Step 2: Adding the image to your site using the HTML Extra feature in the site builder
SB 1: Log into your Vistaprint Website Builder
 
SB 2: Click on the “Extra” button then select the “Add HTML” feature
 
SB 3: Add the HTML code from Facebook or twitter into the text box by pasting it, then click done.
 
SB 4: This will bring the image onto your site and all you need to do now is place it where it looks best!
 
SB 5: Hit publish and your customers will be liking on Facebook and tweeting you on Twitter in no time!!
 
For people who have Advanced Design Tools (a website upgrade feature) you have the ability to add HTML using option 1 and 2. For people without Advanced Design Tools you can use option 1 or for a small fee upgrade to Advanced Design Tools
 
Hope this helps you getting the Facebook and twitter badges on your site! Feel free to share your success once you have added badges to your site, on Facebook, Twitter and the Vistaprint Internet Marketing Blog

Search Engine Optimization Guide for Small Businesses

 
 
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great, cost-effective way for small businesses to improve their ranking in search engines and drive more traffic to their site. When focusing on optimizing your website’s SEO, it’s important to focus on all aspects of SEO. Check back soon for tips on how to use SEO to drive more traffic, and business, to your site.
 
 
The process of SEO is broken up into 4 main components: 
 
 
Spider Friendly Site – A Search Engine Spider is a robot that reads the HTML code of a website and determines when to show your website in search engines. These spiders/robots prefer sites that they can easily interpret, so it’s important that your site is spider-friendly.
 
Search Terms- Search Terms are the words that a user might search for to find your website. It’s important that you incorporate these Search Terms throughout your site if you want to rank well.
 
Content – The content of your site is what your customers will see when they come visit; it’s the text and images that make up the body of your site. Creating compelling and useful content is one of the most important ways you can influence your site.
 
Link Building –Link building is the process of getting other websites on the internet to add links to your website (also known as Inbound Links). The more websites that are linking to your site, the better.
 
Search Engine Optimization is essential to driving more traffic to your website. There are many aspects of SEO, but it’s important to incorporate as many pieces of the puzzle as you can. Don’t get overwhelmed when working on your site, SEO takes some time to complete but it will pay off when you start getting new customers online.
 
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about a few tactical ways you can easily improve your SEO ranking in search engines. Make sure to check back for tips on how to incorporate the 4 main components on your site. To complete SEO with little our automated tool, check out Vistaprint’s Search Engine Optimizer. Best of luck!
 
What tips or thoughts do you have on SEO? What has worked for you in the past?

Welcome to our new blog, we’re here to help!

 
 
Are you unsure of how to market your business online?
 
Have you heard the buzz about using social media?
 
Are you looking for tips on how to get your website found in search engines?
 
Welcome to the Vistaprint Internet Marketing Blog! We’re here to provide education and insight about internet marketing for micro businesses and answer any questions that you might have along the way. We’d love to hear from you, so speak up with comments or questions on our blog, our Twitter page or our Facebook page.
 
We’ve spent years working with micro businesses that market themselves online
 
Helping micro businesses get online is what our Internet Marketing team specializes in. We’re really excited to share what we’ve learned with you on this blog. We’ll be posting all sorts of interesting and relevant content about internet marketing for micro businesses and would love to personally engage with you. In the coming weeks we’ll be posting some great articles about getting your website found in search engines (SEO), how to make your website stand out from the crowd, how to use email marketing to reach out to your customers, how to create your own blog, and how to use social media for your business. We’d also love to hear about topics that you’re interested in reading more about, so post a comment and let us know!
 
Aside from our blog, we’ll also be interacting with our micro business community about internet marketing topics on Facebook and Twitter. Come check out our pages and follow us to stay in the loop with our latest articles and posts. We’ll also use these accounts to post information about new features and tools that we’re working on as well as to respond directly to your questions.
 
Thanks for visiting, and we look forward to interacting with you online!
 

Do I really need a website for my business?

 
 
I’m often asked by small business owners why they need a website. I always start by letting them knowing that in this day and age if your business doesn’t have a website it doesn’t exist. A study run by eMarketer found that 85% of people contact businesses that they find in local searches on the internet, so if you’re serious about your business the question should be: “How can you afford NOT to have a website?”
 
Get “out there” and gain credibility
 
Many people search for a business online before ever picking up the phone or setting foot in a store. Most people don’t even look in the YellowPages anymore to find businesses; they just turn on their computer (or their phone) to find what they’re looking for. If you aren’t online, you could miss out on those potential customers.
 
Having a website adds credibility to your business and gives your customers a chance to learn more about your products and services. Plus, you can speak to what makes your business special and why they should come to you. Think of your website as your online brochure; this is where people will read about your offerings, view photos, and find contact information. And if you have products to sell, your website can be a great place to drive sales by allowing customers to order directly on the site.
 
Whether you are generating direct sales on your site, or simply using it as an informational tool for prospective customers, your website is a cornerstone to the success and growth of your business. I’ll bet your competitors have one already.
 
If you’d like to try Vistaprint websites  we offer a 1-month FREE trial. Check it out  and see if it works for you and your business.
 
Now you know why you need a website find out more about how to create compelling content for your website from one of my previous posts on "How to Build Your First Website".
 
I would love to hear your thoughts on this so feel free to comment or create your own post about the need for having a website.
 
Till next time

How to build your first website

 
 
So you’ve decided to build a website for your business, but you don’t know where to start. In this article, I’ll outline the first three things that you should do to get your first website up and running.
 
 
 
1.   Create a Homepage
Remember the saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression?” Well, your homepage is the first impression that you’ll make to your site visitors, so it should really reflect what is great about your business and draw the customers in.
 
When you create your homepage, you should include the following information:
 
  • A brief description of your business and what you do
  • A list of your products or services
  • One or more photos of the business or your products
  • Information about where your business is located (if you run a local business, this is critical!)
  • Other important information that you want to make sure your visitors see. For example special promotions and specific events coming that your customer should be aware of. These will vary depending on your business.    
 
Make sure your homepage is easy to read and has specific information about your business. Remember, this is your face to the online world!
 
2.   Create a “Contact Us” Page
 
While the homepage will draw potential customers in, the “Contact Us” page will give them all the information they need to find you or reach out to you. When you create this page, make sure to include:
 
  • A phone number for customers to call you
  • Your business address and a map to your location (don’t forget driving directions!)
  • An online form that customers can fill out to ask questions directly
  • Links to your Facebook or Twitter pages so that customers can follow you
  • A signup form to subscribe to your Email Newsletters (if you have one), or to join your email list, even if you don’t have it up and running.
 
Search engines will be crawling your site, so this page is also very helpful to make sure that you show up when people search for businesses like yours in your city or town.
 
3.   Create an “About Us” Page
 
The “About Us” page is the place on your website where you can explain to your visitors what makes your business great and why they should work with you. When you create this page, imagine yourself talking to someone you just met on the street who was interested in learning more about what you do. What would you tell them? Some ideas include:
 
  • What is your business? What services do you provide or what products do you sell?
  • Where is your business? Are you a local business or a national business? Do you cover certain cities or towns?
  • What is the history of your business? Did you start it yourself? Why did you decide to get into the business?
  • What are the core values of your business? Are you family run? Do you offer a guarantee of 100% satisfaction?
  • Have your business won any awards? What are your specialties?
  • Who are you? How many employees do you have and what do they do?
 
This page should really make it clear what your business is all about and should give your visitors piece of mind that you stand behind your products or services.
 
These three pages are all you need to get your business online quickly, but once you have them up and running there are plenty of other pages you can add to get more out of your website. I’ll be posting more over the coming weeks about this, but feel free to leave a comment or suggestion about things you’d like to read about. Good luck getting your site launched!
 
We look forward to working with you to get online, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.
 
 
 

New! Start communicating with your website visitors using a blog

 
 
You asked for them, and we delivered!
 
Just this past month, Vistaprint has launched a blog feature which can be added to your Vistaprint website. This new feature allows you to establish an interactive forum to build long-lasting relationships with your visitors.  Share news, thoughts and opinions with your customers or friends through posts; receive feedback, and write replies! When you add a blog to your site, it will use the same style as the rest of your site so that you can maintain a consistent, professional appearance and so that your entire site matches any printed materials you've created.  The blog will appear as a new page on your site, but you'll be able to post to it without republishing your entire site.
 
Vistaprint blogs even let you include many of the extras that you've already been using on your website in your posts. You can easily add images, videos, music, maps, and Share buttons to you blog posts to really make your content stand out.  Just visit the "My Blog" section of your website dashboard to add and manage posts, manage your comments or get help. An added benefit to having a blog is that frequent posting can greatly increase your website’s ranking in search results as sites like Google® rank sites with freshly updated content higher than sites with older content. In turn, the higher search rankings will help drive new customers to your site! Best of all, as you can see, we’ve started our own blog, www.blog.vpweb.com using the Vistaprint blogging tool to create relevent and interesting content for you.
We would love to here what you think of the new blogging tool. 
 
Sign up for a blog today, and let us know what you think!

Show up in Search Engines with SEO and Drive more Traffic

 
 
You’ve probably heard before that having a website is crucial to having a successful business in today’s world. If not see why businesses need a website. However, simply having a website isn’t enough; you need to make sure potential customers can find it.
 
 
70% of American consumers use the Internet to find the products, services and businesses they’re looking for (www.pewinternet.org). Most consumers use search engines such as Google™, Yahoo, and Bing when searching online and click on search results within the first results page. Therefore, if you want to drive more business online and enable potential customers to find you, it’s crucial that your website has prominent placements in the major search engines.
 
One of the most successful ways to increase your websites placement in search engines is through Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization, or more commonly known as SEO, is the process of applying certain techniques to your website so they stand a better chance of ranking well in search engines.  
 
SEO helps improve your website’s ranking in Organic Search Results , not paid results (also known as sponsored links or Google® Adwords). Most people searching for products and services in Google™ click on the organic results, so it’s important that your website ranks well.
 
Search engine optimization affects only organic search results,
not paid or "sponsored" results, such as Google AdWords
 
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not just for big businesses; it’s a great way for small businesses to market themselves online for a low cost! Learn more about how to improve your website’s SEO ranking with our (Search Engine Optimization Guide for Small Business), or check out Vistaprint’s Search Engine Optimizer that will guide you through the process of optimizing your site.

Start taking payments through your website in less than 30 minutes

 
 
You want to sell your products and services online. You want to save time by taking a payment over the Internet quickly and easily and you want site visitors to be able to donate to a local cause that you’re supporting.  But you have no idea if your site has that type of functionality, or even where to start.
 
 
Not to worry, it is actually very easy to get started taking payments online using PayPal. Paypal is one of the most widely used and most trusted forms of online payment, so if you are just getting into the e-commerce space this is a perfect place to start.
 
PayPal buttons - perfect for single payments
 
 
 
 
 
PayPal buttons are an easy way to take a single type of payment. PayPal allows you to create a button to add to your website which when clicked on will take the site visitor to the PayPal website with a specific item ready for checkout.
So for example, if you were selling handmade chocolates, you could configure the button with information about:
 
  • A description of the product you are selling - "My Handmade Chocolates (Box of 12)"
  • The price of the product - "$10.00"
  • The price for shipping the product - "$3.00"
  • Where the payment should be sent (your email address) - "myname@mybusiness.com"
  • Other optional information such as taxes, the product ID, handling charges, etc.
 
You can use buttons for selling a variety of different items or even for taking a donation.
 
PayPal shopping carts - useful for selling multiple items
PayPal buttons work well when you are only selling a small number of items, but if you are looking to sell more than that you should consider using a PayPal shopping cart. Shopping carts are an easy way for you to sell multiple items in one order. They allow you to configure a variety of different items with all of the same information as PayPal buttons do, but you can also associate a product image with the item and when the user checks out, they only pay once for all of their purchases.  Think about the cart you see on any e-commerce site, including Vistaprint. 
 
This makes it easy and simple for the online buyer.
 
PayPal is an easy way for anyone to get started selling products online and you can configure the shopping experience to meet the needs of your business very easily. You can get started using PayPal by signing up for a Vistaprint website and choosing the Professional package.
 
Good luck getting started with e-commerce!

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