Is your business doing enough on the digital landscape to keep current customers happy and new customers interested? Here is a checklist of what EVERY business should make sure they are doing when establishing their online presence.
☑ Have a fantastic, informative, and easy-to-use website that grows over time and is always up to date. This is easier said than done, we know, but we’re here to help.
☑ Make sure your information is correct and accurate in all “directories” and especially Google, Bing, and Apple Maps. For your industry, there will be other key directories to pay attention to.
☑ Pay attention to reviews and collect more over time. There are tools (we have) that can help you do this but at the very least, ask friends and family and clients you know well to review you online. Key review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp but there will be other industry-specific sites also.
☑ Be active (at least one post/week) on at least TWO social networks. The easiest is Facebook and Instagram because you can connect them to publish content once to two channels. But if you can do video, even amateur video regularly, then YouTube (the second largest search engine) is a must.
☑ Make sure everything above matches. The address and hours and information are the same everywhere. Good photos and consistent branding/images. Does your logo need a refresh? Design = Trust.
☑ Make it VERY EASY for customers to contact you. Phone, text, chat, forms, email, instant messaging. Someone in your organization can be put in charge of checking all the ways people get in touch with you and responding as quickly as possible. Technology has added a layer of “respond NOW” to our society. You can outsource some of this but do so very very carefully.
☑ Always be collecting. Even if you don’t do email marketing at the moment, still collect emails and text messages every chance you get. There are always strategies for this that can work wonders for your business. But at the very minimum, collect this information.
☑ Consider investing in digital ads. These can help with branding/awareness, building a network of followers, and sales. There are many ways to advertise online so you want expert help for this, but digital ads can take your dollar much further than other channels.
This may seem overwhelming but once set up, it’s not hard to maintain. Of course, we’re here to help and consultations/guidance is always free.
You may have been receiving two very common email scams tailored for businesses. One is about copyright for images on your website, and the other is about a domain renewal.
Subject: Copyright Images
The subject line for these scam emails or forms submitted on your website is something like: “You have no legal rights to use my images without my approval! It’s illegal! You’re committing a legal offense! You must remove these images NOW!!!!!”
This can get the adrenaline running pretty quickly. But rest assured, this is a scam. DO NOT click on the link in this email or reply to it in any way.
But AM I using copyright images on my website?
Maybe (unless we made it. 🙂 The very best thing to do is to have your website images all be unique to you – taken by local photographers or your cousin Pete who loves photography – or created by a website designer you employ (like us!).
The second best option is to BUY stock images. We like Adobe Stock. It’s affordable and we source many images there for websites we build. There are a lot of “free for use” sites that are good for social media and websites…but it is harder to prove if ever asked, that you sourced your photos from these sites. If you don’t know if you own the rights to use an image, the best idea is to use something else.
But again, the spam email like the one referenced above is nothing to worry about.
Subject: Domain Renewal
The subject line for these scam emails or forms submitted on your website is something like: “IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REGARDING YOUR DOMAIN IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.”
First and foremost, registrars of domains DO NOT use website contact forms to alert you to your domain expiration. Is the email from your registrar? If not, it’s a scam. This is a good rule of thumb for emails of all sorts that might come through a contact form. No legitimate business will contact you that way unless they are selling something.
Do you know who your registrar is and when your domain expires?
You should. No one likes it when their website goes down unexpectedly and this is the most common reason. The real notices could be in your spam folder or going to an old email address so take the scam above as a reminder to double-check you’re getting registrar emails and that you know when your domain needs to be renewed. 🙂
Tip: Your domain should never be registered in anyone’s name other than the business owner. If this is the case, you can have the domain transferred easily.
Last word: Always run a potential scam by us or your IT contact before clicking or downloading anything that looks unusual! Better safe than sorry. This is how cybersecurity failures and extortion happens.
For more cybersecurity tips, check out this previous blog post.
Did you know that 40% of businesses in the US are led by women business owners? There are 114% more women entrepreneurs than there were 20 years ago. That’s remarkable!
In my field, the numbers are lower — less than 15% of “tech” companies are owned by women. I started in “tech” in the 90s and the percentages were under 5%.
I personally never thought I would become an entrepreneur. My parents owned a business that did not end well and also, it scared me to try to support a family without a steady paycheck. So it was not a thought-out decision…but more a forced hand when I could not find a job during a recession. I’ve made so many mistakes but somehow am still here, bumbling through, and thankful for a team of rock stars – both men and women – that surround me. And after 12 years, I cannot imagine doing anything else. I love my work and the people I work with and for.
I’ve especially appreciated being able to help women start and grow their businesses. I always walk away from those projects a better person. Some of my best female friendships have been formed from those experiences and the camaraderie we share is very special to me. Especially during the last year when times have been so tough.
To my fellow women business owners…what I see in you is not fearlessness, but immense bravery. As you struggle with balance and having enough energy to do All. The. Things. ― know you are at the same time inspiring others ― young and old. Hold on to your optimism as you continue to work on keeping all those balls in the air and know every day, you are enough. You are more than enough.
A friend of mine (Randy) once told me Progress is Success. This has honestly been my mantra ever since and it has helped me more than anything else to get over any disappointment in myself…any question of whether I’m successful or not. It’s helped me through some VERY tough times and humbling experiences. I hope you will use this and every other motivation to overcome your obstacles and achieve your dreams in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes by other women business owners and leaders to remember:
“Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.”― Ginni Rometty
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” ― Marissa Mayer
“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” ― Arianna Huffington
The whole world is spending more time online these days and that includes people who have nefarious intentions. So, here’s a quick reminder of the top 3 things you need to do to protect yourself. Starting with the most important.
Cybersecurity Tip 1. Password Security
Did you know that a very long password is better than a password that is complex? For instance: goatcheesetrampolineuncleocean is better than C0mpl3x!ty! But regardless, don’t use anything personally identifying in your passwords like your name, your job, your address, your kid, your dog. You get the idea.
Cybersecurity Tip 2. Password Security. So important it is on our list twice
Create a unique password for every single thing you log in to. Every single one. No, really. Use a password manager like LastPass to help you create and keep track of them (free). If you just rolled your eyes and said you never will do that, you aren’t alone, but you are at risk. At least follow our advice for any accounts that have your bank account, address, social security, or credit card information.
Cybersecurity Tip 3. Check Sender Identity
Most devious plots are hatched through email and, these days, mobile messages. So, take care to verify the sender before clicking on links, opening attachments, forwarding a message, or replying. Check the email address it is coming from. Check that any links are taking you to the place stated by hovering before clicking. Use a really good spam filter (or email program with a really good spam filter) in order to block most of the attacks. Most importantly, just take the time to think critically before acting.
There’s a reason why “Spyder” is spelled with the “y”. Security is important to us. We’ll send more tips in the future and if you’d like to schedule a ZOOM presentation for a team or group on the subject, let us know.