In today’s technological society, there are lots of website building platforms such as WordPress and Typepad. In addition, there exist other easily operated do-it-yourself (DIY) websites such as Wix that are easier to maneuver and only take about 10 minutes to personalize.
Wix (www.wix.com) is a free service tool that allows users to create their own customized website. The foremost benefit of using Wix is that there is no coding involved; it’s simple, easy and Google friendly!
Reasons why YOUR BUSINESS needs to be using Wix:
- It provides of free, secure, and reliable service
- 100s of multiple website design templates to choose from which will make your website unique and exciting
- Attracts more traffic to your site through Google, Yahoo, and Bing
- Compatible with top mobile apps, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs
- Creates an opportunity to generate your own online store
As you can see, Wix is a useful tool not only in creating the foundation of your business but in its maintenance and growth. At its most basic level, Wix provides a platform in which to create your own unique and customized website through easy and simple instruction.
In addition to the free plan, Wix provides premium plans which include: free hosting, Google analytics, premium support, your own domain, storage and bandwidth. Ranging from $5 to $20 a month, these upgraded plans grant certain benefits that are optimal for personal use, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and ecommerce.
The free service allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter, and then share it with numerous Instagram users/followers. It also provides the ability to share your photos with other social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook, which expands the sharing experience to an even broader scale.
Instagram began as a mobile app, and continues to be dominant as a mobile app. Even though Instagram has evolved and can now be used on a computer, users are primarily enjoying the snap-and-post efficiency to share their lives through images with their most trusted companion – a cell phone.
Reasons your business needs to be using Instagram:
~ Currently has 90 million registered users.
~ A program called ‘Statigram’ can help to record data regarding customer usage of Instagram regarding its effects on your personal business.
~ You can increase your brand awareness through constant photo updates that are shared worldwide for free.
Ways to use Instagram for business purposes:
~ Humanize your company by sharing photos and introducing staff.
~ Don’t be afraid to get cutesy – people will love a photo of your dog in the office!
~ Host photo contests in which people can #hashtag your company name to increase your brand awareness and customer involvement.
~ Have people Instagram a photo of themselves with your product for a chance to win tickets/items/guided tour, etc.
~ Product promotion – Taking pictures of your brand new inventory will allow customers to instantly know when products enter the market.
~ Connect with social media sites. You can sync your Instagram to update your pictures to both Facebook and Twitter which expands your brand awareness throughout 3 major social media outlets.
~ The more likes you receive on a photo, the more exposure it gets across the Instagram community.
~ Integrating an Instagram tab to your website will increase the flow of traffic to both your webpage and your Instagram, which ultimately leads to a growing audience.
Foursquare is a mobile social networking tool that allows users to check-in at a venue to connect with their environment and collect awards for sharing their experience. For businesses, Foursquare is a free service that can be utilized to increase opportunities for brands to connect with their customers and share their latest news. Here are three ways that your business can benefit from using Foursquare:
- Increase your brand awareness – Your business may have already been listed on Foursquare without you having created it. Take control of your page and claim your business to give users an accurate perception with information that is up to date. Once your page is up and running, users gain easy access to the content you’ve created and a place to share their experiences by posting pictures and tips (think “tweets”). To increase brand awareness, post updates to communicate any news, specials or upcoming events that will appear on the user’s newsfeed. Updates should typically promote what makes your business distinctive and interesting. Additionally, all business pages are automatically added to Foursquare’s page gallery that promotes suggested and trending pages. This feature increases your page visibility and the potential to receive more “likes”. Once you start using Foursquare, it is also a good idea to use a window cling or Foursquare logo on location to remind customers that they can check-in!
- Create customer loyalty - Reward your customers and increase repeat business by offering a promotion when customers check-in at your venue. Promotion specials that are unique and exclusive to Foursquare users will attract new customers and reward the existing ones for visiting again. For example, a coffee house’s “free drink on your first visit” and “10% off your third visit” special will not only pique user’s interest in visiting your location but encourage them to come back again. Creating special promotions for your business page also gives you the opportunity to think outside the box (not all promotions have to be a discount).
- Gain insight on your customer demographics - Once your location is claimed for your business page, Foursquare offers free analytics that allows you to discover who is visiting your business and how often. With this information, you’ll be able to diagnose how many check-ins you’re getting a week, how many users share their Foursquare posts on Facebook or Twitter and which customers are first timers or frequent flyers. Foursquare makes it even easier for you by sending a weekly email with highlighted activity on your page, including popular photos and tips that users have made.
Haven’t claimed your business on Foursquare yet? Visit http://business.foursquare.com to learn more and claim your business listing today.
Can’t focus at home but don’t have an office to go to? A new trend emerging in the workplace is the concept of shared workspaces. These shared workspaces provide business professionals with all of the same benefits of a professional office in a community setting.
One recent example of this is Third Workplace, a workspace dedicated to helping business professionals embrace a balanced work and life existence. Third Workplace is a great place for small business owners, consultants and remote workers to get into a more professional environment. It’s quieter and cleaner, faster and less crowed than trying to work at the local coffee shop. Like professional offices, Third Workplace offers open workplaces, private workplaces, and meeting workplaces. They offer rooms with video conferencing enabled, perfect for your Skype meeting with people across the country. Do you have to host a meeting or present an idea to a client? With Third Workplace you can also take advantage of the whiteboards or LED flatscreens in the meeting workplaces. You can also print, copy, and fax.
By using a shared workplace like Third Workplace, you can save money on renting out a private office or driving out to the local printing office to print that sixty-page contract. In addition to saving on money, these community workplaces have the added benefit of a supportive cooperative environment.
Some other popular shared workplaces in the Bay Area include Sandbox Suites, The Hub, Regus, and Citizen Space among others.
With small or personal businesses on the rise, the need to support them is growing and these co-working spaces provide the necessary space and equipment used by business professionals.
Pinterest is a digital scrapbook where you can “pin” (post) and “like” the images you are interested in and users can follow each other. We outline below how businesses can use Pinterest as a Social Media platform to promote and share their products.
The most popular topic on Pinterest is related to Food and Drink, which accounts for over a quarter of all pins. DIY (Do it yourself projects) and Crafts, and Women’s Apparel were next in line in terms of their popularity. Because of these facts, restaurants, crafts stores, and women’s fashion stores in particular, may want to start pinning today.
For all type businesses, Pinterest is another Social Media platform to increase a businesses brand awareness and opportunities. Here are some best practices:
- Use interesting and high quality photos. Higher quality and creative product photos are the key to fascinate pinners. You don’t see a pixelated and blurry photo that is repined by pinners. Before you pin your product photo, make it fun and interesting to grab pinners’ eyes.
- Share a story instead of promoting your product. Add an interesting story or description to your product to make pinners repin it. Don’t make pinners think you just want to sell a product to them.
- Study your target audience on Pinterest. You can use Pinterest as a market research tool to find out what are the products, colors or styles that get the most repins. Also you can study demography, who and what are their ages most liklely to repin and like your product.
- Review other businesses’ pin boards. You can use it to see how your competitors do on Pinterest.
- Create a contest. Everyone likes a free gift. You can leverage Pinterst as a platform to execute advertising by creating a contest. It will tempt a pinner to repin therefore increase your brand presence.
Need help planning and promoting an upcoming event? Let Eventbrite help! Eventbrite is a free and easy online tool that helps you create, find and attend events. With Eventbrite’s professional and customizable tools, planning an event is made easy. Not only can you custom create your event, but you can also access your event webpage anywhere using their easy to use mobile application.
Need help spreading the word about your event? No problem. Eventbrite also makes getting the word out easy with personalized emails or adding them to search engines. Once you have started promoting you can also track your attendance to see how many people are coming to your event, the ticket and registrations sales and ramp up your professional activity as needed.
Not only does Eventbrite help you plan and promote your event, but it also helps manage event entry with their Entry Manager app to check people in and scan barcoded tickets through your phone. If that isn’t your thing you can also print up a guest list.
If those aren’t convincing enough, here are 5 more reasons for using Eventbrite:
- Huge audience
- Reaches a lot of people
- Makes life easier
- Helps to gain traffic for your website
- FREE to use
Eventbite is everything you need to sell tickets and manage registration of any kind of event. With Eventbrite anyone can be a great event organizer. It empowers event organizers to become more efficient and effective when bringing people together. People everywhere are searching Eventbrite to discover great events that matter to them.
It’s about two months away and I’m already excited. The Eat Real Festival at Jack London Square, Oakland is described by the founders as a mix between street food festival, county fair, and block party where people can come together to celebrate good times and fresh, local food.
At Eat Real, they have created an event where not only can anyone try tasty, handmade eats and drinks, but where they can also discover where your food comes from, meet the people who grow and make it, and learn how it’s made. Support Oakland and local businesses.
This event has been very successful in the past and I always learn something new. If you are so inclined, you can even try your hand at making some food at the event yourself.
With free entry and no food item costing more than $5 it’s a real deal!
All food includes local, organic, and sustainable ingredients! The concept is that eating real does not have to mean eating real expensively.
In years past they have had over 60 street food vendors, 30 beers and wines on tap, 30 craft food market vendors, backyard farmers with animals and garden installations, demonstrations and workshops including the mozzarella, vinegar, bitters, and sauerkraut making, live music with Bay Area based bands and DJs, and much more. It’s worth saving the date!
I look forward to seeing you at the Eat Real Festival in Oakland is at Jack London Square from September 21 – 23, 2012.
What do the Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and MC Hammer have in common?
They both love Oakland and support Oakland Digital, a not-for-profit, with the mission is to educate, inspire and empower underserved communities to participate and succeed in the digital economy.
This morning I attend the second annual Social Media for Small Business event at City Hall where both Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Mc Hammer spoke on digital literacy. The event was created by Oakland Digital (ODALC), a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, public benefit organization.
Oakland Digital’s Inspire Program strives to improve the lives of aspiring graphic designers in the East Bay, with the provision of an outlet of creativity for the underserved artist. Students have the opportunity to create a professional portfolio piece critiqued by industry experts, build tangible resume skills, and compete in a design competition to be featured on traditional and digital billboards.
SMfSB is Oakland Digital’s one day, five-hour event served as a neutral educational and learning platform for local small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. SMfSB broke social media down into easy-to-understand pieces, so attendees could make sense of and utilize digital tools and technology as a platform to grow their business.
MC Hammer, the Oakland rapper / dancer / preacher / entrepreneur, is made a special appearance, speaking about the power of social and Oakland Digital’s work to help transform Oakland into an area that flourishes through technology, innovation and collaboration among diverse community members.
MC Hammer during his talk also emphasized the America’s Cup is not only on the water in San Francisco… Events will be happening in Jack London Square.
Jean Quan spoke about Pandora, Zynga, and other businesses in Oakland. Mayor Quan also thanked the Oakland Digital Organization for all their hard work.
Tech experts from Google, Yelp, Constant Contact, Wix.com, Jimdo, GoPago and Oakland Digital were also there to host this historic educational presentation on digital tools for small businesses!
Google Apps is a suite of Google Applications that are utilized by business. It is a cost efficient alternative to the Microsoft suite. Google has both pay and free versions. The standard pay version is $50 per year per user. For those who are not familiar with Google Apps, we have broken it down to 8 amazing features.
1. User Accounts and Storage: Google Apps impressively allows the creation of up to 200 user accounts with 25 GB email storage per employee. 10 with the free version.
2. Gmail: This web based email system is spam and virus protected, organizes email by thread, is able to sync with smart phones, and contains instant message and video chat.
3. Google Calendars: This system creates, shares, and sends reminders of events. Also all Google Apps users can view a calendar displaying others’ events.
4. Google Docs: This allows you to access documents online, collaborate on documents in real time, share documents, and view past drafts.
5. Support and Security: Google Apps provides 24/7 phone and email customer support. Also, Google Apps has achieved certification for FISMA (Federal Information Security Act). The highest level of security is not included in the free version, however the free version is extremely secure.
6. Customizable: You are allowed to customize Google Apps so that the applications are tailored for your business needs.
7. Integration: All of the Google Applications work with each other. Thus, making employee training of the application suite simple.
8. Accessibility: Google Apps is based online, so you can access your work information anywhere. Also the applications sync with smart phones, making it even easier to get work done while on the go.
Overall, Google Apps is a great application suite option that is definitely worth checking out.
We work with our clients to create custom Websites including custom WordPress websites. Custom wordpress sites allow the client to have full control and make all kinds of custom features. Some people however want to make their own more simple site. For that, you can create a free account at WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a site that allows you to create your own blog or website in minutes.
Over 60 million people use WordPress as their blogging software, some of us at Piedmont Avenue Consulting included. Not only that, but big companies like CNN and People Magazine are even using WordPress too. Why?
Read on to discover some of the features that make WordPress in general and WordPress.com if you want to make your own simple site our top choice in blogging software.
1. It’s free. Anyone with a valid email address can use WordPress to create a blog or a website. You can post as often or as little as you like.
2. WordPress isn’t just for blogs anymore- you can join the ranks with the legions of companies that have created entire web site on WordPress, with a custom home page and your blog as one of the sub-pages.
3. You automatically get 3 gigs of storage space. That’s equivalent to over 2,500 photo files or around 1000 songs.
4. Over 100 (even more with the paid premium service) of customizable designs to suit all kinds of personalities and content. From classically minimal to edgy and modern, there is something for everyone. Journalists, photographers, business owners; whoever you are there’s sure to be a design that suits your needs.
5. It’s easy to include lots of creative, interactive content. WordPress lets you upload photos, music and videos in seconds, from sites like YouTube, Flickr and SoundCloud.
6. WordPress drives traffic to your blog. Just include tags with your posts and they’ll, automatically add them to their global tag system and tag surfer, so people who are interested in the topics you cover will easily be able to search for your content.
7. The WordPress integrated stats system lets you view activity on your blog and find out more about who your audience is. How many people viewed your blog post? What links did they click on? Were they referred from another site? Find out what people are really reading.
8. If you find yourself wanting more, you can upgrade to WordPress premium services for even more storage, features and capabilities.
Custom WordPress sites allow us to set up your site for a flat fee and their are no additional fees for space or upgraded features.