Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Website Traffic: Build It and They May Come Back

Keep the Content Coming!

Your website is finally built. It’s professionally designed, has compelling content, and it has vast amounts of helpful information about your products or services. But, and this is an important but…is your website working for you?

Your offline tools and advertisements may get your customers and prospects to go to your website home page once. But you want them to return many times. Here are some things to improve your website’s sales power:

1. Update Your Portfolio: If you have a portfolio of your work (photographers, architects, landscapers, designers, writers, etc.), keep your "latest and greatest" work current. Send an enthusiastic e-mail to your customers to let them know it’s been updated.

2. Write Articles: You are an expert in your field. Customers are hungry for the information only you can provide. Give them helpful advice and tips. On your homepage, let website visitors know about this section.

3. Add a Discussion Forum: Your website designer can help you add a discussion forum. This allows visitors to communicate with each other, and your staff can provide helpful answers.

4. Create a "Links" Page: Customers like being able to find out more information regarding their purchasing decisions. With a links page, you can map the way for them to visit other related websites.

5. Publish an Ezine: Publishing an ezine will help position your business as an expert in your field. In addition, you will be providing tips to your customers that will help them. It sets you apart from your competitors and instills confidence and trust in your readers, making it easier for them to do business with you. Archive your articles on your website on an ongoing basis to refresh your content for business.

6. Ask Your Site Visitors: Is there something in your business you are considering? Do you want some feedback on a service? Why not ask for your customers’ opinion? You can post an online opinion poll and down the road, post customers’ responses.

7. Start a Blog: If you are committed to posting regularly, a blog can be a great way to build relationships with your customers and leads. You can give them advice about services or products, you can offer them helpful advices, and you can give business updates. Best of all, a blog is easy to set up and update!

ACTION ITEM: This week, look at your website. Would a visitor want to come back? If not, write down several things you can add to your site that will entice people to return. Take the necessary steps to get it in place. Then, update your site!

Copyright 2005 Kinesis, Inc.
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Wendy Maynard, your friendly marketing maven writes Kinetic Ideas: A Marketing Blog at http://www.wendy.kinesisinc.com.
Sign up for Kinesis Quickies at http://www.news.kinesisinc.com: This twice-a-month ezine features free marketing tips and secrets for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Are you still not backing up your data?

I know it all too well. About a year ago, I accidentally downloaded something that brought massive amounts of spyware to my computer. Though I tried for weeks to clean it up and get rid of the annoyances, it became clear that nothing short of re-formatting the hard drive would get rid of the pests. I dutifully backed up everything I thought to be important to CD, then started the frightening task of a clean start. Only one problem. Somehow a directory or two missed getting backed up. A folder of minutes from my church meetings was annoying, but probably re-creatable. The Quicken file however, was costly and time-consuming to re-create (and had to be done before I could file taxes).

Since then, I've purchased an external hard drive where I dutifully back up all those important files and folders just in case something happens in the future. Plus, it's been great to take infrequently used files off my hard drive and store them on my backup drive. Once the first full backup is complete, incremental backups take only a few minutes of my week while providing a great peace of mind.

Are you backing up?

Is Your City Wi-Fi Friendly?

Wi-Fi is fast becoming the way to go when accessing the internet away from home. How does your city stack up?

5 most Wi-Fi friendly American cities

bIs your business disaster-ready?

The hurricanes this fall have brought it to our mind, but a hurricane isn't the only event that might qualify as a disaster for your business. Earthquakes, floods, tornados and other natural disasters (and don't forget fires) can occur anytime, anywhere. Be prepared! Microsoft's Small Business Center has a list of .great ideas for making sure your business is prepared in case disaster strikes. Prepare today, before disaster strikes!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

5 tips for tightening your wireless network's security

Going wireless is the trend of today, but how many of us know the ins and outs of using our Wi-Fi safely? Check out this article from Microsoft's Small Business Center on ways to make sure you're operating securely.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Taking Charge of Windows XP

How do you control what programs launch when you start Windows XP? How can you recover a corrupted system file? Check out PC Magazine's Tips for taking charge of Windows XP!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Spyware and Adware: A Warrior's Guide

What is the difference between Spyware and Adware? How do you block them? What else should you know about this increasing problem?

PC Magazine answers these questions and many more - see their article: "Book Excerpt from PC Magazine: Spyware and Adware: A Warrior's Guide"

Linking iPods and Car Radios

How often have you wished you could listen to your iPod in the car? PC Magazine runs down 6 ways to link your iPod into your car stereo system!

Linking iPods and Car Radios

Monday, October 03, 2005

PC Magazine Blogging Primer

Do you read other's blogs and wonder, "how do they do that"? PC Magazine's blogging primer answers all your questions!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Website and Blog Counter - free!

For years, I've used the same free website counter. I discovered it early on in the history of websites and never thought about switching - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" -- right? But last week I discovered another counter program (for FREE of course!) that's is much more powerful. Now I've switched all my sites (and blogs!) over to www.statcounter.com. The initial reason for my switch was the ability to manage as many site counters as needed under one account name. The bonus was discovering the in-depth reports I get without having to pay extra as I did with the old service. In less than 1 week, I've already discovered valuable information about the visitors to my site - where they come from, what pages they visit, how long they stay and what resolution they're using. Now I'm addicted to checking the statistics so I can wonder just who that visitor is...

Cheers!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Google Posts Blog Search

Take a look at the new Beta version of Google's blog search. Here's the search I did for "virtual assistant"!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Creative Work Isn’t Found — It’s Made

There's an excellent article by Bonnie Boots, posted on the Creativity Portal, about making your way in the creative world. Check it out!

Log your IM conversations

PCMag.com Shareware Library: MessengerLog 5 Pro 5.10

Ever had an IM conversation and wished you could save it for future reference? Here's an inexpensive program to do that!

Monday, August 08, 2005

New Internet Explorer on horizon

The next version of Internet Explorer isn't here yet, but it's on the horizon. Since I've never made the transition over to Firefox, I'm excited to see IE incorporating some of the features that make Firefox stand out. Most importantly, the new IE will include an RSS Feed reader, hopefully eliminating the need for yet another program or website to monitor feeds (I'm currently using http://www.bloglines.com). Check out the forthcoming update information & features in PC Magazines's article: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1840714,00.asp.

Cheers!
~ Cindy

Friday, July 29, 2005

Widgets for Windows

A few months ago, I was introduced to "widgets" on a Mac system and was intrigued. Widgets are small programs that don't need a web browser or other application to open them and they can remain open yet in the background on your desktop. I found a favorite game on a Mac widget and was disappointed to come back to my widget-less Windows system (okay, only partially disappointed!). Now Yahoo! is offering a similar program allowing widgets to work on Windows machines! I downloaded the first ones today - my favorites so far are the weather station and the comic strip reader. Check out PC Magazine's article and download the program at Yahoo!

Happy Weekend-ing!
~Cindy

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Blog Launch!

Welcome to the Creative Assistants blog!

This forum will provide our clients and colleagues useful information about the Virtual Assistant industry as well as technology tips, tricks, trends, and other useful information. Enjoy and feel free to post your comments!

~ Cindy