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Big Boys Superwash

Your Competitors are online...
Why aren't you?

Without a website, your business could be invisible to the 3.5 billion online searches made by Australians every day!

Your Competitors are online...
Why aren't you?

Without a website, your business could be invisible to the 3.5 billion online searches made by Australians every day!

Without a website, your business could be invisible to the 3.5 billion online searches made by Australians every day!

Quality, affordable websites that
build your business & your brand.

We craft each one of our websites from the ground up, tailoring them to your specific requirements.

Big Boys Superwash

Quality, affordable websites that
build your business & your brand.

We craft each one of our websites from the ground up, tailoring them to your specific requirements.

Promote and sell products 24/7
with an online store.

Our eCommerce solutions feature all the tools you need to build sales and improve your bottom line.

Big Boys Superwash

Promote and sell products 24/7
with an online store.

Our eCommerce solutions feature all the tools you need to build sales and improve your bottom line.

Responsive Web Design
for all kinds of screens...

Over 1.2 billion people access the internet on mobile phones and tablets. What will your site show them?

Big Boys Superwash

Responsive Web Design
for all kinds of screens...

Over 1.2 billion people access the internet on mobile phones and tablets. What will your site show them?

People are searching for your
products and services online...

... and without an effective online presence for your business, you are invisible to them.

Big Boys Superwash

People are searching for your
products and services online...

... and without an effective online presence for your business, you are invisible to them.

We BOOST your business'
bottom line...

...with websites designed and developed from the ground up to convert prospects into customers!

Innisfail Chemex

We BOOST your business'
bottom line...

...with websites designed and developed from the ground up to convert prospects into customers!

Provide support for your customers,
even when you are asleep!

Your website can be the ultimate "support line", with 24/7 downloads, fact sheets, manuals and videos.

Ingham Motorcycles and Mowers

Provide support for your customers,
even when you are asleep!

Your website can be the ultimate "support line", with 24/7 downloads, fact sheets, manuals and videos.

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Social Media for your Small Business in 2019

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On any given day, it has been estimated that 3.2 billion people in the world access social media of some kind. From Facebook to Twitter through to Instagram and LinkedIn, social media seems to permeate every aspect of our lives.

Most small businesses have come to the realisation that they need to be present on at last one or two platforms – but which are the best for your business in 2019?

To determine this, let’s take a brief look at five key players in the social media world that could help you grow your business online.

Facebook

The granddaddy of social medias, Facebook has long been the benchmark that other platforms aspire to. Unsurprisingly, with over 2 billion active users every month**, it is still the most widely used social media in the world.

For small business, Facebook is perfect for growing a community around your products and services in addition to creating brand awareness. When used effectively, a Facebook presence will make a notable difference in reaching your online marketing goals.

In addition, Facebook’s advertising portal (through which they make most of their profits) is easily the best established of any social media platform.

Instagram

Now part of the Facebook family, Instagram started life in 2010 as an online community where users could share images with their followers. Boosted by the rapid rise of smart phone usage throughout this decade, Instagram is used today by models, actors and numerous “influencers” across the world.

A perfect place for visual marketing, small business can utilise the high levels of engagement on Instagram to connect with a target audience. Its users follow accounts that they are genuinely interested which results in a high visibility of your posts.

As of 2019, it is estimated that one in three Australians use Instagram on a regular basis ***.

LinkedIn

Not quite as popular as the big two, the “Facebook for Business” still has an impressive audience of nearly eight million Australians however only around four million log in to their account regularly****.

Statistically, LinkedIn is the second most popular social media site, after Facebook, for medium to large businesses. It’s less popular with small businesses, who are more likely to utilise the crowd power of Facebook and Instagram.

For businesses that offer Business to Business (B2B) services, LinkedIn is perfect for creating online networks of professionals across industries.

Twitter

Once the darling of the #hashtag world, Twitter’s reach into the online world has dwindled over the past five years. It currently ranks in 9th place and is most popular with users in their 30’s.

In professional circles, Twitter is still a great source for real-time commentary on current affairs. With an increase in tweet length (140 characters to 240) and a recent move to allow imagery, the Twitter platform may be one to watch as it evolves to compete with other social media.

YouTube

Thanks to an overabundance of funny cat videos, YouTube is often forgotten as a serious social media contender. With strong content, the online video platform is perfect for engaging an audience with entertaining and interesting information about small business goods and services.

With a staggering one in every two Australians using YouTube every day ***, it is a great place to visually demonstrate the goods and services your small business has to offer.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that despite all the hard work you do on social media to grow your audience, you are “building your house on borrowed land” – it could be all gone tomorrow – just like Google+.

To avoid placing all your eggs in the one basket, use social media as part of your marketing funnel with your business website as the central hub. Depending on your host (users of Wix or Squarespace beware), your website is the one place on the internet that you can truly control. Use Facebook, Instagram and other social media to develop awareness of your business and nurture a following that you can direct towards sales and services on your small business website.

* https://wearesocial.com/blog/2019/01/digital-2019-global-internet-use-accelerates

** https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

*** https://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics/

**** https://mediaaccess.org.au/web/social-media/linkedin

Five things you need to know about Google and your new website.

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You’ve got a brand-new website for your small business. The imagery is uploaded, social media links are sorted, text content written and formatted – all on display through your custom site design from your awesome web developer.

But no-one can find it. Typing the business name into Google shows nothing in the search results – even on page 10. Why isn’t your site showing up on Google?

The simple answer is that Google is entirely separate from your website and will not find it until you take action and make them pay attention.

Here’s five things you need know about Google and your new website:

1. Your site will not automatically appear on Google.

Google needs to be notified that your site exists so that they can send the “Googlebot” to check it out. Until this happens, your site lives in a bubble and any visitors will need to physically type in the domain name to get to the right address.

Solution: See #2 below…

2. “Google My Business” is the best way to gain fast attention.

Ever wondered how some businesses get their information to show in the righthand box in Google search results? It’s done via the “Google My Business” website and its free for all businesses. It’s also a great way of registering your new website address and nudging the “Googlebot” into action.

Solution: Visit https://www.google.com/intl/en_au/business/ and register your business and website.

3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is not optional.

Google loves organisation and the best thing you can do on your site is to ensure that you have the basics of SEO ready for Google to crawl through. Fortunately, if you are using the WordPress framework, there are plugins that will walk you through the process of SEO setup to ensure that the “Googlebot” finds what it needs to.

Solution: Install either the Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO plugins on your website. The basic versions are free with premium options available.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
https://en-au.wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

4. Sharing Links is the secret ingredient to search ranking success.

To get noticed even faster, share your website link around with other businesses already established online. By setting up reciprocal links* with other businesses in related industries, you will make both sites stronger in the eyes of Google. Added bonus: the “Googlebot” already visits these sites on a regular basis and as they crawl through them, they may even pick up your linked site address and add it automatically to their list of sites to visit.

Solution: Link up with your suppliers, stockists and anyone related to your industries (though maybe not your competitors). * You link with me and I’ll link back to you…

5. Google is in control – not you.

The final thing to know about Google and your website – they are in control. Google determines how long it takes before the “Googlebot” initially visits your website and how often it comes back. Their software technicians are always tweaking the search algorithm so what may have worked last week for SEO, may not work this week.

Solution: Sign up for Google Analytics and monitor your search results regularly. If your search ranking starts to decline, you will need to take action. Luckily the SEO plugins in #3 should keep abreast of any changes and let you know what needs to be done to reach the top. https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/

Conclusion

Don’t expect that your new site will appear immediately on page one of the Google search results, even after applying the solutions above. You will need to carefully monitor and constantly tweak your site in order to reach the top. Even as your site gets older and grows a larger audience, SEO is an ongoing practice that will be necessary for the lifetime of your site.

Your business needs a Website – why not do it yourself?

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I love YouTube and its intuitive advertisement system – I believe it is a very clever way to target a certain demographic with the correct type of ad. Only problem is that I am always targeted with DIY website builder advertisements and one in particular is driving me crazy atm. It starts with the simple statement (I won’t give away the business name) – “You need a Website – Why not do it yourself?”

Where do I start to answer that question?

These days, there are literally hundreds of online website builders that offer free or supposedly cheap site design for business owners who want to create their online presence. Sign up, choose a template, chuck in some content and imagery and away you go. But as I have said previously, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

There are numerous pitfalls and traps related with using these websites that the casual user may not see. If you have bigger plans than just creating a quick site, such as generating traffic, expanding your business and generating profits – you must stay well away from these quickie sites.

Here’s the top five reasons why:

1. Building a website is not easy! 

There’s to a site than meets the eye. Not only does a website have to look good, it has to “act” in a certain way in order to drive customers into making a purchase or acquiring your services. That’s after they find you in the first place!

A good website has search engine optimisation, backup facilities, content management system, call to actions and many other components planned individually to suit your particular business and integrated into the design from day one. There is absolutely no way that an online builder knows (or even cares) what your business needs. This is what a real web designer comes in handy!

2. You don’t want the same site as everyone else – you want your own!

Using an online site builder involves using a template design – a pre-designed layout which you customise with your logo and content. If you are lucky, you may even be able to alter the theme colours – to a pre-set range of options, of course.

What this invariably means is there is potential for your site to look exactly the same as dozens of others. Chances are, if you liked a particular template, so did hundreds of small business owners around the globe. You will definitely not have that individual look that should define your site from all the others.

C’mon – your business should be as individual as you are – and so should your website.

3. Your site can disappear at any time!

“Never build your house on someone else’s land.” If you are ever tempted to go with an online site builder (paid subscriber or free), be very aware of the small print in the “Terms and Conditions.” The service provider, whoever that may be, reserves the right to remove any site at their own discretion, even if there is no legal reason for doing so.

That right!

The online site builder can go belly up overnight or just decide they don’t like you and your precious site is history. Add to that, the headquarters may be in Israel and your legal rights don’t have any weight at all there.

4. We actually care about your site and how it works for you.

There is absolutely no connection between your business and the online site builders during any stage of the process. You never speak to anyone and email is the only way to communicate. Even then, you will probably “converse” with a different service centre controller each time.

When you choose an actual web designer, we talk to you throughout the design of your website. We check that our decisions are on the mark and ensure that you are entirely happy with the results. This is essential to create a site that works specifically for your business.

On top of this, we need to ensure that your site is the best it can be because the success of our own business relies on “happy” customers. If you aren’t happy with the end results, you probably won’t refer us onto anyone and you definitely won’t give us a shining testimonial. That’s not good for business.

5. Your site should be your own – not covered with advertisements for other businesses.

If you opt for the free version of most online site builders, you will end up with a big banner ad somewhere on your site stating that “THIS SITE WAS CREATED WITH …. – BUILD YOUR OWN FOR FREE!”

Not exactly that professional look you are aiming for.

As web designers, Rusty Mango puts its name at the bottom of websites that we build because we are proud of what we do. It also tends to help a little built with your site’s SEO. But we don’t put something there to scream out “GET US TO BUILD YOUR WEBSITE!” – That’s just rude.

Taking all of the above into account, the reality is that if you want your website done right, don’t do it yourself. With the precious time that you spend learning the system, creating the site and populating it with content, the end result is still a site that just doesn’t work. That’s time you could be spending more effectively working on your business, making sales and providing service to your customers.

Instead spend a little time finding a web designer that produces the type of work that you want (check their portfolio) and you feel comfortable working with to build and maintain your website. This will prove to be a much better investment in the long run.

10 Effective Ways to create Awareness of Your Business (and your website)

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In all small business, it is enormously important to make sure that your target audience is aware of your services and products whenever they need them. Ideally, they will think of your business automatically when the need arises. This is achievable when a lead generation process is used in conjunction with a strategic sale funnel.

The moment where a customer becomes aware of your business and what it has to offer, the lead generation process begins to take place. All leads created here are vitally important as they “pull” the customer into your system for nurturing further down your sales funnel.

To kick things off and make your prospective customers aware of what you have, here’s ten effective “tools” that you can use:

Facebook Ads

Advertising on the #1 social media platform, Facebook, is great for targeting the exact audience you want as you can use the Facebook Ad tool to select the personal traits and interests of potential customers. With a budgeting level that you specify, it is also cost effective for any growing business.

Networking

Build trust and awareness of your business by joining your local Chamber of Commerce, offering your services to non-profit organisations and participating in community groups such as Rotary and Lions. Get your name out there!

Traditional Advertising – Radio and Print

If your target audience is likely to read your local newspapers and listen to local radio, don’t hesitate to use these traditional methods to promote your brand. Be sure to track any results (from marketing point to customer) to ensure that your marketing budget is not being wasted.

Social Media

Be visible on at least two social media platforms to cast a broad net over your target audience online. As a guide, Facebook is great for “business to consumer” promotions, LinkedIn works for “Business To Business” awareness and Instagram (owned by Facebook) is emerging as a powerful tool for all audience levels.

Content Marketing

The most authoritative way to establish trust and industry leadership is through the creation of powerful content for your website. Blog posts, videos, podcasts and demonstrations can quickly prove that you know your industry and what your clientele needs from you.

Direct Mail

If you can determine a specific market that is screaming out for your services or products, why not physically contact them with a direct mail campaign, specifically designed for that market alone.

Good SEO on Website

Make your potential customers aware of your business through the application of good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) practices on your website. Ensure that you are “loved” by Google through using effective key words and descriptions on your site along with fresh content and quality inbound links.

Google AdWords

Along with effective SEO practices, you can also engage Google with a paid, structured AdWords campaign designed to target your specific customer demographic.

Partnerships

Partnership programs work with businesses that complement each other and can be done in a very subtle, effective way. For example, a mechanic, upon the completion of a routine service, could leave a small promotion flyer on the dashboard from the local Car Detailer. The detailer could do the exact same in return.

Referral Programs

Join with other local businesses to create a referral program where businesses refer their client base onto the services of others in return for discounts or other reciprocal arrangements.

In addition to these ten tips, there are literally dozens of different tools that you can use to make your target audience aware of your business and its products/services. The trick is to determine which methods are going to be the most effective in gaining the attention of your ideal client and utilising them to your advantage on a consistent basis.

Five Tips to get your new site noticed by Google

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A common misconception that I come across with new clients, launching their very first site, is that websites instantly appear on Google after the launch.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case – it can take up to two weeks or more for your site to appear anywhere in the search rankings. Google dictates this “flexible” timeline. Once notified of the new site’s existence, the “GoogleBots” need time to visit and “run” it through their search algorithm which determines where the site will appear in rankings. Luckily, there are a few small things that you can do to speed up the process and make your site “Googlebot-friendly” and all of them can be done by you – the website owner.

#1 – Create a site map

In short, a site map makes your website more accessible for the GoogleBots that “crawl” the web. A small file that sits on your server, the map informs search engines which pages are available for crawling and provides them with a simple “roadmap” of how the pages are structured.

To make a site map for your WordPress site, download and install the Google XML Sitemap plugin. Once installed, the plugin will automatically create a site map that is readily available to any bots from any search engine – with no more input required from you.

#2 – Use an SEO* plugin

Another tip for those website owners using the WordPress framework is to download and install either the All-in-One SEO or Yoast SEO plugins. These plugins are designed specifically to set up your website for search engines.

They allow you to tweak the keywords, titles and content of your site and, most importantly, the plugins will let you know where your site needs attention in regard to SEO. They also help with linkages between your site and your social media presences (Facebook, etc.)

* Search Engine Optimisation

#3 – Sign up with Google Search Console

Having your site registered with Google Search Console is a must. Not only do the SEO plugins above insist on it, registration is also the fastest way to get Google to notice your site!

The Console helps website owners monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot their site’s presence in Google Search results. With the provided tools, a site owner can also request the re-indexing of new or updated content as the site grows – keeping their Google listing fresh and up to date!

#4 – Create inbound and outbound links

One of the simplest ways to win favour with Google is to have your website address shared and displayed on established websites. These older sites are already listed with Google and as the GoogleBots regularly visit them, they will pick up the new site address when they next sweep through. This prompts Google to “check out” the new site.

In return, the new site should link back to the established website. This is known as a reciprocal link.

#5 – Set up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free online service offered by Google that gives you insights into how site visitors find and use your website. It allows you to track many important statistics and, being from the search giant themselves, it can help pinpoint where your site is successful in terms of search rankings and where it isn’t.

Using the data provided from Google Analytics, you will be able to target your site visitors with what they want, evaluate the traffic flowing through your website and identify which content is most popular with visitors. You will also be able to view the bounce rate of your site to see if what you are offering is keeping your site visitors interested.

This is all valuable that you can use to make adjustments and climb the all-important search rankings.

Conclusion

Ultimately, it is Google that determines when and where your site will appear in search results. The five tips above will give you back some of the control and allow you to “tinker” with the SEO options for your site. With time, patience and many minor adjustments, you should gradually start to see improvements in your rankings as your site starts “clawing” its way onto page one of search results – which is the ultimate goal.

Google hates my website!

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How to get some “love” from the search giant…

Getting a website for your business is only part of the challenge in creating an online presence. But what if nobody is finding that website? No visitors – no point having a site in the first place. Google is the king when it comes to online search and if your site isn’t visible in their search rankings, then your site is invisible.

But what if you have submitted your site to Google, and nothing happens? Or, just as bad, what if your website is appearing on page 22 of search results? No-one is going to find you.

Technically, despite the title of this blog, Google can’t hate your website. It may not like some of your practices, the content you are delivering or how you are presenting your information to your visitors. These are some of the factors that can lead to poor search rankings.

But luckily, there are some simple measures that you can apply to your site to get some of that Google “love”:

1. Use keywords intelligently

Keywords have always been regarded as the main part of Google’s search algorithm*. Pre-2010 websites used to be “stuffed” with keywords to get a good result in search listings.

Try that now and you may find your site blacklisted. In 2019, Google likes the keywords to be integrated with the content that it represents.

TIP: To implement keywords on your site:
– Write down a list of the terms that people may use to find what you are offering.
– Simply insert those terms into the relevant parts of your website’s text. Ensure that the content still reads correctly and don’t try to “squeeze” every single term onto every single page.

2. Ensure your site is “mobile friendly”

If your site isn’t displaying properly on a mobile device then you are not only missing out on site visitors, you are also risking a penalty from Google.
Back in 2015, Google stated that “that comparable mobile sites will rank higher than non-mobile friendly sites in mobile search results.”

TIP: Don’t lost position – if your site is not mobile, get in touch with your web developer today.

3. Create a Site Map

Google uses web crawlers known as Googlebots to “crawl” through websites across the internet and these bots love a bit of direction. That is why having a site map integrated into your website is very important.

This map tells the bot how to intelligently move through your site. It also tells the search engine where the content is on your site and when it was last updated.
TIP: If your site is built on WordPress (all ours are), you can easily add a site map with a plugin like Google XML Sitemaps.

4. Deliver content with value

Google doesn’t actually read the content of your website. It observes the number of people that are searching for you, whether they go to your site, how long they stay, whether they dig into your site, etc.

Using this information, Google surmises whether your site visitors are finding what they are looking for and if it is worth viewing.

TIP: Read through your site content and make sure it is all “on point”. If it doesn’t benefit your site visitor, then it may not be benefiting you through Google.

5. Secure your site

Another area where Google enforcing change is the security of websites across the internet. An insecure site is a prime target for hackers and Google doesn’t want to lead any of its users into a dangerous site.

TIP: All sites must have a security certificate (SSL) installed at the server level to keep Google happy. This encrypts data traveling between the server and your visitor’s computer/device. To show site visitors that your site is secure, a security certificate displays a small padlock in the address bar of all browsers and adds https:// to the start of the web address.

Conclusion

If your business needs any assistance with implementing the various tips above to your website, please get in touch with the team at Tropical Coast Web Design. We’d be happy to help you get some Google love…

* The Google search algorithm is known as PageRank (named after Larry Page – one of the founders of Google). It is used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results.

Five Security Fixes your site needs right now!

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Currently, there are over 1.6 billion websites on the WWW and your business website is just one of them. “There’s safety in numbers” you might say when talking about your site’s security – “why would anyone target me?”

HackerIt’s important to know that Cyber Criminals and Spammers don’t physically trawl the web, using “bots” * instead to scour millions of sites every day. Looking for ways to hack into systems, they don’t care who you are or what your site is. If these bots find a weakness or backdoor to your site, you may be in trouble.

*specially coded programs

Benjamin Franklin wisely said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” so here’s five site security fixes that you can implement today:

#1 – Get a Security Certificate for your site.

A security (SSL) certificate is an addition to your website server* Google that creates a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser by confirming the site’s legitimacy.

If your site doesn’t have one, you risk being penalised by Google (and other search engines) with a drop in your search ranking. In addition, site visitors may be receiving warnings form their browsers that your site is “not secure”.

Luckily, an SSL certificate is quick to install on most web servers. Simply contact your service provider and ask for a certificate to be installed.

* the place where your site’s files live on the internet.

#2 – SPAM Controls

You would have to be living on another planet to not have been the recipient of SPAM emails. It is the bane of every single inbox on the planet. Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to stop SPAM completely but there are several things you can do to reduce the risk.

  • Make sure that your online forms are all guarded by Google’s new ReCaptcha protocol. It’s invisible and it works.
  • Update all plugins on your site to their latest versions whenever new versions are released.
  • Check that your web server has effective SPAM filters at its core level.

#3 – Plugin Updates

As mentioned above, if your site uses plugins for any of its core functions, make sure that you update them whenever a new release becomes available. If your site is built on the WordPress framework, this includes the core as well.

Hackers continually look for ways into vulnerable servers and will use any weakness to break their way into your site. An out of date plugin (or WordPress version) on your site could be the weak link they are looking for.

#4 – Latest Version of PHP

PHP is a programming language used in the development of many modern website and, just like plugins, there are new versions of PHP released on a regular basis. These updates are not only for closing any security vulnerabilities but also includes adding new functionalities to the language that can then be used for new functions on your website.

As with plugins, you can easily keep your PHP version up to date (usually via your web server’s Control Panel).

#5 – Install WordFence

If you haven’t guessed by now, WordPress is my website framework of choice for developing. One of the reasons for this is the amazing range of plugins that add further functionality to the basic core of the framework.

One of these is the excellent security plugin Wordfence. Wordfence provides a range of features and options for site owners that help protect their sites from hacking. On top of this, Wordfence provides monitoring of the other components in a site and notifies, via email, when action needs to be taken.

There are two versions of Wordfence, a free version which provides basic protection as outlined above, and a premium version which includes top level protection for your site.

Wordfence is a must for any site built using WordPress.

Conclusion

Nearly all the security measures outlined here can be implemented by a regular site owner with access to their site’s “backend”. However, if you require assistance at any time bolstering the security of your website, please get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design and we will take care it for you – hassle free.

Five Steps to reboot your Business Mojo

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Loss of business mojo happens to all of us from time to time. As business owners, it can sometimes be hard to maintain enthusiasm and drive all the time towards our work.

Five Steps to reboot your Business MojoSometimes it feels like we have lost our motivation and are just going through the motions in order to get things done. We feel no real urge to seek out and try new things (like marketing tactics). If this sounds familiar to you, then maybe your Business Mojo might just need a reboot!

If you are looking for some help so get things going again, here five quick tips that I personally have found useful to get inspired and back on track.

1. Get out and Exercise!

This might seem a bit of a strange tip in a business and marketing blog, however I find my focus for the day is sharper after some form of morning exercise. A simple 30 minute walk or jog can do the trick and the best thing is you can kill two birds with one stone by exercising to some…

2. Podcasts!

There are literally thousands to choose from. The best way to find the podcasts bested suited to you is to have a look on iTunes (for the Apple fans) and BeyondPod (for the Android users among us). Podcast One is another source for all kinds of podcasts from all types of genres.

A great podcast can expose you to a world outside the business that you generally work in and, just by listening to some success stories and the experiences of others, you might just find that missing spark you are looking for.

3. Reading

Once again, for those seeking external motivation from the best in the business, there is an abundance of great books that can get you inspired. Several great books that I can whole-heartedly recommend include:

  • Pour your heart into it – The Starbucks Story by Howard Schultz
  • Like a Virgin by Richard Branson
  • The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
  • Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

I must confess that I have read a couple of these more than once just to try and squeeze every possible gem out of them! They are all written by people who have created their own huge success stories and it help me to think – “there’s nothing to stop me being one too!”

4. Talk to other like-minded business people.

Seeking and talking biz with like-minded business owners can be a very powerful experience. But first you need to seek out an appropriate network. You could join your local Chamber of Commerce, start your own networking group or just talk to friends who work in similar industries (or maybe completely different). If you feel a little isolated and don’t know where to start, get online and join a forum.

5. Sit back and reflect

Sometimes we get caught up in the day-to-day of our businesses and we lose sight of what we have achieved and how far we have come. Take some time out and think about when you started your business. What were your goals? Why did you start?

Look at your past achievements and the work you have done. I love to go back and look at sites that I created 10 years ago and see just how bad they are! Of course, they didn’t look too bad back then but the progress since has made all of them look positively antiquated.

Guaranteed, if you look at the progress and successes of your business from where you have come from, you will start to see a clearer way forward and gain some of the motivation you think you have lost. You haven’t lost it – it’s still there, just hidden from view.

Why Online Stores are the Best Thing since Sliced Bread

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In small towns across North Queensland (and elsewhere I’m sure), there is evidence of an economic downturn on every main street.

Online StoresMany small shop fronts are sitting empty with no real outlook to opening again anytime soon. The factors behind this situation are many and varied but one of the most common blames is put directly onto the rise of online shopping.

If your business sells products of any shape or form, whether they are toasters, cars or even houses, there is absolutely no reason why you should miss out on a cut of the market by not having your very own ecommerce store. It doesn’t matter if you are a huge conglomerate with hundreds of stores nationwide or the local dress shop marketing your own fashions, everyone can have a slice of the pie if they are clever and utilise the power of the web.

There is a huge recompense to having an online store that most business owners don’t recognise, and these advantages can’t be achieved through a regular bricks and mortar store.

An online store has no landlord!

Not a single cent is paid in rent for your online store. The only costs you will incur, other than the original design of your site, is the monthly/yearly charge for your web server, the domain name and charges from outside agencies such as PayPal and/or your bank.

When you compare this to the cost of leasing a shop, you can guess who comes out in front. Talking to local business owners in my home town has shown me that the cost of a lease is one of the biggest factors forcing businesses to close. There’s not enough custom through the front door to warrant the outlay. No such problem with an online shop.

Levels the playing field with the Big Guys

When you operate an online store, you can pretend to be as big or small as you want. Many small online operators like to push the “smaller” operation approach as this can help to give you that personal touch missing from one of the larger stores. However, stores like Harvey Norman are trying to cash in on this notion by utilising a chat system that pops up at the bottom of the shop screen. Once again, the small business owner can compete with this through the use of a very simple plug in like ClickDesk or LiveChat.

Open for Business 24/7

An online store means that you can make a sale – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when you are asleep, your site can be making for you. Imagine logging on at work each morning (during the business week, of course) and seeing a whole backlog of purchases that were made and paid for even while the physical offices of your business were shut! The advantages of this should be whole apparent – you can’t do this with a bricks and mortar store. Once again, you can compete with the big guys – on their level.

Customer Interaction

An Ecommerce store can also be integrated with a healthy Social Media campaign allowing the store to “converse” with customers and potential customers in a friendly environment. Any problems or questions about products and services can be solved with no awkward or sometimes aggravated face to face contact. Tips and tricks can be passed on almost immediately to patrons with no wait time (depending on the level of customer service available) – business owners can answer issues from the luxury of their armchairs at home if they want.

An ideal example of this customer interaction can be seen in full use by Blackmilk Clothing on both their Facebook pages and website. Happy customers can be seen happily conversing with the Blackmilk team and showing off their latest purchases on the pages of the site. In return, the Blackmilk team gets instant feedback and direction, straight from the people wearing their gear.

Final Note

An online store can add an extra line of revenue to a business and it doesn’t even have to be the end of the physical shop front. Caravans Plus in Queanbeyan operate both with an offer in their ecommerce checkout that allows customers to order online and pickup in person, a perfect setup for the grey nomad travelling through that part of the world. No freight!

If you are interested in creating an online store, get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design and have a chat about what is possible for your business. We can create ecommerce stores for all types of businesses, large and small.

 

“Be x Do = Have” – A Simple Algorithm for Website Success

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The classic life algorithm “BE x DO = HAVE” has probably appeared in countless blog posts before. But who has sat down and worked out their Website strategy using this simple mathematical problem as a basis?

BE x DO = HAVEI have known of Brad Sugars, the founder of ActionCOACH, since he was a Senior leader at my high school in Brisbane and have watched his business coaching “empire” grow with interest. Whilst not a great fan of his business tactics and holding no affiliation to his brand, I have found nuggets of very useful information and advice in his YouTube videos. On his own site, Brad used to have a link to a free video seminar from his “Business is Booming” tour. In the three-hour long video, Brad took the audience through the various reasons why businesses should keep striving through the global financial crisis which was in full swing at the time. I spent a couple of nights watching the video and taking notes so that I could apply them to my own work at Tropical Coast Web Design.

One of the points that Brad raised in the video is the paradigm “BE x DO = HAVE”. Using an example from the video, a simple use of the math could be “BE Awesome x DO Awesome = HAVE Awesome”. Pretty straight forward until you realise that most people live this particular algorithm backwards, thinking that they must HAVE something before they can BE something.

I got to thinking to thinking – if this can be so easily applied to one’s life, can it be applied to the success of your Website? It may not be as simple as Brad Sugar’s application but read on…

If you are a business supplying a product or a service, the result of creating your Website must be to “HAVE more business”. That’s the final desired result. How do we get there?

The first part of the algorithm is not about the Website – it’s about your business. To effectively use a Website to generate business, you must have a product or service that would benefit from online sales. The local doctor probably doesn’t need a Website to sell his services. On the other hand, your local florist could make a lot more sales simply by getting online. You need to research your market and find out what your clients and potential clients want.

BE a worthy online business.

Once you have done the research on your clients, now comes the hard part. Do you have site that will satisfy their requirements? Sit down with your web designer and plan out a strategy – Who is your target market? How do they shop? What do they look for first in a site? What is their preferred method for purchasing? Will the aesthetics of the site appeal to them? How do we get them to keep coming back? This is where a good relationship with your web designer is very important. They need to understand where you are coming from and what you hope to achieve with your site.

DO create a site that works for you.

However, working with your web designer is only half the task. Once the reigns of your site have been handed over to you, there is still a lot of work to do. Start by reading back through our blog archive. There are literally dozens of tips that will help you to develop and continue to grow a site that works for you rather than sitting stagnant on the world wide web. If the site is not working for you, it’s not worth having – so turn it around!

Finally, keeping those two elements (BE and DO) in mind throughout the whole process, you can arrive at the desired result.

BE a worthy online business x DO create a site that works for you = HAVE more business.

This may be a little different to the way that Brad Sugars describes it, but the principle is the same. It is a very simple algorithm however it makes common sense for any small business owner who wants a site that generates leads and sales.