For small businesses showing up high in a Google search can be counted as a coup.
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But if Web sites referencing your business include inaccuracies, then the search results are worthless. That was just one of piece of advice Guy Kawasaki, managing director of venture capital firm Garage Technology Ventures and Internet guru, offered up to the small business winner of Verizon (VZ) and Cisco’s (CSCO) Better Way Challenge.
The Better Way Challenge was a contest in which small business owners submitted videos detailing the toughest part of getting their company’s team on the same page using Verizon’s collaboration tools. Ron Banks, a psychologist in Pasadena, Calif., won the grand prize which included a consultation with Kawasaki.
According to Kawasaki, small businesses need to have a vibrant online presence, make sure information on other Web sites about their company is accurate and should think long and hard about the company’s social networking strategy before jumping in.
“In this day and age everyone needs a Web site,” said Kawasaki, noting that with a Web site, a small business owner can position themselves as a leader in the specific industry, which could result in increased business.
What’s more, any information about the small business on the Web needs to be accurate and complete. It’s not enough to have a LinkedIn.com profile if it doesn’t include all of the information about the business or small business owner.
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When considering how the Web site should be structured, Kawasaki said the owner has to decide if he or she wants the Web page to be static and serve mainly as a brochure or dynamic with content changing daily or weekly.
He argues a dynamic Web site will keep people coming back, which could boost sales or revenue. With a static Web site “you only get traffic when people are specifically looking for you and trying to contact you,” said Kawasaki.
One way to make a dynamic Web site is to include content, whether it’s a blog post or link to an interesting article and update it on a regular basis. The Web site should have two-thirds changing content and one-third static content. The static content would include advertising, how to contact the small business, information about the company, etc. Kawasaki advised owners to try and get a Web site designed for a couple thousands of dollars and pay $10 a month to run it.
As for any blogging components of a Web site, small businesses need to make sure that what they are posting is interesting and will draw visitors.
“You don’t need to blog every day,” said Kawasaki. “Once a week or maybe twice a week, when you have something important to say.”
The content on the blog should fit with how the small business owner wants to be positioned and branded. The content should also remain professional and not get too personal. He pointed to his Alltop.com as a resource for small business owners to check out what others in the field are blogging about. Kawasaki is the founder of Alltop.com, which aggregates content on the Web based on category.
In order to be successful on Twitter, the small business owner will have to become an expert and the go- to person for a particular subject. If you can establish yourself as an expert, the articles you post will get tweeted and retweeted creating a following, which could lead to more sales.
“If you become an expert than Twitter becomes a marketing tool,” said Kawasaki.