‘My Son Built Our Web Site’

June 28, 2008

Talking to several small business owners in recent months, I get the occasional cringeworthy line thrown my way: “Oh, we’ve got a web site. My son built our web site.”

Well, excuse me for being a pessimist. As handy as your son might be with html code and Photoshop, if he doesn’t run his own web design business, then your web site likely is missing several key features to help it stand out in the crowd.

For starters, search engines regularly crawl sites. And if yours doesn’t have all the alt and meta tags in place, then you are in danger of being marginalized. Choosing the right key words to put in the tags is just as important as the tags themselves.

And then there is SEO. Few people properly understand search engine optimization. You son almost certainly doesn’t. If your site is stuck on Page 8 of Google rankings, no wonder! Pay a professional to optimize your site and you should see real results.

The bottom line is you get what you pay for. Little Joey might be able to whip together a functional family genealogy page. But when it comes to your business, why leave something as important as a web site to an amateur?

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Small Biz And The Net

June 25, 2008

Whenever I meet a small business owner, more often than not they are resistent to the Internet. It’s a dirty word; a foreign world. There’s no way any of their potential customers troll around the net looking for them. That’s where many proprietors are making a serious mistake.

It’s no longer enough to hang out a shingle and place an ad in the phone book. If that’s all you do, you are living in a bygone era. And your business might follow.

Search is what has turned Google into a powerhouse and why Microsoft is scrambling for a piece of the action. Anyone under the age of 30 goes to the net first to look up products and services. Any local merchant with a stand-alone web site has an instant edge.

In other words, a web presence is essential.It’s like trying to run a cleaners without hangers or a deli minus a cash register. Consider it infrastructure. And believe it or not, a personalized web site doesn’t need to be a costly investment. If your web site brings in just one new regular customer that just might offset the cost. And in the bottom-line world of small business, that’s a rationalization owners need to be willing to make.

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com

Journey To Cutting Edge

June 19, 2008

I started Long Island Entrepreneurs in hopes of finding like-minded business owners to share the latest trends with and possibly network. After 11 years as a newspaper reporter, I left to start my own business last fall. While I’m knowledgable and skilled in online media, publishing and web design, this last year has served as a crash course in the fundamentals of business. That’s been both thrilling and challenging at the same time.

I’ve found social networks and industry-related blogs a great source of information and inspiration. The hope is we can gain the same critical mass here. I’m certainly happy to talk about the missteps and right moves I’ve made over the last year. So let’s get the conversation started. Long Island entrepreneurs unite!

Blog originally posted at LI Entrepreneurs.com