Tips for networking effectively

Networking is a vitally important marketing tool for every business, whether big or small. Creating valuable and engaging contacts could be the single most important thing that you do for your business. Most chambers of commerce offer networking events to encourage businesses to get to know one another. In addition, there are many business associations that facilitate networking events with their members such as the BNI network, the Business Women’s Association and many more. So start networking like a pro with the following tips:

Bring business cards

It should go without saying, but you would be surprised how many people attend networking events with no business cards.

Understand that it is not just about swapping business cards

At the end of the day, who you connect and interact with weighs far more than how many people you gave your business card to. It is about creating a genuine connection that will remember you and want to do business with you.

Be friendly and smile

If you approach networking as a way to do business, you are not going to get very far. Be genuinely friendly and interested in those who you meet, and you are much more likely to create a lasting impression with a contact.

Listen

Be as open to others businesses as you want them to be open to yours. Be interested in doing business with others and not just from your side. Listen to what they have to offer and see if it is applicable to you.

Follow up

Follow up within the first few days after the networking function by sending each person you connected with an individual email or phone call to touch base with them. Especially those you really connected with. Offer to go for coffee to hear more about their services or send them a more detailed brochure of yours. Turn the connections you made into long-term contacts and friends.


BY: MISPAH CARELSEN, MARKETER AT WEBWARE STUDIOS


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Favourite WordPress Plugins

At Webware Studios, our Internet Marketing division, we specialise in creating WordPress websites for small and medium-sized businesses who want a professional website that is still affordable and suits their limited budgets. WordPress is a content management system that allows one to constantly update content on their website and provides an easy-to-use user interface for novices wanting to blog or keep their websites fresh. WordPress is known for its functionality and abundance of themes and WordPress plugins, which allow you to customise your site to suit your needs.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite WordPress plugins for small business websites:

Akismet

Usually already installed on all WordPress sites, Akismet is by far the best WordPress plugin to combat spam on your blog. All you need to do is activate it and register with them in order to receive your activation key. This is a must for every website that allows comments.

Under Construction

This WordPress plugin is our very first step when setting up a new live website. It allows you to create a “Coming soon” page that is visible to users that are not logged in. However, as the web developer, you are still able to see the front end of the website when logged in. This WordPress plugin is very useful when you don’t want outsiders seeing the changes you are making whilst building the website.

Better WP Security

Better WP Security adds that extra peace of mind in protecting your website against hackers and attacks by plugging as many security holes as possible. This WordPress plugin is easy to use for beginners as well as providing more advanced options for the more experienced user.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a really popular WordPress plugin for users wanting to add a contact form to their websites. It is easily customisable, allowing you to specify what fields to add as well as error messages to be displayed when incorrect information is entered.

Google XML Sitemaps

Important for SEO, the Google XML Sitemaps plugin creates and XML sitemap for you that enables web crawlers to index your site. In addition, each time you create a new post, the plugin automatically notifies all major search engines. Super Neat, right!

Page Links To

One of our favourite WordPress plugins, Page Links To allows you to a point a page or post to a different URL that you specify. This comes in handy for menu structures, especially placeholder menu items that when clicked on, can direct to a specific page. 

Simple Backup

Simple backup creates and downloads backups of your site. This is a great tool to have, especially when it’s time to upgrade your WordPress version or create backups for safe-keeping.

WordPress SEO

One of the all-round best SEO plugins, WordPress SEO by Yoast covers all bases and provides great insight on areas to improve. It is perfect for beginners or SEO experts and ensures that you optimise each page. The Page Analysis feature is one of our favourites, where it reminds you of easily forgotten items such as adding images to your posts and optimising your permalink.

Related Posts & Images by Zemanta

Zemanta makes blogging easier. This WordPress plugin adds related posts, in-text links as well as suggests images and tags that are related to your topic. 

 


BY: MISPAH CARELSEN, INTERNET MARKETER AT WEBWARE STUDIOS


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Writing content for your website

You know that you need a website, but other than the name of your business, you don’t have a clue of where to start in terms of writing content for your website pages.

Does this situation sound familiar?

Your website is the first place that people go to find out more information about your business and how it can fulfill their needs. So keep that in mind when developing your website content and the rest should follow.

Tips on developing content for your pages

Here are a few tips on developing and writing content for your website:

Writing Content Tip 1:

Start with the basics. All websites should have a home page, about page and contact page at the very least.

Writing Content Tip 2:

Your home page is usually the first page that visitors see. Write a paragraph about what your business does, focusing on the products or services that could most benefit the person visiting your site. In short, you want to explain what your business is/does in a few sentences that are easy to understand. Also remember to add a call to action on your home page. Tell people to “Contact you now”, “Get a free quote”, “Buy now” etc. Make it a noticeable button on your home page to help convert visitors to clients.

Writing Content Tip 3:

Believe it or not, but the about page is one of the most visited pages on a website. People want to know about you and your company. They want to feel as if they know the person and/or business that they are engaging with. So include the history of your business, how you came up with the idea and who you are as a person. It is also great to add the business’s vision, mission and goals to this page in order to give people a sense of what you stand for.

Writing Content Tip 4:

The contact page is vitally important. Try to provide as many ways as possible for potential clients to contact you. Supply an email address, phone number, postal address (or physical address if you have offices), as well as a contact form. Make sure that the contact form works, that the email address you provide works and that the phone number works. Providing a map to your offices or directions also adds a nice touch for people who might not know how to find you.

Writing Content Tip 5:

Once you have covered the basic 3 above, it is time to focus on your services or products. This is the heart of your site as it provides information that will hopefully lead to a sale. Try to explain your service/product offering in the most easy to understand way, so that people who are completely new to your offering can understand what it is that you sell/provide. If there is a lot of information about your product, rather give readers the option of reading more by going to another page. Steer clear from too much content as visitors can be fickle in terms of not wanting to read everything. Write based on what your target market want to read, or the information that they are likely to ask you in person.

These are just the minimum basics in terms of content to have on your website pages and would obviously change according to your specific business and its needs. Examples of other pages could be testimonials, your portfolio, your list of clients, your team, the techniques that you use, FAQs etc. Follow these basics to begin with and you’re already on your way to a good website.


BY: MISPAH CARELSEN, INTERNET MARKETER AT WEBWARE STUDIOS


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Facebook Pages, Profiles and Groups

Facebook has a number of ways to create an online presence, namely through Facebook Pages, Profiles and Groups. Clients often assume that when creating a business profile on Facebook, an account is created in the same way that you would for an individual. This approach is incorrect for a number of reasons. Let’s distinguish between the different Facebook options.

Facebook Profile

A Facebook profile (where you sign up for Facebook and create an account) is intended for individuals, or in order words, actual people. Businesses who set up a profile in order to promote their business are actually in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service and Facebook can block or remove that profile.  Facebook profiles allow you to add friends, send inbox messages and join groups amongst other things.

Facebook Profile sign up

Facebook Groups

Groups are aimed at people who want to have a discussion. They are perfect for forums, interest groups and training etc. Businesses typically only create groups if they want to encourage a discussion around a topic, such as a focus group, or to build an online community etc. Groups can be open, closed or secret, depending on the required level of privacy, and groups allow private messaging to members.

Facebook Group

Facebook Pages

Facebook pages are ultimately created for use by businesses to promote their brands. They are also popular for use by celebrities, or any non-human entity for that matter, and are the best option for a business presence on Facebook. The major appeal of Facebook pages are that they allow businesses to communicate publicly and present a professional image on Facebook. When posting or commenting on the page, it is presented as the brand that is taking the action, and not an individual person. Pages are liked by friends and fans, and can be promoted through inviting friends of the admin, or through Facebook ads.

Facebook Pages

Thus, if you are a business looking at entering the social media arena and want to get started on Facebook, the Pages option is the ideal solution to allow you to interact with your clientele.


BY: MISPAH CARELSEN, INTERNET MARKETER AT WEBWARE STUDIOS


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