It’s True! Not Every Small Business Needs a Website

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Needing to have repair work done on my watch, I did what most people do. I Googled for a watch repair shop. Working in downtown Atlanta, my results returned a decent listing of shops near me. From there, I am the type to check out the business websites to help decide who gets my business. To my surprise, half of the shops had no websites! That notwithstanding, based on the high remarks from the Google customer reviews, I made my choice.

As someone that provides websites for the small business, I sensed an opportunity here. First things first though. This was no ordinary watch. This was my 16 year old Citizen Promaster Navitech presented to me from my band of brothers upon retirement from the USAF. Best Watch & Jewelry Repair was the business I chose to work on my watch.

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Milton Best, a fine gentleman was the owner and repairman of the shop. I see why he has great reviews. He did a great job with my watch and for a fair price! I mentioned he should consider having a website for his business and even created a prototype one for him which I hosted on one of my test domains. Check it out (www.redcartest4.com). Still no sale!

I learned that mostly he has more business than he knows what to do with. He gets a lot of work from other jewelers and does not feel the need to advertise! In addition, he is not remotely tech savvy and views having a website as something he does not understand and has no desire to learn. I thanked him again for such a wonderful job on my watch, wished him continued success and went on my way having learned something new!

How Social Media can Benefit your Small Business

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Today’s small business can and should take advantage of the many technologies available to them.

These technologies include online forums, associations and networking platforms. You know them as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. They are valuable to you as a business owner in that they are a free way to market your brand, products and services to potential customers.

For many businesses, their potential customers are other businesses as in partnerships or sub-contracting. By having a decent profile up and running, your business becomes visible to these potential partners.

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For the small business that lacks the information technology expertise to take advantage of these important technologies, let Red Car Software be your I/T savvy support team.

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Hosting Services NOT to Pay For!

 As I deal with small businesses I am constantly hearing the outrage at paying so much for their website hosting services.  I wonder why I pay so little and they pay so much! When I look closer, too many are paying for services they don’t need and not sure they actually ordered!  Look below: $8 per month for email is way too much!  Hosting works out to $13 per month for a total of $21 per month.  My customers and I pay $7 per month for website hosting that includes email!

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So here are my tips for new businesses with limited budgets.  You really only need basic domain name registration and basic website hosting that should include email. Also, compare prices… they start you off with low prices and hope you don’t notice the exorbitant renewal prices!  The “Big Box” providers make their money by charging your account for services that your small business could easily do without!  Do not ever feel you have to stay with ANY provider… you can leave in a heartbeat!

You do NOT need:
– Premium domain name registration (there is no such thing!)
– Private domain name registration (your company isn’t big enough yet)
– Privacy Protection (see line above)
– Extra domains (your company isn’t big enough yet)
– Web Forwarding (your company isn’t big enough yet)
– SiteLock or SSL (only if you are certain you are collecting privileged customer info)
– Any type of support plan (this certainly should not cost extra! do I even have to say this?)

 

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Anyway, I hope you found this article helpful… save that money!  Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions for me.

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Search Results – A Major Benefit of having a Website

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Perform a Google search with these 3 words: “insurance jefferson ga”.  The search results are very telling!  West Insurance Group shows up in the local area Google map.  They also show up FIVE more times, 2 on the first page and 3 on the second page.  Those are awesome and staggeringly good results. As you can see, half of the listings are from search engines.  What had to happen first for all this to be possible is…. a WEBSITE!!!

 

insurance-jefferson-ga-2Google, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, Super Pages, etc. all these search engines run software to find and categorize your business through its website.  To be a part of this game and show up for free in search results, your business must place a professional website online!  For the money spent, a website is a phenomenal investment for your small business.  Let’s get you started today!

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Be the RULER of your domain!

Don’t be held hostage by your website domain! Your domain name is your “address” on the internet. Redcarsoft.com is my domain (or one of them anyway). The “www” is added to them just for convention. A handful of companies have been authorized to manage the administration of these domain names. GoDaddy, Network Solutions and Yahoo are some of the big ones along with countless smaller companies. You or your small business pays these companies solely to let the rest of the world know that you own the rights to whatever your domain name happens to be.

 

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As a matter of convenience to you, the same company MAY also provide hosting services for your website. From your point of view, your hosting service provides you with an empty box on a web server connected to the internet. You will then build a website yourself (or contract out with someone to do it for you) and place the contents (text, pictures, graphics, logos, videos, hyperlinks, etc.) of your website into that empty box. Finally, when anyone enters “your domain name” in their browser, the internet “knows” how to find the contents of your website box and deliver it to that person’s web browser!

Voila! It’s pretty cool! Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that you are totally FREE to shift your website hosting company at any time you see fit! You should always be shopping around for better prices. Now, if you have pre-paid for 5 years (Why???) then you might want to stay with that company even if the service turns crappy or the introductory price has expired. You will have to pay for service at your new provider.

Anyway, I hope this post has been helpful because I detect frustration when I talk with small business owners. Good luck out there!

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What is the REAL cost of that $1 dollar down website?

So I’m at a networking event and a small business owner tells me “Johnny, I’m shocked at how much it costs to have a website! They keep charging my card for all these services! I had no idea it would be so much!” I’m curious now so I tell him my total costs and ask him if I can log into his account to see what the heck is going on! When I do, I become shocked as well! He is being charged for products and services he does not need for his one man business right now. Worse, even though he has prepaid for two years in advance, they are also putting monthly charges on the card as if they have started renewal fees 2 years early! Whoa!

 

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Because he’s great at his business but not an I/T nerd, they had talked him into buying crap he did not need. Privacy protection, SiteLock, Web Forwarding (really!), Premium DNS (I don’t even know what that is!), a Support Plan and finally “Acquisition” were all items being charged to his card. Whenever he would call them, he would just receive doubletalk and be told it was required. In short order, I helped him to move away from that “Big Box” service provider!

There are several lessons to be learned here:

  1.  Keep a constant vigil on your credit card charges. Do question unexpected charges.
  2. Consider making friends with an I/T nerd to help you understand techno-babble!
  3. Consider not pre-paying for more than 2 years tops, 1 year at a time is good enough and allows you to leave without much penalty.
  4. Remember that domain administration and website hosting are two separate services. Even if you have pre-paid for 5 years of domain administration, you are still free to host your website with a completely different provider (and not lose that domain registration). I will write and post an article on just this topic very soon.

I have created a worksheet detailing the prices of the Big Box provider and the provider I use. The worksheet also lists services to avoid paying for until your business becomes very large. Save your money for now! If you reply to my article, I will send you a copy of the worksheet for your review.

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Useful and helpful tips for the “technically challenged” business owner

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I have been attending small business networking events in an effort to start connecting with business owners in the metro Atlanta area. Now all small business owners have heard the advice of being different so that you stand out from the competition. That advice sounds great but carrying out that advice effectively is not the most simple of tasks. However, at a recent business social mixer, one guest speaker mentioned what I thought was a great idea. “Provide free helpful tips to potential customers!”

And so a new blog is born! It will be my intent to provide what I hope are useful and helpful tips concerning “I/T and tech support” topics for the “technically challenged” business owner! With luck, my articles will help to provide added value to the average small business out there.

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