Keys to creating a successful website

We've been designing, programming and managing websites since the beginning of the world-wide-web. So have many others. Like a lot of things about the Internet, there are basics. Here are some of the ingredients contained in all successful websites.

A website is an essential element for running a successful business. A business without a website can potentially lose out on great opportunities since potential customers can’t reach you, find you and learn about you online.

Creating a small business website can lead to many different ways to market your business and help it grow much faster than relying on traditional marketing methods alone. If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers, or people to influence, the internet is where your business needs to be.

With over 78% of adult Americans using the Internet and a remarkable 2.2 billion people online worldwide, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites experience an average of 39% greater revenue per year than those without websites, according to the Small Business Administration.

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Selecting the Right Business Software to meet your needs.

We get asked all the time "which software should I purchase to run my business?" Nearly every industry has specific business software written for it. We can help you with the analysis, make recommendations and provide the system integration with you other systems; however you know you business best. Here's a checklist of how to go about selecting business software that fits.

Good software can enable your small business to increase sales by saving time and money while expanding capacity.

But you must choose wisely — because the wrong software can be an expensive mistake.

Here is my tried-and-true checklist for choosing software to support your business operations:

Testimonials from Businesses Like Mine

Find vendors with a meaningful number of testimonials from other small business owners. Look for testimonials from businesses like yours — businesses of roughly the same size, in similar industries and trying to solve similar problems.

A software package might work just fine for some businesses, however, it may not help fix your problem.

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Credit card processing "Deals" may be scams

Unfortunately, nearly everything can be scammed these days. Not just credit cards, but the process of accepting cards for a business or organization.

If you’re in a small business, you probably need a way for people to pay you – and ways to lower your costs. Scammers have been working both of those angles, promising businesses that they can save on leases of credit card processing equipment. They’ve also been promising that businesses can cancel any time. But is that what happens?

In a word, no. Businesses can end up paying thousands to lease equipment that would have cost only a few hundred dollars to buy. When the business can’t cancel the lease (despite the promises), it can have trouble if it stops paying. Those lease agreements can hold the business owner (or the person who signed the lease) responsible for the debts. And the agreements can require that legal disputes are heard in another state. Some scammers have even pretended to be the business’s current card processor – people have been tricked into signing new contracts when they thought they were just updating paperwork.

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Website Essentials

There are hundreds of millions websites and billions of web pages on the Internet. The formula for a successful website is fairly straight forward.  Here are some of the essentials.

There are certain pages every website can’t be without. A small business’s site needs to give visitors what they are most likely to be looking for.

If you’re getting a website together for your small business or reinventing an existing site, take a look at the five essential pages every small business website needs. We include three other recommended pages as well.

Homepage

Your homepage is the virtual lobby of your business, the first thing people notice when they visit the site. It’s therefore vital that your homepage presents your business in a professional and engaging light. Make a great first impression!

As research from the Neilsen Norman Group highlights, you have less than 10 seconds to convey your value proposition. Get to the point about what your business is about. Keep words concise, punchy and compelling to hook visitors and get them to explore deeper into your site.

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NYSEG Phone "Scam" targets small businesses

With graduation season in our area, many businesses are working full-out to meet their clients needs. Some of the local scamsters have decided that it's a good time to try to defraud some of those businesses. Below is an email we received from The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce about the latest local phone scam.

NYSEG or any legimate business will never make that kind of call "out of the blue". They all have carefully scripted procedures to contact their customers with overdue balances.

While we're on the topic, we're hearing more about calls purported to be from the IRS seeking overdue tax payments, typically from the elderly. They want to be "paid" immediately by gift card, like Best Buy or Apple. As absurd as this sounds, unsuspecting people are falling for this phone scam. That "success" is why these scams continue to proliferate.

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