Expanding Your Business Online

The invention and eventual widespread use of the Internet has forced businesses to recognize the necessity of having a little corner of their own on the World Wide Web. Keeping these websites active requires a website hosting service, and there are many types to choose from. More and more individuals, however, are realizing that dedicated servers are the way to go. Different servers will benefit separate companies, but after fully understanding hosting services and specific dedicated servers, many business owners opt for the dedicated server route.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seoplanter/7460436606/

Important Aspects of a Website

There are several factors that can make or break a website hosting service. Some of the most important considerations when choosing a type of hosting service are uptime, security, speed and reliability. Free hosting companies are cheap, but all of the aforementioned important factors are seriously lacking in these free options. Shared servers are better than free servers, but since the server in question is being used by multiple companies, the speed and reliability can often be compromised.

Some business owners also opt to host their own servers, but this leaves them susceptible to huge drawbacks if their server crashes. The sad fact of the matter is that a business owner will have to be a full-on computer and networking expert to run their own server. Luckily, dedicated servers avoid many of the issues related to self-hosting and the gamut of other server types.

Benefits of Dedicated Servers

As already mentioned, dedicated servers solve many of the issues that other server types leave wide open. Dedicated servers, for instance, have only one website on them. This means that lax security on another website that shares the same server will never affect the website on a dedicated server.

In addition, dedicated hosting services ensure that all space on a server is dedicated to that one site. This means that large amounts of traffic visiting another website on the server won’t cause any downtime issues for the website. Also, shared servers have an inherent constraint on space. Dedicated servers, on the other hand, have plenty of space for the website that it’s hosting. This means that if a business owner decides to expand their website, it’s extremely simple.

Managed vs. Unmanaged Dedicated Servers

Many business owners are left with the tough decision of choosing between managed and unmanaged dedicated servers. They both have their own advantages, but for companies that are still growing, unmanaged hosting services are likely their best option. Managed dedicated servers come prepackaged with certain attributes. Security capabilities, for instance, are chosen by the company hosting a managed server. Unfortunately, these can sometimes provide too much or too little security for a website, but this problem doesn’t exist for unmanaged servers.

Unmanaged servers still have the basic infrastructure support that managed hosting services provide, but business owners with unmanaged servers can pick and choose exactly what they need and only pay for those features. They can expand these features at any time, but while waiting for this need to arise, they can definitely save money. Businesses can even choose their own easy to manage control panel and companies like www.roboshift.com sell full cPanel licenses at a cheaper price than they can get when buying direct from the manufacturer.

In addition, business owners can use the exact programs and procedures that they want on unmanaged servers. This means that they can upload their own control panels or the exact right amount of security. The options are almost limitless, and the unmanaged tag keeps the price reasonable.

Selecting the right type of server is absolutely essential for any business owner who hopes to run a successful online campaign. In fact, the lack of a great Internet presence can sometimes be detrimental enough to cause a company to fail. Luckily, dedicated servers allow individuals to get reliable service for their website, and unmanaged servers give them incredible leeway over how their website operates and how much it costs. Understanding all of these things is essential for every company, group or organization out there.

About the Author: Researcher Shelby Warden writes articles to help businesses compete in a digital world. www.RoboShift.com is an authorized cPanel partner that sells the full range of external cPanel licenses at low prices and backs them up with their friendly customer service and support. cPanel/WebHostManager is the leading web hosting control panel used by Web Hosting companies and Internet Service Providers.

Business Marketing on a Budget

Even the most inexperienced entrepreneur will recognize the importance of marketing for business success. The problem, however, is that marketing can be rather expensive. Many small companies find themselves incapable of doing the right kind of advertising due to the high cost.

Creativity and internet will help you do amazing marketing on a budget. Sometimes, a great idea can be carried out free of charge. The following marketing techniques are perfect for businesses that are trying to do promotion on a tight budget.

The Power of Internet

Internet marketing is one of the best options for you. The web is one of the most inexpensive channels and it provides the added benefit of a highly targeted audience. No other communication channel will help you reach such a demographically appropriate group of individuals.

Social networking brags high efficiency, while it typically happens free of charge. Websites like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter are perfect for marketing on a budget. Even sms marketing software can have great returns for minimal start up costs. Even if you decide to pay for the campaigns, the sums will be minimal in comparison to other kinds of promotion.

Always go through your bills and examine the internet marketing reports that you receive in the end of the month. Stick to reputable websites because you may otherwise fall into a scam trap. Forensic accountants can help you figure out the best online promotional tools for your business.

words of mouth
photo credit: Pricklebush via photopin cc

Word of Mouth Promotion

Happy customers will be willing to spread the word. Provide a stellar service and your clients will do the promotion for you.

Word of mouth promotion is highly efficient. Most often, people remain skeptical about marketing messages and commercials. When they need a service or a product, however, many people are likely to turn to friends and relatives for recommendations.

Support Events and Fundraisers

Participating in community events and fundraisers will help you increase brand awareness without spending a fortune on it.

Support causes and charities that are of paramount importance for the community. You will be creating an image of a socially responsible business. People like such initiatives and they will be willing to check your company out in the future.

Help for the organization and the popularization of the event. You can donate a sum to the charity, as well. It does not have to be a large amount. People will still notice you and remember your company.

Article Marketing

Article marketing is one of the newest and most efficient forms of online promotion.

In its essence, article marketing is the creation of content for popular websites and blogs. In return, you will get a link to your corporate website.

Writing useful articles about the topics you are knowledgeable in will help you establish yourself as the authority inside a particular niche. Clients will be more willing to turn to a well-established business. Article marketing takes place free of charge but you will have to spend some time thinking about interesting and informative content.

Participate in Conferences

Being a guest lecturer will help you increase corporate awareness, as well. You can easily get invited to participate in conferences and seminars. Work on your biography, increase your portfolio and contact the right people in order to benefit from this kind of promotion.

Participation in conferences and seminars is the perfect form of business-to-business marketing. You will get to make a presentation in front of industry specialists. The B2B sector is exceptionally important for corporate success and you should make use of such opportunities.

Local Online Marketing

Google+ and Foursquare have added a local dimension to online promotion.

Create a Google Places page dedicated to your business. These pages are used by people looking for products and services in their city or neighborhood. Local marketing is the most practical form of online promotion because it translates in the biggest number of actual sales.

Business promotion is all about making use of the available channels, even if you have a very limited budget. It will require time and effort but you will easily increase your popularity without spending too much on marketing campaigns. Take your time, think about it and be original – this is the only way to set your business apart.

Author Bio: This guest post is written by Nick Anderson an experienced finance writer.

Moving Your Small Business Forward: Exhibitions and Trade Fairs

If you own a small business and you think it’s time start boosting your sales as well as your profit margins, then look no further than business exhibitions. In today’s competitive market, it’s vital that you make the effort to get your brand name out there. This guide will tell you exactly how business exhibitions can transform your small business and its future, helping you move towards those profits and sales you always dreamed about.

Of course before you read on it’s important you know there are a few setbacks to exhibitions, all of which are expenses based.

Trade fair
Image by US Mission Canada / Flickr

The first of these is the cost of entering your stand into the exhibition, which is generally a fair amount (however it should come within your marketing budget). Secondly, you may be charged for overheads such as electricity, Internet and phone lines, as well as expenses like shipping products and display material to the convention centre. Don’t let these costs intimidate you though, exhibitions are great for small businesses, and here’s why:

Sample and promote a new product/service

If you’re entering a new product or service onto the market, sampling is of a high priority. Finding out what people think about it, what’s good? What’s bad? How can it be improved? Whilst you are asking people to sample your products, you are also marketing your product and your business which is why it is so important to make a good first impression.

Discover new leads

Business is all about communication, and communication can come through many different mediums. With exhibitions you have the opportunity to communicate with many new potential customers/clients, and creating these contacts for your company is vital. This is true especially when searching for new customers, as well as to aid growth and expansion. It is also important to replace those customers that over time have drifted away from your business, helping you to keep a strong customer base.

Chase after your new leads

It’s all well and good talking to people and taking business cards at these exhibitions, but what’s more important is the following up process. In this sense, exhibitions will provide you with an assist towards your main goal of making long-term contacts. With these new relations you can build further links “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”. But you MUST follow up; don’t leave those business cards gathering dust. You need to know from these new leads which ones are likely to buy soon, and which ones may buy in the future. Qualify them, and follow up, tailoring your approach for each one accordingly.

Meet powerful people

Sometimes everyone needs a little dose of inspiration and incentive; try achieving this by talking to influential figures at exhibitions. This will help you to gain some perspective and insight towards your outlook – a few words of wisdom can go a long way. So push aside any feelings of nervousness, feel confident and put the success of your future first! Plus you never know when you might need some powerful contacts in your industry…

Receive media coverage

The media has become such a prolific part of today’s society that most media attention you can get is (normally) good marketing. With the current rise in just Social Media alone, you will find plenty of opportunities to receive media coverage for your small business at numerous commerce exhibitions. But remember, you need to contribute to this – use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on to publicise your presence at an exhibition. And have a press kit handy, in case you get a chance to speak to any journalists.

Practice makes perfect

As your company grows, you as a boss will need to do a fair bit of public speaking to important people such as investors or new clientele. Whilst you have the opportunity to do so, carry out some pitches at exhibitions to build your poise and self-belief in talking to powerful people. It’s a much smaller audience, but they’ve most likely come over to your stand because they’re interested in what you do, so it’s an excellent opportunity to practise. Another thing to remember is you may do some paid speaking in the near future, so get some free training in early whilst the chance is on the table!

About the Author: Astro Exhibitions are a firm of exhibition stand designers based just outside Manchester. They have built custom exhibition display stands for companies from all round the world for events across Europe.


Facebook No-No’s for Business

Many businesses have been employing the use of Facebook to help them market their business as well as interact with their customers. Facebook can be a great tool for businesses when it is used properly, however, there are many companies out there that are making fatal Facebook mistakes.

No-No #1: Using a personal page instead of a business page.


Facebook has two separate platforms: one for individuals and one for businesses. Many businesses make the mistake of creating a business page on a regular individual page, and this is a big no-no. First, it violates Facebook’s guidelines.

Second, personal profiles have limitations that are not good for businesses. A personal profile has a numerical limit on the number of friends you can have and if your settings are set to private, only friends can see your page. On the other hand, business pages are open to the public. You can have as many fans as you want, you don’t have to approve every fan request and you have more options to increase awareness and engage with customers.

No-No #2: Not having a plan.

You can’t simply walk blindly into Facebook and expect it to work miracles. Facebook is an extension of your marketing strategy; therefore, it needs a plan.

You need to determine the goals of your Facebook page first. Do you simply want to generate awareness about your company? Do you want to use it as a way for customers to contact you for more information on your products or services? Do you want to use it for community engagement? All of these goals require different Facebook strategies, so it’s important to have a good handle on your goals before jumping into Facebook.

You also need to implement a monitoring plan. Who is going to constantly watch your site? Are you going to assign a team of employees to handle this, or are you going to outsource? You also need to determine your plan of action. If a customer posts an unhappy message on your wall for all to see, what are you going to do?

Having a well thought out plan can alleviate the ailments that can come with a social media presence. And by knowing your goals, you can accurately implement tactics to achieve them.

No-No #3: Being inactive.

The purpose of Facebook is to interact with customers and fans and be social. You cannot create a Facebook page just to say you have a Facebook page and then never do anything with it. If you’re inactive on Facebook, you will not gain any fans. If you have no fans, there’s no purpose in having a Facebook page.

If you simply cannot manage the responsibility of a business Facebook page, create a team of dedicated staff to run it or outsource it to a social media company. Depending on the size of your following and the demands from your customers, your Facebook page could be a hub of constant interaction. If this is the case, give your followers what they want and engage with them. Post pictures or videos, create fun and engaging status updates, comment and like status updates or photos of your fans. The more you can be active with your customers, the more human your company will seem.

No-No #4: Being redundant.

One step above being inactive, you’ll find redundancy is also a Facebook no-no. Facebook business pages allow you to do a wide variety of things. You can post pictures or videos, ask questions to your audience, post status updates, create polls, create deals and even allow users to “check-in” to your location. Since you have all of these options at your fingertips—use them.

The more interesting your page is on a daily basis will entice your fans to visit your page more often. If you are constantly boring them with the same old garbage, you could end up losing them in the long run.

When used correctly, Facebook can be a great addition to your marketing strategy. You can get your business in front of your target demographic and you can connect with your fans on a more personal level, listen to their input and get a grasp of what they want from you and what will make them happy. If you can get all of this from a social networking site, it’s important that your business does not implement any of these no-nos.

About the Author: Charlie Adams is a social media expert and marketing professional who works with the Palms hotel in Las Vegas. He often generates content to aid people or businesses in the proper application of social networks.

Photo Credit: farooq.aries

Inexpensive Marketing Tools Any Business Can Utilize

There are thousands of ways to market your business, but giving customers promotional items is a way to put the marketing into the customers’ hands. However, not all promotional items work and you need to make sure this is something the customer actually wants. Here are just a few inexpensive marketing tools any business can utilize.


One of the best marketing tools you can use are t-shirts. However, there are some things you need to consider. First of all, design your t-shirts to fit your target market. For example, if you own a music company, create a design that’s fun with bright colors. When the t-shirt matches the personalities of your customers, they will be more likely to wear it.


Food is an excellent way to promote your business. There are a number of different methods you could use. For example, you might opt to place a coupon on the boxes of a local pizza place. Another method would be to sponsor a charity and have a coupon for your business added to their product. You could even have a local bakery design cookies or cupcakes for a customer appreciation day.

Store Receipts

Another method that businesses are using is shopping receipts. Many grocery stores print out coupons and advertising when a customer checks out. However, you don’t want to just advertise your company, because customers will just toss the paper in the trash. Offer a coupon. If your local stores don’t offer this service, ask about having your ad placed on their receipts. Some receipts features business ads and coupons on the back of the receipt.

Tote Bags

Tote bags have become a popular advertising method over the past few years and with good reason. With more and more people opting to use tote bags instead of grocery bags, your ad can be seen by people throughout town.

Bumper Stickers

Bumper stickers are another great way to promote your business, but this is another promotional item that has to be designed to suit your target market. For example, if your company is a bakery, create a design and statement that stands out and appeals to your customers.


Magnets are another great marketing tools because customers and postential customers will see your customized magnets on a daily basis. This makes them more apt to shop with your company when they need your products or services again.

Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Last, but not least, people are turning to stainless steel water bottles to replace plastic water bottles. This is another chance to put the advertising in the hands of the consumer. Create a fun ad and make sure it’s something your customers want to carry.

There are a number of inexpensive ways to market your business. Best of all, your customers will think of many of these promotional items as gifts, rather than advertising.

About the Author: Stephen McCarl loves working with small businesses as they strive to develop their marketing campaigns. He can usually find solutions for any budget and loves watching new groups grow.