Tag - Business

15 Tips to Grow Your Business Online (without A Lot of Money)


Looking to grow your business online without a lot of money? If you are just starting a business, then you cannot afford to waste money. In this article, we will share practical tips on how to grow your business on a small budget. Our goal is to help you compete with the big guys without spending a fortune.

How to grow your business on a shoestring budget

1. Choose The Right Platform for Your Website

The biggest mistake you can make as a small business is choosing the wrong platform to build your website. A wrong platform will not only cost you more money, but it will also limit your business’ growth potential.

We recommend using WordPress. It is the most popular website builder in the market, and it powers over 31% of all websites (including both small and large businesses).

When we say WordPress, we are talking about WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. They are two different platforms, see our article on the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for more details.

To start a self-hosted WordPress website, you’ll need a domain name AND a web hosting account. Yes, they’re different. Want to learn more? See our explanation: what’s the difference between domain name vs web hosting.

Different hosting companies offer different plans suitable for small to large websites. This ultimately affects the cost of your website.

If you are just getting started, then we recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Luckily, they are offering WPBeginner users free domain name and discount on hosting. Basically, you’ll be able to get started for $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

As your business grows, you will likely need more hosting resources. Hopefully, by that time you’ll be making enough money to justify an upgrade.

Once you have a little more money to spend, then you can choose a managed WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine or SiteGround.

2. Choose a Functional Website with Simple Design

Website design

Many beginners believe that their customers will not take their business seriously if they don’t have their website professionally designed.

Getting a professional to custom design your website is expensive, and it’s not needed when you’re just starting out.

You can easily start with a ready-made free or premium WordPress theme for a fraction of a price.

See our expert’s pick of the best WordPress themes for some inspiration.

If none of the above themes suit your need, then you can also use these drag & drop WordPress page builders to create completely custom designs without writing any code.

3. Make it Easier for Users to Contact You

Make it easier to contact

If you want your website to bring you more customers, then you need to add an easy way for visitors to contact you.

The easiest way to do that is by using a contact form on your website.

By default, WordPress doesn’t come with a contact form. Luckily, there are WordPress contact form plugins that can help you easily add a contact form to your site.

We recommend using WPForms Lite. It is the free version of the popular WPForms plugin that’s trusted by over 1 million websites.

Once your business has grown, you can upgrade to WPForms Pro to create more advanced forms like surveys, polls, payment forms, etc.

4. Start Building an Email List from Day 1

Lead generation

Most people who leave your website will never come back again. This means that if you don’t get their email address, then you will have no way to communicate with them in the future.

The most cost-effective way to do this is by building an email list.

Email marketing is the most reliable way to communicate with your website visitors.

You can get started with Constant Contact, they’re the top rated email marketing service provider in our list.

WPBeginner users get a free trial for those who’re just starting out and 20% off, if you upgrade to their paid plan.

For more tips, see our beginner’s guide on how to do lead generation in WordPress like a pro.

5. Get More Organic Traffic From Search Engines

SEO

Search engines like Google are the major source of traffic for most websites on the internet. There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your website for search engines by learning basic SEO.

SEO or search engine optimization is a set of guidelines and techniques that make your website more search engine friendly. It is not too technical and you will be able to do it on your own.

We have published a complete step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners. We will walk you through the whole process of making your website as SEO friendly as possible.

To get traffic from search engines you’ll need content, which brings us to the next step in this guide.

6. Plan a Content Marketing Strategy

Content strategy

Content marketing is a strategy to create useful and relevant content to attract and build an audience. This allows you to get more targetted traffic from search engines without spending a fortune.

The easiest way to add useful content to your website is by adding a blog. WordPress allows you to add a separate blog page to your website and sort your content into categories and tags.

You need to plan your content strategy by finding out the keywords your users may be looking for. See our guide on how to do keyword research for your blog.

Need ideas on how to use those keywords in your content strategy? Here is a massive list of blog post ideas that you can use on your blog.

Content marketing is a highly effective and proven strategy to market your business on a small budget. To learn more about it, see this guide on how to create an effective content marketing strategy for your business.

7. Make Data-Based Decisions with Google Analytics

Analytics

Many beginners use their best guesses to plan their growth strategy. You don’t need to do that when you can use actual data to make those decisions.

This is where Google Analytics comes in. It allows you to see how many visitors are coming to your site, where they are coming from, and what they do while there.

See our guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress for step by step instructions.

Google Analytics comes with a lot of information. Even though it is neatly organized and beautifully presented, it could still be a bit overwhelming for new users.

To make the most out of it, install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin. It is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress and allows you to easily view your most important traffic reports inside WordPress dashboard. If you run an online store, then MonsterInsights can also help you track WooCommerce customers using Google Analytics.

You can also download the free version of MonsterInsights. It works great but you wouldn’t have access to some of its most advanced features.

8. Leverage Social Media to Drive Traffic

Leverage social media to grow your business

Social media platforms have highly engaged audiences. Facebook alone has 1.47 Billion daily active users, that’s around 18% of all people in the world. Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms also have highly engaged users.

With so many users, social media platforms bring great opportunities for business. You can start by creating your business’s social media profiles and automatically sharing your blog posts.

Next, you would want to make it easier for your users to share your content on social media. For that you will need a social media plugin for WordPress. These plugins add social sharing buttons to your WordPress site.

There are tons of other things that you can do to engage with audiences on social media. The key is to keep your profiles active, grow your following, and bring traffic back to your website.

9. Be an Active Participant in Online Communities

Online communities and forums

Online communities include forums and question-answer websites. These are the places people go to post their questions, socialize, find content, and explore. Top communities on the internet include Reddit, Stack Exchange, Quora, TripAdvisor, and more.

These communities provide you with access to people interested in topics associated with your industry. You can join them for free and invest your time in building authority.

First, you need to find out which communities are more relevant to your business and where your potential customers may go looking for answers or content. For example, if you run a travel website, then you may find TripAdvisor more helpful than other communities.

Don’t spam these forums with links to your website in each post. Build authority by genuinely participating with helpful content, and mention your business or website when it is appropriate.

10. Convert Abandoning Website Visitors into Customers

Conversion optimization

Did you know that more than 70% of people who visit your website will never find it again? It is not your fault, it’s just that the internet is so huge and there are so many websites out there.

Each visitor who leaves your website is a potential customer that you are losing. To grow your business, you need to focus on converting those visitors into paying customers.

This is where OptinMonster comes in. It is the best conversion optimization software in the market, which allows you to convert casual website visitors into loyal customers.

How does it do that?

It comes with a drag and drop campaign builder where you can create different types of campaigns to collect user emails, display special offers, show exit-intent popups, countdown timers, smart popups, slide-in optins, and more.

For more details, see this beginner’s guide on conversion rate optimization.

11. Start an Affiliate Partner Program

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a referral arrangement in which an online retailer (advertiser) pays commission to a referrer when users purchase a product using their referral link.

If you sell products online, then you can use affiliate marketing to partner up with skilled affiliate marketers. You will pay a sales commission to these marketers for promoting your products and bringing you sales.

You will need an affiliate management system to track referral activity and payout your affiliate partners. Here is our list of best affiliate management and tracking software that you can use.

You can also promote other people’s products or services to make extra money from your content. See our affiliate marketing guide for tips and tools you’ll need to get started.

12. Utilize Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click

Contrary to popular belief, you can run Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns on a small budget. With programs like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, you can set your own pricing, target keywords, audience, and more.

In fact, Google AdWords even offers free advertising credits to new advertisers. Bluehost, a trusted WordPress hosting company also offers free Google AdWords credits with their hosting plans.

You can use these credits to experiment with PPC advertising and get some paid traffic to your website for free.

13. Use Social Proof to Win Customers

Social proof numbers

Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.

Marketers use this phenomenon by showing their customers that other people already trust a product or business. This is done by sharing their statistics, or subscriber counts, customer testimonials, and more.

Here is a list of clever ways to use social proof on your website to increase conversions.

14. Effectively Use FOMO to Boost Sales and Conversions

Using countdown timer as FOMO technique

FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ is a psychological term used to describe anxiety about missing out on something exciting and trendy.

As a business, you can take advantage of this human behavior and use it to boost sales and conversions. Basically, you need to build anxiety by adding scarcity to your offers. Here is a great example from Booking.com using scarcity to build anxiety.

Using scarcity to create FOMO

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to use how to use FOMO on your WordPress site.

15. Improve Your Website’s Speed and Performance

Studies show that from 2000 to 2016, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.

As a website owner, this means that you have very little time to show users what you have to offer and convince them to stay on your website.

Another study found out that a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Strangeloop case study

This means that you need to optimize your website to make sure that it is fast and performs well even under high traffic.

Follow the instructions in our step by step guide to improve WordPress speed and performance for beginners. This guide includes all the tips we use on our very high traffic websites for reliable speed and performance.

We hope this article helped you learn how to grow your business on a shoestring budget. You may also want to see our expert pick of the most useful tools to manage and grow your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 15 Tips to Grow Your Business Online (without A Lot of Money) appeared first on WPBeginner.





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How to Use User Generated Content in WordPress to Grow Your Business


Did you know that user-generated content can tremendously help you grow your business? User generated content is both relatable and authentic, that’s why it’s a big winner with millennials and Gen Z. In this article, we will show you how to easily use user-generated content in WordPress to grow your business.

How to use user-generated content in WordPress

What is User-Generated Content?

User generated content (UGC) is the content generated by user activities on your website. This includes comments, testimonials, guest blog posts, user reviews, or any other user submitted content that is publicly visible and was a direct result of user action.

Why is user generated content important?

User generated content is important because it enables your users to directly take part in activities on your website. This boosts user engagement as users spend more time on your website.

Engaged users are more likely to subscribe to your website and buy what you’re selling.

High-quality and useful user-generated content can help you plan an effective content marketing strategy. You can get more traffic, more affiliate sales, and more social reach to a wider audience.

That being said, let’s take a look at different ways to use user-generated content in WordPress. You can use all of them or just the ones that works best for you.

1. Comments

Comments

Comments are the easiest kind of user-generated content that every blog can have. WordPress comes with a built-in commenting system that is enabled on all your blog posts by default.

If you run a business website with no blog, then perhaps you should think of adding a blog. You can keep your existing website design and just add a separate blog page to it.

The tricky part is to get your users to comment. Most users usually leave without writing a comment. However, the good news is that there are a lot of ways to encourage more comments. See our article on how to get more comments on your blog posts.

2. Testimonials

Testimonials preview

Testimonials not only help generate content, but they also add social proof to your website which helps new users into buying.

For a small business website, testimonials have proven to be a very effective marketing strategy. This is why you see them all around the web.

There are several great testimonials plugins that help you easily add testimonials to your site. You can collect user testimonials using a simple form and display them in a slider, sidebar widget, or on a testimonials page.

Our team behind WPForms has done an excellent job in creating a WPForms review page that shows over 2500+ user testimonials.

For detailed instructions, see our tutorial on how to easily add rotating testimonials to your WordPress site.

3. User Submitted Reviews

User reviews site

If you sell or recommend products/services on your website, then user reviews offer a great opportunity to add more user-generated content to your website.

Reviews not only help you keep users engaged, but they also help other users make buying decisions on your website. That’s why you see many niche reviews sites that heavily rely on user submitted reviews to make money online.

Search engines also love reviews and often highlight them differently in search results. This makes the item more noticeable in search results and brings more traffic to your site.

Reviews in search results

There are several WordPress product review plugins that you can use. You can also create a separate page for customer reviews or display your Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews to get the ball rolling.

4. Guest Posts

Guest posts

Guest blogging is a popular content marketing strategy that helps both the blog owner and the guest author. The guest post author gets exposure and backlinks while you get high-quality content.

The easiest way to do that would be to create a new user account for the guest author. However, this would give the guest author access to your WordPress admin area which many site owners don’t feel comfortable with.

In that case, you’ll need the front-end post submission plugin by WPForms. It allows you to easily accept user submitted posts on your website. These posts are then stored as drafts, which you can then review and publish.

You can also use it to create other types of user-generated blog content such as image submissions (memes, photo contests, etc).

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to allow users to submit posts to your WordPress site.

5. Build a Community

Community

Human beings are social, and we like to interact with each other. You can provide your visitors a chance to do that on your own site by building a membership community.

You can make some of your content members-only to encourage new sign-ups. After that you can encourage discussions, reward users for participation, and even create membership levels with paid subscriptions.

The easiest way to do all that is by using MemberPress. It is the best WordPress membership plugin that allows you to build online communities with powerful controls and great flexibility. You can even add it to an existing site without affecting any of your existing content.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to make a membership website in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to use user-generated content in WordPress to grow your business. Now that you have users spending more time on your website, see how to easily track user engagement on your website with Google Analytics.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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What is VoIP and Do You Need It for Your Business Website?


Are you considering using VoIP but are not entirely sure if your business truly needs it? VoIP is a term used for internet phone service which allows you to use advanced call management features using a software on your computer or mobile phone. It is a perfect business phone solution for small businesses. In this article, we will explain what is VoIP and highlight the benefits to help you decide if it’s the best solution for your WordPress business website.

What is VoIP? Does your business need it?

What is VoIP?

VoIP or Voice over IP is a term used to describe internet phone service. Unlike a traditional phone service which uses the landline, VoIP services use the internet to receive and make calls.

Benefits of using VoIP

Following are just some of the benefits of using VoIP for your business.

  • You can receive phone calls using computers, VoIP phonesets, and even mobile phones.
  • You can share one number with several employees.
  • You can easily track call duration, hold times, wait times, and overall usage.
  • Most VoIP services come with call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, call routing, and more.
  • You can use the same number anywhere you want.
  • It gives you a business phone number, so you don’t have to share your personal number with clients.
  • Cheaper local and even international calls.

While VoIP offers flexibility and freedom, it can also have some challenges if you don’t choose the right provider.

For example, voice quality on VoIP calls varies depending on the internet connection and the service provider you’re using. Unlike landlines, you’ll lose VoIP connection during a power outage or internet disruption, but this shouldn’t impact most small businesses.

Having said that, let’s see when you really need a VoIP service for your business.

Does Your Business Need VoIP Business Phone Service?

In any business, giving people a way to contact you builds trust and can significantly boost your sales.

When starting a website, most business owners add a contact form because it makes it easy for users to contact you via email.

However depending on the industry, sometimes customers may prefer more instant communication.

This is why many businesses offer live chat or phone number on their websites. Giving users more than one way to communicate with your business can boost customer satisfaction and result in more sales.

Whether you run an online store to sell products or a business website to sell services, a VoIP based business phone service can help you grow your business without the high costs.

Your website visitors can easily call you to request a quote, ask a pre-sale question, or even request support.

In short, VoIP based business phone service enables you to better manage and track your calls, collect customer information, and build stronger relationships with your customers.

How to Choose a VoIP Service for Your Business

There are many different business phone service providers offering VoIP based services. Finding the perfect VoIP service for your business can be difficult with such abundance of choices.

Lucky for you, we had to do the research for our business, so we could pick the best business phone service in the market.

We ended up using Nextiva because they offered all the features we needed including multiple extensions, online fax, and many other advanced call tracking features.

Nextiva

RingCentral came as a close second. In case you’re looking, we created a list of the best business phone service for small businesses. These VoIP based service providers offer different packages suitable for small, medium, and large organizations.

When choosing a VoIP phone service for your business, you need to follow this very basic checklist.

  • Cost of local vs international calls. Most VoIP services offer different plans for international calls. You need to choose a provider based on the geographic location of your customers.
  • Features available in the VoIP plans. Many companies offer different features while some sell them as separate add-ons which would increase your VoIP bill.
  • Mobile apps and features that you can share among multiple users
  • Third-party integrations that you can use to connect your VoIP service to other tools like your CRM software, email marketing service, and more.

We hope this article helped you learn more about VoIP and why your business needs it. You may also want to see our list of most useful tools to manage and grow your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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