Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News

Five Tips for New Small Business Owners

This morning, I stopped by the event, Get Your Business Online, to check it out with other small business owners and interested parties. The event was held all morning at one of the conference rooms at the beautiful Fairmount Hotel in Vancouver. There was a nice spread of pastries including croissants, muffins, coffee and tea available. We had a packed house with a couple of hundreds of attendees from the area.

Here are some basic takeaways for small business owners to grasp:

1. Your customers are online
This is the main factor why you need to have a strong presence online. Per the title of the event, the sponsors are urging all small business owners to start creating and owning a presence online because customers are becoming more and more savvy in comparing products and services online before making purchases. Without a strong online presence, you might miss out on important opportunities and your competitors with a more strategic online base will win in the long run.

2. Think mobile
According to their stats, in less than 5 years, more than 50% of Canadians will be using mobile phones. As you are building your sites and online presence, you’ll have to keep in mind that your online sites will need to be optimized for smartphones and/or tablets. It’ll make it much easier for customers to pull up your pages when they’re on the go. When a site is not optimized, the user has to zoom in which it takes times but always takes away from the user experience sometimes causing frustration.

3. Don’t overlook geo-location tools
Depending on your service, you’ll need to consider having an online presence based on locations. For example, if you’re a florist who deliver within a certain amount of kilometres of a certain location, you might want to list yourself in different online directories like Google Places or Yellow Pages so that when customers search for you, you’ll pull up on their searches.

4. Use effective online ads for advertising
One of the ways to reach your market is to buy online ads. When crafting an ad, you want to make sure that you’re specific and that you ask for a call-of-action. The speaker, a business analyst lead from Google, mentioned that way too many times, he’d see his own customers writing poor ads that would lead to very poor results. Being concise, catchy but also specific enough are important components to use when looking at online advertising.

5. Get social
Along with owning your site as a virtual store front, don’t underestimate the power of social media. Twitter and Facebook are free and there are powerful ways to reach out to your own communities. You can listen to conversations happening all around you about your own products or services. You could use social media as a more interactive and new way to connect with your current or prospective clientele. You can do many things from promoting special deals, locating new clients, building new relationships by making their shopping experience more human.

These are some ideas to get you started and as you’re starting or expanding your online presence, you can always reach out to us to reserve domains or to host your sites by leaving us comments anytime! You can visit us at Canadian Web Hosting to get started as well.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Add Your Website to Local Search

If you are having a hard time targeting your keyword on the major search engines such as Google, Microsoft Bing or Yahoo, consider submitting to their local search categories.

A local search would be something like this on Google

Google local search

I search for the term "thai restaurant, vancouver, bc" and Google returns a local map of Vancouver with Thai restaurants including their telephone numbers. As you can see, these rank higher than the normal search results.

To get listed in this category, you can register your website by going to the following URLs:

Google Local Business Listing Signup

Bing Local Listing Center

Yahoo Local Listings

Unfortunately, Google is the only one out of the three that accepts businesses in Canada. However, if you have a business located in USA, you can register those websites into Microsoft and Yahoo.
They verifiy your business by calling your business telephone and an automated voice will give you a code that you enter on their website or they sms the code to another number.
Microsoft and Yahoo will send you a postcard with details on how to verify your information.

Besides adding your listing to local search, you can also geotag your pages.

For example, our company, Canadian Web Hosting is located at latitude 49.169499 and longitude -123.137040 in Richmond, BC.

Below is the meta information you would add in the section of your pages:

<meta name="geo.position" content="49.169499;-123.137040">
<meta name="geo.placename" content="Canadian Web Hosting, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada">
<meta name="geo.region" content="CA-BC">

Be sure and use upper case for the geo.region country and state abbreviation.

You can use Google Earth to find the longitude and latitude of your location.  Just navigate to the location in Google Earth and place the cursor over the correct location, at the bottom of the program screen you'll see the latitude and longitude displayed.

To view the latitude and longitude in decimal degrees on Google Earth, go to Tools > Options > and select Decimal Degrees, then Ok. Once you've changed this setting, the latitude and longitude information will be shown in decimal format needed for your meta tags.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru
Canadian Web Hosting