Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How To Grow Your Website Organically

Your website is an important reflection of your business. It is where most people go to look you up before taking the next step to contact and then hire you. Being found on the internet is crucial in today's business world. Not many businesses can brag that they have so much business that they do not need a website to generate more. However, even if you have enough work to keep you steadily employed, there still should be a placeholder on the internet for your business which, at the very least, provides contact information for your clients.
Many services are out there to help you optimize your website for search engines. This is a good resource for businesses that have the capital to spend on professional management, however, there are free methods to organically growing your website, if you take the time. Here are a few steps that you can take to grow your website and help it to be seen as valuable and thus better promoted on the internet.
What determines "value" in website ranking? Value is an intangible quality that search engines attempt to quantify by measuring concrete data about your website:
Does your website have pertinent information about your organization? This is measured by:
Word Content: The words you use on your web pages are noted by search engines and used to help people looking to match what they type in the search box to what's out there on the internet.
Videos and pictures: Providing more information in a variety of methods to your audience improves your chances of being listed higher in searches.
Does your website get a lot of traffic? Measured by:
Visitors to your website: Visitors to your website are noted for the length of time they spend at each page. This helps Google and other search engines recognize that the website you have is valuable because people are reading and lingering at your site.
Links to your website: Demographics are maintained by search engines to see how many other sources find your website valuable and worth pointing their audience toward you with a link. (Coming soon in another article- how to get more links to your website!)
Active websites are more likely to find themselves on the first page of a Google search than inactive websites. This means adding content, such as a blog, editing and updating your website and keeping the content fresh. This also helps keep your customers coming back to see what's new.
Writing a blog may seem intimidating, but there is good news! Figuring out enjoyable topics (for the writer and the audience) is easier than what you may expect. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be taking notes for future topics that you'll want to write and post from every day experiences and activities.
First of all, let's look at the history and use of blogs; this will give us a better understanding of what blog readers (your audience) tend to read more and why.
"The modern blog evolved from the online diary, where people would keep a running account of their personal lives. (source: Wikipedia) Websites, including both corporate sites and personal homepages, had and still often have "What's New" or "News" sections, often on the index page and sorted by date."
Coming from a vantage of why and how blogs were formed, we see that it is a useful tool for communicating with your target audience; in most cases for businesses- you blog for your current and your potential clients.
Take a solid, solitary moment to imagine yourself as someone who may be interested in what your business has to offer. * Think from your customer's point of view. Ask yourself about what your customers have recently been inquiring when they come and see you. What are your customers interested in buying from you? What are the latest trends in what you've been selling the most? What types of questions have your customers been asking you or your representatives?
When you listen to your customers, you will have topics for your blogs readily pouring forth by their questions, purchasing habits and problems. When a customer has a problem, this is a golden opportunity for you to jot down some interesting facts about the case and to share with others in a blog!
The increased reading and writing of blogs have since transformed the ease of web-interface. You can get a free blog set up through your Google account with or integrate the free website platform, specifically created for website blogs. Now you can easily personalize your blog-page, upload all types of content with point and click instructions (no code learning necessary!), and share it with selective audiences, or the entire world.
The steady improvement of your website by yourself and your colleagues will enhance the substance of your content, the ease of use and layout of the web design and will continue to please the search engines in quickly finding your site.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Online Accounting for Single Filers

When you are filing a simple w-2 form, or even if you are a small business owner, you will find that there are many large, national accounting firms that allow you to file your taxes online. Although this might be quite difficult for a larger company, that brings in millions of dollars annually, if you find an online accounting firm site that is easy to follow, basic, and takes you through the process step by step, you are going to find that you can save quite a bit, and get the accuracy (as well as a guarantee in the event you are audited), if you choose to file online.
Choosing the Accounting Firm
When you do choose to do the filing online, you have to do some research before you pick an online site. Some of the things to look for includes:
- a well-known, national firm, that is highly trusted by many filers each year;
- an online site that takes you step by step, and will not allow you to move on to the next step if there is some sort of error in your work;
- an accounting firm that is going to guarantee the accuracy, and will back filers up in the event of an audit; and,
- a quick, easy to file service, that is cheap (or in some cases free) when you are filing as a private filer, and doing a simple tax return online.
Higher Returns
When you do choose to file online, you might also find some additional deductions you can take, or possibly get some additional returns (or pay less in the event you owe the IRS money). When you are filing online, you will find that in the step by step instructions, there are certain deductions you might not have been aware of; from something like business travel expenses, to a deduction for first year graduate students or undergraduate students. You also get deductions for kids in school, or various other expenses that you incur during the course of the year, so long as they are work related. So, as an online filer, you are also going to want an online accounting firm and site that will guarantee you the biggest return, as well as showing you all of the deductions that you might be able to take, when you do choose to do the filing on your own, as opposed to hiring an accountant to do the work for you.
It is possible to do it yourself online, and get things done quickly, and accurately. When you do choose this route, you do have to pick the right firms to work with, and make sure you take your time in filling out each question and page. When you choose the right site, you will get the accuracy you are hoping for, backing up if you are audited, and the biggest return possible, when you choose to file online, with one of the top national accounting firms, rather than turn to an accountant to do the work for you instead.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How Good Is Your Bookkeeper?

Everyone with a business wants their accounts kept accurately don't they?
Then why is it that many businesses persist in continuing to work with bookkeepers who consistently make mistakes and keep a messy set of books?
Not sure if your bookkeeper falls into this category? The easiest way to make a quick assessment is to compare your accountants Financial Statements; both the Profit and Loss and the Balance sheet in that nicely bound book you get each year, to the same reports produced from MYOB.
If the account names are all over the place compared to the accountants and the amounts are haphazardly different then you know you have a problem.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking your accountant would let you know if there was a problem with your bookkeeper. Here are two recent quotes from accountants with whom I know quite well, but don't complete much work for due to their location (and potentially the threat to their fees!)
"We see the bookkeeper as a threat, if we let the client know they are dealing with a dud, chances are they may fgo out and find a good one who could steal the client from us down the track or push us to reduce our fees by keeping the accounts in order, lodging BAS's and being the first port of call for the client. It suits us when we receive a jumbled mess at the end of the year."
- 2 Partner Firm in outer Sydney.
"It isn't our problem what the client does during the year to keep their accounting sorted. We don't get involved in that, we only take what we're given at the end of the year and work with it. Fees are levied according to the work required, which are higher if there is more work to complete"
- Well known franchisee of an Accounting Business
Still not sure? Rely on your gut. If you ask for things and you don't get them, answers to questions seem a bit uninformed or you struggle to get the work done on time and within a fair budget, then the chances are your bookkeeper could do with being replaced.
Often the business owner knows their bookkeeper is not really with it, but don't really know what to do about it. It seems like such an effort to make the change to a more reliable and knowledgeable bookkeeper, and how is a business owner to know that the next bookkeeper chosen is not as bad as the last?
When you look to engage a new bookkeeper, have them look over the past work while you sit with them.. a good bookkeeper will navigate the software smoothly and will point out and explain any problems within the data entry or software and should give you peace of mind you are dealing with an expert. If you don't feel this, then keep looking.