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BEWARE of DOMAIN SCAMS!

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on June 20, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Domain Renewal SCAMS. This is also a HUGE scam and you will get notices that look so legitimate that you will scramble for your wallet to renew your domain through this company that is telling you that you have 30 days or you will lose it. If you purchased your domain through Go Daddy or Webs.com , then that is who you renew with. (those are about the only companies I work with, there are a million out there and I can't really be an expert at them all, so those are the ones I can help you with the most).


I'ved helped some folks get their domains after they have expired.  It isn't fun - and you will pay fees.  Please don't let your domain expire, especially if your account and emails are linked up.  Auto renewal is an option that works great!  That is probably the only thing ever I'd auto renew on a credit (with the exception of my spin class :-) 


 

If you get a letter or email that worries you, please don't hesitate to forward it to me. I will be glad to look at it. Email is generally the best way to reach me - so scan it or even take a picture of it with your phone and send it to me and I'll let you know if it is legit. You don't want your domain to ever expire, so don't automatically delete all of the godaddy and or webs emails you see, so please keep that in mind. You can email me straight from your text: [email protected]

 


I hope these tips were helpful!

 

 

 


Upcoming Workshops:

 

Jun 29th Let's Put Chapin on the Map, Free class,8am or 10:30am, Chapin Town Hall *MUST bring your own lap top Register Here

 

**July 27th I'm hoping to do Let's Put Irmo and Lexington on the Map - not sure yet**

 

Sept 24th How to Build a FREE Website for your Business 9:00am - 12:00pm $45.00 Register Here *MUST bring your own laptop (and I have wifi now, WOOHOO!)

 

Oct 1st SEO - Website Step 2, Market Your New Website 9:30am - 11:30am $25.00

 

Register Here

 

Nov 12th How to Build a FREE Website for your Business 9:00am - 12:00pm $25.00 Register Here

 

*MUST bring your own laptop

 

Nov 19th SEO - Website Step 2, Market Your New Website 9:30am - 11:30am 25.00

 

Register Here

 

I'll be doing MANY more workshops to help get your business on Google Maps, look for ones coming to Irmo, Lexington, Ballentine, Columbia, Sumter, Little Mountain, and Prosperity soon!

 

*Please note, I will be out of the office in July, but you can contact our Columbia SBDC office for assistance.

 


The Marketing Wolves will call about your new website!

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on June 20, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I had a few clients call me recently about SEO and website page ranking marketing calls. As it goes in the website world, when you purchase a domain and start a new business you will be contacted by the "marketing wolves", eager to take your money for a product that you can't even see, touch or feel... Stay Away. Some of these people actually say they work for Google. Stay Away. I am a Google partner and I can get you listed and verified on Google Maps FREE OF CHARGE. Don't pay for something we can do in 15 minutes in my office. I also have an SEO sheet that works wonders for your page ranking, and I present workshops on this topics. PLEASE don't spend your hard earned money on the things that we can do you for you FREE at the SBDC. I'm a Google Partner now, so I have access to real Google people and this is what I posted after talking with a client last Friday and how my Google team answered:


 

 

Nancy Williamson Partner Support - Yesterday 3:49 PM

 

I have a general Google question. Every day I hear complaints from my clients about people from "Google" calling them, constantly wanting to help them with their SEO, listings, photos and they claim to help get them to rank on page 1. When I hear this, I know they are not valid. I call them the "marketing wolves" that come out and seem to automagically know when someone purchases a domain and then immediately starts harassing. My question is, does Google ever actually call people with new domains? Could some be legit phone calls? They are usually from Oregon or somewhere far far away. My advice? When someone claiming to be from Google calls them and tells them they aren't getting found online and they need to pay them 100's of dollars for their expertise, is to very sweetly say (in a southern accent of course): hmm, why you found me sir, and you aren't even my target audience! But, I just want to know, does Google really call people about that?


Tim Bach Yesterday 4:30 PM

 

 

Reply

+Nancy Williamson Google doesn't just call people out of the blue to offer optimization advice nor when people buy a new domain. People can register for an AdWords dedicated specialist that would call them but that's AdWords only.

 

Pretty much, we don't call you unless you ask us to i.e., you filed a help ticket, or we really need to confirm something.

 

If someone ever gets a call about an issue they think could be legit, have them tell the caller that they're going to call Google back to be sure and then either use the "Contact us" link on the support center or if they have AdWords call 1-866-2GOOGLE.

 

Yesterday 4:34 PM

 

Forgot to add this: https://support.google.com/business/answer/6212928?hl=en&ref_topic=4540086

 

We actually have a section on the support center about getting calls from Google.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there you have it my friends.  The marketing wolves will be out.  JUST SAY NO... especially if they claim to be from Google!!

How do I form and LLC?

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on June 19, 2015 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

So, you are going into business and you would like to protect your personal assets - smart! I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice, but I can help you create your LLC at the Newberry Area Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at no charge. I've had several clients come to me after they have literally spent 100's of dollars getting this done on line or with a lawyer, and it frustrates me because I could have helped them FREE.


First, what is an LLC? LLC stands for Limited Liability Company (LLC). It is a type of "business structure"; there are 3 basic forms of for-profit business structures:

• Sole Proprietorship (and partnerships) - simple, just start your business, but the owner is fully liable (could lose your home, car, etc.)

• LLC (and LLP's) - Limits the owner's liability. More complex than a sole proprietorship, but it protects your personal belongings

• Corporations (different kinds of corps, c-corps, s-corps, most complex and you need an attorney)


I normally recommend that my clients form LLCs because I want them to protect their personal assets. Even if the business isn't something that is high risk for danger or accidents, it is always better to be safe than sorry. An LLC isn't an insurance policy, but it does protect the owner. (Unless of course there is gross neglect - but I don't want to get into anything too deep or too legal, those questions have to be handled by an attorney). An LLC has a onetime fee of $110. That is the State's Fee - so if you go to an attorney or use an online company like a Legal Zoom, that fee is part of what you are paying. If you come to my SBDC office, I can walk you through this and you can do this online and I can help you understand the terms that they use. Single member LLC's are easy peasy; once there are partners involved, other than spouses, I generally recommend you seek out an attorney you trust, only because there are then things to think about that you have never thought about... (What happens if one of you win the lottery and becomes AWOL? What happens when one person wants to sell? What happens when one person is ill and can't fulfill his duties? What if one person passes away? Does that business person leave his portion to his partner that has helped grow the business for 20 years, or a spouse they married 10 days ago? Questions you want answered before you sign an agreement).


According to the IRS:

 

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Each state may use different regulations, and you should check with your state if you are interested in starting a Limited Liability Company.
  • Owners of an LLC are called members. Most states do not restrict ownership, and so members may include individuals, corporations, other LLCs and foreign entities. There is no maximum number of members. Most states also permit “single-member” LLCs, those having only one owner.
  • A few types of businesses generally cannot be LLCs, such as banks and insurance companies. Check your state’s requirements and the federal tax regulations for further information. There are special rules for foreign LLCs.


 

So, if you need an LLC, or just want to come in and talk about general business structures, PLEASE don't hesitate to email me for a free appointment. It kills me to learn that my clients that have known me for years don't even know that I can help them with that. Over the last few months I have saved clients thousands by helping them with this on-line, and then I've also found out a day late that I could have saved several clients thousands. I know small businesses starting up don't have money to spare. $650 spent on an LLC could make a huge difference in inventory or marketing dollars, so I want to HELP your business as much as possible.


So, in conclusion, if you are thinking about starting an LLC, please contact us first. We are a free resource here for you! You can learn more about LLCs and other business structures through the SCBOS website: https://www.scbos.sc.gov.


Even if you have been in business for years as sole proprietor and you are thinking about forming an LLC, just visit with us. I see hundreds of people every year, so odds are I've come across someone in your shoes already. If not, we can figure it out togehter or I can call one of our other 20 offices and get you some answers!

 


Link Your Facebook Page with Twitter - Post Once and it goes to Both!

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on November 6, 2014 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

For the majority of my small businesses, I‘d say let’s make a Twitter account and link that with your Facebook page. Then I see the fear in their eyes … “Why would I tweet? What would I tweet? Who do I tweet to?”

Well, this can be a bit overwhelming, and some of my clients simply say, “No thanks.”

There are three things to remember about this.

First — once you connect your Twitter account to your Facebook business page, it will automatically update when you post on Facebook.

The second thing to remember — you may be able to reach a segment of your target market that is no longer hanging out on Facebook. Studies show that there is a social media shift in the 18-29 age group, and many of them use Twitter exclusively. So even if the younger half of that age group is not in your target market now, they will be soon and the older half already are. Once the account is established, you can still include those potential customers in your social media plan by updating your Facebook business page and having it “automagically” post on your Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Third —if you post on a specific topic, put a # symbol in front of it. This is referred to as a “hashtag” and it can serve as an index on Twitter to attract people who don’t follow you. For example, if you are excited about a new bag that your boutique has gotten in, you could post: Check out these new #shoulderbags, they come in all colors and they are perfect for #backtoschool or #birthdaygifts. New customers could find you while they were searching for birthday gift ideas.

 

GET ON GOOGLE! List your business FREE!

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on November 6, 2014 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

When it comes to marketing your business in 2014, an online presence is critical. Although I encourage every business to have a website and take advantage of free social media accounts, you don’t necessarily need a website to get found. Google is helping small businesses get found by allowing them to create (or “claim”) a listing for their business, whether it be a brick-and-mortar or a room in your basement. Business owners need to go to Google.com/business and click on the blue “Get on Google” button and follow the easy step by step instructions to either claim a listing that is already online or to create a new one. You can add information about your business including a list of products and services and even photos of your store front, logo or goods. Here is the kicker though – your listing isn’t live until you “verify” it. Google will send you a postcard verification with a PIN code for you to enter. Once your account is verified, your listing is live. If you are a home business, you can choose to omit your address, but you have to provide Google with a valid street address so they confirm you are a real person at a real address. And do you want to know the best part? Google is used for 96% of all online search requests, so by claiming your FREE listing you are marketing your business to 96% of the 97% of people that search online for local goods and services.

 

 

Easy Ways to Help Promote Your Website and Business

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on July 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Ok, so you FINALLY have a website!  Awesome - now your customers can find you!  If you aren't on the internet, then no one knows you are there. Our society is in a huge hurry and we don't have time to look businesses up in the Yellow Pages.  What's the Yellow Pages you say?  Exactly.  If someone is looking for a product or service, they will be looking it up on-line on their desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone.  You need to be sure your website is smartphone/tablet/mobile friendly too - so your customers don't get frustrated and go on to another site.  

Here are 10 Free ways to Promote your Website:

 

  1. Promotion starts before you build your site, choose a domain name that reflects your business and that will make finding you easier
  2. Create a free Facebook business page, then LINK
  3. Create Business in Linked In, Twitter, and other Social Media Accounts then Link to website
  4. Create a mobile website
  5. Connect to Google Places & other search sites (SEO)
  6. Send out an email newsletter - but don't blast spam
  7. Point Facebook fans to your website when you update or blog
  8. Make a QR code to put on your business cards and flyers that points people to your website 
  9. Go to Brandify.com for your FREE analysis & recommendations
  10. Promote your website in your email signature, business card, …everywhere!
Need more information about these tips?  Contact your local SBDC office for a FREE and confidential appointment to see how we can help you! 
www.NewberrySBDC.com 

By Nancy Williamson, CBA - Certified Business Advisor for the Newberry Area SBDC.

Dancing Raisins - They have to Go!

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on March 27, 2013 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Please take a few minutes to watch this informative and entertaining video from Marketing Guru Eric Spellman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=47y5GAtrC88

You don't have time to watch it?  Here are my notes: 

What are dancing raisins?  They are unnecessary "things"  that distract your website visitors:  pictures or videos, etc

 

  • No cute kittens
  • No kids 
  • People that are surfing the web are LAZY and have ADD, the dancing raisins will distract you
  • Ask yourself, will this get me more leads or sales?  Will this help my clients?

 

The bottom line:  JUST SAY NO TO DANCING RAISINS!



Search Engines & SEO

Posted by Newberry Area SBDC on December 10, 2012 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

What is a Search Engine Program and How do I increase my SEO?

 

A. The History of Search Engines - created to read every page on the internet

1. Crawler - Spider-Bots read each word and test each link on every page on the internet to rank them

 

B. How are they Ranked?

1. Ranked by phrases used on each page (but not too many – you can get de-listed = very bad)

2. Amount of incoming links to that page

3. Content is important

4. Now there are 150 aspects that go into Ranking, not just words and links

5. Google #1 search engine; they change algorithm frequently

6. Other things important: Age of domain address, how long in future it is registered for, How many inbound links are there (relevant links, not paid ‘link farms’), inbound links from “higher quality” sites are more valuable (example, if CNN linked to you rather than Joe’s Bakery it would be a higher ranking)

 

C. 5 steps to improve Google Ranking

1. Give Google good HUMAN content, use descriptive words that represent your business, Blogs do well because they have lots of words/verbiage

2. Have good quality in bound links (Google places, search sites, brandify.com, etc)

3. Update your website frequently – don’t let it be dormant, action gives you ranking (a Blog works well here too)

4. Don’t use FLASH – Google can’t read it (it is Animation – I don’t know coding for Flash, so if you worked with me, then you don’t have it  ) use words, not just graphics

5. Get help from a RELIABLE person, not a charlatan making false claims (see someone like Nancy Williamson at the SBDC – Ok, he didn’t say that, but good example – I’m not out to rip you off, I’m free when you come into my office!)

 

D. No Fast way to get to the top

1. No one can guarantee you first page ranking (hang up if they do)

2. SEO – there are legitimate ways to increase your ranking, takes time, up to a year even

3. Different computers get different Google results, based on browser history, etc

4. Give Website time to improve ranking – be patient, may take a while for the SPIDERS to CRAWL on your page

5. Expect ranking fluctuations, as competitors will try to get to the top too

 

Please post if you have any tips to help small businesses improve their SEO! Thank you for reading this!

 

 


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