Small Business Resource Center

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Simple changes to your website can provide big dividends

March 2, 2017

Ellens Bridal and Dress Boutique_Home PageIt is hard to believe, but in 2017, many small businesses are still without a website, or at least one that will help drive more sales. These days, a functioning website is, at a minimum, table stakes.

Today, 90 percent of Americans have access to the internet. A total of 70 percent of the population has a smart phone. Americans rely less on advertising and more on the ability to find what they want instantly than ever before. If you are a small business and your customers can’t find you? Well, chances are you won’t be in business very long.

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What’s a Widget, Anyway?

November 28, 2016

If you’re looking to upgrade your website, a widget is often a smart place to start. Widgets are small software tools you install on your website to execute specific tasks. Thousands of widgets are available across the internet. Depending on the specific widget, they do everything from display the current local weather to count down to an event to reserve an appointment slot at your business — and much, much more.

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Small Business Stories: EAT! @ Banning & 5th

November 21, 2016

Minnesota restaurateur Shawn Smith knows a thing or two about the power of local. It dates back to his roots on a farm in a rural community. “Growing up, the women in our church made the best food,” he remembers. “[This is] long before we had grocery stores that had 19 kinds of olive oil. Matter of fact, I don’t remember olive oil as a kid.”

But he remembers local connections and the importance of working with the people closest to you, and that’s carried over into his professional life. You see, Smith is still focused on food as well as the local people who make it a success.

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12 Signs Your Website Needs a Professional Redesign

Whether it’s your car’s transmission, your PC’s speed or the romance in a relationship — when something peters out, there are always warning signs before the big blowup occurs. If you want to salvage things, you need to pay attention to those warning signs and then take action. What’s more, successful intervention often requires a professional touch — a marriage counselor’s advice to save your relationship, a visit with a certified technician for your PC or a trip to the mechanic for your car.

Those same principles can apply to your company website. When warning signs tell you your site is no longer working as well as it could, having it refreshed by a professional could prevent a decline in traffic.

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Website Wizardry: How rookies can write their own copy

by Linzi Breckenridge
Linzi Breckenridge

Your website is your calling card, and you have a very short time to convince visitors that it’s worth perusing further. On average, in fact, you can expect 55 percent of your visitors to spend less than 15 seconds on your site.

That’s why it’s so crucial to feature website copy that’s crisp, clear, relevant and easy to view. Savvy content marketers are increasingly recognizing the importance of engaging content, which is probably why 72 percent of B2B players name copy creation as a top priority this year.

How do you make great copy happen?

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Ready to build your website? Answer these 3 questions first.

website-designAre you thinking about building a website?  Do you have an idea for what that might look like?  Is there a picture in your head?  Before you move forward, I would like to suggest stopping for a minute and thinking through a few things.

Your website is really an extension of you.  In many cases, it is your first exposure to your audience.  When they visit your site for the first time you get about 5 seconds to convince them that you are what they are looking for.  Given this short window of time, it is essential to make deliberate decisions to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your intended audience.

To do this, think through the following questions it is a good start to creating an experience that will resonate with your future customers.

1. Who is your audience?

Ask yourself:

  • Who are your current customers?
  • Who do you want them to be?
  • Who do you think will be visiting your website?

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4 reasons your website should include real photos

by Eric Hagen
Eric Hagen
October 10, 2016

OK Corral Stables_Real-photography-is-important-HeroimgPeople searching the Internet are getting smarter and faster at judging company websites. So what happens when one of these smart folks lands on a site with a gigantic, fake stock photo plastered across the homepage? New studies are showing there is no connection or relationship being built, resulting in a tendency to leave the site. A photo should add value to your site, not detract from it.

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Create a website that gets people in the door

September 26, 2016


We always advocate that small businesses need to have a website to be competitive. It’s a fact: businesses with a website grow 40 percent more than those without an online presence. But if we look closer at online trends, just having a website isn’t enough – you need to have a thoughtful website. And by thoughtful, we mean it needs to have a purpose, a well thought-out journey where you’re leading your audience to take some type of action that aligns to your business goals. Ultimately, a good website is just a different way of telling your story.

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6 Ways to Make Your Restaurant Website More Appetizing


With 84 percent of consumers looking at more than one restaurant website before deciding where to dine, it’s imperative to stand out with a persuasive, attractive, easy-to-navigate site. Keep in mind your target audience and be sure that the type of establishment and the offerings you have are displayed prominently.

Our research shows there are the six ways restaurants can consistently attract more customers:

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When Traffic Is a Good Thing

Who needs a scholarly study to tell them sitting in traffic stinks? High traffic volume on the road is frustrating, stressful and anger-inducing — everyone knows that. Plus, a recent study indicates sitting in traffic is even bad for your health because it increases your exposure to toxic fumes.

As much as you want to avoid traffic on the nation’s roads and highways, there is one place where you actually want more traffic — your website!

The reasoning is simple to understand: the more people who visit your website, the more likely your sales and brand awareness will also increase. Of course, it’s important that the traffic is high in quality, too. High numbers of visitors aren’t worth much if they don’t convert to sales or subscriptions.

It’s important to start your traffic-boosting efforts with a vision for why you want to increase web traffic and what kind of traffic is important to you. Put in place tools to measure your success, and then try working your way through this list of 16 ways to increase website traffic:

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