Tips & free stuff

Google Says Websites Shouldn’t Mark Republished Content for Index

Google Noindex Advice

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently suggested more steps toward eliminating duplicate content across the web. And website owners, including small business owners, may want to pay attention considering the search engine has a history of eventually penalizing sites for not taking heed.

Google Noindex Advice

Specifically, websites currently republishing content sourced from original authors are now encouraged to “noindex” that content. This Google noindex advice is something most content creators are unlikely to follow.

In a fight to rank on the top page of Google, specifically the top five search results, websites —  including major news outlets — often republish popular articles. Applying noindex to all of these syndicated articles would solve one of Google’s biggest headaches — duplicate content. But so far, the reward for doing so seems too high.

Overload of Duplicate Content

Currently just about every major news source including: NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox News and others are simply re-posting content without applying noindex. The content generally comes from syndicated news sources like the Associated Press or Reuters.

Search any headline in Google and you will undoubtedly get thousands of sources with identical content, writes SEO expert Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable. Ironically enough, the top search results are often not the original source. Nevertheless, the majority of websites will continue this practice in search of the reward of high-traffic to their web address.

In a recent Twitter exchange on a related topic, Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller suggested sites should not be marking such context for index by the search engine:

Marking Content Noindex Means No Traffic from Google

Noindexing is pretty much the opposite of what most websites want  to do.

The noindexing tag is an HTML value applied to content for the purpose of keeping search engines from ranking it. It’s applied on the backend of web administration and is normally used for private data or files linked to large databases.

This of course is bad news for websites that make their living —  at least in part — from republishing content. And small business website owners who try to make up for a lack of original content on their sites with republished articles from other sources should be concerned too.

This is not the first time that Google has pushed to remove excessive duplicate content from the web. It also seems likely that the search engine will eventually respond with an algorithm change that downgrades sites with too much of this content.  In the meantime, however, the noindex step seems something Google is simply requesting of webmasters.

Google Wants a World Without Duplicate Content

Whether it’s practical at the moment or not, it’s clear that Google’s ideal is web where only one copy of each piece of content is indexed for ranking on the search engine.

Although, it may take some time for that to happen, websites and content creators would be wise to evolve their business models.

In the future of the web, those with original content will not only rule — they’ll likely be the only ones left.

Copy Machine Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Google Says Websites Shouldn’t Mark Republished Content for Index” was first published on Small Business Trends

10-Second Looks at Marketing Through Snapchat Spectacles

10-Second Looks at Marketing Through Snapchat Spectacles

Snapchat spectacles were introduced last year as a means to take very short videos to post to Snapchat. Reactions to the glasses were pretty strong; the spectacles were in demand, but not easy to come by. But what about now? Are these devices something that businesses should pursue, or are they a technological oddity? To find out how important these wearable cameras will be in the future, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council:

“Do you see Snapchat Spectacles being a game-changer for small business marketing? If so, how?”

Marketing Through Snapchat Spectacles

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Spectacles Can Keep Customers Entertained and Informed

“Snap’s Spectacles allow small businesses to easily give their consumers an inside look at day-to-day operations, special events or behind the scenes. Every business can find at least one very unique angle to leverage to draw attention. Small- and medium-sized businesses can use Spectacles as a way to keep their current customer base entertained and informed, as well as attract a new audience. The key is creativity.” ~ Jonathan LongSexy Smile Kit

2. The Devices Are Fun for a While, but Not Game Changing

“Spectacles are not a must-have for small business marketing. For businesses with a younger audience demographic, Spectacles are a fun addition to social campaigns that make a business seem more innovative and accessible. However, the regular Snapchat app works just as well for most marketing purposes.” ~ Adelyn ZhouTOPBOTS

3. Not Until Snapchat Figures Out Their Advertising Platform

“To this point, Snapchat does not seem too concerned with appealing to small businesses when it comes to advertising. Spectacles may provide a slightly easier way for businesses to film, although there are plenty of cool devices you can already use such as 360 cameras. It will not be a game changer unless they change the way you can advertise the content that you create.” ~ Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct

4. Spectacles Give Followers a First-Person Look

“Snapchat Spectacles allow followers to truly immerse themselves in the users’ perspective. No matter how big or small your business is, whether you’re making deliveries or showing followers a day at the office, with Spectacles you’re making the ordinary look much more extraordinary with a first-person point of view. For 0, you can’t beat that!” ~ Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

5. They Might Work for Some Niches

“I don’t see Snapchat Spectacles having a huge impact on small business marketing. It’s a cool device, but I don’t think it does anything for video marketing that a GoPro or any other small camera can’t do — there is no shortage of convenient cameras of much higher quality. But I’m not Snapchat’s target demographic, so I’m prepared to be surprised here.” ~ Vik PatelFuture Hosting

6. This Too Will Phase Out

“Much like Google Glasses, it was a “cool trend” but never really hit mainstream. Snapchat has a great following, but most people aren’t going to want to wear the glasses or bring another outside component into their lives. As for business use, this will also be decided on by how well Spectacles are adopted by the general public.” ~ Zac Johnson, Blogger

7. Wearables Are Something to Watch

“Snapchat Spectacles won’t be game-changing unless you’re invested in Snapchat as a marketing platform, but they are an important indicator of a trend small businesses should pay attention to. Wearables, coupled with augmented reality, are going to have a huge impact in the coming years, creating marketing and business opportunities that are worth exploring now.” ~ Justin BlanchardServerMania Inc.

8. Snapchat Platform Works Better for Big Businesses

“Unfortunately, Snapchat Spectacles won’t make an impact for small businesses. Already, Snapchat has proven to be a platform that works best for big business, while small businesses thrive using Instagram stories. The addition of Snapchat Spectacles to the photo sharing marketplace is definitely an interesting step forward, but we feel its impact will be seen more in personal use than for business.” ~ Kevin YamazakiSidebench

9. This System Will Lead to Innovation

“I don’t think it will change business, but I do think it will impact how competitors innovate. Instagram has already moved in on Snapchat territory, and messaging apps are now a dime a dozen. We’re going to see companies learn from the mistakes Snapchat makes and come up with better ideas.” ~ Ismael WrixenFE International

10. Snapchat Spectacles Are Convenient, but They’re Not Special

“As they currently exist, Snapchat Spectacles are simply making it more convenient to produce content for Snapchat. While the excitement might attract more people to the platform, the Spectacles do not add any additional value. How much of an impact they have on individual businesses will really depend on who your market is and whether or not they already use Snapchat. Overall, not a game changer.” ~ Kyle GoguenPawstruck

Snapchat Button Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10-Second Looks at Marketing Through Snapchat Spectacles” was first published on Small Business Trends

Is it Okay to Bring Your Spouse on a Business Trip?

Is it Okay to Bring Your Spouse on a Business Trip?

Business travel can be hard on a relationship when you’re frequently gone for days or weeks a time. But have you ever considered bringing your spouse along on one of your trips? It could be a nice break from the loneliness of solo travel — however, there are some things you should think about first.

Check With Your Boss Before You Bring Your Spouse on a Business Trip

Secretly taking your spouse along with you without mentioning it to the folks paying for your trip is a terrible idea. With that being said, the very first thing you should take into account is the approval of your boss.

You should have a pretty good idea as to whether your boss will allow your spouse to travel with you or not. They obviously won’t pay for your spouse’s travel expenses and any extra accommodations (if they do, you’ve found a pretty fantastic company), but asking your boss if they can tag along isn’t a preposterous request for someone who has built up some credibility and trust.

Explain to your boss that you simply want some company and that your spouse won’t be a distraction. If anything, their presence will allow you to feel more relaxed and at home.

6 Tips for Making it Work

If you get the go-ahead, you don’t want to squander the opportunity by abusing your situation. The following tips should help you make the most of this chance to let your spouse tag along.

1. Set Expectations

It’s absolutely imperative that you set expectations for your spouse before you leave. Otherwise, they may feel left out and neglected, which can hinder your ability to be productive.

“It’s a work trip for one of you and your time will reflect that,” experienced business traveler Jesse Ghiorzi says. “You can do your best to spend time with your partner, but prepare yourselves to be apart and view the time together as a bonus.”

In other words, make sure your spouse knows that business trips do in fact involve work. You aren’t just traveling to grab lunch with a client and then enjoy two or three days of sightseeing. You’re most likely there to do two or three days of work and then grab an occasional meal with your spouse. As long as they know this ahead of time, everything should be fine.

2. Plan for Fun on the Bookends

One popular technique savvy business travelers use is booking leisure time on the front or back end of a trip. They either go a couple of days early or stay a couple of days late — using vacation time to compensate for these days. In fact, one study says 72 percent of travelers have extended a business trip with a leisure component.

You’ll obviously have to coordinate this with your company, but most won’t object to letting you schedule an earlier or later flight (so long as the price is comparable).

3. Give Your Spouse Something to Do

While we’ve discussed the importance of setting expectations, that doesn’t mean you should just leave your spouse in the hotel room all week waiting for you to finish work. It’s a good idea to give them something to do. This will help them have a good time and see the city while you’re taking care of your responsibilities.

Since your spouse is probably limited by a lack of transportation — especially if there’s no rental car, or the car is in your name — you can help them find things to do within the vicinity of the hotel. If you’re in a big city, a local walking tour of the city is one great option. (Hint: You can generally find free tours in most major cities.) Other good ideas include taking a jog through a local park, visiting museums, and checking out coffee shops.

4. Be Careful With Expenses

You can obviously spend as much of your own money as you want on a business trip, but be very careful when it comes to bringing your spouse along. Your company will pay for most of your obligatory expenses — food, transportation, etc. — but they probably aren’t going to cover your spouse’s spending.

In order to avoid slipping up, make sure you both pay for your own things throughout the week. Even if you both go enjoy a nice dinner, pay for your meal and let your spouse pay for their meal. It’s much easier this way and you won’t run the risk of mixing things up.

5. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

When you travel by yourself, you probably have a pretty normal routine. You get up early, grab breakfast in the hotel lobby, go to whatever meetings or work-related responsibilities you have, enjoy a relaxing dinner, and head back to the hotel room for some sleep. But when you have a spouse along, you often feel the pressure to do something after you get off work. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking in the sights and enjoying your time together, don’t push yourself too hard. Rest is important and you have to prioritize work over everything else.

6. Don’t Go Together All the Time

For most couples, going on business trips together isn’t something that should happen all the time. It’s best when you do it occasionally as a way of breaking up the monotony of travel. Do it too much and you risk getting overly comfortable and forgetting the major focus of the trip.

Finding Work-Life Balance

One of the keys to a healthy career is finding some work-life balance. While this often requires compromise, there are some unique situations in which you can blend things and have surprisingly positive results — business travel included.

By bringing your spouse along with you on a business trip, you get the opportunity to enjoy special experiences together. It won’t work for every couple, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Couple Traveling Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Is it Okay to Bring Your Spouse on a Business Trip?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Bob Jenkins of Leadpages: Most Small Businesses Still Don’t Believe They Need Landing Pages

Why Landing Pages Are Important

It’s 2017 and there are multiple surveys out there saying more than half of small businesses out there still don’t have a website. And, according to an upcoming survey from Leadpages, even many of those with websites don’t understand why landing pages are important – why they need pages optimized for converting site visitors into contacts and leads.

While on the exhibition floor at Infusionsoft’s ICON 17 event this week I had a chance to speak with Bob “The Teacher” Jenkins, Manager of Education Content for Leadpages. Bob shares why landing pages are important and why it’s more important than ever to have those landing pages optimized for conversation. He also discusses why Google’s emphasis on speedy page load times will impact your landing page conversion rates.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. To hear the whole conversation watch the video, or click the embedded SoundCloud player.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUk7-7IRi0Q?rel=0]

* * * * *

Why Landing Pages Are ImportantSmall Business Trends: So give us a little background on Leadpages.

Bob Jenkins: We pre-launched Leadpages in 2012 before the software existed. Our co-founder and CEO Clay Collins had an idea of turning templates that could be uploaded into a template machine where people wouldn’t even have to upload them, they just need to change what the text was on the page. And so, in November of 2012, we had a pre-launch. January it was launched as an actual product with a couple hundred users right out of the gate. Four and a half years later, we have 47,000 customers. We are number 148 on the Inc. 500. We’ve been profitable since day one but have also raised $38,000,000 dollars in that time frame from venture capital money. So we do very well with our customer base. We love helping small businesses make it easier to market what they’re doing and turn more people into customers.

Small Business Trends: So what are a couple of the biggest challenges small businesses face in creating pages that actually convert?

Bob Jenkins: First of all, it’s knowing that they should have a landing page. A lot of people think they need a website that has all the bells and whistles; has fifteen pages or forty-five pages, and then low and behold, none of their pages actually have a way to capture a lead. They might have a phone number or they might have contact us or something like that, but the difference between a regular website and the landing page is that idea of focusing on conversion. So, first of all, small businesses have to realize that they have to have those types of pages. We have a small business report that is being released here this spring that’s finds most small businesses don’t even think they need a landing page. All you need is a website…that’s just not cutting it.

Now, once they have a landing page, what they need to remember is that people don’t care about your product, they care about their problem being solved. So, in your landing pages, make sure you’re communicating what’s the number one problem you’re solving, and describe enough of the solution to make them want to say yes to knowing more. Whether that’s giving their email address or that’s buying a product, don’t overwhelm them with all the details and information until they’ve said at least one yes along the way.

Small Business Trends: Are there any other important aspects of landing pages that customers overlook?

Bob Jenkins: One is to make sure that your ability to convert is easy to find. We call these call to action buttons. They need to be of high contrasting color. They need to be above the fold, which means as soon as you land on a page, that button is visible. You don’t have to scroll for it, you don’t have to hunt for it. And there’s another one lower down so if you have a landing page that has a couple of scrolls worth of page content, have at least one other button on the page. A lot of people overlook that.

We also overlook the idea of design. With our software we give you a lot of templates which are already pre-designed for conversion. They’re not just designed to look good, they’re designed to convert. Having that is a real good advantage if you’re using something else or doing it on your own, just make sure you take into consideration the aesthetic, have it look good but make sure that all things are pointing toward those call to action buttons. So the people take the action.

Small Business Trends: What are some of the things that they have to do from a mobile perspective with modern landing pages?

Bob Jenkins: Just to emphasize your question, Facebook has about 1.8 billion users. 1.2 billion access it monthly on the phone. That gives you 60 to 70 percent of people are accessing landing pages on the phone because they’re going from social media or they’re clicking on an ad and they’re going to that mobile site. So everybody has to have mobile responsive pages. Unfortunately that’s not the case.

Building a website in a traditional website platform or an old school design, that’s just not mobile responsive. So you want to make sure that it’s responsive and even more than that, optimized. One of the things we love that we introduced to our builder a few months ago was the ability to hide or show sections based on what kind of device people are using. Not only are they responsive and look okay, you can read them, it’s not like you have to scroll left and right on the page and zoom in and zoom out, but you also have that ability to see the content as it should exist. So having mobile optimized pages is also an advantage.

One thing to note about that is the call to action button, again. Think about holding a phone. There’s only so much scrolling before somebody starts to give up. So a traditional landing page, even something that might be made from one of our pages initially, might not have the button above the fold on that first screen on a mobile device. It’s mobile responsive, it’ll still look good, but you might have to scroll a little bit to get to it. So thinking about how does the experience for mobile user differ from the desktop and have the button right away on the front where your thumbs going to be. You know, most people are right handed so have it very accessible to that right handed thumb, hopefully even across to the left as well for the left handers too.

Small Business Trends: Talk a little about speed. What’s the speed, the efficiency you really have to have before somebody just walks away?

Bob Jenkins: This is a very important question because Google is going to penalize search results if you’re not actually strong in the speed department. So if your page is not loading in two seconds, you’re going to be hurting. We want to get ours under one second and that’s the kind of thing we strive for. New users to around 760 to 800 milliseconds is what we’re seeing. Sometimes it’s a little longer or shorter depending on image sizes and things like that but it’s definitely a concern so not just on your mobile device through the high speed internet but how does it look on 3G, how does it look on internationally when you’re in places that might not have high speed internet. So that one second might be a little longer. But you want to make sure it’s under three or four seconds as much as possible.

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This article, “Bob Jenkins of Leadpages: Most Small Businesses Still Don’t Believe They Need Landing Pages” was first published on Small Business Trends

Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft Brand

Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft BrandBrands aren’t what they used to be. In the past, brands were a physical symbol that represented value. When you bought a Coca-Cola, the red logo assured that you were getting a good soda. Nowadays, brands have become more complicated. They still represent a physical product, but they can mean a lot more than that. In The Rise Of The Craft Brand: Why Small is Going to Be Huge, author Ben Zifkin explains how this changing definition of branding can be leveraged to help a small business compete with a large-sized competitor.

What is The Rise of the Craft Brand About?

The central message of The Rise Of The Craft Brand is about technology’s disruption of the relationship between branding, distribution and commerce. Just a few years ago, the only way to get a Ralph Lauren shirt was to find a retailer, like Macy’s or Sears, that sold that product. With the rise of technology like the internet, you don’t even need to leave your chair to purchase that Ralph Lauren shirt from Amazon, the Ralph Lauren site, or any number of online stores and auctions.

This disruption between branding, distribution and commerce has resulted in the emergence of craft branding. Craft branding, unlike other types of branding, doesn’t depend on going big. The goal isn’t to reach every customer in the world. The goal of craft branding is to produce specialty. Craft branding is the strategic marriage of a small business brand and technology. When these two get together, big-name retailers are in trouble.

Why should big-name retailers be frightened by craft branding? There are a couple of reasons. First, many big-name retailers (although this is slightly changing) rely on mass-produced brands that don’t have the flexibility of a craft brand. The old-school brand of the past was a physical symbol focused on getting a transaction from mass-produced items (like a Coca-Cola bottle). Craft brands are different. They can afford to charge higher prices and produce on a smaller scale because they can leverage technology and a deeper relationship with an audience that wants a distinctive experience.

The Rise of the Craft Brand explores how small brands, like Under Armour were able to leverage their resources to become disruptive competitors to established businesses like Nike.

Zifkin is a former software engineer and consultant, founder and CEO of Hubba, a B2B network that connects retailers and brands. An avid supporter of technology is on the board of directors for Ladies Learning to Code and Hacker You.

What Was Best About The Rise of the Craft Brand?

Rise of the Craft Brand approaches the topic of a branding from a different (and much-needed) perspective. The trend in business books has been to discuss branding as a concrete “thing” that a person or business does. Rise of the Craft Brand expands that concept of branding and demonstrates how commerce will be affected by it. The brands profiled in this book provide a glimpse of how current businesses are adapting now for that upcoming future.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Rise of the Craft Brand celebrates the empowering potential of small businesses to make a big impact but it could use more detail to flesh out the concept of a “craft brand”. First, the book identifies a few characteristics of craft brands” but fails to show how craft brands differ from other types of brand. Second, the book fails to outline a specific strategy for craft brands. The author shares his own personal experience with Hubba along with other businesses but there isn’t enough detail for a full-fledged strategy. Having this kind of strategy might help struggling small business owners.

Why Read The Rise of the Craft Brand?

“For any business leader interested in the future of commerce, Rise of the Craft Brand offers a glimpse into the technology that is disrupting big-name retailers. This disruption is changing the ways that brands are created and developed, leaving room for small businesses to make a big marketing impact without a large-scale budget. For those who want a sneak peek of what this disruption looks like in the present, Rise of the Craft Brand profiles small businesses that were able to benefit from this disruption and launch into a powerful brand while following their own path to success.

This article, “Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft Brand” was first published on Small Business Trends

After Big PR Fail, United Airlines Tries to Fix Its Customer Service

United Airlines is Trying to Fix Its Reputation

Weeks after the company’s PR nightmare stemming from a video of a customer being dragged off an overbooked plane, United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) has been doing some soul searching.

The company just released 10 new policy changes aimed at improving customer service. Some of those changes include limiting use of law enforcement personnel to safety and security issues only, not requiring seated passengers to give up their seats involuntarily, increasing incentives for those who do give up seats, and making sure that crews are booked onto flights at least 60 minutes prior to departure.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSmC4UR9aUY?rel=0]

After the initial incident, the company stumbled over its response. Messaging from Unites Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was inconsistent and, in the eyes of many customers, inappropriate. So calls for boycotts and lawsuits ensued.

Hopefully, your small business will never experience a PR nightmare that’s even close to the one United has found itself in. But at some point, you may experience some negative press or customer sentiments toward your brand. And when that happens, it’s important to come up with a satisfactory solution and response quickly.

United Airlines is Trying to Fix Its Reputation

This new plan from United is a decent example of showing customers some changes stemming from a negative experience. It shows that the company can potentially learn from its mistakes and won’t let a similar incident happen again. However, in the case of the United debacle, it might have been better — and less damaging to the company’s brand — to have come up with that solution sooner.

United Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “After Big PR Fail, United Airlines Tries to Fix Its Customer Service” was first published on Small Business Trends

Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft Brand

Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft BrandBrands aren’t what they used to be. In the past, brands were a physical symbol that represented value. When you bought a Coca-Cola, the red logo assured that you were getting a good soda. Nowadays, brands have become more complicated. They still represent a physical product, but they can mean a lot more than that. In The Rise Of The Craft Brand: Why Small is Going to Be Huge, author Ben Zifkin explains how this changing definition of branding can be leveraged to help a small business compete with a large-sized competitor.

What is The Rise of the Craft Brand About?

The central message of The Rise Of The Craft Brand is about technology’s disruption of the relationship between branding, distribution and commerce. Just a few years ago, the only way to get a Ralph Lauren shirt was to find a retailer, like Macy’s or Sears, that sold that product. With the rise of technology like the internet, you don’t even need to leave your chair to purchase that Ralph Lauren shirt from Amazon, the Ralph Lauren site, or any number of online stores and auctions.

This disruption between branding, distribution and commerce has resulted in the emergence of craft branding. Craft branding, unlike other types of branding, doesn’t depend on going big. The goal isn’t to reach every customer in the world. The goal of craft branding is to produce specialty. Craft branding is the strategic marriage of a small business brand and technology. When these two get together, big-name retailers are in trouble.

Why should big-name retailers be frightened by craft branding? There are a couple of reasons. First, many big-name retailers (although this is slightly changing) rely on mass-produced brands that don’t have the flexibility of a craft brand. The old-school brand of the past was a physical symbol focused on getting a transaction from mass-produced items (like a Coca-Cola bottle). Craft brands are different. They can afford to charge higher prices and produce on a smaller scale because they can leverage technology and a deeper relationship with an audience that wants a distinctive experience.

The Rise of the Craft Brand explores how small brands, like Under Armour were able to leverage their resources to become disruptive competitors to established businesses like Nike.

Zifkin is a former software engineer and consultant, founder and CEO of Hubba, a B2B network that connects retailers and brands. An avid supporter of technology is on the board of directors for Ladies Learning to Code and Hacker You.

What Was Best About The Rise of the Craft Brand?

Rise of the Craft Brand approaches the topic of a branding from a different (and much-needed) perspective. The trend in business books has been to discuss branding as a concrete “thing” that a person or business does. Rise of the Craft Brand expands that concept of branding and demonstrates how commerce will be affected by it. The brands profiled in this book provide a glimpse of how current businesses are adapting now for that upcoming future.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Rise of the Craft Brand celebrates the empowering potential of small businesses to make a big impact but it could use more detail to flesh out the concept of a “craft brand”. First, the book identifies a few characteristics of craft brands” but fails to show how craft brands differ from other types of brand. Second, the book fails to outline a specific strategy for craft brands. The author shares his own personal experience with Hubba along with other businesses but there isn’t enough detail for a full-fledged strategy. Having this kind of strategy might help struggling small business owners.

Why Read The Rise of the Craft Brand?

“For any business leader interested in the future of commerce, Rise of the Craft Brand offers a glimpse into the technology that is disrupting big-name retailers. This disruption is changing the ways that brands are created and developed, leaving room for small businesses to make a big marketing impact without a large-scale budget. For those who want a sneak peek of what this disruption looks like in the present, Rise of the Craft Brand profiles small businesses that were able to benefit from this disruption and launch into a powerful brand while following their own path to success.

This article, “Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft Brand” was first published on Small Business Trends

After Big PR Fail, United Airlines Tries to Fix Its Customer Service

United Airlines is Trying to Fix Its Reputation

Weeks after the company’s PR nightmare stemming from a video of a customer being dragged off an overbooked plane, United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) has been doing some soul searching.

The company just released 10 new policy changes aimed at improving customer service. Some of those changes include limiting use of law enforcement personnel to safety and security issues only, not requiring seated passengers to give up their seats involuntarily, increasing incentives for those who do give up seats, and making sure that crews are booked onto flights at least 60 minutes prior to departure.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSmC4UR9aUY?rel=0]

After the initial incident, the company stumbled over its response. Messaging from Unites Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was inconsistent and, in the eyes of many customers, inappropriate. So calls for boycotts and lawsuits ensued.

Hopefully, your small business will never experience a PR nightmare that’s even close to the one United has found itself in. But at some point, you may experience some negative press or customer sentiments toward your brand. And when that happens, it’s important to come up with a satisfactory solution and response quickly.

United Airlines is Trying to Fix Its Reputation

This new plan from United is a decent example of showing customers some changes stemming from a negative experience. It shows that the company can potentially learn from its mistakes and won’t let a similar incident happen again. However, in the case of the United debacle, it might have been better — and less damaging to the company’s brand — to have come up with that solution sooner.

United Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “After Big PR Fail, United Airlines Tries to Fix Its Customer Service” was first published on Small Business Trends

Tax Cuts, Lending Upticks Make Small Business Headlines

Small businesses got some welcome news this week — in the form of President Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts.

In addition, a recent report suggests that small business loans at institutional lenders and small banks are on the rise. You can read about these news items and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Finance

Small Businesses Big Winners in Proposed Trump Tax Cuts

Historic tax cuts for American small businesses could be just around the corner. In an announcement at the White House today, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiled proposed sweeping reforms to the tax code for all U.S. businesses. At the same time, President Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn presented proposals to overhaul the personal tax code.

Small Business Loans at Institutional Lenders, Small Banks on the Uptick

The latest Biz2Credt Small Business Lending Index shows a positive outlook for small business loans based on their approval rates. Specific upticks were measured at institutional lenders and small banks.

Economy

National Small Business Week: The History of an Entrepreneurial Tradition

A lot has changed in America since the 1960s and while many things are different in today’s United States, at least one of the fundamentals driving us all forward is still the same.

Residents of This State Want to Work from Home More than Anyone Else in the US

A not-so-surprising trend is gathering steam across the U.S. The trend, which is indicative of what is happening in other markets around the world, is that more and more workers want to work from home. To better understanding how this trend is taking shape in the U.S, a New York-startup called AND CO set out to identify the states that have the most residents who want to work from home.

Marketing Tips

Chocolate Rain 10th Anniversary Calls Attention to Power of Viral Marketing

This week marks the tenth anniversary of viral sensation “Chocolate Rain” by singer and internet personality Tay Zonday. And this milestone isn’t just about celebrating a flash-in-the-pan online hit. It also serves as an important reminder for businesses. Chocolate Rain was one of the first truly viral internet sensations.

How to Use Different Types of Content When Marketing Your Small Business (Infographic)

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 6 years, you’ve probably heard about using content marketing to promote your small business. Even as a solopreneur, content marketing works to bolster brand awareness, build your reputation, attract customers, and keep your website fresh. However, with all the noise online, content marketing has gotten harder.

Retail Trends

Amazon’s New Subscription Service Should Have You Rethinking Your Products

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) just added a new marketplace, Subscribe with Amazon, to help consumers find digital subscriptions, highlighting a potential opportunity for companies to increase ongoing revenue streams. Subscribe with Amazon Digital subscriptions can include things like Amazon’s Prime service, music streaming services and even online newspaper subscriptions.

New Trend: Marijuana — at the Drive-Thru?

Ever since states like Colorado started legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, most customers have had to go into stores to make their purchases. But that’s no longer the case for customers of one Colorado business. Tumbleweed Express is a drive-thru marijuana dispensary in Colorado. It’s housed in an old car wash.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Brickell Men’s Products Offers Natural Grooming Options

There are plenty of natural and luxury grooming products out there for women. But the market for similar men’s products isn’t nearly as robust. Enter Brickell Men’s Products. The company started because of a lack of natural skin care options and has started to offer more and more grooming options without all the chemicals found in most other men’s products.

Social Media

LinkedIn Reaches 500 Million User Mark; 9 Million Businesses Use Site

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) has hit a major milestone. The social media site just hit the half-billion user mark. That’s right — 500 million users. Further, there are now 9 million businesses actively on the site. The power of this community benefits a global audience, allowing businesses and their perspective employees and clients to connect like never before.

Startup

What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur? (INFOGRAPHIC)

What separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest? Among other things, prior work experience seems to be a key deciding factor. According to data gathered by accommodation booking agent Central London Apartments, 96 percent of successful entrepreneurs credited “prior work experience” for their success.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, Leveraged a Local Market for Global Success

Jack Ma built one of the world’s largest eCommerce companies, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) by leveraging opportunities in a local market. Ma was born in Hangzhou, China, in 1964. He grew up poor and started off by giving English tours to foreigners for free. Today, his net worth amounts to approximately $28.

Technology Trends

Google Says Websites Shouldn’t Mark Republished Content for Index

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently suggested more steps toward eliminating duplicate content across the web. And website owners, including small business owners, may want to pay attention considering the search engine has a history of eventually penalizing sites for not taking heed.

10 Ways Digital Signatures are Changing How Contracts are Signed

Development in digital technology has introduced new levels of efficiency across almost all industries. In the business world, everything from the way companies communicate to accounting, HR, marketing and even how documents are signed has been improved.

YouTube Provides Update on Restricted Mode Filter

YouTube is making more changes to the now-controversial Restricted Mode. YouTube Updates Restricted Mode In an official post on the YouTube Creators Blog, the site’s vice president of product management, Johanna Wright, says the algorithm that filtered content out of Restricted Mode was wrong.

More Entrepreneurs Hiring Help for DIY Website Builder Tools

DIY website builder tools have seen amazing growth in the marketplace. And it’s no surprise why. With tools from vendors such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Jimdo and WordPress.com, you build your own website through a do-it-yourself experience. With them, it’s possible to have a classy-looking website online in a matter of a few hours or less.

Infusionsoft Propel Supplies Mobile Marketing Experience

Infusionsoft used the kickoff of day one of  #ICON17 to announce Infusionsoft Propel, the latest mobile based solution from the company. “You need to be connected and present with your customers in the ways they want to be connected,” said COO Terry Hicks in an announcement streamed on the company’s Facebook page.

WordPress Announces Yet Another Maintenance Update

WordPress 4.7.4 is now available. The release contains 47 maintenance enhancements and fixes. Chief among them includes a visual editor compatibility fix for an upcoming version of Chrome. With the new update, uploading audio and video files will no longer result in broken thumbnails.

Guru Introduces New Feature to Get Paid As You Complete Tasks

Starting May 2, all freelancers working in the Guru platform will be able to create task-based agreements that will see them get paid once they complete their tasks. Guru Task-Based Agreements “We already introduced recurring billing to give you greater control over how you get paid,” said Guru’s communications manager Anna Bassham in an official post on the Guru blog.

Have You Seen the New Home Page for Google Analytics?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has a new home landing page for its popular analytics service. The page features clear data sets and simplified language, generally making it easier for anyone to navigate and understand.

Image: WhiteHouse.gov/YouTube

This article, “Tax Cuts, Lending Upticks Make Small Business Headlines” was first published on Small Business Trends

Tax Cuts, Lending Upticks Make Small Business Headlines

Small businesses got some welcome news this week — in the form of President Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts.

In addition, a recent report suggests that small business loans at institutional lenders and small banks are on the rise. You can read about these news items and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Finance

Small Businesses Big Winners in Proposed Trump Tax Cuts

Historic tax cuts for American small businesses could be just around the corner. In an announcement at the White House today, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiled proposed sweeping reforms to the tax code for all U.S. businesses. At the same time, President Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn presented proposals to overhaul the personal tax code.

Small Business Loans at Institutional Lenders, Small Banks on the Uptick

The latest Biz2Credt Small Business Lending Index shows a positive outlook for small business loans based on their approval rates. Specific upticks were measured at institutional lenders and small banks.

Economy

National Small Business Week: The History of an Entrepreneurial Tradition

A lot has changed in America since the 1960s and while many things are different in today’s United States, at least one of the fundamentals driving us all forward is still the same.

Residents of This State Want to Work from Home More than Anyone Else in the US

A not-so-surprising trend is gathering steam across the U.S. The trend, which is indicative of what is happening in other markets around the world, is that more and more workers want to work from home. To better understanding how this trend is taking shape in the U.S, a New York-startup called AND CO set out to identify the states that have the most residents who want to work from home.

Marketing Tips

Chocolate Rain 10th Anniversary Calls Attention to Power of Viral Marketing

This week marks the tenth anniversary of viral sensation “Chocolate Rain” by singer and internet personality Tay Zonday. And this milestone isn’t just about celebrating a flash-in-the-pan online hit. It also serves as an important reminder for businesses. Chocolate Rain was one of the first truly viral internet sensations.

How to Use Different Types of Content When Marketing Your Small Business (Infographic)

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 6 years, you’ve probably heard about using content marketing to promote your small business. Even as a solopreneur, content marketing works to bolster brand awareness, build your reputation, attract customers, and keep your website fresh. However, with all the noise online, content marketing has gotten harder.

Retail Trends

Amazon’s New Subscription Service Should Have You Rethinking Your Products

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) just added a new marketplace, Subscribe with Amazon, to help consumers find digital subscriptions, highlighting a potential opportunity for companies to increase ongoing revenue streams. Subscribe with Amazon Digital subscriptions can include things like Amazon’s Prime service, music streaming services and even online newspaper subscriptions.

New Trend: Marijuana — at the Drive-Thru?

Ever since states like Colorado started legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, most customers have had to go into stores to make their purchases. But that’s no longer the case for customers of one Colorado business. Tumbleweed Express is a drive-thru marijuana dispensary in Colorado. It’s housed in an old car wash.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Brickell Men’s Products Offers Natural Grooming Options

There are plenty of natural and luxury grooming products out there for women. But the market for similar men’s products isn’t nearly as robust. Enter Brickell Men’s Products. The company started because of a lack of natural skin care options and has started to offer more and more grooming options without all the chemicals found in most other men’s products.

Social Media

LinkedIn Reaches 500 Million User Mark; 9 Million Businesses Use Site

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) has hit a major milestone. The social media site just hit the half-billion user mark. That’s right — 500 million users. Further, there are now 9 million businesses actively on the site. The power of this community benefits a global audience, allowing businesses and their perspective employees and clients to connect like never before.

Startup

What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur? (INFOGRAPHIC)

What separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest? Among other things, prior work experience seems to be a key deciding factor. According to data gathered by accommodation booking agent Central London Apartments, 96 percent of successful entrepreneurs credited “prior work experience” for their success.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, Leveraged a Local Market for Global Success

Jack Ma built one of the world’s largest eCommerce companies, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) by leveraging opportunities in a local market. Ma was born in Hangzhou, China, in 1964. He grew up poor and started off by giving English tours to foreigners for free. Today, his net worth amounts to approximately $28.

Technology Trends

Google Says Websites Shouldn’t Mark Republished Content for Index

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently suggested more steps toward eliminating duplicate content across the web. And website owners, including small business owners, may want to pay attention considering the search engine has a history of eventually penalizing sites for not taking heed.

10 Ways Digital Signatures are Changing How Contracts are Signed

Development in digital technology has introduced new levels of efficiency across almost all industries. In the business world, everything from the way companies communicate to accounting, HR, marketing and even how documents are signed has been improved.

YouTube Provides Update on Restricted Mode Filter

YouTube is making more changes to the now-controversial Restricted Mode. YouTube Updates Restricted Mode In an official post on the YouTube Creators Blog, the site’s vice president of product management, Johanna Wright, says the algorithm that filtered content out of Restricted Mode was wrong.

More Entrepreneurs Hiring Help for DIY Website Builder Tools

DIY website builder tools have seen amazing growth in the marketplace. And it’s no surprise why. With tools from vendors such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Jimdo and WordPress.com, you build your own website through a do-it-yourself experience. With them, it’s possible to have a classy-looking website online in a matter of a few hours or less.

Infusionsoft Propel Supplies Mobile Marketing Experience

Infusionsoft used the kickoff of day one of  #ICON17 to announce Infusionsoft Propel, the latest mobile based solution from the company. “You need to be connected and present with your customers in the ways they want to be connected,” said COO Terry Hicks in an announcement streamed on the company’s Facebook page.

WordPress Announces Yet Another Maintenance Update

WordPress 4.7.4 is now available. The release contains 47 maintenance enhancements and fixes. Chief among them includes a visual editor compatibility fix for an upcoming version of Chrome. With the new update, uploading audio and video files will no longer result in broken thumbnails.

Guru Introduces New Feature to Get Paid As You Complete Tasks

Starting May 2, all freelancers working in the Guru platform will be able to create task-based agreements that will see them get paid once they complete their tasks. Guru Task-Based Agreements “We already introduced recurring billing to give you greater control over how you get paid,” said Guru’s communications manager Anna Bassham in an official post on the Guru blog.

Have You Seen the New Home Page for Google Analytics?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has a new home landing page for its popular analytics service. The page features clear data sets and simplified language, generally making it easier for anyone to navigate and understand.

Image: WhiteHouse.gov/YouTube

This article, “Tax Cuts, Lending Upticks Make Small Business Headlines” was first published on Small Business Trends