Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Our Latest Events, Contests and Awards List

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Welcome to our latest curated list of events, contests and awards for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and growing companies. To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Who Gives a Fund Contest - Caribbean CruiseWho Gives a Fund Contest – Caribbean Cruise
August 29, 2014, Online

Create a short fun video using the phrase “Who Gives a Fund.” Share it on social. The video with the most views will win a round trip within the continental U.S. to beautiful Miami, and a 3-day cruise to the Caribbean, for two. See WhoGivesaFund.com for complete rules and details. Presented by eSmallBusinessLoan.com, to highlight that traditional bank loans are not the only source of money for your working capital needs in your business.
Hashtag: #WhoGivesaFund


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

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10 Clever Tips From Our Community For Increased Profits

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Your business goes mobileEdit

It’s time for another community news and information roundup. This week from our community come some tips on profitability. Many factors go into your business’s profitability and success from marketing to monitoring key metrics. This week we look at these factors and more to help you build more small business success.

Learn the Power of Video (V3 Integrated Marketing)

Video is becoming not only a powerful marketing tool, but an important sales tool as well. Here marketing and digital strategist Shelly Kramer clues us in to how this format can be used even more effectively for your brand.

Use Tools To Spread your Online Presence (Techmania 411)

To obtain profitability, it’s important to first get your business and brand out there. To get you started, explore tools like Signpost. Small Business Trends contributor and tech writer Alex H. Wong looks at how this product works to expand your presence on the Web.

Learn From the Best (Wealthy Gorilla)

While every business is different, you can always learn something from those who have been successful before you. Here entrepreneur and blogger Dan Western gives us an overview of one such success story prompting more discussion in the BizSugar community.

Make Your Marketing More Relevant (Small Biz Daily)Whether communicating through social media or another channel, being relevant is most important. Here business blogger James Wirth gives us some idea of how to get started.

Master Your Social Media Channels (CorpNet)Not all social media channels are the same. Here social media marketer and Small Business Trends contributor Susan Payton gives us a channel by channel review. Learn how Twitter differs from Facebook and other channels and how your message must vary accordingly.

How to Build More Online Traffic (Smart Marketerz)

If your business is online, than traffic is imperative. Blogger Erik Emanuelli gives these tips for growing your traffic. See these additional comments from the BizSugar community.

Carefully Watch Your Small Business Metrics (Wells Fargo)

Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell gives us someadvice on how to monitor small business metrics for greater profitability. This two part series of posts will give you an overview of what needs to be monitored and why

Use Customer Personas to Craft Your Message (Basic Blog Tips)

To make your marketing massage on your blog or elsewhere, you must know more about the customers you are talking too. Small business advisor E.J. Dealy has these suggestions for using customer personas to craft a more effective marketing message.

Learn How to Price Your Products or Services (EnMast)

How you price your products and services definitely determines profitability. Small business owner Kaleigh Moore gives us some tips leading to some added discussion in the BizSugar community.

Develop Your Personal Brand (Tweak Your Biz)

Whether you work for a large corporation or a small business, personal brand is important these days. But for small businesses and entrepreneurs it can be especially critical for marketing your business successfully, says Tweak Your Buz founder Niall Devitt.

We hope you found this edition of the community and news roundup helpful. To make suggestions about what we should cover in future editions, email us at sbtips@gmail.com, or share with us in the BizSugar community, our first destination for the freshest and most authentic small business voices.

Your business goes mobile via Shutterstock

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Making a Business Out of Juggling and Funny Faces

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

juggling business

Can you make a business out of juggling and funny faces? David Beach has for years.

Beach originally became interested in the entertainment business when he appeared in a play back in elementary school. Since then, it’s been his goal to make a living as a film and TV actor.

Though he has appeared in those mediums, he’s also picked up some other skills along the way.

juggling business

Through his career, he’s worked as a prop comic, ventriloquist, juggler, emcee, voice-over artist, and more. He has performed at Disneyland, Universal Studios, and various other venues to make ends meet in between acting jobs. He said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends:

“I’ve always been an actor at heart, but all of the comedy and variety stuff is a great way to continue working. And it really is a fun way to make a living.”

Beach said he first started picking up these different skills while attending Catawba College in North Carolina. He lived down the hall from a magician and met various other types of performers. He learned how to juggle, took some improv classes, and even worked with clowns on occasion.

juggling business

His first regular paying job was performing at Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte, North Carolina. He worked there for two seasons during his college years. Since then, he’s performed at other amusement parks along with parties, events and other venues. He does all of this while also working on his film and television career.

Beach said that he enjoys all the different types of performing he gets to do. But the most difficult part has been juggling all of the different business aspects:

“When studying theater you learn pretty much everything you need to know about being on stage. But learning the actual nuts and bolts like getting jobs, finding an agent, and all the technical stuff you just have to learn as you go.”

Because of that, Beach said he would recommend that anyone interested in the entertainment industry learn as much about business as possible. So much of it involves promoting yourself and staying determined to find work.

“It really is a job, regardless of how fun it can be.”

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Get to the Heart of “The Ruby Programming Language”

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

ruby book“Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream,” ~ Tomorrow Never Knows, Beatles

George Harrison of the Beatles once stated what he thought the song Tomorrow Never Knows represented – to establish a quiet reflective mind that has stopped assessing every thought at every moment.

In the less musical world of application programming, developers are facing a number of options that keep them thinking every moment about what programming language to use for developing my app.

Sometimes, when you think too much it’s easier to get back to the basics. One good basic among programming books is The Ruby Programming Language by David Flanagan (@_DavidFlanagan) and Yukihiro Matsumoto (@yukihiro_matz), nicknamed “Matz” within the developer community.

I picked up the book during my app development course in Washington D.C. I think the book will help budding entrepreneurial developers form an initial idea of how to use Ruby as a great reminder of object oriented programming basics.

Ruby – Who Could Hang A Programming Object or Method On You?

The book has a unique background. Matsumoto is the creator of the Ruby language. He wrote the book under a different name. Flanagan updated the book with notes on version 1.9. One detail: Ruby is now at version 2.1 as of this review’s publication. But I picked this book specifically because of Matz and Flanagan to get enough of the basics to be helpful to newbies to programming. (jruby.org and rubypal.com are given technical review credit – and are good sources to follow for the latest information.)  They cover the variation well.  In fact, I found the book does a better job in covering Ruby syntax than some blogs on Ruby.

The opening chapter captures basics of the Ruby interpreter and some the kiddie-I-still-need-training-wheels syntax. But later chapters elaborate on specific programming details that will form the functions to run an app. Chapter 6 focuses on methods, with Chapter 7 noting classes – groups of text that are used to invoke variables.  But Chapter 8 also elaborates on metaprogramming – programs meant to ease syntax use by simplifying certain actions or functionality that gets repeated within a Ruby program.

Overall, you will view comparisons on how certain operator expressions are typically used. Here are shots I took on my camera to show examples. Each example uses a number of elements, one set arranged in an array and another in a hash, which, loosely speaking, is a type of array with key/value pairs of the elements.

ruby1

The book also shows how some syntax have similar functions. The image below shows a few different ways to do a string to symbol conversion.

ruby2

These are small examples, but their inclusion is meant to strike the imagination of a developer as an idea for an app is created.

Kitchen Sink … But The Kitchen Is Still Needed

I use that line to explain how this book’s scope is thorough – which you should expect from the inventor of a program – yet can still leave you with needing more to have everything.

The downside of this book, ironically, is that it is meant for Ruby rather than explaining Ruby on Rails, the framework that allows for interaction among app files. David Hansson created Ruby on Rails. He’s the Co-Founder of 37 signals, the company that produces the project management software Basecamp.

An aside: You can read more about his thoughts on productivity through the books Rework and Remote. I’ve reviewed both for Small Business Trends.

The impact from no Rails discussion is that if you are a beginner, you overlook discussion about model, controller, and viewer – the sets of files that operate between what the app user sees and the backend.

In short, and in true developer fashion, expect to learn more beyond this book.  But the downside is not a showstopper for learning from this book. Think of the book as a encyclopedic version of a Ruby ingredient and you can get the best from it over time.

Who Would Benefit Most From This Book

Clearly, this is a developer’s book. So developers with a preference for object oriented programming will enjoy it. If you are reading about Javascript programming, such as that described in Programming Javascript Applications, you’ll appreciate the differences and similarities.

Let this book start you on the path for being a better developer.  Yes, you’ll need the “on Rails” to be complete.  But this book will have you “relaxing and floating downstream” from your Ruby programming troubles.

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Our News: Mobile Is Growing, Wix Launches ShoutOut

Friday, July 11th, 2014

computer camping

From the latest projections on the growth of mobile to a new product from Web design platform Wix, there are lots of things happening that can impact your small business today. The Small Business Trends editorial team has you covered with the latest. Have a look.

Web

60 Percent of Online Traffic Now Comes From Mobile. If your business depends upon online traffic, you should know. More than half of digital traffic online now comes from mobile devices and through mobile apps. A comScore report says smartphones and tablets combined now account for 6o percent of all online traffic up from 50 percent a year ago.

Wix Introduces Beautiful ShoutOut Newsletters. Wix, the freemium website building platform, announced its new ShoutOut feature today, a way to send out “beautiful newsletters” and updates about your business. The service is used to create and design email campaigns with a few clicks from the Wix dashboard using email lists compiled using the Wix platform.

Forget About Amazon, Get Yourself a Google Product Ad. Many businesses including brick and mortar companies have worried in recent years that Amazon is stealing their retail business. This is because Amazon offers many products available in small shops and retail stores and even on some eCommerce sites and does it at a cheaper price.

Bing Gives Twitter Results Including Hashtags and Handles. Twitter results have been showing up on Bing for some time. But now the search engine is adding tools that will refine that search. And that could be good news, if people happen to be looking for your Twitter handle on Bing.

Hardware

Microsoft Cuts Prices on Surface Pro 2 Tablets. Microsoft is cutting the prices on its Surface Pro 2 devices just before the arrival of Surface Pro 3. The new device, the third iteration of Microsoft’s tablet/PC hybrid can be ordered now but is expected to ship in August.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Makes Great Business Accessory. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 has a lot of features that should suit small business owners but it won’t be a replacement for your laptop. For small business owners on the go more often than not, this tablet is definitely suited for keeping in touch with clients. And it’s more than capable of accessing and editing business files stored in your cloud.

Other Tech Tends

Nimble CRM Says LinkedIn Lock Out is a Minor Stumbling Block. Companies building customer relationship management and human resources software based on LinkedIn’s API are upset. Last year, the professional networking giant said it was limiting companies allowed to build hiring, marketing or sales off its API to a few development partners.

Yahoo Shuts Down Voices, Bid for Low Cost Content Fails. Yahoo has announced plans to shut down its Voices site effective July 30 and its Contributor network effective the end of August. Originally bought by Yahoo for $100 million as Associated Content in 2012, the Voices site, and the Contributor Network which supplied it with writers, were sources of low cost content, what some would call a “content farm.”

Investment & Financing

TrustLeaf Helps You Structure “Family and Friends” Loans for Your Startup. You may have heard that borrowing money from family and friends to start a business is a bad idea. Still, the fact of the matter is that many entrepreneurs have gotten their start this way leading to the founding of many well-known brands. For example, entrepreneur Jim Casey started the business that today is UPS way back in 1907 with a family loan of just $100.

Small Business Loans Reach Post-Recession High. It isn’t quite the golden days of pre-recession financing. But small business lending has reached a post-recession high. That’s the unvarnished optimistic conclusion of the June 2014 Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index. The index is a monthly analysis of 1000 loan applications on Biz2Credit.com.

Legal & Security

Court Reverses $338,000 Award for User Generated Content. Imagine if your small business was successfully sued for something a visitor posted in your website’s comment section. Well, that’s pretty close to what happened to a website called TheDirty.com, a site which allows its readers to anonymously upload content of a somewhat…uh, salacious nature.

Your Uncharged Phone Might Not be Allowed on Some Flights. If you travel for business regularly, especially overseas, beware. The Transportation Security Administration may be preventing phones — or other mobile devices like tablets or laptops — from being taken on fights if they can’t be powered up during inspection.

Entrepreneurship & Startups

Entrepreneur Creates Unique Service: Moving Zoo Animals. The next time you’re driving down the highway, you could be right next to a rhino and not even realize it. Entrepreneurs like Chris Danhauer make a living transporting zoo animals to other locations for breeding, conservation, or educational purposes. It’s an unconventional business, to be sure. But someone has to be responsible for moving giraffes and gorillas.

How a Meetup Group Led a Mompreneur to Launch a Business . Jill Salzman was already a mom and an entrepreneur before she launched The Founding Moms’ Exchange in 2009. The mother of two was juggling multiple businesses, including a music management firm and a children’s accessory line. And she wanted a way to connect with other mom entrepreneurs. So she used the website Meetup.

Entrepreneur Creates Winery on the Third Floor of a Warehouse. Starting a winery requires acres of land in the hills of Napa Valley. . .or so you may think. Entrepreneur Lysanne Tusar doesn’t need excessive land or proximity to wine country to run her winery. In fact, she makes her wine on the third floor of a warehouse building in the middle of Hong Kong.

Sales Basics

Sales is About Process and People Not Data Management. Today’s savvy, tech-driven customers have taken complete control of how they select products and services they end up buying. In most cases, they have made their decision before they talk to the vendor they choose. Which means many sales people are being shut out of the decision making process altogether.

William Bruce, Business Broker, Takes Lumpy with the Lean. William Bruce started his career as a business broker 28 years ago when his first sale was a Hallmark Card and Gift Shop in Mobile, Alabama. He’s never looked back. Since then, he’s brokered literally hundreds of sales from ice cream stands to large manufacturing plants. Here’s a bit more of his story.

Employment

The 20 Most Fun Self-Employed Jobs. What are the best jobs in the world? We’re not just talking here about the best paying or the most rewarding. We’re talking about the most fun as well. Fortunately, in a world where almost any information imaginable can be easily crowdsourced, there’s at least a popular consensus.

Reading News Photo via Shutterstock

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Box Adds Notes to Let You Chat Alongside Shared Files

Friday, July 11th, 2014

box notes

Now you can do more than store photo files, presentations and other documents in the cloud. You can also brainstorm and collaborate with your team there too.

And, starting recently, you can do it from a mobile device.

Dropbox competitor Box, a cloud storage tool that lets you share presentations, spreadsheets, images and other documents with team members in the cloud, has recently added a feature called Notes.

It lets you also share brainstorming, meeting minutes, agendas and team status updates. Your team can see these on desktops and, more recently, through a mobile app for iPhone and iPad.

In a recent post on the official Box blog, David Still, vice president of mobile products explained:

“There are a number of note-taking apps available today, so what makes Box Notes different? We’re built for business. Box Notes is part of Box – so it has the same security, encryption, and sharing permissions that come with the Box platform. The notes you create live alongside the presentations, spreadsheets, images and other documents you already store in Box. You have one centralized location to manage your projects, teams or accounts.”

Box is part of a growing segment of services offering cloud storage of all kinds, giving you more options for storing and sharing your business files and documents too.

And Box’s new Notes feature would seem to create a unique kind of collaboration to go with it. So, imagine sharing with your team not only image files but detailed instructions on how to use them. Or imagine brainstorming on an upcoming presentation also stored in the cloud with team members located in another city.

Box announced another round of funding July 7 raising $150 million from hedge fund Coatue Management and private-equity investor TPG, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The company will use the money for operations in anticipation of an initial public offering sometime after Labor Day. Box had initially announced plans for an IPO in March, but decided to hold off in hopes of better market conditions.

Image: Box

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A Trip to Latin America Sparks Global Entrepreneur Movement

Friday, July 11th, 2014

entrepreneur movement

Linda Rottenberg didn’t set out to start a global movement of entrepreneurs. She just wanted to take a year off to travel through Latin America after completing law school.

But that trip served as the catalyst that eventually led to her starting Endeavor, an investment network for high-impact entrepreneurs around the world.

While spending time in Chile and Argentina, Rottenberg was struck by the lack of jobs available. Other than government jobs, there were only four or five large companies that ever did any hiring. So for those who didn’t fit with those opportunities, Rottenberg thought they would be a natural fit for entrepreneurship. She said in an interview with finance career site OneWire:

“I kept saying ‘Why aren’t you starting a business?’ …I’d tell the story of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the garage and they’d say, ‘This is Latin America. No one is funding me to start my crazy idea… and I don’t even have a garage.’”

The final straw for Rottenberg came when she found out her cab driver in Buenos Aires had a PhD in engineering. When she asked why he never considered starting a business instead of driving a taxi, she realized there wasn’t even a Spanish word for “entrepreneur.”

So Rottenberg made it her mission to support entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Along with partner Peter Kellner, they look for individuals who already have the ideas and motivation, but just need the startup funds.

Since its launch in 1997, Endeavor has introduced more than 2,700 entrepreneurs to investment opportunities. And those entrepreneurs have created over 400,000 jobs together generating $6.5 billion in revenue in 2013.

Entrepreneurship is a concept that can benefit markets around the world. But certain regions haven’t experienced the same opportunities as others. It may not have been Rottenberg’s original intent to spark entrepreneurship in these emerging markets. But it does make a lot of sense for all parties involved.

Entrepreneurs in these markets now have the opportunity to fund startups they never would have thought possible before. And investors have access to untapped markets and to entrepreneurs with unique ideas and potential.

Perhaps most importantly, the word “emprendedor” is now a well-known term for entrepreneur in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. Even more entrepreneurial words have been added to lexicons around the world. So even those who haven’t yet had their ventures funded at least have something to aspire to.

Image: OneWire

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CEO of @PipelinerCRM: Sales is About Process & People Not Data Mgmt

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Today’s savvy, tech-driven customers have taken complete control of how they select products and services they end up buying. In most cases, they have made their decision before they talk to the vendor they choose. Which means many sales people are being shut out of the decision making process altogether.

Nikolaus Kimla, sales process expert and Founder of Pipeliner CRM, shares his thoughts on the changing role of the sales professional in today’s consumer climate, how sales people can better align their sales process with how consumers are buying today, and the role sales technology should play to help them stay connected with buyers over the long haul.

* * * * *

sales is about processSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Nikolaus Kimla: I’m originally from Austria, Vienna. I moved two years ago to the United States because I realized I have to bring my product to the next level, and this can only be done here because this is the country of sales.

Small Business Trends: Stats say the vast majority of consumers make up their minds to purchase a product or service before they even talk to vendors. How has that changed the way a sales person goes about their business?

Nikolaus Kimla: The buyer is very different, in my opinion, between transactional sales, classical consulting sales, or enterprise sales. In the consumer side of classical transaction sales, tremendous change has happened. In the future, we will not speak to a person, we will speak to machines.

Similar to when you buy a book by Amazon. Amazon knows you, gives you the right books or even some movies that are related to your books. Amazon knows about your patterns, so everything goes into the pattern recognition systems. It’s very profound and very deep. Transactional sales, I would say, is in the biggest change. We are all, in some form, a buyer.

On the other hand, consulting sales is in an even deeper change for sales people. This is the big challenge for the future because the buyer is not so much interested in the product, he’s more interested in the value that you’re creating – and actually even creating some business opportunities for him. That means you are more a business consultant. There is a tremendous change and I personally believe most sellers are not ready for that.

Small Business Trends: What are the things that sellers need in order to be able to communicate and basically do the job they need to when they engage these customers today?

Nikolaus Kimla: First of all, I would say they need to understand how social can impact getting more information on your prospects. What really drives them? What is really in there? It’s really about investigation. For that reason, it’s a lot of preparation. You have to prepare much more than in the old days. To say, ‘I know the industry, the vertical market.  I know about the pains of the buyer. I address the pains because my product is a solution.’ I think this is too narrow-minded now.

You have to be more complex. The seller really has a lot of challenges. He has to inform himself, so he needs a lot of education on the one hand. On the other hand, he needs tools that help him on a daily basis run his shop efficiently, easily, smoothly and effectively so that he can really concentrate on what it’s all about. You have to go into the heart of the buyer and tell them that you understand their needs. You understand where he is heading and that the solution that you have for him can bring this impact to him in the future.

Small Business Trends: So to make a sales person’s life easier today from a technology standpoint and process standpoint, what do they need from both perspectives to do their job today?

Nikolaus Kimla: Vendors are moving in the area of saying, ‘My tool is easier for data entering and for correcting data and keeping up the data.’ Perfect. I strongly believe sales people will never do that. As easy as the tool is, they will never do it, right? This is not in their personality, even if you have the most advanced and easiest tool in the world.

So I think this is a pitfall. The issue is, you cannot change a sales person. It makes no sense. Where are their strengths? It’s about what they’re doing in their job. They should not be bookkeepers. It’s not their job. Their job is to sell and to understand the complexity and everything involved, so it’s about the process.

You have to know your process. If you are not tweaking the process constantly, changing it to the needs of the buyer and to the needs of the industry, to respond to competitors because they’re doing something, and constantly working with your sales team and giving them some insight with dynamic playbooks - then you’re lost in the future.

Most sales managers are just managing data when they should manage people, not data. Technology should help visualize the process. Then you work on the core, and the core is the person. You have to work with the person.

Small Business Trends: Nikolaus, where can people go to learn more about some of the things we talked about, and also about your product?

Nikolaus Kimla: Go to PipelinerSales.com, and then to the blog. You will see a lot of people contributing. Our content is really helpful and we try to give our knowledge away for free.



This interview on how sales is about process and people, not data, is part of the One on One interview series with thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This transcript has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the player above. 

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Who Needs a Standing Desk? Not This Guy!

Friday, July 11th, 2014

standing desk cartoon

If you’ve been online at all over the past year I’m sure you’ve heard about the standing desk trend. It seems like everyone everywhere is using a standing desk now and raving about how much better they feel, how much healthier they are, etc…

I have to admit, I’ve done my research. And while the idea is tempting, it’s a big change in workflow and routine. Not to mention a not-so-insignificant expense. (Those nifty hydraulic ones are pricey!)

In any case, with all the words being spilled on the benefits of standing, I’m surprised no one has explored what I think will be the next big trend in this cartoon – working on the floor.

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The Dreaded 404 Error and What to Do About It

Friday, July 11th, 2014

the dreaded 404

It’s no secret that the dreaded 404 error is not a good thing for a company to be serving to visitors. But it’s also an inevitable part of managing a website.

If you’re going through a redesign or starting to delete some of your pages to stay organized, you’re bound to miss a page here and there and forget to include a 301 or even 302 redirect.

Your first steps should, of course, be to try and make sure a 404 pages doesn’t happen. But what many companies don’t realize is that there is a second step that can help your SEO—optimize that 404 page.

404 Errors and Their SEO Effects

Carla Barker wrote an article on Search Engine People that explains that, although Google officially has said that they do not lower your rankings just because you have 404 pages, there are indirect implications that can cause you some SEO issues. A few of these include:

  • Pages with 404 errors do not build PageRank. In other words, any pages that link back to the page with the 404 error are essentially useless because that link juice will not transfer. Not to mention, whoever clicks on any of those backlinks are then taken to an error page, which is also not a good thing.
  • The same goes for link juice that is coming from external websites. It won’t be transferred through to internal pages.
  • 404 pages do not rank for the content that used to be on those pages. In other words, the traffic you used to get from those pages will drop right away.

To state the obvious, it’s clear that any visitor who navigates through your site or Google and comes across a 404 page is going to click off that page and move on, many times – to another website.

It’s annoying. However, there are actions that a website can take that give visitors an option to keep them on your site and clicking.

Tips to Improving Your 404 Error Pages for Your Visitors

Customizing your 404 pages to give users more information and other options and is the best way to keep people on your site. After all, they visited your site for a reason. So if you have another article or page that is similar, you’ll want to make sure they know how to get there.

You can do all this on a 404 page. Consider some of the following suggestions:

Customize the Content of Your 404 Error Pages

Customize the actual message to be funny or say something other than “404 Page not Found.” Many people browsing the Web don’t really know what that means, so tell it to them directly.

You can to customize your 404 messages by first creating/modifying the .htaccess file and then creating your error file. I highly recommend you get a developer to help you. You can learn about the details of getting started here.

the dreaded 404

Include Internal Links to Other Popular Pages

You can include links on your 404 pages to give people another option to click. Putting a link to your homepage (such as in the header image of this article), a popular product page, or recent articles are usually the most popular choices among companies.

Your 404 pages will look the same all around. So it’s tough to really customize which links you put there – but your popular pages are your best bets.

You can put links within your pages as you’re modifying the .htaccess file, as discussed above.

the dreaded 404

Include a Search Box for Your Site

In my opinion, this is the best thing you can do to customize your 404 page. A search box allows a visitor to search for exactly what they need and it will take them to a page within your site. It keeps them on your site and clicking, and it’s easy for them to make the decision to simply type in their search again.

You can use the Enhance 404 widget to embed a search box on your custom 404 page. You can visit this Google Help article for detailed information on how to use the widget and make the search bar happen.

the dreaded 404

Once again, if you notice a 404 error page your first job as a Webmaster should be to fix that page by implementing a 301 redirect or removing the URL from Google Webmaster Tools entirely. All of these customization ideas are just put in place so that if you are unaware that there is a 404 page somewhere, then you have your bases covered. You can read this article to learn more about redirecting and deleting pages.

Do you know of any great examples of 404 pages?

Republished by permission. Original here.

404 Photo via Shutterstock

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