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Add Off-Site Links to Site Navigation

Your site navigation is one of the very few things that stays constant from one page of your site to the next. It’s a visually reliable reference point for the user – something they can always come back to if they feel lost, want to see what’s next, or want to backtrack. It also serves as a sort of guide or roadmap of how to experience the website.

Usually, all or most of your site’s pages are listed on the navigation. But now, in addition to site pages, you can also add off-site links.

Why?

Sometimes your clients will need to direct users to an off-site URL to complete a particular task. Perhaps it’s a separate Member Login site or a link to their Etsy store, or a separate blog, or anything else they might want to link to (rather than embed in their site).

And since the navigation appears on every page of the site, the ability to accommodate off-site links allows you much more flexibility to guide site visitors through the website.

So how does it work?

Look for the new “Add Off-Site Link” right underneath the “Add New Page” button on your sites’  “Pages” tab. Enter the name of the link and the URL, and you’re all set!

Make Any Site an E-Commerce Site with our Shoprocket Integration

At SiteSwan, we’re all about making things quick and easy for you. The folks at Shoprocket happen to agree with that sentiment as well.

Everyone wants to sell something online, right? We all love the idea of people logging onto our site to purchase something while at home in our pajamas.

But building an e-commerce store is extremely difficult, tricky, time consuming, and expensive. That is, until now.

Enter Shoprocket. Based out of London, Shoprocket is tearing it up here in the States by offering a super simple solution to selling stuff online at an extremely affordable pricepoint. Just create an account, load up your products, setup some general business rules, and the next thing you know, the cash register is ringing.

We loved their simplicity so much, we created a SiteSwan integration just for them. ♥

Here’s How the Integration Works

Create a Shoprocket account. Find your Shoprocket Company ID. Copy it.

Go into your SiteSwan site, choose the “Sell” post type. Paste the Company ID. Click Post. Done!

Get all the details in our support article on E-Commerce Integration with Shoprocket

You can put your Shoprocket-powered e-commerce store on any page of any SiteSwan site. You can even have different pages of your site devoted to different categories. For example, you could have a “Hats” page of your site, and only feature the hats you have for sale. Then you can create a new page called “T-Shirts” and only feature–you guessed it–the t-shirts you have for sale. Couldn’t be easier.

SiteSwan Resellers: you now have a brand new tool in your web design toolbox. If a small business owner asks you about selling stuff online, you can confidently refer them to Shoprocket…or, if you want to get really creative, inquire with them about their white label solution so you can rebrand the Shoprocket experience as your own.

Either way, go to Shoprocket now to create a store to test out this awesome integration.

 

The Trouble with Big Business Digital Marketing Vendors

The percentage of small businesses that do not have a website remains steady at around 45% (cited here), but it’s not because salespeople aren’t trying.

As a company that has conjured up 6 different brand names over the past 14 years, we’ve got a LOT of domain names registered with multiple different domain registrars. And all too often, we neglect to purchase Privacy Protection on some of the domain names, and as a result, we get tons of aggressive phone calls, persistent emails, and persuasive – sometimes scary snail mail at our office. All of this marketing and promotion is pointed our way because the data collectors who must be looking at new domain name registrations are automatically assuming we’re a small business owner who needs their service.

“Need help building your new website?” (Nope, we’re actually a website builder ourselves, thanks.) “Secure your site and get better search results with an SSL.” (Nah, we’ve got that built into our platform at no cost.) “Get your site listed on 100s of search engines all across the globe.” (Ummm, Google & Yahoo/Bing make up like 97% of all search engine searches performed in the U.S. and it took all of 15 seconds to submit the site to them. C’mon!)

Then come the Reputation Management pushers, the Social Media Management pushers, the Review Site pushers, the SEO / SEM pushers, and others. These salespeople are calling up small businesses using terms like “you’re not visible on Google” and “you have negative reviews that need attention” and other scare tactics that are the border of utter and complete misrepresentation.

These overzealous salespeople are often under pressure from managers at large corporations who only care about growing their month-over-month so that their shareholers will leave them alone. And as a result, small business owners are getting used, abused, and annoyed (if not sold, which happens all too much), which muddies the waters and makes it far more difficult for honest marketing professionals who truly want to see the small business owner succeed.

Some SiteSwan resellers have told me that they start the conversation off with small business owners now by identifying themselves by name AND location, to get off on the right foot, and making it abundantly clear that they’re not one of these sell-whatever-we-have-to-anyone fast-talkers who are looking to scam them out of a few hundred bucks from the other side of the country. If a small business owner can mentally put you on the map, and you sound like you’re local, and you’re sincere, for crying out loud, you might just get their attention–not because you’re a stellar salesperson, but because you actually seem to care.

And when you get that client signed up, tell them they can give YOUR phone number to any of those big business digital marketing vendors…so you can offer them a job selling websites for you and actually sleep at night!

What Every Small Business Needs for Effective Local Marketing

Small businesses, in general, have limited budgets. And, generally speaking, most small business owners have clients who are almost all within a very short driving (or walking) distance from them. Since they’re not likely to get customers from far away, their options for marketing their business are fewer than the larger businesses you see advertising on TV.

A typical small business needs a local marketing presence and the tools to manage the message it sends to its local customers. What’s the right mix of marketing tools for them?

Recently I read a great article in the style of a back-and-forth conversation between two local marketing gurus. And in it, they discussed the “Essential Digital Marketing Bundle” and thoroughly exhausted the subject of what a typical business owner should be investing in for their digital marketing.

To no one’s surprise, the VERY FIRST thing they agreed that every small business owner needs, regardless of its size, location, reach, or current client base, is a website. They concluded that a beautiful, mobile-optimized website is central to any business’s digital experience. And that’s just what SiteSwan resellers are offering to their customers.

This goes back to something I often discuss with our resellers and the small business owners in my network: The Marketing Wheel. Think of a wheel with a hub and spokes. The spokes are the different kinds of marketing a business might do – like print advertising, email marketing, social media, etc. There are many different spokes on the wheel. But the website is not one of them. The website is the hub of the wheel – it’s what connects all of the different spokes together.

Also in the article (link above) the pros talk about the average monthly cost of a website being around $80 for the small business owner. This is a small price to pay to have a formidable hub of the marketing wheel. When SiteSwan resellers are at work – they’re not just selling websites…they’re setting up centralized digital marketing hubs that are necessary to make the small business marketing wheels turn!

Enhance Coupons by Adding Images, Colors, and More

Coupons are the lifeblood for many small businesses. According to a report by Inmar, 2.9 billion coupons were redeemed in the U.S. in 2013. For many shoppers, buying decisions are influenced by money-saving coupons that they find on small business websites.

SiteSwan has always allowed you to post coupons, complete with expiration dates, terms & conditions, and some really cool printing functionality. Now, we’ve added a bunch of new features including color controls and the ability to add an image to the coupon to spice it up. In addition, we’ve improved the printing experience and made the coupons just look a heck of a lot better.

Also, if your small business client has some pre-designed coupons that they run in print, or distribute elsewhere, you can easily put those onto the site by embedding them into the Coupon post to capitalize on the expiration date & printing functionality built into the system.

Now you and your clients are in total control of coupon designs…go tell your customers to start creating new, great-looking coupons today!

Updated Content Editing Design

Your Content Editor just got a lot prettier.

Surprise! Next time you log into one of your SiteSwan sites, you’re going to see a much more beautiful content creation interface. It’s been totally redesigned from the ground up to make you and your clients feel more up-to-date.

Check out the new look:

It’s good news all around – because we didn’t change any core functionality. Everything works the same, but it looks so much cooler now. You’re on the latest and greatest platform for building small business websites, and now it looks that way too!