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SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Building Brand Recognition for Your Startup: Website Fundamentals

By: Rebecca Shipley 

When launching your startup, it is likely that the thought of how to best get exposure and a loyal following. And even better if you can do so while also building up your brand identity and its ability to be recognized and remembered by consumers, right? With the right elements, your website can make this happen for your startup. Use your website as a powerful tool to develop your brand and its ability to connect with and engage consumers.

Domain name
Your domain name is a link to your website (both literally and figuratively) that people will interact with before even reaching the homepage of your site. Therefore, you must help set your site up for success by choosing and brand conceptsregistering a domain name that ties in with your brand and promotes recognition and remembrance of it.

Make the domain name for your site something that is short and sweet, no longer than about four words. It should also be simple to spell out and to share, whether through word-of-mouth or digital mediums. Avoid using hyphens or numbers, as they tend to be accidentally put in the wrong place or left out entirely. These things will help your site’s domain name be remembered and shared, and as a result, promote brand recognition with more people, both on- and offline.

Your site’s domain name should also be brandable in the sense that it should itself be relevant to your brand. When a person sees it, they should know that it is connected to your brand if they are familiar with you. If a person has never before heard of your startup, once they visit your site they should see how its domain name ties in with the brand that is presented there.

Logo
Your brand’s logo will take up some valuable real estate on your website, placed prominently at the top of its homepage and various other internal pages. Ensure that it speaks to the message your brand wants to communicate and gives people the right idea of what your brand stands for and represents.

Both in design and in color scheme, your logo should not be too similar to that of your competitors. Avoid having it be overly fussy in a way that detracts from all your hard work on the rest of the site or that makes your brand look like it was indecisive on what it most wants to convey with its logo. The right logo makes a website and its design, as well as further promoting the site’s brand. The wrong logo can confuse consumers as to what your startup values and/or has to offer them.

Links to social media
Include links to each of your brand’s social media accounts on its website in a way and in a location that they are easily seen. Place them prominently on the site’s homepage or on a clearly identifiable tab. By directing traffic to your social media accounts through your website, you are allowing web users to see more of your brand’s content through its social media posts and your brand to build up the engagement of its social community online.

Content catered to your target market
Everything your brand does with its website needs to be done with its target market in mind. Give them content they find interesting and useful within your site. If you are not quite sure of who makes up your target market and what it is your target market wants to see from your brand, you will need to conduct market research in order to find out. This can be done either through primary research methods (like surveys and focus groups) or secondary research, in which your startup takes data already collected by an outside organization and uses it to form its own conclusions.

Know who you are using your site to market to, what it is they like and want to see, and craft your site around this knowledge. It is much easier to promote brand recognition with a specific segment of the market that you are working to get the attention of with your site than it is to attempt to do so by making general content that you hope pleases everyone.

Of course, your startup’s website needs to express what it is as a business and what it has to sell to the consumer. On top of that however, it needs to be a part of your startup’s online presence that serves as a strong representation of its brand and allows visitors to it to see that brand. Having your brand represented well on your site will allow people to recognize it, remember it, and be encouraged to follow along with all it is doing.

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Buying managed security services is a growing trend with companies

Buying managed security services is a growing trend with companies, as they seek to implement market-leading security solutions while dealing with a shortage of trained security personnel and a limited CAPEX budget. IDC predicts double-digit growth for this market and is expecting the MSSP market to hit $27 billion by 2020 (WW). While telcos and system integrators (SIs) play a large role in this space, trusted channel partners are finding customers seeking help with their security needs.

Providing managed services can be an attractive and highly profitable revenue stream for channel partners alreadyBrand Aware Digital IoT and Cloud 220x150 providing configuration and setup services. Utilizing cloud-based capabilities and automated reporting, partners are able to deliver peace of mind to their customer base without significant effort or expense.

With our latest release, Fortinet’s FortiCloud now has the ability to manage the world’s most popular UTM from the cloud (Fortinet’s FortiGate UTM appliances were recently named a leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the eighth consecutive time). Channel partners can access customers’ FortiGate Firewalls from any browser, from anywhere, and at any time, simplifying the effort to service customer networks. Automated reports remind the customer of the value of the service, showing what protection the partner has provided each month via Fortinet’s UTM, switches, and wireless access points.

Compared to other vendors with cloud-managed offerings, Fortinet provides best-in-class protection throughout the product range and multiple third-party certifications have validated that the protection provided by Fortinet consistently leads the market. Learn more about our FortiCloud solutions or become a partner today!

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SMALL BUSINESS INDICATOR: WEB DEVELOPER MARKET BOOMING, WITH RETAIL AND TRAVEL LEADING THE WAY, ACCORDING TO NEW GLOBAL RESEARCH STUDY

80 Percent of Web Professionals Report Client Growth of 25 Percent or More a Year, According to Study of United States, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Brazil and Mexico

Web Designers Leading Indicators of Small Business Growth: Retail, Travel, Health and Fitness Industries Growing Fastest Globally

Growth Creates Pain Points: Web Developers Report They Have to Play Too Many Roles and Struggle Managing New Clients

Constant Need for Learning/New Skills: Web Developers Report Strong Support for Certification Program to Create Standards

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., August 10, 2017 – A survey of web developers and designers – a leading indicator of small business growth - finds that the web professional industry continues to boom two decades after the emergence of the Internet. Rapid growth in clients is fueled by the retail and travel industries, according to a new global research study commissioned by GoDaddy.

The industry study, conducted in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Brazil and Mexico by the research firm Evans Data, found that web developers and designers – many of which are relative newcomers to the industry - at times struggle to keep up with demand for services from industries such as retail, travel, health and fitness.

Seventy-nine percent of web developers and designers reported client growth of 25 percent or more a year – with more than 1 in 3 saying growth was 50 percent or more. Nearly half reported they have been in business less than 5 years, but revenue was still high: a majority had revenue of $250,000 or more and 1 in 3 reported revenues of over $500,000.

“Two decades after general internet adoption, this research indicates that the ‘Golden Era’ of web development and design shows no sign of slowing down,” said Raghu Murthi, SVP of Hosting and Pro at GoDaddy. “But the research also provides lessons to new web professionals on the importance of continued learning and the need to manage growth and focus on looking where your next clients will come from.”

Regionally, the industries that were driving growth varied:

 US  DE/UK  INDIA  BRAZIL  MEXICO
 Retail  Retail  Creative  Retail  Travel
 Travel  Food  Education  Travel  Retail
 Health/Fitness  Creative  Health/Fitness  Real Estate  Food


The primary drivers of business globally are:

  • Selling new services to existing clients: 40%
  • Providing support to existing clients: 31%
  •  Finding new clients: 21%
  • Reselling 3rd party products/services: 7%

The research also shows key differences between more mature markets, such as the United States, German and the United Kingdom, and other regions. For example, in more developed markets, developers and designers are more likely to work for a small firm and concentrate their work on fewer clients who provide larger retainers. That has enabled them to focus more time on securing new clients and growing their business.

As the industry continues to mature, the study finds a strong desire for continued learning and support for certification programs. Overall, 83 percent of developers and designers support a certification program that focuses on improving the skills and expertise of web professionals.

The research found that developers and designers grapple with how to keep up with technical and business skills to serve clients – but how they do that often differs based on where they are from. While online training courses are universally used, industry publications are much more popular in the United States (60 percent) than Mexico (32 percent) or Brazil (31 percent). Conferences and meetups are popular in India, but not as popular in Mexico, Germany, or the United Kingdom.

“Web pros are clearly looking for help in managing their client base, so they can maintain quality while expanding their business,” said Raghu Murthi, SVP of Hosting and Pro at GoDaddy. “That is why integrated services that help them manage multiple clients and sites from one place, are in such demand.”

Overall, the study provides insight into an industry that is integral to small business growth[DCR4] and the overall health of a digital economy. For example, two in five respondents said they now tailor web pages specifically for mobile devices, with the majority reporting they spend most of their time on mobile. It also shows key differences between how web professionals operate globally:

· Length of time in business varied among the regions, varying between more and less mature markets. The newest web professionals are in Mexico, India and Brazil.

 Time in Business  US   DE/UK  INDIA  BRAZIL  MEXICO
 0-12 Months  1%  5%   5%   4%   6% 
 1-2 Years    5%    9%    12%    11%    11% 
 2-5 Years  26%  30%  32% 40%  36%
 5-10 Years  54%  43%  35%  33%  40%
 10-plus Years  14%  13%  15%  13%  13%



Revenue per client can vary widely based on where the web professional works. In India, for example, only 1 in 3 clients provides revenue of at least $10,000, while in Mexico and the United States the majority of clients provide that amount.

The skills needed to be a successful web developer or designer varied by region, with technical and creative skills viewed as most important in India and Brazil.

 Most Important Skills  US  DE/UK  INDIA  BRAZIL  MEXICO
 Technical   Creative  Technical   Creative  Creative
 Project Management  Technical   Creative  Technical  Managing Clients
 Business  Managing Clients  Project Management   Managing Clients  Technical



Where web professional work can vary. Those in India, Germany and the United Kingdom are most apt to work in an outside office. While 72 percent of U.S. developers and designers report that they work out of their home (either in a home office, at a table, or on a couch). That is also reflected in how they view their work environments: over half of German, UK and Indian web professionals called it “conventional,” while the majority of U.S. workers said it was “loose.”

New tools such as video apps and services such as Slack are popular in the United States, with 56 percent reporting they primarily use them to stay in touch with clients. But email remains the primary source in other countries, with India and Mexico reporting only 1 in 3 use those new tools to communicate with clients.

The research project surveyed 1,500 web professionals in May 2017. The margin of error of the research is +/- 2.6 percent. A summary of the data is available upon request.

To learn more about GoDaddy Solutions for Web Professionals visit www.GoDaddy.com/pro.

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The future of transportation is already here

Apr 13, 2017 / Alex Moura

Let’s shake ourselves out of our four-wheeled stupor, look at the vehicles and devices being developed, and reimagine how we’ll move around our cities, says TED technology curator Alex Moura.

Humanity has come a long way from traveling by horse, but when we consider the future of transportation in cities, too many of us are still stuck in the 18th century. We still envision our streets full of four-wheel chariots (minus the horses), and our future as relying on cars or car-like vehicles, because that’s all we know. Why this myopia? For most automakers and transportation companies, adhering to the status quo is more profitable than experimenting; their business models, even for forward thinkers like Tesla, depend on their keeping drivers tethered with maintenance and service. And builders and urban planners have learned to limit their thinking because existing regulations and clunky political processes have made it nearly impossible to innovate without years of negotiations. As a result, we’re laying the foundations for a transportation future that carries forward the problems of the past.

But there can be another way forward, a new vision of transportation that upsets the four-wheel chariot model. And signs of it are already rolling across the landscape. By looking at some of the most advanced vehicles and devices out there — not just concept cars and prototypes but vehicles that are already in use or being road-tested in the real world — we can start to see a more interesting, less car-based future. Based on this new crop of transportation-related devices, I’m making the following four predictions:

Car

Courtesy of i-Road.

1. Cars will become much, much smaller.

While SUV and truck sales have been on the rise worldwide, that trend has been boosted by low gasoline prices, which can’t last given the finite supplies of fossil fuels. As we move forward, personal urban transportation will be dominated by individual vehicles. In 2015, Toyota launched a trial run of its three-wheeled i-Road electric vehicles — which resemble an enclosed motorcycle and fit only a driver and perhaps a small passenger — through a network of sharing stations in Tokyo. (We road-tested them at TED, too.) The project is now expanding throughout Japan, a nation with more electric car-charging stations than gas stations. In a bid to become the first country to embrace smart transportation systems, government officials have gone as far as trying to create international car-charging standards.

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Dave Ramsey's 5 Budgeting Tips for Small-Business Owners

America's foremost personal finance guru weighs in on small-business budgeting.

20170727152359 dave ramsey hurdlr

 

JULY 31, 2017
 
Entrepreneur has an affiliate partnership with Hurdlr so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
You may have heard of Dave Ramsey before—perhaps from one of the 500+ radio stations his program The Dave Ramsey Show is syndicated on, or one of his five New York Times bestselling books. Or maybe from his appearances on Oprah or 60 Minutes.
Regardless, Ramsey’s name is synonymous with personal finance. His show garners 12 million listens a week and millions more have seen him speak in person on the topic.
What he’s not as well known for is speaking directly to the needs of small-business owners and the growing freelance economy. However, his insights on financial success can be just as easily applied to the needs of business owners.
We were able to chat one-on-one with Ramsey to get his wisdom on how small-business owners can boost their profit and peace of mind with simple budgeting strategies.
Hurdlr: You hate debt. Is there any scenario in which you would say it's OK for an entrepreneur to take out a loan to start or expand their business? Or do you recommend always going 100 percent cash?
Ramsey: A lot of supposedly sophisticated and educated people spend an inordinate amount of energy trying to say that debt is good when used properly. Baloney! According to Census Bureau data, 60 percent of all small businesses opened in a given year need less than $5,000 to start. Don’t begin your dream saddled with huge debt.
As for expansion, remember to be the tortoise, not the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. We have expanded our business several times, and each time we systematically save toward a purchase goal and put that very specific amount as a line item in our monthly accounting—almost as if it were an expense.
Note: If you can’t save the money you won’t be able to make the payments anyway. I agree with former A.G. Edwards analyst, Peter Andrew who said, “What kills companies is debt; without debt, companies have the wherewithal to survive.” Debt is a destabilizing force that exponentially increases risk and the probability of fatal failure. 
 
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