Tag Archives: FAQ

How to Improve Your Customer Service in Real-Time

Between apps, social media profiles and websites, consumers today have high expectations for customer service. You’ll often hear of customers choosing a business over another because they have an easy to navigate web presence, they are easily found online, or simply because the website is aesthetically pleasing. But another aspect they’ll consider? Real-time customer service, whether it’s through easy online scheduling or a live chat with a representative.

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Category: eBusiness | MyWebsite & Apps
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Inform Your Visitors with an FAQ

One of the main functions of a business website is to answer your customers’ questions. Whether they came to your website through a search for a specific product, or are just interested in learning where you are located, visitors are primarily looking for an answer to a question. To provide your customers with the best experience, you should use your site as a communication platform to answer those questions. That is why a Frequently Asked Questions page, or FAQ, is an important element to consider adding to your site.

Depending on the nature of your business and its industry, your customers could have a wide range of questions that they need answers to. By having those answers in an easy-to-read, easily-accessible format on the website, you are making their lives a little easier, and making them more comfortable with shopping with you. Below is a list of common FAQ questions you should consider adding to your website. This is just to get you started, of course, since you will want to also include questions and answers specific to your business.

What does your business do?

What products or services do you specialize in?

What days/times is your business open?

Where are you located?

How can I contact you?

What is your return policy?

If I order online, how much is shipping?

What payment methods do you provide?

Again, the list above should be seen as a starting point. To fill out the rest of your FAQ page, take a few weeks and collect the most common questions you receive from your customers already. What are customers asking you about in the store, on the phone, through e-mail, on Facebook, etc.? You should start to see some common questions arise that truly makes them “frequently asked.” By taking the time to create a section on your website dedicated to these answers, you make things easier for your customers, and build their trust for the future.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/tiero

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Category: Tips
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Start off Your Small Business Blog with These 10 Topics

Are you using your industry expertise to your advantage? Small business owners go into business because they can provide expertise to consumers that others cannot. The best way for business owners to display their unique industry understanding is through a blog.

Blogs are a great use of time for business owners because they are low cost and content driven. If you have never managed a blog, they can be a difficult task to take on at first. Follow these topic tips and you will have your blog running in no time!

  1. History – With the growing use of social communication, consumers are asking for more information. Share your business history as well as personal life history with your readers. By making your blog personal you become relatable to customers.
  2. Product – Talk about your business product or service in a way that your website doesn’t go into detail.
  3. Tutorials – Create a simple video showing customers how to use a product or service. Make sure to post your tutorial on YouTube.
  4. FAQ – Answer common questions that you receive from customers.
  5. Seasonal – Discuss holidays and the special ways your business is celebrating them.
  6. Current Events – If there is a large news story, talk about it in your blog and ask your readers to give their opinion on the topic.
  7. Images – Post a picture of your desk or an image that made you laugh to encourage readers to share and participate.
  8. Your Opinion – Identify a current advancement in your industry and provide your take on the subject. This gives your business credibility by showcasing your expertise.
  9. Interview/Guest Blogger – Interview a formidable person in your field and post the Q&A to your blog. You can also invite a guest blogger to write a post providing readers with a different perspective.
  10. Ask Your Readers – Ask your readers what they would like to see the blog discuss.

Writing a blog is an effective way to market your business and discuss topics with your customers. After publishing your blog make sure to share it on your social media accounts. These are just the basic tips needed to get a small business blog started.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ardaguldogan

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Category: Tips
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FAQ: What Are the New Top-Level Domains (TLDs)?

What are the new top level domains?

Over the next three years, ICANN will be releasing more than 700 new domain extensions that will redefine the Internet landscape, covering topics like technology, industry, location and hobby. The new TLD’s will offer vast opportunities for businesses venturing on the Web, as well as those looking to further develop their online reputation. Improved branding and targeted reach is all attainable for businesses in the soon-to-be less crowded Internet.

Why are new top level domains important?

Today, the most popular domain extension is .com and this is in large part due to consumers assuming this domain when searching a business’s URL on the Web. Unfortunately, the large demand and increasingly low supply of .com domains makes acquiring a desired business domain name difficult.

What are the branding benefits of the new top level domains?

As the opportunities for registering .com domain names becomes more and more diluted, businesses may become overly creative in the selection process. Often times, if the primary business name is already taken, they refer to the company slogan or unusual variations – wording that is unfamiliar to customers or the general public. Perhaps one of the most important elements of successful branding on the Web is consistency and relevancy. Therefore, the wide range of new domain extensions will give businesses the opportunity to execute their brand strategy starting with the virtual address.

Furthermore, choosing a domain name specific to the industry will help communicate your expertise, location or skills to site visitors. For example, a pizzeria in New York City should consider registering a domain name with a .restaurant, .pizza or even .nyc top level domain. The domain should then be communicated and carried throughout all marketing materials and online platforms which they are present on.

What are the most popular new top level domains and how can I stay updated?

In July 2013, 1&1 Internet introduced its pre-reservation portal (www.1and1.com/new-top-level-domains) to help prepare professionals and consumers with the tools needed for the launch. People can express their interest in registering one of these new domains and stay fully informed throughout the process. Based on the pre-reservation rates, the ten most popular top level domains are .web, .inc, .blog, .online, .shop, .news, .app, .tech, .site, and .mobile.

How can the new top level domains help prevent against cybersquatting?

Cybersquatting refers to the act of individuals registering domains with the likeliness or similarity to existing businesses or public figures. They use these domains to negatively affect that business’s online image or attempt to resell the domains to the business for a high personal profit. Cybersquatting can often result in damage to a brand’s online reputation. Therefore, building an extensive domain portfolio for a business can help protect against trademark infringements which can very taxing and damaging to professional success. With the new top level domains, businesses can personally register all domains related to their business to protect their online identity and maintain full control over what information is published and shared online.

Will the new top level domains affect my online visibility?

Yes. In fact, popular search engines like Google have already begun to detail how their algorithms will be adjusted so new TLDs will index as highly as regular domain endings like .com. Since many resources place a large emphasis on quality content of websites when producing search results, the domain endings will be an important step in helping to communicate the website’s purpose and subjects.

When will the new top level domains be launched?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) expects that the new top level domains will begin to be introduced to the public as early as the end of 2013. While the new names will not be released all at once, they will enter the market a few at a time.

How does the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) determine who will be the registry for each new top level domain?

Practically any corporation or organization that fulfills certain requirements is eligible to apply to be a registry for the TLD of its choice. The specific requirements (concerning finances, technical realization and policy) and the application process were defined by ICANN in 2012’s Applicant Guidebook.

In March of 2013, ICANN started publishing the results from their initial evaluation of applications. If the evaluation is positive, the applying corporation or organization can proceed to contracting. After signing a contract with ICANN, it can start its work as a new registry. To prevent this from happening all at once, ICANN has given out random prioritization numbers to each application. The organization plans to contract around 20 applicants per week. For this reason, TLDs with higher prioritization numbers will most likely enter the market in one and a half to two years.

However, not all applications will be a smooth process. ICANN has devised a complex system of objections and dispute resolutions. For example, trademark owners have the possibility to object to a certain new TLD string (a Legal Rights Objection). Other reasons for objections include limited public interest, the possibility of confusion with an already existing TLD and objections made by a community to be targeted by a new TLD. Overall, ICANN has recorded 270 of these objections.

If several parties applied for a new TLD, ICANN encourages a peaceful resolution. Applicants might for instance agree on joint ventures and consider filing an application together. As a last resort of solving these types of conflicts, ICANN plans to hold auctions for new TLD strings.

How are registrars determined?

As soon as the new TLD has been delegated to an applicant and the contracting between ICANN and the new registry has been successful, the registry can start contracting registrars such as 1&1 Internet. These registrars can then offer the new TLDs to their customers, but not every new TLD will be available on the open market. Corporations and organizations also have the possibility to only use the new TLDs for themselves.

How can trademark owners keep their property safe?

ICANN worked hard to create new procedures to make protecting trademarks easier for companies of all sizes. Each domain will have formal sunrise and land-rush phases in which copyright holders can submit their applications for acceptance.

Trademark protection mechanisms are also in place with the registries.  For example, within the first 90 days of a domain launch, ICANN requires registries to supply a Trademark Claims Period, in which certified trademark holders will be notified of any attempts to register their names – allowing them forewarning of any potential issue.

Photo Credit: © moonrun – Fotolia.com

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Category: Net Culture
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Frequently Asked Web Design Questions

In this article we will explore some of the common questions that we receive with regards to designing a website for a small business. If you have any other questions, feel free to let us know in the comments!

What should I include on the homepage?
Your homepage is the first impression of your business that you will be presenting to current and potential customers or clients. As the most popular page of your website, it the ideal location to position your most important information. Consumers visit your website to discover company details like your mission, significant products and services, and contact information, as quickly as possible. By displaying them clearly in this place, they will gain a positive experience from your website and in turn, your business.

Place information like videos, personal biographies, and photo galleries on their own specific pages. Not only will keeping videos and numerous photos off the homepage ensure the page will load quickly, but it also keeps the entire site organized and user-friendly. 1&1 Internet recently conducted research which found that 72 percent of consumers will abandon a purchase or inquiry with a business that operates with a faulty website, for example if it loads slowly. To prevent this poor experience, keep the homepage less demanding and provide the most relevant information in a clear format.

How should I display images of my products/services?
Visuals typically gain more interest from the public than text. Additionally, they are the most valuable method to showcase before and after projects for those that provide professional services, for example. Making these images available on your website provides a convenient and fun way for current and potential customers to learn about you and your business.

Web hosts often offer image tools that allow you to create an attractive photo gallery on websites alongside useful information about products and services. Some do-it-yourself packages, like 1&1 MyWebsite, provide stock images and let you upload your own photos to customize the site specific to your business. If a business wants to use a particular image they found on the Web, it is typical to pay an additional fee to do so. With some inclusive site design applications, a pre-licensed library of over 25,000 images provides numerous options for visually generating interest.

Can I really design my own website with your MyWebsite tool?
Yes. Many businesses are hesitant to create a website because they fear they lack the required knowledge to set one up. However, with simple, user-friendly design tools like 1&1’s MyWebsite, small-to medium-sized businesses can build a fully functional and professional website themselves in a matter of minutes. The straight forward set-up process and familiar editing tools allow owners with all technical skill levels to get online in only a few clicks of a mouse.

1&1 MyWebsite users are guided in the design process from the very beginning. Providing industry-specific text and appropriate images for more than 200 different industries, the tool offers an ideal starting point for business owners to launch their online presence. Customize the site to fit your particular business and offerings with the simple editing tool, much like working within a Word document. Each package comes with different features to build upon your online identity. Inclusive tools and capabilities such as integrating multimedia, Google™ Maps, feedback forms and social media widgets will help you meet the needs and expectations of site visitors while encouraging interaction and effective communication.

Once my website is designed, what other services and tools are available for me to leverage my website?
As a business, having a website is a great way to expand your reach to a broader audience. However, creating an interactive and exciting website will not only attract visitors but also engage them, keeping them involved in your business. Current content, such as news feeds, promotional updates and social media integration allows you to leverage your site beyond just Web pages. Together, these tools help boost credibility and functionality of a website, and increase the chances your visitors will return.

Investigate what is already offered to you through you hosting packages. Some include communication tools like email newsletters. You can collect customer information, for example email addresses, by offering the option to subscribe directly on your website. Information such as employee biographies, industry news, promotions, and achievements via this format build personality, professionalism and credibility all while you maintain full control over what is communicated. This is just one of the varieties of different options to improve your communication methods and reputation online.

I heard that there are hidden costs to choosing a Web design service.  Is this true?
Not necessarily. Some hosts might charge you a set-up fee which is additional to the advertised price, but this is not always the case. Be sure to read and understand all the “fine print” before committing to a package. This means not only those relevant to the specific plan, but also the general terms and conditions. Having confidence in your host and cost will help you focus more on your website development and less on the back end of your business.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/porcorex

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Category: Tips
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10 Questions Your Website Should Answer


  1. What is your brand? Avoid being unclear when it comes to representing your small business with a website. Ensure that your business name, site name and domain all match.
  2. What does your business do? Communicate to internet users what your business does. Take this a step further by persuading them to be interested in your company. Explain how your business is going to make their life easier and how you are different from the competition.
  3. Are you on social media? Because many people now obtain the bulk of their news from social networks. Prominently display icons or links to all of your profiles.
  4. Who is behind this website or business? Your website needs to introduce your business and its employees. Use this as an opportunity to show how your company operates differently than others and why consumers should choose you.
  5. What are people saying about this business? Customers want to feel confident that they are making the right decision about a purchase. Show them how happy other people have been in the past with reviews and testimonials.
  6. Where should I look? For this question you need to decide where you want to navigate people to on your site. Clearly outline your goal for visitors on your website – whether it is visiting your blog for content or viewing your products.
  7. Where can I find answers? Consumers frequently visit websites to gain information they can’t find anywhere else such as a return policy, payment options, contact information and new product announcements. Make these answers easily searchable.
  8. What do I do now? Your small business website needs to have a clearly defined call to action. Direct people to sign up for your newsletter or call customer service to place an order. Highlight this information with specially designed text and graphics.
  9. Is this website secure? Use a secure and trustworthy hosting company to protect your information. In order to show customers your website is secure, you can also display an icon.
  10. How long have you been in business? Potential customers will be interested in your background, whether your business is brand new or years old. Provide them with a brief history of how your brand came to be.

Photo Credit: © momius – Fotolia.com

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Category: Tips
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Adding an FAQ on Your Website

One of the main functions of a business website is to answer your customers’ questions. Whether they came to your website through a search for a specific product, or are just interested in learning where you are located, visitors are primarily looking for an answer to a question. To provide your customers with the best experience, you should use your site as a communication platform to answer those questions. That is why a Frequently Asked Questions page, or FAQ, is an important element to consider adding to your site.

Depending on the nature of your business and its industry, your customers could have a wide range of questions that they need answers to. By having those answers in an easy-to-read, easily-accessible format on the website, you are making their lives a little easier, and making them more comfortable with shopping with you. Below is a list of common FAQ questions you should consider adding to your website. This is just to get you started, of course, since you will want to also include questions and answers specific to your business.

What does your business do?

What products or services do you specialize in?

What days/times is your business open?

Where are you located?

How can I contact you?

What is your return policy?

If I order online, how much is shipping?

What payment methods do you provide?

Again, the list above should be seen as a starting point. To fill out the rest of your FAQ page, take a few weeks and collect the most common questions you receive from your customers already. What are customers asking you about in the store, on the phone, through e-mail, on Facebook, etc.? You should start to see some common questions arise that truly makes them “frequently asked.” By taking the time to create a section on your website dedicated to these answers, you make things easier for your customers, and build their trust for the future.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/tiero

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Category: Tips
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10 Topics to Start Your Small Business Blog

Are you using your industry expertise to your advantage? Small business owners go into business because they can provide expertise to consumers that others cannot. The best way for business owners to display their unique industry understanding is through a blog.

Blogs are a great use of time for business owners because they are low cost and content driven. If you have never managed a blog, they can be a difficult task to take on at first. Follow these topic tips and you will have your blog running in no time!

  1. History – With the growing use of social communication, consumers are asking for more information. Share your business history as well as personal life history with your readers. By making your blog personal you become relatable to customers.
  2. Product – Talk about your business product or service in a way that your website doesn’t go into detail.
  3. Tutorials – Create a simple video showing customers how to use a product or service. Make sure to post your tutorial on YouTube.
  4. FAQ – Answer common questions that you receive from customers.
  5. Seasonal – Discuss holidays and the special ways your business is celebrating them.
  6. Current Events – If there is a large news story, talk about it in your blog and ask your readers to give their opinion on the topic.
  7. Images – Post a picture of your desk or an image that made you laugh to encourage readers to share and participate.
  8. Your Opinion – Identify a current advancement in your industry and provide your take on the subject. This gives your business credibility by showcasing your expertise.
  9. Interview/Guest Blogger – Interview a formidable person in your field and post the Q&A to your blog. You can also invite a guest blogger to write a post providing readers with a different perspective.
  10. Ask Your Readers – Ask your readers what they would like to see the blog discuss.

Writing a blog is an effective way to market your business and discuss topics with your customers. After publishing your blog make sure to share it on your social media accounts. These are just the basic tips needed to get a small business blog started.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ardaguldogan

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Category: Tips
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Tips for the Perfect ‘About’ Page

Even if business owners already have an about page on their website, they should check to see if the following tips are implemented. Following these tips will help optimize your website and attract customers to your business. With the right information, the “About” or “About Us” page of your website has the ability to build credibility for your business.

  • Include a clear and concise description of your business. The about page gives your small business the opportunity to provide detail about your product or service, company history, mission statement, policies and beliefs. Instead of using fluffy language that customers will ignore, use facts or statistics to back up your statements. Remember to answer the 5 W’s – Who? What? When? Where? Why?
  • Be personable. Use the fact that you own a small business to your advantage and humanize your company. Talk about how you got started with the business and why it is important to you. Offer a few details about what you like to do in your free time or your professional background.
  • Stay organized. If you want to talk about different aspects of your business, keep them separated. Break the page down into short paragraphs or bullet points with headers. If there is a certain phrase or word that is especially significant, highlight it with bold font. It is important to keep the about page clean because if it looks messy or congested, customers are less likely to read it.
  • Use photos. Photography helps customers create a picture in their head about your business. Depending on what the about page of your website discusses, you can use photos to compliment it: whether it is pictures of you, your product or your facilities.
  • Remember the customer. It is important to keep in mind that the about page isn’t necessarily about you – it is about your reader. The about page is what will help them decide if your product or service is worthy of their money and time so tell them exactly what you offer.
  • Provide proof. Testimonials, awards or positive press coverage are great information to put on an about page to show customers that your product is high quality. Keep this section brief to avoid looking arrogant.

There are many different ways to design an about page, but if you follow these tips and keep your about page updated regularly, your small business will be much more attractive to customers.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/eoseye

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Category: Tips
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