Effective Ways to Address Negative Reviews on Yelp

Yelp has become the most popular business review site on the Internet. Most people today are relying on Yelp to determine the credibility of local businesses like restaurants, auto repair shops, real estate brokers, etc. Yelp is known as the most trusted source for local business reviews because of its strict standards. Yelp uses filters that can effectively figure out fake and false reviews thus makes it difficult to crack. This is the reason why people tend to believe the reviews posted on the site.

Good reviews are always beneficial for the small business owners. On the flip side negative reviews bother them. If the reviews are not genuine, it’s even more painful. Though no one can control the reviews on Yelp, by following some practices small business owners can at least neutralize the effect of negative reviews. Here are a few effective ways to address negative reviews on Yelp.

Update your account
Claim your business before you are planning to do anything on your Yelp account. This includes claiming that you are the owner of the business listed on Yelp, updating your location, contact address, profile photo, etc., so that the account looks genuine.

Responding to negative comments
If you have any negative comments on your business, you need to handle them carefully, because your every action will be monitored by people who came to read reviews on your business. Respond to the negative comments as follows.

  • Apologize publicly, and then try to resolve the issue by reaching the customer privately.
  • Be honest and open how the mistake was made, and communicate clearly what you have done to correct it.
  • Take some steps to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
  • After the problem is solved, ask the customer for a positive review.

Minimizing the effect of negative comments
Your overall rating on Yelp will be the average of all your ratings – both negative and positive. So one of the best and easiest things that you can do is get high ratings and positive reviews.

  • Ask customers who are satisfied with your service to give positive reviews. Out of fifty positive reviews, having one or two negative reviews will impact very less on your business.
  • Communicate through the social media sites like Facebook, and Twitter with your fans and ask for reviews on Yelp.
  • If you have your customer email database, send a formal email to your customers for a review.
  • Give out something to customers or display something at your business premises to encourage reviews.

Responding topositive reviews is also a good practice. The reviewers feel happy when you thank for their review.

Responding to false reviews
If there is any false review on your business, the best practice is to respond to it publicly. Explain why the review is false. Make sure that you are responding firmly and politely.

Preventing positive reviews from getting filtered
To avoid false, fake and spam reviews, Yelp uses some automated filters. Remember not all the filtered reviews are fake or spam. Sometimes similar reviews also get filtered. Yelp tries to display the most helpful messages on the main page. However, if you feel like most of your positive reviews are getting filtered, here are tips to prevent it.

  • – Ask customers and other people to vote the reviews as “useful”
  • – Add reviewers as friends
  • – Send a message to the reviewer
  • – Respond to all reviews
  • – If an individual wrote a review for the first time on Yelp, it is likely to get filtered. So, ask your customers to write more detailed reviews, rather than simply writing good place, friendly staff, etc.

What you cannot do on Yelp

  • – You cannot ask Yelp to remove the negative reviews on your business
  • – You cannot ask Yelp to display the positive reviews on your business
  • – Your business listing from Yelp cannot be deleted

What not to do on Yelp

  • – Don’t ask a large number of people to give reviews for your business on a same day
  • – Don’t give reviews from same IP address

Google Sitelinks – How to Use Them Properly for the Success of Your Small Business Website

Sitelinks are additional links that are displayed below your main search results in Google. This feature is really useful because it shows the main and important pages of the sites along with the homepage and makes it easy for users. However, a few website owner have concerns regarding these sitelinks because at times Google picks up some pages that are not appropriate from the site owner’s perspective.

This article discusses sitelinks, how to deal with them and offers tips that could help you while dealing with your small business website.

What are sitelinks?
Sitelinks are the hyperlinks of a website which are shown under the Google’s main search result. These links are meant to help the users navigate easily through the site. These links are automatically generated by Google based on the some parameters.

How Google picks sitelinks?
Google analyzes the website’s link structure to find shortcuts that make it easy for the user to find the information they are searching for. Those shortcuts are sitelinks likely assumed to be the pages relevant to the search query. In short, Google picks sitelinks based on users’ query and sites’ structure.

When Google displays sitelinks and when not
Sitelinks appear in search results when the site is credible and when they match the user’s query. Sitelinks will not appear if the site is not credible or when the site’s structure is not allowing the algorithms to find the good sitelinks relevant to user’s query.

What to do if a Sitelink URL is inappropriate?
If you think that Google displaying some less relevant or in appropriate page of your site, you can simply “demote it.” Once you demote a specific URL, Google understands that you are not considering this URL as a good one. Google considers this demotion when generating the sitelinks but may not guarantee you that the demoted URLs will never displayed again as a sitelink.

How to Demote a sitelink URL?
As these sitelinks are generated automatically by Google, you can demote/remove them through Google Webmaster Tools.

  • Go to Home Page of Google Webmaster Tools, then click the site that you want.
  • Under Search Appearance, click the sitelinks to access the demotion form.
  • Two text fields will appear:
    • – In the “For this search results” box, complete the URL that you don’t want as a particular sitelink URL to display in the search results.
    • – In the “Demote this sitelink URL” box, enter the URL of the sitelink that you want to demote.
    • – Once you enter the URL, click Demote button.

Once you demoted or undemoted a sitelink, Google takes few days to apply these changes. You can demote up to 100 URLs and all the demotions are effective for 90 days.

Even after demoting, the URL/s is/are not going down – What to do?
If the demoted sitelink URL/s is/are appearing in search results, even after demoting them, following are things to do which may help you out.

  • Use the “nosnippet” robots meta tag
  • Use a robotted javascript file or
  • Use a robotted iframe.

Sitelinks are important in making your website more user-friendly. However, the important point is relevancy and quality of such links.

Phishing – Types And Precautions

The criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication is known as Phishing.

Types of Phishing
Phishing is usually carried out by email or instant messaging and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website, which is similar to the legitimate one. Since the fake website is similar to the original one, it requires tremendous skill to determine whether a website is fake or not.

  1. Misspelled URLs: Phishers use some sort of deceptive techniques, which design a link in an e-mail (and the spoofed website it leads to) apparently belong to the spoofed organization by using misspelled URLs or of sub-domains. Sometimes the phishers make the anchor text for a link appear to be valid, whereas the link actually goes to the phishers site.
  2. Whaling: Phishing attacks directed specifically at senior executives and other high profile targets within businesses is known as Whaling.
  3. Image Phishing: Phishers have also used images instead of text to make it difficult for anti phishing filters.
  4. Cross site scripting: An attacker can even exploit flaws in the original website’s script against the victim making it even more difficult to detect since everything from the web address to the security certificates seem to be original. This technique is known as cross site scripting.
  5. Phone Phishing is the case where in a customer gets a call asking him to call back to discuss his problems while accessing his bank accounts. The person then is trapped into giving his sensitive information such as credit card information and the like.

Measures to counter phishing
People need to change their browsing habits when it comes to phishing. For example, when asked to reveal their sensitive information they should directly contact the company to make sure the mail is genuine and shouldn’t fall prey to mails that address them as “Dear Customer”. Paypal, for instance makes it a point to address the users by their usernames.

One of the major flaws of the user is the Click-through syndrome where he treats any pop-ups as a case of misconfiguration and proceeds with his work without heeding to the warning of the computer.

Continue reading Phishing – Types And Precautions

Online Presence is Must for Small Businesses to be Successful

Online presence is the first step in exposing your small business to the world. These days, it is estimated that one third of the world’s population is using the Internet. It is very essential to understand the value of online presence, as the Internet is one of the best marketing platforms to target tremendous potential customers for your business. You can ignore this only to imperil the prospects of your business.

According to the Internet World Stats report, in 2011 there were 2.26 billion Internet users out of the seven billion global population. Hence, with the increasing number of Internet users globally, business owners should not ignore the effectiveness of online presence. And, before it is too late on losing valuable business opportunities, you should consider having a website for your business. This article discusses the importance of online presence for small businesses.

Online presence educates customers on your products/services
Through online presence, you can educate and advise the users/clients/prospective clients about your services/products. By furnishing specific details of the product/service, location, contact numbers, way of delivery and so on, will not only help your consumers make the right choices, but also build your brand identity, which will ultimately lead to increase of your sales.

Can target local audience
One of the advantages of having website for your business is, you can target the local audience. Through online presence people will get to know about your business – the products, offers, discounts and other information related to your business. In this way you will not only reach the local audience, but also get global exposure. This will lead to your business growth.

By targeting the local audience first, you can know the response of the users. Look for their feedback and considering the feedback, you can make changes in the product/service accordingly. This will show what way to proceed in the markets other than local ones.

Brand Building
Customers are increasingly purchasing through the Internet. Creating a website for your business and keeping the same accessible to all will, therefore, help potential customers access your products/services online. Also, good advertisement of your business online builds brand awareness.

If your product/service is up to the expectations of user in quality of products/service offered by you, it forms a positive impression on your business in the minds of customers, which will increase in productivity and profitability. This will also lead to brand building, thus making more popular among the users.

Open for business 24/7
Online presence makes it possible for your business to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will allow potential customers accessible to your product/services at any given time. And if your business has an e-commerce option, then the customers can even purchase your products/services at their own convenient time.

Credible image
Having online presence will present a credible image of your business among customers, clients and prospective ones. With an attractive website that is accessible without developing technical errors, you can engage the attention of the visitors. Further, using quality content that is fresh, updated regularly, original and unique, you can make sure that customers decide to buy your product/service online. This way you will be ahead of competitors and there will be more chances of you generating business.

Customer feedback
Through online presence you can also know about your existing and potential customers and it will make it easy for your customers to give their valuable feedback or pose queries related to the products/services of your business website. This helps the business to improve and build good customer relationship.

Less expensive
Being present online for your business is inexpensive compared to any other means of business promotion. Selling through online presence is much cheaper compared to traditional media. Further, it is economical to promote your product/service online. User, customers, clients all take the advantage of presence of your business online.

For small businesses, online presence is, thus, significant. Small business owners need, therefore, to have strong and effective web presence and adopt marketing strategies, to convert customers into loyal customers in their business.

Stress Faced By Professionals – How To Handle It?

Stress differs from person to person based on the situation. In general professionals whose job include critical thinking, people management, administrative responsibilities, etc., may face stress regularly. Some experts categorized stress faced by professionals in the following way:

Time stress – This type of stress arouses when you fail to manage work and time. If work load and pressure is more, we generally fail to organize work and this disables us to work efficiently. So, proper scheduling of work, making clear decisions about work will help overcome this type of stress. If it is neglected, it can lead to Alzheimer (forgetfulness) or chronic stress.

How to manage it?
Learn to manage time stress in order to be productive at work. For this type of stress, learn good time management skills that include:

  • Create more time in your day for working – This means coming early or working late, so that you get enough time to focus on work.
  • Devote enough time for important priorities – You get easily caught up in urgent task which actually has little impact on your overall output. Thus leaving you exhausted or a feeling that you had worked full day with an outcome which is not meaningful. So, priorities should be on the top of your list.
  • Balance urgent and important tasks – Important tasks are the ones that help you in reaching your goals, so balance urgent and important tasks by spending more time for important tasks.

Anticipatory stress – This type of stress comes when we focus more on future aspects rather than present aspects. For example, thinking about what projects will be assigned to you in near future and delaying your present projects. Being practical enough will help you overcome this type of stress. Concentrate more on present work rather than things coming to you in near future.

How to manage it?

  • Meditation helps in developing focus and concentration on what is happening at present rather than what will happen in future.
  • Learn to overcome the fear of failure – Planning in advance and analyzing all the possible outcome, will help in getting a clear idea on what could happen in future, thus helps in getting over your fear of failure and gives a greater sense for controlling events.

Situational stressThis type of stress is faced by people who cannot handle the situation. If they face a situation, that they don’t expect, they fail to handle it. By preparing yourself in advance for unexpected things, is a best way to overcome this type of stress. Try to be practical rather than conceptual, it will help you in handling your work better.

How to manage it?

  • Learn to be more self aware – This means to recognize the physical and emotional signals that your body sends when you are under pressure.
  • The major source of situational stress is conflict. So learn about the conflict resolution skills in order to handle stress.
  • Understand the physical as well as the emotional symptoms of stress that will help you in managing them appropriately.

Encounter stress – Encounter stress is experienced by people when they worry about interacting with some group of people or certain person. This stress also arouses when your role involves lot of interaction with customer or clients.

How to manage it?

  • You will able to manage this stress by working on your people skill. Discover the areas in which you need to develop thus helping you to improve your people skills.
  • Positive thinking will help overcome encounter stress.
  • Developing emotional intelligence. An ability to recognize the emotions, needs and wants of yourself and as well as others is called as emotional intelligence, thus helps you to interact with others and build good relationship.

Continue reading Stress Faced By Professionals – How To Handle It?

What and When You Need to Outsource Your Small Business Tasks

You may be one of the small business owners who think that they can take care of all their business activities. Of course, you can, but it may become difficult for you to focus more on your core business activities. You can outsource few tasks to vendors who can effectively execute and you can also leverage the cost-effectiveness of outsourcing.

Outsourcing certain tasks is like lending a helping hand to perform your business activities effectively. You can get twice the work done in the same amount of time if you can choose a good provider.

What tasks to outsource?
Take some time and carefully think what tasks you want to outsource. Remember, don’t outsource tasks that are the core areas of your business. Core areas should be given more of your time, because they are your strengths.

Consider outsourcing tasks that you are not professionally competent though you might have some knowledge. For example, book-keeping, call answering, social media management, web design and maintenance and other tasks that are specific to your business requirements. By doing this you can reprioritize tasks.

When to outsource tasks?
Small businesses in their initial days require more attention and focus. In such a crucial period if you keep focusing on small tasks like attending calls, book-keeping, etc., you may not be able to concentrate on important tasks. So, if you start outsourcing from the beginning itself it will be advantageous. By doing so, you will get adequate time to manage and operate core business activities.

Moreover, when you start a business, you might not have experienced personnel responsible for the job. But you can easily find an experienced service provider to outsource the task. For example, if you find keeping a track of your accounts difficult, you can outsource it to a book-keeping service provider.

Now that you have decided what and when to outsource your business tasks, the next thing is to find the right service provider. You can take help from your business contacts to find a suitable partner who can handle the workload on critical tasks. You could also look for word of mouth.

Outsourcing conserves time, which you could use for more productive purpose. The need of outsourcing a service varies across businesses. The need depends on the professional competence of the business owner, organization and management skills.

Choosing a Domain Name For Your Small Business Website

vps hosting**A domain name identifies the unique address of the particular website on the internet. It is an unique address that can be used for email addresses and website addresses. Domain names are used in URL’s to identify and locate particular web pages.

Simply by entering the domain name into the web browser, it allows you to connect/access directly to that particular website. It is an unique online identity that consists of three main parts: sub-domain, domain name/buy domain and its extension.

For example: www.wikipedia.com. The most commonly used extensions are .com, .net and .org. The extension .com refers to commerce used by commercial businesses, .net refers to network used by network organizations and .org refers to organization used by non-profit organizations.

Things to consider while choosing a domain name:
As the design of your website is important, choosing a good domain name is also equally important. Most businessmen, particularly small business owners want their website to be up quickly on the internet. Many times they don’t think about the importance of their domain name and choose a name quickly without thinking twice. This can be a disaster because domain name reflects your business.

Domain name should reflect your business:
While choosing a domain name for your business you should consider a name that reflects the theme and objectives of your business. Be careful while choosing a domain name, do some research and see if the domain name that you are planning for your business is not similar to any other business. Because, when users enter a domain name, there is a possibility of users going to other site than yours. It may harm your business. Therefore, choose a domain name that is unique, as it builds your brand name.

Select easy to remember name – simple, short, quicker to type:
Choose a domain name that is small, easy to remember and that can be typed quickly. It should not exceed more than 13 to 14 characters. To make it easier and simple for the users, you should avoid using underscore ‘_’ or any numbers, as it is difficult to pronounce verbally. So make sure that your domain name is easy to spell and note worthy.

Choose domain name extension based on nature of your business:
Choose an extension for your domain name that suits the nature of your business and matches with your business theme. For example, if you are dealing with networking system then you need to choose a domain name with an extension .net or if you are doing commercial business, then you should choose an extension .com. While making a purchase consider buying the .com extension as it is one of the oldest and most popular extension in the world.

Check availability of the preferred domain name:
After you have finished choosing a domain name for your business, you should check for the availability of the preferred domain name, because there are chances of other company/organization having the same domain name that your are planning for your business. If you find someone else having the domain name that you have preferred, then it is better to choose a domain name that is unique and specific to your business.

Register your domain name:
After you have chosen a unique domain name for your business, the next step is to register the domain name. Sometimes it is difficult to register with the .com extension, so it is better to choose other extensions like .net, .info, .biz, etc. These extensions are also equally helpful for your business.

Therefore, it is very important to consider the above things, before choosing a domain name for your small business website.

Related Sources:
4goodhosting.com: VPS hosting Canada

How Reading Books Helps Small Business Owners

Reading books is an effective way to learn and grow knowledge. It enables you to overcome challenges in order to succeed. Small business owners should inculcate the habit of reading good books, as reading enables them to make right decision, analyze things, and expands knowledge on various aspects of business. They should, therefore, read books to lead their business in a promising and successful way.

In this article, we will point out how reading books is the most important aspect for small business owners for a successful growth in business.

Leaders are readers

Good readers are leaders of tomorrow. Reading books gives you the potential to move ahead in business. You will learn to lead your business in the right direction. The habit of reading books improves your self-confidence and generates new ideas for your business.

Builds your personality

Reading books helps you build up your knowledge stock, and ultimately helps you do your business more efficiently. Reading books reflects your personality as well. The more you are committed to reading, the more you are likely to have a better personality to face challenges.

Strengthens your ability to communicate

As the owner of a small business, you need to have communication skills. This is because in course of business, you need to deal effectively with clients, vendors, customers, employees and the like. Adopt a habit of reading. Reading broadens your perspective and enables you to understand the issues better, which helps you deal them in a better way.

Helps in building leadership skills

Having leadership qualities is an attribute that will reflect your work and enable you to do even better. Leadership is all about being organized, having a vision for your business and passion to succeed. No person is a born leader. To build your leadership skills you need to broaden your perspective and clarity of thought. You can achieve these by reading good quality books on the subjects.

Helps develop strengths to overcome weaknesses

Reading good books will help you focus on your weaknesses and enables you to win them. As you read good books, you are likely to develop the skill with a focus to improve performance. This improvement plays a psychological boost, and will be less focused on your weaknesses.

Helps you in self-evaluating and self-motivating

Books are a great source to rely on for self-evaluation – they build your ability to set your goals and in self-motivation, which helps you keep your spirit high and overcome difficulties.

Reading good quality books improve your knowledge. Reading books makes you wiser when it comes dealing with challenges. You are likely to be more informed and do not get carried away by the common happenings around you.

Following are some famous quotes on reading books:

  • “A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
  • “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few are to be chewed and digested.” ~ Francis Bacon
  • “The more you read, the more you know
    The more you know, the smarter you grow
    The smarter you grow, the stronger is your voice
    When speaking your mind or making your choice.” ~ Anonymous
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