Tuesday Tips

Tuesday Tips #20: You’re Linked In, Be an Answer Provider

The professional networking service, LinkedIn.com, continues to grow in usability and value, consider using this tool to provide your knowledge and insight into current trends in specific industries.

For example, recruiters post their tips on how to find qualified applicants; people with heavy involvement in new technologies answer specific, obscure, or technical questions; and people recommend services with which they have experience. It’s a continuous source of up-to-date information with more of a "work-related" feel.

Tuesday Tips #18: Make it Fun / Add a Quiz or Poll

Polls and quizzes add levity and a bit of entertainment to the typically tedious task of searching for a vendor online. Your quiz may be a way for visitors to “see how much they know” about your industry, with two to five questions that you’d like to ask. Your poll provides a way for you to gauge a response to your own questions. For example, for a site focused on product software, you might provide a poll asking what version users are currently using.

Tuesday Tips #17: Provide “Ask the Expert” Pages

Whether you consider yourself an expert or not, if you’re in business, you’re providing deep knowledge and skills in a particular content area. This knowledge qualifies you as an expert!

When you share your expertise, you provide a genuine resource to both current and potential customers.

An easy way to share is to offer a column or regularly updated section comprising frequently asked questions and your answers, tools, or recommendations.

Tuesday Tips #16: Add Calculators and Estimators

If your work requires an estimate that you give to a client in order to proceed, consider offering a quote generator or an online calculator.

For example, in the website development business, an easy rule of thumb is to estimate the cost based on the complexity of the design, the number of pages, and the functional modules desired. Fixed costs include the domain and hosting. In this case, an estimate calculator will help a potential customer determine the cost of her proposed website. The customer can also change variables to see how different choices impact the final estimate for her project.

Tuesday Tips #15: Share the White Papers

In some fields, you provide a valuable service when you offer up-to-date information.

A delay of even a month on time-sensitive data may mean a different outcome to someone’s business.

Consider offering white papers as background research to web visitors who may need highly specific information to make an informed decision.

While you need not add proprietary code, trade secrets, or private information, you may add facts, figures, graphs, charts, preliminary studies, or research papers on your field.

Tuesday Tips #14: Calendar it -- Keep Updated with Current Events

Create a calendar as a go-to reference for relevant events in your field.

Because of information overload and the openness of the Internet, web visitors appreciate when you filter, synthesize, and sort all the available events into a concise “must-attend” list. Such a calendar will help your visitors keep abreast of local or Internet-based events.

Ideas for events: networking events, informational seminars, speaker panels, conventions, book readings, work parties, volunteer opportunities, or other gatherings.

Tuesday Tips #13: Blog It! Be an Authority in your Field

A blog is easy to update and keeps you very current. Use your blog to create an informative, useful, and timely net that fishes out information, news, views, and opinions in your field.

Give readers meaningful explanations about your company by using blog posts to share your expertise.

Put yourself in great demand for services, products, and speaking or writing gigs as you post more quality blog items on your field of expertise, guest post on other blogs, promote new products and services, or highlight an interesting new initiative.

Tuesday Tips #11: Change is Not Always Good

If you haven't visited Craigslist.org, you might want to take a look at this immensely successful community bulletin board service, which is organized around geographical locations and subject areas. The site is clean and easy to understand; it has black text with blue links on a white background, and it hasn't changed since its inception. The enduring quality of Craigslist.org is part of its appeal: you always know what to expect when you visit. The content may change, but the format does not.

Change, when it comes, may be disconcerting to your regular visitors.