Category Archives: Business Resources

8 Ways to Use Fiverr to Get Professional Services for Your Business

Over the past few years, online jobs platforms, such as Fiverr and a wave of alternatives and clones, have been gaining credibility as a serious, affordable business solution for an assortment of professional services. But, don’t expect to just dive right in. The trick to really getting some good work done for your business is to learn how to use these platforms properly. This means knowing which sellers to buy from and what kinds of services to target.

logoTo get you started, here are eight different categories of work that professional sellers offer on Fiverr. I’ll give you some examples in each section of what you can accomplish as well as how to spot a good seller. Though I’ll focus on Fiverr, the same strategies can be used on many other micro jobs platforms as well:

1. Logos and Graphics. Need a new logo for your business? What about an icon, social media background or header, ebook cover, or some photoshop work? There are many professionally trained and naturally talented graphic designers on Fiverr. To spot a good seller, make sure you take a look at their portfolio of previous work, and pay close attention to buyer reviews.

2. Writing and Editing. Microjobs sites can also connect you to skilled writers and editors. Need an article either written or edited? What about an ebook? Do you need some help with the content on your website? The problem is that the quality of writers and editors varies significantly. If you are looking for quality, then most of the better writers and editors will be a bit more expensive. On Fiverr, for example, expect to pay $5 per 100 words for writing and $5 per 750 words editing. You should also check to see if they list any credentials.

3. Video Production and Editing. Another hot category on Fiverr is in video production and editing. You can hire a spokesman or woman to put together a video announcement or an informational video. There are also the popular white board videos. Finally, there are an assortment of professional video editors who can give you quality work at a fraction of the cost to hire directly. To find a suitable seller, spend some time looking through previous work, read the gig description carefully, and check out their introduction video.

4. Voice Overs. You can get professional voice overs on Fiverr too, and by professional, I mean some of these people have been the voice behind the commercials of well-known big brands. Just spend a little time listening to samples to find the best “voice” for the job.

5. Translation Services. Need to translate a text into another language? This is a big category for most microjobs sites. You can find many translators proficient in a range of languages, from German and French to Chinese to Hebrew. Just pay attention to their level of proficiency in both the original language and the language you want your text translated into.

6. Website Audit. Is your website failing to bring in targeted traffic? How are your conversion rates? Do you have clear calls to action and an easy to navigate site? There are many people who offer a range of website auditing services that include seo audits and design consulting. Just make sure you choose a person who already has a solid reputation and that there are many positive reviews from satisfied customers.

7. Conduct Online Market Research. Do you need to get a list of market data together, but don’t have the time to search for the information and create it? You can hire someone else on Fiverr to do it. The biggest piece of advice with this kind of work is to make sure that you clearly explain what you are looking for, and that you budget a reasonable amount of time and money for the project. Cutting corners over here is never good, and it will probably lead to a list of data that is ultimately lacking in quantity and quality.

8. Virtual Assistant. Finally, if you need a helping hand in your business, but can’t afford to hire someone directly, then Fiverr can be your go-to source for a range of virtual assistant assignments. You can have someone update your social media accounts, for example, sort emails, and do online research. Again, here you really need to pay attention to the seller’s background and reputation.

So there you have it. Eight ways to use micro jobs sites like Fiverr to run your business and get some professional work at a fraction of the cost.

Comment via facbook
June 8, 2014

7 Unique CrowdFunding Sites You Don’t Know About

Ever since the concept of crowdfunding began to gain momentum three years ago, there has been no shortage of crowdfunding platforms matching individual investors with those looking to raise money for their projects and causes. But, a few of these solutions have got some pretty creative and promising angles, and they pose a serious threat to the traditional, institutional methods of raising money. Here are a few unique crowd funding platforms you may not know about, but should definitely keep your eye on:

hands-587214-m1. SoFi

SoFi (short for Social Financing) is a platform that helps students refinance their loans in order to save them money. According to their website, they can help students achieve an average savings of $9,400 over the lifetime of the typical loan. But, that’s not all that SoFi offers. Student borrowers can access other benefits, such as entrepreneurship support, career coaching and unemployment protection. This platform is only designed for accredited investors, but all borrowers can apply.

2. Crowd Settlements 

Crowd Settlements is a nontraditional, asset-based marketplace that allows holders of legal settlements, such as lottery winnings, tax liens, and annuities, to access their money in a lump sum instead of waiting for the future payments. Like SoFi above, the platform is targeted to accredited investors who then bid on these assets.

3. Experiment.com 

Experiment.com seeks to change the way that scientific research is funded. Researchers post projects and ask for public donations. In exchange, backers are provided with experiment “insights” as well as project notes and updates. Not only do scientists have a new, untapped source of funding to further their research, but backers can better understand and appreciate what they are funding.

4. Pave

Pave’s uniqueness is that it allows people to invest in the person behind a project. It connects motivated young people with investors willing to bet on their future success. The money raised could be used to launch a new business idea, cover time off to learn new skills, or pursue a community-development project. Borrowers then repay their loans based on their income over a 5 to 10 year period.

5. Unbound

Unbound’s claim to fame is that it gives readers a say in which books get published. On Unbound, authors can publish anything they raise funding for. They start writing after reaching their funding goals, and their supporters get the opportunity to interact with the author as the book is being written.

6. Donorschoose.org

DonorsChoose is taking the problem of underfunded classrooms to the Internet. Though the organization has been around since 2000, it exponentially increased its reach and buying power with its own crowdfunding platform. There, public school teachers post classroom project requests that can include, writing utensils, books, money to cover a field trip or buy a microscope. Since its founding, DonorsChoose has raised $225 million for more than 400,000 classroom projects.

7. Patreon.com

Patreon allows artists to sell their work directly to their fans. Subscribers pay a set amount every time the artist they support releases a new piece of content. That way, artists can keep doing what they are doing, while earning money on it, and thus do even more.

8. Fundrise.com

Fundrise aims to change the rules of investing in commercial real estate. The platform allows anyone to buy shares in a piece of property. Shareholders then make money on tenants’ rental payments as well as appreciation of the real estate.

Did I miss any unique crowdfunding sites? Let us know in the comment section below.

Comment via facbook

6 Content Idea Generators for Your Business Blog

These days, if you are doing any kind of business online (whether you are processing sales or are just doing some marketing and outreach), chances are you will be involved in some form of content marketing. For many businesses, this means maintaining a business blog. But, having to constantly create content may be a challenge, especially if you need to do it several times a week.

writing-on-laptop-1197801-mIf you are in need of a little inspiration, you may want to check out the following 6 content idea generators. Each one of these tools can help spice up even the most mundane content plan. Of course, you shouldn’t just rely on content generators such as these to come up with the titles that will make your audience take notice. Knowing your audience and your industry well is the key to generating exceptional content.

But, if you feel a bit stuck lately, and you just can’t shake the writer’s block, then you can give the following tools a spin and see where they take you:

1. http://titletool.contentforest.com/ - Enter a keyword related to your business or that you want your blog to rank well for, and click “Generate Titles”. You’ll then get a list of existing high-ranking titles using that keyword.

2. http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator - This is a new tool by the inbound marketing platform, Hubspot. Fill in the three fields with nouns related to your business or on something that you’d like to write about, and get back several relevant blog post titles

3. http://www.contentideagenerator.com/ - Answer 18 simple questions about your products and services and get back hundreds of great ideas for blog posts, articles, tweets, white-papers and e-books.

4. http://tweakyourbiz.com/tools/title-generator/ - Enter a noun or a verb and receive a page of title ideas including lists, bests, and how to’s.

5. http://www.contentrow.com/tools/link-bait-title-generator – Enter your keyword and select one or more of four styles: Controversial, Fun, List, or Shocking. Then press “Submit” to see your title suggestions.

6. http://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker/- This tool definitely wins the award for being the most creative. You only get one title each time you click, but they are interesting and quirky and can easily lead to some colorful topic ideas.

Know of any good content title generators that didn’t make it on the list? Share them with us in the comments below.

Comment via facbook

SaaS – What’s in It for Your Small Business?

“Software as a service” is making computer news these days – but what’s in it for your small business? Is SaaS just a nerdy fad or does it really have a place in your business? SaaS, far from being a passing phase, has the capability to jump start your business. Do saving time and money while increasing efficiency sound good to you? The list of SaaS’s benefits starts there … and grows.

 

As you may know, SaaS is a new method of software delivery. Instead of the conventional model in use since the 90s – software which is installed onto your firm’s computers from purchased disks or downloads – SaaS is Web-based, offering access to the information you need on a subscription basis. All you have to do is sign up and log on. In fact, you are probably using one or more simple, free forms of SaaS already – online banking or webmail, perhaps.

 

Far from being pie-in-the-sky or only for Fortune 500-ers, SaaS makes sense for every enterprise, regardless of size. Besides a very impressive cost-benefit ratio, it allows small businesses room to expand and to compete with large corporations. Omri Erel, Marketing Director for walkme.com and self-proclaimed SaaS Addict, has to say on the subject: “SaaS by design is actually far more convenient for small businesses than any classical software model out there.”

 

Keep Your Customers Happy
Software as a service is gaining ground most rapidly in the field of customer relations management. By 2011, 35% of CRM software was SaaS-platform based. Gartner’s Market Trends forecasts that that percentage will rise to over 50% as of 2016.

 

Save Money
To update an old saw, why pay for the cow when you can rent the milk for much less? A relatively modest monthly payment gives you feature-rich computer services. For example, desktop applications similar to the popular Microsoft Office suite are available without the hefty licensing fee. And you completely avoid having to make an enormous initial investment in servers and infrastructure. What’s more, you benefit from your service provider’s economies of scale. IT costs are uniform and predictable.

 

Save Time
For most small business operators, software is a waste of time – literally. The amount of hours your employees invest in searching for, installing, maintaining and updating software could be better spent, simply put, on doing their jobs. Add to that staff time spent waiting for IT to deal with any problems that arise and you’ve got a serious productivity drain on your hands. By contrast, SaaS makes the latest version of the software you need available instantly, whenever you need to access it.

 

Make that wherever you need to access it, as well. You are no longer limited to just the on-site desktop computers in your office, but can conveniently get at essential information from your mobile or tablet literally anywhere you happen to be – such as a hotel room or an airport.

 

Be Consistent, Be Flexible
Whether on the road, in your new branch office or meeting in a client’s boardroom, all your staff will have access to the same data. For instance, the latest Excel spreadsheet on up-to-the-minute budget figures is available without jumping through hoops to get it. This opens the door to greater flexibility in collaborating with a team that may include your employees, clients and resource personnel, all working together on a project from different locations, yet all on the same page. Updates to software and information are applied across the board. Companies with work from home and flexible hours policies will find this equally convenient.

 

Another aspect of SaaS flexibility is the capability to scale up as your company grows, without large budgetary outlays for upgraded software or IT assistance.

 

Be Secure
Your information is protected with state of the art standards of security and encryption technology when you use SaaS. A lost or stolen laptop or a hard drive crash will no longer spell disaster. Every file is automatically backed up, so your valuable data will be safe.

The monetary savings associated with the subscription model, access to the best computers and most cutting edge software around plus efficiency, security, flexibility and ease of use leave only one question to be answered – how can you afford not to upgrade to SaaS?

 

Comment via facbook

To Everything, There is a Season…Especially in Business

Growth is natural and generally considered positive; almost everything, in its own time, grows and develops. So it’s expected that your small business will reach a point at which you can make the decision to grow (i.e., expand). But how do you know that you and/or your business is ready and what will it look like?

Obviously you can persevere or you wouldn’t have started your business and seen it to a point where you are now considering expanding, but as you stand at the precipice of a new challenge are you ready for the new obstacles that may come your way? Before you embark on a new course, take a moment to look at you. After all, you are the Commander and Chief of your enterprise and if you’re not ready to sail your ship into uncharted waters, no amount of advice, effort and luck will help you. Be honest about where you’re at as a person and ask yourself the following questions.

Have you found the balance between life and career? If not, you’ll want to address this before you take on more of one or the other. It’s not easy but then again nothing worthwhile ever is.

How do you handle it when the you-know-what when it hits the fan in your business or personal life? Do you asses the situation or stress out? Blame others or accept what is, problem solve and act, then learn from the mistakes.

What kind of leader are you? Is this the kind of leader do you want to be? If not, find a leader you truly admire and let him/her be your mentor. Learn about that person and maybe print a quote by him/her to rem yourself the path you want to be on. For example, “The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Now it’s time to get to the brass tacks of your business. So how do you know if this is the time and what do you do to make it happen? Excellent questions…and the answer is more – questions, that is.

What’s the black and white of it?

You need to be in a place where your profits are holding steady, or steadily increasing, over the last few years. You’ll also need cash flow that you can earmark into investing back into the business. What about your target market and customers? If you’ve found your niche and have reached your goal for repeat customers this is the time to consider growing your business. Especially if your industry is holding or gaining consumer interest.

Who makes it happen?

Now that you’re done with the number crunching, the next step is to take stock on a more physical level. On the human level, look at your team of employees. They need to possess the skills, reliability and drive to take it to the next level. You will likely need to recruit to expand. Don’t forget to bring in new leadership (carefully) and not rely solely on the employees who have been with the company as this may create burn out. It would be a good idea to dedicate a senior employee or two to your existing customers who need someone they already know and rely to make the transition. You want more customers, not to lose the ones you have.

Am I really ready?

Next is perhaps the hardest part; take a look at yourself. Are you just as excited now as you were when you opened the business? Because you will need that energy. If you haven’t up until now, are you ready to play a more strategic role? If the answer is yes, then you need to be the (wo)man with the plan – the business extension plan, that is, rife with everything you need including best and worst case scenarios.

What’s the plan?

Jim Alles, the New York City chapter chairman of SCORE, a resource partner of the Small Business Administration (SBA), says, “All good plans will contain separate marketing and sales plans that deal with competitors and customers, as well as a product plan and an operation plan.” So while you’re not creating a new business plan, you definitely need to map out what you want to do and how you’re going to get there. There are a lot of ways to grow your business. These include:

  • Opening another location – such as a second office or store.
  • Franchising – someone else buys into your business and runs their location.
  • License your product – other companies that would use your product or service can buy a license to do so.
  • Merge or Acquire – buy a similar business or merge a struggling business into yours.
  • Diversify – sell similar products or services, etc.
  • Globalization & the Internet – import/export your products or services; if you’re not selling on the internet, start.
Comment via facbook

Insuring Your Employees Without Losing Your Shirt, or Theirs

If you own or manage a small or medium size business, maintaining or even obtaining health insurance for your employees is one of your leading concerns, just as it is for your employees. According to a brochure put out by the Georgia Small Business Development Center, employees overwhelmingly consider health insurance to be the most important fringe benefit a business offers them.

Kaiser’s Health Tracking poll for June 2013 found that more than 70% of young adults aged 18 to 30 surveyed said that health insurance was very important to them and worth the price. Of uninsured Americans, “obtaining insurance” was very important to them. Cost was the biggest barrier to obtaining it, either on their own or from their employers. And with reason: the national average cost of employer-sponsored health insurance for an individual is $468 a month and $1,312 for a family of four.

Most small and medium size employers must look their employees in the eye and answer to their communities. As human beings, we want to do right by others even as we know it is also in our best interests. According to the Department of Labor, recruiting and employee turnover account for about 30% of small businesses their salary expenses.

America is one of the few developed countries that link health insurance and health care to employment. Until this changes here are some tips to help you save money when purchasing health insurance for your employees.

  • Go to http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/ and navigate to the Insurance Marketplace. This marketplace is meant to allow individuals and small businesses to compare health care plans, ask questions and learn about eligibility for tax credits on insurance and health care plans. Open enrollment will begin in October for January 2014.
  • If you employ up to 25 employees, you’re probably eligible for a tax credit of 35% to offset the costs of insurance. Links to further information are here.
  • Go to your state’s insurance commissioner’s website for similar information tailored to your state.
  • Your state may have a plan to subsidize or reduce the cost of employee health insurance.
  • If you can join a cooperative in your state or city, do so. Cooperative associations allow businesses to negotiate more favorable rates for purchase health insurance by creating a larger pool of insured, lowering the insurers’ risk and lowering premiums.
  • Ask if your professional or trade association allows you to purchase coverage through it for you and your employees. Your local Chamber of Commerce may offer such a service to their active members as well.
  • Talk to your employees and find out their needs. If the fit is right, consider a non-traditional arrangement, such as high-deductible insurance plans combined with Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Accounts. These plans allow you and your employees to contribute pre-tax dollars and may accumulate from year to year.
  • Find an honest insurance broker who cares about finding the best plan for her/his clients. One excellent way to do this is ask business people you know: word-of-mouth referrals from people you trust are advertising money can’t buy.
  • Contact your state insurance commissioner to check for sustained complaints, both about your broker or about whatever insurers and plan(s) you are considering.
  • Any company that you decide to purchase a plan from must be licensed in your state. In addition to your state insurance commissioner, an excellent resource for consumer information about health plans is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

You may also choose to self-insure your employees but you should do this without having a risk analysis and a cash-flow analysis performed. Even if both analyses indicate that self-insurance is prudent, you should buy a stop-loss plan that limits your loss if claims—whether by an individual or in the aggregate—exceed a pre-determined limit. The Self-Insurance Institute of America is a good place to begin your research.

The larger solution is to become politically active and work towards the health care solution you believe in, be it single-payer health care, fee-for-service, or something in between. “Becoming politically active” however, does not mean engaging in the vitriol, ignorance, cruelty and vulgarity that has so contaminated America’s political discourse and dead locked the political process. Rather, it means reasoning as a citizen with other citizens: speaking to each other in civilized, dignified, rational language about the country we share, the lives we want to lead and how we wish to live together.

Comment via facbook

15 of The Best Free and Low-Cost Tools to Create Killer Infographics

Small business owners who recognize the value of creating informative and engaging content online will no doubt include infographics in their content creation portfolio. By presenting information in a compact and creative format, infographics are able to quickly convey knowledge and engage its viewers.

But, if you are just now getting started with infographics you may be wondering where to begin- especially if you are not so creative by nature and you don’t have so much money to spend paying someone else to create them for you.

The good news is that there are many tools online, several of them for free or for a reasonable price, that can help even the most novice infographics creator produce a stunning, graphical image. Below is a collection of some of the best ones out there:

1. Piktochart- Easy to use infographics creator. Produce customized infographics using pre-set themes.

2. Infogr.am- is an easy to use online service that lets you create, share, and find infographics and online charts

3. Hohli- An online chart builder

4. Google Charts- Powerful, simple to use interactive charts and data tools

5. Pixlr- A powerful online photo and image editor

6. Many Eyes- Access data sets and create graphs and other visualizations with this free online service by IBM

7. Creately- Create beautiful, intuitive diagrams with this feature-rich tool. Allows for collaboration among several users.

8. Cacoo- Create diagrams online with real-time collaboration

9. Chartle.net- Create simple and interactive charts online

10. ChartsBin- A collection of interactive, user-generated charts and graphs and tools to create your own.

11. Gliffy- Online diagram software. Create professional-quality flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, and technical drawings.

12. Chart Tool- Create online graphs and charts.

13. Google Public Data- Google’s Public Data Explorer provides public data and forecasts from a range of international organizations and academic institutions

14. Easel.ly- Create and share infographics online

15. iCharts- Charts made simple. Create and share data-driven ideas.

 

Comment via facbook
April 22, 2012

Find Free Resources for Small Businesses Owners and Entrepreneurs

If you are thinking about starting a small business, then chances are you are going to need some outside advice, training, and other various forms of support along the way to get your venture up and running. Luckily, there are many, many organizations and individuals you can turn to in order to get the support you need, and the best part is it’s all for free. The majority of these organizations are non-profits or government-run initiatives, while the individuals are typically retired professionals who are committed to volunteering their time and expertice to help small business owners run successful ventures.  

So, you may be wondering how to locate all of these free resouces. I recently stumbled on a great site that allows visitors to search an extensive directory of business mentors as well as government and nonprofit small business assistance organizations on a local, regional and national scale. The site, Buzgate.org, is a public service intiative that allows you to search for all these resources by location and type of assistance needed. It’s definitely worth a look.

 

Comment via facbook

Top 10 Business Coaching Blogs Online

Over the past few years there’s been a “coaching” craze brewing. Individuals seeking locker room at halftime type inspiration or a bit of personal insight, direction, and development have been turning to the so-called life coaching industry. These“life coaches” act as a kind of paid friend or mentor to help their clients actualize themselves.

 

Not surprisingly, as businesses of all stripes struggle to remain profitable in these challenging economic times, business and executive coaching as a sub-industry has also emerged offering a personalized form of mentoring and consulting.

If you are running a business and feel that business coaching may be right for you, then you don’t have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to find out. Here are ten business coaching sites you should keep an eye on:

1. ActionCOACH

It is one of the most reputed global business coaching firms. The blogs and white papers by Brad Sugars give real-time advice on working smarter to build a successful business. Do read this blog to acquire life-changing ideas.

2. Small Business Coach & Associates

An expert coaching especially focused on small businesses. The blogs on this website cover marketing strategies, business growth, decision making, cash flows, employee performance and work-life balance.

3. E-Myth Business Coach

E-Myth brings 30 years of industry experience into its business coaching programs that is clearly reflected in their blog posts. E-Myth boasts of changing the fortunes of several small businesses in diverse range of industries.

4. Paul Simister

Paul is a world famous business coach and strategist. His blogs provide wonderful tips and advice to improve the competitive edge and earn more profits. He is perhaps the only coach who guarantees a minimum of 500% return on investment on his coaching.

5. Terri Levine

Terri has offered coaching to more than 5000 companies in 247 different industries around the world. She invests her three decades of experience in helping business owners grow leaps and bounds. Her blog posts are extremely helpful to entrepreneurs around the world.

6. Passion for Business

Karyn Greenstreet is an experienced small business coach dedicated to unlock the potential of your small business. She not only shares excellent managerial ideas but also motivate you through her blogs to stay ahead of the competition.

7. Marketing for Success

A great place to feed your mind with proven success skills. Charlie Cook is a small business coach and marketing expert ready to take your business to the next level.

8. Instant Business Coach

I came across the blogs of Paul Parsons through Google search about the importance of 1st impression in business. I was amazed to see how clearly he has explained some of the most tedious business concepts in a simple manner. The blogs here are just awesome for any businessman.

9. Business Coach

Regular blogs full of tips, strategies, innovative ideas, shifts and techniques that are capable of turning your business into a growth machine. The team of Garry Henson has been coaching business executives, leaders and employees for the past 22 years.

10. Paul Lemberg

Paul has offered coaching to the executives of Fortune-500 companies and has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America and many other television and radio programs. When he has exceptional track record in the corporate world, how can his blogs lag behind? Paul compel entrepreneurs through his provocative blogs to think differently.

Comment via facbook

10 Essential Business Blogs You Should Be Following

There are countless blogs out there that offer a wealth of useful business-related information and news, but after a while, even if the content is good, most of them may start to sound the same. For those looking to trim a little blog fat from their rss feeds, or for those newbies wondering where they should start in the first place, the following list consists of some of the most essential business-related blogs to follow. These are the movers and shakers and trend setters of the business blogosphere and by extension, the business world.

These ten sites will help business owners stay in the loop while providing an in-depth round-up of various topics including: business news, trends, marketing techniques, seo and social networking, technology and business blogging.

Small Business Trends. Small Business Trends is an award-wining, top-ranked website offering an extensive collection of small business news, trends, tips and resources, provided by its network of business experts and moderated by founder and editor in chief, Anita Campbell. The blog is only one part of the business media and information company under the same name. Also deserving attention is the Small Business Trends Radio show as well as BizSugar, a business news and information aggregater.

Seth Godin. Marketing expert, self-made icon, and the author of several acclaimed books, Seth Godin coined the term “permission marketing”- the idea that marketers get the consumer’s active willingness to the participate in the purchasing process by offering a remarkable product, service, or idea and conducting marketing initiatives in a respectful way. His blog offers many insightful posts; it promises to change the way you think about selling and marketing.

Chris Brogan. Like Seth Godin, Chris Brogan has established himself as a social media icon and thought leader. Trust Agents, the book he co-authored with Julien Smith, became a New York Times bestseller two days after its release in 2009, and is considered a “classic” read in social media marketing. Brogan is the president of online business communications company, New Marketing Labs and runs a slew of other sites and programs in addition to his high-ranking flagship site, chrisbrogan.com.

Small Biz Survival. This rural small town business blog, is owned and operated by Becky McCray, herself a small town entrepreneur (she owns a local retail liquor store and a cattle ranch). This blog is a must-read for any small or mid-sized business- especially those that rely on a local customer base. McCray, along with her team of contributors, provide a full plate of home-style practical tips and information to help you run and grow your business and improve your local community.

Copyblogger This blog is by far the best one out there on online copywriting and content marketing techniques, trends, and information. If you are new to the site, be sure to take advantage of the free tutorials and web marketing course that nicely brings together a lot of the older, yet essential published content.

Duct Tape Marketing Marketing consultant John Jantsch offers a practical, systematic approach to small business marketing both online and off. He is the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network that trains and licenses small business marketing consultants around the world. He’s also the best selling author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.

Problogger. Full time blogger Darren Rose makes a living through blogging and with his site he offers to help you do the same. Problogger has many informative posts and supports an online community of bloggers. This site is a must read for those who looking to extend the reach and monetary return of their blogs.

The Consumerist. If you want to stay in touch with consumer sentiment and trends, then keep your eye on The Consumerist. This site hosts a consumer affairs blog owned by Consumers Union. It features posts by the editors Meghann Marco and Ben Popken, along with submissions from regular daily contributors and reader-submitted tips and complaints.

Techcrunch. Techcrunch is one of the premiere online sources of tech news with a focus on technology start-ups in the Web 2.0 sector. The site also provides product reviews and company profiles. At the time of writing, TechCrunch and its network of websites attract over 10 million unique visitors and draw more than 33 million page views per month.

Mashable. Mashable is another must read for any business owner or entrepreneur involved in social media. It is a popular hub for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture. It also offers up-to-date web tips and tricks. At the time of writing, Mashable boasts over 40 million monthly pageviews.

Comment via facbook