Category Archives: Grow Your Business

Ask SCORE: How can I improve my website visitor’s experience?

Creating a new website for your business is a big undertaking. It can take months to design, code, write and launch a professional site. And, that’s not to mention the maintenance of your website once it’s launched and the ongoing SEO, or search engine optimization, that must be in play to make your website discoverable online. 

After working hard to bring your website to life, the last thing your business can afford to do is frustrate your visitors and drive them away due to a poor user experience.

“Good design, usability, and user experience are more important than ever in website development,” says SCORE mentor and technology professional, Matthew Krieger. “It’s a constant fight for visitors’ attention—any delay, complexity, or friction whatsoever could prompt users to leave your site. I often see companies put too many barriers in front of customers—overly complex signup processes, excessively strict forms, surveys with too many questions, etc. These things hurt the engagement process and can result in a lost sale.”

There are two simple steps you can take to provide your website visitors with a positive user experience.

Pay attention to the loading speed of your pages.


Today, consumers expect an instantaneous response when navigating through a website. As a result, Google wants to see fast load times and takes page load speed into account when determining a website’s rank in a search result. 

As of late 2019, Google considered a page load speed up to two seconds as acceptable, though prefers speeds under a half-second. You can check the page load speed of your website by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. 

According to a May 2020 article published by Nielsen Norman Group, page load delays of just one second are enough to interrupt a person’s consciousness and delays of just a few seconds are enough to seriously hurt the user experience of a website. 

By working with a web developer to improve your website’s page load speed, you’ll create a better user experience and, over time, increase your site’s ranking in organic search results. 

Create quality content that’s clear and direct.


Once you get your visitors to your website and, thanks to a fast page load speed, they don’t bounce right off of your site, a new challenge emerges – keeping the visitor on your website. 

The average time spent on a website by a visitor typically ranges from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. That means you have a very limited window of time to capture a visitor’s attention and provide them with information about your company, product and services. 

Create content that gets right to the point of what you do and why you do it. Visitors won’t spend time sifting through lots of content to find what they need. Make it easy for people to find your site, get the information they need and get in touch with you to learn more. 

Learn more about how to create clear, direct and effective web content by reading this SCORE article, How to Create Great Web Content. And here is a quote from its author, Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media. 

Use your website to enhance your web content.

“Your website supports your content, like the frame to a picture. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and easy to navigate. Mobile phones now account for almost half the time people spend online, so chances are good customers are viewing your web content on a tiny screen. Simple text with lots of breaks will help make it readable. Use mobile-first design to create a site that’s easy to use on any device. Finally, since users won’t stick around for a slow website to load, make sure your site is optimized for speed.”

A positive user experience is critical to the performance of your website. Employ an experienced web designer and developer with a strong grasp on the latest best practices for web design, page load speed and optimized content. 

Finding the right digital marketing partner is easier when you have an experienced professional mentor, like a SCORE mentor, by your side. A SCORE mentor will help you select the best digital marketing firm or consultant out there to support your business. With your mentor’s help, you will put your website in a position to be successful as you compete for the attention of online customers. 

Ask SCORE: How can I build a strong brand for my business?

By Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE 

If you do a Google search for “what is a brand,” you will find endless opinions from a wide variety of sources trying to nail down the definition. 

The truth is, a brand is an elusive, visceral concept, not a tangible asset. Its value is measured through the emotional connections between a businesses and its customers, not with hard numbers on a spreadsheet. And this is precisely why building a strong business brand can be one of the most challenging tasks for any business owner.

Strong business brands aren’t built overnight. 

Your company’s brand is represented by more than your logo or tagline. It’s the culmination of your interactions with your customers, your business’ core beliefs, how you present your company and yourself to the world – and every other aspect of how you do business. 

Ask SCORE: How can I get more customers? 

By Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE 

For many years, my business efforts were focused on helping client companies market their products and services. I was an advertising agency creative director for five years. On day one, there were just two of us. Five years later, we had a lot of clients and a team of 36. 

Our sales and marketing efforts worked. When the owner closed the agency for medical reasons, I created a virtual ad agency. Six months later I had seven clients, all on the list of the largest companies headquartered in Orange County, CA. That was my goal, and I reached it. 

Working with companies that were large and small, I learned many things. One of the most important was that entrepreneurs need a bullet-point marketing plan. They need to focus some of their energy on finding new customers and the rest on delivering excellent products and services. 

Short answers to the following questions will give you an excellent marketing plan.

Ask SCORE: What is the best way to market a niche product?

by Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE

Marketing a niche product means that you’re not selling to everyone. You are focused on a group of people who are most likely to buy your products or services. 

Having a narrow pool of potential customers comes with challenges and ultimately means more work on your part to find those people who fall within your niche. However, marketing a niche product also has advantages once you identify your customers. 

Successfully marketing a niche product starts with an in-depth understanding of your potential customer’s wants and needs.

When you are targeting a small group of buyers, you need to understand who is most likely to buy your product and how your product can provide solutions to their needs.

Start with a bit of market research. Google can help you find lots of useful information. You can also visit the Kitsap Regional Library and speak to an adult services librarian. The library website can give you access to valuable information. 

Revenue is revenue, right?

by Kelly Dies, Soundpoint Consulting

A dollar is a dollar. That’s true. And, all revenue is equal. Right? Well no, not in an investor’s or potential buyer’s eye. So what makes some revenue good and other revenue better? 

Recurring

Recurring revenue is highly desirable because is it known and predictable. The best example of this is an auto-renewal fee or service charge periodically charged directly to a customer’s credit card. Once the initial sale is complete there are no more costs to acquire a customer. The revenue stream is much like an annuity. Continue to provide the goods or services as promised and the revenue keeps coming in. 

Great examples of this are insurance premiums and streaming fees. Once customers have decided to purchase the product – and assuming they remain content, they are happy to have their credit card billed automatically. 

In contrast, consulting and attorney fees are often one-time in nature. Revenue ceases when the project is complete and the engagement ends. 

How can a non-tech savvy small businesses improve its marketing?

by Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE

Trying to understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts without access to measurable results means your business is flying blind.

Marketing data gives you the insight you need to make well-informed decisions about your marketing efforts and know how to adopt the right marketing efforts to drive the biggest return on your investment.

Reliable analytics will empower you to make data-driven decisions that improve the effectiveness of your marketing.

Just about every business needs an online presence regardless of what they sell. And, bringing customers and prospects to your website should always be one of your primary marketing goals.

Google Analytics is the website analysis platform most used by businesses to get real- time data for insight into how many people visit their website, who those people are, which products or services they’re most interested in, and much more.

Because of its ability to dig into the weeds of your web traffic, Google Analytics is one of the best tools for determining the effectiveness of your marketing and learning how to improve it. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a technology expert or SEO professional to use the platform.

By familiarizing yourself with how to pull some basic information, you can gain an understanding of how well your website is performing for your business. Even at its most basic level, Google Analytics is a tool that the non-tech savvy business owner can operate and benefit from exploring.

  1. Visitor Volume
    See daily and monthly web visitor volume, monitor trends, watch ebbs and flows during
    your marketing campaigns and compare traffic performance as time passes by.
  2. Average Time on Site
    Track how long visitors stay on your website as well as which pages they view.
  3. Bounce Rate
    Measure how many of your visitors quickly left your website after landing on just one
    page. Visitors who leave quickly likely did not read your content and are not interested.
  4. New vs. Returning Visitors
    Measure the ratio of new vs. returning visitors. This is useful data when measuring the impact of your marketing efforts on prospects vs. existing customers.
  5. Traffic Sources
    Determine where your audience is coming from – from different websites and different
    geographic locations.
  6. Conversions
    Set-up conversion tracking and measure the percentage of your website visitors who make a purchase, fill out a contact form, or take some other desired action.

    There are so many tracking capabilities available to small businesses through Google Analytics and these just scratch the surface. One of the best is its comparison tool that allows you to compare data year-over-year to identify trends. This can be hugely helpful in planning your long-term marketing efforts. Google Analytics has the ability to give you better insight into your web visitors’ behavior so you can use make more strategic marketing decisions.

    Fire up your analytics and start making more strategic, data-driven marketing decisions.

    Even if you’re a non-tech savvy business owner, you can still easily make Google Analytics work for your business with the right support. There are many resources available to help small businesses navigate this tool and make sense of the data. One of those resources is your SCORE mentor.

    For help with starting, growing or successfully exiting your business venture, contact SCORE — Mentors to America’s Small Business. SCORE is a nonprofit organization with more than 11,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To contact Kitsap SCORE, email kitsap@scorevolunteer.org or call 360-328-1380.

Working Washington Grants Round 4: March 29th thru April 9th

Working Washington Round 4 offers grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures.
These grants are NOT first-come, first-served, so please do not rush in submitting your application. You will want to make sure all of your documents and application are correct because there are no opportunities to edit or amend applications with this go-around.

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Time is running out! Apply for PPP by Mar 31.

PPP loan borrowers including schedule C filers have until March 31st to submit 1st Draw or 2nd Draw PPP applications unless funds run out or congress extends the deadline.

Contact your local business lender. Visit smallbizhelpwa for additional info. Or call the new PPP Assistance Line 833.562.1078

As a always Jaime Forsyth, MBA , Certified Business Advisor is a great source for assistance WWU Small Business Development Center(360) 447-8788

View the latest SBA webinar presentation slide deck

Business Recovery Assistance in Washington

Your Go-To Resource for Small Business Recovery

Small businesses are the backbone of Washington’s economy and many have been devastated during the pandemic. Many have closed, others are barely hanging on. Small businesses owned by people of color have been particularly impacted. In response, Congress has passed several aid packages and the State of Washington has provided relief, along with many local communities. But resources can be difficult to find, and the applications can be challenging to navigate.

On this website you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, information on how to find individual technical assistance, how to find a lender, training opportunities and where to find more detailed program information.

Our goal is to help as many Washington small businesses and non-profits as possible access the help they need. 

Click here… https://www.smallbizhelpwa.com