Reputation Management for Small Businesses

reputation photo

Photo by krossbow

How much is your business affected by your online reputation? A ton. According to BrightLocal’s latest survey, 92% of consumers read online reviews.

While many small businesses rely on “word-of-mouth”, word-of-mouth is now plastered all over the Internet. And most people leave online reviews if they’ve had a very good experience or a very bad experience.

If you want to encourage clickthroughs, or physical visits, you need good reviews. In a nutshell, it’s the power of social proof. People need reassurance and confirmation that their actions are the right ones.

So, when people are thinking about buying a particular camera, seeing an average review rating of 4 stars, or reading positive reviews may provide the extra push they need.

For local searches, if you see a restaurant with an average score of 4.6 from 465 reviews… then it looks like a safe choice. View the full post…

Reviews first started with restaurants, but quickly moved to contractors and other local businesses, commercial products, etc. I know people who won’t buy anything new without checking the reviews on Amazon first.

So here is what you should do…

Promote: Don’t be shy, ask your best customers/clients to submit an online review of their experience with your business.

Facilitate: Make it easy to leave an online review

Monitor: Stay abreast of your online reviews

Interact: Respond to online reviews, both good and bad.

Play by the rules: No ‘fake’ reviews – don’t buy reviews from places like FIVERR, don’t coax your family or employees to leave reviews, don’t bribe your clients/customers with giveaways to leave a review.

Of course, as a small business owner, if you are running a poor business there’s not much you can do. These days, you can’t hide it forever. Use your online reputation as an incentive to correct any mistakes you or your staff are committing.

We use a system that, in addition to monitoring reviews, can place a review page on a client’s website. If the review is a 1 to 3 star, the review stays in our system and can be replied to by the client. But, if it’s a 4 or 5 star review the reviewer is prompted to post the review online. That’s what I mean by “reputation management”.





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Small Businesses View of the Government

U.S. Capitol Building

According to the latest survey from NFIB a plurality (33%) of small businesses think that Washington’s biggest economic priority is “Getting the federal budget under control”. More than the rising cost of health insurance (more on that in a bit), more than reforming the tax code and more than the regulatory burden.

The survey also showed that 63% of small business owners think the country is on the wrong track. 35% say taxes are too high, 1% say they are too low.

By a 3:1 margin, business owners say they prefer little government interference over strong government guidance.

78% somewhat or strongly agree that employers should be able to offer a tax deductible reimbursement or financial support to help employees pay for health insurance plans that the employee purchases on their own. From an NFIB article on the survey…

…a huge majority of small business owners think that employers should be allowed to offer tax-deductible reimbursements to help workers get coverage. Under an IRS regulation that took effect this this year, that practice is now illegal. In fact, businesses that reimburse workers for the cost of health care can now be fined 17 times more than businesses that fail to provide any coverage at all under the ACA. Read More

Your government at work.

More reading…

Small Business Radio Blog – Salad – ensalada – ???? Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:46:00 -0700

When we asked about their attitude toward the minimum wage, 82% of small businesses said the government should not be setting wage rates. But when asked how a minimum wage increase would impact their business, …

Read more …

What Shapes Attitudes Toward Business and Government Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:00:00 -0700

For attitudes toward the federal government, news and the Internet play a larger role. Ratings Improve for Business and State Government. Americans are looking with increasing favor on both major companies and small businesses, the Pulse …

Read more …

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You Need To Secure Your WordPress Site… NOW

There’s a botnet on the loose now that is attempting brute-force login attempts on WordPress sites around the world. Here are the steps you need to take to secure your WordPress site.

Note: these are just a few basic security measures against brute-force login attempts, they’re not guaranteed to keep determined hackers out of your site.

1. Get rid of “admin” as your user name.

  • Go to Users/Add New
  • Create a new user profile with something other than “admin” or your domain name with a role as Administrator
  • Add a STRONG password (more on that in a bit)
  • Log out
  • Log back in using the new user info
  • Delete the ‘admin’ user (check the box next to the user profile, click the arrow next to Bulk Actions and select Delete. You can select the “Attribute all posts and links to” option and move all posts from ‘admin’ to the new profile)

[UPDATE 07/08/2013:  Don’t use your domain name as your user name, either. My logs of recent login attempts by hackers show they are using both ‘admin’ and the domain name to try to get access.]

2. Use strong passwords – instead of playing a lot of memory games, what we use is LastPass as our password manager. It’s free for all your desktops and a minimal fee for mobile devices – I’ve posted about this before…

Is Your Password 123456?

Home Office Small Business Security Checklist

This way all you need to do is remember one strong password to access all the others.

3. Limit login attempts. On all of our (and our clients’) sites I use a WordPress plugin called Better WP Security, but it’s an extensive and highly configurable plugin that may take you a while to learn. Another option that I came across that will just limit brute-force attacks is called Limit Login Attempts. Install it and activate it.

As I said, this is not a guarantee against all types of hacking, but it will sure slow down any brute-force attacks on your WordPress site.

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Security Hole In All Vista and Windows 7 Computers: Gadgets

In July two guys,  Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg, gave a briefing at the annual Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas about the vulnerabilities associated with Microsoft Gadgets. You know, those handy little things you can put up on the sidebar of your Vista or Windows 7 desktop.

windows gadgets

Well, not only is there the distinct possibility of downloading a ‘malicious’ gadget, Microsoft’s pre-installed gadgets also have a security vulnerability.

The fix? Disable the gadgets.

How? Go to  Halfway down the page under the “Fix it for me” section click on the ‘Fix it’ icon above “Disable Windows Sidebar and Gadgets”.

You’ll have to download and run the ‘Fix it’ program and restart your computer when you’re done, but it’s one less security hole you’ll have to worry about..
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Online Businesses to Collect Sales Tax For All 50 States?

It was just a matter of time until state politicians persuaded federal politicians to pass a law to overcome a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that says you don’t have to collect sales tax unless you have a “physical presence” in that state so that you, as an online business owner, will now have to collect sales taxes on online sales for all 50 states.

Why? Because it’s the “fair” thing to do.

I’ve followed this for years now where states have called “affiliates” a physical presence in order to force to collect sales taxes…

Bad News For Some Amazon Affiliates

CT Latest To Attack Amazon Through Affiliates

California Shuts Down 25,000 Sources of Income

Now, Amazon is on the side of the government. According to a Wall Street Journal article:

In addition to expected support for the bill from big-box and Main Street retailers, even Amazon now backs a national solution, as long as it would cover online rivals. One reason is that Amazon plans to offer same-day delivery in some areas, analysts and competitors say, which will require it to have more warehouses—and thus open itself up to more state sales taxes. Most of its online competitors oppose the bill.

That’s because Amazon’s “online competitors”, like you and I, don’t have the accounting departments to keep track of 50 sales tax rates and write checks to 50 states every month. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that filling out sales tax forms for just one state is a royal pain in the butt. Multiply that times fifty? Read more ».
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Camtasia Studio Tips and Tricks

Having created over 150 video tutorials with Camtasia I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks, especially when creating a video tutorial series. I’ve come across software developers who may be good programmers, but lousy when it comes to creating how-to videos for their product.

As an example, here’s one I actually created that’s an overview of Camtasia Studio…

Now for my tips…

In a series of videos, it’s best to start with an introduction to the series outlining what the software does, what steps are included and what the final results/benefits will be.

If the videos are available for download, the video series folders should be numbered in order (01subject, 02subject, etc.) to keep them in order. Otherwise, when they’re on a computer they end up in alphabetical order. Another option is to include an html page with links in the proper order within the main folder. Read more ».
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