Five tips for a user-friendly website

By Samantha Garner | January 20, 2018

Your small business’ website is often your customers’ first stop to find out about your business: its goals, its products and services, and how they can find you.

But how do you make sure your website is actually appealing to your customers? Here are five tips to keep your website user-friendly – ensuring people will stick around.

Ways to keep your small business’ website user-friendly

While there’s no hard and fast rule about what makes a successful website, there are a few things that are generally recognized as best practices.

  • Keep your text and background colours calm and easy on the eyes. Blue text on a black background, for example, is impossible to read – and nobody will try. Avoid distracting backgrounds as well.
  • Make sure your website’s navigation is streamlined and makes sense. Think of it from your customer’s perspective – do they want to click through five pages in order to find your hours?
  • Keep your site’s content concise. Readers should be able to find exactly what they’re looking for without cramping their scrolling finger. You may think your business’ origin story is important, but your customer likely cares more about your contact information or rates.
  • Make sure your website loads quickly and doesn’t drain your customers’ patience – or their bandwidth.
  • Avoid autoplay videos or music. According to Google, “one of the most frequent user concerns is unexpected media playback, which can use data, consume power, and make unwanted noise while browsing.”

 

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | January 13, 2018

We hope your New Year is off to a swimming start! Here are some blog posts and small business articles we liked this week – hope you can find some entrepreneurship inspiration!

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Perks and snags of running a virtual office

By Samantha Garner | January 6, 2018

Has the thought of running a virtual office ever crossed your mind? Whether this is the first you’ve considered it, or you’ve been mulling it over for a while, here are some pros and cons you should know before you make your decision.

Perks of running a virtual office

  • Reduced overhead. Running your small business with remote workers means you don’t have to worry about leasing office space. Employees working from home can be eligible for tax deductions so there is an added incentive for them, too.
  • Increased talent pool. If the perfect candidate for a position lives four towns over, great! With a traditional office, that employee would most likely not love the idea of commuting to work – and in fact would probably never apply. Removing the need for a commute means you can cast a wider HR net.
  • Greater quality of life. Working remotely offers a wealth of advantages that can make life easier. For example, you and your employees can make important personal appointments during the day, you’ll save money on gas or transit, and you can lower your day care costs.
  • Increased happiness. A recent survey by Upwork (formerly oDesk), shows that 92% of remote workers saw an increase in happiness. Happy employees are productive and engaged employees!

Snags of running a virtual office

  • Risk of distraction. Many people are unfamiliar with remote working. This can mean that neighbours drop by and expect a chat, children want to play, or perhaps Netflix appears extra tempting. Virtual workers must be self-motivated, and able to work independently without supervision, while still meeting their deadlines.
  • Reduced communication. With a virtual office, there’s no walking next door to chat with an employee about a project. You’ll need to be more creative with your communication tools. Many offices rely on video chat programs like Skype, messaging programs like Slack, or project management tools like Teamwork.
  • Isolation. Not only are employees unable to talk in-person about work, but they also often lack the benefits of social interaction with their coworkers. As an employer, you should take steps to encourage a healthy work-life balance. This can include implementing flexible hours, encouraging employees to work in coworking locations, or holding regular team get-togethers if geography allows.
  • Technical issues. When employees are all working on their own computers, using their own internet connections, with software they installed themselves, issues may arise. In a traditional office environment, troubleshooting and fixing tech problems is often quicker and more straightforward than in a virtual office.

For more on running a virtual office, check out our previous blog posts: Is your small business ready for virtual workers? and How to manage a virtual office.

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Our favourite blog posts of 2017

By Samantha Garner | December 30, 2017

Can you believe it’s almost 2018? This time of year is great for looking back and reflecting on the past year, and we wanted to share our favourite posts from our blog this year.

We wish you a happy and successful 2018, and thanks for reading!

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Best wishes from GoForth

By Samantha Garner | December 23, 2017

From of all of us here at GoForth Institute, we wish our fellow entrepreneurs a festive and restful holiday season.

We’re looking forward to exciting new things in 2018, and we hope the new year is wonderful for everyone – in small business and in life!

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