LinkedIn can help you grow your business or career
LinkedIn is a valuable resource for career and business professionals to network; obtain resources and support; and build relationships with potential customers, clients, and partners. It’s ideal for home-based business owners, freelancers, and telecommuters, as it can help them build their business and career, as well as stay connected to the outside world.
Overview of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social network specifically designed for career and business professionals to connect. Over 65 million professionals use LinkedIn to cultivate their careers and businesses. Unlike other social networks in which you might become “friends” with anyone and everyone, LinkedIn is about building strategic relationships. Thus, the number of connections is less important than the type of connections. In fact, LinkedIn stops showing your actual number of connections once you have 500 because it’s about quality, not quantity.
The site boasts members from just about every country and every industry imaginable. In fact, many Fortune 500 executives are on LinkedIn. The site has some advertising, but it’s not as invasive as other networking sites.
Working much like the “Six Degrees of Separation” concept, you start by connecting with those you know and who know you, and through them build a larger network for the purpose of gaining resources, finding freelance work or clients, and building alliances and partnerships. LinkedIn is ideal for building connections for freelance work, a customer base, potential partners, or simply to keep your job prospects open.
How to Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn has its own platform and system different from other networks, but learning how to use LinkedIn is no more difficult than learning how to use any other social networking site. Start by creating a personal LinkedIn account and profile. However, networking on LinkedIn is much different. You won’t find members posting cat videos or pictures of what they made for dinner. LinkedIn is a site for professionals, so everything is geared toward careers and business. As you build your profile and seek out connections, endorsements, and recommendations, you’ll want to be professional.
Create a LinkedIn Profile
All you need to get started is to create a LinkedIn login. You can also upgrade to one of the paid LinkedIn subscriptions; Premium Career, Business Plus, LinkedIn Learning, Sales Navigator (three levels), and Recruiter Lite. Using just the basic free services is sufficient for many employees and home business owners and gets you features such as:
Having a professional profile of skills, experiences, and more
Limited insight into who’s viewed your profile
Ability to see 100 profiles per search
Ability to save three searches
Upgrading increases some of these features such as seeing more information about who’s viewed your profile, the number of profiles per search, and the number of searches. Plus, upgrades can include additional features such as In Mail credits, which allows you to message people who are not connected to you, and premium filters, which make searching faster and easier.
Once you sign up for a LinkedIn account, either free or paid, you can create your own professional profile. Remember, this is a professional-minded website, so it’s important that information in your profile represents your business or career. LinkedIn is not the place to share cute baby photos or party pictures.
Some of the items you can add to a profile include the basics of your resume, a summary of yourself, your contact information, links to your website or blog, your previous employers, published books, and notable projects. Don’t forget to add a professional picture, as people are reluctant to connect with someone without a photo.
Because your LinkedIn profile is like a resume or business card, it’s essentially a marketing tool. For that reason, consider writing a benefits-oriented profile, so potential partners can recognize the advantage of working with you.
Once your profile is complete, you can publish it and start looking for “connections.” A connection is a person that you know or would like to know. Essentially, the idea is to create as many direct connections as you can by adding people within your own professional circle and branching out to include their connections. Your connections can also provide introductions to other professionals you might be interested in meeting. Connections can also endorse you for skills and provide you with recommendations.
Use LinkedIn to Build a Home Business
LinkedIn can help you to start and grow a home business. It provides you with an opportunity to communicate and collaborate with other professionals interested in sharing business and industry knowledge. It is an efficient tool for locating those who may contribute to the success of your business.
LinkedIn allows you to:
Have an online resume and business card where potential clients, customers, and joint venture partners can learn about and connect with you.
Get online endorsements and recommendations for your professional abilities and character. Get introductions to potential clients, customers, and colleagues.
Search available job postings placed on the LinkedIn website by members. While you can also search the web for jobs, through LinkedIn, the big benefit is that many job posts are exclusive to LinkedIn: They aren’t advertised elsewhere. Those postings often have a requirement that you have one or more LinkedIn recommendations. Additionally, there is a chance that someone within your LinkedIn network already works there or knows someone who does, increasing your chances for an interview.
Join various groups that align with your interests and participate in discussions. Having a group in common with another LinkedIn user is one way you can invite others to your network. Each group discussion contains its own job listings. Further, it’s a place to share your expertise and build the trust and rapport needed to cultivate new clients and customers.
Staying connected with the outside world isn’t the only benefit of LinkedIn. Learning how to use LinkedIn and maximizing all it offers can provide strong professional connections and boost your online reputation better than most other social networking resources.
Having a website is like opening a door and inviting potential customers into Your site communicates with prospects and customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Even when you aren’t at work, your website is. Your customers can get to know you and your products through the website at their convenience. It can be better than passing out your business card to thousands of people.
Expands your reach. People from across the street and across the border have access to your products and services from the comfort of their own space.
Increases the effectiveness of your advertising. Print advertising is static, while the web is dynamic. Once you have a website up and running, we recommend your print advertising include your website address where pictures, text, tables and forms can help you get your message across.
Gathers feedback. Use forms, email and social media like Facebook and Twitter to allow your clients to communicate with you.
Communicates effectively. Whether your website is built for customers or employees, web–based communication and email communication are cost–effective and time–saving devices.
It gets you found. Having a well–built website will increase the visibility of your site to the search engines that people use to find what they are looking for. Your specialist should not only offer creative design solutions but also know how to make your site search engine friendly so that clients can find you.
Sells directly. E–commerce can dramatically reduce expensive overhead while delivering a 24/7 ‘sales force’. Even if you don’t sell your product online, your website gives you the opportunity to distinguish your company or organization to your client.
Reaching today’s consumer. Today’s emerging generation has never known life without a digital world of connection. According to stats (and who doesn’t like statistics!), over 94% of Canada’s population is online.1 Add the growth of social media to that and it becomes evident that without a credible web presence, you don’t exist for an expanding segment of your target market.
Your competitors. The sooner you gain a presence on the web, the better. Your competitors know this too. Increasingly, your clients (and potential clients) are making their decisions based on the standard of your website. A useable and engaging website can help to level the playing field between small and large companies.
Want to grow your business online? Contact us. We can help you succeed.Why
The ‘perfect’ website (probably) doesn’t exist, but through a thoughtful process of design and the implementation of best-practices for the web, your website can have a powerful impact on your business, whatever the size. Design Consultation Perhaps the most important step in the process of creating a website, the design consultation is the opportunity to surface ideas. By understanding the purpose you have for your website, it is then possible to build your web presence to reflect both your business and your company culture.
Design recommendations are based on the discoveries made in the design consultation phase. Your needs and creative ideas are carefully taken into account and a costed overall recommendation is provided for your project.
Website Creation the nuts and bolts (code) of your website are then created, using current best-practices with adherence to web standards. Attention given to the technical details will make your website more visible to search engines and more easily updated in the future.
Review/Revise Throughout the project, your website goes through a process of review and revision. Often improvements are identified during the design process and are incorporated into the final design. You will be able to see the progress on your website as each element is ‘designed and refined’!
Launch The final part of creating your website is to ‘launch’ it! VK Media offers web hosting and domain name registration to get you started and will help you keep things up–to–date as you move forward.
How Much Will It Cost?
The true answer to this question is ‘As much as you are willing to spend’. Not very helpful, but true.
When talking price, a website is very similar to buying a car. The cost depends on the make and model and the features you select. Choices for a website can include the platform that it is built on, the functionality that you want/need and the extent of the content that your site will contain.
Read more on this page about some of the different variables that affect cost or skip right to the money part on our Services page.
‘Platform’ refers to the kind of underlying structure or back-end that is used to create the website. Some require a lot of technical knowledge about HTML and CSS while others have a very user-friendly back-end that allows non-technical owners to edit their site to some degree.
In general, it is less costly to build a static HTML website, especially if you use a template for the design portion. However, it can be more costly over the long haul, depending on how often the site needs to be updated since it will likely require the help of a professional.
CMS (content management systems) can require more of an initial investment, but they allow the owner to make changes on their own. The site might still need some professional tweaking now and again, but for the most part, owners are able to quickly learn how to do the most common tasks of updating.
There are different kinds of CMS on the market. Some are proprietary — usually when specialized for a specific industry — and require an ongoing monthly fee. These types of sites can have a low start-up cost, but owners should be aware of the drawbacks, which include the never-ending fee and the inability to move the site to a different server without losing all of the content or search engine juice that has been built up over time.
Open source CMS platforms include Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. These can be installed on many different hosting providers and have the benefit of being transferable, should the need arise. Open source solutions tend to be very responsive to the market and are able to incorporate new technologies and ‘cool things’ quickly. For example, when social integration became the next big thing, sites using open source platforms had integration widgets more quickly and in more variety than proprietary platforms.
We currently build custom HTML sites, HTML sites from templates, WordPress sites with customized themes and custom WordPress sites.
Functionality refers to the way that things work on a website. Every time something responds to a click or a tap, it is functioning and requires something a little special to make that happen. Some things are very simple to create functionality for — linking text, for example — while others, such as forms and photo galleries, take added expertise.
As you can imagine, it is more time-consuming to create a website with 20 pages than with just one or two, so the amount of content the site will have is a factor in determining the cost. Another variable is the type of content; a site with many images (in a photo gallery, for example) will take longer and be more costly. Clients can save money by doing some of the work themselves, either by properly preparing images for use on the website (size, resolution) or by installing some of the content themselves. We can help you decide what will work best in your situation.
When you first decide to create a website, it is good to draw up a site map. This just means writing down what you think the main pages will be (i.e. Home, About Us, Contact Us, etc) and then briefly describing what content will go on each page. Once you have a sitemap developed, it is easier to know if you have a spot for all the different types of content that you want on your site. Having a site map can help you break the project down into bite-sized pieces that are easier to finish up and get checked off the list.
As you develop your content, keep in mind that search engines really like content. In fact, they like to see lots of relevant, unique content on your site. If showing up in search engine results is important to you, then you need to be prepared to develop content.
Your content could include text, photos, videos, blogs, and social postings (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Yes, it can be time-consuming to create, but content pays off in the long-run as long as you keep it relevant to your brand and focused on drawing the client closer to your desired end result (buying a product, contact you for services, engaging with your Facebook page, etc.)
We can help you create content that is customer-focused and optimized for search engines (SEO), using best- practices and keyword research to guide the process.
Choices, Choices, Choices — Custom Design or a Template?
When cost is one of the biggest factors in the website project, one of the most important decisions will be whether to have the site custom-designed or to use a template (which can be customized with colors and graphics).
A custom design calls for more of an initial investment but allows you full control at the outset over layout and graphics. A custom website can be streamlined to include only what you want, where you want it. If having a unique look for your site is important, a custom design is a way to go.
Using a professionally pre-made template is a great option to save a bit on the cost and still end up with a great-looking website. Not all templates are created equally and we can help you choose and customize one that will give you a great looking website and be technically elegant as well.
Q: Can I build a single website that works on a computer, a tablet, and a smartphone?
A: For the most part, yes. And with your customers increasingly viewing your website from a number of mobile devices (iOS, Android) and on various browsers (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox), it’s an important goal to achieve. In geek-speak, this goal is possible through “responsive web design,” meaning web design for multiple devices.
Jonathan Smiley, partner and design lead at Silicon Valley product design firm Zurb, says responsive web design cuts down on development time and can open up your content to a broader array of users. We asked him for the lowdown.
Do business owners really need to care about responsive web design?
It’s here now, it’s not going away, and it’s much easier for you to convert your web presence now, while the number of devices is relatively small than get into it in a few years. Mobile devices are absolutely the future, and everyone needs to be ready for it.
How does responsive design compare, cost-wise, to traditional web design?
If you count your cost in time, responsive design is a little more expensive. If you count your cost in customers, it’s much, much cheaper. Responsive design lets you automatically approach customers from all kinds of places, on all kinds of devices. If you target, say, the desktop user only, you’ll be targeting less than 50 percent of potential customers by the middle of next year. You spend a little more upfront in order to make a lot more later.
How much more effort is involved with responsive design?
It will always take just a little more thought and a little more time to think about how a design will function across multiple formats and devices. However, using responsive web design to build one multipurpose site is much faster than building sites specific to a number of different devices.
What are some design challenges?
It’s difficult to create a single website design that works for every device out there. There’ll be a degree of tweaking and iterations to work through before you create a great experience. For example, the landscape-size photo you use on the website might need to be swapped out with a square image that’s suitable for a smartphone. Or you’ll want to replace the word “download” on a button with “learn more,” because mobile users won’t usually click on a download. Another: putting your website’s main subject categories (Home, Contact, etc.) across the top of your site works when viewed on a computer’s web browser, but not on a smartphone screen, where a vertical list is easier to read. So while responsive design is faster than developing numerous different sites, it’s still not going to be plug-and-play. This is why it takes longer to do than a single website.