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SEO or SEM: Which is Better for Your Small Business?

Big business, small business, and every business in between all have one thing in common, an online presence is mandatory if they want to maintain profitability. Worldwide, the internet has changed the way people shop, hire contractors and live their everyday lives and if you want to sell your product/ service, you have to go where the people are.

Search Engine

You created the website, it is professional looking and well laid out so how do you get people to visit? Something has to point the way to your particular corner of online real estate and the travel guide is the internet search engines, the most well-known of which is Google.

Search engines use complex algorithms to determine who ranks where. This is done through a combination of factors such as keywords, inbound and outbound links and much more.

SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a process by which you or a professional of your choosing revamp your business website to make it as friendly to the search engines as humanly possible while maintaining a customer focus. This is done through the proper use of H1 and H2 headers, keyword involvement, links and backlinks, a well-formatted URL and so much more.

SEM

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a much simpler process by which you simply pay to get your website link placed at the top of the search engine results. It is not free as you will pay every time someone clicks on your link, thereby giving it the name pay per click (PPC).

Which is Better?

Many small online businesses will utilize both processes, but if you are in the position of deciding on one over the other, the answer is what do you hope to accomplish? SEM will get you near-instant results and the bulk of your traffic will be targeted. This can jump-start your cash flow and really put you on the internet map. Of course, as soon as you stop paying for the campaign, your visibility vanishes.

On the other hand, small business SEO is a long-term strategy to build your visibility somewhat organically. Climbing up the internet search engine results is rarely a sprint. It will take time but once you reach the top, you will have a much easier time staying there and your traffic will not cost you on a per click basis.

The real question is do you have to choose? Both small business SEO and SEM have associated costs and accomplish the same goal, getting traffic to your website, so why not use both? As you are optimizing your website with SEO, utilize SEM to get some immediate results, and once you are organically at the top of the search engine, you can drop the pay per click model.

Conclusion

If you simply have to choose between SEO and SEM, the smart money is on small business SEO. Search engine optimization is a long-term solution but it also provides long-term results. Small business is like any other business today, you have to be approachable online. Once upon a time, business was conducted locally but today it is conducted at least nationally, if not globally, which means an online presence is mandatory to stay competitive.

Effective Hotel Management Software to Improve Your Bed & Breakfast

Are you dissatisfied with the recordkeeping for your Bed and Breakfast? Small business owners from a wide variety of industries tend to be hard on themselves for missing data and skipped details. Eliminate the worry about what to record as soon as possible and which items have little, if any, impact if they’re not noted right away. B&B hotel management software is available to keep records and data organized and available when it is needed.

Making a list of how to achieve this goal requires time and thought to prepare, review and revise. The first thing to consider is the size of your business. Smaller B&Bs may want to focus on guest information such as visiting frequency and special requests. A generic, uncomplicated hotel management software program can be designed to address the individual requirements of each property. Larger properties typically look for additional options such as POS integrations and reservation management.

Any size B&B operation focuses on the guest’s personal experience. By nature, this type of business is small and thrives with loyal customers who return on a regular basis and enjoy referring friends and business associates to experience the hospitality and special ambiance of the room, food, and region. Things to look for in hospitality software include the following:

    • Affordable program(s) cost and maintenance fees.
    • Website booking engine.
    • Easy to learn system.
    • Automatically sends email confirming reservation.
    • Secure, easy-to-use cloud technology.

If a guest stops you in the garden area to see if a friend can book for the following day, impress them by pulling out your Smartphone and pulling the calendar from the cloud. Management software for hotels is easily adapted to the needs of a B&B enterprise. Quickly check availability and manage online/offline bookings from any location with Wi-Fi access.

Additional costs for multiple software upgrades are the result of choosing an inadequate PMS system. Ask your employees, CPA and professional organizations for a short list of what’s needed before looking at or settling on a program. The primary operator and at least one alternate should be familiar with its use. Ask about training, support, and maintenance of the system. Verify all programs work seamlessly with each other. There’s no bargain rate if you need to buy a compatible computer and constantly upgrade other programs.

The right hotel management software for your Bed & Breakfast distributes additional information so you can successfully manage day-to-day operations. The program builds a history that lets you identify:

  • Peak periods of travel.
  • Occupancy rate.
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR).
  • Daily food and beverage consumption, including special dietary requests for each guest.

When it’s time to order additional supplies such as pens, bottled water, and notepads for rooms and guests.

Hospitality programs include a variety of dazzling reports and records. Refer to your “most wanted or needed” list repeatedly to avoid being distracted from your goals. Set aside time for a demonstration to be sure it meets your needs and does not overpower the operating system. The reward is the additional time you’ll have to visit with guests and identify ways to personalize their next visit.