As our month-long series on holiday marketing planning continues, we’re bring back a popular infographic from last year that takes a look at holiday sales trends, U.S. ecommerce projections, and way to optimize your holiday sales funnel.

This year, online sales in the United States are projected to exceed $61 billion in the last two months of the year, according to the latest eMarketer projections. Based on that research, the folks at PracticalCommerce.com have put together 6 trend predictions that could have a big affect on your small business this holiday season. READ MORE

Since we posted last week about things to consider when preparing your website for the holiday season, it seems appropriate to share a great infographic about what gets seen, where, and for how long.

The impetus behind the research was originally to give internet advertisers some insight into where ads perform best to they can maximize their placements. Chartbeat analyzed the behavior of 25 million users web-wide and gathered their findings into the infographic below, which shows where the most visitors spend the most time on a webpage. (The graphic also features whales, so it’s pretty much a winner in my personal book.) READ MORE

We’ve talked before about the benefits of content marketing — the strategy of providing engaging, relevant content for fans, followers, and website visitors to interact with. It’s great for SEO, your brand, and driving traffic to your website and social profiles. Now that you’ve got a content strategy in place, do you know what kinds of things to share in order to make your content go the distance?

The infographic below, provided by WhoIsHostingThis.com, compiles a number of studies to give content creators a clearer idea of what kinds of items are most likely to be shared, what elements to include, and how viewers interact with your content. READ MORE

Ah, procrastination. The mortal enemy of the small business owner. With so many things to do, and hats to wear, and so little time for it all, entrepreneurs really need to be on top of their game to make it work. And for some lucky (or very disciplined) individuals, this kind of organization and focus comes naturally.

Then, there are the rest of us. Before anyone gets upset, nobody is saying that procrastinators are necessarily less productive, intelligent, or hardworking. It just takes a lot more energy for us to settle in and focus on the task at hand. We can be just as reliable about meeting deadlines as non-procrastinators — we are just up a lot later the night before. READ MORE

A recent infographic created by the design firm Gravitate shows just how beneficial a happy work force can be. Citing research done to determine the detrimental effects of stress, the infographic shows just how costly a negative working environment can be in real world dollars and cents.

While no business owner would come right out and say they prefer to have stressed out employees, the fact is that many bosses consistently prioritize the bottom line over the individual. What’s great about the numbers below, is that they demonstrate the benefits of good morale in a way even the surliest of workplace scrooges can understand. READ MORE

As more and more companies – many of them small businesses – enter the marketplace, it’s more important than ever to set yourself apart. One of the most effective and long-lasting ways to do this is by creating a strong and enduring brand for your business.

If there are 25 other wedding photographers working in your area, how will you make sure that clients choose you over your competitors? By creating a brand that helps people really understand how your business aligns with their own values and associations. READ MORE

Last month we talked a lot about small business branding, and how creating a strong brand can add a great deal of value to your business in the long run. But what do we mean when we talk about “brand value”?

Brand value is a term that comes up a lot for companies with shareholders, because positive brand value can do a lot to convince people to invest in a business. It also comes up when talking about the buying and selling of companies when determining an appropriate price. READ MORE

Whether your small business is just starting out, or you’re looking for the funds to take it to the next level, it’s important to be aware of the alternative sources of funding available to you beyond the traditional small business loan options.

The world of funding for startups and entrepreneurs has changed pretty dramatically in the last few years. As has been the trend in the world at large, things have moved away from the one-on-one transactions and toward a more social model that leverages the viral potential of the Web. READ MORE

Throughout the month of March on the Webs blog, we’ve been talking about the tools small business owners need to succeed. From email marketing to promotional materials to ecommerce tools, we’ve covered a lot of ground.

Below you’ll find a quick reference guide to the kinds of tools every small business owner should have in their toolkit, along with some examples in each category to get you thinking. If you have other suggestions of great tools you find helpful, please share them in the comments below or on our Webs Facebook Page! READ MORE

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