As we begin wrapping up our series on holiday marketing preparations, it’s only appropriate that today’s example site focus on a Webs user site that is doing a great job with ecommerce.

Kudzu Soap Company in northern Georgia does a fantastic job of using their website to marketing and sell their handcrafted bath items. Let’s take a look at 4 ways Kudzu’s website is set up for success:

1. Dynamic homepage ads. When you first arrive at Kudzu’s page, you get a snapshot of everything that’s going on with the brand without having to navigate around. This is a great way to get your important messages across before people have a chance to get distracted or hit the back button. Within 15 seconds I already know that they have special offers on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve seen an image of their products and packaging, I know where they are located, and that they make handcrafted soaps, boy mousses, and sugar scrubs. Not too shabby for a 15 second first impression.

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There are lots of ways to promote your business and many vehicles with which to get your marketing message across to potential customers. But sometimes the very best way to deliver your message effectively is to hold up a mirror to your potential customers and show them that people just like them have found what they were looking for with your products or services.

Today’s Webs example site does just that. By showcasing the successes of their past clients, brothers Tyler and Travis Blessing of T-N-T Fitness do a great job of letting their product speak for itself. The ‘before and after’ technique of marketing is a very effective one because it speaks to people who are searching for something as the person they are right now. Some marketers choose to show shoppers the ideal of ‘what could be’ thinking that people will be inspired to by their products based on the results alone. But many times people are doubtful that a product or service will work for them as well as it did for the person in the picture. Showing them a ‘before’ allows them to see themselves as your customer.

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Unless you are a graphic designer by trade, creating a website from a blank canvas can be a seriously daunting task. That’s why many sitebuilders offer templates over which users can lay their content, logo, images, etc. when creating a website. This option makes attractive websites infinitely more accessible to personal and small business website owners.

The trouble with the template model is the lack of variety that can occur. It’s not a great feeling to spend hours loading all of your content into a website only to discover over the next couple of weeks that there’s another site out there that looks just like yours.

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Our series on tools for small business owners continues this fine Monday with some options for editing your own images.

The importance of great imagery for your website and printed materials can’t be overstated. Images are a great way to draw visitors and prospective customers in and show them something about your business’s personality. But not all images are created equal. If your images are too dark, distorted from resizing, or show things that should be cropped out, they can have a detrimental effect on your brand.

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Happy Wednesday folks! We’re halfway through the week and that means it’s time for another great example site from a stand-out Webs user.

This week we’re taking a look at the website for RSM Montessori School in southern California. Usually we’ll pick out one thing that a site is doing well and discuss that. However the main feature of today’s site that stands out is how comprehensive it is. The site’s owner is clearly engaged and is using many of the tools available through Webs’ SiteBuilder to create a great experience for visitors.

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Here in Silver Spring, Maryland it’s a pretty dreary day. So today’s Webs user Example Site post will attempt to add a brighten things up a little by featuring The Beachcat Sail Company of Reno, Nevada!

Beachcat sells customized sailing vessels through their website, and they have done a fantastic job of setting up their web store and supporting sales throughout their site. We’re going to take it piece by piece and talk about what makes it so successful.

Reasons To Believe
Whenever a business decides to sell a product, part of their marketing plan should be coming up with their unique selling proposition, or the best “reasons to believe” for their potential customers. Beachcat shares these right up front on their homepage, citing their outstanding design and performance and their premium materials.

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As the proud owner of a small business website, you’ve done your best to make your website attractive and easy to use. You’ve set up a welcoming homepage, made sure to have user-friendly navigation, and even optimized your contact page. Yep, any potential customer sitting at their computer would be happy to browse your site. But what about the ones who aren’t at home?

You’ve likely heard a lot by now about the importance of having a mobile version of your website. You’re well aware that smartphones are now approaching the audience size of PC, (eMarketer) and that mobile users browse your site under totally different conditions, requiring a different set of design rules. If you’re a Webs user, you’re in luck — a mobile version of your site is automatically generated in your account. For tips on making the most of this version, check out this post on how to optimize your mobile site.

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Website trends are just like fashion. Each year, new styles come in and old looks become quickly outdated. On the web, this can have a big impact on your business’ ability to stay competitive and attract new customers.

With this in mind, we’ve pulled together some of the biggest emerging trends for 2013 – in both form and function – to help you stay ahead of the game and grow your business all year long.

A few key takeaways from the infographic below:

1. Mobile browsing on tablets and smartphones continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Responsive design — websites that self-adjust for different screens — will be big.

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After all the time you’ve spent creating a logo, gathering everything you need for your website, and designing the perfect homepage, you might be tempted to throw together a contact page quickly and call it a day. But before you pop the cork on that “I just finished my website” Champagne, consider the original purpose of your small business website. Isn’t it to turn visitors into leads, and lose leads into customers?

Let’s put that bubbly on ice and take a closer look at the humble contact page, and some guidelines you should follow to put it to work for your business.

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During our How To Make A Website series, you’ve learnedthe pieces of a website, you’ve gathered everything you need to make a website, and you’ve planned out the perfect homepage. Now that you have all of your information together, you need to choose the best way to display it all.

Choosing typography for websites can be a full-time job. But if you keep it simple and follow the rules below, you can end up with a great, user-friendly website that your visitors will love.

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