How to Create a Letterhead by Adding Your Logo to a Microsoft Word Document

One of the basic tools of a business is the letterhead. And if you need something with fancy design or colorful headers and footers, you might be want to contact a good designer for their help (this will likely cost between $99-150 or more).

Logo on LetterheadIf you don’t have that kind of budget, or just need a document with your logo at the top to act as your letterhead, then you can probably do the work yourself. Simply follow the steps below and you’ll have an electronic copy of your letterhead to begin using today. PC instructions are immediately below. For Mac instructions, scroll down.

How to add your logo to Word for PC.

1. First you need a logo. If you already have one, make sure you have a high-resolution copy of the .JPG file of your logo design. If you don’t have one, click this link to make one with our easy-to-use logo maker. Once you’re done, purchase the high-resolution files and download the medium and small .JPG files from your account.

2. Now open up Microsoft Word and open a blank document. For a standard-sized letterhead, you’ll want to choose an 8½ x 11 document, but you can use any size you’d like. Double click near the top of the page to open the header or, using the “Print Layout” view, select the “Insert” tab, then select the “Header” button. You may need to change the header space (not the margins) to accommodate the logo you will place in the header. The amount you add to the header will depend a bit on your logo, but about an inch should work for most headers. If you want a second page without a logo, insert a second sheet and in the “Page Layout” tab, choose “Different First Page”.

3. Add your logo. While the header section is selected on the first page, insert your logo by clicking on the “File” tab, then “Picture” and then “From File…”. The file you need to select is the JPG of your logo. While your logo is still selected (you can see the four corners of the file box), you can resize it to fit the area in the header. If you press the “Shift” key while you resize your logo, it will keep the correct proportions. Then choose “Position” and then “Alignment Left” relative to the page, and “Alignment Vertical” relative to the page. If you’d rather see your logo on the right side of the page, choose “Alignment Right” relative to the page.

4. Lock the logo into place by clicking on “Lock Anchor” in the same menu, under options and make sure “Move object with text” is not checked. Then in the tab “Wrap Text” click the options “Behind Text”.

5. Add your address information. You can add your address to the header or the footer. If your logo is aligned to the left, place your address information on the right side of the header. If your logo is aligned to the right, type your address information into the left side of the header. Or, open the footer and place the information there where it might be less crowded.

6. Save the file as “”. You should now save the file as your letterhead as either a document or a template. With a document, any changes you make by adding text will be added to the file. So to save your file as a template, choose “Save As” and then change the Save as Type: to Document Template (.dot). Type the file name: “Letterhead” then save the file into your templates folder or to your desktop.

How to add your logo to Word for Mac.

1. First, you’re going to need a logo. If you already have one, make sure you get a high-resolution copy of the .JPG file of your logo design from the designer who created it. If you don’t have a logo yet, click this link to make one with our free logo maker software. Once you’re done, purchase the high-resolution files and download the medium and small .JPG files from your account.

2. Open a Word Document. From the “File” menu item, choose “New Blank Document”. You can choose any kind or size of document, but you may want to stick with a standard 8½ x 11 document for this exercise.

3. Add your logo. Double click near the top of the page to open the header. The click in the header, and from the “Insert” menu item, choose “Insert Photo” then, “Picture from File”. Browse and select the JPG of your logo file, then click “Insert”. Depending on the size of your file, you may need to adjust the size by selecting one of the corners of the file and dragging it to the appropriate place. If you hold the “Shift” key while you drag, the file will maintain the correct proportions.

4. Adjust the position. Click the “Layout” tab, then using the margin adjustments, move the logo up or down to place it properly within the header. Larger numbers will place the logo to the right, smaller numbers will move it to the left.

5. Add text. You can add your company address and other information by clicking off the logo file, then clicking the “Text Box” button. Then place your cursor where you would like the box and click to place it. Add the relevant company information in the text box. You can shift the placement of the text box using the left/right keys while the box is selected.

6. Save your file. Once everything is in place, save your file as a template, by choosing “Save As” from the file menu, then choosing “Word Template (.dotx)”. Add a good name—we like “Letterhead”, then click “Save”. If you save your file to your templates folder, you can choose your letterhead template when you open a new file in the future. Otherwise, simply double click the file wherever you have it saved to open it.

Another Option.

If all this feels like too much work, or if you need a stack of printed letterhead to use in your business, you can take your Logomaker logo and have our print partner create your letterhead for you. Simply click this link to get started.

Your letterhead will be a great way to share your logo with customers, partners, and others. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Let us know how your letterhead turns out in the comments below.

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11 Quotes for Startups and Small Businesses from Meebo and Honor Co-founder, Sandy Jen

Sandy JenSandy Jen is one of the three co-founders of Meebo, the instant messaging service, social chat service, and ad platform that launched in 2005, grew to 250 million monthly users, raised $70 million dollars, then was acquired by Google before the product was finally shut down in 2013. Since then Jen and her Meebo co-founder Seth Sternburg are working on their second startup, Honor, an online service that connects in-home caregivers with seniors who need help.

After building the first iteration of Meebo and seeding in on a couple of websites, the founders were out of money and in a desperate attempt to get some free publicity, they posted a description of Meebo on Digg, then went to bed. The awoke to more than 600 diggs and a server crash. They never looked back.

In the world of tech startups, women aren’t exactly rare, but a female CTO is. And in part because of her success in a role traditionally filled by men, she has been a popular advocate for more women in tech. Jen was awarded a Techfellow Award for Engineering Leadership and was named one of 2009’s visionary women in tech by Fast Company magazine. Here are a few things she’s said that may resonate with other startup founders:

“Really talented people rarely advertise themselves, at least not as much as we’d like them to. You must court them. There is a lot of competition, so this could mean being flexible with hours or remote work options. And once you decide to hire someone, you have to welcome them with open arms.”

“It seems counter-intuitive but one piece of advice I would give people with ideas, wanting to start something, is to share the idea as much as you can. Get it out there and get feedback because if you work in a vacuum you’re not going to understand how to adapt quickly… the more the idea is out there and the more you can iterate on it the better the idea gets.”

“Regardless of whether you’re starting a social tech company or selling the newest form of slap bracelets, it’s going to be difficult. You’re going to doubt yourself. I sure did. You’re going to have brilliant ideas, and you’re going to poop out some of the worst ideas known to man. The best way to manage all of that is to have a partner. It’s lonely when you’re struggling on your own, and it’s even lonelier when you achieve success and there’s no one to party with.”

“You can’t figure everything out! …I think as entrepreneurs, we have an itch to create something interesting and we are hungry to make it successful.  Part of that is being able to fix things that are broken. But sometimes, as we’ve learned, it’s just luck, chance, or good/bad timing.”

“We actually quit our jobs… because we were so excited about [the opportunity]. That’s one of the things that I tell entrepreneurs. There [are] a lot of them hedging bets: ‘Maybe I will do it on the side.’ But if you really want to go at it, you should just do it, you shouldn’t try to draft out a business plan or try to do this or try to do that, too much research, you should just build it and go.”

“Don’t just give up the power of decision because you think you’re under-qualified. I strongly believe that founders have a lot more chops and know-how than they give themselves credit for, and oftentimes they defer to those with more experience on paper. You’re a leader and it’s your job to make sure your company is headed in the right direction; heed advice of course, but always trust yourself.”

“If you’re really tired you can’t be productive… I will kick my employees out sometimes from work early and force them on vacation if I have to to get them to have more balance.”

“I think the lowest points are when we’re struggling to create a product but we’re vastly under-resourced, which pretty much happens a lot in the start-up world…  It takes a lot of discipline and we’re getting much better at it. However the struggle to create a really awesome product with limited resources is always going to be a challenge.”

“You can have as much influence and networking and friends in high places as you can, but if you don’t work hard you can’t really get there.”

“My advice to… you is this: chill out. There are lots of things to stress about, but there are many more things that you’ll miss if that stress consumes you.”

“The toughest thing was actually figuring out how to hire, how to evaluate people, how to build a culture for the first 12 people in the company, and also getting over the fact that you’re interviewing people who have been in the industry for 20 more years than you have, and they’re expected to report to you, because you’re the founder and you’re the boss.”

—Sandy Jen, Co-founder of Meebo and Honor

Photo credit: Women 2.0.

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Logo Design News This Week (5.24)

It’s Friday again and that means it’s time to take a look back at all the news from the world of logo design from the past week. Here’s the stuff that caught our attention. Did we miss anything?

New Late Show LogoDavid Letterman officially retired from late night TV last month and Stephen Colbert is set to take over his spot in the nighttime line up later this fall. So The Late Show with Stephen Colbert got a new logo in anticipation. The new logo won’t easily fit on the Ed Sullivan Theatre marquee and dominate Broadway the way the old, bright yellow logo did. But it will probably work better as an onscreen “tag” than the old logo did. The real difference, of course, isn’t the logo, but the changes that will inevitably occur on the show itself—a real life demonstration that updating a brand is more than updating a logo.

The new Tennessee logo we told you about a couple of weeks ago has gotten a lot of criticism both for the design and the cost. Now a few graphic designers are pushing back. We stand by our original assessment. The logo is good, if a bit overpriced.

Enterprise Florida LogoTwo years ago Florida unveiled a new logo to promote the state as a great place to do business. That logo was widely criticized as “sexist” for including a tie. We think that critics were stretching the definition of sexist a bit, but whatever. This week the state abandoned the tie and has adopted this new F arrow mark to represent the state’s business interests. The icon isn’t as strong (by being more inclusive, it represents almost nothing), but the type treatment is significantly better. Overall it’s a better design.

The city of Hobart has a nice new logo, but it will cost about $200,000 to roll it out and that is causing some heartburn for the city council.

New Alitalia Logo DesignItalian airline, Alitalia, updated their logo a bit this past week. This is a good example of a brand evolution. The type has been tilted to the right, the A is larger and more dominant while the red triangle has been given some color variation. The design team also added a gradient to the logo overall. We’re not a big fan of the gradient or the venetian blind pattern on the triangle, but overall the logo is more dynamic. It’s not a bad evolution.

Cebu Pacific Logo DesignIn other airline logo news, Spice Jet got a new hot and spicy logo “to woo the youth”. And Filipino airline, Cebu Pacific Air, also also unveiled an updated logo this week. Their new icon is a streamlined, much cleaner version of a bird in colors representing “the Philippines’s land, sea, sky and sun”. And the new font treatment is better as well. They’ve gone all lower case, which gives the brand a friendlier feel. It’s a nice update.

New Publicis LogoIt’s been 15 years since we last walked out of Publicis as an employee. We love their logo and still have it embroidered on a favorite jacket. Time to throw it out. Publicis is updating their logo to pay homage to its original design. We like the last one better. The change is to help separate the ad agency from the holding company, but we’re not sure this won’t create a bit more confusion—at least for those who pay attention to ad agency logos.

Don’t mess with a rugger’s logo.

New Oculus Logo DesignVirtual reality (and Facebook-owned) company, Oculus, got a new logo this week. We love the simplicity of the new design (it’s very much the kind of logo of which people say, my kid could have come up with something better). Simple shapes and single colors are the marks of a good design—and while this feels a little race-tracky, it’s a versatile design. But the previous logo was also good, and we’re a bit sorry to see the eye go. Whether going from an eye to an even simpler icon is a good move or not? Time will tell.

Tell us what we missed in the comments:

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Logo Maker versus Logo Designer : A True Comparison

In the last week or so, we’ve seen a new logo-oriented infographic making the rounds (part of which is shown below—we’re not linking to it because these falsehoods don’t deserve to be shared). This one purports to compare do-it-yourself logo makers with a real live designer. And often, the software comes out looking bad in comparison.

But it’s almost completely wrong.

Now we admit, we have a definite interest in this kind of thing. Our logo maker software is the world’s most popular do-it-yourself logo design software. Which is why this kind of thing bothers us.

But let’s look at the facts…

False Logo InfographicThe infographic make a couple of ridiculous comparisons. The process of registering to use the software (which takes less than a minute) is compared to the process of choosing a designer (which can take weeks). And, contrary to the truth, the infographic mentions that with a logo maker there is no legal contract and that your information may be made public. This is false. In order to use our Logomaker, everyone agrees to a legal contract and because you are doing the work, there is no confidential information to be shared publicly.

On the other hand, not all designers will sign an NDA and there is no guarantee that a designer won’t share the details of your business. It happens.

The infographic states that Logomaker software is complex and hard to understand. Again, blatantly false. Our software is designed to make it easy to create an amazing logo in about ten minutes. Try it and see for yourself. Post your logo and tell us in the comments how difficult our software was to use. We’ll bet it was significantly easier than working with a designer.

Another odd comparison says that Logomaker uses templates while the designer does original design work. It’s true that you get to pick from almost 10,000 icons and 50 fonts on our site. But it’s not always true that a designer will present you with original artwork. Check out a few examples of work that designers copied here and here. And design contest sites are notorious for presenting stolen artwork as original. While the great majority of designers are honest and do good, original work, the fact of the matter is, there are no guarantees.

Again, the infographic falsely says there is “no option to optimize the logo as per your need”. We’re not sure what that even means, but with Logomaker, if you can’t make the optimized changes you want, our service team will help you. And we’ll do it within 24 hours, while working with a designer can take days.

Lastly, the graphic claims a DIY logo may not be appealing. Yeah, may not. But it may. In fact, because you design it yourself, you’re in control. You decide what looks good, not a designer. And you don’t have to buy or download anything you don’t like. If it doesn’t appeal to you, you can delete it.

Are there times you should hire a designer for your logo? Yes, absolutely. Here are a few reasons you would consider hiring a designer.

Infographics like this are silly. And completely wrong.

If you’re looking for an infographic about logos that is both interesting and actually true, check out this one. It’s awesome. And based on real science. Feel free to share it on your own site.

And if you’re looking for a great option for creating a low-cost logo for your business, try our logo design software.

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10 Inspiring Quotes for Startups and Small Business from Jeremy Gutsche, Founder of

Jeremy Gutsche Startup QuotesJeremy Gutsche is the founder and CEO of—the world’s most popular “cool” hunting website. His startup helps people identify coming trends so they can capitalize on them with new products and services. And it is immensely popular, with well over two billion page views since its launch. Each month, members of the site read and explore another sixty million pages.

Mr. Gutsche hasn’t always been a trend hunter. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he was a management consultant and a director for Capital One, running an innovation team and experimenting with new products.

He’s been called one of the most sought after keynote speakers on the planet. He’s also the author of two books, Better and Faster (which the quotes below are taken from), and Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change. Check out some of the things he’s written and said that will inspire other startup owners:

“To counter complacency, you must exhibit insatiability.”

“No matter what business you’re in, to thrive you must fight the presumption that you know your customer. Also you must push yourself to challenge ‘certainties’.”

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. And it’s an unreliable guide to the future.”

“Intentionally destroying your business model, products, and services can feel uncomfortable and even painful, but destruction enables unrestricted creativity while providing flexibility and depth.”

“Past success creates barriers that both you and your customers must overcome. To innovate, you need to break free from past success.”

“You need to go where the opportunity will be next, not where it is.”

“If you want people to love what you stand for, you need to create products that are irresistible to a specific group.”

“You don’t need to find a big idea; you can find a little idea that can be made big. Think of something fractional, smaller, simpler, or more focused—all with underlying growth potential.”

“To find a remarkable new idea, you need a fresh way of thinking.”

“Be curious.
Be willing to destroy.
Be insatiable.”

—Jeremy Gutsche, Author and Founder of TrendHunter

Photo credit: Speakerpedia.

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Logo Design News This Week (5.23)

Welcome to the weekend. As long-time readers of our logo design blog know, this is the day we take a look at the latest industry news and tell you about the stuff that caught our attention. Here are the new logos we saw this past week:

Atlanta Hawks PacMan LogoThe NBA had some big logo design news as the Atlantic Hawks unveiled their new logo. Last week, we showed you the secondary logo. This week we show you the primary logo, which is a reworking of the Pacman logo the team began using in 1972. The logo was actually recycled during the 2014 playoffs.

In other NBA logo news: that new LA Clippers logo we told you about a few weeks ago? Some people are saying they’ve stolen the EA Sports NBA Live 06 logo. The look pretty similar, but we doubt this is a case of copying.

GPAC Logo DesignStill sports logo news: we got our first look at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game logo this week when it was unveiled in Toronto. And we got our first look at the new logo for the GPAC logo this week as well. The GPAC is the Great Plains Athletic Conference and features sports powerhouses like Doane College, Midland University and Mount Marty College. And yes, that was snark.

Our final bit of sport logo news: Jerry Dior, the creator of the Major League Baseball logo died last month.

New ihop Logo DesignAmerica’s favorite pancake chain, iHop unveiled a new logo. Our first impression is that this is love child of a logo and an emoticon. The second is that it slightly resembles the chain’s Rudy Jr. smiling pancake meal.The official press release says the company is putting smiles first and the old logo wasn’t happy enough. But others have pointed out the the new logo is a bit like a creepy clown or Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live. Yeah, we see that. The new logo is the first update the company has seen in more than 20 years.

Apparently Uncle Sam thinks you can keep outlaw bikers from using their own logos if you make it illegal. Seems to us, someone doesn’t understand why they’re called outlaws in the first place.

Les Republicans Logo DesignWe go France for our next item: France’s right wing party, led by Nicolas Sarkozy and formerly known as the Union for Popular Movement (UMP) is now called The Republicans (seems like a decent name for a right-leaning party). And the party has a new logo that makes a nice, subtle reference to France’s flag. French design sensibilities are a bit different from those on this side of the pond, so we can’t comment on how appropriate the new design is. We don’t love it, but then we’re not French.

Perry Campaign Logo DesignBack to the states, but in keeping with the political theme for the moment, we noticed this new logo to represent the just announced Presidential campaign for former Texas Governor, Rick Perry. Departing from the “campaign look” of his many competitors (at last count 10 republicans and 4 democrats), his logo looks something more like a minor league baseball crest—something you might see on a baseball cap. It’s not awful, but the P icon in the center feels a bit weak, which might not be a good message to send with your logo, even subtly.

And in case you haven’t had enough political logos yet, here’s critique of all the logos for the declared candidates so far in the US Presidential race. Unsurprisingly (it’s Bloomberg after all), Hillary’s logo is the only one with a thumbs up.

Did you see some logo design news that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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9 Quotes for Startups and Small Business from Chipotle Founder, Steve Ells

Steve Ells Startup QuotesWhen Steve Ells decided to go to the Culinary Institute of America after graduating high school, he did it because he thought it would be fun. He had no idea it would put him on the path to creating America’s best-known, fresh-food startup, Chipotle. And while the food was popular from the start, initially he had a difficult time raising money to expand operations—13 venture capitalists said no.

Then after preparing lunch for several McDonald’s executives, the burger giant invested $50 million into Chipotle, providing the capital Mr. Ells needed to fuel the company’s expansion—to almost 500 stores when the company went public and more than 2,000 stores today and $2.2 billion in sales. That’s a lot of burritos.

The menu hasn’t changed much in 20 years. And that’s been a key to the company’s success. Over the past few years, Mr. Ells has shared some of his thought on Chipotle’s success. Here are a few things that might inspire other entrepreneurs:

“We want to do just a few things better than everyone else. We just do things we think are right.”

“So many people told me it was not a good idea to a start a restaurant, especially a fast-food restaurant. There was so much wrong with it—it was too spicy; everything was done by hand, from scratch. Everything was wrong. But that’s why customers liked it; it’s different, in the right way. If you have an idea, just go for it. If everybody is telling you that it’s wrong, maybe that’s an indication that it’s an original idea.”

“There were very few moving parts. We served just a few things, burritos and tacos, and it was put together very simply with plywood. It had a very funky, raw look to it. Of course it also had a low investment cost. And so what resulted was this restaurant that was, in fact, quite replicable.”

“Pick the right message. I thought we were going to get customers excited by telling them there were no antibiotics in our meat or no growth hormones used to raise the animals or no RGBH in our cheese or sour cream. Well, that’s not a very appetizing message. So now we have a marketing program that’s about why better ingredients make for better-tasting and more healthful food.”

“I have very high expectations—including high expectations of myself… We need the best people we can find to make sure the experiences we’re providing are the best they can be—and all of that starts with having high expectations.”

“I’ve had twenty years to make changes and not much has been tweaked. Part of what makes Chipotle work is its focus. By focusing on doing just a few things—and doing them right—we can do them better than anyone else does.”

“You need to be polite, hospitable, smart, ambitious, curious, happy, respectful, honest, presentable, conscientious, motivated, infectiously enthusiastic and have high energy. We can teach you the skills to work in our restaurants, but you really can’t teach these characteristics. By the time you’re an adult, you either have them or you don’t.”

“I remember feeling a little guilty every time I opened a Chipotle. I felt guilty because I wasn’t following my true passion [of opening a fine restaurant]. But that eventually went away. And I realized that this is my calling.”

“You know, I hate to borrow Apple’s tag, but think different. Really. From the very beginning. I didn’t know what the fast-food rules were. I got my training at the Culinary Institute Of America, and then I opened up a fast food place according to fine dining rules.”

—Steve Ells, Founder and Co-CEO, Chipotle

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Logo Design News This Week (5.22)

Welcome back for another edition of Logo Design News This Week where we round up the biggest news items from the world of logo design and branding. Here’s what we noticed this past week while we should have been working:

New Lenovo Logo DesignComputer maker, Lenovo, introduced a new logo this week. Having purchased two brands from IBM that experts say are aging (or dying), Lenovo wants to convey an image of innovation. Up to now, they haven’t been known as a hip computer manufacturer. But that may be changing. The new logo is part of that process. The new design is typographic, with no icon. And we have to say, we like it a lot. Very simple. Very strong design.

A follow up to our post last week about Tennessee’s new logo: people hate it. And not just a little. They’re complaining about the budget ($46,000). They’re complaining about the design. They’re complaining about the process of using an agency to create the design. Sometimes when every body hates something, you’ve actually created something worth keeping. If we had to guess, we think people would prefer a logo with mountains and trees. Or maybe a guitar. Or something Elvis-y? But the problem with those approaches is that they are limiting. Not all of Tennessee has mountains. Nor does Nashville represent the whole state. Or Memphis. The beauty of the tag logo is that it can be used with anything related to the state. And as we mentioned last week, the more we look at it, the more we like it. At least they’re not as dumb as the people who want voters to choose Colorado’s state logo. Logos designed to appeal to everyone are bland and will attract almost no one.

Atlanta Hawks Logo DesignThe Atlanta Hawks have a new alternate logo by the looks of it. And from what we’ve seen so far, as usual, fans are taking the opportunity to hate change more than love it. We expect that they’ll come around eventually. Most fans do. Earlier this year the team announced it would return to a modernized version of the “Pacman” logo used in the 80s. And joining the hawks in introducing a new logo this week were the St. John’s IceCaps who play in the American Hockey League. Yeah, we know… hockey. Soccer on ice. With better fights.

Indy 500 Race LogoIn still more sports logo news, the Indainapolis Motor Speedway just unveiled their new logo for the 100th running of their iconic race—the Indy 500. The 100th running of the race will take place next year and the new logo will be part of the promotion efforts. And in our last bit of sports-related logo news, Bicycling magazine has a new logo design.

Another follow up to previous posts: We’ve written several times about the City of Everett’s quest for a new logo. They created a contest that ended up with more than 800 entries, whittled it down to a winner that the town’s people voted on. Then it turned out the winning logo was too much like another logo. So they were going to revise it. But as of now, the project has been put on indefinite hold.

Ampans Logo DesignAmpans, a spanish organization that helps people with learning disabilities introduced an animated logo this week. Although it may be confusing to some who see it in that the logo changes and isn’t the same in all media. We like the charming “funness” of the new design and the hand-drawn lettering. But we suspect that the final design may be a function of not being able to pick a “real” logo that captures the spirit of the organization.

Jeremy Renner showed the world the latest logo for the upcoming movie, Captain America Civil War on his Twitter feed this week. Click through for some cool photos from the set.

Sally Ride Google LogoTo wrap up this week, we were tempted to post Google’s logo celebrating this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, but opted instead to post the logo design celebrating Sally Ride’s 64th birthday. Actually there were five of them.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.



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Start a Business — When to Think About SEO

Small Business SEOWhen you start a business, there is so much to do and get right. Recently we’ve written about when you need to start thinking about design. And when you need to think about branding. Today, let’s take a quick look at when you need to start worrying about search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization is one of those things that most small business owners simply don’t think about. But they should.

SEO is the means by which customers will find you online. And there are a lot of moving parts that need your attention.

It starts with your website.

Creating a fantastic website that your customers love is the first step. If your customers have a great experience every time they visit, you’ll do okay. But it’s not the only thing you need to think about.

Ranking near the top of the search engine results is not easy. In fact, for many phrases, it will be impossible. As a small business owner, you simply won’t have the money or time to put into the effort required for this. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize your site.

Even if all you have is a single web page to advertise your business services online, you should work with an online copywriter to make sure your site includes the key words your customers use to find your business. Your copywriter can also help you write title and description tags that your web programmer will use to “optimize” your site for the search engines. They will help you determine the best words to use in your headlines (and H tags). And, if you work with a good writer, they’ll also help you craft conversion-oriented copy and calls-to-action that will encourage your customers to buy your products.

Work with your programmer to make sure that your images are optimized and your site loads as quickly as is possible. Make sure to include contact information and if you sell your product online, make sure you use a secure connection to do it. All of these things affect how Google, Bing and the other search engines find and rank your site.

Next, you’ll want to post a sitemap that will help the search engine bots crawl your site and read what’s there. And you’ll want to pay attention to the structure of your site, if you have more than a page or two. Using key words in your URLs can help the search bots understand what your site is all about. Again, a good programmer will help you with these things.

If you didn’t understand all of that stuff about tags, key words, and bots, don’t worry. A good copywriter (and programmer) will. Ask them. And if they can’t tell you more than what we’ve written here, find one who can. (We’ve barely touched on the basics, there’s a lot more to this stuff and they’ll be the best people to help you.)

If you want to learn more about SEO on your own, there are a couple of excellent guides that can teach you the basics here and here.

Next, you’ll need a few links.

The first few links to your site are easy. You can set up a Facebook page for your business, a Twitter page, and a Google business page. This last one is a must, as Google uses these listings for their local search results. All of these pages allow you to add a link back to your site, which will help the search engines find you. There are companies that specialize in link building and can help you do this. But beware: make sure who ever you hire uses “white hat” link building techniques and watch your budget. Most companies charge around $250 per link—not something most small businesses can afford.

The best way to get links to your site is to put stuff on your website that people want to link to. If you own a restaurant, you might post a few popular recipes. If you’re a plumber, you might post a guide to unclogging pipes or replacing the flush mechanism in a toilet. If you are starting a business that helps people find a job, you could post a guide to writing resumes or the top interview questions your customers might be expected to answer. Then share this information on your Facebook page, your Twitter page, and Google Plus.

At the very least, you need to do these things to give your site a chance of showing up on line when your customers search for you.

There are a lot of other things you can do to attract links to your site, but they take a lot of time and effort. Weekly blog posts (with awesome content customers can’t find anywhere else). Videos, eBooks, Beginner’s Guides and more. But creating this content can be time consuming (if you do it) and expensive (if you hire someone else).

With all the other stuff you have to worry about as your build and grow your new business, SEO probably won’t top the list. If your company is mostly offline, this may not be a problem. But if you are starting an online business, you’ll need to make time or budget for SEO to be a priority. It matters and it may determine whether your startup succeeds.

So, when do you start to worry about SEO? Now. Before you starting writing and programming your website. And if you already have a website, talk to someone who can help you optimize it going forward.


Photo credit: SEO Planter.

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11 Quotes for Small Business Owners (and Other Startups) from Debbi Fields

Debbi Fields Startup QuotesYou’ve almost certainly heard her name. But there’s no doubt you’ve tried one of her cookies (or brownies). Today, Mrs. Field’s Cookies are found in virtually every mall in America. But the company hasn’t always been successful. The first day after opening her startup, Debbi Fields had no idea her new business would grow so big—only two customers had walked into her store by mid-afternoon.

So she took to the streets, handing out free samples to everyone she could. She ended up selling about $75 worth of cookies that day. Not exactly a fast start. But thanks to her hustle, the company would grow to over 650 stores in 23 countries and more than $450 million in annual sales.

Debbi and her co-founder, (former husband) Randy Fields, sold the company to an investment group in the early 1990s, but she has stayed involved with her startup as a spokesperson. And she’s been a popular source for quotes about starting a successful business. Here are a few of the things she’s said that other entrepreneurs might be inspired by:

“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

“You do not have to be superhuman to do what you believe in.”

“The most important thing is for you to believe in what you are doing. Absolutely know there are people out there who want to say yes.”

“I’ve never felt like I was in the cookie business. I’ve always been in a feel-good-feeling business. My job is to sell joy. My job is to sell happiness. My job is to sell an experience.”

“Good enough never is.”

“If you’re going to be at a job environment, you should love it. You shouldn’t do it just for money. You should do it because you love it. And the money comes naturally.”

“What I wanted was to be allowed to do the thing in the world that I did best—which I believed then and believe now is the greatest privilege there is. When I did that success found me.”

“The only thing I had was this recipe, and with that recipe was a dream. And those were the only things that I had to build my business: a recipe and a dream. And there was no way, no way, I wasn’t going to see this dream through.”

“The one thing that I think is critical in the entrepreneurial spirit is that it’s all attitude. If you think you can, then you’re half way there. If you say, ‘I can’t,’ then you’re defeated.”

“The American dream is true. It works and it’s possible for everybody. Even the word ‘impossible’ says ‘I’m possible.’”

“When you’re starting out, especially as an entrepreneur, you really don’t know what you’re doing. You go out there and you try so many things. The key in the process, to me, is that you keep trying and you never give up.”

—Debbi Fields, Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies


Photo credit: Wilson County News.

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