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Expert Interview With Paula Gregorowicz On Smart Websites

Paula Gregorowicz has an eclectic resume - from jobs in finance, technology and web development in corporate America to coaching small business owners through the company she founded, The Paula G Company LLC. So she's familiar with what works and what doesn't for business owners in a variety of areas - including the best ways to recruit.

We recently checked in with Paula to get her take on what online job boards do right when it comes to helping small business owners recruit the best talent.

"When job boards offer small businesses the chance to be on that equal footing, everyone succeeds," she replied.

Using online job sites can be beneficial to companies - especially when those sites allow smaller businesses to showcase their brands and put their requests for top talent in front of a large audience.

SEE ALSO: Your Next Site Design - Should It Be Responsive?

Paula recently checked in with us to offer her advice for how to build and market a better website for your digital publication. Here's what she had to say:

Can you tell us about your professional background...when did you start your coaching/consulting business?

I started my coaching/consulting business part time in 2004 following some deep personal transformational work and reflection. In 2007, the opportunity to be fully self-employed presented itself, and I dove in.

Prior to owning my own business, I spent over 20 years in corporate America. First in the finance, audit and process improvement fields, since I have a BA in accounting. Then, I migrated into the website and internet space in the mid-1990s just as it was taking shape. So I've built and managed websites for companies ranging from solopreneurs to Fortune 100 companies and understand the inner workings of how business and technology work together.

Coupled with my eclectic interests is a creative streak (published my book Open to Your Intuitive Intelligence: Reflections on Nature and Wisdom in 2011).

What questions should business owners ask and what considerations should they make when building or redesigning their website?

The bottom line is that your website should enable your overall business goals. It acts as the hub for all other marketing, online and off. So most importantly, business owners need to ask themselves, "What do I want to accomplish?" and be specific. The business drives the website, not the other way around. You have to ask, does it make business sense? To build a site (usually yes) or redesign it (it depends). Let's face it, over 90 percent of people make a judgment and decision to buy based on something they see online. Let your presence be a positive reflection of you and the quality of your work.

I created a totally free report for people thinking about redesigning their site to assess whether it makes sense or not. The report can be accessed here (no signup required).

How do you think website owners can make their sites more user friendly?

Keep it simple. There's a reason white space and simplicity works so well in design. It's intuitive and easy-to-use in our over-saturated, hyper-connected world. I would also say, never over-estimate the power of stating the obvious. Much as you would tell a guest visiting your home - here is where the coffee is, here is where the restroom is - you need to do that with your website visitors. Don't assume they will figure it out (they won't; they will just click away).

Most importantly, speak to your visitor. It's about them (not you) when they come to visit. Make certain your content speaks to them and is not all about you. The caveat is that you must include a personal story or bio about you and your background because we buy from people we know, like and trust.

What are some of your favorite digital marketing strategies for website owners today?

The most effective strategy is the one that you actually do consistently. Content marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to build relationships and credibility. My favorite part about these strategies today is that there are so many different ways you can get your message across (video, audio, text, combinations thereof) and the barrier to entry is low. So it is an invitation begging the business owner to be real and authentic. Nothing is a more powerful differentiator than a company being genuine and adding value in the process.

Which strategies do you think are outdated or ineffective?

Too much "push" marketing simply does not work. Yes, you need to let people know you exist and build relationships with them, but blasting them with sales pitches is simply a turn-off.

Some people might say email marketing is dead or ineffective. It isn't, but it is different than it was 10 years ago. Email is no longer a novelty, but it can be still be used effectively if you keep the long-term relationship in mind.

Social media is very much alive and effective, but I think it is over-sold in that it is a step in relationship building and a distribution channel for your message, but not a "magic pill."

How do you think small businesses recruit more effectively online?

Small businesses typically lack the infrastructure of large HR departments or full-time recruiters. Online recruiting levels the playing field and gives the small business owner an opportunity to be seen and play on equal footing as larger companies.

What do you think online recruiting sites can do better to help small business owners?

Online recruiting and job board sites really need better search capabilities. The basics are there, but as soon as you deviate from full-time/part-time, it's a wild jumble. Geographically it can be a crapshoot. This would help job seekers to be able to truly find what they want.

Try searching most sites for a part-time/contract gig with certain criteria. It's nearly impossible! Yet, for many small businesses, these are exactly the types of employees/contractors they are looking for. For some small business owners, these are also the types of opportunities they might be looking for themselves as they bridge cash flow gaps during startup.

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