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Monday, October 13, 2014

Sticky Websites

Make a WebsiteWhy People Return to Websites
When you think of the word “sticky,” what comes to mind? A spilled soda, the surface of something you bought after you removed a sticker, or your hands after you peeled some fruit?
In the Internet industry, sticky refers to something that makes a person want to come back to a website. A sticky website stands out above the many thousands of other websites because it offers something unique and valuable.
Here are some ways to make your site sticky:
  • Make your site clear and navigable. Have a short paragraph near the top introducing yourself. Make your best pages available with prominent links. Use an image of yourself and have your phone number, email and other contact information in a place the visitor can easily find them.
  • Write an FAQ. It stands for Frequently Asked Questions and it is standard on all major websites. Don’t be intimidated, you can have an FAQ too. Think about what most people ask you most often. Write in clear terms and provide plenty of contact information where visitors can contact you for more information.
  • Set up blogs and social media accounts. Blogs and social media accounts breathe life into your site, provide fresh information, and engage your readers. Plus it’s a lot of fun. Answer questions, start new discussion topics, and state your opinion about recent news. People will notice, and the search engines will too.
  • Make sure your website reflects your personality. Are you a practical joker? Are you committed to your church? Maybe you are dedicated to making your community a better place. Giving your audience a window to your soul will make them want to do business with you.
  • Get into video. That new cell phone of yours has incredible video capabilities. A YouTube account is free and super easy to use. Call a friend who will be your videographer and make some two-minute videos introducing your business.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Power of Infographics

A picture is worth 1,000 words so using infographics can get you more real estate for your posts. We’ve compiled a few tips for you to get started with creating quality infographics:
Define your Target Audience
Many businesses have multiple audiences for their services and products.  To get the biggest response, define a single audience for each infographic you create.
Craft a Clear Message
Is your infographic saying too much?  Define your purpose and then craft a clear message that both offers professional insight / advice while also promoting your product.
High Quality Images & Smart Sizes
Want people to read and share your infographic?  Make it easy to read and share!
Logical Layouts
Break your message out into a logical, easy to read layout.
Brand It
Don’t forget to brand your infographics. You are giving free and valuable infomation to the end-user to build brand loyalty AND to create awareness around a product or service that you offer.
Share It
Don’t forget to share your infographic on your social media platforms, on your website and in your email campaigns. Make sure to include your website link when sharing as this will both drive traffic to your site and  increase your SEO value!
Posted by: Sarah Rose Stack

Thursday, August 21, 2014

5 Tips for a Website Makeover

5 Tips for a Website Makeover

Skice 02It’s time.  Your website has been outdated long enough and it may be starting to cost you business.  We know it can be overwhelming, so let’s take a look at 5 key points to keep in mind when planning your website makeover.
1.  What’s Your Point?
  •   What is the primary focus of your site?
  • What is the secondary focus of your site?
2. Who’s Looking?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Demographics?
  • Where are they located?
3. Social, Social, Social
  • Social media is the largest referral network in history.
  • Is the content on your site shareable?
  • Are you driving your viewers to your social platforms?
4. Call to Action
  • What do you want viewers to do?
  • Sign up for a newsletter?
  • Share something?
  • Buy Something?
  • Request more information?
5. Plan from A- Z
  • Who will write the content?
  • Media – Images, Videos, Downloads etc.?
  • Who will Design?
  • Who will Develop?
  • Responsive Design?
  • What about Marketing the Site?  (SEO, SEM, Social Media, Email Campaigns)
By: Sarah Rose Stack

Sunday, March 16, 2014

SEO Basics for Small Business

SEO for Small Business

Most small businesses starting out on the web have much of their own web responsibilities, and they have heard of SEO, but they don’t know what it is, or how to implement it on their website.  SEO stands for search engine optimization and is an area of expertise in implementing certain techniques and practices to help your site rank as high as possible on search engine results pages (SERPs). Even professional website technicians have heard of SEO, and wish they knew enough about it to do it well, so how can the small business owner stand a chance?
If you keep in mind that SEO isn’t the only component of your website, then it is possible to take a few small, easy steps to start doing SEO on your own.  One of the most important things a small business owner can do is optimize the company website for search engines.  Your content should be the backbone of your website, and positive SEO results will come as a result of this solid structure.
You can spend a lot of time effort and money on SEO, and achieve very few if any results if you do not have the quality content to go with it. As a small business owner, saving costs is always part of the bottom line and few people realize that proper SEO can be learned with little effort.  Some companies even over-optimize their websites which can have little results for the added effort.  Sometimes taking care of the basics is all that is really required.
So where do you begin? Well, one of the first things you can do if you haven’t already done so is to verify your site ownership with Google.  Google’s Webmaster Tools offer a lot of useful features such as email forwarding, which offers you emails informing you of any problems found on your site.  The problems that Google may find could be site inaccessibility, malicious content, and possible broken links.  It’s useful to have this kind of information so that you can troubleshoot your own site.
The next area you can cover is in your content, which should be unique.  You will have to focus on the keywords, or words that will be used frequently in the page text.  A keyword can be a unique word or phrase that is generally used as the subject of the content.  For example, your special keyword(s) or phrase(s) should take up about fifteen percent of the text.  Don’t use the keywords so many times that it has a negative effect on your content meaning and readability. You don’t want to discourage your users, and you also don’t want search engines to tag you as spam.
Another area that you can cover while optimizing your site is to go over your design. A great design can be the key to your success.  SEO and quality content can help push your site up the search engines, but once they’ve found you, you only get one shot. First impressions always last, so make them count.  Remember to interact with your customers online, they are your audience, and your lifeline.  Without them your business will fail.  Answer their questions, interact with them through social media, whatever you do make them feel engaged and an active part of your site and you will be a success.

Monday, January 6, 2014

7 Things your social media plan should consider for 2014

Let’s face it, you simply cannot ignore the fact that social media is here to stay – it’s as an important aspect of your marketing mix, as anything else you have been doing up to this point. Unfortunately, for many businesses it’s still not included as an integral business activity – in short, it’s often an afterthought, something to be done, when time allows.
Photo originally published by news.ie.msn.com
Your social media goals for 2014
If you don’t want your competitors to leave you standing then 2014 is the year you need to get serious about using social media in your business. If up until this point you’ve simply stuck your toe in the water but no more, it can seem a pretty daunting task, so here are my 7 tips to help you get under way.
  1. Know why? – Why are you in business? When you first started what was your passion, what made you decide to set up the business you have – what difference did you want to make to those who use your services? –  Starting here is a great way of re-assessing every aspect of your sales & marketing strategy, this will be important when it comes to communicating, via social media, who you are and what you do.
  2. What outcomes do you deliver? – Many businesses make the mistake of only listing on their websites what they do and how they do it. Clients are much less interested in these factors, rather they want to know if you can solve their problems or help them achieve their business objectives. Does your LinkedIn profile communicate this well?
  3. Who is your audience?  - Is it time to reassess who your clients are? Are there some who are more profitable for your business, who are easier to deal with and should you be searching for more of these type of clients? Social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter provide free tools to enable you to locate and engage with thousands of potential new clients – you just need to learn how to make best use of these tools.
  4. What is your story? – Marketing has changed – the focus now is on building relationships, not driving transactions. Potential clients want to know more about you, your beliefs, attitudes, values, how you’ve helped others similar to them to achieve success – they want to like you and above all trust you. Your job is to share content via social media that has heart, real stories about real people – your clients, your employees maybe? – social media content needs to engage at a human level, it’s not simply about sharing corporate sales messages, no one believes these any more. Establish a connection first and clients will buy, you will rarely have to sell to them.
  5. It’s not just about posting – There is a misconception that if you post sufficient information via LinkedIn status updates, in groups, on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook that eventually you’ll attract plenty of new business and yes, you will attract some. However, if you’re not prepared to engage in dialogue with those who view your profile or respond to your posts – if you’re not prepared to engage in discussion forums and Twitter conversations then you’re not being ‘social‘. Engagement is the key to building relationships.
  6. Create content that engages – Content is definitely king – when it comes to social media and websites Google takes specific notice of those sites that share great content and that are linked to other sites that share great content. Your job is to create or curate great content (sounds simple doesn’t it?). What is great content? It’s content that your clients want to read, not what you think they should read. Consider sharing industry trends and updates that are relevant to your clients, be an indispensable resource to them. Share positive stories where you have had an influence in helping other similar businesses – be cautious of being too overtly salesy though.
  7. Don’t forget the sales element - In the end though, there is no point making all these connections and attracting many followers and likes -sharing wonderfully useful content with them, if they are not going to visit your website or enquire about your services further – you must put your sales hat on. For example, use Google Analytics to assess which of your website pages visitors land on most frequently and make sure that your social media content includes a link, every time, to these pages. When they land on your page, do you have a capture mechanism, clearly identified, where the visitor can sign up to your newsletter or special offer, so you capture their data? You must consider and include an end-game as far as your social media plans are concerned.
I believe that there is much confusion shared on various sites about linking social media activity with sales and marketing – they are linked, in fact they must be linked, otherwise we are all just being busy fools.
Social media is no silver bullet, it may bring instant results and certainly I have seen many examples where it has. However, patience is key here – be prepared to put time in and be consistent – measure and assess your progress – what do people respond well to, what isn’t working and needs to be changed? Social media is a process, it works for those who apply it with consideration and it’s not going away any time soon – you’re competitors are using it and winning, so are you prepared to get in the game and learn how to make it work for you in 2014?
Wishing you a great 2014 and if you would like to learn how my business helps company’s like yours to attract more new clients to your business click here now. Want more tips like this? Sign up to our weeklynews-brief here.

*Article by Steve Phillips (Managing Director/Linkd2Success)