Tag: internet marketing

If You Build It, Will They Come to Your Website?

Written By: Bryan Janeczko

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In the movie “Field of Dreams” a farmer heeds the instruction “If you build it, he will come” and builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield.  So if you build a website for your new business, are you also guaranteed to attract the visitors you want?  The answer is… maybe.

There are lots of people online pushing tactics that they say will guarantee that your site is at the top of the search engine results page.  But many of these involve shady practices that, if discovered, will cause your site to be blacklisted by the major search engines.  So my advice is: don’t try to trick the search engines.  Instead, use your resources to create content that potential customers will find valuable.  Next week I’ll focus on the basics for making sure that people who search for your startup can find you.  In the meantime, here are some ideas that will ensure that your site is interesting and engaging – and will keep people at your site once they find it.  Pleasing potential customers should be your main objective – achieve that and the search engine issue will resolve itself.

  • Tell great stories about your business, including what inspired you to start your company and how your organization can help your customers solve their problems.  Always let your passion and purpose for what you do shine through!   Everyone loves a good story and posting content that people want to read is the best way for startups to attract attention to their website.
  • Your startup’s website has just seconds to get customers’ attention, so include a compelling visual on every page – pictures really can say more than words.
  • Add a blog to your startup’s website — it’s a good way to encourage users to visit you often.  Be sure to update your blog often, ideally on a regular schedule so readers will come to know when to expect a new post.
  • Post photos, videos, webinars, infographics, and powerpoint presentations on your startup’s website.  Different people respond to different ways of presenting the same information (that’s why educators often lecture, write on a white or blackboard, initiate discussion, and have students read about the same topic) so use as many different ways as you can of communicating the value your startup offers.
  • Include tips, advice and links to relevant articles on your startup’s website to make it a go-to destination for people in your industry.  Don’t be afraid to reprint content that exists elsewhere – just make sure you ask for permission first and always offer a link back to the source.

Remember that you can’t just build your site and forget it.  Make sure you are updating your site all the time with information about new products and services, success stories from grateful customers, press releases and anything else your readers would find useful or interesting.  New businesses can find tips for improving their web sites from free publications like Website Magazine; from web hosting companies like 1&1, GoDaddy, and Register.com; and, of course, from SCORE.

 

bryan-janeczko-100Bryan JaneczkoFounder, Wicked Start
Bryan has successfully launched multiple startups, including NuKitchen and StartOut. His latest venture, Wicked Start, provides aspiring founders with a free startup roadmap to plan, fund, and launch a new venture. He is committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed for the long term.
www.wickedstart.com | Facebook | @WickedStart | More from Bryan

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How to Blog Effectively

Written By: Giselle Aguiar

Besides providing the Google search engine with fresh content as explained in my last article on Google and Content Marketing blogging has other purposes:

1. It establishes you or your company as an expert in your field

2. It increases brand visibility, builds trust and credibility

3. It helps promote yourself or your business, website and brand

4. It helps you build a platform and grow a following

5. It’s a great way to share opinions, how-tos, reviews, advice, comments on news

6. It generates traffic and potential leads to your website and makes your website come alive

What to Blog About

  • Give your readers solutions to their problems
  • Get to the point – do a good detailed headline and deliver on the message
  • KISS – Keep it Short and Sweet – don’t try to impress people with fancy words, write in a conversational tone. Keep it on point and don’t ramble on. Under 500 words.
  • Give examples of success stories, case studies or testimonials
  • Write about hypothetical situations like “Don’t let this happen to you!”
  • Repurpose old articles – rewrite them to make sure it’s not duplicated elsewhere
  • Be educational, informative and entertaining
  • Invite guest bloggers – folks that are influencers in your industry
  • Stick to your topic and industry
  • Write eye-catching, headlines that peak curiosity

You don’t have to Reinvent the Wheel

There’s a ton of content already online so if you don’t consider yourself a creative writer, you can easily take a snippet from someone else’s content and comment on it. YouTube has lots of videos that are related to your industry that you can embed into your blog post then summarize or comment on it.

For example, I have a client, US-Africa Gateway [], they are a portal for businesses wanting to do trade in Africa. As you may imagine, there’s a lot of news and content available. Too much actually. Many times when I start writing something, I find that someone already wrote it. I’ve taken to searching YouTube for relevant videos, then embedding them in the blog post and writing a summary with other links to the client’s site. Here’s a sample post.

If you’re going to do this, make sure that the videos you are using aren’t from a direct competitor. Don’t edit the video. Keep the link to the originating YouTube channel. The best ones to use are from industry experts or news channels with relative content to your business.

Take advantage of what’s trending. Monitor Twitter and Google+ to see what’s people are talking about and take advantage of trends in your industry. But check why it’s trending before you proceed. Make sure a phrase is not trending because of some sort of tragedy.

How Often Should You Blog?

The “rule of thumb” is blog at least once a week and tweet and post several times a day. I believe it depends on the business and the industry. If you’re a small business, once a week, should be sufficient. If you have the time, twice a week. Be consistent. If you decide to blog once a week, try to keep to the same day. Followers will get used to a regular schedule.

If your business is larger and more complicated, you may have enough material to write about daily.

Have an editorial calendar. This will help you plan articles in advance. Use Google Calendar or a simple spreadsheet.

Schedule posts to publish in the future. If you find yourself with a little extra time, write 2 or 3 posts and schedule them to post at different times in the week or month.

Promote Your Blog

  • Share your blog post links on social media. This adds links to the site that helps with SEO and increases your following.
  • Always post to Google+ at least once. It’ll get indexed in the search engine immediately.
  • Add the blog post to your email newsletter. Quote the first paragraph, then link to the post with “click here to read more…” This will drive folks to your website.
  • Share it with your groups on LinkedIn – but don’t post too often! Read the group’s rules for discussions and respect them. Keep relevant to the topic.

4 Things You Must Do

1. Give readers a call-to-action at the end – click her to download a free e-book, click here for a free consultation, subscribe so you don’t miss the next installment…

2. Always add a graphic – the social media networks like Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest love graphics and add it to the post which makes it more eye-catching. Infographics are very popular now.

3. Make it easy for folks to share your content with their friends on social media – have share buttons in several place on your blog.

4. Make it easy for folks to follow you on the networks. If they like what your wrote, they are likely to follow you to get more information. Have follow buttons and/or widgets with quick links to your social media pages.

5. Make sure you have a RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed properly set up to make it easy to subscribe to the blog.

Next time: Optimize your website for social media

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing strategist & trainer helping small to mid-sized business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. As with anything in business, using the right tools in the right way and at the right time are critical parts to your success. Learn from someone who’s known the Internet since it’s infancy. Official Social Media, Newsletter and Blog Manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE. Social media training – 1-on-1 or for groups. WordPress sites and blogs. http://azsocialmediawiz.com 602-738-1700

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Google SEO & Content Marketing

Written By: Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media Wiz (Updated 9/16/14)

Google SEO & Content MarketingAbout a year ago, Google came out with its Penguin update and changed their algorithm in attempts to get more relevant results for searches. Everything you ever knew about Search Engine Optimization will no longer work. If you were on page one of a Google search, now you may be on page six. Nobody looks at page six.

Before, the more keywords you had on a webpage, the higher it would rank in the Google search results. Not anymore.

Google now looks for and recognizes relevant content

What’s Relevant Content?

Relevant content is basically informative articles related to the topic or industry of the website. For instance, if you’re a landscaper in Phoenix, you’re going to have content on desert landscaping and gardening tips. If you start writing about tax tips, Google is going to demote your site.

Why should you care?

Google Owns Search in 2014Google share of all Internet searches is 86% with Bing and Yahoo struggling to even exist. Now Google has closer to 90% of all searches. Bing and Yahoo will never catch up no matter how hard they try.

It’s now about Content Marketing

The old way of doing SEO is referred to as “black hat” tactics and if you continue to do things the old way, Google will demote you. They may even flag you as a spammer. You do not want that to happen.

You need to provide Google with fresh, relevant content on a regular basis written for the human reader. That’s where blogging comes in. (I’ll get into the specifics of blogging in my next article.) You need to blog at least once a week.

Think like a searcher. What will a potential customer enter in the Google search box to get to your site? Do some keyword research. Google has a keyword tool to help you choose the best keywords pertaining to your site. Choose the ones that have a high number of search requests with less competition.

Once you have your keywords, use them carefully within your blog. Have a thesaurus handy so you don’t repeat the same keyword or phrase over an over again.

Do not duplicate content. Google will demote your site for that also. If you need to “repurpose” an old article, rewrite it. If identical content exists on another site that is no longer working, delete it from there.

Don’t over advertise or sell. Be educational. Don’t have more than 25% of advertising on your site.

Have “back links” to your content from recognized sites like the social media networks, StumbledUpon, Digg, Reddit, and other sharing sites. Don’t “exchange links” with sites that are not relevant to yours in some way. For example, if you’re a contractor, exchanging links with interior decorators or Realtors makes sense. Having links on a food site doesn’t.

Promote your blog on the social networks especially Google+. Google indexes it immediately in the search engine. (I’ll get into detail about Google+ and the other networks in future articles.)

If you don’t consider yourself a good writer, hire someone who is or at least have someone edit your articles before posting.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing strategist & trainer helping small to mid-sized business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. As with anything in business, using the right tools in the right way and at the right time are critical parts to your success. Learn from someone who’s known the Internet since it’s infancy. Official Social Media, Newsletter and Blog Manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and Adjunct Faculty at Phoenix College. Social media training – 1-on-1 or for groups. WordPress sites and blogs. http://azsocialmediawiz.com 602-738-1700. You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

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5 Mar

Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing

Written By: Giselle Aguiar

The Social Media Paradigm Shift

If you’re not taking social media seriously to promote your business, you are missing out on powerful, free marketing tools to reach your target market.

Marketing is not what it used to be.

Once upon a time, advertising messages were broadcasted out via TV, newspapers, magazines, radio, direct mail, telemarketing and the yellow pages. (Yes, remember them? When was the last time you used the yellow pages?) Before, it used to be if you weren’t in the yellow pages, your business didn’t exist. Then it was the World Wide Web. If you didn’t have a website, your business didn’t exist.

Now, if you don’t have a presence in the top networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, your business doesn’t exist.

Inbound Marketing 

 Why the shift? Consumers don’t want to look at advertising. They DVR shows and fast forward through the commercials. They block pop-ups. Direct mail is junk mail and there’s the “do not call” list.

People search online for what they want when they want it. “Google” is a verb.

Online search, combined with social media, drives people to your product or service.

You can’t ignore where your customers and potential customers are and they are “hanging out” in social media. 

There is No More “Box”

You’ve heard the expression, “Think Outside the Box”? Well, there is no more box. The box is gone. The old “marketing mix” with a percentage of broadcast and print media, direct mail, yellow pages – is no more. It’s basically “anything goes.” The more creative, witty and clever you are, the better your results will be. If you’re not creative, hire someone who is.

Social Media has become an integral part of the marketing mix. Though it does not completely replace traditional methods, it has to be included in your marketing plan.

Google used to have 60% of the searches. It’s now closer to 90%. Bing and Yahoo will never catch up. Last year Google changed their search algorithm to give searchers content that is more relevant to their searches. It seeks fresh, relevant content written for the human reader.

It used to be that the more times a search keyword showed up in a page the higher it would rank in the search results. Not any more. Customers search for information and find you by the content you provide on your website and blog.

You must think like the searcher. Figure out what they will enter in the Google search box to find what you have to offer and integrate those phrases and keywords in the content.

It’s all about Content Marketing 

Content is King! How do you give Google fresh content? By blogging. Blogging at least once a week will increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and lead people to your website. Can’t write? Hire someone who can.

It’s not all about you! It’s about what you can do for your customer. Solve their problems. Educate and inform them. Make life easier for them.

Social Sharing for Promotion and Visibility

But the blog is not enough. You then need to promote the blog with social media. That, in turn, helps SEO and build relationships with your potential and current customers – something traditional advertising and marketing never did.

Social media is not a magic pill that will immediately drive sales. Though that is the ultimate goal of your business, social media’s job, when used correctly, is to increase awareness and establish you or your company as an expert in your field and increase traffic to your website. It takes time and effort, but it will be worthwhile in the long run.

In my next post I’ll be covering Google+ and how Google is making search social and changing SEO.

With over 18 years of Internet Marketing and web design experience under her belt, Giselle Aguiar, the AZ Social Media Wiz, and award-winning writer, can help a business grow and increase visibility by leveraging the power of social media and content marketing. She specialized in assisting small businesses improve brand recognition, SEO and website traffic through social media marketing strategies, training, set-up, implementation, coaching & ghost-blogging. For more information visit: http://azsocialmediawiz.com 602-738-1700

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