Archives for February 2011

299 Steps to Blogging Heaven – how much is it worth to you?

299I’m doing it again – but this time with 299 Steps to Blogging Heaven!

You may remember a while ago I ran a ‘pay what you want’ campaign for 299 Steps to Website Heaven (drop me a line if you want a copy for free as it’s a little out of date now!); well I’m doing it again with our great Ebook 299 Steps to Blogging Heaven.

If blogging has you in a tizz and you’re not sure which way is up, this guide will help you to make the most of your blogging efforts.

In it I talk about the layout of a blog, why using pictures helps, how to get ideas for blogging, how to use blogging for SEO, and more!

And because I’m a generous soul, you can get it for as little as £1!

Yep, that’s right, £1.

Using the Paypal Donate button below, you can choose how much you want to pay for it, from £1 to £10.

What’s it worth to you to have your blog posts show up on the front page of Google? Or to have more interaction on your blog? Or to use your blog to get great backlins for your website?

How much would you pay to have great guest blogging opportunities? Or to have guest bloggers post on your blog?

I’d guess it’s more than a tenner, right?

Well you can learn how to do all of the above things and more with 299 Steps to Blogging Heaven – and you pay what you think it’s worth!

No-one except me will know how much you’ve paid, and I’m not telling anyone.

This offer is only going to run until the end of Feb 2011, so get in now and become a blogging genius in no time!

Use the Paypal button below to buy your copy of 299 Steps to Blogging Heaven now!

Where has my Facebook Business Page gone?

Facebook logo

Image via Wikipedia

That’s the cry around the web this morning as Facebook seems to have somehow lost a large proportion of Business Pages over night. Not the best news to wake up to, especially when checking on mine and a few of my clients’ pages, they have indeed gone AWOL.

Even more interesting is that some people can see their pages on their phone apps, but not on the web.

To add to the confusion, some people can see some pages, when others can’t see them at all and just get a ‘oops not found’ message.

What’s going on Facebook? First the changes to the pages, then messing up the chronological order of things, and now losing my page altogether – can I have it back please?

If your page has disappeared, try posting on the Facebook Pages Business Page (which of course is still there!) – the more of us that post, the more likely someone is to listen. I’ve also emailed support, but I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

Luckily my website, blog and Twitter page are still there – another great reminder that it’s better to spread your marketing than put all your eggs in one basket 🙂

Is your page still there? Let me know with a link in the comments below and I’ll check it out to see if I can see it too!

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Guestblog: Facebook For Business – Why?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

A guest post from Chris Carrier

Let’s start with a brand new Facebook Fan Page (A Butcher in Kent for example), and a chap clicks on the “like” button, Facebook immediately alerts all of his friends via the live feed that “Bob” likes Kent Butchers, curiousty dictates that some of his freinds will follow suit, or at the very least have a look to see why Kent Butchers is different. And once a few people have liked it, Kent Butchers is now put under the nose of thousands of Facebook users, kids, adults and customers.

Here comes the crunch, if “Sarah” has a look at what “Bob” has liked and it is not very engaging, she will more than likely go back to whatever she was doing without clicking on the “like” button (and showing all her friends!). So it is extremely important that the page attracts, engages and excites the new viewer/potential customer, because for all we know “Sarah” may be having a barbeque/dinner party in Folkestone on Saturday.

I won’t even talk about the bad examples, as they are not interesting enough, but the great examples are why you are reading this article . . .

Exciting Facebook Fan Pages:

The first thing a new visitor should see is a landing page, a picture (roughly 500x700px, I find works best), that explains in detail why people should “like” your page, products, services, offers etc. Much better than just wall posts that have no interaction or have been left to go stagnant, excite your viewers, Kent Butchers could use a lovely fresh steak or a succulent pork roast, with information on local hand reared, organic produce, homemade mustards, the list could go on, even writing this I am planning my next trip to the butchers! Be evocative, play to your viewers emotions, and finish it with a strong call to action, such as “Like this page for Exclusive Offers” or “Click like to see our specials”.

Effective Profile Pictures:

Use a profile picture that matches your brand and landing image too, so that people know instantly that it is Kent Butchers, the best size I find for this is 200x300px, drop your logo on it, and some key information, such as email, website and phone numbers. You will be surprised at how a simple setup like this can find you new clients, and all you need to do is pop along from time to time and add an offer or an update about your products.

Interactive Landing Pages:

If you want your viewers to react instantly to your landing page, you can also create an interactive one, with links and buttons that they can click on to visit various promotions and websites. One like this works exactly the same as your website, let’s imagine Kent Butchers has three interactive links, Contact Us, Our Website and Monthly Offers, and each one of these go to a page on his website, instant traffic, and well targetted traffic straight to his special offers, much better than taking his chances on Google. (1,520,00 results for Kent Butchers).

Interactive Landing pages are written in the same code as a majority of standard websites, HTML, and they are very easy to integrate, you add the FBML application (on Facebook) to your Fan Page, copy and paste the HTML code into it, then you create a tab, we will call ours “Kent Butchers” and assign that tab to be the landing page for every new visitor!

Chris Carrier runs a website/graphic design company in the Midlands, and has a passion for WordPress, Design, Old Fashioneds and has 15 years to save for his Aston Martin DB5.
Skype: kip.fx.design
Phone: 01223 969 458
eMail: kip@kipfx.com

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How to annoy your customers and kill your online sales

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Image via Wikipedia

A guest blog by C. Loren Bishop

If you’re not seeing the results that you expected from your online business, all of your hard work might actually be driving your customers away. If your marketing strategy is annoying instead of engaging, prospects will instantly leave your site and delete your emails without reading them. You may even end up on their ignore or spam lists. Check to see if you’re making any of these mistakes:

1. Big, Bold Fonts
This is the equivalent of talking louder when people stop listening in the offline world. If no one is paying attention to your content, bigger fonts, bolder colors, or flashier graphics won’t make a bit of difference. In fact, a visual assault is one way to guarantee the user will change the channel, so to speak.

2. Not Listening
If you talk, talk, talk, and talk some more without stopping to listen to your audience, you’ll quickly lose their attention. Ask for their opinion, solicit comments, and encourage discussion and debate. A conversation is much more engaging than a monologue. An easy way to gather private opinions is to use online survey software to ask a question or two that customers can answer confidentially. It will be just between the two of you and show that you value their opinion.

3. Constantly Repeating Yourself
OK, we get it. We actually got it the first time. While it’s okay to repeat key points once or twice to make an impact, don’t repeat the same information 10 times. Treat your readers like the intelligent people that they are. The same holds true with email communications. If you have something new to say, go ahead and send the email. However, if your message is basically the same as yesterday or last week, don’t just send a rephrased version of the same old thing.

4. Not Making Sense
It’s tempting to show that you’re an expert by filling your content with keywords and technical jargon. However, your goal is to deliver a simple, easy-to-understand message that catches your reader’s attention. If they can’t weed out the actual meaning from the fluff, you’ve missed your target.

5. The Hard Sell
If you’re filling your message with a call-to-action that is too much of a hard sell, you’ll quickly irritate your customer. Avoid too many “buy now” or “hurry, time is running out” statements. While this might work on a used car lot, it’s not effective with savvy internet shoppers. Even if you’re the most trustworthy online business owner in the entire cyber world, this tactic screams scam.

6. Not Selling at All
Just like you don’t want a hard sell, don’t use a sales tactic that’s too soft. Don’t be so scared of annoying or offending your customers that you never ask for the sale at all. Be engaging, be sensitive, be appropriate, but above all else, provide enough information that your customer knows how to buy your product.

Once you eliminate these annoying habits, or any of the other internet marketing sins, from your online repertoire, you’ll be amazed at the increase in your traffic and your bottom line!

C. Loren Bishop is a lover of all things creative. She likes to write, and has an obsession with crossword puzzles. She’s recently started blogging, and you can follow her on Twitter @cbishopBG.

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Why you should have 2 blog titles for most blogs you write

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

Image via Wikipedia

In the past few weeks, more and more of my mentoring clients want to talk about blogging, and in particular how to get more people to read their blogs.

“I’m Tweeting and Facebooking my blogs like mad, but I still only get a handful of readers, and that peters out after a few days”, one client said on the phone to me last week. And others are saying similar things.

It’s then that I ask the question: “How many visits do you get from the search engines to your blogs?” and the answer is invariably “Not many”.

But written well, a blog can be a traffic generator for months and even years.

See, it’s easy to think up a catchy headline for a blog, one that you just KNOW will have people who ‘follow’ or ‘like’ you clicking like mad. But you need to reach more people than just those who already know who you are.

What about the people searching on Google for the solution to a problem? Looking for a source of information? Perhaps looking for the exact thing your blog is written about, and in need of your services / products? They don’t know you from Adam, and they don’t follow you on Twitter or Facebook, but they’re your ideal customer. How are you going to reach those people?

In order to appear in (decent) results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc, you need to think about what people are searching for. And write your blog title accordingly.

“Oh but that means a really dull and obviously written title for search engines, and my blog is more creative than that”, said another client last week.

And I see her point – you don’t spend ages crafting a fantastic headline only to have to stuff it full of keywords so that it appeals to a search engine.

And that’s where an SEO plugin comes in handy.

Most SEO plugins for WordPress (we use All in One SEO) allow you to craft TWO titles for your blog posts. One of those titles will appear as the headline of the blog, so you can be as witty and clever as you like without worrying about those pesky search engines.

The OTHER title is one that appears at the top of the browser, and the one that Google will take into account when deciding where to put you in the results.

So, as an example, this blog is called “Why you should have 2 blog titles for most blogs you write” – that’s the title that will be Tweeted out, put on Facebook, show up in the blog listings etc.

blog1

However, the SEO title, as you will see from the top of the browser, is “How can I get my blogs to show up in Google? Two titles!”

blog2

That’s because I know that no-one is searching for ‘2 blog titles’ but I know that people are searching for ‘how do i get my blogs to show up in google’ and variations thereof. I could have made my SEO title “SEO for blogging – how 2 titles will help” or “Getting blogs into search engines – use 2 titles” – get the picture?

So when writing your next blog, think about the people who AREN’T following you, don’t know who you are, but are out there looking for the solution you provide. Write 2 blog titles for every post and let me know how you get on!

(As an aside, because I write a lot of my blog posts in response to questions, the titles I write tend to do OK in Google, so I don’t always have 2 titles – you may be the same, in which case, carry on 🙂 )

** UPDATE ** This blog post is now on the front page of Google results for the search “get my blogs to show in google” and “How can I get my blogs to show up in Google?

blog3

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Do recruiters even know what Klout IS?

Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

It was claimed recently by a ‘guru’ apparently in the know, that all recruiters would be using Klout shortly to decide if you would even get an interview when looking for a job.

Now, not really being one to listen to self proclaimed gurus, and being of an inquisitive (and some say cynical) nature, I decided to look into this more.

First stop was a quick email to the UK Head of Recruitment for a well known Social Media network. Did she take Klout scores into consideration when shortlisting interviewers?

“You must be f***ing joking” was her short but succinct reply.

I asked for some help from my network – were recruiters really using something as easily gamed as Klout in their hiring process? Various responses came in:

US based recruiter @barryfurby came back with a fairly short response: “I’d say it’s crap”. A couple of follow up emails and he wrote his own blog on the subject: Does your CV have Klout?

Social Media Company owner @BWOps went a step further: “I had some one apply for a job and push their Klout, and I told them that it was the least impressive thing they could do. Assuming you believe in Klout,if your klout is High, why are you applying for a job, and if it is low why would I hire you.”

Another email in from the head of recruitment at a well known US based company: “I must confess I have never heard of Klout I am afraid. I am now googling it to see what it is. Sorry!  I have never been asked for it.”

Back to Twitter and @graemefraser who hits the nail on the head when he asks: “Do recruiters do that? Surely there’s not enough context or sentiment in the klout measurement.”

@pauleencraknell isn’t a big fan either: “I certainly would not use it to score my candidates for interview, not sure why any recruiter would.”

I waited in vain for the positive replies to come in – and I’m still waiting.

My thoughts are that no recruiter in their right mind would use something as basic as a Klout score to judge whether someone is capable of doing a job, not even in Social Media itself. And while I do agree that more and more recruiters and HR people will use Twitter, Facebook and more to try and find out about potential candidates, I’ll stick my neck out and saying that only giving interviews to people with ‘decent’ Klout scores (when last time I looked even Mark Zuckerberg only had a score of 45!) is asking for ridicule.

Now, over to you lot 🙂 Are you a recruiter or someone in charge of hiring people? Have you heard of Klout (I’ve deliberately not explained what it is in this blog)? Are you using it as a part of your shortlisting or hiring process? I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below, or via email to nikkipilk@gmail.com.

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Facebook Business Page alerts at last – we're Hyper!

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

Image via Wikipedia

At first, the worldwide phenomenon Facebook was designed to keep students, friends and families in touch with one another. But these days, more and more businesses are using this social network site as part of their national and international marketing strategies, helping all types of businesses to communicate the latest offers, products, services, news etc with their followers.

Despite being a great marketing tool, keeping on top of Facebook business accounts and managing all of the comments and discussions etc used to mean logging onto Facebook multiple times a day. Unlike normal personal profile accounts, Facebook does not provide email updates to alert Facebook business account holders of new page additions, making it difficult and time consuming to keep on top of, and in touch with, all the page’s followers.

But now, a new great time-saving service called Hyper Alerts has been created. Designed to email you either straight away after new posts, comments, actions etc, or at set intervals if you would rather just get an update every hour, day etc, Hyper Alerts allows you to get on with something else without worrying about what is happening on your Facebook Business Page.

It is rather surprising that Facebook does not already offer this service, considering it is such an easy way for businesses to keep on top of their business accounts. But thankfully someone else has thought to do it, with Hyper Alerts letting you know when there have been any updates to your account, without you having to check yourself every few minutes.

As much as Facebook is a great tool for enhancing any digital marketing campaign, Hyper Alerts means you can stop worrying about your Facebook business page, allowing you to manage your time much more efficiently, making Hyper Alerts well worth signing up to.

Fran

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