Archives for April 2013

Why Small Business Should Start Taking Blogging More Seriously

 

mappa_blog

mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)

Do you blog?

Back in 2010, I talked about why small businesses should blog more, and since then I believe it’s become even more important.

If you started blogging in 2010, the chances are that you were pretty early on in your industry (unless you’re in SEO or Social Media) and so you should be reaping the rewards right now, getting more visitors, more comments and more sales than your competitors who came to blogging later (or maybe still don’t blog!)

If you’ve still not got around to starting a blog though, all is not lost. Make 2013 the year that you really start to explore how blogging can work for you and your business.

Why?

Businesses that blog get:

  • More pages in search engines = more chances for potential customers to find you
  • More traffic = more chances for you to prove to your potential customers that you are credible and here to stay
  • More comments = more chances for you to interact with your potential customers
  • More credibility = more of a chance that potential customers will come to you rather than your competitors

What’s not to like?

Setting up and customising a blog isn’t difficult, and you could be up and running within a couple of days.

Writing isn’t as hard as it sounds, there are plenty of articles out there to help, and of course you could ask me about my Blog Mentoring Package.

So here are 5 blog posts you should read if you’re looking to kick start your blogging in 2013:

  • 5 Reasons Your WordPress Blog Should Be Self Hosted
    While it’s not a bad thing to start with a freebie blog, if you want to be taken seriously you really need to look at self hosting, and this blog post tells you why. Need help with self hosting WordPress? Drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com
     
  • 21 Things You Could Blog About Right Now
    Often people put off blogging because they think they won’t have anything to say; this blog post talks you through 21 different things you could blog. Even if you post one a day that’s 3 weeks worth of blogging! No excuses now!
     
  • 67 SEO Tips for Blogging Newbies
    This title is a bit of a misnomer to be honest; even if you’ve been blogging for a while, this handy guide will more than likely tell you somehing you didn’t know about how your blog can help you to be found in search engines with very little effort.

  • Tips for Landing a Guest Post Every Time
    Guest blogging is one of the best traffic generators you’ll find, and if you’re not doing it yet, you should be! This post talks you through how to become the perfect guest poster and have people lining up to feature your posts.

  • Bloggers Have You Established Your Route to Fame?
    Once you have written a blog, how do you go about promoting it? If you feel as if you’re talking to yourself at times, this post will walk you through how I promote a blog post – it may help you to promote yours.

So, blogging; it’s not as hard as it may seem, but trust me, you will reap the rewards.

 
If you’re already blogging and think you’re making the most of your blog, check out our 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook, as a kick up the bum and a good solid workout for your blog and you.
 
I’d love to know more about your blogs – post a comment below with your blog address so I can have a look!
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What You Didn’t Do Yesterday Online That Lowered Your Rank [infographic]

A guest post by Tasty Placement

When I first started writing online, I really only thought about my interests and what I wanted to share while hoping that those were the same interests of others. If all went well, someone saw the post, linked it to someone else and a kind of web wildfire would spread throughout the virtual lands. However, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Those who write for a living online and depend on a high search engine rank are always looking for ways to connect better to their readership while also bringing in tons of new readers. I heard about this new study that looked at the importance of “Testing Social Signals,” which came in a neat little infographic by Tasty Placement. The infographic poses a simple question, “Can social media activity boost organic search ranking?” While that seems certain, there are some factors that actually make this more complicated than most would think.

The infographic details how six websites were created in similarly populated US cities with websites focused on the same niche. The domain name included the city name and a specific home service. Tasty Placement took it a bit further by promoting websites each through different social media like Google+, Twitter and Facebook. While promoting, they did what we do: follow their rankings in search engines with eager anticipation.

For those of you who love Google+, the infographic details how one targeted website generated more than a 100 Google Plus followers and raised considerably upward in its search engine rankings. Another website targeted specifically to Google Plus One yielded a slightly lower rank but overall still much higher the websites targeted to Facebook or Google. Is it any surprise that Google would favor its own social media?

All of the sites yielded some results, except for the one which was left to its own devices and had no social media promotions. While the study proved something that we have come to suspect, it was nice to see which social media connections really improved the ranking. Obviously, websites owners and bloggers are rewarded for using Google’s own system with higher rankings. Still, I was also wondering what would have happened if one website had been connected to all the social media. I can only see that being a rocket of high rankings.

This infographic was designed and developed by TastyPlacement, Inc. Click here to visit their site.

Click on image to see full sized version.

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10 SEO tasks you should perform today

This is an extract from 50 Shades of Yay, a free ebook by Nikki Pilkington

Search Engine Optimisation. Search Engine Opti...

Search Engine Optimisation. Search Engine Optimization (Photo credit: Hobo!)

SEO Tasks to help your website today!

1: Check your page titles

Your page titles are the words that appear at the top of the browser window. For example on the front page of my website, mine says ‘Social Media Marketing Support – NikkiPilkington.com – Internet Marketing Expert UK’. Titles are one of the most important aspects of SEO, as they tell Google where to put you. Change yours to describe what you do, not just to say ‘MyCompany.com’. Make each page’s title different. You should be able to do this in your Content Management System.

2: Work on your META descriptions

Although general theory says that the description tag isn’t used in determining where a website is placed in a search engine, it is still an important part of SEO. Your description is the thing that will make people click through to your site – if it’s dull, people won’t click. Again, every page should have a different description tag, and you should be able to do this through your CMS.

3: Add in some internal links

Have a look through the pages on your website and see where you can then link to OTHER pages on your website (Google loves internal links). For example, if I were talking to you about having someone else write your blog posts, I might link to the page on my site featuring my Bonkers Blogging Offer. That’s a link to another page on this site – so it’s an internal link. The link to Birds on the Blog above is an external link. Go through your pages and see where you can add internal links.

4: Look at your page names

The name (address) of the original blog post promoting this ebook is http://www.nikkipilkington.com/10-seo-tasks-you-should-perform-today. Now look at your website page names – do they accurately describe what is on your page? Page names such as /about, /contact, /services aren’t helping your SEO at all. Change them to more descriptive names: /about-your-company-name, /contact-for-xxx-service, /xxx-services-in-place for example.

 

5: Sort out your image alt tags

If you have images on your pages, take the time to use the alt tag to describe them. This not only helps with SEO, but helps with accessibility for certain types of website readers (for the blind for example). You should be able to do this in your CMS. Don’t keyword stuff them, but do describe them accurately. For example: ‘the xxx company logo’, ‘picture representing xxx service’.

6: Check your Webmaster Tools account

If you don’t have one, sign up for one now. Once your site is verified your WMT account is a veritable mine of information. It can tell you where you’re listed, who’s linking to you, any errors on your site etc. It’s also invaluable if you run a WordPress setup and get hacked at any time, as you’ll need to resubmit your site to Google through a Webmaster Tools account

7: Vary your incoming link anchor text

There was a time when SEO companies recommended that you used a single phrase as anchor text for your incoming links. (What’s anchor text?) However, with the recent Penguin update this has changed. It’s now recommended that you vary the text on your incoming links to get the best effect.

8: Change your content

Once the main pages of your website are there, it’s tempting to just leave them – after all you may have spent a long time or a lot of money putting them together, right? However, for SEO purposes it’s good to change things around a little occasionally – not whole swathes of text but maybe the odd paragraph here and there to show that the page is being updated semi regularly.

9: Add in H1 headlines

If at all possible, use your main keyphrase for each page as a H1 heading. (A different keyphrase for each page, remember?) Only use one per page though – any more could be seen as spam. H1 has the double advantage of letting the search engines know that that phrase is important, and drawing your visitor’s attention to the headline, reinforcing their belief that they are in the right place

A H1 heading appears between two H1 tags, which look like <H1> and </H1>

10: Review your results

There’s no point doing lots of SEO work if you don’t track your results. How many visitors are you getting? Are they coming in for the phrases you’re optimising for? Are any of your phrases not working? Use something such as Google Analytics on your site (I use Clicky) and check it regularly. You’ve done the work – review and measure the results. You’d be surprised how many people don’t, and only care about their positions in Google.

Want more SEO help? Get the 30 Day SEO Challenge now!

Want the other 40 Yay! tips, for Twitter, Facebook, Blogging and more? Get it over at Birds on the Blog.

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50 things you could do today to promote your website…

… or 50 Shades of Yay!

If you can manage to put down Mr Grey, and drag your mind back to your business ;) let’s take control of your website.

twitter logo map 09

twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

For any small business owner it’s easy to feel shackled to your website, chained to Google, and to tie yourself in knots worrying about how to bring in the traffic.

My 50 Shades of Yay will give you release from all of that frustration, allowing you to fulfill your potential and giving life to your website.

50 Shades of Yay!

50 Shades of Yay is an ebook split into 5 different areas of promotion. This blog post aims to give you a sense of each section, but you’ll need to download the ebook to get the full 50 (don’t worry, it’s free).

Yay! 1 -SEO

1: Check your page titles

Your page titles are the words that appear at the top of the browser window. For example on the front page of my website, mine says ‘Social Media Marketing Support – NikkiPilkington.com – Internet Marketing Expert UK’. Titles are one of the most important aspects of SEO, as they tell Google where to put you. Change yours to describe what you do, not just to say ‘MyCompany.com’. Make each page’s title different. You should be able to do this in your Content Management System.

2: Work on your META descriptions

Although general theory says that the description tag isn’t used in determining where a website is placed in a search engine, it is still an important part of SEO. Your description is the thing that will make people click through to your site – if it’s dull, people won’t click. Again, every page should have a different description tag, and you should be able to do this through your CMS.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the free ebook now and please share with other people!

Yay! 2 – Blogging

1: Sort out your tags and categories

Tags are like keywords for your blog – you should add 4 or 5 to each blog post. Let’s say you wrote a blog post about children needing sunblock in the summer – your tags could be: children, kids, summer, sun care, skincare.

Categories are there to help you and your readers, so use them. They’re different to tags in that they can be more generic, and relate to areas of interest, topics, rather than specific posts. So, a telemarketing blog may use categories such as these: telemarketing, telesales, appointment setting, business development, lead generation. All related to telemarketing, but in different areas.

Tags and categories help search engines and readers – use them!

2: Write an editorial calendar

If you’re rubbish at blogging, the best thing you can do is put together an editorial calendar. This is a document that plans your blog posts for the next month, 3 months, however long you want. It not only makes you think about what you’re going to write, it gives you a sense of resposibility to then write it :) WordPress has a great plugin called Editorial Calendar  that allows you to look at each month at a glance and enter topic ideas for the future. Or just make your own in Word and stick it above your desk!

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and why not mention this blog post in your next blog?

Yay! 3 – Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

1: Ask for the business

We’re so bombarded with people telling us that we shouldn’t use Twitter to sell, and social media is about being social, that we’re scared to put a foot wrong.  I’m not saying those statements are wrong – anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m a great believer in the ‘Social’ in social media.  However, most of us are there to build our businesses – we’re not just in it for a laugh. So I’ll be interested to see how many of you take up my next challenge – which is to ask for the business.  Not from your followers, but from people they know.  In the true spirit of networking, ask your followers if there’s anyone they could refer you to:

–       Who do you know who needs xxxx, I’d love an introduction

–       If anyone says they’re struggling with xxxx pass them my way, I may be able to help

–       Do you know someone looking for xxxx, please introduce me to them

No hard sell, no desperate please, just straightforward networking. If you see others posting this kind of thing, think about who you’ve seen or know who has been saying they have that particular problem recently, and introduce them.  I get a lot of my suppliers from Twitter, but I also post Tweets looking for suppliers that get no response – one of those could be one that may bring you business.  So go on, ask for the business – I dare you ;)

2: Track your results

As in anything, it’s nice to see how well you’re doing on Twitter. There are many tools out there to measure Twitter impact, both free and paid. Twittercounter www.Twittercounter.com will track the amount of followers you have, predict how many you’ll have in X days and allow you to see how many Tweets you’re sending a day. Tweetstatswww.Tweetstats.com – this is an amazing free application that will graph your Tweet stats for you.  Tweetreachwww.Tweetreach.com – will tell you how many people your Tweets reached, counting reTweets – well worth playing with.  SocialMentionwww.socialmention.com – allows you to track mentions of your name in various social media and is very addictive! There are many paid Social Media tracking systems out there – of these, in my opinion, Sprout Social is the best – www.sproutsocial.com. Pricing starts at $39 per month.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now – then please pay it forward by Tweeting about this post.

Yay 4! – Facebook

1: Update your description

I see many Facebook Business Pages not using their description effectively. The ‘about’ description is the text that will appear when someone shares your page on their profile – use it to fully describe your page so people will know what it’s about. Change it regularly and track what works best.

2: Highlight a post

Once you have written a post on your Facebook page, if you hover next to your name and click the star, this ‘highlights’ the post. What this means is that the post is made double width and thus gets more attention from visitors to your page. I’ve used this to good effect to promote my 30 Day Challenge books, so it’s well worth doing for important posts.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section?  Download the ebook now – please consider posting this to your Facebook wall and share the love 🙂

Yay 5 – Extras

1: Pinterest – rename your boards

When you first start with Pinterest, it’s tempting to give your boards funky and funny names – but that’s going to do you no good in search. Look at your boards and give them names that mean something and are likely to show up in a search. As an example, my board called So True is never going to turn up in a search (which doesn’t matter because it’s only quotations and funnies) but my board named Business Blogging Beginner To Pro, and the one called Facebook for Business, does show up. Don’t just give your boards generic names such as ‘blogging’ and ‘telemarketing’ – think this through as an SEO exercise and use your keyphrases where you can.

2: Forums – change your signature

Often when you sign up to a forum such as UK Business Labs, you’re entitled to use a signature file with links. You set it up, include a bit of HTML to create a signature, and Bob’s yer uncle, your signature is set in stone, to be appended to any post you make. If you’re like most people your signature will stay as it is for months, maybe even years, with no change. But if you regularly change your forum signature you not only create interest within the forum itself, you’ll be developing varied links into your site (which Google loves).

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and consider sharing this post on Pinterest, in forums, LinkedIn etc.

Bonus Yay!

1: This post – share it on your networks ;)

Yes, that benefits me, of course. However it also benefits you. Why? Well, for one, your networks will appreciate the share and probably remember you for it, making them more likely to recommend your content in future. Secondly, if you tell me that you’ve shared it, *I’M* more likely to promote your content and share your Tweets etc in future.

So, go ahead, Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumble, Digg, Pin, Blog and more – and if you’d like to offer ebook as a free download on your own website please drop me a line on nikkipilk@gmail.com

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