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.

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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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Bloggers, are you laying out the welcome mat?

A guest post by Sarah Arrow

Over in this post I wrote about how to listen to hear your blog’s community. In this post I would like to share with you how to welcome your readers and make them feel part of your blogging community and with careful calls to action, how you can grow your subscribers.. How to make them want to come back again, and again and again.
When a reader first finds you, you can welcome them with two WordPress Plugins – WP Greetboxor What Would Seth Godin Do? Both of these plugins welcome your reader and invite them to stay in touch. WP Greetbox can be tailored to greet your reader from the referencing site:

Greetbox_welcome

Click to enlarge

 

Greetbox_call_to_action

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What would Seth Godin Do? works slightly differently and treats returning visitors slightly differently than new visitors. The messages can be tweaked so a first time visitor to your blog post is welcomed differently to a returning visitor. The settings can be adjusted so that the message is shown a certain number of times. This means your regular readers don’t get annoyed or “ad blind” to the welcome greeting.

The first time someone leaves a comment on your blog, you can use Comment Redirect to take them to a comment policy page. OK, comment policy may sound a little high-brow, but this page explains a little about how you moderate comments, how pleased you are they took the time and how much you would like them to stay in touch.

Calls to action here may include inviting them to join your Facebook page, your newsletter, following you on Twitter. Remember one call to action, don’t overwhelm the person and be gentle. If you don’t like a sales pitch at every opportunity, your readers won’t too and that may turn them off of being part of your social media community.

The downside to the Comments Redirect plugin is that it is not compatible to all commenting systems. It doesn’t work well with Disqus or LyveFire.

Thank me later is a wonderful little plugin that you can use if you use a commenting system such as Disqus. Using Disqus means you cannot use the Comment Redirect plugin. By adding Thank me Later, you can send a message to your first time commenters thanking them and inviting them to stay in touch and visit often. The messages are highly customisable and again you can extend the invitation again to join a Facebook Fan Page or follow you on Twitter.

A blog where you are welcomed means you are more likely to get comments and social shares, give it a go and remember to measure your before and after stats so you can see what works best for your blog.

Sarah

Sarah Arrow is the author of “Always Be Creating”, The ebook for bloggers looking to improve their community and expand their subscribers. She also blogs about the unsexy transport stuff for her Same Day Courier company.

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The 30 Day SEO Challenge is here!

It’s been great seeing you all do so well on our 30 Day Blogging Challenge, 30 Day Facebook Challenge, and sign up for the soon to be launched 30 Day Adwords Challenge, and so on August 1st 2011 we launched the challenge you’ve all been asking for – The 30 Day SEO Challenge!

The 30 Day SEO Challenge from Nikki Pilkington

In this Challenge you’ll learn about:

  • Finding the right keyphrases
  • Making META tags work for you
  • Why Titles matter
  • How to get front page Google listings and keep them
  • Whether link building campaigns are worth it
  • How to get links to your site that really make a difference
  • and more!

Alongside the Challenge is a brand new ebook – which is priced pretty reasonably we think at just £8.

Should I get the ebook or sign up for the email course?

That depends on how impatient you are :)

The email course will be free for the first 100 signups – after that it will be chargeable.

The ebook contains everything that’s in the course, plus a fair few extras – resources and articles that will help you – and more access to me if you need it :)

OK I want the ebook

Just pop over to our ebook store to pick it up – have a look at some of our other challenge ebooks while you’re there!

OK I want the email course

Cool – we reached 100 free signups pretty quickly, so I’m afraid you’ve missed the boat on that one.  However, we’re going to do things a little differently on the paid signups for this one :) Instead of me telling you what to pay, you can make a donation. Minimum is £1, maximum is whatever you like. I would say if you were thinking of paying over £8 though you’d be better off getting the book :) You can donate using the Paypal button below.

Things to note: Once you have paid, Paypal will route you to a page where you sign up to the emails – please wait for this to happen, or you won’t be added to the course, then you’ll email me in a grump :)

 

 

Want to make £60 for doing next to nothing?

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

Image by epSos.de via Flickr

Sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn’t it? But one of our affiliates did just that in less than 3 weeks last month.

OK, £20 a week isn’t going to set the world alight, but it’s better than nothing, I’m sure you’ll agree!

So what did he do to make this magnificent amount of money?

Well:

1) He signed up to our affiliate program, to sell our ebooks

2) He emailed his newsletter list, recommending our last book, the 30 Day Blogging Challenge

3) He updated his Facebook page, recommending our latest ebook, the 30 Day Facebook Challenge

4) He added details of our 299 Steps to Blogging Heaven to his email signature, and posted about it on his blog

5) He let everyone he knows know that 299 Steps to Website Heaven is available for just £3

That’s it! It probably took about 20 minutes all told, and he’ll continue getting affiliate payments every month while his links do all the work and sell for him.

Like I said, it’s not a life changing amount of money, but it’s better than nothing and might pay for a night out once a month – so what are you waiting for? Sign up as an affiliate now and get started!

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Need business blogging help? You need this ebook :)

11,000 words, 56 pages, and more blogging hints tips and help ideas than you can shake a stick at!

We’ve been working on the 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook for a couple of weeks now, and if I do say so myself, it’s looking fab!

Here’s the list of contents to whet your appetite:

Overview
Welcome to the Challenge
Day 1 – Are you ready?
Day 2 – Top Tips
Day 3 – Call to Action
Day 4 – Questions questions questions
Day 5 – Be their guest
Day 6 – Say something nice
Day 7 – A day in the life
Day 8 – Picture this
Day 9 – SEO
Day 10 – Make it work
Day 11 – How did you do?
Day 12 – Round up, round up
Day 13 – Sing, sing a song
Day 14 – How did you start?
Day 15 – Blog post post mortem
Day 16 – Spread the word
Day 17 – Tag, you’re it!
Day 18 – Comment cava?
Day 19 – Review time
Day 20 – More questions questions
Day 21 – Registration agitation
Day 22 – Ask away
Day 23 – Heads up
Day 24 – Everyone has one
Day 25 – Receive a guest
Day 26 – Testimonials
Day 27 – Multi National
Day 28 – Subscribers
Day 29 – Interview
Day 30  – What did you learn?
Appendix I – Resources to help your blogging
Appendix II – Blogging books
Appendix III – Articles to help your blogging
Why small businesses should blog more
You’re not blogging for YOU you’re blogging for THEM
Make blog posts look better with Zemanta
Want to create more hype about your products or services?
Choosing keyphrases for blogging
Why you should always include a picture in your blogs
A blogger’s code of ethics
And Finally…

If I do say myself, it’s a great book, and at just a fiver, how can you say no?

Visit the 30 Day Blogging Challenge eBook page to find out more and purchase.

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Facebook EdgeRank 101: What Is It?

Have you ever wondered if your business page was doing all that it could do on Facebook? What if you could learn exactly how well your business’s Facebook presence compared to those of competitors? It’s not uncommon for more and more businesses to rely on Facebook for advertising. However, you might be shocked when you find out exactly how much Facebook is doing your company justice. If you’ve ever wondered whether your Facebook page was making the grade, there is finally a way to find out.

EdgeRankChecker.com take a bunch of values that help determine how much traffic your Facebook page gets, as well as the likeliness of being visible on a Fan’s news stream. The higher the EdgeRank that your Facebook page scores, the higher the visibility you have. Along with being able to check out how you rank against other businesses, EdgeRankChecker.com also offers some valuable advice on how to improve your visibility.

How useful is EdgeRankChecker.com? It depends. The score that you receive is just an estimate. It could be way off, and the equations that the site used are being constantly tweaked in order to get a better view of how Facebook works. For small businesses which just want a rough estimate of how well their online presence is developing, using EdgeRank is a great tool, and can often inspire some hard work in a company’s marketing department.

However, EdgeRank isn’t actually completely solid data. It is an estimate, and shouldn’t be treated as the be-all and end-all of internet marketing. The reason for this is because Facebook has yet to unveil most of the data that would be necessary in order to get a complete picture of internet visibility on Facebook. That being said, it has some definite niche users who can’t get enough of the program. Company owners who are interested to see how they score, or people who are simply curious about how their Facebook page ranks, will love this short but sweet application. Despite being an estimate, many marketing personnel swear by it.

EdgeRank does have some great perks to its algorithmic studies that should be mentioned. For instance one user was raving about how she “can find out the best days to post” using EdgeRank. Many of the users enjoy using EdgeRank for tips on how to increase internet traffic, and the ability to detect Facebook trends that are specific to your Facebook business site.

Have you checked your rank yet? We were pretty happy to have an Edgerank of 20 – let us know what yours is in the comments below!

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Google Rank Checker – find out where your website ranks on Google

rankWe’ve been working on it for a while, and there have been a fair few headaches but at last it’s here :)

Google Rank / Position Checker

The Google Rank Checker checks your position in Google, Bing and Yahoo. Find out whether your SEO is working, what keyphrases you’re ranking for, and how to get help if you’re not!

Things to note

  • The Google Rank Checker checks the .com versions of the search engines
  • It checks your position using the API of each search engine
  • It checks your ranking as if it were someone NOT LOGGED IN TO YOUR GOOGLE ACCOUNT
  • If you search manually while logged into a Google account, you may see different results
  • It’s FREE, which means support is minimal, although I’m always happy to help if you catch me on Twitter @nikkipilkington or by email to nikkipilk@gmail.com
  • Yes, there’s a sales message once the report has run – did I mention it was free? ;)
  • You can have the report sent to your email once it has run
  • I’m working on allowing people to sign up to have the report sent every week – this will also be FREE
  • It’s free :)

Nip over to the Google Rank Checker now!

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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Looking to monitor your brand online? You need social media alerts

social mentio -online brand monitoring

Just a quickie – we’ve recently been using a fab free service called Social Mention that not only offers real time search for the places your name or brand is appearing, but also analyses those mentions for tone and meaning. Find out if the talk about you online is negative, positive or neutral!

They also offer daily Social Media Alerts, which are like Google alerts but for a variety of social media applications – again it’s free and well worth checking out if you want to see where you’re being talked about.

If you’re looking for free brand monitoring online then this in conjunction with Google Alerts is a great start.

Are your efforts online paying off? Really?

TWO DOLLAR BILLIt’s all very well frantically beavering away: Facebooking this, Tweeting that, Blogging here, Commenting there, updating your YouTube Channel and spending an age answering questions on LinkedIn – but  are you tracking and measuring the results of all this activity?

I know that if you do all of this work yourself, in theory it costs you nothing, but your time still has a value, right? Even if you don’t always charge your hourly rate, you must have one in mind, so for every hour you spend on your Social Media and Internet Marketing efforts, that’s how much it’s cost you. OK not in cold hard cash, but that’s an hour / a day / a week you haven’t billed out your time, so for the sake of this example let’s say that’s what you’re spending on your online marketing.

So, what’s your ROI? Are you measuring it? Are you tracking leads that come in because of your efforts, working out how many of them convert to sales, looking at the lifetime value of the client and working out whether your efforts are well spent?

If your time is worth £65 an hour, and you spend 10 hours a week on your online marketing efforts, then you need to be making a profit of MORE THAN £650 a week FROM YOUR EFFORTS ALONE for it to be worthwhile.

10 hours sounds a lot, doesn’t it? But it’s not really – it’s easy to spend an hour or so a day messing around on Twitter, chatting to people and answering queries. Then half an hour a day updating the Facebook fan page and replying to people on there (ooh, don’t forget to tend to your Farm and Cafe while you’re there!). Then an hour or so a week blogging, ten minutes a day replying to other people’s blogs. It all adds up.

Don’t believe me? Download and install RescueTime - it tracks the amount of time you spend on each website or activity. It’s a fab piece of software as it tracks without you having to do anything, and gives you a lovely report at the end. Find out EXACTLY how much time you spend on Facebook / Twitter et al.

Then look at the leads and clients that you can track back to your online marketing efforts – ask everyone who contacts you where they heard of you, whether they get in touch by email, phone, or call by your shop / office.

For a month, keep a log of all of this info – and at the end of it work out whether your efforts are well spent or not.

Because let’s face it, it’s easy to let Internet Marketing and Social Media descend into the realms of ego – how many times you’re retweeted, where you’re mentioned, whether someone replies to your blogs. But at the end of the day we’re all here for the same thing – we want to promote our businesses and make money. It’s great if my latest Tweet is retweeted 56 times – but if I’ve spent 15 hours promoting my company in the last week and had no sales or leads, then those retweets aren’t going to put food in the mouths of my kids.

Leave the ego behind and find the facts – are YOUR efforts online paying off?

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Doublep1

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