Essential Advice When Setting Up A Website for First-Timers

Essential Advice When Setting Up A Website for First-Timers

If you’re one of those people who thinks that designing a website from scratch is a difficult thing to do that requires coding and design skills, then think again. Content management systems (CMS) have created user friendly website-building that can be accessible to everyone, even when you don’t have the technical knowledge. There are many tips to make your business more professional and one of these is to have an attractive website to entice new customers or readers about what you have on offer. But, where do you start? Here’s some advice for first-timers thinking of starting a website.

Which CMS and hosting company to use?

Your first decisions are going to concentrate on which CMS and hosting company you should use. There are many to choose from but undoubtedly, the most popular is WordPress. Although all of them offer the possibility of setting up a website with your own domain name for a few dollars, WordPress is one of the easier website-builders to use: templates are fully customized and yet you can adjust them to suit your style and needs accordingly. Once you’ve decided on a template of which many designs are free and varied, and domain name, your next task is to select a WordPress hosting provider to use. Try not to be overwhelmed by the basics of web hosting and choose a faster provider for an enhanced performance.

What are you trying to achieve?

Now that you have a website name, CMS and hosting provider, you next need to plan how you intend to convey your information, images and products, if you have any. By setting out a plan of action, it will be easier to clarify the goals of your website as you delve further into your design. Are you building a website for business? Or a blog site for pleasure? Who do you expect your audience to be? When thinking of the layout of your new website, these are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself so that you have a clear idea of what message you want to convey to your target audience. Put yourself in the shoes of the individuals who will be likely to click on your website and try and determine the priorities that people want when visiting your site.

How are you going to plan your pages?

This aspect of website building should incorporate a fun element as you create and plan the content of your pages. Think about whether you want to impress your visitors with beautiful images on your homepage, or if you more concerned with providing them with detailed information about what your site is about. Look at other websites who offer a similar service or product and get some inspiration around designing your pages. Remember that once you have uploaded images and information, you can tweak them along with background colors, fonts and sizes until you reach the precise look you are going for.

Creating a website doesn’t have to be a complicated or daunting affair, and once it’s completed your next step is to get it out there for people to see your marvelous creation.

How to Make your Small Business Instagram-Worthy

Since 2010, Instagram has allowed users to share their photos and videos. They can connect the Instagram account to other social media, use hashtags and geotags to enhance the visibility, as well as Stories feature since 2016. Therefore, you can imagine how difficult it is for individuals and businesses to decide which social network is perfect for marketing. However, Instagram is special because it uses visual engagement to attract and gain followers.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, just that you need to adjust your strategy. Over time, business world recognized its potential and now it finds it to be a great opportunity to reach the target audience. With statistics like 700 million monthly users, Instagram has quickly taken its rightful among Facebook and Twitter. With that in mind, here is some advice how to run a successful Instagram profile for a small business.

1.    Build a business profile

First, your business needs a proper profile. This means that you have to create a one concentrated on your business completely, like the name, category, short description using keywords, add website and location. This will be enough information for Instagram users to know who you are and what you do. You have only 150 characters to present yourself, so use them wisely.

2.    Display brand personality

Even though you’re a business entity, you still need a brand personality to attract the followers and get them to know you better. This is not hard. It’s all about the message you send about yourself like being funny or serious. This is the feature you will have to use all the time in your communication with your audience on all social media platforms and your website.

3.    Use aesthetics

Aesthetic in your posts will set the visual standard and must be in line with the brand personality. This means that you have to choose a colour palette that you will use. A photo planning apps can help you with this, like Planoly. This app is will keep your visual elements in check and will help you see how your images look one close to another before you publish them on Instagram.

4.    Don’t leave out location and hashtags

Hashtags and geotags are important if you want to reach a wider audience. Every post must include them, no exception since they will put you in the spotlight. They will help Instagram users find you and follow you. You can use custom hashtags which will authenticate your business and help with contests and giveaways.

Geotags are important for the local followers. For example, if you’re a restaurant, the local followers will have the chance to see your profile and visit you in person.

5.    Dedicate to visual quality

Since Instagram is all about the visual elements, you should use only the high-quality image and videos. It’s all about the lighting and clarity. You can choose one place which is perfect for taking photos or hire a professional photographer which can be pricey. Quality includes everything that is important for creating excellent photography, and that means creativity as well. Moreover, images and videos are perfect for the promotion of your brand personality and presenting yourself.

6.    Post diverse content

Posting the same content will bore your followers and chase them away. That’s why it is important to diversify your content to be interesting. Use photos and videos alternately, ask customers to send you their content, and publish it with your own. Write something funny, meaningful or informative, and you can even present your employees through your posts.

7.    Communicate with customers

Communication with the customers is one of the backbones of business dealings today. If you start answering their questions, noting their reactions publicly and acknowledging them, you will create loyal followers and customers. For example, you can place HD Booths on your premises. This way your customers can take a picture, so you can post it on your Instagram profile tagging them and writing something about them.

8.    Present your product

Don’t forget that you are working on growing your business and find as many customers as you can who will choose your product. However, the audience doesn’t like when you try to sell them something directly, so allow yourself to be creative. Allow them to try your new product through giveaways and offer discount codes from time to time.

Don’t forget to use calls-to-action on Instagram too with “learn more”, “comment to enter the contest” or “check the link in our bio”. This will help you get to marketing goals while still having fun.


Instagram is a different but less burdening platform to promote your business. It will be as fun for you as for your followers and can be a significant boost in your marketing campaign. Use all these recommendations here and you’ll reach your customers and gain a loyal following in no time.


Bio: Nina is a digital nomad, yoga aficionado and a travel enthusiast. She’s passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. If you wanna see what she’s up to you can find her on twitter





What Do You Need? A Blog. When Do You Need It? Now

Even today, with the power of Google neatly tucked into your pocket or handbag, people still don’t get why having a blog is a super-duper important part of running a business. Unfortunately, it is always the small business owners that find themselves wondering why it is important. We’re not saying they still think blogging is something teenagers do in the hope of becoming the next internet star and thus spend their lives taking selfies on red carpets instead of working, but they usually don’t quite get how it is worth the investment. And that’s what it is, right? Creating top-notch content on a weekly basis is a mega-investment of time and money and skill.

But it is totally worth it. A content publication strategy is one of the most valuable marketing approaches your little business can make and that’s because it will make a noticeable difference to things like where you show up on Google, the leads you get and the sales you make (spoiler alert: these are pretty important parts of business). Anyway, the best way to launch a content publication strategy is from a business blog. From there, well, you can use it as you like, from posting it to your LinkedIn page, to adding it to your email marketing campaign and even linking to it from social media.

Of course, we don’t expect this overview of a blurb to be the winning smile that sees you drop off the fence. After all, caution is a healthy part of being a business owner. That said, blogging is such an awesome tool to use, we have decided to pull together a list of the top benefits it can – and will – have on your business.

  1. Hello, Search Engine Traffic

Everyone that wants to be a success wants to be found at the top of search engines. That’s a fact. And it is also the reason why you need to have a blog. Think about it. The more content you have on your website the more chances you have of getting found. That’s because there will be more pages on your domain to be indexed (translation: great news for visibility). If you went fishing with one rod, and the person on the pontoon over from you has one-hundred rods, who do you think is going to land more fish? So, yeah, start yourself a blog and watch your organic traffic grow like crazy thanks to increased web traffic. Keep adding more fishing rods to your arsenal.

  1. I Wanna Be A Thought Leader

There is no better way to establish yourself as an expert in what you do than having a blog to back that up. It is your chance to show the world (read: your industry), that you know what you are doing and what you are talking about and even sharing industry related tidbits. Why is authority important? That’s simple: it gives people yet another reason to trust you and, in a world where everything is online, trust is like a warm, fuzzy hug (but one that converts people into clients and customers). It doesn’t matter what your niche is, having a blog gives you that extra bit of weight. It could be that you are a customer service specialist, in which case it is time to start a customer service blog. It could be that you run a content marketing agency that specialises in managing business blogs, in which case a content marketing blog of your own is super-duper important. There really is no niche too small.

  1. Time For Tighter Relationships

Having a regularly updated blog is a great way to connect with the people visiting your site in a way that you can’t otherwise. Before, people that came to your site could only read your generic “About Us” page and scroll through your “what we do” gallery, which is made up of stock photos. But having a blog gives them a better chance to connect, whether it is asking questions in the comment section under each post or by sharing what you’ve written on their own social media pages or simply using your opinion to start a conversation, whether that be in a forum or a wine bar. At first, it may seem a little deflating because (as Google analytics shows), only your mom, your sister and your mom’s boyfriend are reading it. But after a while, you’ll find you become the go-to resource in your market and that’s because your content is helpful, informative, engaging and trustworthy. It has built a rapport between you and potential-slash-new customers (#winning).

  1. Get Creative, Become Human

We mentioned your (probably) bland “About Us” page, which isn’t a dig because your about us page needs to tell people what you do, and tell them as clearly as possible. However, you don’t want to run the risk of sounding dull or robotic or boring. That’s where a blog flies in to save the day like some sort of neighborhood superhero. It gives you the chance to show the more personal side of your brand; make people smile and laugh and nod their head in empathy and feel like there is a warmth to you that your competitors are lacking. A blog gives you the opportunity to go beyond “look at these products we sell” and a) give people a reason to buy your products, b) touch on issues that your brand is concerned with, c) embrace a cause as part of your marketing and d) share information and opinions on the things you are passionate about. No matter how cleverly-written the rest of your content may be, your blog will always be the best voice you have and that is because it will have the most personality to it. Seriously, never underestimate the power of likeability.

  1. Social Media Boost

Here’s a quick plate full of food for thought: what is the point in having social media pages if you don’t have any great content to upload to them? (That was rhetorical by the way; the answer is there is no point!) Of course, you could get around this by sharing other people’s content but, at some point or another, your brain will go, “hang on a minute, why am I sending my leads elsewhere?” and that is where your blog posts will swoop in (yet again!) to save the day. It is just one of the best ways to use your social media following to boost your website traffic. Period. Fact. The end.

4 #Blogging Tips That Actually Work

If you’ve ever searched for blogging tips online, you’ve most probably come across at least a dozen of them advising you to post your content frequently, to share your content on social media, and to keep blogging no matter what. Although these are some valid points, they’re pretty straightforward and offer little to no real insight into the most important aspect of blogging, which is of course writing. In addition, the fact that you can find these tips literally anywhere and everywhere you look just goes to show how poor that advice actually is, as the same things are usually said over and over again, without any solid advice ever being given. This is why we’re going to focus on four concrete tips which will actually have an effect on your blogging and improve your content as well as your overall readership.

1. Find relevant content

First of all, you need to find what’s worth writing about. Certain niches are more popular than others, you need to find the ones that not only fit your style the most, but those which are also trending at the moment. Hence, keep an eye on Reddit, Quora, and various other social media platforms for current hot topics and ideas to write about. Moreover, who exactly are you writing for? Your content might be better suited for young, rather than old, people. Therefore, you need to target them and tailor your content accordingly. Don’t waste time trying to please everybody as it’s an impossible task. Instead, you should focus on finding your tribe in order to provide them with relevant and interesting content to their liking. This is how you establish a community of your own, and increase their loyalty. You want to build a relationship with your readers, it’s not just a one-off thing, you want them returning to check on your new content.

2. Guest blogging

Another thing, a lot of people make the mistake of only posting content on their own blogs, totally neglecting the concept of guest blogging. It’s not only an excellent way of sharing your content, but it’s also an amazing way of expanding your general readership. This is because, when you guest blog, you get someone else’s audience apart from your own, thus effectively doubling the amount of readers your content receives overall. There’s lots of ways you can find blogs where you can guest post, either by manually searching the web for blogging opportunities, visiting relevant forums and blogs, or by contacting bloggers that fit your particular niche. Yet, the most practical way of doing this is by simply using an advanced link prospecting tool to help you find sites to reach out to. Get better results and save valuable time in the process by sorting and filtering through different metrics in an automated manner and find the perfect blog for you to guest post on. Otherwise, you might end up on spammy websites that might hurt your general reputation.

3. Write quality content

Don’t get fooled, the internet is a vast place, the topics you’re posting aren’t as original as you may think. Especially so if a popular topic is in question. This is why you should always strive to create the best quality content you can, in order to stand out from the crowd. You achieve this by writing about the things you know well. Likewise, if you’re not so familiar with a certain topic, you need to do a lot of research beforehand to get all of your facts straight. Once you have the necessary info, you then need to present it in an interesting and meaningful manner. Try to be concise and to the point as much as possible, avoid filler content and don’t spin your points. Stay informative and offer sound advice to your readers, educate them about a particular product instead of just selling it to them. Back your facts up with concrete statistics or infographics instead of pulling them straight out of your head, this will give a lot of credibility to your claims. Furthermore, the most important thing is that you stay true to your voice, pretending will only get you so far.

4. Use eye-catching headlines

Finally, this is by far the most important thing you need to focus on while blogging. Yet, you might be wondering why I put the most important thing last? Well, this is because the title should always be the very last, and not the first, thing you write. The reason being that is, once you’ve finished your main text, you have a rough idea of what the article is about and therefore you can find a title that suits it. Let’s face it, people click on article titles and not on the articles themselves, and if they don’t grab their attention they won’t bother visiting your article in the first place. Hence, you should only employ article titles which spur your readers’ curiosity and encourage them to take a peek, such as how to-s and x ways to do titles.

In conclusion, remember to always do your research on hot topics and concrete facts before writing your articles. This way you’ll maintain top-notch quality whilst still being relevant to your target audience. Also, don’t be shy and give guest blogging a go, as it’s an outstanding way of increasing your overall viewer count.



Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Google Says Freshen Up Your Content

While there are – probably – dozens and dozens of ways in which Google likes to rank the content on your website, none of them has become more emphasized than “freshness”. So, in order to get straight into it and not beat around the proverbial bush any longer, here are some of the most important ways in which the god-that-is-Google tends to determine how fresh your content is.

Date Of Inception

Every single web page is going to be valued based on its inception date, something that holds less and less value as time goes on. Just so you know, the inception date is the time when Google first becomes aware of this new content, which tends to happen when the crawlers first detect it on your website or when Google finds a link to this content.

A Matter Of Updating

This is something that has gotten a little bit more attention over recent months. Instead of just rating your content on when it was first uploaded, Google also ranks your content on how regularly it is updated. Content that gets tweaked regularly has more value than content that never changes. Let’s say you go back through your content and change a sentence. Whoop-di-do. However, if you drastically change the main body then you will be having a much bigger impact on this freshness thing.

Frequency Of Changes

Ask those in well-respected SEO services, and they will tell you another huge proponent in the hunt for a better rating is the frequency in which your content gets updates because that is what will keep the Googlebots coming back to crawl your website. Let’s use some examples. Let’s say you have a blog that gets updated once a week as a means to keep your customers in the loop with what you are up to. Okay, that’s once a week something new gets added. Compare that to a major newspaper where their entire body of content gets altered daily and you see which one is more valuable to Google.

New Pages, Please

Another great way to improve the freshness of your website is to create new pages. This is something that a blog manages to do better than anything else because you are not only creating new pages regularly, you are also adding pages that are high in original content. That’s epic. That’s going to get you a freshness score to be super-proud of. You don’t need to go mad on this front, but a new page every so often will have a big impact.

Linking Plays A Lovely Role

Just so you know, the freshness-o-meter is not restricted to your page’s only. It also has a lot to do with the external links that you are using. These tend to wield a lot of power when it comes to measuring freshness. That is why you should always include a cocktail of internal links, outbound links and, if possible, links on external websites that link back to you. Google loves link-building because it makes you look relevant or, to keep with the word we have been using, fresh.

5 Strategies to Increase Brand Awareness Through Customer Service

Do you want to build your brand without breaking the bank? What if you can use your humanity to improve ROI

You can succeed in business without spending a lot of money on complicated marketing schemes. In fact, you probably already have everything you need if you commit yourself to customer service excellence.

Every time either you or a team member answer a question or address a problem, you have a chance to win big. After all, people talk about their experience with your brand, giving you tons of free publicity. When your customers have a positive experience, they become unpaid brand advocates who will refer business to you. On the other hand, when they have a bad experience, they can leave bad reviews and damage your reputation.

So, let’s take a closer look at how you can use customer service to build our brand.

1. Listen and Take Action

Whether you deal with customers online or in person, listening is your most important responsibility. First off, listening helps you understand the problem at hand. Also, by listening, you make your customers know that you care.

When dealing with someone face-to-face, you should pay attention to body language as you listen. Over the phone, you have to depend on tone of voice. When communicating in written form, you have to carefully interpret word choices.

When your customers finish speaking, assure them that you want to take care of them. Next, take action. Your prompt response will help assuage their concerns.

2. Help Angry Customers

Thanks to social media, encounters with angry people pose a grave threat to your brand. Bad reviews can spread like wildfire.


Rather than hiding from irate customers, engage them. Face the challenge head-on and use customer service excellence to turn your detractors into supporters.

Just imagine the reaction of your social media audience when you make a heartfelt apology to irate customers. Even more so, think of the reaction when you accept responsibility and work together to find an acceptable solution.

3. Deliver Exquisite Content

Part of your customer service strategy should include the publication of valuable online content. When you contribute answers to real questions and practical solutions, you will establish the authority of your brand.

Make sure that you always create content from the perspective of customers and publish it to your website. From there, you can share it on your social media channels where you can provide links that lead back to your site.

When you develop a reputation for posting user-friendly, actionable content, you will encourage repeat visitors. As a result, your audience will naturally view your brand as the natural choice when they get ready to buy.

In addition to practical content such as tutorials and “how-to” guides, be sure to include some humor as well as a variety of content types. MailChimp provides a good example of supplying superb content to an audience.

When you visit MailChimp on social media, you can see how they provide free statistics and tools that people can use without becoming a customer. The brand also provides customer service through Twitter, where everyone can see how well MailChimp serves customers.

4. Communicate Non-Stop

When you engage your customers, you make them feel personally valued rather than just another number. For this reason, you must take every opportunity to reach out to them. Success really is that simple.

The fact of the matter is that you must respond to every comment left for you on social media. The same thing goes with email messages and voicemail.

In addition to that, use your customer relationship management to find reasons to contact customers. For example, you can have your software remind you to send thank you notes after a sale. Likewise, you can send customers birthday cards and schedule routine follow-up calls.

The cool thing is that better communication can result in dramatic improvements in sales. After all, customers who feel good about your brand will also feel a sense of loyalty. So, whenever possible, ask customers for feedback about everything from products to their personal preferences.

5. Surprise Your Customers

Despite an awareness of the essential role customer service plays in success, many companies fail to deliver. In effect, you can profit from the failures of other companies by surprising your customers with outstanding service.


Give your social media presence a “Wow!” factor by organizing promotional events that deliver tangible and valuable rewards. For instance, you can have your audience members share photos of themselves using your products and then allow your audience to vote for the winner.

Other ideas may include storytelling contests, incentives for providing personal testimonies, and challenges to produce creative YouTube videos that pertain to your brand. Additionally, you can offer surprise bonus deals to reward your most loyal customers and fans.

So, what does all this mean? You can spread awareness of your brand by consistently providing exceptional customer service using some practical tips:

•   Use your listening skills and decisive action to make your customers feel valued.
•   Leverage irate customers to your advantage by proving your commitment.
•   Proactively communicate with customers on a friendly and personal level.
•   Establish authority by posting valuable, relevant content.
•   Exceed expectations and inject surprises to create memorable experiences.

It sounds simple, and it is. Can you afford not to use customer service to build your brand? Get started now. As always, remember to get help whenever you have a question or face a challenge.

About the author


Jen McKenzie is a self-employed author hailing from New York, NY. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

The Content Optimization Process: How to Make the Most of What You’ve Already Got

In March 2017, we saw the Google algorithm go through yet another update. This new update, called “Fred”, put even more emphasis on high-quality content, and if you want to make the most of your SEO efforts, you simply have to produce top-notch content today. But what to do with all that stuff you already have on your website, that already does really well? Does it have to just sit there and collect dust? Or can you still do something with it? The concept of refurbishing content that has been proven to work well is becoming more and more popular, which means there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go. So, if you want to juice every drop of goodness out of your top content, here’s how to do it.

Figure out what your top content is

In order to be able to refurbish your top content, you’ll first have to identify it. Luckily, you can now use the power of analytics to evaluate all of your content and figure out which pages are bringing in the most traffic and converting the best. Obviously, content that scores the best on these accounts is the one you should choose for refurbishment.

It’s very important that you understand that it’s not only the pages on your website that might be your most valuable content. This can be anything from a video on one of your pages to a printout people seem to like. And once you manage to identify what has worked best for you, it’s time to think about the ways you can refurbish it.

Decide how you want to use your top content and simplify it

The next thing you’re supposed to do in order to bring your old content back to life is decide how you want to do it. What many experts decide to do is change the form of their top content before publishing it anywhere.

Let’s say your most valuable content is a long-form text on how to be more productive at work. Think about what else people could be doing with this piece and make it come to life. Maybe it’s a video explaining how to get more things done around the office? Or a podcast all those suffering from a lack of productivity at work will find helpful? Our main point is – there are tons of ways you can reuse your old content, you just have to be creative while doing so.

On top of that, you might want to think about simplifying your old content before you send it back on the stage. If you do this, you’ll be able to include a link to the original content that has proven to be so effective and people will consume it once again.

Find popular platforms to publish your “new” content

There’s just so many powerful platforms out there just waiting for content their audience seeks. And if you don’t provide it, somebody else will. So, if you’ve turned an old text into a video, why not upload it to YouTube? There are so many people looking for tips and tutorials, why not capitalize on it. Also, if your “new” content is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, you can always upload it to SlideShare which ranks so well.

Getting your content out there is what refurbishing is all about, but if you want it to be effective, you’ll also want to measure its impact. So, check out how many views your video has, the time people spend on your page and so on. The data you collect will help you determine what works best for you and how you should keep refurbishing in the future. Luckily, there are automated reporting tools like Reportz available, that are guaranteed to help you collect all the data you will need. Turning to tools like these is always going to save you hours and hours of manual work.

Getting your old content out there is a great way to make sure you keep providing quality to your audience. And with so many content forms at your disposal and platforms you can publish it on, coming up with refurbishing ideas should be a real piece of cake.


Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog