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.

How to Choose Your Domain Name for Maximum SEO

Choosing the right domain name is the first and arguably crucial step when launching a website. Your domain name is the flagship of your business, and apart from it serving as a window into your venture, it also needs to be optimized for search engines. Keeping up with the times is important, and those who don’t evolve and adapt to these new trends suffer a huge loss in traffic. So, here are a few guidelines on how to pick the right domain name for your website in order to maximize its SEO.

Keyword Domains

In order to come up with the optimal domain name, you need to take a few things into consideration. First, if you don’t already have a recognizable brand name that can be used as your domain name, you have two options. Either you make a brand name from scratch and then use that as your domain name, or you use some keyword relevant to your business as the domain name. If you opt for the first suggestion, then you need to work on spreading brand awareness over the internet. If you chose the latter, it’s a bit more complex. In the past, keywords were the main thing when it came to domain name SEO, and it’s easy to understand why. Imagine someone looking to buy some healthy food. In the case that you named your domain healthyfoods.com, when this person types ‘healthy foods’ into their Google search bar, it will probably be the first thing to pop up. Nowadays, things are a bit different. In 2012, Google updated its search algorithm, and as a result, keyword domains were no longer the best option. Namely, Google is now more interested in the quality of the content on your website than the keyword in the domain’s name. You can still go for keyword domains if you feel like you don’t have a specific brand name you can use, just make sure that you utilize tools like Google Keyword Planner if you want to find the optimal keyword for your website.

Branded Domains

Today, these domains are greatly preferred by search engines. Not only that, but they have unique names that are a lot easier to remember than keywords. This is why Amazon uses Amazon.com for its domain name and not OnlineShopping.com. The brand is more important than the keyword. Moreover, it is extremely recognizable, which will in turn have much lower bounce rates as people will know exactly what to expect on that website. For example, people searching for Adidas shoes won’t go to Nike.com, right? Apart from being more memorable, branded domain names have clearer backlinks and longer retention times than keyword domains. The main downside of this method is that it takes a lot of time and effort to create a new brand from scratch. You’ll need to do some aggressive marketing on social media and the like to spread your brand awareness enough, so that people can actually recognize your brand. Just make sure that you buy domain name with your brand’s name in it before starting this marketing campaign, unless you want to risk someone else snatching it right under your nose.

Things to Avoid

Now, bear in mind that there are a few things you should avoid at all costs. Using hyphens, for one, is ill advised, as people often forget about them and then go to the wrong site when they don’t type them out. Another downside of hyphens is that they make your site look spammy, as fake sites are notorious for their use of hyphens. They use hyphens to mimic famous domain names like, for example, face-book.com to generate more traffic on their website. Obviously, you don’t want to be associated with them. Similarly, don’t use low-quality TLD’s, which are .biz, .info, .ws and .name. Such extensions are generally shunned by the online community as they too are used by scammers most of the time. Likewise, having a local extension, such as .uk, will rank your website highly in the UK, but not the rest of the world, so using .com is better in both cases. Finally, keeping your domain name under fifteen characters will make it easier for people to remember it and thus reduce the likelihood of typos, as well as making it more SEO friendly overall.

To sum up, if you are choosing between a keyword domain name and a branded domain name, the latter is probably the better option. Moreover, make sure to avoid using hyphens and low-quality extensions in your domain name to disassociate your website from scammers, and use a short memorable name instead.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.

Smart #DigitalMarketing Ideas That Can Make Your Company A Success

Starting an online business can be a very smart venture. But if you really want to make a success of it, you have to work hard. Because setting up a business isn’t enough to make it great. You have to really work at it in order for that to happen. From creating a website with content that your customers are not only going, but also find easy to use, to coming up with effective and creative ways to make money, there’s a lot that you need to work on to ensure that your business is going to do well. And that’s often enough to put even the most determined people off.

So you know that you want your business to do well, and you know that you want to make a lot of money, but are you happy to put the work in? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Because in order to make some money and ensure that your business can go from strength to strength, you have to focus on your marketing tactics. Whether you’re new to the world of marketing or not, here are some of the most effective digital marketing methods that can take your business to where you need it to be.

Affiliate Marketing

The first thing you’re going to want to think about using is affiliate marketing. Whether you’re a content site or a business, you can use affiliate marketing to make you a great passive income, or generate you more sales. Affiliate marketing is something that a lot of businesses swear by, so if it’s not something that you’ve already looked into, it needs to go straight to the top of your marketing methods list. It may take some work to initially set up, but once you’ve done that and your traffic is flowing, money can make itself.

Display Marketing

From here, you may also want to think about using display marketing. As a brand, you can gain a lot of traffic and sales by using this tried and tested marketing technique. And when you’re a content site, you can earn some great amounts of commission by using it. Display marketing has a lot of depth to it. As long as you’re prepared to tailor your campaigns and work with the best companies, you have the potential to earn well!

PPC

Next, up, you have PPC. Of all the different kinds of digital marketing methods, PPC is a great choice if you want to generate yourself some warm traffic. Because sometimes, traffic isn’t all that you need, you need to ensure that you’re attracting consumers that will genuinely be interested in your product to your site. And with PPC marketing, you can definitely do that, whether you do it yourself or outsource to an agency.

PPV

Then, you’ve also got a similar idea to PPC, but instead of the payment being based on a click, the payment is based on a view. So, if you hadn’t guessed already, PPV marketing is based on things like YouTube adverts. And when you think about it, there are not only millions of YouTube videos out there, but there are also millions of people watching them too. So, capitalizing on the ad space available via PPV is a great way to make money.

SEO

And of course, you’re definitely going to want to include SEO in your marketing plans too. But don’t automatically think that you have to outsource it, because you may be able to take on some of it yourself. This beginners guide to SEO, for example, will be a really worthwhile read for you. You may be able to pick up some of the basic principles yourself to then apply them to your work and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Social Media Marketing

And, of course, what good list of digital marketing methods would be complete without including social media marketing too? Because social media is so popular with both consumers and business, you have to be able to harness some of that power in your promotional strategy. You should definitely think about trial paid social options too, to see if they work for your business.

Sponsorship

And finally, there’s also sponsorship or collaborations to consider too. Whether you’re a brand looking to advertise, or a content site looking for advertisers, sponsorship can work really well if you’re matched with the right company. You may find that you benefit from more traffic as well as sales and extra income too.

 

5 Incredibly Easy Steps To Start Your Own Website

In today’s world if you don’t have a website you basically don’t exist. Or at least no one will ever know about you. Not having a website is no longer an option for anyone who’s into any kind of business simply because everyone is on the web today. Luckily for you, setting up your website is no longer as difficult as it used to be, with many web hosting options available for you to choose depending on your needs. Here are the 5 easy steps to get you started with designing your own website.

Decide on Your Domain Name

Before you jump to choosing a color and layout, please first pick yourself a domain name. Domain name is extremely important as that’s how your website will be called. Getting a domain name will cost you an annual fee which you’ll be paying for the right to use the unique name, so no one else can take it from you. Choose a domain name that is going to be catchy but also reflect whatever your site is about. If you can read the domain name and get a good sense of what’s your website’s field of interest you’re all good.

Choose a Website Platform

Choosing a website platform depends solely on your capabilities. Are you confident about your coding or you know absolutely nothing about it? If you’re good at it, you can go on and design your website from scratch, but if you’re not – CMS might be a better option. CMS (Content Management System) is a platform for building websites, which you’ll also use to manage all elements of your website, such as content. Today, most people just use CMS and we recommend it as well. It’s easy and allows you to run a website with little to no previous knowledge about website management.

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Which CMS Should You Choose?

The best CMS platforms out there are free to use, with WordPress leading the pack as by far the most popular one. The other two are Drupal and Joomla. There are other CMS platforms out there, but we’ll be focusing on these three.

  • WordPress – When it comes to beginner friendliness, you should look no further than WordPress. It’s used by over 60 million websites today, it’s easy to install, it has by far the most plug-ins which makes it very customizable. The bad side to WordPress is that you can’t edit its visuals significantly, at least if you’re not a designer.
  • Drupal – Drupal is much more complicated than WordPress, but it makes up for it with its faster response times. However, if you’re absolutely new at this, Drupal has nothing to offer that WordPress can’t.
  • Joomla – This CMS platform is great for setting up online stores quickly. It combines the power of Drupal and the easiness of WordPress. It’s basically a middle-ground for those who aren’t satisfied with WordPress or Drupal.

Plan Your Website

Now that you’ve chosen your CMS platform, you need to start planning your website. To do that you need to make a number of choices that will determine how your site looks. First off, consider the type of website that you need. Is it an informational type of website, like a blog? Or is it an e-commerce shop? Different types of websites require a different approach to designing a website, so make sure you know what you’re after. Secondly, you need to decide how your users will navigate the website. Like any freelance web designer can tell you, navigation is extremely important to every website’s success. The third thing you need to know is the type of content you’re going to use to attract visitors.

Promote Your Website

Promoting a website usually includes either PPC (Pay Per Click) or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaigns, or you can combine both of these for the best results. However, SEO is cheaper and it’s probably the best way to become visible on the web. You’d rather be on the front page of the newspaper than all the way in the back, right? That’s what SEO lets you do – appear on the first page of the SERPs. Do your keyword research, write high-quality content, and do some link building. These are the SEO practices that will get you the best results.

Conclusion

Creating your own website today is easier than ever, which isn’t to say that it’s a piece of cake. It still requires a lot of time and effort to get it running, and even more to get it to the top of your SERPs. But if you invest yourself in it and follow these simple tips you’ll soon get the website running and in time you’ll learn how to manage it and how to attract visitors. The better your start is though, the easier it’s going to be to manage it.

Get To Know Your #SEO

Any small business, blogger or start-up, needs to be online. Improving your online presence is a sure fire way to get more customers and more awareness for your business or brand. So as well as being on social media channels, and having a website, what else can you do? One of the biggest things of late is increasing your search engine optimization or SEO. In basic terms, that is all about how well your site ranks on a search engine. There are many ways to market this, for example creating ads to gain traffic. But that is really SEM (search engine marketing), rather than SEO. So let’s get down to business and talk all things SEO. Understanding it is a must for your business.

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Content is King

There is no getting away from the fact that search engine, in particular, Google, loves new content. So first off, you need to be blogging on your website if you’re not already. Creating new content and sharing it online regularly is a great way to drive traffic to your site, especially if your content answers people’s questions or is relevant to current affairs, for instance.

Know Your Keywords

The content that you produce should also contain some certain keywords, as that is what will help people to search for what you have written about. Avoid stuffing keywords on every line, though. It does need to have a focus. So looking into the keywords that people have used in the past to find you, is a great way to know what people are looking for. A company like ignitedigital.com could be doing that kind of thing for you if you’re not sure where to start. These keywords are important, though, as it is important for branding and knowing your customer base.

Get Your Website Up To Scratch

If you have a slow loading or responding website, then that can be detrimental in a couple of ways. First of all, it can put off potential customers. But second of all, it can affect your SEO ranking. So get your website looked at by a professional if you feel like you need to speed things up. An article by kissmetrics.com shows that around forty percent of internet users will click off a site if a website isn’t loading quickly. That is a heck of a lot of potential customers to be losing!

Check Your Site URLs

The URL of a website can affect how well a site is ranked. If you are clicking on articles or certain product pages, then you need to check what your URLs for those pages are. It needs to be short, around three or five words long, as well as being clear and to the point. Avoid using words like it and and in a URL. Being specific will help when search engines ‘crawl’ your site, to know what kind of content you’re producing. When search engines understand that and know the kind of content that you produce, then you will rank higher.

Powerful Ways To Push Your Online Company Forward

Online businesses have become a huge part of today’s market, and running one successfully requires you to stand out from the ever-growing competition. With many businesses selling a similar product or service as you, you have to find what separates you from them and use it to attract customers. There are several ways to help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and expand your business, but it completely depends on the type of product or service that you’re selling. This guide was made to help you turn things around if your business is stagnating, or even if you’re just starting a new one.

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Get to Know Your Competition

Every successful business owner will be able to tell you their main competitors from the top of their head. To be able to know where you’re heading, you need to know what you’re up against. The reason for this is because you want to stand out. If your competitors are using certain keywords or slogans, you want to stay as far away as possible from those because it’s going to be bad for you and them both. Since building a brand requires you to stay unique, it’s always good to know what your competition is doing and do it better.

Invest in Your Customer Service

Getting an audience is a tough task when you’re just starting an online business. But that’s not where it ends, because now you have to retain the audience, and the best way to do that is to have a great customer support. Treat your customers better than your competitors and they’ll most probably remain loyal to your product or service. People often underestimate the power of reputation, and word of mouth advertising is actually a great way to build it. An honest recommendation from a satisfied customer will guarantee you new customers, especially in the age of social media.

Build More Traffic

You can have a great product, excellent website, and wonderful customer service, but if you don’t have enough traffic you won’t be earning money. Building traffic is a process that requires focus, strategy, and persistence since you’ll potentially need a lot of trial and error to get it right. If you do manage to build lots of traffic, it will become considerably easier to generate income. If for some reason you can’t commit to this task entirely, there are companies out there like Agseosydney which will guarantee increased traffic on your website. They’ll optimize your SEO and help you manage your online reputation, thus directly increasing your income.

Follow the Latest Trends

There’s a new meme circling the internet that has millions of people jumping out of their chairs? Then you absolutely must know about it. If you’re to be successful in advertising your product, especially when it comes to social media, it’s imperative to keep track of current trends and potentially use them to your advantage. Being uninformed is no longer acceptable, especially when it comes to online businesses. Talk to your employees and encourage them to share their insight when it comes to current online trends.

Specialize Your Products

Ask yourself, what kind of problem will your customers solve if they pick you over your competitors? Let’s imagine that you’re selling cleaning products. If you advertise your company just as a cleaning products seller, how does that put you in an advantageous position compared to your competition? However, if you’re selling eco-friendly cleaning products that don’t negatively affect our environment, you’re good to go. Why is that? Because you just solved a problem for someone who lives by the green living philosophy and needs to clean their house. And by doing it, you effectively made yourself stand out from the crowd. So think about the ways on how to customize your products, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor too.

Conclusion

It takes time and focus to launch and grow a successful online business. This guide was made for you to help you make your business stand out from the crowd and show your unique qualities to your customers. Sometimes, an idea will fail and you’ll need to recognize that moment and learn from the experience, so that next time you may succeed. Just remember that if you have a strategy in place for both your products and your customers, you’ll already be a few steps ahead of your competition.

Optimizing Your Online Presence For Global Expansion

Widening your net to land a much more international audience is a great way to grow your company and get your product, service or even just your brand into entirely new territories. However, it isn’t as simple as many would naively believe, especially when you consider you have to cater for all the nuances that come with an international audience: cultures, laws and online behaviors.

That is why we have come up with a few things you should consider when it comes to launching your global marketing strategy; the reason being these will help you successful cater to the new audiences you hope to reach.

Going Cross-Culture

If you want to be a success across multiple cultures then you need to understand the cultural barriers that you and your business will need to overcome. Of course, a great place to start is having a website that has been translated into multiple languages because this will give you a huge advantage. However, the deeper you are able to delve when it comes to understanding other cultures the more you will able to tweak your strategy to meet the different nuances. As such, we recommend you learn from people in the target audience you are hoping to reach.

Different Laws

Every country – and often every region – has different regulations when it comes to products, marketing, and sales. As such, it is worth making sure you know the local regulations on all three of these fronts before you commit to launching your online campaign. To give you some more context, doing business in Russia will mean different product laws to doing business in America with regards to chemicals used, safety standards, packaging designs, language used and quality assurances. The same goes for advertising laws. While America is very relaxed on competitive messaging, places like Germany and Belgium have much stricter regulations.

Search Engine Needs

Choosing the right search engine, localizing content and understanding how keywords are interpreted; these are areas you need to give careful consideration to. Every region uses different search engines, so you need to know which is used by your target audience in every location you are launching in. Yes, Google has the top spot in English-speaking countries, but local markets tend to be best served by local search engines. Another thing to bear in mind is translations. It isn’t enough to just directly translate your content; you need to localize the messaging and the product to each market you are looking at serving. And let’s not forget the importance of knowing what the native keywords to use are.

Website Design

You may think you have got the perfect website in terms of design and user functionality and, yes, that may well be the case for your American market. But it doesn’t mean it will be for the Russian market. Simple things like the colors you use can have a completely different meaning because they are so deeply ingrained in cultures. White in the western world means marriage and purity, but in the Eastern world and Africa, it symbolizes mourning. That’s just the start as well. You’re social media accounts will need to be setup to adapt to the different languages too, while most of the customer services do’s and don’t will need to be addressed as well. You’ll also need to make sure that your users see the cost of something in their local currency and you’ll want to save yourself the headache of having text that can’t be translated in your graphics.