Do You Need Social Media in Your Business?

Do You Need Social Media in Your Business?

Social media has become a marketers dream come true. When it first hit the scene a few years ago, you mostly found people chatting about their interests, connecting with people who had the same past-times and writers looking to connect. Business owners soon realized their audience was getting on board with social media, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Social media can be a scary thing though. It can also take up a lot of valuable time. So much that you may be wondering if you should even bother. Here’s how to determine whether it’s a good fit for you and your business.

 

Do you have enough business to last you until you retire?

Then the answer is no, you don’t need social media. But let’s be honest, do you have that much business? Do you want your business to grow or possibly stall? It’s true that it’s easier to keep and please existing customers than it is to find new ones, but if you aren’t on social media, you’re not only missing a lot of opportunity to get new customers, but also to connect with your current ones.

You also need to ask yourself this; can you really have too many customers? It never hurts to keep bringing in new ones. This is how a business grows and expands. And social media could open you up to a whole new audience.

In the past, businesses could rely on word-of-mouth, but these days that isn’t always enough. Having a good social media presence can work like word-of-mouth if your followers share your content with their followers. However, you need to create a compelling social media status that people enjoy and want to share. A few hot tips about your business could have the opportunity to go viral.

Can you afford traditional advertising methods? If the answer is no, then using social media is the cheapest way to advertise your business. It does take time, but as your business grows you can pay for advertising through social media outlets and extend your reach even further.

 

Do you have a faster way to interact with and answer customer questions?

Social media is a great place to get feedback from your customers or your potential customers. You can answer questions and get to know them on a more personal level. Personal service is extremely important to people these days. You can build a life-long customer relationship simply by making people feel that they matter, they are important and that you desire to cater to their needs as best you can.

Many people claim that you’re not just building a business, you’re actually building relationships. This is a true statement and the best way to gain loyal customers. Taking your business entity to social media is an excellent way to build those relationships.

More and more people are looking for their favorite brands and products on social media than they are looking for just a website. If they can find you on social media, chances are they will click on through to your website to find out more information.

Social media can do wonders for many businesses. Sure, it isn’t a key marketing strategy for every business, but it’s becoming more and more common.

Unless your market isn’t really into using computers, the chances are that it can benefit greatly from being on and using sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Be sure to check out those sites to see how similar businesses are utilizing their existence and reaching their customers. This will help you decide if it’s a smart move for you.

 

Photo credit: geralt / <a href=”http://pixabay.com/p-213368/”>Pixabay</a>

Four Types of SEO Tools and What They are Used For

Wordpress seo plugins

Search engines like Googe, and Bing are important because without them, our client would not find us unless directly referred by word of mouth. Search Engines send traffic to our websites and help sort out which types of information we find when we type in a search term. Being found when someone searches for what you do or offer is very important whether your business is mostly online or offline.

However, you also want to get found for the right reasons and that is where keywords and keyword terms come in. SEO (search engine optimization) is confusing, continuously changing, and might seem overwhelming, but when you narrow down to what your customers are really looking for, SEO is really worth it.

Using a few keywords or keyword terms on your site will help get you found. You’ll want to pick a few that you can use on different pages and blog posts throughout your website. You also choose some secondary keywords to support the primary ones. These may be keywords that aren’t used as often. However, they’re still keywords that your potential client is using to find your information.

How do you use these keywords? In your content. Written content, properly tagged photos, and even video is what you will put your keywords into. Content like that gives the search engines something to index and provides something for other bloggers and site owners to link to.

 

To help you manage and master your SEO efforts, there are literally thousands of various tools and gadgets.

  • Some of these tools help you check the keyword density on your web page (how many times your keyword /term is used in that one page or post). They make sure your keywords are represented enough to help but not so much that your content reads poorly.
  • There are also link checkers
  • Ranking checkers and more…..

 

Here are four types of SEO tools you might find useful.

#1 Keyword suggestion tools – You need to know what words and phrases people are searching for, right? There are actually several ways to do this by just using your search engine on your computer, but these two tools are super easy to use and can give you a little more insight into how much each words gets searched for.

  1. http://ubersuggest.org/ Ubersuggest is a tool that does your drilling down for you- at least when it comes to brainstorming keyword phrases and ideas.
  2. Google AdWords tool. It’s free and you can take the ideas you get from ubersuggest and find out how often those terms are searched for, along with some other information at Google Adwords Tool.

There are also keyword tools that you can pay for. They offer a bit more information than the Google tool.

#2 Ranking checkers - Ranking checkers help you determine where your site, or individual pages on your site, rank for various keywords and search engines. It’s a good way to see how you compare to your competition! You can use a ranking checker to test and track your success. (You can also check to see how your competition is doing.)

  1. Google Rank Checker – This is the first one I ever used, but it really didn’t tell me anything about what my score meant.
  2. http://www.sitescore.co/  SiteScore.co , however, explains a little more about what your score is made of, and where you can improve things like social media and getting other bloggers to link to you.

#3 Link checking tools – There are a couple of ways to check links, and a couple of types of links to check.

I wrote a post about how to find out if your site’s outgoing links are broken here: http://kickasswebsitecoach.com/how-to-check-for-broken-links-on-your-blo/

But, it’s also important to know if the links coming into your site from somewhere else are any good.

http://smallseotools.com/backlink-checker/ I like this one a lot. You enter your domain name, click search and then it opens up a section under the search bar that shows you data related to each and every link that is directed back to your website. If you read the information about what the data shows you, you’ll be amazed at where your links are coming from. The majority of mine for this website are from facebook.

#4 Keyword density tools – These tools can analyze a page or your URL for keyword density. Some are free, and some you’ll pay for. If you’re going to pay for this service, make sure it analyzes keyword phrases and not just one or two word keywords. You can try this one at SEO Book. But, you should know that packing your posts with keywords isn’t the best way to get your site noticed in the search engines.

I hope that list helps you get started with optimizing your site or blog. If you have any other tools that you’d like to share, please do in the comments below!

What To Do When Your Websites Links Go Bad

Building internal and external links is good for you, but over time, those links can become broken. For the links that you’ve published months or even years ago, there are several reasons why they might be broken, but you won’t know it unless you manually check each page, or unless you have a handy tool to do it for you. In this post, I’ll be showing you a great WordPress plugin to use for this very reason.

broken link checker plugin

Two types of broken links and what to do about them

Internal Broken Links.

An internal link is a link that will take your reader to another page on  your website or blog. It might be your About Page, or another related blog post. Links that direct you to 404 Error pages (or any other type of error) are simply called broken links. Often, the link was written incorrectly, but sometimes it can just be that the page you were linking to no longer exists. Google penalizes pretty heavily for broken links since they provide no service to the user. Having them on your site will drop you in the SERPs.

What to do about the broken link.

If you can correct the spelling of the link, then do so. But, if the page no longer exists, you need to either remove the link completely, or change the link to take your reader to a new page or post.

External Broken Links. 

An external link is a link that takes your read off of your website or blog to someone else’s site. Maybe you have affiliate links that don’t work anymore. Or maybe you linked to a resource that no longer is supported.

What to do to about the broken link. 

In either case, you can do something similar to fixing an internal link. Either change the link to the correct and updated URL, or remove the link completely. In the case of a website being shut down, you’ll probaby want to just remove the link. But, if your link goes to a great tool that just needs to be updated, then find the updated version or contact the website’s owner to ask for the link to an updated version.

How to find and fix broken links

I use a wordpress plugin called Automatic Link Checker. I found it in the WordPress plugin repository. You can download it to your own wordpress site/blog by clicking your Plugin tab in your dashboard, then searching for it by name.

automatic link checker

This was easy to install and there are just a few setting that you can adjust, so it’s not overwhelming. My first check only gave me 1 link to fix. It showed me the broken link URL, and what kind of error it was giving.

Then, I went off to do something else and when I came back, there was an updated list that was much longer.

You can see in my screen capture that I have a lot of the same URL type which is to a blog that I no longer have running.

So, all that is left to do, is click the link which will take you to the page and you can remove, or change the link!

 

 

Anyone can blog, and every business should

Blog, Blogging, Anyone can blog. Even you, the small business owner. 

Everyone from Gramma to your dog is blogging these days. There is even a kid’s show about a talking dog who blogs, but his little girl owner gets credit for it since no one would believe a dog is blogging! Basically, if you have something to say, you can say it publicly and you can do it really easily depending on what your purpose is.

Some of the more popular platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger.com or Tumblr.com are free and easy to set up, but for a business, they aren’t the best to start your blog on.

 

For as little as $5 per month, you can have your own hosting account where you can install the wordpress.org software onto a server and then you can have complete control over your own website or blog. Buying your own domain name will run you about $10 per year. Some hosts will actually set up the basic WordPress software on your account for you too.

If you are looking at building a blog for your business, it’s not that hard, so don’t allow money or fear of technology to hold you back. Think of a name for your blog, then pick a theme, and layout, then just get started making blog posts.

Your blog can be about literally anything from the everyday to the controversial. Just don’t assume no one will see your blog if you plan to be controversial, the days of Internet anonymity are over, so be ready. For a business, your blog posts aught to be related to your business in some way. Maybe posts can be devoted to 2 or 3 main topics that your customers ask about. Maybe you can share how you are making your business work better, or smarter.

Some ideas to get you started blogging for business:

  • Blog about your life as it relates to your business
  • Blog about being a mom or dad – it can be hard to parent and run a business
  • Blog about politics – as they relate to your business. Are taxes being hiked? Are there changes in your industry?
  • Blog about religion – where does it fit into your business? Or does it?
  • Blog about things that make you go hmmmmm?

What you can blog about is truly endless. Pick a topic and then break it down to a minute level.

For instance, blogging about cooking could be overwhelming because there are so many types of food and so many types of cooking. Instead of just blogging about cooking, blog about grilling, or budget cooking, or low-carb cooking. If you look at the menu bar on my site, you’ll see that there are 3 links to blog categories. Those 3 have something to do with this website, what my customers have asked or need help with, and my personal experiences related to the topics.

Choose a minute niche to help you focus in on the topic in a way that will interest a specific audience, your target market audience.

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Top 5 questions asked about websites and coaching

It seems that I find myself answering the same set of questions all the time. Sometimes, the questions come from new clients, and sometimes they come from people who are just thinking about putting up a new website or blog. So, here are the top five questions asked about building a website and what I do as a coach in this niche, in no particular order.

geralt /

Pixabay

 

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a software -a platform – a program. You’ll often hear it called all those things.

There are 2 versions of WordPress, and this is where it gets a little confusing if you aren’t too familiar with how the internet works.

WordPress. ORG is the software that gets turned on inside of a hosting account. Hosting accounts are where all the files that make up your website are stored. Without the hosting account, you can’t have a website in the first place.

So, the .ORG version is something that gets plugged in, or turned on, inside your own hosting account. Then you can build your website or blog using the WordPress.ORG software. With this version, you can very easily add extra pieces of code to the site that are called “plugins”. They give you the option to change the way your site looks, ad a facebook like button or even add shopping carts and sell things.

WordPress. COM is also software, but it’s also the hosting account. The people who made WordPress in the first place decided to do some of the set up process ahead of time, and they offer that for free to anyone who wants to build a website or blog – with caveats.

So, you can have a website that’s pretty easy to set up and use for basic blog posts and pages, but forget making it too customized or adding functionality to it. With this version, you can’t add plugins and are limited to how much you can customize things. You also don’t really own your content and are at the mercy of WordPress.COM to let you keep posting.

 

What’s the difference between a blog and a website?

Sometimes, there is no big difference! A website can also include a blog, or a blog can be your website.

A blog is really just a term for a type of website. Traditionally, blogs were a place to share information and that information was updated regularly – kind of like a newspaper that is displayed all at one web address, and that gave you the option to flip pages from today’s paper, and yesterday’s paper all the way back through last year’s paper!

I think that most people have an idea that a website is static with no moving parts, no updated information or interactive devices. The thing is, websites and blogs have both evolved in the last 5 years to the point that is’ really hard to figure out which is which or if we really even need to call them different things.

I don’t think we do.

 

What’s the difference between a post and a page?

This will depend on the platform that you use to build your website or blog, but in WordPress (both versions) there are two types of display options for your text, videos, and content in general. One is a page, one is a post.

Pages are static and don’t move, while posts (also called blog posts) will move down the page (or off the page) as new posts are created, therefore rotating on a page in order to display the most recent blog post.

Posts rest on pages. You can display multiple blog posts on one page, or only one post on a page.

 

Should I pay someone to build my site or build it myself?

Is your time more valuable than your money? If this sounds funny to you, then keep reading! In some cases, for me, my time is incredibly valuable because I’m a single mom of two girls, both with special needs. That means crazy numbers of appointments for both girls, in addition to working part time for my family outside the home and running a business online which is not as easy as it might sound.

My time is not always more valuable than my money. I dislike to cook. I don’t care about it, I don’t enjoy the act of cooking, and therefore, my time is more valuable than my money. I’d rather pay someone to cook for me, especially now that my daughter has diabetes! On the other hand, I understand most things technical and don’t mind taking the time to learn how to do something online or with my computer. So, in that case, I would rather spend my time than my money to get something done online.

 

What is coaching?

In a recent episode of the TV show, The Voice, Adam Levine said it best.

“My job as a coach, to me at least, is to hear about what you want to do and help facilitate that. You know, because, it’s not our job to come up here and transform you into something, it’s our job to guide you in the direction you want to be guided.” Adam Levine on The Voice

And that is so true from my perspective. If you want to build your own site, I’ll help guide you to do that. If you want to sell products, I can help you figure out how. Maybe you aren’t even sure if you want to sell products and services…… As a coach, I’ll help you figure out what it is that you really do want, and then how to get it done.

Sign up below and you’ll be sure not to miss any new information about building your site and business!

 

Were your 2013 goals smart and exciting?

How to Set Better Business Goals

Can you believe we have started the 3rd month of the year already? We are a good chunk into 2013! I should be excited, but I’m not. Why? Because these last 2 months have not gone the way I wanted. My goals for business have not panned out. I’m not sure exactly why, but I bet I’m not the only one who’s business goals aren’t going the way they planned back in December or January. Now is the time to tweak rather than give up completely though, so lets look at the points I came up with below.

#1 Make Them Heart-Poundingly exciting

Did your goals excite you? If not, then you probably want to re-evaluate right now. It’s hard to plan for or follow through on plans that don’t give you some excitement. What about fear? A little bit of fear is good, it’s challenging to achieve that goal when it’s a little bit scary. But, if the fear is stopping you in your tracks, re-evaluate it. Look at it for what it is and find out what the fear really is. Find someone to help support you (like a biz coach -hello!) through the fear and get that goal done!

I started off the year with two main goals. One was to re-vamp my offers here at Kick Ass Website Coach, and blog more often about website stuff, not just business and motivational ideas. I started out okay by writing on Mondays about WordPress and it’s helpful plugins and then on Fridays by continuing a series of questions that’s always been useful to me based on business questions for startups.

My motivation has waxed and waned- I’ve had other projects that got my excitement levels up much higher than writing. But that leads to my 2nd goal which is to build up and re-vamp my Special Needs Kids site which is working great. I have a partner, and a list of potential guests for our online radio show. We have an exciting project that’s almost ready to launch that goes along with the overall concept and that won’t require too much effort on my part! So, you can see one goals is exciting for me and the other, not so much. But, what to do about it?

#2 Dig Into the Details

Regarding my goal #1, it was only to write more on the blog, not to gain new subscribers or sell more coaching or build more client sites. I’m changing that goal to be more specific. My goal doesn’t have an end result that achieves what I want or need. Money and notoriety.

Yep, I want to be famous. Sort of. It’s not that I really want to be famous, but I have gotten a thrill when former clients send others my way and I hear how much I helped them. I also need money just like everyone else.

I only get to work part time outside the home due to my health and my daughter’s health. Being able to work more from home when it actually gets my bills paid would be a dream come true. Vague goals are difficult to work on and difficult to measure. I’ve learned that I have to be more specific with what I want out of my business.

You need to be more specific too.

#3 Grab Your Crystal Ball

With my second goal, I had already had some success in the past. When I first took over the Special Needs Kids site, I had a plan ahead of me, and I achieved it. I had some notoriety, some money coming it from it, and I was helping other people. Then, life rolled in and that site was the easiest to let go of in order to not drown in the rest of my life. What did I learn from that experience?

What worked and what I enjoyed about it, but also what I needed in order to make it work for me again – extra help.

One really important key to making clearer, smarter goals is to look at the past failures and triumphs, but then to look to the future. Take what you see and learn from the past and apply it to the future goals. What can you change to make the goals easier to achieve, or what can you add or take away that will make the goal work better overall?

So, you can see that making goals is harder than it looks. However these three tips for goal setting should help you dive deeper into the details of what setting your goal actually means.

Now, tell me in the comments below what you are going to change about the goal that isn’t working right now! And sign up for blog updates while you are down there.

Blogging plan

It doesn’t matter  how often you post to your blog, but managing that time and everything that goes with it, does matter. Lets take a look at using online and offline blog post calendars and management systems.

Online calendars: 

I personally use the WordPress plugin, WordPress Editorial Calendar, because it’s built into my site. I can easily paste a written article into the day/date on the calendar that I want it to post live, or I can simply post the title and a note so that I can come back to write about it when I’m ready.

This works for me because I can see the calendar visually with a note and the title, and know if it’s scheduled to go live or is still in draft form.

Here’s a video showing you how it works inside of a WordPress blog.

Offline calendars: 

I also happen to believe strongly in the use of a pen in your hand and the physical stimulation of writing. For that reason, using a paper calendar is great too. You could buy a regular wall calendar, a desk calendar or a planner to schedule your blog posts with, but the draw back is that you still have to transfer your ideas into your actual blog online.

If you are organized enough and manage your time well enough, it’s not that big a deal!

Brownline 2013 Monthly Desk Pad Calendar, January - December, 22 x 17 Inches (C1731-13)Brownline 2013 Monthly Desk Pad Calendar, January – December, 22 x 17 Inches (C1731-13)

AT-A-GLANCE Visual Organizer Recycled Flowers Desk Pad, 22 x 17 Inches, 2013 (5035-12)AT-A-GLANCE Visual Organizer Recycled Flowers Desk Pad, 22 x 17 Inches, 2013 (5035-12)

AT-A-GLANCE Flip-A-Week Desk Calendar and Base, 5 x 8 Inches, Black, 2013 (SW700X-00)AT-A-GLANCE Flip-A-Week Desk Calendar and Base, 5 x 8 Inches, Black, 2013 (SW700X-00)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, why even plan out your posts? Here’s a list of reasons.

  1. Content or idea block – I planned to post about my three main topics on three different days of the week. I noted those in my calendar for a month or two.
  2. Brainstorm Subject lines and Ideas – List your ideas about your topics on each day you want to blog about that topic. You don’t have to stick with it, but you at least have an idea of what to blog about.
  3. Draft your content – If you write up some content for a blog post idea – go ahead and schedule it in your blog as a draft until you finish it. It’s there – maybe it will keep you accountable.
  4. See duplicate content /ideas – Check out the timeline and see if your topics flow or if you’ve posted the same topic more than once in a few months. This is why I love the WordPress Editorial Calendar because I can see easily for weeks and months ahead.
  5. Insert Time-Sensitive Content – Did something big happen in your industry? Go ahead and post it with a note to your subscribers that maybe it’s a little off topic for that day, but you won’t be adding extra noise in their email box.
  6. Guest blogger Assignments– Make notes for yourself about when a guest blogger is supposed to have a post ready.

Do you use an editorial calendar to manage your blog content? You should. Practical tips on how to use a simple editorial calendar to manage your blog

photo credit: eliazar via photopin cc

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