How Your Google My Business Listing and Your Small Business Website Get Married and Work Together Forever

How Your Google My Business Listing and Your Small Business Website Get Married and Work Together Forever

You are invited! Your Google My Business Listing and Your Small Business Website are getting married!

Small Business Website and Google My Business Listing

One of the most effective ways for a local business like yours to get found at just the right time is to have a fully optimized Google My Business listing, paired with a high-quality small business website. Keep reading to learn how to make this combo work for you and how to get an edge on the local competition.

If you are a small, local business owner, you know just how important it is to consistently attract new customers. You probably also know that you need a strong online presence to reach these prospective customers where they are looking for what you have to offer.

But did you know that up to 46% of all searches on Google are looking for local information? Or that 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information? Achieving and then maintaining visibility on Google is more important than it’s ever been because if you aren’t there to greet your prospective customers, one of your competitors will be.

So, you are invited to the wedding of your fully optimized Google My Business listing and your high-quality small business website!

Google My Business Basics

You may already have a verified Google My Business listing, but just in case you don’t, here is some basic information.

Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform that allows you to promote your local business and be visible on the “local pack” near the top of the page of search results for services/products in your area. When you have a GMB account, you can show your business profile, connect with customers, post updates and see how people in the community are interacting with your business.

Some of the reasons it makes good business sense for you to have a Google My Business listing include:

  • It shows searchers that you are a legitimate business
  • It lets prospective customers know you sell the products and/or services they are looking for
  • It shows people how to get in touch with you, your business hours and where you are located
  • It provides prospects with social proof in the form of customer reviews
  • It is easier for you to appear near the top of search results

Why Optimize?

It’s important to note that there is a difference between verifying and optimizing your GMB listing. When you claim or verify your listing, it doesn’t mean that it is optimized for success. This is a free tool you can use to get found by the very people you want to bring into your business, and if it’s optimized correctly it can be like a silent sales partner that works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

An optimized Google My Business listing will:

  • Result in more views of your business information
  • Attract more people to your website and social media pages
  • Lead to more phone calls to your business
  • Lead to more in-store visits
  • Boost engagement with your business
  • Improve your ranking in the local pack
  • Ultimately convert more prospects to paying customers

When your listing is properly optimized, you’ll also gain business insights that you may not be able to get otherwise. These include:

  • The specific search queries people used to find your business
  • The number of views you get on your profile, posts and photos
  • The amount of engagement that takes place
  • A cross-section of your audience demographic
  • The number of phone calls, direction queries and visits to your small business website from the listing

Optimized vs. Unoptimized

Basically, a Google My Business listing that is verified but not optimized will only have some basic information about your business and a map but won’t have any of the information or activity that make it an effective marketing tool. When fully optimized, your listing almost looks like a mini-website of its own. An optimized listing will have:

  • Photos
  • A button taking visitors to your website
  • Ratings and reviews
  • The business category
  • Brief description of the business
  • Physical address
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Questions with answers from you

Google My Business Optimization Tips

If you take full advantage of all of the impressive features of the Google My Business platform, you will start to separate yourself from your competition. Most small business owners are unaware of this powerful free tool they have at their disposal. After you claim your GMB listing, follow these optimization tips to make the most of it.

Complete All of the Sections in Your Account – This will create depth, engage visitors, let people get to know you better and let Google know more about your business.

Select Primary and Secondary Categories – The more coverage you have, the better as long as it’s relevant.

Be Very Exact with Your Contact Information – One wrong keystroke and no one will be able to get in touch.

Write a Complete and Thorough Business Description – The more people know, like and trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you. Also, more info for Google is always a good thing.

Publish New Posts Regularly – Aim for at least weekly and post things like events, updates, specials, offers, deals, new products or services, introductions to new team members, etc. If you have a business that lends itself to daily specials, you can post even more frequently.

Upload New Photos Regularly – Showing everyone new photos of your business, team members and products will help bring your business to life and increase the engagement level.

Answer All Questions – Great customer service is a must online just like in person, so it’s important to answer all of the questions that come in from customers and prospects.

Collect and Respond to Reviews – Many people use reviews as the deciding factor for visiting a business or not, so take the time to gather them up and respond. And remember, negative reviews are a great opportunity to create a memorable customer service experience.

Set Up Messaging – This way, people can message you directly through your GMB listing for a more efficient process.

How Your GMB and Website are Tied Together

While your Google My Business listing can go a long way toward getting found online and bringing in new customers, your small business website also plays a huge role, and the two should work together for the best results. In many cases, consumers trust the details and information they find on local business websites more than directories or platforms like Google My Business. That’s one reason it’s so important to provide direct access to your website from your GMB listing.

Some telling stats from Bright Local show just how crucial it is to keep your small business website in tip-top shape:

  • 64% of consumers have used GMB to find contact details for local businesses, but only 8% of consumers never visit the website when deciding which local business to use.
  • 50% of consumers claimed they wouldn’t want to use a local business if the contact information on their website was out of date.

Must-Have Components of an Effective Small Business Website

Since your Google My Business listing and website must work together and the quality of your website matters, here are some elements that must be included:

Clear & Up-to-Date Contact Information – As mentioned above, it’s important that the contact information on your website is up to date.

Easy-to-Navigate – Making it as easy as possible for people to find what they are looking for will reduce your bounce rate and increase your leads and conversions.

Sensible Web Design – A great website isn’t all about looking pretty, but the web design should be easy on the eyes and consistent with your branding.

Customer Testimonials – Just like your GMB listing, people love social proof on your website, so take the time to collect and then display testimonials from satisfied customers. With the website, you have the advantage of only showing positive reviews and experiences.

Fresh, Relevant, Quality Content – Search engines and real people love when you update your content regularly, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with a blog that you post to weekly or bi-weekly.

Proper Titles, Tags and Descriptions – H-tags, meta titles and meta descriptions all work to help let search engines know what your site is all about, and it’s important for each page to include the necessary tags and titles.

Optimized for Local Search – As a local business, your website needs to be optimized for local search. Your Google My Business listing will help generate traffic, but you can’t rely ion it exclusively. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile, that it includes relevant local search terms in the content and that your name, address and phone number match other places they are displayed online.

If you’d like to learn more about how your Google My Business listing and website can help take your local business to the next level, grab your free Action Plan for Visibility and Find-ability here.

 

4 Glaring Mistakes Small Business Website Owners Need to Fix

4 Glaring Mistakes Small Business Website Owners Need to Fix

Small business website owners mistakes

Small Business Website Owner: Is Your Website Working for You? Or Gathering Dust?

Small Business Website Owners: Don’t Make These Mistakes!

Most small businesses website owners … “have a website that behaves like their old paper-based brochures, but just sitting online. It is rarely updated, is not given significant visibility by the search engines, has low traffic levels, does not encourage return visits, does not enable/track conversions, etc. (HubSpot)

 

Is Your Website Working for You or Gathering Web Dust?

There are 4 glaring website marketing and promotion errors being made by the small business website owners whose web sites I reviewed last week:

1. The web site is “ugly”, or really tired looking with an out-dated look and feel.

Your visitors can tell if you’ve put up a web site that was designed in the early 90’s or earlier. Web site visitors react negatively in an instant and click away if your web site is ugly, untidy or unreadable. Please make sure your web site conforms to general design principles without spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, too much variety in color, font size, and too liberal use of formatting like centering, bold, and underline.

2. The web site is out of date, with information that is obviously old and dusty.

It’s a giveaway when your web site copyright reads ©2002 and not ©2002-2018 (or the present year if you are reading after 2018). Is your address and phone number current? What? You don’t have your address on your web pages AND an easy way for people to contact you from your web site? That needs to be fixed. Do you have a news section that carries only old news? 4 out of 5 of the web sites I reviewed did not have information that was regularly updated, added to and educational for web site visitors.

3. The web site is not visited by the target market identified by the business owner, or they don’t have any data to figure out traffic levels.

After all the money and time spent on web sites, many business web site owners don’t know if their web site is attracting people who are in the target market the web site was intended to reach. Or, they never identified their audience, who they were trying to connect with and convert from prospects to customers. None of the web site owners knew how to remedy this situation and they felt overwhelmed by the notion of testing, tracking and tweaking their web site to increase traffic and conversions.

4. The web site has been abandoned in favor of a Facebook page or other social media activities as “new marketing” strategies.

When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web….Now even my cat has its own page. (Bill Clinton)

Social media is the internet marketing strategy “du jour” and although it can be powerful, it is not a “stand alone” marketing strategy for a successful business. Most small business web site promoters know very little about how to make their web site the “marketing hub” for their online marketing with social media integrated with their web site–and their offline marketing, too.

Social media, blogging, search engine optimization, and email marketing are powerful ways of developing online leads for most business. However, it’s your company’s website where your prospect makes a buying decision and the sale actually takes place. Each webpage needs to provide prospects with a compelling reason to do business with you, including calls to action that gently direct them down the sales funnel, getting them to “buy now” or contact you. While an unprofessional website will derail the best web marketing campaign, a well-designed site is a powerful conversion tool that will continually deliver high-quality leads. (Rich Brooks, president of flyte new media, www.flyte.biz)

Dust It Off–and KickStart Your Web Site Today

There are some very basic and not too difficult changes you can make to a dusty web site–or get your webmaster, local consultant, or web savvy friend or relative to help!

1. Transfer your web pages into a WordPress web site with a designer theme from Elegant Themes, Studio Press, iThemes or Woo Themes. These days, web sites are so much more than just web pages. You need the best possible “bones” for your web site and a modern yet simple design. It’s attractive!

2. Make sure your website’s theme is responsive, which means it will deliver a great experience to potential customers who visit your site using their mobile phones. 

3. Start blogging and post to your web site with up to date content at least once a week. With your WordPress web site and a great SEO plugin like All In One SEO, optimizing your web site pages is easy. Don’t know what a plugin is or why SEO is important? Don’t stress because you’re just one blogging class away from a WordPress and blogging “driver’s license.”

4. Learn how to–or have someone help you–use Google Analytics to “read” your web site’s traffic. Use the data to guide your tweaks to your web site so that more people visit, stay awhile and become customers.

5. By all means, swim in the social stream. Grow your networks at Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and use social networking to send traffic to your marketing hub, your web site.

If you need someone to take a look at your web site and give it a kick start, we’re here to help. Take a look at KickStart! My WebSite here at Social Biz Local Biz.

More resources:

Top 5 Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make (Mashable)

5 Essential SEO Strategies for 3 Types of Small Businesses (The Next Web)

Why a Great Web Site is a Key to Social Media Success (Mark Evans Tech)

From the blog, you might also like:

Social Media Marketing Checklist: Essential Steps for Small, Local Business 

Go Phone Friendly: Why You Should Create a Mobile Version of Your Website 

Website Marketing: Ideas for Organic Traffic to Entice Visitors to Your Website

 

Social Content: How to Handle Photo Images for Publishing Online

Social Content: How to Handle Photo Images for Publishing Online

photo images for publishing online

The name of this image is “photo-images-for-publishing-online.png” and the Alt Text is “photo images for publishing online”. Read this post to see how and why…

The first time I really thought about the images I use on web pages was when I noticed that I had almost used up the “free” space on my blog. I don’t like having to pay for extra space, anywhere! And I do like to use lots of images, especially in blog posts and tutorials. How about you? Do you know how to handle photo images for publishing online? On web site and blog posts?

Every time I work with someone who is new to creating and publishing content for web pages, blog posts, etc. – I know I need to explain how to handle photo images to get the most benefit and the least amount of bloating. (Yes, even a web site has problems with bloating!)

I’m assuming as I write this email that you know why it’s good to use images on your web pages and in posts as well as social media posts. In fact, not only does it attract people and illustrate your points, it seems that using images as the main meal deal a la Instagram has caught fire. At Facebook, it’s video that’s hot – live video.

So, let’s get straight to some how-to’s for handling photo images for publishing online. Here’s the simple step-by-step:

    1. Organize: Create folders to organize your original images and after you have downloaded (from your camera or your phone, for instance), go back to name your photos so that you can find them easily.
    2. Save: Save original photos as .JPG files if you have the option as you are downloading.
    3. Backup: Consider saving your original photos on an external hard drive (one of the larger ones with lots of memory, 1 or 2 terabytes, versus a thumb drive), and backing up by storing in the Cloud (Dropbox for instance).
    4. Preserve: Don’t use these original photos to upload to your web site. They are memory hogs. Keep them stored to preserve the quality and to re-use and re-purpose.
    5. Copy and Edit: Select photos to use on a specific web page or in a blog post.Edit them using an easy and free image editing software. The two most common things you will do are a) re-sizing and/or b) cropping.
    6. Save for the Web: After editing a copy of your original photo, save your image as a .PNG file and name it using targeted keywords.
    7. Add Alt Text: When you upload your image, you will be able to add “alt text” or Alternative text and you should ALWAYS do this and include the targeted keywords.

The Importance of Re-Sizing Photo Images for Publishing Online

Your original photos are likely to be over 1000 pixels in height and width but when you post to a web page or post, you don’t want any image to be larger than the full width of the body (let’s say 960 pixels) and most you’ll want to be smaller with text to the right or left of the image. And you want your images to take up less memory space on the server which saves you costs down the road – and also makes your pages load more slowly for your reader.

The Importance of Cropping

Cropping is important to focus your image so that anything ugly or extraneous (doesn’t match the key point you are making in your post) is cut out of the image. Sometimes, cropping is important to the shape of the image, for instance when you want a square image but your photo is rectangular.

So, it’s important to edit a COPY of your original and re-size for use on the Web then save as an image file type that takes up less space. I recommend saving as a .PNG file.

The Importance of Naming Your New File

The name of your file should include keywords, especially the keywords you are going to target for your page or post. If you are using only one image per post, consider naming the photo using the target keywords you use in the 1) page or post Title, 2) the Description, 3) the Excerpt, 4) the first paragraph, and 5) a sub-heading or two.

 The Importance of ALT Text

Your Alt text is the text that you see when you mouse over an image on a web page. It’s the text that page readers, used by people with visual impairment, hear read to them that tells them what your image is about. And it’s the text that Search Engines “read” to understand and index your content, so another opportunity to get more “search engine juice” or SEO.

Summary: How to Handle Photo Images for Publishing Online

To organize and get best use from images, store your downloaded images in folders with names that make your images easy to find later. Store and backup your original images in at least one place that is separate from your hard drive and is easy to access when you want to use your images.

Edit copies of your original photo images by re-sizing and cropping and then save as .PNG files (Web friendly). Save them with a name using targeted keywords you have chosen for the page or post where you are adding the image(s). When you upload the .png image to your site, add Alt text using the same targeted keywords.

Please contact me with questions, and I will respond with a reply – or another post. To get a weekly update on blog posts via email, sign up for my list, here

Regards,

Kate L Williams Signature

 

Grow Your Audience with Blogging

Grow Your Audience with Blogging

Grow Your Captive Audience with Blogging

Grow Your Audience With Blogging

In order to succeed in business, you need to get your message in front of potential customers. Your message needs an audience, and that’s going to be true regardless of what your business is. So if you want to grow your business, you’re going to need to grow your audience.

In this post, we’re going to talk about how to grow your audience by blogging – using the most popular blogging system on the Internet: WordPress. It’s estimated that WordPress powers fully 25% of all the websites that are on the Internet, so you can be confident that it’s a stable and reliable piece of software. And the price is certainly right. You can sign up for a free website and get started at: https://wordpress.com/start/website.

Of course, if you choose a free site, you’ll have a website address that won’t have strong branding elements (something like myblogname.wordpress.com).

In most cases you’ll want to purchase a new domain name for your blog (if you don’t already have one) and either:

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

The self-hosting option will give you much more control over your blog, although you will have to put in a little more time and energy to keep it up and running.

Okay, now that we have that bit of technical talk out of the way, let’s move on to the best strategies for business growth. We’ve identified the seven most important factors to growing an audience through blogging. Let’s talk about each one.

  1. Have a Voice

Having a voice doesn’t just mean the act of talking or writing. It means having a point of view, being distinctive, and maybe even a little opinionated or controversial. There is a lot of noise on the Internet. One of the biggest challenges that people face is sifting through all of that noise in to find the content that’s both interesting and valuable.

In fact, one of the things that makes blogging such a great opportunity for you — the fact that there are virtually no barriers to entry and that it’s easy to start a blog — means that there are a lot of not-so-great blogs out there.

By having a strong and consistent point of view, you’re already going to be more compelling than most other blogs.

You may already have an idea of how you want to go about building your blog audience, or you may need to take a little time to self-analyze your business and your unique selling proposition.

The voice of your blog should be a good fit for the product or service you’re selling. For example, if you are an affiliate marketer for natural health care products, then a writing voice that’s positive and nurturing is almost certain to be more appropriate than a voice that’s “in your face” or that uses risqué humor.

Of course, in order to have a strong voice, you also need to know who you’re speaking to and craft your messages specifically for them.

  1. Know Your Audience

Be sure to consider this factor from a couple of different perspectives.

First, take a look at your current customers. On average, how old are they? Where do they live? How much do they spend with you, and how frequently do they purchase? Are there any demographic clues that you can mine from your customer data that might help you come up with a picture of your typical customer or client?

You should also give some thought to the people you want to be talking to. Who is your ideal audience?

Maybe you’re looking to grow your following with more individuals similar to your current followers. Or maybe you’re looking to branch out into new markets and reach a new group of individuals.

  1. Relate to Your Audience

Be personal. 

Personal doesn’t mean unprofessional or overly-familiar.  “Personal” means  writing to your audience, speaking to them as you would if you were having a face-to-face conversation. Your audience is made up of individual people, not a demographic group or statistic.

Appeal to them as individuals, not a market group. This means that your blog posts should touch them personally and emotionally, with the exact nature of the emotional appeal depending on what you’re writing about. It might mean writing your posts from a first-person perspective (but not necessarily so).

Even if your business is a large one, and you’re setting out to create a blog that speaks to your customer base, there are always ways to make it personal.

Show that you understand the issues your audience faces and the problems they’re looking to solve. Use your blog posts to demonstrate to them that you have the best solution to those issues and problems.

You might be best for any number of reasons: your solution might be the cheapest, or the easiest to follow, or the most convenient. Use your key selling proposition to relate to your audience.

  1. Provide Value to Your Readers

For someone to want to come back to your blog again and again, they have to feel as if it was worth the time they spent reading your posts. Your blog should leave a reader with something when they’re done. You need to provide them with some type of value.

The value you provide can take many forms, and it all starts with being unique. This, perhaps more than anything, will keep your audience coming back for more. Maybe the tone of your blog posts is humorous, or entertaining, or supportive, or informative, or inspirational. Chances are it will be a combination of more than one of these approaches.

After all, if you’re simply making posts with information and a point of view that could be easily found on other blogs, why would someone choose your blog over another? Remember that the value and uniqueness of your blog, and the key to growing your captive audience is you. Your blog is the only one that has YOU making the posts, so put that to your fullest advantage!

  1. Schedule Your Posts

You’ll only achieve the great return on your blogging efforts if your blog has regular updates and fresh posts. Coming up with a schedule for what you’re going to publish on your blog can help you avoid the content droughts that can cause your readership to dwindle.

Once you start thinking into the future, getting into a groove of coming up with new blog post topics, you’ll be able to identify a half-dozen, or a dozen, or even more. Keep a list of relevant topics to come up with the answer to the “what should I write about?” question. This is often the hardest part of the process!

Don’t think you need to write all of these articles at once. but DO have a schedule for when each post will be published. Try starting with a once-a-week schedule and see if that needs adjusting. Whatever you choose, make sure to be consistent.

Each post in WordPress lets you set a date and time of publication to occur in the future.

When you write some of your content in advance, WordPress makes it easy to schedule blog posts for publication in the future. You can write your new content, add your images, and choose exactly when each post will go live. Leave yourself free to focus on other aspects of your business until it’s time to draft then publish a new batch of blog posts.

WordPress Publish Posts Scheduler

Each post in WordPress lets you set a date and time of publication to occur in the future.

  1. Use Social Media

As you look to grow your audience on your blog, think about what you’re doing to drive new traffic to your site. You could purchase search engine ads through Google’s AdWords program, or pay for exposure on other blogs and websites. But your budget might not be ready to pay for advertising quite yet. Fortunately, one of the most powerful ways of drawing in new readers is also one that’s free.

Does your business have a Facebook presence? This could either be through your personal Facebook profile or a separate Facebook page that you’ve set up for your business.

(Note: it’s almost always better to have a separate page for your business. This lets you manage the boundaries between your personal and professional lives in exactly the way you want, by letting you focus on business promotion on your business’ Facebook page without annoying your friends and family.)

Getting started with creating a Facebook Page for Your Business

Sign in under your personal Facebook profile and go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ and you’ll see this:

Getting started with creating a Facebook Page for Your Business

Getting Started with Creating a Facebook Page for Your Business

Choose a Facebook page type that most closely matches your type of business and the type of people you want to connect with online. 

  1. Help Your Readers Share Your Posts

Your current customers can be your best promotional tool. Think about the value that comes from someone recommending your products or services to one of their friends or family members. Potential customers and clients trust a recommendation from someone they know above advertisements or other promotions. 

Once you have a  Facebook page set up for your business, make it easy for your audience to get the word out.

With the rise of Facebook, people have become accustomed to sharing articles and pictures with their friends and colleagues with a mouse-click or two. To make sure your valuable blog posts are shared, you need to make it easy to share from the each post.

On the WordPress platform, you can extend the core functions of your blog by using what are known as “plugins.” Plugins are small programs that you download and install on your blog. Plugins allow you to transform your blog into a much more powerful promotional tool by making sharing easy.

The “Really Simple Share” WordPress Plugin Page

Really Simple Share WordPress Plugin Page

 

The “WP Social Sharing” WordPress Plugin Page

WP Social Sharing WordPress Plugin Page

The “WP Social Sharing” WordPress Plugin Page

Getting your blog posts shared on Facebook is priceless. It’s the kind of personal recommendation and organic promotion that money can’t buy. You can leverage this type of promotional strength with your blog, provided you make it easy for your readers to share.

*  *  *  *  *

Remember – blogging for your business is an ongoing process. You need to build an audience, and you also need to keep them. If you’ve tried blogging before but were unhappy with the results, scan and read through this post again to see what you might change to get better results.

You don’t necessarily have to have a blog to build a great business. There are other opportunities for you to create a captive audience. But if you start a blog, and put in the time and energy, you’ll almost certainly be pleased with the marketing results.

More eyeballs on your business. More customers through your doors. More KACHING! in your till.

 

Website Pop Up Forms:  Get More Sign-Ups for Your Newsletter

Website Pop Up Forms: Get More Sign-Ups for Your Newsletter

Website pop up forms: Do you love or hate them?

Website pop up forms: Love them – or hate them?

Are you using website pop up forms – or do you hate them?

Pop Up Survey

quick survey
    What's your reaction?

Does It Work to Use Website Pop Up Forms?

It depends.

Pop up forms are considered by some to be obtrusive, pushy, rude and unfriendly. Who visits your site? Reads your blog posts or articles? What will their reaction be? There are ways to make a web site pop up form appear the the moment of your choice. The settings will allow you experiment with when and how often your pop up appears.

There are alternatives to website pop up forms including slide in forms or hello bars. They are both less intrusive, more subtle forms of displaying a message/call to action and will increase your sign ups for your email list (just not as big an increase as you can expect with a well-timed, well-placed pop up form).

Pop up forms have been shown to get more sign ups for your email list, subscribers for your email newsletter or for your free report or incentive. (Don’t know what this is? Read more about free incentives.) Therefore, you have more people on your list receiving your valuable tips and tools AND more information and updates about your products or services.

Learn more about website pop up forms and whether they work:

According to the data from various credible and authoritative sources, using web site pop up forms WORKS to get more sign ups for your email newsletter or for your free incentive (e.g. checklist or e-book or resource guide). Read more about “why and how” in my blog post about email lists for growing your small business.

If you want to read more about the effectiveness of pop up sign up forms, here’s a detailed account:

In Defense of the Email Pop Up

And here’s another one, with some really powerful examples:

How to Use Exit-Intent Popups to Grow Your Email List

If you’d like to listen to a podcast about pop up forms, I liked this one at AWeber:

[Podcast] Episode 005: What types of pop up forms have the highest conversion rates?

I’m ready! How do I get a pop up form?

Your email marketing provider may have some help for you:

If you use MailChimp, here’s what their Help files say: Add a Pop-Up Signup Form to Your Website. They are a bit discouraging unless you’re an advanced user of email marketing and web forms (in my opinion).

If you use Constant Contact, there are a couple of plugins for Constant Contact + WordPress you could try, but again, it’s a bit complicated and you won’t be able to create a pop up form without using a third party service or plugin.

If you use AWeber, they have a podcast that talks about pop up forms and how to make the decision what to use and how to use it. They recommend tools and link to them. (Same podcast link as above.)

[Podcast] Episode 005: What types of pop up forms have the highest conversion rates?

They have a longer guide to pop ups: A Guide to Optimizing Pop Up Forms

Here at Social Biz, we are getting set to use an (always) free plugin for WordPress from the creators of LeadPages called Rapidology, which will allow us to experiment with the use of a slider vs. a pop up form. There are SIX ways Rapidology allows you present your sign up form on your WordPress website. Using Rapidology is the easy way to create a website pop up form that works with many popular email providers, including Aweber, MailChimp and Constant Contact. (If you don’t have a WordPress website, check out LeadPages.)

Rapidology described: “Rapidology™ is the only 100% free WordPress plugin that lets you quickly create beautiful email opt-in forms, popups, and widgets — no design or coding skills required.”

 

What’s Next With Website Pop Up Forms?

Keep your eye on some of our experiments here at Social Biz. Let us know what you think. No comment or question is too small for us to pay attention to – so leave a comment or email AskKateWilliams@gmail.com.

Are you ready to try, pop up forms? Get started and let us know about your RESULTS. Did you get more people on your email marketing list? Did one way work better than another?

Need help getting started with email marketing? We can help you KickStart! your email list building and email marketing with our KickStart! My Email marketing service.

Not sure about email marketing? Try our free course and let us know whether you have questions:

Website Homepage Design and Content: What’s your message?

Website Homepage Design and Content: What’s your message?

What does your website homepage SHOUT OUT to your website visitors?

What do you want your website homepage design and content to communicate? Is the message you intend to send being received by the people you want to reach?

Right People - Right Message

Right People – Right Message

Good Website Home Page Design

Uncluttered. Your home page is uncluttered and has lots of white space.There aren’t too many colors. Your website visitor is not distracted by too many elements e.g. pop-ups, animated ads, videos that automatically play, rotating elements that move too fast to process.

Easy to read.  Your content is easy to scan using left justification, bold type for the first phrase or sentence of a section or paragraph and bulleted lists  to draw the eye down the page through the content.

Easy to navigate, making it easy for your visitor to find the specific information they are there to discover.

Good Website Home Page Content

Speaks to the people you aim to reach (target audience) in the language they are ready to receive. Jargon and industry specific terms are eliminated and reading level is a match for your audience.

Right Message –> Right People

Speaks to the issues and problems of a specific (narrow) target audience and suggests solutions tailored for them.

Communicates who you are and the value you offer. Your content needs to compel your visitors to stick around, to spend some time on your site, find out more and engage with your site (instead of quickly clicking away to the next site in their Google search results).

Uses “Calls to Action” to communicate the logical next steps for your website home page visitor to take.

Our advice: DO give your website an update to keep it fresh and timely now and again and DON’T be taken in by the Latest and Greatest gadgets and gimmicks no matter how flashy and shiny and NEW they are.

You only have a quick moment to make a first impression, keep your visitor reading your home page and keep them browsing your site for more.

Website Home Page Design and Content Resources:

Seven Best Practices for Improving Your Website’s Usability. (Mashable.com)

Website Design Tips to Improve Usability and Readability. (ReadabilityFormulas.com) Also see the free Readability Calculators.

Improve the Readability of Your Web Page. (WebCredible.co.uk)

Not Sure What to Feature on Your Homepage? 4 Ideas to Get You Focused. (ContentMarketingInstitute.com)

Essential Tips for Designing an Effective Homepage. (SixRevisions.com)

Website Marketing: Ideas for Organic Traffic to Entice Visitors to Your Website

Website Marketing: Ideas for Organic Traffic to Entice Visitors to Your Website

The Beauty of Organic Traffic for Website Marketing

organic traffic for website marketingWhen you decide to start a website, you not only have to think about how you want to design it, but also how you are going to market it. Marketing is the key in all business, online or offline, and website marketing will be a foundation to your local business marketing success. Taking the necessary steps to build organic traffic — to get your website noticed on the search engines — is not a complex process, but it does take some time and effort.

The very first thing you can do is to start a blog.  Blogging is an excellent way to start bringing traffic into your website.  Let people know why you started a site, and what you intend to do with it.  How are you going to help people and be any different than the next business owner?  Blog posts that contain keyword-rich content will help your site rank higher in the search engines, although it may take some time for this to happen.  Get your voice out there and be consistent.

Website Marketing with a Blog

  • Write with your audience in mind. What is it that your target market wants to read about?  How are you able to solve their problems with your site or product?
  • Engage your website reader by asking them questions. The simple way to know what your readers want is to ask them. Make them want to leave comments and suggestions regarding your content.  Once your audience feels like they can engage with you, trust begins to form and a solid relationship can be created.
  • Use clear, concise headlines. Make sure your readers know what your content is all about.  Having a headline that centers on an issue the reader wants to know about will draw them in and make them want to know more from you.
  • Include a call to action. Once you’ve written your epic content, make sure there is a call to action following the blog post.  You can offer your visitors something in return for signing up on your email list.  This can be a free report, e-book, or set of articles that help them solve a problem.
  • Connect with social networking. Social media is such a big part of online marketing in today’s world.  If you want your website to get noticed you must become a part of a social community.  You will be able to expand your readership, and gain a larger following.  The reach that social media has is vast. This is not something you want to pass up when trying to build your business.
  • Maximize reach and impact with SEO. Optimize your website marketing with keyword rich content.  This can allow your ranking to be higher within the search engines.  SEO is not something that can be learned overnight.  It will take some time, effort, and patience on your part but it can be a helpful technique in getting your website noticed.

No matter what strategies you choose for website marketing, make sure put your audience at the forefront of everything you do. They have chosen you as a valuable source of information by even coming to your site and reading your content.  Your audience definitely plays a factor in how you should market yourself and your site.  Be transparent and unique in your delivery and you will be sure to build lifelong relationships with people that like and trust you.

get more website trafficDoes your website invite traffic? Would you like to have us take a look and give you some practical advice about changes you can make right away to make your website and marketing attract more eyeballs and inspire more sales?

Click here to learn about our KickStart! My Website service.

You might also enjoy:

4 Glaring Mistakes Small Business Website Owners Need to Fix

10 Tips for Writing Website Content That Ranks in the Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization

To Promote Your Website and Get More Visitors, Optimize Your Web Pages

10 Tips for Writing Website Content That Ranks in the Search Engines

10 Tips for Writing Website Content That Ranks in the Search Engines

search engine optimization

No one wants to slave over content for our web pages and blog posts and discover that no one found it, read it or clicked through using our links. The whole point of writing website content that ranks is to get more visitors to our web pages who stay longer, sign up for our lists and come back to buy our products and services.

Here’s the list of ten SEO copywriting tips presented by ContentVerve.com in their InfoGraphic below and reported by Social Media Today:

  1. Write for users, optimize for robots.
  2. Forget about keyword density and keyword stuffing.
  3. Integrate related keywords, synonyms, and grammatical variations into your content.
  4. Use Google’s free tools to find long-tail keyword variations that you can blend into your site copy.
  5. Focus on writing long, in-depth, quality content.
  6. Target high quality low competition long-tail keywords.
  7. Write content that answer’s common questions from prospects.
  8. Get your content noticed and shared on social media platforms.
  9. Strive to build your AuthorRank and develop your Google+ profile.
  10. Don’t forget about title tags and meta descriptions, they are the first thing people typically see in search results.

While there is no simple formula for achieving top positions in search results, these tips will help appease both search engines and your site visitors. In addition to the tips above, focus on adding new and sharable content to your website or blog regularly. Google prefers websites that update their content on a regularly, so the more often that you update your website the more likely Google is to crawl your website.

Reference: Posted by Brianna Smith at Social Media Today, http://socialmediatoday.com/brianna5mith/1525246/seo-2013-10-tips-writing-content-ranks?ref=popular_posts, June 10, 2013.

To Promote Your Website and Get More Visitors, Optimize Your Web Pages

To Promote Your Website and Get More Visitors, Optimize Your Web Pages

SMO: Social Media OptimizationTo switch from regular gas to premium when promoting your web site, optimize your web pages using The Simple Rules of Web Site Promotion.

Rand Fish of SEOmoz is an expert in “on page SEO”, meaning helping you create web pages and blog posts that will build your small business brand and attract buyers for your products and/or services. See what he has to say in this video from a Whiteboard Friday presentation, Getting On-Page SEO Right in 2012 and Beyond:

 

 

Optimizing Your Web Pages: Simple Rules of On-Page Optimization from SEOmoz Video

Traditional SEO

1.  Keyword Hotspots: Your primary keyword for the page should appear in the:

  • page or post title,
  • 2-10 times in the content,
  •  headers and sub-headers (H1, H2, H3 tags),
  •  page URL,  and
  • in the alt tags for images.

Modern SEO

2.  Make your content relevant and targeted to the people searching for it.

3.  Make the actual search listing  as interesting as possible by adding rel=author listing.

4.  Make the title as fascinating (therefore sharable) as possible.

5.  Ensure your domain name is part of your brand name strategy e.g. it’s a brand name people will want to click on because they know it–or they want to know more about it.

Resources and Guides: Search Engine Optimization

The Third Simple Rule of Website Promotion: Optimize Your Web Pages

The Third Simple Rule of Website Promotion: Optimize Your Web Pages

Keyword Strategy for Small Business Website PromotionOptimizing your web pages is easy if you followed the First Simple Rule of Website Promotion and start with a keyword strategy. In this step you will put your keywords where they’ll have the most impact on your page.

Optimizing your web pages will be easier if your web site is a WordPress web site and you use a WordPress plugin to help you place your keywords where they’ll pack a punch. Otherwise, you will need to learn some HTML (which I’m not going to cover in this post).

Optimize Your Web Pages at Keyword “Hot Spots”

Here’s list of the places where your keywords need to show up:

The page title (or post title for a blog post). Make sure your search term shows up in the first 65 characters of your title.

The keywords META tag. Not as important as other keyword “hot spots” so don’t waste time worrying and fussing over this.

The description META tag. Write a description for every page and every blog post using the first 10 words or so to attract visitors and working in keywords where it makes sense. Keep the number of characters to 160 or less.

Headings and sub-headings. Use your core terms and variations in your headings and sub-headings (H1, H2, H3…) on your page.

Text of links. Try to work your keywords into the text of links. Link to another page (or post) on your site where you have used the same keyword phrase. (If your site is a WordPress site, there are another couple of plugins that will help with this optimization step.)

In the body of your text. Work your keywords and variations in where they make sense. Make sure to target searchers by using a lot of different variations of your core terms, along with modifiers, when you write your web pages and blog posts.

Shopping cart product pages. Do a thorough job of writing copy for your product pages and product descriptions to draw a lot of traffic from search engines.

Discussion forums/blog comments/user reviews. These additions to your web site will generate a lot of content ( and your visitors do the work).  This content can be used to bring links into your site, send anchor text to your other pages and bring visitors in form search engine results.

Optimize Your Web Pages with WordPress Plugins

Our web site is a WordPress web site and we’ve used a couple of different plugins to help us with search engine optimization. The granddaddy of SEO plugins is All in One SEO. This plugin has a free version and if you know your way around WordPress, you know how to search for and install a new plugin. All in One SEO is easy to configure and will install a widget (user screen) below or to the side of your page editor that looks like this:

All in One SEO Pack

Filling in the All in One SEO form places your keywords into the code for your page without you needing to know your way around HTML and web pages. Using this plugin makes getting your keywords into the Page Title, Keywords META and Description META a breeze. More information about All in One SEO — click here.

We have recently opted to switch to Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin which has more features. If you are past the beginning level of optimizing your web pages and blog posts, you might want to check out this plugin. Take a look at the features and get started here to optimize your web pages at Yoast’s web site.

Some Recommended SEO Reading:

Search Engine Optimization Guide by Jeremy Palmer. See especially this part, Optimize Your Website and Pages.

Search Engine Optimization Fast Start by Dan Thies. See especially – Chapter 5: Optimizing Web Pages (Step Three).

CopyBlogger’s SEO Made Simple guide: How to Create Compelling Copy that Ranks Well in Search Engines.

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