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.

 

19 Reasons Why Email Marketing Works

19 Reasons Why Email Marketing Works

reasons why email marketing works

Reasons Why Email Marketing Works for Your Business

19 reasons why email marketing works:19-reasons-why-email-marketing-works

  1. Cheap. There’s no doubt about it, sending email is inexpensive. You might pay for a 3rd party service to deliver your email and you may even hire a writer to create your emails for you, but overall, the costs involved with email are pretty small. And when you consider #2 on this list, any costs really pay for themselves. Or they should, if you’re doing it right.
  2. ROI is huge.  The Direct Marketer’s Association states that email marketing had an average return of $32.00 for each dollar spent (2018). Yours probably could be higher since you’re most likely a solo entrepreneur with a smaller budget.
  3. Just about everyone has an email address. Yes, a lot of people have Facebook accounts, but email still wins. You could email your best friends, parents and sister, but you most likely can’t Facebook (verb) all of them. Same goes with a lot of people on your mailing lists.
  4. Direct. Unlike other marketing methods, email reaches your subscribers directly and is addressed to them specifically, unlike the general broadcasting we do on social media and in other mediums.
  5. Personal and customizable. Email is also very personal and can be customized with names and other information subscribers voluntarily provide like they’re geographic location, their interests, their goals and more.
  6. Targeting. It’s easy to create multiple lists and fine-tune your targeting. You can segment customers based on the types of products they’re interested and subscribers based on the information that attracts them most. Where else do you have so much control?
  7. Retain your visitor. When someone visits your website for the first time, the chances of them coming back are almost ZERO. NIL. NADA. By asking them to leave their email address, you get the chance to ask them to come back over and over again.
  8. Build and cultivate relationships. Email is an opportunity for your business to build your brand and gain the trust of your subscribers. Do your email marketing right and your subscribers will feel like they know you and can count on you for sound advice and great products.
  9. Commercial. People expect commercial messages via email, making it much easier to sell via email than through web content or social media, for example. In fact, according to Marketing Land, 77% of us prefer to get commercial message through email.
  10. It’s mobile. While everyone is shouting that mobile apps and sites is where the money is at, never forget that email is one of those handy things available and readily used through mobile technology. According to a recent Mobile Movement study sponsored by Google, 82% of smartphone users check and send email on their mobile device.
  11. Fast to create. Whipping up an email can be as fast (or as slow…but don’t let it be) as you want. No need to spend days creating an advertisement. Just write and go.
  12. Quick results. Email gets out there instantly and can start working for your business within minutes because it hits those inboxes quickly and people check email frequently.
  13. Easy to collect data. You can find out information about open rates, click throughs, sales conversions and demographic data of your subscribers. When you can measure your marketing, you can easily improve it.
  14. Drives traffic to your other marketing channels. If you’re engaging in blogging, social media or other efforts, your email list is an easy source of traffic. If you’ve just posted a great blog post or a jaw-dropping image on Pinterest, all you have to do is email your list and you’ve got people seeing it.
  15. Customers. Once someone buys something, you need a way to reach them so you can grow your relationship and sell more products to them. Email makes it easy to do this because you can segment your customers from the rest of your database.
  16. Preferential treatment. If you want to give special perks to your customers or certain subscribers, it’s easy to do with email.  Give them advanced notice of new products, give them special discount offers and more.
  17. More focus. Social media is a great place to tap into large audiences, but whenever you post, you are competing with a bunch of unrelated noise and it’s not always easy to get attention. The same may go for an email inbox, but once your email is opened, the focus is on you.
  18. Follow-up. The best results come from following up. You can make follow up blog posts, ads or social media updates, but the chances of getting all your messages seen are much more likely with email.
  19. Advertising that people asked for. This is one of the most amazing things about email. It is permission-based advertising. Instead of bombarding people with ads they have no interest in, they actually come to your website and ask you to send commercial information.

An email list is an incredible asset you wholly own and that is why email marketing works. You don’t share it with Mark Zuckerberg and you can keep using it months and years down the road.

So grow it, nurture it and get results from it.

Want more reasons why email marketing works? You may also enjoy these related posts:

KickStart! My Email Marketing

Got List? Build a Business Marketing List and Grow!

Email Marketing: Understand the Power of an Email Sequence

How to Push Send and Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

5 Ways to Gt more People on Your Email Marketing List

Got List? Build a Business Marketing List and Grow!

Got List? Build a Business Marketing List and Grow!

Furst’s Flowers Has a List

Have List Will Market: Your Business Marketing List is Your Marketing Secret Sauce

Are you ignoring the fastest, easiest way to get started with business building with the internet and social media?

Start by building a list and warming it up.

Every marketer, every business, every independent professional has at least one business marketing list.
If you are not doing this yet, get started now building a house list, your marketing list.

When you are marketing online to build your business, your contact database is your premium asset.

Business Marketing List Building

The beauty of having a web site is that your web pages do the work of attracting and qualifying your prospective customers and clients 24/7.
Your job is to craft the pages and provide the kind of information your ideal prospect is looking for–and have an automated way to collect their contact information so that you can stay in touch with them and build a relationship with them.

Your Social Biz Prospect List for Email Marketing Campaigns

Begin “list building”, adding prospects from your target market to your Social Biz prospect list. To do this, you need a way to engage their interest and an offer that entices them to give you their name and email address. Most internet marketers have a Giveaway, an information piece that gives your prospect something they want in return for their contact information.

Many local businesses have an email sign up list and a regular email newsletter (or email campaign, e.g. special offers, notices of sales) that goes out to their list. How about you?

Who’s on Your List?

Whether you’re a new business owner, a direct marketing company, an outside salesperson or an independent professional, you’ve probably been advised to brainstorm a Prospects List, asking yourself questions to help you recall people you have a current or past relationship with and adding them to your list.

When you are marketing your small business online, you will have more than one list–a Facebook friends list, Facebook fans (or “likers”), Twitter followers, LinkedIn contacts, and so on–

–but your most important list is the list created when people voluntarily give you their contact information in return for something you give them that is a step towards solving a particular need or problem they have right now.

This is YOUR list. It belongs to you and it is managed by you. These are the people you stay in touch with using email (and snail mail if you collect mailing addresses).

List Building Elements

There are 4 main elements for you to get working for you as your highest priority:

_1. A Giveaway: This is the free report, video, email course, or some other information piece that you know will be of value to your ideal customer or client. If you decide to send a Newsletter, let people know what kind of information you’€™ll be sharing and how often to expect it. Get a newsletter out at least once a month.

_2. A Landing Page: This is the web page where people can learn about your Giveaway and “opt in” or sign up. You can use Facebook to collect sign ups if you donâ’t have a web site.

_3. An Email Marketing Service Account: This is where you will store your contact information and set it up so your emails and newsletters go out automatically.

_4. A Social Network: This is the group you’ve gathered, probably at Facebook, who will be the first group to which you will promote your Landing Page address (URL).

(By the way, you can create an “ad-like” box on your Facebook profile that links out to your landing page. You can also create a tab and page at your Facebook business page where you put another opt in box that adds people to your list and sends them your Giveaway.)

List Building Tasks: Your 1st Priority

  • Choose an Email Marketing Service and set up an email marketing account (Constant Contact, MailChimp or AWeber).
  • Create a list in your account and then create an opt-in box to place on a landing page (or pages)–on your blog, in your Facebook business page, or as a separate web page that you promote.
  • Create an email series for your list that continues to engage readers with you and your offers.
  • Send them into your store or office with a great coupon or back to your web site for information they want and need.

Launch New Business at Warp Speed

Don’t wait or hesitate. Start with list building is your highest priority to kick-start your Social Biz!

To your business marketing list success,

Kate L Williams, Social Biz Local Biz

 

 

 

 

Kate L Williams
www.SocialBizLocalBiz.com

P.S. “Like” us at Facebook–Social Biz Local Biz. And share this information with your network.

 

P.P.S. Take a look and KickStart! your email marketing.

 


Need to choose an email marketing service? Compare 4 services that have a free or low cost basic plan: Email Service Provider Comparison Charts.

Could you use a checklist to stay on track? Here are the essential steps: Email List Building Checklist for Local Business.

Want some help with getting started? Or with building a bigger list or better results? Let’s Brainstorm -OR- KickStart! your email marketing!

How to Push Send and Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

How to Push Send and Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

Grow your business with email marketing How to Push Send and Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

…is an e-book from Copyblogger.com.

It is well worth the read for owners and managers of a local business who want to learn what works to grow your business with email marketing. If you want to skip this post and go directly to download the e-book, scroll down and get your copy.

Questions answered about Email Marketing to grow your business:

  • Why is Email Marketing the #1 preferred channel for communication to increase my sales?
  • What makes email marketing effective?
  • What kind of email will my customers read and respond to?
  • What is the top reason people will subscribe to my email list?
  • Which should I start with — a social media following or an email list?
  • ….and many more.

Highlights

There is no better way to build a responsive audience of clients or customers
for your business, than with the classic workhorse of the internet, your
email list.

Email is your most cost-effective marketing tool
With an ROI of around 4,300% (according to the Direct Marketing Association),
email almost pays for itself … not to mention the fact that it’s “eco-friendly.”
Direct mail campaigns cost, on average, almost ten times more.
That’s why smart marketers turn to email when they want to move from
“conversation to commerce.”

At a time when email is as prevalent as ever, its power is hard to ignore. According to recent marketing surveys:

  • 8 out of 10 consumers claim to receive marketing messages alongside our personal emails on a daily basis.
  • 70% of us make use of a coupon or discount we learned about from email.
  • Over half of us say that receiving special offers is the top reason for subscribing to an email list from a business.

Taking Action to Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

As you read through this guide to growing your business with email marketing, I suggest you give it a quick skim to see what catches your immediate interest, then print it out to read, highlighter ready. Keep your favorite action planning device at your side, a piece of paper and pencil will do. Note the next three steps you will take to:

Push send and grow your business with email marketing!

Download “Email Marketing” and Grow!

You may also enjoy these related posts:

KickStart! My Email Marketing

Got List? Build a Business Marketing List and Grow!

 

In the race for results with content marketing, is it the rabbit or the tortoise?

In the race for results with content marketing, is it the rabbit or the tortoise?

content marketing tipsIn the video below, Neil Patel tells us what he has found out about how long it takes to get results with content marketing.

This video is part of a longer, very comprehensive article, “Thirteen Ways to Drive Customers to Your Local Business with Content Marketing.”

Make sure you check out the 2 1/2 minute video before you read the whole article. Get some perspective and then dive into the details. Control any overwhelm you feel faced with execution of a content marketing plan with two strategies:

  1. A Content Marketing plan with a long view: 2-3 years – BUT – only planned in detail 3-6 months out.
  2. A slow-paced, consistent (and sane) approach to weekly marketing tasks.

And, get help when you need it. Contact me here or ask for a phone meeting to talk about the Race for Results with Content Marketing.

 

Is Your Small Business a Social Biz?

Is Your Small Business a Social Biz?

Is your small business a social business?

Is Your Small Business a Social Biz?

A Social Biz is a small business that makes relationships the most important part of their business and marketing.

Are You a Social Biz?

Your small business is a Social Biz if you:

  • Make it easy for people to find you and connect with you.
  • Create easy (and enjoyable) ways for people to communicate with you (and your people).
  • Actively and consistently stay in touch with people who are customers, other business owners, prospective customers, and members of your social networks.
  • Set up systems that serve your customers and troubleshoot and change systems that might be more convenient for you but get in your customers’€™ way.
  • Go out of your way to help people and offer solutions to their problems.
  • Think about new and better ways to grow a community of loyal, repeat customers who recommend your business to others.
  • Make engaging with your networks a daily marketing practice. Take charge and step over any technology barriers (or phobias J ) getting in the way of using the Internet and social media daily to be more visible, find-able and engaging with your networks — because you need to go where THEY are; not just where you are comfortable.

Make It Easy and Enjoyable to Connect with Your Small Business

You and your business will be easy to find and connect with if your contact information is consistent and posted on every page of your website and every listing and social media site that your prospective customers use to search for and interact with local businesses.

If your customers need to call you, is your phone number visible as soon as they go to your website? When they use Google and see your Google My Business listing? If they need to show up at your place of business, will they see your hours and whether there is parking available?
 
Your business will be enjoyable to connect with if your business listings and social media accounts (e.g. Google My Business, Facebook and Instagram pages) are personal and tell your story as well as provide valuable information for your customers. Even better, your online presence can help customers connect with each other, for example, through contests and comments, testimonials and reviews.
 

Stay In Touch with Customers and Your Business and Customer Networks

How do you actively stay in touch with people who are customers, other business owners, prospective customers and members of your social networks? Reach out and touch your tribe consistently and frequently:
  • A daily post on your Facebook business page and a weekly boost of popular posts with engagement.
  • A daily post at Instagram using hashtags that help people find you.
  • Postcards with messages and images that delight. Funny, thoughtful, cute or beautiful. Promote your products and services.
  • A regular coffee date with a local business owner to share marketing ideas, what’s working and what’s not.
  • Dropping in on your neighbor businesses for a quick hello.
  • A monthly email newsletter with specials and coupons and news just for people who signed up to be on your list.
  • A phone call to a customer who is someone you know and like but haven’t seen in a while.

Solve Problems for People

It is a service to your customers to notice and change any part of your systems that get in the way of your customer’s experience of your business. Make your systems work for them and change steps and things that get in the way of their convenience and ease of doing business with you and your business.
  • Too many steps or clicks to find what they want and purchase? 
  • Easy to navigate in your store, or your website?
  • Follow up or information needed to use or consume your product or service? 
 
How will you know when there’s a problem for which you have a solution to offer? You have to look, notice and ask.
 
  • Use your social media and web pages to ask with a quick survey.
  • Get a friend or colleague to test drive your web pages and your store to get feedback about what works from their perspective.
  • Go online to Quora or LinkedIn or your groups in Facebook and notice what questions people ask. 

Is Your Small Business Marketing Plan a Social Biz Plan?

Marketing Has Changed

Have you changed the way you market?

If you have a small business, you are a marketer. With each of us bombarded by advertising in every media, it is now more important than ever that you:

  • Create relationships with your prospects, customers and colleagues/competitors both offline (in person) and online.
  • Establish an online presence and use social networking to reach out and increase your visibility.
  • Grow your email and stay in touch.
  • Provide valuable information, including rich content on your website.
  • Join with others in your location and/or industry to power up your marketing efforts and results.

What are three ways you could change your small business marketing to become a Social Biz?

Share with us in the Comments section below.

What are three ways we could help you? (We are looking, noticing and asking.)

Leave your suggestions in the Comments section below.

Leave your social media and internet marketing questions in the comments section below.

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

 

Is There An App for That? ?  Run and Grow Your Business with Mobile Apps

Create a Mobile Friendly WebsiteDo you run and grow your business with mobile apps?  Just about the time I was getting the hang of my mobile smart phone, I moved (temporarily) to England, where I can’t get Sprint service. (It’s a pet peeve of mine that I haven’t figured out how to integrate an affordable mobile phone service for my business while I move back and forth between continents. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.)

Just because it feels like it’s holding me back right now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider how an iPhone or Android phone and apps (short for applications) couldn’t help you run and grow your business. I’m doing my research now and experimenting with my daughter’s iPhone and a friend’s Android while I am in England. I’ll be ready with my preferred solution once I get back in the States. (Meantime, it’s Skype for me!) [Update: I’m back and learning how to run and grow my business with my Android mobile.]

Here’s a peak at my research and my thoughts about how to use mobile phone apps to help you run and grow your business:

Best Mobile Apps for Help to Run Your Business

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), the best mobile apps for business are the apps that will help you run and grow your business.

Any app that suits your recording keeping style while helping you track your income and expenses and categorize your expenses so that income tax time is easier, breezier – is worth its weight in gold.

Take a look at these:

Quicken Self Employment: Connect with your bank accounts to download transactions to the app. Swipe right for personal expenses and left for business expenses and income. Tap on the assigned category to change it, or let it continue moving left to accept the category given. Tap on the transaction itself to see more details and choose personal, business or split. You can scan and enter your receipts from your phone, too. Pretty easy and intuitive.

Evernote: I use Evernote as my central “never forget anything” organizer and notebook. There is a desktop app and a mobile app and all of your Evernote notes can be synced across devices and to the Cloud. Each note you create can be tagged for easy search and find missions. Evernote Clipper, an addition to your browser, will clip whole articles and web pages or just save a quote or web address. You can attach and save any file type, so  supplement your notes with image files and audio files, for instance.

Scannable: Voted Editor’s Choice by PC Magazine, Scannable is an iPhone app by Evernote which scans your receipts and other documents. PC Magazine says The Bottom Line is:

 Evernote Scannable quickly scans stacks of business cards, notes from a meeting, and documents using nothing more than your smartphone and its camera. It’s even faster than Evernote’s own in-app business card and document scanner. 

Here’s an article, Managing Personal Financial Documents, from the Evernote blog–  and another, very detailed look at tax management, 12 Reasons Why Evernote is THE Choice for Tax Management and Financial Organization for the Self Employed.

Best Mobile Apps for Help to Grow Your Business

The best mobile apps to help grow your business are apps that help your create content on the fly – and stay in touch with your audience. Some apps do both by making it easy to create content and then share it.

Try these:

Instagram: Take photos, filter then caption and tag them for sharing.

Social Cam and Sound Cloud: Create video and audio, then share.

For more details, see this great article by Sandi Krakowski, Apps to Grow Your Business With, at her blog, Real Change.

Your email manager probably has apps to help you create and send emails as well as manage your email from your phone.

MailChimp: MailChimp has mobile apps and here’s their web page to check out the features: MailChimp for iOS and Android.

Aweber: Aweber has a suite of mobile apps and here’s the web page – Aweber Mobile App Suite.

Here’s an article with even more suggestions for mobile blogging. Read 5 Ways to Blog from Your Mobile Device at Social Media Examiner.

Best Mobile Apps for Social Media Marketing

Rather than recommending mobile apps to automate your social posts (e.g. Buffer), it seems that you’ll get higher post engagement (especially at Facebook) with direct posts. So, use apps that help you create content that’s creative and engaging – and quick. Find the ones that boost your motivation and productivity through fun and creativity.

Here’s a great article and podcast that will help: 18 Apps and Tools for Social Media Marketers. Not all of the apps reviewed are mobile apps but if you look at iTunes and/or the Play Store you’ll find mobile apps that share some great features of the desktop apps mentioned in this article.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and fun and get you into habits that help you run and grow your business with mobile apps.

Let me know below in the comments about the mobile apps you use to run and grow your small business.

Kate L Williams, Social Biz Local Biz

Some posts that might interest you:

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

How to Redirect Visitors to Your Mobile-Friendly Website

Getting Started for Authors: A Workshop/Clinic for Online Marketing Beginners

Getting Started for Authors: A Workshop/Clinic for Online Marketing Beginners

Working Online for Authors: Get Started with Social Networking (a clinic for beginners)

Clinic length: 90 minutesFacebook for Business
Day: TBD
Time: Morning, Afternoon or Evening Session – 90 minutes
Pre-requisite for beginners: This workshop is required before attending either of the full-day workshops, “Online Tools and Strategies for Authors” if you are a beginner or you don’t feel confident working in your social media accounts.

Location: TBA

Limits: Each session limited to 4 participants (minimum is 2). Workshop will be re-scheduled if enrollment is less than 2.

Cost: $35.00

You will work with one-on-one hands-on training and coaching to:

  • Set up a new social networking account (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+)
  • Manage privacy and spam
  • Build a profile that will attract new viewers and followers
  • Populate your own page or stream with content (words and images; audio and video optional)
  • Schedule posts in advance (a time saver!)
  • Link one social network to another to increase your “reach” (how many people see your content)

Perfect for beginners, each clinic session will be slow-paced and give you one-on-one assistance to get started. You will leave with checklists and other materials to help you take the next steps, and you will have access to the instructor via email for 4 weeks of support following the workshop.