Do you get overloaded with the tools you use to create your content? It seems there are so many and if you’re not careful you can waste a lot of money by not know what you need and sticking to it.
Those monthly subscriptions seem like nothing at first until they start adding up and before you know it you’re paying out more than you’re bringing in.
One thing my clients know about me is I try to find the most economical ways to do business. I’ve been guilty of “shiny object syndrome” a time or two myself and I’ve had to reign myself in.
$4.99 here, $12.99 there, and before you know it you’re paying more to run a side hustle or even full-time business than you could ever bring in.
Think of the tools that you pay for. If you’re a content creator you probably have the following:
- Domain $
- Web Hosting $$
- Premium Plugins $$$
- Social media scheduling tools $$$
- Asset storage (like Dropbox or Google) $$
- Graphics tool $
You have to weigh the price vs what you will gain and sometimes you have to make some hard decisions.
used paid for Photoshop for years. I didn’t like it because it was so hard to use and it was very expensive $30 a month. $30 for three years and I probably used it a total of 25 times.
That’s $1080 I paid to make a couple of logos and fix some errant photos. Crazy!!!!
I learned a valuable lesson. You could say a $1080 mistake. Now, most of you would probably say, “it’s only $1,000, Rena, get over it“.
Then think about this: IT’S ONLY ONE OF THE TOOLS I USE!
The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what you need:
What do you need to be able to do and you do and how much is it worth to you?
Do you create
- social media graphics
- blog post templates
- are you a photographer who may need all of those bells and whistles
- print materials
Different people have different needs.
I am definitely not a photographer so I won’t need to be able to manipulate imagery as others may.
I do need to create graphics to:
- Website creation
- Content creation
- Social Media
Today, I’m going to compare three other options that could be viable for your business.
You’ve probably heard of CANVA. Canva is a tool that I have been using weekly since 2016. Once I cut the cord with Photoshop I went with Canva’s paid plan and you can save your branding assets and up to 100 fonts to save you time. I fell in love with the ease of using Canva. They have a robust free version that works for every budget and their paid plans aren’t crazy expensive;
With a paid account you are able to save your branding assets and also up to 100 fonts that you own. That comes in very handy as a designer.
Here is the pricing as of today 8/31
This tool is somewhat new to me but I really like what I see. Number one is the pricing. I also love that you’re not charged more for say images etc. CARTOONIZE is a “one price for everything tool: which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.
I hate working on something and then find that one exact perfect image only to find out it’s not in “my plan” and required to pay extra. Cartoonize doesn’t do this. Below is a list of their pricing and features.
I’ve sent along a couple of questions about whether or not you can upload and save your branding assets and your own fonts. I have learned that “YES” you can save projects, but unfortunately you cannot save fonts although that have hundreds available.
Might that be a future addition? Let’s hope but until then it’s still a great deal.
The third on my list I have mixed feelings about. They do have a free plan but when I was looking around I saw very few images in the free version, but I also understand that they also have to make money.
Their pricing is comparable to the other’s to and I did enjoy using it.
I can see myself using it again at times for certain projects.
With the paid version you do have access to hundreds of thousands of images based on your subscription by Shutterstock which does impress me and when you consider the price of the pro+ plan that’s a great deal in itself.
**This post contains affiliate links. If you subscribe to any of these services I will earn a small commission that will in no way affect your pricing.
“We’ve all heard the old saying,
“Time is money“,
well, it’s true and if you have “bargain” web hosting it could be costing you a fortune!
I’m sure you’ve seen those ads on Facebook, while you’re shopping, even when you’re trying to relax with a mindless game. $2.95 hosting! Save money!
Yes, it’s true you can get hosting from some companies for “VERY LOW PRICES“, but there’s another saying that I’m reminded of.
“You get what you pay for”. Cheap isn’t always good especially when it comes to running your business or blog.
First, it’s NEVER just $2.95 a month.
Here is what you’re paying for an SSL Certificate if you have GoDaddy!
Can you say, “Ouch!”
An SSL is a necessary investment and if you can get it for free? Hello?!?
You’re Probably Asking, “Who Cares!”
This is one of the most important decisions that you will make for your business. Web Hosting is the necessary foundation and just like with everything else some foundations are stronger than others.
A 1-second delay in page load time can lead to:
- a 7% loss in conversions
- 11% fewer pageviews
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
When deciding on web hosting you need to take 3 main factors into account.
As I said above even a fraction of a second adds up to $$ and as a small business owner, we need to get as much bang for our bucks as possible.
Like my husband always says, “the proof is in the pudding”.
Below are 6 of my web hosting clients who have agreed to let me share these stats with you.
As you can also see, every single one of them passed the tests with flying colors and it’s because of the foundation that the sites are hosted on.
HOW DO THEY DO THAT?
- PROVIDING A CDN
- UTILIZES FLYCACHE
- INSTANT REFRESH
EVERY PLAN COMES WITH A FREE SSL CERTIFICATE
Every plan comes with a FREE SSL which was mentioned above (definitely worth mentioning again).
EACH PLAN COMES WITH MALWARE PROTECTION & MALWARE REMOVAL IF NEEDED!
Last but certainly not last in this list of pros!
TRUE LIVE 24/7 SUPPORT
THEY DON’T “WALK YOU THROUGH” DIFFICULT SITUATIONS.
YOU ASK, THEY PERFORM…
THAT’S REALLY IT!
ONE BUTTON RESTORE
We offer three plan sizes
We Have Just What You Need...
Website Maintenance is like an insurance policy for your business. Keeping your site maintained is an important responsibility. We take care of it so you don't have to.
What it includes:
- Website backups w/ offsite storage
- WordPress Update 2 x
- Theme updates 2 x
- Plugin updates 2 x
- Database Optimization 2x
- Malware Scan 2 x
- Speed test 1 x
- Site Performance Report 1x
- "Eyes On" site checks
- Discounted hourly rate
- MailChimp support
- Google Analytics support
- 25% Discount on any services.
With Premium Website Management you get the best of both worlds plus even more. This is for the girl who has everything and no time for anything.
What it includes:
- Premium hosting
- Server-side daily backups
- Offsite backups 2x monthly
- WordPress core updates
- Free SSL certificates
- Uptime monitoring
- One-button emergency restore
- Malware protection
- Staging site for development
- Theme & plugin updates 2 x
- Spam removal 2 x
- Database optimization 2 x
- "Eyes-On" site check 2 x
- Speed check 1 x
- Access to Genesis Framework
- Access to StudioPress themes
- Website performance Report 1 x
- Integration Monitoring (MailChimp, Paypal, or Google Analytics.
- Unlimited Tech Support
By partnering with Flywheel we offer a feature-rich plan that will keep your website secure & running its best. Unlike other hosts, you don't pay extra for the necessities needed to run an online business.
What it includes:
- Onsite daily backups
- Free SSL Certificate
- Uptime Monitoring
- One Button emergency restore
- Malware Protection/removal
- Staging Site For Development
Creating a memorable identity for your business won’t happen overnight. All the best entrepreneurs know it’s a long game — one in which you must consistently connect with your audience over and over again.
Does your brand feel forgettable?
If so, here are two possibilities for how you’re unintentionally making your business easy to forget:
1. Not communicating what makes you distinct:
Whether your industry is gluten-free baked goods or corporate accounting services, you must answer the question: Why should someone choose your business over the competition? This is why a unique sales proposition (USP) is so vital.
What’s great about your business? What convinces customers to choose you? However you answer these questions, you want to weave it into your entire marketing campaign from your tagline to your social media posts. This ensures your customers understand who you are and what you offer, encouraging them to choose you.
2. Having an inconsistent personality and/or message:
Let’s face it, it’s hard to remember every brand of car or toothpaste or cereal. It gets even harder if the brand is changing all the time. Was that business the one with the red and white logo or a black and white logo? Did they say they were known for down-home hospitality or sophisticated style?
Obviously, in terms of memorability, consistency is king. If you’ve gone through several iterations of messaging already, you can assume it’s been hard on your brand and your customers. For a stronger identity, pick a strategic name, logo, value proposition, etc., and then stick to it.
Interested in learning more reasons customers may be forgetting your brand? Take a look at the attached resource. In it, you’ll find not only factors that can harm your messaging, but also eight tips for what to do about it.
AUTHOR BIO: Kacie Stoll is a project expeditor at Golden Rule Signs, an LED sign company. Her professional experiences range from marketing and public relations to sales and customer support. Stoll enjoys working with customers and vendors all over the country to execute with speed and accuracy.
Branding, marketing, and promoting your small business can be challenging.
Mainly because there’s a wealth of information both on and offline telling you what you should and shouldn’t do.
And while you think this would be a good thing, the variety of information out there can often be confusing and overwhelming for small business owners and managers.
Fortunately, we’ve put together the following guide on free promotional tricks that you can use to grow your small business, perfect for those with a limited budget!
Google My Business
Creating a Google My Business profile is a beneficial and free marketing strategy, particularly for local businesses that want to tap into their local markets.
This free listing will allow your company to appear on Google Maps, displaying a variety of relevant information about who your business is, what areas you serve, and how to get in contact with you.
It’s also a place where you can cultivate reviews and testimonials from your existing customers, which can serve as a great marketing strategy on its own.
Not to mention the fact that having a Google My Business listing simply makes your business appear more professional to prospective customers!
Social Media Marketing
Increasing social media interaction and creating an online community is a cost-free way to expand your small business while also sharing your brand’s personality, graphics and logo, and gaining confidence from your audience.
Create company profiles on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, YouTube, etc. and then get active on those platforms to increase your brand awareness.
Whatever your inspiration, make sure you’re involved and constructive on the social media pages you build.
Consistency and portraying your true personality are critical to having a successful social media presence.
Incorporating hashtags into your social media posts is another free and highly effective marketing technique that can help you expand your scope and reach new audiences.
Although broad or trending hashtags can help you strengthen your brand awareness, they shouldn’t be your only option. These hashtags are often highly competitive, which means that they might not help all that much for a small business.
Therefore, when you’re sharing resources or tips in your posts, descriptive and relevant hashtags are often more helpful than using the most popular hashtags.
If you’re a local business, you should also use various hashtags specific to your location.
Just make sure that you’re using various popular, relevant, and location-specific hashtags in your posts to ensure they reach your intended audience.
LinkedIn is a fantastic social media platform that is often underutilized, especially for B2B businesses looking to grow their brands.
In fact, for B2B brands, LinkedIn is more important than the other social platforms we’ve mentioned.
But don’t just make network connections and then disappear; engage in conversation with them, share your blog posts and business deals, join and contribute to existing discussions, and share others’ high-quality material.
You will develop your brand and gain confidence and respect in your industry by educating your potential customers and helping other professionals to grow.
Furthermore, it would help if you encouraged all of your staff to participate in the platform, leading to more interactions, testimonials, and referrals for your business.
The best thing about Google’s algorithm is that it’s designed to provide the most reliable, high-quality, and appropriate results for any given search query.
So in terms of SEO, aiming to rank for local search results is often easier than aiming for industry-wide results.
For instance, if you’re a marketing agency, you’ll often have better luck ranking for terms such as “content marketing Oklahoma” rather than simply trying to rank for the keyword term “content marketing,” which will be a far more competitive keyword.
Remember that SEO takes time, so get started now and keep working at it; the rewards can be substantial over time.
To rank locally, the most critical thing to do is to add location-based keywords to your website’s meta descriptions, tags, blog posts, headings, etc.
Free Branding And Promotional Tips
Branding and promoting your business doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars!
In fact, by listing your business on Google, being active on social media, using the right hashtags, and optimizing your website for local search results, you’ll be well on your way to building a popular and successful small business!
It’s been a while since businesses could avoid being online; today’s businesses live or die primarily by their online presence. However, there’s a big gap between knowing that and knowing exactly how to build your brand. Even if your business isn’t web-based, building your online presence can help you promote your business and drive new customers through your doors. Here are some considerations when trying to build your brand and promote your services in an online setting.
If you’re going to be promoting your business online, you’ll need a decent amount of graphics and visual content to support it. This starts with a logo that you own and can use wherever you need; this logo should match anything your business uses physically to avoid confusion. If you don’t have a logo, head over to LogoCreator, where you can design your own professional logo for absolutely free.
Besides a logo, other content you’ll want to have is pictures from your business, promotional or marketing graphics for use in online marketing or video content you have of your business in action. All of this content helps you engage people with your marketing, rather than relying solely on long text-based content. Building this library and using it often can help promote your business online.
Use Google My Business
If there’s one place online you want to have your business registered, it’s on Google My Business. The most important benefit this free registration provides is people’s ability to see and find your business on Google Maps. People everywhere depend on Google Maps not only to help them get where they’re going but also to explore their local area and see what’s available. Your business is listed on Google Maps gives you a great promotional tool with a minimal cost associated.
Social Media Marketing
It’s hard to avoid social media, and as a business owner, you’d be ill-advised to do so. Social media offers an instant and constant way for people to interact with their favorite businesses, post reviews, and find local services. They often filter information by someone’s precise geolocation. People often ask for local suggestions for different services or products they need.
You can target people in your area with relevant advertisements using the various social media platforms, which makes your marketing dollars stretch farther as well. It’s generally free to create a profile, although you may want to use paid advertising. The point is, social media gives you a chance to get your business in front of a lot of people who are in your local area and are most likely to use your service.
Even if you aren’t inclined to build a website, you can get customers signed up for email newsletters after their visit. With a list of people who’ve already bought from you, you can send out periodic newsletters to let them know what you’re up to and all about the great deals you’ve been having. Email marketing is a very effective and reliable form of direct-to-consumer marketing, so you should really consider using it. Benchmark is a highly-rated email marketing service that automates many more mundane tasks, giving you the ability to create professional emails that get your customers to respond.
Even if your business isn’t web-based, you should seriously consider building a robust online presence. People spend so much time on the internet and social media that by relying on more traditional promotion methods, you’re missing out on a lot of potential clients. Harness the reach possible online by keeping these considerations in mind when deciding how you want to promote your company.
Effective Design Tips to Improve Your Sales in 2020
Running a business can be challenging, and 2020, the year of the COVID-19, has been especially trying. You find that you are struggling to make sales, and you’re starting to worry that you may have to shut down. With the right design tips, you can boost your sales and keep your doors open, even in these challenging times.
2020 has proved to be a very challenging year for everyone. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the business landscape leading to the closure of many companies. Those that have managed to survive have had to implement cutbacks and other cost-saving measures.
In the same breath, they are looking for ways to increase their sales to remain afloat. Platforms such as Mr.Bet have excellent tools for those operating online casinos and are looking for tips to design a game. But what tips can help boost sales for other businesses?
We will show you the top design tips to boost your sales in 2020 below.
1. Have a professional website built
What are web design tips? Simply put, it is any techniques you will apply to increase traffic to your website. One of the best design tips for websites is not to have sliders on your homepage. They can confuse people whatever you want to tell your audiences.
Other things you need to incorporate in your web design include:
- A strong call-to-action
- Visible contact information that works
- Aligning your website to any advertisements
- Developing design tips by understanding exactly who you are talking to and their point of need
- Having trust icons such as social proof, security measures, and safe shopping guarantees, among others
- Creating a sense of urgency around your promotions or products
- Making the checkout process easy
- Simplifying the checkout process and removing the navigation bar from the page. You do not want to present customers with the option of abandoning their carts.
- Incorporating customers voice in your copy
2. Put the Customer First
With the pandemic being such a painful reality in 2020, business owners must put the health and safety of customers first. If you’re operating a brick-and-mortar store, ensure you have proper sanitization and social distancing rules.
Communicate with the customers via your website, email, social media, or even mobile apps. Information around the pandemic and staying safe is especially welcome at this time.
One of the best design tips in marketing you will get is to go over and beyond customer expectations. When customers see that you care for them, they will remain loyal and even send some referrals your way.
Invest in training staff members to build passion around the brand and give customers the same experience.
3. Design and Optimize Your Gaming Website
Online gaming is on the rise. If you are a new developer, here is what you need to know.
- When designing, think of the end-user by having an easy-to-use interface
- Hook your players with your characters
- Provide quality sound to enhance the mood
- Provide consistency and balance in gameplay
- Unique designs will ensure you stand out
Optimizing your website is so much more than having the right keywords to attract visitors. The use of graphics and video will help reduce bounce rates. There are some fantastic design tips graphics you will find online to help with the process.
Design tips in Photoshop will help you customize photos or even create virtual tours for your visitors.
Customize your website to make it accessible on smart devices such as tablets or mobiles. A large percentage of visitors will browse it via such devices.
4. Offer Money-Back Guarantee
Have you ever wondered why companies offer money-back guarantees? Not only is it a very effective marketing tactic, but it shows that you have faith in your product.
When customers know they can return a purchase they are not happy with, it’s likely they’ll trust you with their money. Just be sure to offer a guarantee that you can live up to it.
5. Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers
If you have existing customers, repurposing your marketing content to mitigate them is a good move. By developing messaging that directly talks to them, you increase the likelihood of return purchases.
Think about promotions that target them directly. It could be a way of saying thank you to them for their loyalty. In return, they will stick by you and continue to be faithful customers.
We have shared what we consider top design tips to boost sales in 2020. Everything you do should be about the customer. Safety and information during this pandemic period are critical.
Pay attention to your website design and take advantage of smart devices so that you can reach those who shop via their smart devices. Most importantly, pay attention to your existing customers through promotions and exclusive offers, where possible.
What other tips would you have for a business that wants to stay afloat in 2020? Head over to the comment section to share your feedback.
Alex has many irons in many fires, including starting an eCommerce store and his own marketing company. He is very busy, but the work is rewarding, and freedom has allowed him to fish, see friends more regularly.
SEO is never a one-and-done idea, more it’s a type of philosophy that you must adapt to be successful in your endeavors. Everything you do, every sentence you write, every graphic you create and every content marketing plan you follow should ALL start with SEO.
- What exactly is SEO?
- What does SEO optimization mean for you?
- Why is SEO so important?
- Being SEO Flexible.
- How To Create Your Own SEO Strategy.
- How To See If You’re Strategy Is Working.
- Your Own SEO Planner.
1. What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the science of making your content rank high in the search engines of today.
The official definition is this:
According to this piece of MOZ SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
What goes into SEO?
To understand the true meaning of SEO, let’s break that definition down and look at the parts:
Quality of traffic. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead, you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in the products that you offer.
Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.
Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.
2. What Does SEO Optimization Mean For You?
It’s a strategy or plan that you create that will continue to build on SEO as you go along, by using:
- image titles
- image descriptions
- Cornerstone Content
- social media posts
to consistently rank higher in search engines. This strategy works best when created at the very beginning, but can be improved along any step in the process.
3. Why Is SEO So Important?
SEO is important because it keeps the search results fair. It reduces the ability to manipulate these results as much as possible so that the sites appearing for each search are there because they deserve to be there. Hard work and a website that appeals to visitors correlate with high search engine rankings, so if your site meets these criteria, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in the results.
Users trust search engines and achieving a top spot in search engine rankings signals to searchers that your site is a credible source. The higher you rank in results pages, the more clicks and traffic your site will generate. SEO also improves user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers. According to this piece on WEBFX.
4. Being SEO Flexible
What does being SEO flexible mean? It means that you take several key factors into consideration when making your SEO plan. Such as:
- Current Events
- Special Dates
- Longtail keywords
- Pivoting when things aren’t working.
No one ever sits down and creates the “perfect SEO plan” because honestly, it doesn’t exist. Being SEO optimized is an ongoing strategy and taking in these other key factors will only improve your rankings.
Taking into account the keywords you have chosen for your brand messaging you should also find ways to create with these four ideas in mind.
Ellen is a food blogger and she uses these 4 keywords as her foundation.
Now using the previous considerations she might use these sentences or keywords.
- How To Keep Your Holiday Desserts Gluten-Free
- How to Bake The Ultimate Organic Holiday Meal.
- Baking Thanksgiving Desserts For The Dietary Challenged.
- Your Christmas Baking Taking To The Next Level With These Organic Recipes.
- Ten Things That You Could Be Doing To Completely Ruin Your Easter Baked Goods.
5. How To Create Your Own SEO Strategy.
Now comes the easy part, because I’ve actually done the hard work for you. I created the FREE SEO PLANNER STRATEGY PLANNER and it’s a step by step guide to build a strong SEO foundation and to scale that plan as you grow.
On-Page SEO Tips
- Make sure that your URLs are clean:
- Think ahead
- Be consistent
- Use keywords
- Avoid any special characters. As they show up as “%20” which is unattractive.
- Length should be 50-60 characters
- Make sure your title is attractive:
- Start with keywords.
- Mind the length.
- Make it sell.
- Meta Descriptions:
- 150-160 characters.
- Don’t overstuff with keywords.
- Schema Markup: Structured data can do wonders for your SEO strategy.
- Use a Schema Markup Plugin
- You can also use Google’s, Markup Helper.
- How to check- use Rich Result Test.
- Optimized headings (h1-h6)
- H1 headings- Technically each of your pages has 2 titles.
- The title tag is displayed in search snippets.
- H1 tag benefit: Unlike title tag no character limitation. Use more keywords.
- H2 headings- Split page into high-level section mini titles within your content.
- H3-H6 headings- Used to mark further subsections within the content. Don’t overload keywords.
- Use keywords earlier in the copy. You should be using keywords within the first 100 words.
- Go beyond “exact matches” add more related keywords.
- Content length changes from year to year and is currently around 2,000-word posts do best.
- Want to make your content more compelling? Check out this piece from MostlyBlogging.com
C. Visual Aids:
- Fill in your “alt” tags.
- Compress your files.
- Use descriptive filenames.
D. Above The Fold Content:
The top part of the page visual when it’s first loaded.
- Remove distractions.
- Optimize For Core Web Values
- How fast it loads
- How stable it is while loading.
- How soon it becomes interactive
E. Mobile Friendliness:
You should check your site on all mobile search engines and make changes based on your results.
F. Internal Links:
- Should flow from one link to another.
- Pass authority from popular pages to less popular ones.
- Move users down a funnel.
- You need to always consider this: Whenever you create a piece of content you should always consider where the reader should go next.
G. Outgoing Links:
- Link to larger, more established sites.
- Each piece of content should have relevant links.
H. The Comment Section:
Make sure that your comments are set up as “no follow”. If you use popular comment plugins they take care of this for you.
6. How To See If You’re Strategy Is Working:
If you see that your backlinks are on the rise, your SEO efforts are working properly. If you see that the number of organic keywords on your website are also increasing, it’s safe to assume that you are targeting the correct keywords for your industry and using them successfully in your content. WebFX
I’ve created your very own SEO Planner to help you keep your brand message on point. Sign up for my weekly newsletter (Sunday morning’s) to get a copy for your very own, plus you’ll get full access to the Resource Library, deep discounts, and amazing tips to help you succeed in your online business or blog.
You might also like these other resources:
“What You Don’t Know About SEO Could Hurt You”
“Simple SEO Practices You Can Establish To Be Search Engine Attractive
”How To Improve SEO & Increase Pageviews In 2020”
As we’ve learned over these last three weeks there is so much information inside your Google Analytics account. We learned how to connect it to your website in Part 1 and in Part 2 we learned how to read those statistics and how to find what you need quickly. Today, we’re talking about Google Analytics integrations that will take your stats to the next level
GA is a robust tool that can help you not only read those statistics, but it gives you a snapshot of the health of your business. From your website to MailChimp or other email service providers and even Youtube!
Mailchimp (which is what I use on a daily basis and you should too!) is the most important integration to me and that’s because it gives me the answers I need quickly and I don’t have to go to other places to find it. I can access the information right from my MailChimp reports page! To set this up follow these instructions:
Google together with MailChimp can help you optimize your campaigns by giving your readers what they are most interested in.
Google Analytics & Youtube
You can also combine your Google Analytics account with your Youtube Channel. I found this great step-by-step video by ExtremeWebDesign.com
Google Analytics & Social Media
It’s very easy to track the amount of traffic that comes from different social media platforms. There is no integration, no coding!
This information is already there! Just sign in to your GA account and follow these intructions:
As you can see you can easily keep track of your statistics and therefore improve your content creation, campaign optimization, social media ads or posts, etc.
Knowledge = Power!
Starting next week I’m going to be starting a new series on MailChimp! I hope you’ll join me. Don’t want to miss out? Sign up below↓.
Get Ready For The Holidays With These Customizable Pinterest & Instagram templates!
Last week, I started this Google Analytics series by showing you how to connect it to your website. Once you do that it will take time to record the statistics. Google Analytics doesn’t go backward! You won’t be able to check statistics from the past, but in just a few days or weeks will give you a snapshot of how you’re website. The longer that you have it connected the clearer that snapshot will be.
I completely understand that for some just looking at the GA dashboard is stressful. It’s almost like a foreign language until you start to understand the amount of information that you can find about your website, your sales, your readers, or whatever you’d like to track. Today, I’m going to show you how to find that information quickly and explain things that you might not understand.
The Main Dashboard
The first thing you need to do is to go HERE & learn the terms that you’re going to have to know to make any sense of data. Some of the information that is in GA are things that you really don’t need. Unless you’re running a larger eCommerce site. This is for bloggers and small businesses who need valuable information about
- How many people come to the website?
- What they do when they get there?
- What they are interested in?
- What is working & what needs improvement?
This will allow you to create content that your readers want. For a small business, it could help you decide when and what to put on sale. Who to target you’re marketing toward and understand what it is they need and most importantly how you can help then achieve it.
My screenshot is a little blurry, but you can see there is a lot here. Let’s go over where to find the important facts.
- How many people come to your website?
- How long they stay there?
- How many are new visitors and how many are returning visitors?
Marketing has to be different depending on the audience.
You wouldn’t sell to a man the same way you sell to the women (just ask the creators of the tampon tax)! Unlike that example, there are reasons why you need to know your audience ages. Something that interests me at 50 would bore my daughter to death who is 28. My husband plays softball…me…not so much.
Learning how to read the language of analytics can help you drill down the best marketing approach for your individual readers. Next week, I’ll show you how to integrate GA and get even more information!
Do you still have questions? Comment down below!
Google analytics can be so confusing and then just when you get it figured out they change it! I hear this all of the time and you’re right. I think the whole system is harder than it has to be, but my brain isn’t big enough to figure out a better way so I’ll just leave it to Google and try to keep up.
Today, I’m going to show you some basic tips to set up your GA account so that you can understand the analytics that you’re looking at and know where to get the information needed to work with other companies.
What Is It?
First, of course, Google Analytics is a system set up to allow you to track statistics on your website. These statistics can help you improve your message, build your business or a bigger audience.
This blogpost HERE is a list of all of the important analytics terms that you need to understand before going into your analytics account.
How Do I Get It?
If you don’t already have an account you can go HERE and sign up for a free account. Once you have your account you need to connect it to your website. The easiest way to do this is to download a plugin. I recommend the MonsterInsights plugin but there are a lot of them. Make sure it has been updated recently, is compatible with your theme, and is being used by others.
You Can Have Analytics In Lot’s Of Places
Google Analytics is no longer just a website thing. You can GA to your MailChimp account (and I’m sure even more companies have this, but I’m a MC girl). You can also connect to your FB shop! But, today, we’re going to concentrate on the website – GA connection.
If you don’t want to use a plugin to connect your website you can do that as well. The plugin would be easier, but I am of the theory that less is more so the least amount of plugins I have to use the better. Most website problems come from plugin conflicts. I’m going to show you both ways.
Manually Connecting Your Google Analytics Account
You’re going to go into your GA account, but you should be signed into both your website and your GA account to make it easier. You need a code and to find that you need to:
- Look on the left side of your dashboard at the very bottom and choose *ADMIN*.
- You will see several columns of tabs. In the middle column it says *PROPERTY*.
- The 3rd choice says *TRACKING INFORMATION* Click on that.
- Click on *TRACKING CODE*
- You will see the code towards the bottom on the right. COPY CODE.
- Go back to your website and go to the head section of your website. You can usually find this under *THEME SETTING* or DIVI theme options or you may have to look it up for your particular theme. Save and you’ve done it! Check the images out below.
Using A Plugin
If you’d rather use a plugin I completely understand and I use MonsterInsights all of the time on websites. Go to PLUGINS>>ADD NEW in the search bar type in MonsterInsights. Hit INSTALL>>ACTIVATE.
Go to MonsterInsights on your dashboard and you will see a button that says SETUP WIZARD. Click the button and it will walk you through step by step with very simple instructions!
Whichever method you use, however, you get your statistics you need to know where to look and what you’re looking at. Next week, we’ll do just that!
*The tools and products below are used by me on a daily basis. However, I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE and I am not paid by these companies.
One question that I get asked quite often is, “What tools do you regularly use to do what you do”. I spend 90% of my time online and finding tools that are easy to use, easy to set up, and affordable could be a whole career in itself. If you’re not familiar with me I run three websites, three FB groups, spending time on social media platforms, plus I manage over 58 websites (not including my own).
If you missed part 1 you can find it HERE. Today we’re going to talk about a few more of the important tools that I use to run my business. There are so many tools out there and I have to admit I’ve been guilty of shiny object syndrome and I’ve gone down enough rabbit holes in my time, but I have found that less really is better when it comes to running your business.
There are things you need to do:
- Email service provider (newsletter vs rss feed)
- Keeping track of your statistics
- Creating content
These are just a few, but they are the ones we’re going to cover today.
Email Service Providers
I’ve worked with a lot of email service providers and I’ve even recommended a few, BUT I always come back to MailChimp. I hands down recommend this to everyone whether they are a blogger or have an eCommerce site. You cannot find better value then the paid version of MC and if you have under 2,000 you can use totally FREE!
Below are a comparison of the top three email service providers CONSTANT CONTACT, CONVERTKIT & MAILCHIMP:
You can see here that for $9.99 you can have up to 50,000 contacts with a MailChimp Essentials account. Under 2,000 is completely free.
ConvertKit charges $29 for 1,000 subscribers.
As you can see Constant Contact wants a whopping $45 a month!
I use MailChimp, I recommend MailChimp and if you look right over there →→→ ( in the sidebar) you will see the MailChimp logo. I’ve recently partnered with MailChimp and after weeks of testing, I am now an official MailChimp expert. I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE I DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM YOU SIGNING UP. I just really love the service.
Have questions about what MailChimp can do for you? Just email me at Rena (at) theblogging911.com.
Tracking Your Statistics
You know I love me some statistics! So much so that I became a Certified Google Analyst. Also over there →→→ BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s the only tool I use. Sometimes you need comparing views especially when you’re trying to see if what you’re doing is working.
So of course, I turn to Google because let’s face it, they are the internet Gods. But I also like using JetPack’s statistics. You can get a lot of information by comparing the two. Jetpack has a free and a paid version and it does offer a lot of features but you can get the same information for free.
Google Analytics is free and very easy to set up these days and if you use the MonsterInsights plugin it gets even easier. I totally recommend all three of these products.
IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure to filter out your own IP so that you aren’t counted in those statistics. I made a video showing exactly how to do that in this blog post.
Creating content is nonstop so anything you can find that will help you accomplish creating compelling content that people are actually wanting to read can be difficult some days. I usually write all of my content right in the WordPress post editor but when I’m working on ideas I like to open up a Google Doc. They are easy to use and easy to share. I do have Microsoft Word, but Google Docs is just easier sometimes and this especially true if you’re using Gmail.
I like to get inspiration from several places. It may be a newsletter I’ve read, a webinar I’ve watched or a podcast I’ve listened to. My favorite place to go for a little inspiration is Pinterest first. I am a visual learner and Pinterest is the eye candy of visual learners. I love to learn and I try to learn something new every single day even if it’s just about myself.
I also get a lot of inspiration from your questions, but lately, my most favorite way to create content is in my newsletter. I share a blog post every week, but I also like to have conversations with all of you. I love hearing your replies so please keep them coming! Also, if you have something that you’d like me to cover let me know.
I have to be totally for real here. I struggle with organization every single day of my life. I am not an organized person and I work hard, but don’t always accomplish my goals. My mind doesn’t work the way it used to and some of my struggles are memory issues, spatial judgment, and organization. That being said as a business owner I require a certain amount and the way I’ve found to deal with this is to try not to overcomplicate it. I have bought courses on time-blocking, organizational concepts, and automation and on and on. All a waste of money in hindsight.
No one thing works for me so I use a multitude of services to achieve the mediocre amount of organization I can actually stick with and here it goes.
I save all of my clients’ assets to a shared folder in Dropbox. This is also where I store all website backup copies. I also store most of my assets there as well, but historically I have used Google Drive for client files and One drive for mine, but recently decided to keep it all in one place. I spent a REALLY LONG weekend setting it all up, but I love it now.
I am very new to the Trello game and I cannot believe what I have been missing! I am still working out my system there because I did what I always did and ran around like a sugar addict in a candy store creating more and more boards, but I have created ONE BOARD that contains EVERYTHING I need in my daily business. Client info, passwords, subscriptions, and even a list of the many, many courses I’ve bought over the years.
Is also a great place to store graphics and pdfs etc. You can create folders to keep it all in order. This way when I’m making a graphic I have what I need to create it in the client folder. I love Canva so much (I have the business account) that I totally did away with Photoshop & Illustrator. I can do everything I need to do with Canva and $12.95 is a lot better than $53 monthly!
Is another place to store things. I create a secret board with every new design to pin inspiration, ideas, and branding pieces. I always have a few secret boards going for research purposes.
What tools do you depend on to do what you do?
SEO is the ban of a blogger’s or small business owner’s existence, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be. Search Engine Optimization is the science behind making search engines like Google or Bing find your article relevant enough to push it to the top of search requests.
Think of it as a dating service. The reader puts in keywords looking for information on a certain topic and Google or other search engine matches it with a list of pieces of content that come closest in keywords matches. Then from that Google compares how many of those links are current and how many of those links are used throughout your site. It’s comparing your expertise within your niche to give their reader the best content.
Is it’s considered “Cornerstone Content”? Cornerstone Content is described in the great blog post by SEO by Yoast.:
Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.
There is no one answer, but I’ve created a system that works for me and today I’m going to share it with you. There are a few steps to make this work properly, but just like any recipe the proof ingredients.
When you create a blog post SEO should be involved in every single aspect.
- image titles
- image descriptions
- Cornerstone Content
- social media posts
For example, we’re going to write a piece of content for our food blog:
You’re creating a post all about potato salad. (I love me some good potato salad!) So we’ll use the list above and start with the title. I like to use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer when I’m creating my titles, but let me tell sometimes I think that we “overthink” it. I like to come up with 3 different headlines and see which one scores the most, maybe tweak it a little bit. So a potato salad title:
- This Is The World’s Best Potato Salad & You Won’t Believe What’s In It!
- The Potato Salad Everyone Will Be Begging You To Make Over & Over.
- Summer Isn’t Summer Without This Potato Salad Recipe.
Below are each of the headlines analyzed:
Keywords are important not only in search engines but also in social media platforms use it as well. I like to keep my post keywords to between 3-5.
- Potato salad
- summer salads
Those keywords should be in your title, description, excerpt, social media posts, categories, tags, and even in the title and description of the images. Now you can’t just go in there packing in keywords like you’re trying to shove a weeks’ worth of clothes in a carryon bag. It needs to be natural. Think of ways that you can use longtail keywords within the post such as:
- This potato salad was my mother’s and it is always at the top of my summer salad recipes.
- I make potato salad every year and we always use mustard in our recipe.
- Potato salad recipes are everywhere and each one has it’s own variations.
Then we come to images. This is where for most people SEO goes right out the window. I see it all of the time. Naked images. There are a few places that keywords can be used.
- The image itself should be relevant to the post. Don’t put a picture of an elephant in the potato salad post.
- When you upload your image into WordPress there is a box for the description. Now, this is a description of the post, not the image itself. Something like: “This is my favorite potato salad recipe. and I’m showing you step-by-step how you make it”.
- The “alt text”. GOOGLE WILL PENALIZE YOU FOR NOT FILLING THIS OUT. This section is imperative so that visually disabled people can still enjoy the internet. If you’re using relevant images this is another place where you can build SEO. Is the image of your recipe? So for the alt text, you could use, “an image of my summer potato salad”. Which is “exactly” what it is and also included a few keywords.
- The link to your current post, of course.
Each little piece of this puzzle makes up the whole. A complete strategy also uses “categories” and “tags”. Using these two things consistently does a lot for your SEO. Don’t give them cute names use keywords:
- Summer Salads – category – Potato Salad recipes – tag
- Salad Recipes – category – Potato salad, Summer salads – tags
Social media is also a great place to use keywords. Pinterest especially because it is a visual search engine, not a social media, but I’m grouping it with them because people share their content with the platform. When people go to Pinterest they’re looking for something. So they search…just like Google. This again is where that image SEO kicks in.
So in conclusion, no one thing will work to help you build your SEO successfully. Each little piece goes together much like the ingredients of the potato salad. You can’t just throw a couple of potatoes in a bowl and call it potato salad. It’s the combination of all of those things that will make you consistently ranking.
Of course, you know that I’ve done it for you.
Get Your Own Blog Post SEO Checklist
Fill one out for each blog post and remember SEO is created by:
- Great content.
- Good structure.
- relevant images
P.S. Bonus points if you use keywords
in your free incentive pieces!