GET YOUR WEBSITE & CONTENT READY FOR 2022

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As a website owner, it is imperative that we keep our websites running safely and efficiently as well as provide a good user experience. This is no easy task, but today I’m going to walk you through the steps to make sure that you’re doing what you need to do without making you crazy! 

MAKE A BACKUP BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING

Before making any changes you should always make a backup of your site. While you’re at it this is a great time to check how things are set up and that they are running correctly. Answer questions about where your backups are delivered to. 

I use Dropbox for this, but you can have them sent to any number of places. Google Drive, One Drive, AWS, Delivered to your email, etc. 

Also, you want to see how many copies are being stored. If you don’t have a limit set you could be filling up your storage which in the end costs more money. I keep two copies at all times and then set it to delete any others.

THEN FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS TO CLEAN UP YOUR SITE

    • UPDATE ALL PLUGINS & THEMES
    • DELETE ANY INACTIVE OR UNNEEDED PLUGINS
    • DELETE YOUR CACHE OR OPTIMIZE YOUR DATABASE. I use OPTIMIZE DATABASE BY DELETING REVISION PLUGIN or a caching plugin that is compatible with your theme.
    • RUN A SCAN FOR MALWARE
    • RUN A TEST FOR GT METRIX. This will give you a report of how your site is running. Check the speed and the overall grade. 

THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO FRESHEN YOUR SITE UP & TAKE AN AUDIT

  • DO YOUR OPT-IN BUTTONS WORK?
  • DO YOUR SOCIAL FOLLOW BUTTONS WORK?
  • ARE THERE ANY WIDGET AREAS THAT NEED TO BE REFRESHED?
  • DO YOU WANT TO MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR WEBSITE? 

NOW IT’S TIME TO AUDIT YOUR CONTENT

Go to your stats. Whether you use JetPacks or Google analytics either one will work.

  1. Find the top 10 posts of 2021 and make a list. 
  2. Find the least read posts of 2021 and make a list.
  3. Go through these posts and refresh what you can. Add new images, change some wording.
  4. Find ways to improve your SEO. I’ve got a great SEO planner and it’s totally FREE!
  5. Go over your most popular posts and come up with content for 2022. How can you turn last year’s content into this year’s greatest blog posts?

IF YOU WANT TO DELETE BLOG POSTS IN BULK FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS

On WordPress, you can delete any old posts simultaneously.
  1. Go to WordPress and log in to your account.
  2. Click “Posts,” then click “Edit.”
  3. Click the category containing the posts you want to delete, then check the posts you want to delete.
  4. Click the “Bulk Actions” drop-down menu and click “Delete.”

Are you ready for big things in 2022? If you’ve been wanting to up your email marketing game with MailChimp you’re in luck!

Stay tuned for next week’s big announcement and an opportunity to build your email marketing strategy from beginning to end together!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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How Web Design Affects Your Online Sales

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Here’s something many business owners are not aware of: their website is more than just their online identity. While also considered by many as a virtual representation of their physical store or office, it is so much more. Apart from being your online business card, your website is also a powerful selling tool.

Here’s another fact many might find surprising: your website’s design has a massive impact on your online sales. For starters, your website’s architecture can impact consumer trust and the length of time they remain on your site. Both factors can translate to revenue (or loss) depending on how they are handled.

While it’s important to know the right website trends to incorporate in your design, knowing how your web design affects your online sales is just as crucial.

Let’s start by looking at some interesting facts that highlight the impact of web design on your online sales:

A staggering 75% of visitors will base the credibility of your website on your design. When visitors don’t find your site trustworthy, they will stay away from your site and look for information elsewhere. Understandably, this can result in a loss of sales for your business.

An enhanced design can improve your site’s credibility. A polished, clean, and modern website can make it very convenient for your visitors to browse or shop on your site. When it’s easy to transact on your site, they are more likely to patronize what you have to offer.

A great web design can increase customer loyalty. A whopping 89% of people turn to a competitor after a bad customer experience. If you want to generate more sales and improve customer loyalty, your web design is one of the things you should look into.

Web Design Elements That Can Help Boost Your Online Sales

Now that you know how your web design affects your online sales, here are some web design elements that can help you generate more revenue:

Integrate responsive design.

Once you know the impact of web design on your online sales, it’s easier for you to understand the impact of having a functional site. One of the first things you need to integrate to increase sales is a responsive design. A responsive design can help ensure your website can be accessed by anyone regardless of the device they use.

Make your call to action (CTA) page stand out.

Creating a superb CTA page is another effective way you can boost your online sales. When visitors want to purchase the products or services you offer, they look to your CTA for guidance. If your CTA page won’t be able to successfully guide your visitors on how to proceed, you can lose substantial revenue in the process.

Use high-quality visuals.

To help increase sales, use only high-quality visuals on your site. Avoid using graphics or stock photos as they can seem impersonal. It is also likely that your visitors will see them on other sites. Also, adding top-quality visuals can make your site stand out and make your products and services more enticing to your target audience.

Ensure you have organized navigation.

Another important web design aspect you should look into is your navigation. Ideally, you need to have organized and easy-to-use navigation. It is easier for you to sell your products and services to your visitors with organized navigation. You need to also ensure your site has all the relevant information your prospects will look for.

Use white space accordingly.

Many brands make the mistake of filling every inch of their website with visuals or information. However, overloading your website can be counterproductive as it can overwhelm and distract your visitors. This might not be common knowledge, but white space is key to good design so use it to your advantage.

Speed up your site.

If your site does not load fast, your visitors can leave without even checking the products or services you are offering. To determine your site’s current load time, you can use Google

PageSpeed Insights. If you don’t have the time to implement changes that can improve your page speed, investing in the help of experts would be a good idea.

Final Thoughts

Various factors can impact your online sales, and web design is one of them. If you are not where you want to be in terms of online sales, it is recommended that you carry out a website audit. If you need any help improving any aspects of your website, don’t hesitate to invest in the help of experts. If anything, it is an investment that will yield lucrative returns in the long run.

About The Author, Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of My Biz Niche, Arizona-based digital marketing, and web design company that has achieved superior results for its clients. Before My Biz Niche, Shawn worked for Venture Capitalists where he built a private portfolio of e-commerce and informational websites that generate revenue through various digital marketing strategies.

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The Tools I Can’t Live Without Pt. 2

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*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:

  1. Email service provider (newsletter vs rss feed)
  2. Keeping track of your statistics
  3. Creating content
  4. Organizational

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:

pricing charts for 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.

Pricing Chart For ConvertKit.

ConvertKit charges $29 for 1,000 subscribers.

 

 

Pricing chart for Constant Contact

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

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.

Organizational

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.

Dropbox

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.

Trello

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.

Canva

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!

Pinterest

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?

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Best & Worst Tools For Running Your Online Business

Each year I am approached by companies wanting me to try their products & services and ultimately share them with all of you. Some have been great additions to my business others have left me disappointed and flummoxed. I thought I would share with you the best & the worst from the past year!

To begin with, I’m going to break it down into 4 categories.

  1. Blogging tools
  2. Social Media
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Running your business

Blogging Tools

As you know (if you have a blog) there is always so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time so anything that I can find that will:

  • Save Time
  • Save Money
  • Improve My Skills

is a Godsend to me. Now, I want to share them with you!

Web Hosting  

I have my own hosting that I provide through Flywheel (owned by WPEngine) which runs $20 a month. We provide fast, secure hosting, free SSL’s, and amazing support. I only have three spots available.

For someone just starting out or on a tight budget I use **Bluehost. I have to say that I have set up hundreds of sites on Bluehost and not once have I ever had a problem. Once upon a time, Bluehost was considered the bottom of the barrel in terms of hosting, but a few years ago they turned it around and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with how hard they have worked to improve every aspect of their service.

Themes

I have always been a Genesis girl and **Studio Press is the place to get the best themes. A few months ago I had the opportunity to work with **Divi by Elegant themes and I have to say that I absolutely love it! It’s so versatile and easy to use and saves me tons of time. There are so many things included that you hardly need any plugins at all!

Plugins

Listen I know that those sneaky plugins get you where it hurts. I’m sure you have seen the notices in your dashboard ‘get this pro version’, ‘buy this’, ‘do that’.  Nine times out of 10 you don’t need it. There are free plugins for just about anything. My go-to plugins are:

  • Updraft Plus for backing up.
  • Wordfence for security.
  • Jetpack lots of things.
  • Akismet for spam.

If you’re using Genesis then I add:

  • Genesis Enews (optins)
  • Simple Social Icons
  • Simple Social Share

If you’re using Divi

  • Bloom (optins)

All of those are free & if there’s something you want just search the plugin repository.

Free Courses

From WordPress

WP Beginners
Neliossoftware

Hubspot created a blog post with 60 free online courses that you can take to improve your skills. If you don’t follow Hubspot’s blog you really should. There is always so much valuable information.

Would you like to learn more about Facebook ads? Here’s a great post by Insane Growth that explains it all.

Social Media

Social media is the bane of my existence, but it’s also a necessary evil. I build websites and create content with business tips for bloggers, entrepreneurs & small businesses. I get asked to try a lot of different social media scheduling tool and here is my honest opinion.

**#1 For me is Sendible.com. I run three different websites and manage several clients’ social media accounts. Scheduling blog posts and monitoring keywords that I set up, even monitoring my competitor’s social media accounts. If you run multiple blogs or social media accounts

Sendible is the best.

Most places make you pay per account so for three sites I would have to have three different accounts. I would only be able to pick up one RSS feed unless I had three different accounts.

I could not run my business without Sendible!

Sendible is different. I have a set number of services I can set up and it doesn’t matter how many RSS feeds you pick up and auto-posts new pieces. You can schedule them to repeat however many times it’s all completely up to you. I post to five different FB pages for various people and with Sendible I can do it automatically saving myself lots of time.

Then there is **Tailwind

I love using it for Pinterest.

I know I’m not taking full advantage of the features but what I am using I love. BUT  I don’t like them for Instagram. I tried it I really did, but it was just too confusing and I wasting to much time trying to figure it out.

A few years ago I bought a lifetime membership for Grum.co for only $39 and I love it for scheduling Instagram posts. That’s all it does Instagram, but it’s so easy to use. Unfortunately, they are no longer taking on new customers. If I didn’t have this I would make the time for Tailwind, but this one is just to easy and it’s a lifetime purchase.

CoSchedule

I love Co-schedule I really do, but because of the limitations of only having one site on one account, I just can’t justify that expense when I have other options. It offers a boatload of features and it’s easy to use.

There is really no “free” service for scheduling your content. You can use “Publicize” inside your WordPress site and it will automatically post to FB, Twitter, & LinkedIn.

I know that Buffer offers a free version but I’m not sure of its limitations. I’ve always found it too confusing to use.

If you’re going to spend money this is one of the places where I say if you can pay for it then get it. A good social media scheduler can save you loads of time while helping you build your tribe.

Email Marketing

In today’s 24/7, 100mph world if you’re not marketing through email then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. You should absolutely be sending a welcome email sequence & sending out an RSS to your subscribers.

A few months ago, I was singing the praises of **Engagebay and I learned a very valuable lesson. Sometimes quick decisions can be the wrong decisions. It can send beautiful emails, there are tools for marketing, sales or service. I feel as if it is an excellent platform, but it just didn’t fit my needs. The main problem was the RSS emails. There just wasn’t enough flexibility and I actually sent out a few crazy emails before I gave up.

If you’re running a small business then I cannot recommend Engagebay enough. It’s beautiful, easy to use and handles so many tasks. It’s also affordable. Here is a link to their Youtube channel which has a lot of info about its features. It’s a great platform I just tend to have a problem with change I guess.

So, I’m back at MailChimp and that’s where I’m staying! I know my way around, it’s easy to use (most of the time) and it’s cheap. They have changed things and unless you have a paid account you are limited in what you can do. Such as only having one audience(list), limitations on automation, etc. I pay for The Blogging 911 account and use the free version for Wanding Web Designer & The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver my other two sites. The paid version runs me $9.63 a month.

Have you seen my the MAILCHIMP EXPLAINED ebook in the 911 Resource Library? It’s just one of the many free resources inside.

 

 

I’ve worked with ConvertKit before and it is easy to use. I didn’t like the design limitations and figure if I’m going to spend $30 a month it needs to have a lot more.

Running your Business

There are several tools that I use every single day to run my business. Some are free (well most are free) but they are still necessary. Tools such as:

  • 17Hats – is an all-around scheduling tool, lead capture forms, templates such as contracts or estimates. It runs $39 a month for all of its features and there are many. I personally only use the free version because I use the templates & lead capture forms (those project inquiry forms you see around here).
  • Acuity Scheduling – If you need an easy way for people to schedule appointments I highly recommend Acuity. Their free version has always been more than enough for me.
  • Asana – This is my project management tool and it keeps me on track when I’m building out a new site, managing other projects or even just things I need to do. There is both a free and paid version and I’ve always found the free version more than enough for my needs.
  • Canva – There is a free version of Canva that works very well. I use Canva almost every single day and I love it for it’s easy to use dashboard, to the free and paid elements like stock photos, icons, frames, colors, and fonts. For this, I splurge and get the paid version so that I can store my own logos, my fonts (up to 25) and my brand colors for $12.95.
  • Google Drive – Also free. I use it to store all of my clients’ assets. I like how easy it is and it works great with Gmail which is another great free tool. I do use the paid version of this and it runs $6 a month and I have tons of storage and it’s easy to use.
  • One Drive – This is part of my Microsoft subscription which is about $7 a month. This is where I keep all of my assets. (Such as stock images, templates, or other graphics).
  • Dropbox – This is where I store all of the backups for my clients & my own personal websites. This costs around $10 but they’ve added a bunch of new features.
  • Screencast-o-matic – This another thing I purchased from Sumo. It was a lifetime subscription for only $39 and I use it whenever I need to make tutorials or other videos where I share my screen. It’s something I purchased on APPSUMO.
  • APPSUMO – is a great place to find great deals on products or services to run your business! They always have freebies or lifetime deals that will save you tons of time and money.

Know some great tools that I might not know about? Let me know in the comments below.

** Means that it is an affiliate link if you purchase a service, with the (**) beside it, means that I will earn a small commission that will in no way affect your cost.

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Mindset Tricks of Successful Entrepreneurs

Want to know what sets the uber-successful apart from the wannabe entrepreneurs?

It’s not money, or brilliant ideas, or even powerful friends.

All of those things (and more) are nice to have, but they’re not a requirement of success. What is a must-have, though, is a good attitude. Without the proper mindset, you’ll constantly be battling your own brain, and that’s exhausting.

  • You’ll allow yourself to believe your ideas are no good
  • You’ll remain convinced that you aren’t smart enough
  • You’ll be certain that someone else did it (whatever “it” is) better

And before you know it, you’ll have talked yourself right out of launching your new program, asking for a JV partnership, or writing your book. In no time at all, you’ll be back at your day job, working away on someone else’s business because you don’t have the confidence to create your own.

But a simple mindset change can make all the difference.

Dress for Success

Ladies, this one is for you. When we work at home, it’s easy to fall into a habit of wearing sweatpants and T-shirts to the office. After all, why dress up just for the dog?

But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to instantly shift your mindset in the right direction, ditch the yoga pants and break out the lipstick. You’ll suddenly find you feel more professional, more confident, and sexier, too. (That last one won’t help your business, but it might just help your love life, and that can’t hurt, can it?)

Never Let Fear Drive Your Decisions

Too many would-be entrepreneurs operate with a scarcity mindset rather than approaching business from a place of abundance. Rather than telling yourself that you can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant or work with a coach, try reframing your thoughts.

Rather than thinking, “I can’t afford to attend that event,” ask yourself, “How can I earn the money to invest in this trip?”

Rather than saying, “I have to do everything myself because I can’t afford to hire a VA,” remind yourself that your hourly rate potential is much more than you’d pay a virtual assistant. Then fill those hours you’re saving by outsourcing with money-making tasks of your own.

By reformatting your thoughts, you’ll turn that negative money talk into positive solutions that help you grow.

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