Easy Tips That Have A Big Impact On Your SEO

blue flatlay with title text.

 

SEO or Search Engine Optimization can seem like an intimidating process, but it really doesn’t have to be.

SEO is so important for your business and it’s a process not a one and done type of thing. The first thing you need to do is:

 

CREATE A PLAN:

It’s really as simple as that. When you create an SEO strategy the first thing that you need to answer is, “what is it you want to be known for”.

For this post I’m going to pretend to be a food blogger, but you can still fillow the same process no matter what you niche.

To be truly successful though, I would suggest drilling down even more. A lot of people are afraid to narrow their topics afraid that they will miss out on readers.

The truth is really just the opposite. There are a billion food bloggers, but when you drill down even more you might specialize in something like:

  • Grill Master
  • Baking
  • Candy
  • Food by Culture
  • Breakfast Lovers

As you can see, the ideas are endless and these smaller topics are SEO gold. If you drill down even more say:

Grill Master

  • Gas Grills vs Charcoal Which One Do True Grill Masters Prefer?
  • The Art To Grilling An Award-Winning Grilled Salmon from From The Grill Master?
  • 10 Grilling Hacks That Every Grill Master Should Know

It has to make sense, but you see what I mean?

The italicized is your main keyword.

The Bold Are Extra Drilled Down, and the other are relative keywords. 

Now imagine adding it to a category on your website.

Grilling Recipes

Grilling Hacks

Now imagine that you add tags.

grill comparisons

grilled salmon recipes

The next thing to do is to add the most important keyword phrase in the YOAST spot.

 

 

a sreenshot of the Yoast seo key word box.

 

 

The most important thing to remember is to create a plan! Having a serious SEO plan in place will make it easier to not only create good content but it will also keep it easier to stay on your brand’s message.

 

I’ve taken care of the hard part for you. I’ve created an SEO planner just for you! Just sign up below and it’s all yours!

 

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Free Branding and Promotional Tips For Small Business

flatlay desktop with words

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.

 

Using Hashtags

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

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. 

 

Local SEO

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!

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The Tools I Can’t Live Without Pt. 2

Entrepreneur working at a desk

*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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I Have Test-Driven My Share Of Tools & Here Are The Ones That I Can’t Live Without

*The tools and products below are used by me on a daily basis. I have a relationship with these companies and I am an affiliate for these companies including Amazon on the products. If you purchase or sign up for a service I will earn a small commission, but it won’t affect your pricing in any way. 

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).

I think that you are going to laugh at my two top tools, but I could not run my business without them. What is it you ask? You did ask, didn’t you? The most important tools that I used *drum roll please*

That’s right I think my pencil is my most important tool. In my business, I write everything down, but I also make mistakes. A good pencil and eraser are imperative. Now, this tool goes along with another important aspect and it’s very particular.

I use Stenographer pads. When I was in high school we were taught shorthand which for a very long time was a thing. It’s not a term you hear anymore but these little pads are the stenographer’s main tool. I like using them in my business sort of like a workplace diary.

Each day, I start on a new sheet by writing the date at the top. I write down everything including phone calls, emails, or in-person and this gives me a written record to refer back to. Anything that gets done end up in the book for that day. I couldn’t function without them and they are strewn all over my house. Next to the bed, for those 3 am brilliant ideas that disappear with the daylight., In my car, for those long rides when my mind is racing. When I open my emails, or whenever I’m on a call.

The next tool I use is my personal choice. Believe me, there are millions each a little different. I’ve tried most of them at some point or another. I love my Happy Planner though. It’s two years (the one pictured is only 12-month, it’s big enough to keep track of everything but still small enough to easily bring with you. I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can also get them at Michael’s.

As far as hardware goes, I use my HP laptop and I love it. If it died tomorrow I would go buy another one just like it and that’s saying a lot. I’ve considered a mac book, but I can do everything I need on this one and it’s under $1000 which makes it easier to replace if need be. I have to replace mine about every 2 years, but I’m going on year 3 with this one!

While I use my laptop daily and most often sometimes I find I need a smaller, more easily manipulated tool where I can create logos or graphics so I purchased an iPad and I love it as well. With the iPad, I also purchased an Apple pencil to go along with it for those fine touches that you can’t achieve with your finger.

 

 

These are the only hardware I use other than my iPhone and you already know how important those are to any business! I have an iPhone 10 plus and I love it. From the size to the APPS that makes life so much easier.

Now on to the software I depend on to run my business there are different types. I have client work, I have content creation & marketing and I need tools that work properly and will do one of two things. 1.) Save me time or 2.) Save me money. Those are the two requirements that all tools must address.

I need tools that work properly and will do one of two things. 1.) Save me time or 2.) Save me money. Those are the two requirements that all tools must address. Click To Tweet

The number one tool I use is Canva business. I love my Canva account and I use it every day. I have it on my laptop, on my iPad, and on my phone for those quick FB posts or Instagram graphics. I use it for work projects, client projects, and even personal projects. My home is filled with canvases that I have purchased from my own photos. It runs me $12.95 a month and it is well worth it! I couldn’t run my business without it.

Speaking of graphics. We use them everywhere. On websites, in social media posts and even advertisements & logos. I use several sources for images. The saying, “One Photo Tells A Thousand Words”,. Is totally true. Graphics can make or break your business. I use several free sites for stock images number 1 being Pixabay.com or Unsplash.com. I wrote a post last year with everything you need to know before you use that image and even where to find them! When it comes to photos I have to say that the cream of the crop is Shuitterstock. It’s a little bit expensive, but the quality is amazing.

Graphics can make or break your business. Click To Tweet

While free graphics are great for some things others need a more professional image that shows your brand in the correct light. For those specific posts, I only use Styled Stock Society. It’s perfect for my business. I pay $100 a year and twice a month I receive beautiful images that I can download and use. They also have amazing templates like Wordbooks, checklists that you can just plug in your own information and wham, bam you have an amazing graphic that improves branding recognition which I know you’ll agree is essential.

Now, after you’ve created those stunning graphics (or hired me to create them) you have to get them out there. For social media scheduling, I use several tools. I’ve found there is no “one” scheduling tool that will work for all of my needs. So, #1 is Sendible. It is my go-to social media scheduler and what I use for those who’s social media I manage ($50 monthly).

There are two other scheduling tools that I use for different reasons. My favorite for scheduling all of my Instagram posts is called Grum. It’s the easiest to use, it always worked and I purchased it several years ago as a deal from Sumome for a lifetime subscription for $39. It’s no longer available for purchase and I am so thankful I bought it. It’s been so, so worth it to me. I love it!

I also use Tailwind for something. I use it for the Smart Bio on my Instagram account. If you’re not using this feature you are missing out on so much! This is available on the free version and what it does is let you customize your Instagram bio to include links to anywhere buttons etc. Check out mine here and see how much better it is! I

These tools are what I use to create and I couldn’t run my business without them. So far we’ve covered

  • Graphic Design tools
  • Social media scheduling tools
  • Hardware
  • Other (general products

Next week, I’ll cover email marketing, important APPS, themes & plugins.

Got questions? Leave them in the comments below! If you ask I will answer.

 

 

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How To System-ize Everything

flat lay desk - how to systemize everything

If you’ve ever looked at another entrepreneur and wondered how she manages to get it all done, the answer might surprise you.

She’s got good systems.

It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.

No matter what business you’re in and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:

  • Work faster and produce more
  • Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes
  • Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do

The Magic of Templates

How many times do you answer email from potential clients? What about responding to customer complaints? Or mailing your JV partners about an upcoming launch?

All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access.

While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and even sales. Simply instruct your assistant on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things.

Checklists Prevent Mistakes

It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed.

But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task.

You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.

Templates and checklists turn smart business owners into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you set up a new product in your shopping cart or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant to do instead.

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Why Your Sales Funnel Leaks & What To Do About It

Flatlay desktop Does your sales funnel leak?

 

For a business owner with a solid funnel in place, it’s easy to take a look at the number of subscribers at each level of the funnel and predict pretty accurately what the sales are going to be from day to day or week to week.

If you’ve got a funnel in place, though, and your numbers aren’t looking great, chances are you have a leak somewhere. Your funnel has a hole (or two or three) where subscribers are falling through. There are four common causes for funnel leaks, and once you spot them, they’re pretty easy to fix.

Not enough traffic. The very heart of your sales funnel is the traffic you bring in. Without visitors to your blog or opt-in pages, you’ll have no subscribers. Without subscribers, you’ll have no (or very few) sales. Without sales, you’ll have no business. Yet this is where a lot of people struggle. How can you get more eyes on your content and more subscribers into your funnel?

 How to fix it: Traffic generation is an entire industry of its own, but here are some tips: Use good SEO to encourage search engines to rank your content well. Be present and active in the places where your ideal reader hangs out, whether that’s on social media, in niche forums, or at live events. Use paid ads to drive targeted traffic to highly relevant pages. Recruit JV partners and affiliates to promote your offers. Buy solo ads in related email newsletters. 

No follow-up. This is a leaky funnel mistake that a lot of new entrepreneurs make. They spend a lot of time and energy setting up a great squeeze page and driving traffic to it, then they deliver the goods to their subscribers, and then…nothing. No follow-up emails. No offers to buy more. No related services or products. Nothing.

How to fix it: Before you spend time building that opt-in page or offer, be sure you have a back-end to promote, or those subscribers you so carefully collected will end up costing you money instead of earning it back.

No call-to-action. This happens most typically at the top of the funnel. Your blog posts, social media content, podcasts, YouTube videos—everything you offer for free—must have some kind of call-to-action, or it’s all just wasted energy. Your call-to-action can be as simple as “Subscribe to my YouTube channel” or “Follow me on Facebook for more tips,” but it must be there.

How to fix it: Every time you write a blog post or an email, as yourself, “What do I want my readers to do when they’re done reading/listening/watching this?” That becomes your call to action.

No product offers. When you’re just starting out, this can be a problem. You know you need to be building a mailing list, but with nothing to offer them, what’s the point? The truth is, there are lots of ways to make money in your funnel even if you don’t have a product to sell.

How to fix it: Promote affiliate offers. No matter what industry you’re in, there are a variety of tools and products your readers need. Find those tools, sign up for the affiliate programs, and recommend them to your readers. Not only will your readers thank you for pointing them in the right direction, but you’ll earn a little cash, too.

Got a leaky funnel? With a few tweaks and some attention paid to your follow-up sequences, chances are you can fix those holes and increase your profits in no time.

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Quick & Easy Website Tweaks To Automate Your Sales Funnel

When it comes to leveraging your time, automation is the sharpest tool in your toolbox. It allows you to get more done in less time, and to smoothly move people through your funnel.

For many small business owners, though, the one area that’s often overlooked is your website.

Use Your Blog to Build Your Mailing List

Like any smart business owner, you likely have opt-in forms on your website. They’re in the sidebar or maybe the footer, and you might have a pop-up to capture attention as visitors are about to leave.

But do you have a solid call to action at the end of your blog posts? When a new reader is finished consuming your posts, she’s primed to learn more. Give her the opportunity by offering an opt-in at the end of each post.

Even better, make it a logical next step by creating a related offer for each post. Called a content upgrade, these offers typically consist of a simple checklist or worksheet and capture attention by providing even more information about a topic they’re already interested in.

Keep Them Reading With Related Links

How often do you revisit old blog posts to link to newer content? This is an important maintenance job that will help provide visitors with the information they’re looking for by linking related posts together.

Not only is this strategy good for keeping visitors on your site, but Google approves as well. Posts that link to each other encourage search engine bots to crawl your site more thoroughly and help boost the rankings of your most relevant posts.

 

Make the Most of Your Download Pages

Whether you’re giving away a free report or paid product, your download pages can pull double-duty by offering visitors a “what’s next” option. For free download pages, a related, low-cost product is best. It gives readers the chance to learn more about you with a small investment.

For paid products, consider offering a complementary product instead. If you’re protecting your download pages with a membership script such as Customer Hub, you can even offer upsells based on what they already own, making the choice even easier for them.

And if you’re using a double-opt-in mailing list, make use of that confirmation page, too! That’s the perfect place for a quick upsell or an invitation to join you in your Facebook group.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow on your website: Whenever a reader lands on a page, she should be offered the next logical step. When you write your blog posts or create your download pages, keep that in mind, and your funnel will practically fill itself.

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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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Tailwind Makes Promotion Easier With Hashtags

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase their services I will earn a small commission that will in no way affect your pricing.

Most of you probably already know that when you are trying to promote your business you will likely need more than one tool to schedule content. I use a combination of free and paid tools to get my message in front of the right people.

Today, that just got a little easier with Tailwind. If you haven’t heard of Tailwind or think it’s just not for me you should take another look. Tailwind specializes in only two platforms: Instagram & Pinterest which just happen to be my favorite of all of them.

Tailwind saves so much time by allowing you to schedule in bulk. It automatically optimizes your Pinterest and Instagram schedules based on when your audience is most engaged. Saving you both time & money. Not only is it a remarkable scheduling tool it also has some awesome analytics because let’s face it, you also need to know what’s working and what isn’t.

Tailwind for Instagram automatically suggests the best hashtag for your posts! This is so helpful because if you’re on Instagram you know exactly how important hashtags are. If that wasn’t terrific all on its own they’ve recently gone one step further. You can now put those hashtags in the first comment right inside of Tailwind! What?!?

Here’s how it works:

  • Hop over to your Tailwind account and upload your post, drop in your caption and then type the # symbol to get predictive hashtag suggestions.
  • Click to choose or add frequently used hashtags from your list.
  • Check the box to move those comments from your caption to your 1st comment.
  •  Click “add to queue” to automatically schedule your post for the best time.

This is like scheduling on steroids! If you post to Instagram often you know how hard it is to come up with relevant hashtags. Do you find yourself making them up as you go along because you just don’t know what they are? Now, you don’t have to know Tailwind has this info built right in. It simply doesn’t get much better than this!

Pinterest & Instagram are quickly becoming the standout platforms for 2019. Loss of trust in Facebook and frustration at not being put in front of your tribe has people leaving in droves. Where are they going? Instagram & Pinterest!

Schedule like a pro with Tailwind! Want to give it a try? HERE YOU GO!

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