Whoops! They did it again! Facebook has made changes to the layout of Facebook Pages without notice. Go figure! This time around, the changes have been introduced on a user by user basis – so some people are still viewing the old layout. I had a brief moment of panic when viewing a page that I created only a few weeks ago. I quickly realized, however, that the profile and cover photos have repositioned themselves nicely. Any inconsistency in size specifications is not yet evident. Time will tell what kind of redesign will be necessary. It would be nice to have a heads-up from Facebook when these changes are imminent.
Your domain name can hugely impact the way people and robots perceive your website and how potential customers perceive you.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this domain name until you see it in print!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when making a Domain Name Selection:
- It should be memorable. Short & easy to spell. Keywords and search terms are ideal. Generic words are invaluable but don’t be afraid to add a twist.
- .com continues to be the extension of choice.
- Some sites, like Yahoo, list websites in alphabetical order therefore domain names that begin with ABC as opposed to XYZ are preferred.
- Avoid using dashes or numbers to replace words it is confusing and inhibits search-a-bility.
- Register your domain quickly as the competition is stiff and, like airline ticket deals, domain seem to disappear overnight.
Where is the best place to purchase a domain name? While there are many options my go to source is Go Daddy. They have inexpensive package deals, lots of promo codes and good customer service comparatively.
The lazy days of summer can be a great time for business owners to freshen up their website content before the fall season. Here are a few ideas to put on your list that promise boost your ranking and help with SEO:
- Update the Copyright information on your website or information that makes reference to “ … years in business”.
- Double check your business name to be sure that it is styled consistently.
- Update products, services, bios, employee lists, directories and contact information.
- Freshen up portfolios, only include your best work.
- Check for broken links.
- Remove duplicate content to avoid being slapped by Google.
- Add alt images tags, complete META descriptions, update page titles and check for sitemaps to make the most of SEO.
- Ensure Mobile Friendliness
- Try writing a blog or two – both you and Google will like the results.
LinkedIn, FaceBook, YOUTube, Twitter & Pinterest are the top FREE online marketing tools for businesses. We have all heard about how valuable, even necessary, it is to engage on social media however, that is easier said than done. Each of the platforms mentioned are more complex than they initially appear and what’s worse they evolve daily.
Diving in without understanding the individual platform can be overwhelming. Also, it takes knowledge and a bit of marketing savvy to see results. But never fear, there is plenty of information out there to help small business owners be successful.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network with 238 million users with 2 new members added every second. The platform allows colleagues and business associates to connect with each other and businesses can connect with current and potential employees. At the same time community development, thought leadership and content sharing is promoted. The platform offers tremendous referral potential, particularly for B2B leads.
How are people using it?
- Individual profiles are essentially online resumes
- People can connect with each other and make recommendations
- It is a great place to search for a job or an employee
- It is a valuable publishing platform where professionals can establish themselves as an authority in their field.
Personal Page: Leslie DiNanno
Company Page: Coca Cola
Facebook started in 2004 with the primary purpose of connecting college students. Twelve years later it has more than 1.65 billion users. It is the most widely used of the social media sites and has essentially shaped the way we interact online. Facebook connects friends and families as well as brands and consumers. For businesses, it is great for community building with current, past and potential clients, Search Engine Optimization, insight into a market niche (through analytics), communication and viral opportunities.
How are people using it?
- Groups – whether they are private or public, professional, community or special interest related.
- Events – users can organize around a point in time. Again, security can be customized and the event can be exported to other calendars which is a valuable feature.
- Business Pages – these fan pages have evolved over the years and now offer quite a bit of functionality including review capability, shopping carts, calendar syncing and more.
- Messenger – combines email, instant messenger and Facebook messages.
- Content, post timing and moderation are all factors that must be considered for business and personal use.
Did you know that the Twitter bird logo known as Larry was fashioned after Larry Bird from the Boston Celtics? Twitter was established in 2006 and allows users 140-characters to share appetizer bits of information. The interface is simple and conducive to sharing breaking news in any arena. Users choose areas of interest and there are 400 million tweets sent daily. Using Twitter you can find people interested in your marketing niche, stay abreast of the latest news and trends in your field, to market your product, drive traffic to your website, to stay in touch with your clients, build a reputation as an authority in your field & network with others.
How are people using it?
- Everyone is using Twitter – from Brands to Government officials, to athletes, to Hollywood stars stirring up drama.
Remember: Be aware of your brand and your voice. Be interesting and add value
Donald Trump Twitter Page: The Real Donald Trump
has emerged as the second largest search engine after Google – 6 billion hours of video are watched monthly on YouTube. This means that people are not only going to find the answers to their questions but they will be able to see a demonstration which is preferred. You Tube has launched many to internet fame.
How are people using it?
- Consumers watch content and share it with others.
- Much of the content is helpful and much is in a how-to format.
- There is a lot of incentive participation – that is, brands asking users to create video’s and share it on behalf of the brand using hashtags for promotional purposes.
Demographics are a large part of the success of Pinterest whose client base is largely female. Many ‘pin’ items found on the web including clothing, home décor and recipes. It is a terrific platform for brands with emotionally charged products that can rely on beautiful images for “pinning”.
How are people using it?
- Brands use Pinterest to engage their audience with picture sharing … it is simply visual.
WholeFoods: Whole Foods on Pinterest
Are you frustrated by negative business reviews on websites such as Google, YELP and Open Table?
Handling those objections with exemplary customer service can have a positive effect on your business. The first instinct of most business owners is to delete or hide the nasty comments. However, the truth is that every company has unhappy customers at some point.
Did you know that 72% of customers have more faith in business that show negative reviews? It is simply more realistic and believable. What’s more, 95% of unhappy customers will return if the issue has a positive resolution.
What should you do when that glaring negative review land in your inbox, or worse, pops up online for all the world to see?
- Don’t panic! What happens next is your opportunity to shine. Remember that good customer service promotes loyalty and repeat business.
- Reply publicly and know that your target audience is paying attention to how you treat others.
- Take a closer look at that negative feedback, what can you learn from it? What can be changed to avoid the same situation in the future? It may be a simple fix.
- Follow up with the disgruntled customer. Remember the old phrase that The Customer is King which means that your business is ultimately determined by its customers.
With an average of 50,000 new WordPress blogs being launched daily, you are not alone in your quest. In this age of information overload, quality content is king and can help to drive traffic to a website and ultimately boost sales.
Will your business benefit from a blog?
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself in making that determination:
- Does your business provide solutions that ease pain points for individuals or other businesses? Targeting pain points is a technique that should be taken advantage of, and blogging offers an opportunity so specifically target those pressure points in an open, very viral forum.
- Do you have valuable information to share? Most professionals bring knowledge and expertise to the table that can benefit others and, by osmosis, boost your own reputation as an authority in your field.
- Can you write? It isn’t necessary to be a literary expert but a blogger must be clear, concise and communicate in a likeable voice.
- Are you prepared to embrace the task? Blogging is a commitment in time and energy. It doesn’t help to leave your post unattended for months on end. If you want to have a successful blog make a resolution to be timely and consistent with your efforts.
If you decide to begin blogging (and yes, I do think you should!) Don’t expect miracles overnight but, in time, you will reap the rewards from your efforts.
Did you know that all browsers allow for the ability to right click any PDF file link and choose the option to open the file in a browser window or to save the file to your hard drive? By default, most browsers will open PDF files in a browser, however users can control how they would like to treat PDF files. Here’s the link to an article that gives step by step instructions on how to change the settings on different browsers. Change download settings
Getting your website to secure a spot in the top ten of an organic search result is the first step towards reaching your online marketing and sales goals. Those who are king in the SEO world, use all sorts of complicated and expensive techniques to hold a spot at the top of the page. However, there are simpler and more economical solutions for the business owner who is trying to capture their local online market niche. The screen shot below shows the basic anatomy of a search engine result using the keywords Website Design Boston North Shore – a phrase that potential customers might use to find my services.
If using WordPress as a website platform the process is fairly easy.
- Simply install the All-In-One-SEO-Pack as a new plug-in.
- Establish a list of 3 and 4 word keyword phrases that a potential customer might plug into a search box to find the products and services that your business offers. Keep in mind, that geographic location plays a large role in reaching your local market.
- The “free” version of the SEO plugin allows users to customize the areas of a website that are most important in SEO optimization. The page titles, page descriptions and keywords can easily be defined on every page and post on a WordPress website. The screen shot below illustrates one view of how easy it is to optimize a website using keywords.
- Take it one step further and include the same keyword combinations in page headers and content, and your website is sure to make its way to the top of search engine results in your local market.
WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the industry. The platform was originally introduced as a blogging tool but, because of its popularity, it has morphed into much more. WordPress is a free, open source platform but, the fact that it allows users to create, manage and publish content in a highly stylized and interactive format makes it priceless.
Among its many perks, WordPress has hundreds of compatible plugins that add functionality to a website. From photo galleries, to ecommerce solutions to SEO performance, WordPress is a viable web solution for most any business or organization.
Here are five plugins that are must-haves for all websites in 2016.
All in One SEO Pack is a WordPress SEO plugin that automatically optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines such as Google. This popular plugin allows users to set keyword settings, title settings, no-index settings and webmaster verification settings.
Some level of social media participation is a must for all business today, and it is equally important to offer visitors the opportunity to easily share information from your website on their own social media pages. The AddToAny plugin offers sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WhatsApp and many more.
We’ve all suffered the horror of losing precious information. Updraft Plus is a backup and restoration tool that is easy to install and set up. The plugin offers complete backups; manual or scheduled to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email and more.
The Wordfence WordPress security plugin provides free enterprise-class WordPress security, protecting your website from hacks and malware. Wordfence starts by checking if a site is already infected. It performs a server side scan of source code and then secures it and makes it 50 times faster.
This plugin displays Google Analytics reports in the WordPress Dashboard. It also inserts the latest Google Analytics tracking code in your pages. Tracking made simple.
Every day is a holiday – just look at “What’s Trending” on Twitter for proof … top trend today is #pancakeday! While some of the national days we observe may seem silly, they do offer business owners a marketing opportunity that can be capitalized on.
These holidays give us something to talk about when the conversation might otherwise be stale. Celebratory days help social media in three specific ways:
- Prompt fresh ideas
- Create buzz
- Improve SEO by nature
As Valentine’s Day approaches and we march forward into 2016, I thought it appropriate to publish a list of other recognized days on tap for the year as it may come in handy for social media campaigns. Thankfully I have a 15 year old daughter who is well on top of notable events such as No Shave November.
14. Valentine’s Day
15. President’s Day
29. Leap Day
13. Daylight Savings
17. St. Patrick’s Day
21. First Day of Spring
27. Easter Sunday
1. April Fool’s Day
10. National Sibling Day
18. Patriot’s Day
22. Earth Day
5. Cinco De Mayo
7. Kentucky Derby
8. Mother’s Day
30. Memorial Day
National Running Day (first Wednesday)
14. National Flag Day
19. Father’s Day
20. First Day of Summer
4. Independence Day
11. National All American Pet Photo Day
15. National Give Something Away Day
25. Christmas in July
1. National Girlfriends Day
8. National Dollar Day
15. National V-J Day
21. National Senior Citizen’s Day
5. Labor Day
11. Grandparents Day
22. First Day of Autumn
29. National Coffee Day
6. National Mad Hatter Day
10. Columbus Day
21. National Mammography Day
10. Marine Corp Birthday
Thanksgiving Day – Last Thursday
Black Friday – Friday after Thanksgiving
Cyber Monday – Monday after Thanksgiving
22. First Day of Winter
25. Christmas Day
26. Boxing Day
31 New Year’s Eve