There are multiple blogs I read EVERY week. It is no secret that every entrepreneur must stay on top of their game and keep researching and reading to learn more about what they do and how they can help their clients and customers. Thank goodness for the Internet! I can’t imagine running a business without the ability to get a hold of so much information that can help me when I am struggling with a problem, wanting to learn something new or trying to spread my message to the world. I imagine it is the same for you. Of course, since the Internet is so HUGE – where do you begin?
There are a million different blogs out there all giving wonderful information. Below is my list of some of the blogs that I read weekly that help me put the pieces together of running my company – and I hope you enjoy them as well.
- Mari Smith
For those of you that may not know, Mari is THE Facebook Marketing Expert. She has written several books, is incredibly active on all forms of social media, and I personally have heard her speak on numerous occasions both in person and online. She is a giver. She is constantly showing you tips and tricks on how to make the most of your Facebook marketing platform. If you visit her blog, you will find that she is almost always promoting a webinar or training course that covers various topics revolving around Facebook. Some are free and some you pay for. She also has a really cool “Inner Circle” private Facebook group that you can be a part of if you sign up for one of her programs that puts you in touch with people from all over the world that are trying to learn just like you. There is power in putting your minds together with other entrepreneurs, and I, myself, have asked several questions in that group and have been helped out by total strangers from somewhere in the world. It is a wonderful community. She also has an email that goes out every single Friday that spotlights her top three picks of articles that she thought shared valuable content – and they are NOT articles she wrote. She is constantly learning herself and is happy to share the good stuff when she finds it. If you are not on her list, you should be. Go to her website and sign up!
- ProBlogger/Darren Rowse
I have been receiving Darren’s emails for a long time now. Creating your own blog and content is so important, and it can become very daunting when you have no idea what you are doing. There is so much more to it than just sitting down and writing. Darren not only holds classes to help you learn to be a better blogger, but he continues to share what else he finds on the Internet the way Mari does. He has frequent posts he calls his “Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately” that are extremely helpful. His blog is constantly focused on giving you different tools to make your blog better such as commenting system tools, content creation, how to get paid for your blog and a great topic generator tool (which may or may not have been used to come up with this topic. Not going to lie.) He has really taught me a lot about blogging and is another one I suggest you follow. Click here to join his newsletter.
As a blogger, you HAVE to know how to make the most out of each and every post by optimizing your blog. Yoast is a company that created a plugin to be installed on WordPress websites that helps you optimize your website pages, as well as your blog posts. The beauty of this company is that they are also givers. They have written numerous eBooks on how to set up a great website, how to optimize it, content SEO assistance, analytics and more. They have an email newsletter that is always full of helpful tips, as well as an “Ask Yoast” section on their website where you can even talk to their people in more detail about your specific issue. So, yes, they are in the market to sell you their plugin, but they are doing it right by providing you with a TON of extras to show you that they are the best when it comes to website optimization. Check them out here. If you don’t have a WordPress site – I know a company that can help with that too!
- Beth Hayden
I first got introduced to Beth through a mutual friend when she wrote Pinfluence: The Complete Guide To Marketing Your Business With Pinterest. I love this book. I highly recommend it to anyone out there whose target market is on Pinterest and you need to learn how to reach them. What I quickly came to discover is that Beth is also a wealth of information when it comes to blogging, content generation, and list building. She even has a page on her website dedicated to the resources and tools she uses herself in order to run her online business. Once again – a giver! Are you seeing a pattern here? I encourage you to join her list building challenge. This is a great challenge designed to hold you accountable with increasing your subscribers, and therefore your reach, which will lead to more business.
There are definitely more, but these four will get you well on your way of gaining knowledge from industry experts that have certainly helped me along the way.
Speaking of giving…how about you give some of your favorite blogs or or podcasts that help you grow your business! Post your favorites in the comments!
Recently I had the chance to go to a women’s networking group that on the surface looked like your typical networking event. Speaker, networking, luncheon, upcoming events – pretty much what you would normally expect. I think there is something special about these events in January. They make you feel more energized, ready to take on new challenges, and ready to start a new chapter. The speaker at this event did not disappoint. Her main theme was “What Are You Waiting For?”
As entrepreneurs, the end of the year or the beginning of the year is typically the time you re-evalutate what is working and what is not. You think of trying something new and you get excited about new prospects, or say good-bye to what didn’t quite work out the way that you wanted. If you are like me, you probably have a million ideas in your head about what to do next and can get what is commonly called “analyzation paralyzation.” I am completely guilty of this myself. I get caught up in which direction to take and end up taking way too long to make a decision.
The speaker at this event made this very point. She was in a meeting and listening to her counterparts brainstorm with the boss. They sat there shouting out ideas left and right. Some were not good, some were not so bad. She, however, had a great idea and was formulating this idea in her head so it would come out of her mouth just perfectly. After all, she didn’t want to sound like she didn’t know what she was talking about. Unfortunately, in the time it took for her to obsess and only speak up when she had it all worked out, another person in the room shouted out the idea. The rest of the room was impressed and amazed, even though this idea was not completely formulated the way it was in her mind, and the other person ran with it and got the glory.
It is time to take your glory. What are you waiting for?
Don’t wait for something to be perfect. When I was first learning how to use YouTube to market your business, I was petrified. I knew NOTHING of video. I was intimidated by the technology. But my fellow business coach and YouTube expert, Lou Bortone, gave me the best piece of business advice I still use with my clients today.
Done Is Better Than Perfect.
Stop waiting for every tiny little detail to be in place before you launch a new project or try something new. Obviously you don’t want to just throw something together and not do any research, or jump into something without making the proper time for it, but don’t wait so long! If you do, then you are right back to missing an opportunity to learn, engage, become an authority, or accomplish something great!
I took this personally and finally enrolled in some classes that I have been putting off because I thought “I don’t have the time.” Melarchy. It was fear. Fear of screwing it up. Well no more. Don’t be crippled by time. Time is the only thing we do have. Make the time to make yourself a better person. Make the time to put together that new set of videos or online class that will make you money. Each step you take gets you that much closer to becoming a better person AND making some money along the way. Knowledge is power, go get yours.
So to inspire you, I will share with you what I am doing. I have started doing more research on SEO and the power of WordPress by buying some much need eBooks and enrolling in classes. I have made it a goal for my company to increase our WordPress Maintenance services this year. What is your goal? What are you working on? Share it in the comments!
I am currently taking an email marketing course. It is called “Rock The Inbox” and I highly recommend it. Definitely a higher level though, not really for beginners. But I am just getting started and already I am faced with a conundrum:
Should I use a pop-up form to increase my email subscribers?
I am not a fan of pop-up forms or boxes for any reason. I personally find them incredibly annoying. The worst thing in the world to me is to finally find an article that has the information I am looking for, start reading, and then have an incredibly annoying box scream at me to give out my email address or to “click here” for some freebie.
Now I am not going to lie. I have done my research and I am fully aware that pop-up boxes will typically make your opt-in rates soar. There is no question. But to me it seems like it might be stacking the deck a bit. Like having a pop up box will get someone’s email at first, but are they truly interested in joining your list or do they just feel compelled since there is a flashy box in the way of the content they want to read?
I think that it is truly up to you as the website owner what type of experience you want your reader/follower to have. Pop-ups have the potential to be fraught with peril. Not only are they annoying, but there is increased potential for a glitch. This will give your reader a horrible experience. Now they are annoyed, they cannot read the content, and they will probably leave and never come back. Not good.
But you cannot ignore the need for some sort of opt-in alternative that may suit your needs, so what is a gal to do? So I started doing some research and here are some suggestions I have found:
1. Use a well placed, prominent sign up box. The best real estate out there is the top right hand corner. However, I am also seeing a lot more of them at the footer of each and every posts. This to me is the best option. They have just finished reading all of your article, and that is the perfect time to grab them. If they read to the end, the must have liked it, right? Chances of you gaining their email so they can learn more from you are VERY high at this point. (**hint hint – check out my fancy new sign up at the end.)
2. Consider adding some spice to your free offer. Obviously people are not going to just give up their email for nothing. You have to dangle a carrot. You have to give them something of value so they will give something that is valuable to them. What about a great free e-book or downloadable pdf? Tip sheets and free services with links are always a good one as well. I have gotten some of the best free eBooks on topics I wanted to learn more about because there was a great offer in exchange for my email address.
3. Delay the opt-in. This suggestion came from my husband, the WordPress Wiz. If you insist on using the pop-up box, there are a lot of plugins now for WordPress that will assist you in delaying the timing. That way, your reader can get through most of the article without being annoyed and hounded for their email. Some he would suggest are:
Of course, you can always just keep your focus on what you are writing about too. As long as you continue to produce great content that is valuable to your target market, you will organically accumulate more readers.
So what are your thoughts? Do you use a pop-up box on your blog or website? Post your comments!
According to a recent blog post from Google, starting April 21st they will begin giving higher rankings to websites that are mobile friendly. Google states:
“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
It is no secret that Google is always changing their algorithms in order to give the end user the most up to date information when they come to do a search. The never ending game that we as marketers play is how to optimize our content in order to get the best organic rankings that we can in order to get placed higher. Reminds me of a joke I saw last week: Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? The 2nd page of Google!
Based on my experience running Google Ad campaigns for my clients, I can tell you without hesitation when I look at the stats from the ad that tell me where people are coming from, over 80% consistently in the last YEAR have been searching on a mobile device. So I am not surprised Google is moving forward. This is not something to be taken lightly or brushed aside.
An article from Forbes Magazine states,
“According to information we’ve been able to gather so far, it appears that this update will be as significant as Google Panda and Google Penguin, two previous significantly impactful algorithm changes, perhaps even more so. It’s also going to evaluate on a yes-no basis, which means it’s either going to see your site as “mobile friendly” or “not mobile friendly.”
Let’s face it, eCommerce is not going anywhere and if your site is not mobile friendly, chances are you are missing out on sales to businesses that have a mobile friendly, easy to use website and keep in touch strategy. So what is a business owner to do?
First: Optimize your website so that it will be mobile friendly. If you have been dragging your feet on this, the time is now to get it taken care of. Start by running your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. This will tell you where you need to begin. Here, Google will talk to you about some more common mistakes such as proper coding of image files, not using flash for video – or anything else, and cross-linking inappropriately.
It is not entirely clear how SEO is going to be affected, but rest assured if your site is not mobile friendly your ranking will definitely take a hit.
A lot of this can seem overwhelming unless you know what you are doing with your website, so I recommend not re-inventing the wheel and hiring a professional to take a look at your site and make sure it is mobile friendly. If you are lucky enough to have WordPress as your platform, you should be able to select a different theme that is more mobile friendly.
Second: Look at your email marketing. Almost everyone checks their email primarily through a mobile device while they are on the go. Most business owners that I know that are smart and taking the time to send email newsletters use various companies to put together a sharp email that shares their content and represents their brand, but when is the last time you updated your newsletter to a more mobile friendly version?
Constant Contact and Mailchimp both have mobile friendly templates that will allow you to see what it would look on on a desktop, as well as a mobile device, before you send it out. Nothing is worse than checking your email on your phone and not being able to read it because you are trying to find a way to get the whole thing on your screen. Most people I know would give up – and that is obviously not good. So make sure your email is readable from mobile devices as well.
Third: Don’t give up on social media. With all the platforms to choose from I understand it can be an overwhelming task to keep up with. But with the increase in mobile devices, the primary way people stay in touch is via their mobile device and their favorite social media platform. If you are struggling with keeping up with it all and cannot afford to hire someone like me to help you, then I recommend choosing one platform – and being great at it. Find the platform that your target market is hanging out in and give that platform all of your attention and time. Be amazing at Facebook. Excel at Twitter. Have the world’s most beautiful set of boards on Pinterest. Do one thing, and do it well, and your business will be noticed online. Use tools such as Pagemodo or Hootsuite to help you organize your thoughts and plan your time online successfully.
Making all of your online efforts more seamless and intuitive for the end user are what is going to set your business apart in the coming months and years. Paying attention to the trends and acting accordingly should be the priority in when connecting with your audience online. Questions? Contact me, I would love to chat about it with you.