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Small Business

4 Simple SEO Tips for Small Business Owners

So, you have a great looking website and it serves you well. But what can you do as a small business owner to get visitors to your site?

These 4 simple steps will help with your SEO:

1.Update Your Content

Keeping your content up to date sends a positive SEO signal to Google. You may find you get a temporary boost to your ranking after updating a web page.

Woman typing on laptop

But more importantly, keeping your content up to date will provide the best experience for your website visitors.

User experience is an important factor for being found in search. If your users are happy, then Google will be happy too!

When was the last time you updated your content?

Take the occasional moment to read the copy on your key web pages.

Is the content still relevant, what could be added or removed?

As you are reading, pretend to be a potential customer. Have the following questions at the front of your mind as you read:

    1. Is the copy written for that customer? If not, consider how you might tailor the copy to suit their needs.Rather than saying ‘we are great at this and that’ how about saying ‘You will receive expert advice from one of our award-winning advisors’Put the focus back on the customer rather than you or your business. How will they benefit from working with you?
    2. Does it answer any likely questions they may have?Again put yourself in their shoes, what are they looking for? What doubts need answering? How can you appease any potential concerns and build trust with that person?
    3. Does the copy clearly explain the service or product you are offering?Sometimes reading a piece of content a few weeks or months after you have written it can give you a fresh perspective. Make sure the copy is easy to read, understand and absorb.If you aren’t 100% sure if the copy is meeting its objectives, try asking a friend or colleague to proof your content for you and provide their feedback.
    4. Is there a clear CTA (Call to Action) such as a phone number or a link to an enquiry form? Make it easy for the customer to get in touch with you in case they have any questions or are interested in working with you.If they can’t find how to contact you straight away then they may well leave your site.

2. Repurpose Your Content

Help spread your wonderful content by providing it in different formats.

For example, that great blog post you wrote, might be even better if it was translated into infographic form. Some people find looking at images and diagrams easier to grasp key concepts rather than reading large amounts of text.

You can also share these infographics on social sites such as Pinterest, which may help you get more traffic to your site.

Hire a graphic designer to create an infographic for you – or do it yourself!
With so many great graphic design tools, such as Canva and Venngage, it’s possible to create infographics without having a graphic design background – amazing!

It took less than half an hour to create this infographic using Canva:
Infographic 4 simple SEO Tips

What about doing a podcast on a key topic that impacts your customers?

In today’s busy lifestyle some prefer to maximise their time by listening to podcasts in their cars or while they are doing their cleaning, rather than taking time out to look at a website

Video is another popular format, that can be uploaded on to video sites such as Vimeo or YouTube or to social media sites such as Facebook directly.

Video is a great format for building the relationship with your potential clients as they get to see who they would be working with. It’s your opportunity to show who you are and why you are unique.

3. Ask Your Customers For Testimonials

When a potential client lands on your website, it is reassuring when they see all the fabulous things your clients have said about you. So why not ask a few clients to write a few lines about their experience of working with you or your company.

Trust is key when choosing to work with someone, so your website must be professional and should demonstrate that you are an expert in your field.

Testimonials and other trust signals may help keep visitors on your website and reduces the chance that they will ‘bounce’, or click the back button, straight away – this is important for SEO.

Ask for reviews on Google My Business and any other sites you are on such as Facebook or Yelp! This will all help with your business credibility and will encourage click through to your website.

4. Sign up to Local Business Directory Listings

There are numerous business directory listing sites, some of the most well know are Yellow Pages and Yelp. Add your business and contact details to these websites, so that you can be found.

Search for local business directory listings and sign up for these as well, as many people prefer to support businesses in their area.

Keep a record of all the listings you have signed up to in case you need to update your details.

In summary, keeping your content up to date and available in different formats will help improve user experience and SEO. Use testimonials to show how great your business is and help potential customers find you by adding your business to online directories.

2020-10-22T07:58:46+11:00April 24th, 2019|0 Comments

4 Apps for Instagram: Managing Your Instagram More Effectively

Why Instagram Apps?

Apps can help you make the most of Instagram by enabling additional functionality to make your profile stand out and make it easier for people to connect with you.

These 4 apps will help you create a well balanced, organised Instagram account that will be appealing to potential connections and followers.

Preview app

Preview app logo

Want to see what your Instagram posts will look like before they are published?

Preview will let you drag and drop images to see what they look like and re-order them before you share.

This is useful if you are planning an Instagram theme and want to optimise the look and feel.

A well-ordered theme with consistent colours, patterns and filters will make your profile stand out and look professional.

The preview app allows you to schedule posts and generates popular hashtags at no cost.

The paid versions have additional features including re-post, advanced analytics, access to all filter packs and the account can be used by multiple users.

Reposta

Reposta LogoSometimes you see some content on someone else’s Instagram that is so good you want to share it to your own feed.

Reposta is a free app to allow you t0 do this.

To repost, click on the post menu (top right-hand corner of the post you want to share), then click on share link.

Navigate to the Reposta app and the link will be copied in automatically (otherwise paste in the link), click on preview then share.

Follow Cop

Follow Cop LogoThe ratio of followers to non-followers can impact how visitors view your profile.

Some insta’s will be disinclined to follow you back if you follow more accounts than follow you back.

So Follow Cop can help you get your ratio of followers to following, back on track.

There is a free version, or you can upgrade to the paid for more features, including mass unfollows (200 at a time) and no adverts.

In the free version you can view:

  • Non Followers
  • Recent Unfollowers

You will see a list of accounts that do not follow you with a “unfollow user” button next to each, so you can easily unfollow them.

This can be done one at a time, and there are adverts that appear fairly often.

Linktree

Link Tree Example Showing A List of LinksWith instagram you can’t add hyperlinks to posts – you can post the link text but you won’t be able to click on the text to go to a webpage. A visitor would need to copy and paste the link.

There is one place for a hyperlink and this is on your Instagram bio.

So, you will see Instagram posts with comments such as ‘check out this blog post – link in bio’.

This is frustrating if you want visitors to have a choice of links to visit.

Linktree can help with this.

Linktree creates a unique URL that you can place in the bio of your Instagram account.

This links to your ‘linktree’ which is essentially a list of links or buttons.

Linktree provides a better experience for your profile visitors so they can go directly to the content that appeals most to them.

What other apps would you recommend for Instagram?

2020-04-10T20:38:43+10:00October 29th, 2018|0 Comments

6 Essential Online Business Tools: A Toolbox for Small Business [Getting Started]

These tools will help get your small business up and running and assist you in managing your time and schedule.

1. Online Accounting Software

By investing in online accounting software you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle when it comes to doing your tax.

Your accountant will also appreciate it!

Xero is a great start out option for small business because it simplifies accounting and gives you clear visibility on your finances.

The Xero website has plenty of resources to show you how to use the software and explains various financial aspects to running a business for example: creating your first export invoice or setting up payroll. There are guides for all types of businesses.

They often run deals for new customers and you can sign up for a 30-day free trial to see if it works for you.

Accounting Software

Accounting Software

Xero can help with tasks such as:

  • Prepare and send invoices
  • Reconcile transactions against your linked bank account
  • View reports such as profit and loss
  • Track stock and inventory
  • Manage payroll

2. Content Management System

A Content Management System (CMS) allows you to easily add pages to your website, change the order of pages and edit your web pages.

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS and it’s clear to see why:

  • It’s easy to use
  • There are plenty of online instruction manuals on how to achieve your goals with WordPress
  • You can build your own website with WordPress
  • There is a huge choice of plugins, to optimise your website

You can hire someone to create a WordPress website for you and customise it to your needs, or you can do it yourself.

Here are some tips on getting started with WordPress and creating your own website.

3. Website Analytics

Google Analytics enables you to see how many visitors are coming to your website, where the visitors have come from, which pages they are visiting, whether they are a new or returning visitor and much more.

It is a free analytics tool that you can install on your website, by adding a small snippet of code.

All you need is a Google account and you can sign up to GA.

If you are using WordPress you can use a plugin to add the GA code to your website, such as Google Analytics For WordPress by MonsterInsights.

Analytics

Website Analytics

Why Use Google Analytics?

It can help you identify what is working well and otherwise on your website, as well as which pieces of content are of most interest to your visitors.

You can also use it to measure the impact of SEO, marketing campaigns, including online advertising, and any changes you make to the website over time.

4. Google Search Console

This is another free tool, which will enable you to see important information about your website.

Search Console can provide information such as:

  • Any technical issues with your website which may prevent your site from being indexed
  • Clicks to your website from particular keywords
  • Impressions (how many times your web page appears in search)
  • The average position of a ranking keyword in Google
  • Links from other websites pointing to your site
  • Mobile issues
  • Security issues

You can also use it to perform actions such as:

  • Submitting a sitemap
  • Hiding a page from Google

Bing has a similar offering: Bing Webmaster Tools which can also offer you plenty of insights on any website issues and search within the Bing search engine.

5. Google Suite

You can sign up to the business suite, or use the free versions of Google Drive, Sheet, Docs, Gmail and Calendar.

All these tools will be useful to help you communicate, manage your time and document your work.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage system, which allows you to access your files anywhere: on any computer or mobile device. You can share files and folders so that you can collaborate on documents.

Your first 15GB is free and you can upgrade to Google One for extra storage when necessary.

Google Suite

Google Suite

Google Sheets

Google Sheets allows you to create spreadsheets for reports, creating lists, graphs and more. Real-time editing allows you to see when someone makes changes to a document that you are working on. Any edits you make to the sheets are automatically saved.

You can download add-ons for Google Sheets to allow for richer functionality including workflow and formatting.

Google Docs

Google Docs allows you to write, edit and collaborate, including chat and commenting, on documents in real time.

Use powerful editing tools to style your documents or choose from the selection of pre-styled templates on offer.

Google Docs allows you to easily export files to pdf or convert to Word (or vice-versa).

There are a series of add-ons you can download for additional functionality from writing help to translating your content to another language.

Organise your Google Docs by placing them into folders, this can be done through Google Drive.

Gmail

Gmail allows you to send and receive emails with 15 GB free storage.

You can customise the tabs to organise your email, change the theme, access Gmail on any device and RSVP to events directly from your inbox.

Connect it to your business email address so that you maintain a professional presence with your customers.

You can do this by going to ‘settings’ on the top right-hand corner of the screen, then click on the Accounts and Import Tab.

From here you can set up your email to send and receive email through Gmail under the “send mail as'” and “check mail from other accounts” sections.

Refer to details from your email hosting provider for the correct settings.

Calendar:

The calendar can be used to manage your time, arrange meetings and set reminders.

You can easily navigate from one of these Google applications to another via the menu on the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Navigate Google Suite

Navigate between applications

6. Project Management Software

Project management software such as Trello can help you keep organised and plan your to-do list.

Trello allows you to

  • Create boards for each project or area of your business – you decide how to set it up.
  • Create Lists within the board
  • Create ‘cards’ or tasks within a list

For example, you may have a board for each client.

Within each board, you might have a few lists such as: ‘To Do’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Complete’.

Then you set up cards under the ‘To Do’ list and drag them to ‘In Progress’ when you start to work on them, then to the ‘Complete’ list once finished.

Trello

Sign up to a free account or upgrade to Gold for extra functionality.

Trello has a free App you can download so even if you are on the go you can look at your to-do list and mark off tasks via mobile or tablet.

What tools have you found useful for your business?

2020-10-22T08:03:38+11:00September 16th, 2018|0 Comments

Small Business Networking – Should You Give it a Try?

Networking is the act of bringing together business people to build relationships and to share knowledge, ideas and business opportunities.

How Can Networking Help Small Business?

Networking events provide opportunities to get in front of potential customers to tell them about your business.

You can also build business connections and help others by providing referrals as well as sharing ideas and knowledge.

Event: Coffee and Connect

I recently attended a local networking event: Shire Women Coffee and Connect, which is a networking event for business in the Sutherland Shire.

The organisers were there ready to welcome everyone as they arrived, and it was straight into coffee and networking.

I quickly noticed that many of the ladies I spoke with were small business owners, facing similar issues, including:

  • ‘How can I get more business’,
  • ‘How can I educate consumers about my product or service?’ and
  • ‘How can I get in front of relevant potential customers’?’

It was clear to see that SEO and online advertising could be a really good fit for many of these businesses to give them exposure to the right type of potential customers.

Talking with different business owners was an opportunity to discuss some of the problems small business’ face and to brainstorm ideas with each other, as well as share our successes and lessons learnt.

After about half an hour of chat, it was time for a presentation from one of the organisers. They addressed key points to consider when hiring staff from different generations, their motivations and their preferred management style.

Business Women at Networking Event

After this, we were able to network again and do a 30-second pitch about our business to our table, followed by a question and answer session.

Then we were encouraged to swap tables and network with a different group of attendees.

Next, the guest presenter spoke about her experience from her education to her work experience and why she went it alone in business, despite the many challenges in her path.

She provided some very useful and practical tips on recruitment including how to successfully onboard and offboard staff.

Then it was overtime and for those who didn’t need to rush off, a bit more networking then home.

So, What Did I Get out of It?

  • A chance to speak with other business owners and find out the challenges they face and some of the things that work well for them such as software they have used to help them with their business operations
  • A chance to pitch my business and see peoples reactions to my pitch. Did people understand what I was offering? And more importantly, did they feel it was a service they needed?
  • Potential leads/ Connections
  • Insightful advice on recruitment and managing staff

Would I Recommend Giving Networking a Go?

Yes, I would definitely give networking a go.

It’s a good opportunity to build connections, share stories, learn and it’s a nice social event, which is a welcome break from the home office!

Check out the Shire Women website for their latest events and membership options.

2020-04-10T21:01:44+10:00September 9th, 2018|0 Comments

How to Create Your Own WordPress Website

As a small business owner, you may not have the resources to be able to hire a web design agency to develop a website for you.

There are many different website building tools on the market you can use to create your own website at a fraction of the cost.

Follow these tips to get started in creating your own website in WordPress.

1. Domain Name

First you’ll need to choose a domain name if you don’t already have one for example:
Mywebsite.com.

You can go for a generic extension such as .com or go for a local domain name extension such as .com.au for Australia.

Note: there are eligibility requirements for purchasing .com.au and .net.au domain names and you will most likely need a business or ABN in order to register one of these domains.

Start off by searching for your preferred domain name, if it is taken then try variations such as using an acronym or adding ‘the’ before the name.

You could also consider different extensions such as .net, .co or .biz.

Try to keep the name as short as possible. This can be difficult when many of the one and two-word names are already taken, so try different variations and if you are stuck for ideas you can try a domain name generator tool.

2. Hosting

You need hosting to get your website online and shown to your customers. Most domain name providers also provide hosting, so you can bundle both together.

Alternatively, you can buy them from separate organisations and point the domain to your hosting provider.

You would do this by logging in to the account associated with your domain name and updating the DNS settings to point to your hosting provider’s servers.

Most domain and hosting organisations provide support pages on their website to guide you through this setup.

This website is hosted by SiteGround who specialise in WordPress websites, they also sell domain names.

SiteGround was chosen as the web host primarily due to their speciality in WordPress websites and I was looking for a host that would provide faster loading time, which is important for SEO.  They also have excellent customer support and security.

After purchasing hosting, your provider will send you log-in details to your hosting account so that you can set up your website.

3. Install WordPress

Once you have your domain name and hosting ready, log in to your CPanel or admin area and install WordPress.

If you have set up your hosting via SiteGround, you can get to the install screen by logging in to your account, click on the ‘My account’ tab then click on cPanel.

When prompted click ‘proceed’.

Click on WordPress Installer and follow the prompts.

4. Choose Your Theme

Once WordPress is installed, log in to your website: yourdomainname/wp-admin

Then click on themes under the appearance section:

Navigating to the theme page in WordPress

Here you will see the default themes and if you would like to add a new theme you can click on the “Add New” Button and browse various themes.

You can also browse themes on the WordPress.org website or explore theme sites such as Envato Market.

This website uses the Avada theme: which makes it easy to customise web pages and create different layouts.

The fusion builder drag and drop interface with a variety of different elements from image carousel to buttons and tabs make it possible to build a custom website without needing coding knowledge.

5. Upload your Content

Create your first web page and upload your copy and any other content you have such as images and video.

You can do this by clicking on ‘pages’ then ‘Add New’.

Make sure your content is optimised for SEO: You can read our SEO Tips for Content Editors here.

Save your content as a draft and preview the content before publishing to check that the web page looks great.

Preview Button In WordPress

2020-04-10T21:12:49+10:00August 10th, 2018|0 Comments

Small Business Marketing Tools: 5 Start Out Options

As a small business owner the likelihood is you don’t have time to try out every marketing tool out there, so here we’ve focused on some of the basics to get you started.

1. Business Website

It’s important that you can send clients and referrals to your website so that they can find out more information about your company and offerings.

You don’t have to have a flashy website; but a few pages with a description of your service or products, some information about the company and a way to contact you is a good start.

One of the most popular ways to set up a website is via WordPress, you can read how to set up a WordPress website here.

If you buy a domain name and web hosting for your website, then you will have your own web presence and customers will be able to access this online.

Website

Small business website.

If you only have a social media presence this is risky as you have no rights to retain the data or contacts you have built up over time if the network decides to cancel your account.

Web Hosting

2. List Your Business in Google My Business

By signing up for a Google My Business Account, you can get your business listed for local search and Google Maps.

Simply follow the sign up link and follow the verification process, which usually involves Google sending out a postcard to your address with a verification code for you to add to your account.

Google My Business allows you to update your business details via their App or website and provides you with insights so you can find information such as how many users found your listing via search and maps.

You may also want to add your business to local directory listings such as True Local or Yellow Pages.

3. Word of Mouth and Capitalising on Your Network

This is an excellent way to get new clients and it won’t cost you a penny.

Let all your friends and family in your network know about your business and what you are offering.

This is extremely valuable in those first few months when you need to build up experience and grow your business profile.

Network of people

Capitalise on your network.

Once you have a few happy customers, ask them for testimonials or to leave online reviews.
These will become valuable trust signals for your website, business listing or social media to help convert visitors into customers.

4. Sign up for a Social Media Account

Social Media is a great way to engage and grow and audience alongside your website, as long as you have the time to post regular engaging updates.

Unless you have a dedicated person or team working on your social media, try to stick to one or two channels such as Instagram or Facebook and do a great job on these. By posting regularly and investing time into planning interesting and engaging posts, you will see much more value from your time investment.

If you try to tackle many channels you could run the risk of providing lower quality or not having the ability to post regularly enough, which will make it hard to engage existing followers or to get new ones.

Content might include tips and advice, details on your latest product or service, promoting a blog post or sharing a piece of content that is relevant to your industry.

5. Google Ads or Facebook ads

Online advertising is a great way to get in front of new clients and showcase your service or product. A correctly presented advert to the right audience can do wonders for your return on investment.

Think about what goal you would like to achieve from the advert, and tailor the wording accordingly:

  • Always have the customer’s point of view in your mind when crafting the advert
  • What are they searching for? What would make them want to do business with you?
Facebook ads and Google ads

Online advertising – Facebook and Google

  • If you are sending the user to a web page, ensure that it is optimised for the goal you are trying to achieve.
  • Ensure that the web page answers any questions your prospective customer may have and that it allays any potential concerns in purchasing your product or service.
  • Make sure that there is a clear call to action.
  • Test that your links work correctly on desktop pc and mobile.

Trust signals are also important when new customers are arriving on your website, so this is where testimonials will be helpful along with any other statements about how your product or service has made a significant impact on your previous customers.

These tools are a great way to start promoting your business and help potential customers reach you.

Which marketing tools have you found useful for your small business?

2020-04-10T20:53:26+10:00August 4th, 2018|0 Comments

10 SEO Tips for Content Editors: A Quick Guide to On-Page SEO

Here we’ve put together 10 SEO tips for content editors, with great practical advice for On-Page SEO, so that your pages can be optimised for Search Engines.

Make sure you’ve checked off all the boxes on this list so that your copy can shine!

1. Use Your SEO Keyword in Your Page Title Tag

Incorporate your keyword into your web page title.

Front-loading, or placing the keyword at the beginning of the Page Title, can also make a difference, particularly when a user sees your page listing in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

2. Use Your SEO Keywords in Your Page Headings

By using your keyword in your page headings, you are helping to optimise your page for that particular keyword.

Extra Tip: Follow the heading hierarchy when adding headings to your web page.

For example: using a Heading 2 before a Heading 3.
Also, that heading hierarchy is nested: Note that a Heading 3 is a subheading of Heading 2.

3. Ensure Your keyword Is in the First Paragraph of Your Webpage

The first sentence on the page should clearly explain the purpose of the web page and should contain the primary keyword that you are optimising for.

4. Use an SEO friendly URL

When you create a new web page: check that the URL or path contains the keyword, also ensure that the path is meaningful: tells the user what the page may be about.

Commonly when you create a new page, the page title is used to build the page path.

You may wish to edit this to a shorter version, especially if you have a long page title.

This will improve the presentation of your web page listing in the Search Engine Results page.

5. When Uploading Images or Other Files to Your Web Page, Use the Keyword in the File Name

Instead of uploading an image with a generic file name, save the image with a meaningful file name – ideally containing your keyword.

6. Add Keyword to ALT Text

If the image is meaningful to the page content and is not on the page solely for aesthetic purposes, then you should add ALT text.

ALT text provides a description of the image for visually impaired users (and search engines) so they can understand the meaning that the image is portraying.

If your image is related to your keyword, then you may be able to use this within your image ALT text.

7. Add Your Keyword to Your Metadata Description

This won’t get you a better ranking directly, however, if someone does a search for that keyword, then it will be highlighted in bold on your metadata description in Google.

This will appear as an indicator of relevance to the searcher and may encourage them to click through to your web page.

8. Link to Your Content from Other Pages in Your Website

Link to your web page from another page (or pages) on your site, within the main page content, and use the keyword in the link text.

Don’t add too many links though otherwise this may come across as spammy and you may get downgraded for this.

9. Add Transcripts and Captions for Video

Not only does this make your video content accessible for assistive technologies and those with visual or auditory impairment, but it also helps with your SEO.

Transcripts, provide a text version of the content in your video along with the timing for each section of the video.

Transcripts may also detail what the characters in a video are doing if it isn’t just a talking head video, to convey all the information a sighted person is able to consume.

A caption is a text overlay on the video which describes the words spoken on the video in real-time.

For more information check out the Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions page on the WebAIM site.

10. Use Your Keyword Throughout the Main Content Area on Your Web Page

Sprinkling your keyword within the body copy of your page will help with SEO ranking.

Only add the keyword where it makes sense to do so, and so that the text flows and provides a good user experience.

For more SEO tips check out the 4 Simple SEO Tips for Small Business Owners post.

Have any great On-Page SEO tips? Feel free to share in the comments below.

10 SEO Tips for Content Editors – Infographic

Infographic: 10 SEO Tips for Content Editors: A Quick Guide to On-Page SEO
2020-04-10T21:15:20+10:00July 14th, 2018|0 Comments