Business

SEO Sins Which Could Limit Your Business Reach

SEO Sins Which Could Limit Your Business’ Reach

It is incumbent upon all small business owner, entrepreneur, and solopreneur to have at least a smattering of understanding when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Whatever the size and scope of your business, and whatever the nature of the products and services you offer, it’s likely that your enterprise could benefit from attracting more new users to your online content. The bigger your reach, the more prospects you have and the more prospects you have the more opportunities you have to convert. Yet, while we all like to think that we have a handle on “this SEO thing”, many of us find ourselves inadvertently breaking the sacred commandments of SEO and unwittingly committing cardinal sins which could have severe consequences in the eyes of search engine crawlers.

Consulting with an SEO firm is a great way to fix SEO sins on your content and help to recondition your content to incorporate more good SEO habits. However, before you book your first appointment there are still a few things you can do on your own to identify SEO sins on your content and prevent them from wreaking havoc with your reach. Let’s take a look at some cardinal SEO sins which could limit the reach of your business…

 

Thou shalt not use high competition keywords

Keywords are a vital component of SEO, ensuring that your content is properly matched to the right search engine queries. However, when researching keywords for your content it makes sense to pick your battles. The more vague and nonspecific your keywords, the more likely it is that you’ll be putting yourself in direct competition with higher authority domains.

Thus, you should choose the most relevant and low competition keywords possible, incorporating technical terms where appropriate. This will ensure that your content reaches the right readership.

 

Thou shalt not stuff thy keywords

There are certain behaviors that are like a red flag to search engine crawlers. One of them is keyword stuffing. This is where the keyword is overused ad nauseum. Not only does it sing to a search algorithm “you’re being played”, it also disrupts the flow of your content, making it seem insincere and unnatural. By and large, you should aim for a keyword density of 10% or less.

 

Thou shalt not harbor broken links

Broken links in your content are anathema both to users and search engine crawlers. They can imply that your website is in a state of disrepair or that it is poorly maintained while also making for a frustrating experience for the user. Speaking of which…

 

Thou shalt not neglect thy UX

User experience or UX is an important part of website design. While many entrepreneurs put a lot of effort into making sure that their web design looks beautiful, they are less concerned with creating a pleasant user experience. However, UX does play an increasingly large role in SEO rankings. UX is a huge factor in bounce rates, scroll depth and time on the page which are important considerations for search engine crawlers.

 

Thou shalt not offend Google with non-secured domains

If your website begins with an http:// prefix rather than an https:// this means that your domain is not secure and, bluntly speaking, this means that Google does not like you! Not only will your website be treated unfavorably in search engine rankings, but users will also be treated to a “Not secure” warning which could undermine faith in your brand.

Steer clear of these cardinal sins and you’ll be well on the way too saintly SEO!

Read more...
people-coffee-tea-meeting

9 Best Side Hustles to Boost Your Income

Making money on the side can be tricky. However, if you do it right it and make it work for you, finding the right side hustle to increase your income can make paying bills less of a struggle – and you don’t have to be Gary Vee to do it!  Consider these possibilities for accruing extra cash.

Tips for Increasing Your Income

  1. Drive for an on-demand ride service: One of the easiest ways to make money currently is to become a driver for an on-demand transportation service. These services are becoming huge all over the world. Because they’re so popular, drivers are almost guaranteed business anytime they’re on the clock. Another great perk for employees of on-demand transportation services is a flexible schedule. Working for these companies, employees can mark themselves available – or unavailable – anytime they want, which allows them to work day or night, making room for in their schedule for other commitments.
  2. Pick up some extra skills: In the workforce, having certain skills, licenses, or certifications can command a pay increase over the salaries of others who don’t have those skills. One great certification for anyone to obtain is CPR certification. Being certified to perform CPR is a great skill to have in case of emergencies, especially if you work with small children. If you’re employed as a babysitter or lifeguard, being CPR certified allows you to charge increased rates because you’re better trained to ensure that the children you’re watching are safe. Many other certifications are available online, and most of them never require you to step foot in a classroom.
  3. Make home improvements in exchange for rent: This tip is a little tricky to accomplish sometimes, but if you’re friendly with your landlord and you’re handy with a hammer, you just might be able to exchange work for rent. The homeowner is more likely to allow this if the place you’re renting is a fixer-upper and needs a lot of work.

If this path isn’t an option, and you need to find another way to make rent, it’s important to first know exactly how much money you need to be making – and how much of that should be going toward rent. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re able to pay each month for rent.

  1. Offer pet-sitting: If you’re an animal lover, becoming a pet-sitter on the side is a smart way to make money. Not only will you make some extra cash, but you’ll get to watch some cute pets while doing so. When you pet-sit, you look after an animal whose owner is out of town. Pet-sitting is popular because pets feel better and are happier when they remain in familiar surroundings and interact socially while their owners are gone. Pet-sitting also comes with flexible hours that you make yourself. Dog walking is also often considered pet-sitting, too, and it allows you to get some exercise while making extra money.
  2. Sell crafts online: If you’re someone who enjoys making crafts, turn that hobby into a moneymaker. Using a site like eBay or Etsy to sell your merchandise is a great idea if you create things including (but not limited to) jewelry, clothing, candles, artwork, home decor, or beauty products.

Being a seller on eBay or Etsy requires some preliminary work. Before opening your store, it’s important that you secure the rights to your designs. After that, you’ll need to photograph and provide descriptions of your items as well as price them and then package and mail them once orders have been placed. You’ll also need to pay regular attention to the sales site you’re using and be sure to address your customers’ questions or concerns.

You could use your online shop to even sell hidden gems you find at thrift shops and garage sales. Check out this video by Gary Vee searching his neighborhood yard sales to see what kind of valuable goodies you might find: 

 

  1. Use your extra room as a vacation rental: If your home is a rental, it’s best to ask your landlord or the home’s owner about this before starting. Once you get the go-ahead, start making money using your extra space as a short-term rental via Airbnb or similar online vacation rental service. One of the biggest benefits of this plan is that it doesn’t take up your time. Other options like pet-sitting or driving for an on-demand transportation service require your time, but renting on Airbnb only requires your space. Also, your marketing is taken care of and you’re paid online by the service, so the process is relatively easy.
  2. Cash-back/survey apps: Taking surveys and logging your purchases with cash-back apps can help you save a little money each month. While you won’t be raking in the big bucks with this tip, if you just need a little money and you have very little free time, scanning your receipts and answering surveys while you’re on the go is a great option. NOTE: Some of these apps are scams, so be careful.
  3. Sell your old textbooks: Many people have textbooks lying around, collecting dust. If they’re in good condition (or even if they aren’t), secondhand booksellers will often give you a pretty penny for those books. Be sure to call around to different stores to make sure you’ll get the most money for your books. Don’t rule out textbook buyers online, as they make it easy to get the book to them and get paid.
  4. Start a side business: If you’re an expert on something, find a way to make money doing that thing. Become a math tutor, do some freelance photography, or give piano lessons. People are always going to want to pick up different skills or improve upon the ones they already have – and that’s where you come in with your specialized side hustle to fill the niche. If you charge competitive rates and advertise responsibly, your side business has the potential to really take off.

 

Whether you need to make more money to cover bills or you just want to add to your savings, there are countless ways to boost your income. Taking advantage of any of the tips above will help you feel more secure about your financial standing.

By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide

Read more...

Smartest Uses of Stock Photos for Visually Powerful Websites

The importance of visual appealing is “web design 101” at this point. Even if you are not a web designer and you’ve never owned a site, it’s very likely that you instinctively feel a good website has to be visually beautiful. And you’re absolutely right.

Photography is an inseparable element for visual impact in website design, but one that many might think is out of their reach, cost-wise. Plus, it is not enough with throwing a photo here or there in your layout: there are several tips to achieve powerful sites using images.

We will show you not only the super cost-efficient resource of royalty-free stock photos but also the top expert tips to use them in a truly eye-catching, engaging and successful website.

Photos in Websites: Yes, Always

We mentioned the visual aspect of a website is very important, and that most of you already know or sense this. This is well-documented and verified by nearly all of the latest and most advanced researches that include eye-tracking technology and consumer behavior analysis.

Cross-field, experts agree that while we were always very visual a species, such a trace is ever so increased today thanks to the latest technological developments of our times. From digital imagery to Internet access for the masses, from smartphone photography to omnipresent social media networks, the web 2.0 and the mobile platforms with which we now interact on a minute basis are turning into a highly visual realm, not only in quantity but also in quality.

And this is not just to please the potential viewer from an aesthetic POV –though it’s not one to be overlooked– but because in the practice it is undeniable that web pages with high resolution, strategically chosen and placed photos perform a lot better than the rest.

In today’s online world, anything you want to say to your audience will be said better, louder and clearer through compelling photos. They can help you capture your visitor’s attention and deliver your intended message successfully, serving to both reach your site’s goals and keep the feared bouncing rate low.

This is why using photos on websites should not even be a question. The answer will always be yes.

Royalty-Free Stock Photos: A Round & Sound Resource for Web Design

We are at knowing a powerful website needs high-res photos that are beautiful and professional. At this point, those under restrictive budgets might start growing concerned as professional photography is a considerable cost that not all can cover.

Those working with a short deadline might feel uneasy too, knowing to commission a photo shoot can take up to weeks from the moment you contact the photographer to the time the final files are delivered.

But there is no reason to stress: royalty-free stock photography efficiently solves both the money and time constraints at once. At very affordable rates that go from $30 to as little as less than $0.50 per photo (and they’re one-time-fees!) when buying in bulk, Royalty Free stock photos are ready to download and use, legally and honoring artist’s work.

If such low prices are still out of your possibilities –or if you simply love a chance to save your bucks–, there is also free stock photos. Now, these can be trickier, as you must find good quality photos and make sure they are safe to use. But that won’t be a problem if you keep this great list of the best stock photo sites for websites at hand – it includes advice on the best stock photo agencies to buy cheap royalty-free images too!

Stock photos are professionally shot, with superb technical quality and commercial value, in high resolution that suits all kind of uses. Furthermore, the Royalty Free license they come with gives you multi-purpose rights: you pay for the photo once, and get to use it forever and not only on your website but also in any other projects you wish – marketing campaigns, social media posts, ads, for example.

This is what makes royalty-free stock photography such a valuable resource for web design, one that should be in every designer’s toolkit.

 

The Right Kind of Images for Websites: Authentic & High Quality

Mobile phones with cameras and massive social media platforms not only flooded us with millions of photos to see every day, but they also influenced photography trends across all fields. We now constantly crave the kind of photos we see in social media (and our phone’s media libraries) all the time: intimate, spontaneous, natural.

These kind of photos are quintessential of relatability and that’s why viewers connect with them more: they can see themselves in such images. The hottest photography trend for websites (and nearly all purposes really) at the moment is that of authentic, realistic and intimate images.

Photos of people will always be the most evergreen topic, as it’s proven they can evoke and provoke emotions in viewers like no other image can. What you want is photos of real, good looking and interesting people, doing everyday things in a realistic way – No more photos of perfect women cringeworthily smiling as they eat their greens. And definitely make sure to include people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and styles! You want people that look great, but the kind of people you can walk by on the street.

Of course, always go for high-resolution photos, shot and edited by skilled professionals. The key is for images to feel realistic and effortless… but still be technically and aesthetically on point.

Royalty-free photos, as we just told you, cover all of these needs and more. You will find millions of very high-res, beautiful and authentic stock photos ready to brighten up your site in the blink of an eye.

Efficient Use of Images in Websites: Optimize or Else

A visually beautiful site that is slow and takes too long to load is a complete waste: your visitors are very much likely to bounce back from it as quickly as they would if it was poorly designed. Load speed and sleek functionality must merge with powerful visuals, not submit to them.

This is the immediate catch in using photos for websites: the bigger the photos are and the more of them you add to your page, the heavier and slower it will be.

Luckily technology is there to save the day (and your website), in a very simple way: image optimization software tools compress your image files making them lighter and significantly improving your site’s load speed, making possible to use very high-res photos in websites without any negative impact in the user experience.

There are both free and premium options to choose from. See some of the best along with pro practices to optimize your images in this list of the best image optimization tips for SEO.

The Precise Use for Images in Websites: Purpose & Connection

The most beautiful and trendier high-resolution photos won’t do the trick on your site if you don’t use them strategically, though. A wise use of photos in websites implies finding the right spot between where it makes sense to add a photo in the design, and where –and how– it can serve an important function in it.

The connection of photos with your goals is a good start point. Select images with a direct liaison with your brand, your company and the targets your site is set to hit. The purpose of each part of the design also helps in finding the best possible placement for photos, as well as picking the ideal image for each location.

Think of what you want the user to do in that part of the page – to know what you’re offering? To understand something? To buy what you’re selling? And how you want them to do it – just by seeing an image? Reading a bit of copy? Clicking on a button? With that info, you can expertly reap the benefits of a photo for your site.

Photos can actually lead your visitors' eyes to where you want them to go. For this, the orientation of the eyes, the hands and the body of people in your photo should more or less evidently point to where you want them to look.

Plus, “one picture is worth a thousand words” line couldn’t be truer: one single photo with the perfect composition can explain your product or service better than any chunk of copy. This is not limited to what you show in the image but includes how you show it.

Remember our image style tips: people pictures convey and trigger emotions, one of the most powerful user engagement keys. So make sure to select a photo where the model/s are exhibiting the ideal expression and feel you want to communicate.

A fictional scenario for a bit of visual help: Let’s say you’re designing a website to promote a brand of organic edibles, and you want customers to click on a call to action that leads to your product gallery. A flat-lay shot of fresh colourful veggies on a rustic wood table, overlaying the call to action phrase would be cool… A photo of a person joyfully choosing veggies in a farmer’s market, with their eyes looking at and their hand casually reaching out to where your actionable button is placed, that would be perfection.

Conclusion: Low Cost, Visually Powerful Sites are Possible Using Images Wisely

As we said in the beginning, it’s not enough with throwing photos –no matter how lovely or sharp– on your site to make it visually appealing or efficiently performing. That is done by using photos on your website in the smartest possible ways, that you just learned.

A cost-beneficial and accessible method to source the beautiful and professional photography you will need to lift your site’s appeal is to use royalty-free stock photos that, being low cost or free, cover all your image needs elegantly and quickly without threatening your budget.

Armed with these resources, you will soon see that visually powerful websites are right at your reach!

Read more...

Networking At A Trade Event – How To Excel

Networking at a trade event can be a great idea. It gives you the tools to build your audience, to connect with like-minded people and projects, and to generally help raise your profile. People at trade shows are there for one purpose and one purpose only, to see what’s on offer. So offer something. Networking at trade events can seem quite scary upon first consideration. Not only do you have to be in your best ‘presentation mode’ for a number of hours or days, but there’s a very real chance of you being shown up by a business similar to yours, effectively ruining your investment in being there.

 

Don’t let this happen. Learn how to network. Of course, if you have this goal in mind, there’s no need to traipse around the internet trying to figure out how to make our initial advice a reality. We’ve condensed some of the best information for you below:

 

Be Attractive

 

We’re not talking about physical appearance. Your stand needs to exhibit something that catches the eye, out of hundreds of other booths trying to do the same. You might go for a particular size, such as a 10×10 trade show booth, or perhaps custom design the fringes with neon lighting. You might make it mysterious, such as crafting a booth with a curtain that by presence alone asks people to come and find out what’s within.

 

It might be that you dress those members of your staff presenting inappropriate cool uniforms, or even those with novel and humorous appeal. For example, if the product you’re trying to sell is some variant on Wild West rum, dressing as cowboys can certainly turn heads.

 

Think about how to brand this particular square footing dedicated to you, and you’ll no doubt begin to spawn ideas from that point. Why is this important? Because when you take care of this, people will come to you. Networking will be easier when people want to meet you and understand what your operation is all about.

 

Business Cards

 

Business cards are important to craft. They help you spread the word to people who might not be able to absorb the full offering of your trade presence. Think of ingenious methods of transferring them. You might give out goody bags to those who take part in your offering, and give them three or four business cards in there. They will likely make their way somewhere.

You might decide to place carefully crafted ‘gotcha’ cards in the pockets of those attending the audience, but remember this might be worthwhile at a humorous event, perhaps not a highly executive business show.

 

Offer Something New

 

Offering something new is worthwhile to trade show networking. Everyone knows the usual pace of networking. Greeting, smiling, exchanging information could be relatively boring. It might be worth walking around offering free samples to other businesses, or having a VIP section even more beautifully decorated than your main frontal showing. Giving people something to think about, and a unique platform of interest will ensure they feel more connected to you than others, because you will be the one offering something worth remembering.

 

With these simple efforts, networking at a trade event will be more than worthwhile.

 

Read more...
Build an Email List

Why You Need to Build an Email List For Your Business Right Now

If you talk to some small business owners about email lists, they can see the whole thing as positively archaic. It can seem to some like it is going back a little, especially when you think about all that we have at the moment, from social media and websites. However, it still remains a really vital tool for your online marketing strategy for your small business. If you think about the social platforms that you have to join, they all have a requirement of an email address. So it is still very much relevant, and still a modern way to communicate.

 

The advantage for small business owners is that having an email list of subscribers is a great way to help your business. Sites like GrowthSupermarket.com show just how much creating an email list can have on ROI, especially compared to other online marketing methods. Plus, it also has advantages over modern media. Think about the social platforms that you use, for instance. What happens if they just become unpopular or your target audience just get a little tired of it? This happened to things like MySpace, and is Snapchat still what it once was? If social media platforms go and you don’t have an email list, then you can lose a lot of customers. Having an email list helps you to remind them that you’re still there, and you can share the latest offers and news with them.

 

There are plenty of other advantages to email lists too. Think about how personal they are. They can bed edited to have that person’s name or share things that they might like because they bought some similar from you before. Plus, it lands right in their inbox. It is way more personal than simply seeing something on your social media feed. And in a similar way, emails like this are also pretty necessary. People will be checking emails pretty much daily, at work and at home, as there are things that they need on there, from work news to things like their kid's school information. So it is something that will get noticed when your brand pops up in their inbox. People don’t always check their Facebook.com feed or their Instagram feed, and if they didn’t for a few days, then that is people that you are missing with your social content.

 

Creating an email list and then sending out newsletters or information on it is pretty inexpensive too. A lot of online marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot, but this is going to be one of the ways that cost the least. You can also really make it customizable, which is what is going to help draw your customers in and keep them coming back to your business again and again.

 

There are several ways to build up an email or subscriber list for your business. But starting sooner rather than later is a good way to not miss anyone. An incentive to join usually helps, but if people like what they see and good things come into their inbox, then they will stick around.

Read more...
%d bloggers like this: