10 Ways To Make Your Lead Generation Site Convert On The First Visit

Building a high quality site to generate organic traffic then capture and convert the leads you seek may sound pretty straightforward. The reality is most companies don’t go the extra mile needed to effectively do that. Low quality photos, confusing navigation and uninspiring calls to actions are just a few of the reasons visitors leave your site in the blink of an eye. Will they return? Odds are they’ve already found a competitor whose website outsold you.

After analyzing over 300,000 online sales leads, the team at Straight North learned nearly 85 percent of visitors convert on the first visit. The secret, then, to generating leads is building a site that converts quickly. To help you do just that, they’ve created a guide to the 10 factors that play a major part in converting first-time website visitors.

Presentation: 10 Factors That Impact Conversion

Find out why quality photos, easy navigation and irresistible calls to action made the list in the presentation below:

This intriguing conversion guide and it’s  insights were shared with me by Brad Shorr, Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, a Chicago SEO agency that also offers PPC and web design services.  I thought it would be worth sharing with all of you. Let me know if you have any questions or further insights to share on conversion.

Developing a Style Guide for Your Personal Brand

No matter what job you work at, what company you work for, or where you go in your career, one thing that will always remain in tact is your personal brand.

I’m not sure if you are familiar with what exactly a style guide is, but if you aren’t I encourage you to check out official style guide standards of company’s such as MailChimp. They get so detailed with their style guide that they even include a special section on how to write commonly misspelled or mis-hyphenated words. A style guide can be as simple as a 1 page set of rules, or a massive 10,000 word document defining everything you do on and offline for your brand, be it corporate or personal.

In 2013 we wrote a guide to branding your personal name on the web. In this post we will focus more on creating a style guide, so you have a set of standards to stick by. So let’s dive right into things, let’s look at some of the things that make up a personal brand:

Your Actual Name

This one might seem a little bit obvious, but it isn’t always. Mine is simple, my name is Patrick Coombe. In order to maintain brand consistency I always identify myself as Patrick Coombe. Not Pat Coombe, or Patrick Michael Coombe. I’ve been on many forums over the years going by many aliases (that some of you might know me as) but over the past 2-3 years I’ve shed those names in favor of my actual name. I’ve done this for a few reasons, mainly because I’m known for my name on social media, I published a book under my name etc.

Jeremy Rivera is a good example of a name that is in the middle of the spectrum. It isn’t the most popular name by far, but there are definitely a few occurrences of his name out there. Jeremy was really smart by snagging the EMD for his name, and using it in all of his dealings on the web.

With other individuals, there are more complex scenarios when it comes to personal name branding. Take my good friend Glen Allsop, a very successful internet marketer otherwise known as “ViperChill.” This name was a personal association he gave to a chocolate bar when he was 11 years old, he also likes the Dodge Viper. That, along with the fact that he is really “chill” and you get “ViperChill.” The name just stuck, and he has rolled with it ever since 2006 when he started using it.

Whatever the case may be, it is just as important to stick to your personal name brand as it is for a company to stick to theirs. There are a few exceptions of well known name brands that have come up with shortened versions of time, but this really only happens when you’ve achieved truly baller status:

  • Chevrolet > Chevy
  • McDonalds > MccyD’s
  • CocaCola > Coke
  • countless others

One piece of advice I give to our clients, staff and vendors on a consistent basis is to make sure you use your name consistently. For instance if your name is Michael Miller, don’t use:

  • Mike Miller
  • Michael David Miller
  • Mike Miller
  • Mike “madman” Miller

…on that note, if you do have a common name such as “John Smith” or “Michael David,” my advice is to use your middle name or the less commonly used variation so you can stand out a bit more.

Just the Facts

Facts about you as a person play a vital role in your personal branding and developing a style guide. Be sure that you are consistent when it comes to your facts that you use in your bios, about us sections, and other static and dynamic areas of your website. Examples of this include:

  • “I started SEO in 2004” vs “in the early 2000’s”
  • “I live in South Florida” vs “I live in Delray Beach, FL”
  • “My first job was in a restaurant” vs “I worked for my parents at a young age.”

It may seem like it is trivial, but it could come across like you are being not up-front if you are not consistent with the facts about yourself. While it is OK to stray from the norm in longer form content, it is generally a good idea to try and keep some standards when you are doing your bio, etc.

Your Tag Line

You might have a tag line for your personal brand, you might not. I’m not going to say you have to have one, but if you do it is important to stick to it, and not stray from what you use. Again, brand consistency.

Matthew Woodward is a great example of personal branding in general, and he has a good tag line: “no nonsense SEO and affiliate marketing.” He uses this on his website and within his logo, and it does a great job of defining exactly what he does as a person.

Don’t feel pressure to come up with a tag line. In fact, I think it is better for your tagline to come about organically over time. I personally don’t have a tag line, it just isn’t something I chose to do at this point.

Colors

Colors is an area where a lot of people lose lots of “karma” from their brand. They’ll use yellow in one instance, red in another, and blue in yet another. Again, brand consistency. Define a color scheme and stick to it. One tool that I really like to use is Adobe Kuler. Adobe Kuler allows you to browse existing color themes, create new ones, and get suggestions on ideas for colors that match, contrast, or go together.

Color is important because it instills familiarity in your visitor. Every time they see that “Moz Blue” or “Coca Cola Red” your brand is further re-inforced. Many articles and even books have been written on color when it comes to branding, so I can’t even begin to go into this subject in this post but I will say to be sure to keep your colors consistent and remember that the colors you choose you have to live with, so choose wisely.

A really cool website to check out is “BrandColors.net” an entire website dedicated to identifying the exact color scheme of major brands throughout the world. They even list the exact hexadecimal code to use if you want to “borrow” it, just make sure you aren’t violating any international copyright laws before you do so. Kissmetrics also did a really cool infographic on how colors affect purchases, which can be really useful when trying to come up with a color scheme for the first time.

Font

Do not skim over this section. There is a reason why typesetting is taught throughout the world in colleges and universities. Your font is everything and everywhere. A bad font can completely destroy your user experience. Even choosing the wrong font size can ruin an experience. If you don’t know what you are doing, follow these simple rules so you don’t make a fool out of yourself.

It is my opinion that all brands should use a maximum of 3 fonts in all of their static media, most of the time you get away with 2: a heading font, and a body font. On the Elite Strategies website for instance we actually only use 1 font: Open Sans. We do use several variations of this font: Light, Bold, Italic, etc. We also use different weights, sizes and colors. There are a few exceptions of where you might find some other fonts such as icon fonts and a few plugins, but overall we keep it really simple. Take Joel Klettke an esteemed conversion focused copywriter based in the UK. On his blog it may appear that he uses a wide variety of font faces:

…but in fact he only uses one font face: Source Sans. He does make uses of color (his brand color of course) in his font, CAPS, bold, size, etc but sticks to his primary font face throughout his website. The result is a very well done website, that sticks to his style guidelines.

Often times when you spot a “hot mess” of a website, you’ll encounter one that uses 3-5 fonts on the same page. It is a huge mistake, and really can make your page look confusing.

Standardize your fonts. I’ll assume that most of the people reading this are using a CMS that defines this for them such as WordPress. CMS’s are great because you can use templates.

Logo

If you talk to many professionals about personal branding, a logo will be a hot spot for debate. Many people that I’ve encountered say a logo is totally unnecessary. Let’s take a look at some really “big name” personal brands in our industry:

  • Rand Fishkin – no logo
  • Jeff Bullas – no logo
  • Neil Patel – no logo
  • Gary Vaynerchuk – no logo

Those were just 4 off the top of my head I looked up quickly. Even in my research for this post, I couldn’t find a lot of information on logos for personal brands. I did find one gallery of logo designs for professional designers, which gave some great insight into some of the best designs out there.

There are many exceptions however. One of my favorite logos for a personal brand is by Kindra Hall, a professional speaker and story teller whom I met this year at Search Love Boston this past year. She keeps it really simple and to the point, but it comes across very professional and really drives home her name with a big “K.”

Some questions to ask yourself when considering doing a logo for your personal brand:

  • do you need a logo?
  • why do you want a logo?
  • is it overkill to have a logo?
  • who will design your logo?

There are a few options if you don’t want to use a logo, but still want a graphic representation. You can opt for an “avatar” of yourself which is basically an artistic illustration of yourself. You can also just choose to do your logo in a specific font. It is your call, but my advice on this is similar to my advice on everything in this guide: if you are going to do it, standardize it.

Your Headshot

Mr. Dan Shure a very well respected online marketer from Massachusetts stated “your headshot is like the logo of your personal brand.” I really could not have said that better than myself. He also wrote up a great guest post about taking a headshot with an iPhone. Very well done, in fact his post does a great job of summing it all up. I do have a few

Don’t skimp on the headshot. I represent quite a few personal brands and many people will give excuses for not getting a headshot done:

  • I hate the way I look
  • I just changed my hair color
  • I want to wait until XYZ
  • I can’t afford a professional headshot

There are also many different types of “head” shots. You can go with the traditional from the shoulder up or from the waist up. You can choose a neutral background, blurred background or something specific like an “at work” background with your desk in the background. A headshot can convey many different feelings, from friendly, to professional, to confident. Examples include:

Here is my advice on headshots: if you are trying to identify yourself as a “personal brand” then you must have one. People are going to Google you. Do not let Google decide what image shows up when doing a search for your name. Always be in control of your search engine results page.

One last word on headshot: so you already have a professional headshot right? When was the last time you updated your headshot? 3 years? 5? 10? You should definitely have a new headshot taken at least every 2 years, especially if your goal is to personally brand yourself online.

This is probably some advice I need to take myself, as I haven’t gotten a new headshot in years, so yea I gotta get on that 🙂

Grammar, Voice, Tone, Yadda Yadda

Many people overlook this section, but it is really important especially if you are a blogger. It is even more important if you do video blogging, podcasting, or other types of media where you speak out loud.

Personally, I like to keep my articles casual and conversational. I like to keep things really casual, I might even intentionally use some incorrect grammar to drive home a point that I’m trying to make. I try not to make spelling mistakes although I have been known to make errors from time to time.

Now, don’t take this too far. Don’t start using so much slang and improper grammar that it comes across unprofessional. Unless of course your target audience goes for that. There are so many different options. Back in the early 90’s on BB’s and other dial-up communities and before blogging people would talk in “31337 speak” or “leet speak.” It was totally acceptable amongst that crowd of teenage hacker geniuses. If you came in there speaking proper you would be really out of place.

In short: know your audience. Blog / write / speak the way that your audience does.

Social Media

It is imperative that your style standards are used in your social media. When it comes to a personal brand, this is how a lot of people find you in the first place, so often times it is their first impression of you.

I’m going to use Matthew Woodward again because he’s done such a great job of his personal branding. If you look at his Twitter page, even the color of his hyperlinks etc match his main brand colors on his website:

This was very intentional on his part, and really helps you actually “feel” his brand whenever you visit one of his properties. Matthew really takes this to an extreme with his hot pink and light blue colors, so you don’t have to go crazy like he does but it is important that you standardize your look and feel across all social channels. At the very least if you don’t want to heed this advice: keep it neutral.

Using Kindra Hall again as an example from above, she takes a much more neutral, yet consistent approach. She uses her logo in all of her social media profiles, but keeps all of her colors and other details somewhat muted.

The fine details

There are many other aspects of personal branding that could be attended to if you chose to do so. For instance, URL shorteners can be branded according to your personal brand. Take my good friend and former Elite Strategies SEO professional Luiz Centenaro. Luiz uses the URL shortner http://centena.ro to shorten all of his URL’s on social media.

 

This fine detail adds a lot of validity to his personal brand and is really a nice touch that a lot of people can appreciate.

Another fine detail that a lot of people implement is a favicon. For me a favicon is really mandatory but how far you choose to take it is up to you. Paul Shapiro an old bloke of mine uses his headshot as his favicon.

 

The great thing about favicon’s is that they are visible even when the tab isn’t active. So for instance if you navigate away from your page you can still see Paul’s beautiful bearded face:

There are many details you can attend to as time goes on and your personal brand evolves. There are people that casually work on their brand and others that pay attention to every last detail, right down to the permalink / URL structure.

I will end with this piece of advice, which is something I’ve echoed several times within this post: keep it standardized and consistent. If you are going to experiment, don’t do it on a live property or website, do it on your own computer.

Thanks everyone for reading! You can hit me up on Twitter for more questions, I am also an avid SEO blogger on our company website. Thanks!

Get A Rough Estimate of Potential Organic Traffic With Excel

I was just wondering earlier on Twitter if it’d be possible for a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to take my list of keywords and give me a ~guestimate of just how much traffic you could reasonably expect from them.

Here’s A Google Spreadsheet That Estimates Organic Traffic Potential

So while the new 2.0 Keywords tool from Ahrefs does do a single keyword traffic estimate of traffic it’s not a bulk or list tool (yet!) I have created a spreadsheet populated with real data for Nashville dentistry with some simple formulas that you can duplicate and then adjust & apply to your own keyword list. ** I created this for some client research but realized it might be cool to put it out there for others to utilize the idea.

Rough Organic Keyword Traffic Projection Spreadsheet

Here Are My Assumptions About Clicks

I was watching an Ahrefs video on keyword research and he shared their assumption about SERP click behavior: They estimate 50% of est. traffic volume per keyword flows to the top 3 ranking domains. I really forget what they sourced that from…maybe they can comment on the post with their source… ANYWHO!

So I took that assumption a little further and estimated:

  • #1 would get about half of overall volume so that’s 25% of traffic
  • #2-3 would get about half each of that half so that’s 15% of traffic
  • #3-10 would get 50% of traffic divided by the 7 rankings
  • #11 and below can assume 0 traffic

Want to learn more about my approach to SEO and the measurable metrics businesses should use to track their online marketing success?

Download My SEO Metrics eBook For Free

My Assumption About a REASONABLE expectation

No. You don’t get to rank #1 across the board. It’s NOT reasonable to expect out of most SEO campaigns.

life-is-pain

So let’s paint a rosy, but maybe reasonable picture:

Let’s say that 25% of your keywords get to #1, 50 are #2-3 and 25% are #3-6

If you are more of a pessimist, or the client isn’t offering that much budget or it’s a rough neighborhood for competition then revise those down on the spreadsheet.

  • For 25 Nashville dentist keywords the estimate volume was: 2,540 per month
  • Using my assumptions above I estimate a reasonable ownage of the SERP would net: 458 Organic sessions per month, not including BRAND or LONGTAIL keywords.
  • Multiply that organic traffic by your site’s Organic Conversion rate (if you don’t have access to Google Analytics or have goals configured then you can assume between 2.5% and 5%) to get your est. # of leads. 22 Leads
  • Multiply your est. leads by your estimated Close rate on leads (differs wildly for every niche, I just used 50% arbitrarily) 11 clients
  • Multiply the number of leads by the average Revenue per new client/sale (I assumed $1000) and BOOM You have the estimated organic revenue increase from a “REASONABLE” result of an SEO campaign.  $11,000

SEO Counts For Nothing If You’re Haemorrhaging Customers At The Checkout

The ultimate purpose business isn’t to do great SEO, it’s to sell loads of products. And if your checkout experience on your website isn’t up to snuff, then no matter how highly ranked you are on Google, you’re going to miss out on some fat profits.

 

So what can businesses do to eliminate their checkout woes and not only drive customers to their sites but also get them to actually part with their cash?

Insert A Progress Indicator

When customers have to fill out form after form on your website asking them for card numbers, billing address, home address and their mother’s maiden name, they sometimes get a little worried that the process is never going to end. They wonder how many more pages they have to go through before they can finally convince you to dispatch whatever it is that they want.

This is why many companies are now trying to reassure their customers by including a helpful progress bar that persists throughout the checkout process. To do so, they’re turning to a Magento agency who have the tools to implement these features, making the whole experience of checking out a little less disconcerting for shoppers.

Get Rid Of The Sign-In Barrier

According to Kissmetrics, most customers don’t make it past the first stage of the checkout process. There’s a huge dropoff, they say, right when the transaction process gets under way.

A good way around this is to help a customer login faster by remembering who they are from their email address. It requires some clever programming tricks, but a lot of online stores have figured out how to enable customers to log in if they are returning, without getting them to re-enter their passwords and account details. Experts, like Christian Holst, say that 30 percent of users abandon their shopping carts when asked to register up front.

Match The Checkout With The Feel Of Your Site

If you’ve ever used Google Shopping to find a bargain, you might have found yourself on a less well-known shopping site to complete the purchase. Often in these situations, the price is good, but the checkout experience is a little unnerving. The reason for this is that the look at feel of the checkout area of the site is often very different from that of everything else because the retailer is using a third-party payment solution.

For smaller retailers, it’s much easier and cheaper to use generic checkout solutions from third party providers. But the evidence suggests that customers don’t like this. The transition from the “My Cart” page to the checkout page has to be seamless to retain customer trust. Any minor changes can cause alarm.

Ask For Shipping Information First

Some ecommerce sites jump the gun a little by asking their customers for their billing information first. Customers aren’t all that bothered about where their card is registered, all they care about is where their products are sent.

Of course, billing information is important to retailers, but they should leave requests for this until after the customer has entered shipping information. Retailers who align themselves with their customers’ priorities are better able to meet their needs.

Hopefully these tips will help you better convert your ecommerce visitors, because traffic that doesn’t help the bottom line is wasted marketing budget!

2016 Was Rough. 2017 Doesn’t Have To Suck For Your SEO Too

How’s your business doing?

Ideally, you should be asking yourself this question as the new year closes in on you. Ideally, your business will be doing well! Hoping to build on a good 2016 and push off into 2017 in the right way, with the thinking that you can better your goals and push your business further than ever before!

But the reality is that not everyone is lucky enough to be that optimistic. 2016 may have hit your business as hard  as it has kicked the general populace.

The good news though is that the internet has an enormous amount of tools you can use. You can promote and market yourself with social media. You can seek advice and help. You can search for anything in the world.
Searching, it’s pretty much why the internet exists, right? Searching might be the key to your 2017 in business, no matter the results of your 2016.

People aren’t opening bulky books of yellow paper, leafing through alphabetically and choosing to call a business based on nothing but a hope and a praryer. and you will too if you stick to the practices of the 20th century. There are at least twenty places you need to be listed online right now. Register your business, it’s details, and services across the net and make sure you are seen in the areas people are looking.

Being seen is the biggest reason you should be using the internet, other than selling your products or services. Think about it. If nobody notices your business, how can they buy your stuff? They can’t. Get seen, make sales.

So, once your business is registered at city hall, it’s time to take a look at search engines. People should be finding your business when they look for it, but what more can you do? Ideally, you want to position yourself to become the answer to a question. When people search for answers, they will find you! In a perfect world anyway. But, when there is a will, there is a way!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is where you can fight your way to the top of the search rankings, so you are seen before others. The higher you are, the more web traffic you’re going to get. Weaponize your website with keywords to become the name on the tip of your customer’s tongue and don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.

Businesses like CandidSky or consultants like me can step in and get you up and running.  Of course, none of this is going to change things for you and your business overnight. These changes and methods will take time, but as long as you’re dedicated to them and see the internet as the tool it can be, you’ll be there before you even realize it.

Construction

Also, never think you’re going to be finished. There are always improvements you can make to your services, website and marketing. This isn’t something that will end unless your business does – so keep pushing forward and finding new ways to make your business matter to people.

Outreach For “Boring” Industries

Buzz Sumo For Firesafety

Updated: 11/9/2016
I was recently asked to contribute to Ahref’s monster expert roundup that ended up with 90 SEO experts contributing! It’s worth the read!

I thought I’d share my own response to the prompt:

1) Please tell us about your favourite “white hat link building strategy that scales”.
(What makes it your favourite one? How to execute it properly?)
2) How do you scale it?
(What tools do you use? Where do you hire people to scale it?)

Building Links For Boring Industries

People often think that building links is difficult in “boring” industries. However, there is a benefit to working for clients who’s peers and competitors are not at the top of their online marketing game. I’ve worked in plenty of boring niches:  First time home buyer guide,  Conference Center,  hunting decoys and more.

A perfect example for being creative came from this idea I had for a Houston steel door company I’m working with on their marketing that could apply to other “boring industries” like a cleaning servicehome care services or driving limos.

Leverage Your Non-Text Content

Build resources that go beyond basic informational content. Of course, you’re likely familiar with how to create great infographics, like this one on moving to St. Petersburg, but one of my favorites is making photo galleries readily available and easy to cite. Home services companies are a great example. With Tennessee Contracting & the Nashville roofer for example, I made it a priority to offer tons of detailed photos of metal roofs in a variety of colors and types of buildings. Then we reached out to pages like  that mentioned “metal roofing,” but didn’t offer their readers a good photo to illustrate what they were talking about.

standard-metal-ribbed-panel

If you go this route, it’s important to make it clear on gallery and photo pages that the photos can be freely used in blog posts and other online content, so long as the user links back to the page of the site where they found the photo. Giving them an embed code box beneath the image is another great way to encourage this.

Leverage Your Product/Service’s Benefits For Links

One of the benefits for building to utilize steel doors is an improvement in fire safety. So that opens so many possibilities for links and visibility!

Let’s open up BuzzSumo to find some of the top influencers when it comes to fire safety.

Buzz Sumo For Firesafety

From here there are a couple of different paths you can take to turn that concept into links and social shares here’s my favorite way.

Come up with a “question” you want to get answered about fire safety. Then you do need to dig for some contact information.

For NFPA, I went to their Press Room page to get their media email. For the question I came up with this:

“We’re putting together some resources for our metal door customers about fire safety, specifically around steel doors but general research and statistics could help too, can you point us to your best resources or have a quote from one of your officials that we could include?”

Once they reply with a resource, keep that conversation open with a thank you, and let them know you’ll share that resource when it becomes available online.

Repeat this process with other influencers until you have sufficient content to make a page, post or infographic and then share it with the contributors, who now have a vested interest in sharing it.

Since they’re not direct competitors, they will not feel anything holding them back from sharing it and often mentioning it on their own site or blog as well.

Remember to tailor your question’s difficulty and focus based on your target, and the less sophisticated the website the less sophisticated your question should be!

Is Your Business Actually Ready For SEO?

An SEO consultant like me can do a lot of good for your website. But, ultimately, we can’t work miracles.

dont-rush-a-miracle

Sure, you might see your site rise to the first page of Google, but there are no guarantees of making any more sales – unless you’re prepped & ready to rock. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of the things your business should be doing to get ready for SEO.

Try some of them out, and you will make me (or whoever you choose) very happy indeed. 

What Exactly is Your Goal?

I get nauseated when I think of just how many businesses I’ve consulted who open up their Google Analytics account and I find out that for the past 10 years of business they have never, ever configured a Goal for their website. This is actually indicative of a bigger problem

choosing-your-life-goals
What are your goals again?

Why do you want to invest in SEO, anyway? Is it just because everyone else is? If so, you are making the first big mistake that many businesses do, in my experience.

Ranking for number one on the SERPs is not a validbusiness goal. Neither is getting twice as much traffic as you are getting today.

Your SEO campaigns should be tied in revenue with your overall business and marketing aims so you can measure its results. Spending a small fortune on search is pointless if you don’t improve your sales, for example. So, establish your goals and use SEO as one of the many tactics you can use to achieve them.

What Makes Your Business Unique?

I’ve talked to dozens of people who “want to rank #1” and I always ask them…do you really think you DESERVE to be number one? What makes you special? Are you actually communicating that in your marketing or not?

Uh...what? Make sure you're saying what you think you're saying.
Uh…what? Make sure you’re saying what you think you’re saying.

Once you know your business goals, you need to develop a strong brand message about your company and it’s value to it’s customers. Doing so is a vital part of your communication, not just to your customers, but also to your employees and the outsourced agencies you work with.

A strong brand message will help you create a stronger foundation for your keyword research and SEO content. It can also help you laser-target the right people for your campaigns. Don’t underestimate how important this step is.

If you are struggling with getting your message across, get some business communication training to help you find your feet. It strengthens your brand marketing, of course. But you will also find you can communicate better with employees – and consultants.

 

Let It Go, Let it Go!

 

When you ask an expert about their opinion in what works, you have to trust them. Ask any SEO, and they will all tell you about nightmare clients that take search practices from 5-6 years ago as Bible. Try to avoid being one of these customers, and let the expert do their thing. I know how hard it can be when you have to hand over responsibility – especially when you run a small business.

Let it GO!
Let it GO!

But if you have researched your consultant enough – which is imperative, by the way – you should have nothing to fear. It’s not just your ego you will have to give up, either. A good SEO will want access to your analytics software, sales data and a whole lot more besides. If you aren’t ready to hand over the keys, you won’t get the results you need – it’s as simple as that.

Be prepared for the long haul

SEO takes a long time to get right. You might be tempted to go for a consultant who guarantees you top spot within a week – avoid these snake oil salesmen like the plague. There is a lot of work to do when you are starting out from scratch. And, even when the consultant has given you a solid foundation, there will be lots more to come. You will need to invest in creating amazing content, outreach, constant keyword research, and a whole lot more besides.

Taking these first steps will give your SEO consultant a lot to work with – and you can enjoy better results.

So You Want To Grow Your Online Business? Here’s How It’s Done

Running a successful business is a great achievement. And these days, more and more people are doing just that thanks to the Internet boom. Getting a business up and running, and making a profit has never been easier! But what happens once you are ready to grow and develop your company so it becomes even more of a success? Well, that’s when things start to get slightly harder. In fact, many online companies get it terrible wrong when they try to expand. And mistakes at this stage can always prove fatal. To help you grow your business and increase your profits, here are my top tips.

Aim To Increase Sales To Existing Customers

It is much easier trying to persuade your existing customers to buy more rather than trying to find completely new ones. This also works out a lot cheaper for you as well, as you don’t have to work on expanding your marketing strategies too much.

Instead, just offer some more products that you know your current customers will love. If you aren’t too sure what you should be offering, go with products or services that are similar to the ones that you currently offer and don’t forget to check in with your customer service team to find out what “pain points” they hear about from customers. Solving more of your current client’s problems is more managable than trying to solve problems for people who are not yet aware of your business.

Don’t forget the value of keeping your “Churn rate” under control, the number of people you lose every month vs the number of recurring clients you keep. Many business who are trying to expand also offer reward schemes to loyal customers. This ensures that they keep on coming back for more!

Take Over Another Business

The easiest way to increase your profits and sales is to simply buy out and take over another Internet company. Maybe you know a fellow online entrepreneur who wants to sell their business for a profit? Or perhaps you have heard that someone simply wants a change of career and is ready to sell their part of an online business?

Recycle Reduce Reuse

Whatever the reason, if you have the capital to buy the business, taking over the company and merging it with your own shouldn’t be too difficult. For more advice, you can see TUPE guidelines for employers on different websites.

Don’t Be Scared To Hire A Contractor

If you have never grown a business from scratch before, it can be a fairly daunting task. And that is why many online entrepreneurs prefer to hire specialist consultants to help them increase the size of their company.

Meet & talk SEO yo

Hiring someone as a contractor is also a great way to free up your cash flow. This is because your expenses will be slightly altered. Your consultant will know exactly what you need to do in order to start bringing in large numbers of sales and profits!

Increase Your Online Presence

SEO is like scrabble

As an online business, I am sure you will have a strong online presence already. But this needs to be taken up a notch now that you are ready to expand. So you need to actually commit time and energy to your organic marketing strategy to make sure that your business starts to get noticed by even more people.

Don’t forget that there are skilled SEO consultants who can help shape youre strategies. Share current and shareable content on social media. Start blogging so your website’s SEO improves. These are just some of the ways you can take your business from strength to strength online.

Own a Restaurant? Feast on This Tasty SEO Advice!

SEO is just as important for restaurants as it is for any other business. Even if your food is the best food on the entire planet, you need the harness the power of the Internet to get the word out about it.

Plan your content carefully

Many people would say that content is the main course when it comes to SEO.  Content is a powerful tool in the world of SEO. But that doesn’t mean that you should create and share everything you can think of when it comes to content. New content needs to be frequent, yes. But it’s even more important that it’s new and refreshing. Quality beats quantity.

Believe me when I say that search engine algorithms can detect businesses going for the latter over the former. And they don’t like it one bit.

Content Theory of SEO
Source: WikimediaFlicky

Don’t neglect social media

McDonald’s. Pizza Hut. KFC. Burger King. Subway. Taco Bell. What do all these restaurants have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re all wildly popular? They all have millions of followers on Twitter. You may not think that social media is a powerful marketing tool for restaurants.

But you’re wrong, my friend! It’s just that you need to go about the practice in a very specific way. Make sure you engage in social media. But if you feel stuck, then get help from a service that manages social media for restaurants. The number of followers you have, as well as your “sharing power”, all help boost SEO. Don’t forget that Bing, has stated directly that it uses social signals. What? Bing? Yes, Bing.  Google is NOT the only game in town!

Social media for restaurants
Source: Flickr

Make sure your website is speedy

Google doesn’t want to link users to websites that load really slowly. And yes, their automated algorithm is able to tell how fast your website loads! If your website is crawling, then it’s less likely to be favored by search engines. So make sure it runs as smooth as silk.

How fast is fast enough? You should aim for a 2 second load time at the slowest.

A mistake that restaurant owners usually make? They use images that have enormous file sizes. They want to show off their food with the highest resolution photos possible. But this can lead to an overload when it comes to your website. High-quality photos are important, but they shouldn’t be several megabytes in size! You can use the Imagify plugin in wordpress, or use tinypng.com (like I did for the images in this post) to reduce most images by half or more.

Act Like A Local

Home is where your stomach is! When people search for restaurants, Google automatically narrows down to their specific region!

Restaurants are very local

You need to take hold of your hometown advantage, and spend some time on your local SEO efforts.

Start blogging

You may not think that a blog can do much good for a restaurant. After all, people aren’t exactly after your writing, are they? They want your food! Well, you shouldn’t underestimate people’s appetite for a good article.

You should also avoid underestimating how much Google appreciate well-written content! Enjoyable and useful blog posts are among the most sought-after things when it comes to Google’s algorithm. So get blogging, and make sure they’re good and compatable with your link building strategy.

 

Just keep blogging!

Get feedback

Google wants to ensure that the websites they link to are of a good quality. Of course, not every website Google finds is “good”. But they websites that show in the first page of results are usually helpful and effective. If they’re not, then that reflects badly on Google.

So you should ensure that your users are actually enjoying the website! Get feedback from the people who use your website. If you notice several people experiencing a problem, then solve it as soon as you can.

Want an expert SEO opinion? Here’s some of my previous clients I’ve worked with,  if you want a skilled seo analysis of your restaurant’s site here’s the cost of my services. Happy ranking restaurateur!

The Top Link Building Strategies in 2016

Link building Holy Grail

For a business trying to get off the ground, link building sounds like a nice thought, but something they could never have time to implement. Between broken link building, content marketing, and email outreach, it’s just too much to handle. It can sound impossible, but it’s not.

pile-of-website

Today I’ll show you some of the top link building strategies in 2016, followed by an infographic from OnBlastBlog that will expand and build upon that knowledge. You’ll be an expert at this vital SEO tactic before you know it!

The Power of Link Building (Infographic)

Link building infographic

Link building has never, nor will it ever, die. It is the process of connecting your site to other sites, other readers, and other influencers. It drives everything else we do as webmasters, and it is this fundamental truth that makes it so very important. It doesn’t matter if you have a sexy, exciting product or you’re pitching steel doors, roofing or urinal dividers.

Matt Cutts, a veteran Google employee and source of SEO knowledge, once said that link building is “creativity plus sweat,” but what does that mean?

It’s all about tying your link building process into everything else you do. Your ultimate goal is to build relationships and create new and exciting pathways to your content. The more varied and natural links you have, the more PageRank and authority your website receives as well.
If you want to grow a prosperous website, then it needs links to flourish. Otherwise you’re cutting it off from the very connections it needs to grow. Knowing this, take a look at the infographic for all of today’s top link building strategies and let me know how it helped you in the comments!