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Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:06:07 PM

by Jayson DeMers

Social media has become an increasingly important tool for business owners looking to popularize their websites and build a loyal audience. A social media presence has become a baseline consumer expectation for businesses, and keeping up with the latest in social media tactics can help you attract even more loyal followers to your account, ultimately improving your brand recognition and reputation.

It can even align with your other marketing strategies, giving you a platform to broadcast your latest promotions and offering an opportunity to integrate tactics like email marketing. But can social media improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? Or is social media's influence on SEO just a myth?

Direct Impact

Let's start by going over the direct impact that social media can have on SEO, because this is where most people fall prey to myths and misconceptions. There have been reports that suggest that social signals, such as the number of Facebook likes or Twitter followers an organization has, have a positive correlation with search rankings. However, Google's own Matt Cutts has gone on record denying that social signals like these have any effect on search rankings. In other words, it doesn't matter who follows you, shares your content, or engages with you on social media--it's not going to affect how your pages rank in Google.

If there's no direct influence, there may still be a positive correlation. As it turns out, some social media habits can indirectly improve your SEO strategy.

Blog Post Distribution

As you probably already know, your domain and page-level authority is largely determined by the quality and quantity of inbound links pointing to your site. One of the best ways to earn these links is to create a piece of high-quality content with original research or original statements in it; some of your readers will want to cite your information, and will naturally link to you when they write their own material.

Why is this important in a discussion on social media? Because social media is the perfect tool to extend the reach of those blog posts. If you have an audience of 10,000 social media followers, any content you write could instantly have an audience of 10,000 readers. If just 1 percent of those readers end up linking to your work, you'd stand to gain 100 extra links thanks to your social network.

When you consider this, it's not surprising that accounts with large followings tend to see better SEO results; it's an indirect benefit of having access to that level of visibility.

Traffic Generation

Having lots of loyal social media followers has another important effect: ongoing inbound traffic. Assuming you keep your followers happy, and they truly enjoy engaging with your brand, you'll see a steady stream of social traffic from your social media accounts to your website. These users will know your brand better than their organic-visiting counterparts, and may spend more time reading your content and perusing your site.

Why does this matter? Because usability and user experience do have a significant impact on your search rankings. The technical aspects get a bit complicated, but the bottom line here is that it looks good for your site when people spend more time on your pages, clicking your links, and engaging with your material.

How to Maximize These Effects

So what can you do to maximize these benefits?

  • Aim for quality, not quantity. It's tempting to build your social audience as much as possible, but remember--your main goals here are getting more people to share your work and visit your website. Accordingly, it's much better to have a handful of followers loyal to your brand than tons of followers who don't care about it. Focus on engaging with the followers you do have, and try to attract more people who will actually care about your content.
  • Encourage secondary distribution. You'll want your content to reach as far as possible, so enlist the help of complementary personal brands to share your content further than your main account would allow. Encourage people to share your content with their followers to keep pushing that reach outward.
  • Get more recurring visitors to your site. Take the time to invite followers to your site on a regular basis. Don't be too self-promotional, but do your best to maintain a steady stream of inbound social traffic.

Don't be fooled into thinking that your social media work is having a direct impact on your SEO rankings--but the reality can't be reduced to "social media doesn't affect SEO." Your social media efforts can heighten the reach and impact of your best content, and simultaneously breed an audience of visitors that make your site look better. Keep investing in social media as a supportive strategy, and push to make your impact even bigger.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018 10:49:31 PM

by Robert Clough



SEO is more than just content. Your XML website sitemap determines your SEO performance. Here's why.

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Today, nearly everything you do or add to your site affects your SEO performance.


One of the overlooked and misunderstood tools is the website sitemap. Many webmasters don't know that having a well-structured sitemap can be a driving factor for a website's success.


A sitemap offers a way for your site to communicate directly with search engines. This way, search engines can always stay up to date with changes on your site. This allows your site to be indexed faster.


In this post, we're going to learn more about the SEO benefits of having an XML sitemap.


Keep on reading to learn more.

What is an XML Sitemap?

A sitemap is typically an XML document, containing a list of pages and files on your website.

The document only features those items that search engines can access for indexing.


Search engines use this document as a guide to understanding your site better. However, keep in mind that search engines may not index every item on your sitemap.


The sitemap carries information about every page and file on your site. This includes when it was created and last modification. Sitemaps are particularly important for:


  • New websites

  • Large websites and portals

  • Websites with plenty of content but with poor internal linking

  • Sites that have rich media content


This doesn't mean that a website sitemap is not ideal for every site. Whatever website you run, having a sitemap helps to improve the crawling of your site.

SEO Benefits of Sitemaps

In the age of regular algorithm updates from search engines, such as Google, sitemaps have become increasingly important in SEO. This is because having one gives better site visibility to search engines.


Search engines crawl your website to check for meta tags and other details for rating page relevancy to search terms. As such, the more indexed pages you have, the more likely your traffic and pagerank will increase.

1. Avoid Content Duplication

Having duplicate pages means search engines have multiple options of the same page. This makes it hard for them to pick the ideal option when serving search queries. As such, they may fail to pick up any of the pages, and this hurts your SEO efforts.


Content duplication is a common problem for those sites with lots of content. Republishing posts also leads to duplication. Experiencing this problem puts your site at risk of Google's penalty.

Search engines may consider your site spammy.


With a sitemap, you can eliminate duplicate pages by providing searching engines content from the original creator. The sitemap shows the date and time of publishing.

2. Better Site Indexing

Whether you're running a new or old site, you don't need to wait for weeks to have your site indexed. A well-structured website sitemap can reduce the time search engines to index new pages, content, and page updates.


Google finds and indexes pages even if you don't have a sitemap. By submitting one through your Google Search Console, you're helping Google to index your site better and faster.


You can tag pages on your sitemap to give priority to specific pages. This way, you can tell search engines which pages are relevant. Thus, crawlers and bots will pay attention to priority pages.

3. Ensure Consistency

It's a common problem for many sites to lack consistency when communicating to search engines about a given page. For example, a site owner can block a page in robot.txt, but the same page is still available on the sitemap document.


Ideally, don't include anything in your website sitemap, then it set meta robots to "noindex." You can put your pages into two categories to prevent this problem. One category can be for pages blocked by robots.txt or via noindex robots. These pages shouldn't be in your sitemap.


The second category should feature everything that you want to be indexed. They shouldn't be blocked or have meta robots. When you want to create a site map, take the time to review your pages to determine what you want to be crawled and indexed.

4. Improved Site Quality

Google is always taking measures to ensure overall site quality. These measures have been known to impact website ranking. Most site owners are known to have great landing pages, but with poor internal links to utility pages.


While the landing pages may be valuable to readers, the poor utility pages offer bad UX to visitors. With your website sitemap, you can submit pages that have quality content to search engines. This way, you can pay more attention to each page that you want to be a landing page.


As such, you can structure your sitemap based on pages that have quality content. It's not wise to have 1,000 pages in your sitemap with 50 percent getting a score of "D" or "F". This will tell search engines that your overall site quality is poor.

5. Automated Updated Notification

You don't need to wait until the next crawl date for search engines to pick up your content changes or updates. Your sitemap can take care of this for you.


Today, content modifications are necessary to keep your copies fresh and informative.

Whenever you make these changes, your sitemap will alert search engines every time. This will help to ensure that search engines have the most current copy of your content.


This will help to save time, especially when you're running a news site. You readers will always have access to what's relevant to them whenever they need it.

Website Sitemap - Final Thoughts

Well, if you have been taking a rain check on XML sitemaps, you might want to rethink about them. Keep in mind a sitemap is free and offers several benefits to boost your SEO performance.


Your website sitemap will help you to get discovered faster than before. With Google Search Console, you can check for sitemap errors and fix them fast. Bear in mind that you'll also get suggestions for fixing the errors to ensure optimal site quality and performance.


If you have any questions or thoughts about XML sitemaps, be sure to engage with us in the comments.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 6:12:20 PM

by Robert Clough



There are currently more than 392 million blogs on Tumblr alone. And this number continues to increase every day. If you're hoping to gain a following on your personal finance blog, you'll need to integrate smart SEO throughout your site.

Read on to learn the best SEO tips for personal finance blogs:

1. Know Your Keywords

When you optimize your blog posts for keywords, you shouldn't stuff as many keywords into your content as possible.

This actually hurts your rankings since search engines are able to see when you're doing this. Instead, you should focus on answering visitor intent. That means using keywords but in a way that doesn't feel forced or unnatural.

It's a good idea to focus on long-tail keywords. That's because they're often question-based, which means visitors will be searching for that term. And visitors are seeking information so they're more likely to read the whole post.

Once you've found the right keywords, you'll need to incorporate them into your posts. That means including them in your:

  • Meta description

  • URL

  • Body & headers

  • Title tag

2. Write Longer Posts

Sure, our attention spans continue to shrink. But it turns out that longer blog posts are best for both SEO and readers.

Personal finance blogs should ideally delve deep into a topic, answering questions and providing readers with actionable information. You could be providing information to visitors who are trying to get out of debt, save for their first house, or get prepared for retirement. Aim for long, in-depth blog posts.

It turns out that the longer your blog posts, the greater their chance that they'll rank highly in the search results.

Content with more than 1,000 words tends to have significantly more shares and links. It also tends to rank higher.

Write readable, scannable blog posts that keep readers hooked by tightening up your paragraphs and sentences. This will ensure that they hang around which will lower your bounce rate (how many people click back to the search results) which is also great for SEO.

Use subheadings and bulleted lists to grab attention. This will mean your posts are easier to read (particularly on tablets and smartphones) and less intimidating.

3. Use Internal Links

Linking to other blog posts and pages within your personal finance website will help Google crawl your site. It also helps visitors discover more of your content.

This means that your site will become one of their go-to personal finance blogs for credible, trustworthy information.

Internal links also help keep visitors on your site for longer, which reduces your bounce rate and increases the chance that they'll sign up for your newsletter.

When you're linking to pages within your site, make sure your anchor text is natural. Avoid using generic or spammy text like "click here." Use keywords that show what visitors can expect to see when they click on the link like 'travel credit cards', 'personal loans' or 'Roth IRA.'

Don't overdo these links, but choose the ones that supplement the point you're making in each particular post.

4. Optimize for Mobile

Personal finance blogs need to be optimized for mobile. That's because mobile web browsing has overtaken desktop browsing. People are more likely to land on a blog post while using their smartphone.

Google has adjusted for this and now displays mobile-friendly results at the top of the search results. That means you need to make sure you have a responsive design.

This will ensure you have one URL (instead of one for mobile and one for desktop). That improves SEO since inbound links will only be sent to the one URL.

You'll also keep your bounce rate low since visitors will be able to easily navigate around your site.

5. Build Backlinks

Unlike when you link to a page or blog post on your website, backlinks are when another website is linking to your site from their site.

It's important to remember that not all links are created equal. Every few months, check out who's linking to you and who's linking to your competitors. One great link from a website that has excellent rankings is better than hundreds of links from sites that don't rank well.

Google can recognize when you're buying backlinks. This is known as Blackhat SEO, and it used to be popular back before Google changed its algorithm to weed out this dodgy behavior. Whatever you do, never buy backlinks. This can cause your ranking to plummet overnight.

The best way you can get quality backlinks is by writing great content that other bloggers naturally want to share with their readers. For example, other personal finance blogs could link to you if you've demonstrated the latest information about buying an investment property or paying off your student loans.

6. Check Webmaster Tools

Wondering if you're doing things right? Google will let you know.

You simply need to check Google Webmaster Tools. For personal finance blogs, this could be something like duplicate descriptions, which makes it difficult for Google to index your content. Or you may need to upload a new sitemap.

Whatever it is, Google Webmaster Tools will tell you exactly what you need to do to fix any problems preventing you from having top-notch SEO.

7. Increase Your Authority

Sure, Google relies on algorithms to help it figure out where your website should rank. But humans also manually review websites for quality.

These reviewers judge your site based on the search engine's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. This is now available to the public, and well worth a read.

You'll find E-A-T mentioned several times, which is Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness. Personal finance blogs that demonstrate that their website is credible, and/or the contributors are experts will increase the authority of those blogs.

Personal Finance Blogs Can Win at SEO

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can improve the SEO for your personal finance blog. This is a hugely popular niche, and people are continually searching for the latest information to help them take control of their finances.

Want to learn more about search engine marketing for your blog? Check out some of our helpful articles today.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 6:14:34 PM

by Robert Clough



Looking to save some money on your SEO? Luckily you can with some DIY SEO. Read on to learn the top tips for implementing DIY SEO to save money.

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Today, no business can afford to be without an effective SEO (search engine optimization) strategy.


However, for small and mid-sized businesses, the cost of hiring a professional agency or consultancy to help you with your SEO is unaffordable.


Even if you could afford to consult the experts, how can you ensure that you get the most out of your investment?


But there's good news. You don't have fork out on an overpriced consultancy to sharpen your SEO techniques. There are plenty of DIY SEO tips to get your company rising up the search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings in no time.

1. Know Your Online Audience

You might think you know your target customers. However, your offline customers are potentially quite different from your online audience.


After all, researchers are suggesting that consumers behave different online compared to offline. This point was famously made by The New York Times cartoon with the caption, "on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog."


But this also goes for your online market. After all, even if your company has been extremely successful selling furniture in stores, this doesn't necessarily mean you'll have the same success online. The online market is often different to the offline market.


By knowing your online audience, you stand the best chance of executing an effective DIY SEO strategy for your company.

2. Research Your Keywords

When you speak to other colleagues in your company or industry, you probably use different terms and phrases compared to when you speak to customers.


This is because customers can't be expected to know the business jargon or acronyms used in your business. It's important to keep this in mind when it comes to effectively using keywords.


The first step is to research the keywords used by your prospective customers. Essentially, these are the types of phrases and search terms customers use to search for products and services you provide.


You need to know two main types of keywords.


The first of these is head key-phrases. These are general and the most searched for terms by users. Such as, "homemade cakes."


Then, there are also the long key-phrases. These phrases can be up to a few words and are more specific, usually related to location. For instance, "the best homemade cupcakes in California."


If you're struggling with doing keyword research yourself, there are many tools that can help you with this.


Check out the keyword research tool called Google's Keyword Planner. However, you need to have an AdWords account to get access to this. There are also keyword research tools that require a fee, such as Wordtracker and SEMRush.


Once you've established the keywords for your DIY SEO strategy, display them somewhere in the office or on your desk, where they'll act as a constant reminder of your focus.

3. Optimize Your Website

With your keywords and phrases in mind, it's time to optimize your website. You have to think carefully about how to use these keywords and phrases on your site.


The first step in the process of optimizing your website is to arrange the different pages on your site in order of importance. After this, you can list the keywords and phrases in the same order. This will provide you with the foundations of keyword use on your website.


However, it's also a good tip to make use of the long and specific key-phrases on your blog and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pages.

4. Quality Designed Website

Now you know which keywords to use on which pages of your site, it's time to make sure your website is professionally designed.


Unless you have experience in web design, this is an area that can't always be DIY SEO. Make sure you hire a top professional web designer or company to have the best possible chance of producing an outstanding website.


However, after it's designed and built, you can go back to doing it yourself by conducting in-depth research and gathering continuous feedback from focus groups about your site to keep improving it.


It's important to make sure you have a website that's user-friendly and easy to navigate. Some of the greatest websites aren't just simple and functional. They're also websites that users love spending time on and want to share with friends and family.


Last but certainly not least, make sure your website is smartphone and tablet friendly. Since 2013, there are just as many smartphone users searching Google as users on desktops and laptops. The reality is that if your website isn't mobile-friendly, users won't visit it.

5. Start a Blog

Great content is a great driver of traffic to your website. As far as DIY SEO goes, you can't do much better than providing your users with blog posts that they simply can't miss out on.


If you don't already have a blog, then you need to start one now!


You don't need to blog every day. By blogging bi-weekly or weekly it's enough to build a regular and decent audience. But posting on a regular schedule always help.


You can blog about all sorts of things from industry news, to listacles in your niche, to "how to" tips and interviews with experts or personalities.

6. Other Great Content

Great content comes in many shapes and sizes. While one of the most prominent ways of providing content is through regular blog posts, it's not the only way.


Other content types include vlogging on YouTube or posting pictures on your website. Many users prefer to consume visual content because it's easy and fast. You have to consider what type of audience you have before deciding on the type of content.


Whatever it is, make sure your target audience is going to be interested. Nobody wants to be bombarded with content that doesn't engage them.

7. Develop Your Social Media Presence

Nowadays nobody can afford not to have a social media presence. Whether you're an entrepreneur or a multinational corporation, or somewhere in between, you can't afford to miss out on the opportunities of social media.


Social media allows you connect with your customer base in a cost-effective way. You can build your network as well as gain feedback on your website, products, and services.


Most importantly, it's a great DIY SEO tip for boosting your rankings on search engines. Not many people realize that your presence on social media affects how Google and others rank your site.


The social media sites that you concentrate your efforts on depend on your target audience. For instance, if you're focused on business-y stuff, then you should concentrate your social media efforts on LinkedIn. However, if you want to target young people, Instagram and Snapchat are likely the best places.


However, regardless of what industry you work in, every company needs access to Facebook since over 2 billion of the world's population is there. This is too large an audience to ignore.

8. Build Your Brand

DIY SEO is not only about these tactics, but also about building your brand and promoting what you do to your target audience.


The best brands don't just sell products and services, but rather, they tell a story. You need to do this too.


You also need to find effective ways of gaining media attention. You can achieve this through social media. For instance, check out what's trending in your niche and jump on it to give your take on events.


You can also build your brand through collaboration with others. Conventional media, such as magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV still play a role in raising awareness. There's also new media, such a YouTube and other social outlets that can help you promote what you do.

9. Learn How to Use Google Analytics

To develop an effective DIY SEO strategy, you need to get feedback.


If you don't already know how to use Google Analytics, you need to learn fast. You don't need anything like an in-depth understanding. Just get the basics down!


Through the information provided by Google Analytics concerning your audience, behavior, and conversions, you'll know what you're doing right and what's not working. This feedback is essential to ensuring that you continue to boost your SEO rankings and raise awareness of your brand.


Just as no financial services company would function effectively without regular financial input, you can't operate digital marketing without Google Analytics reports.

10. Follow SEO News

There's only so much you can learn from reading a blog about DIY SEO. You need to read an SEO guide to get a deeper understanding of the techniques involved in the industry.


SEO is always changing and developing. This is why you can't rest on your laurels. You have to keep reading, learning and keeping up with the latest techniques to boost your rankings.


One of the best ways to do this is by reading SEO blogs, attending training programs on SEO and regularly visiting websites. You need to also subscribe to our newsletter today.

Find out More About DIY SEO

With these top ten tips on DIY SEO techniques, you can build an effective SEO strategy for your website. Boosting your rankings in SERPs is essential in the modern era of competition for space on Google.


However, there's much more to learn about SEO. Check out our website for our SEO tools to turn your website into the top-ranked site in your industry.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Monday, March 26, 2018 9:29:31 PM

by Robert Clough



The kind of pictures you use on your website and in your blog play a big part in your online business presence. Find out why your website needs good pictures.

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We've all heard the cliche by now. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?


Well, if that's true, then it's simply no wonder that your website needs good pictures to shine and thrive.


The kinds of photos you use on your website and blog play a major role in your online reputation and business presence.


Unsure why or how to integrate the best images into your website? We've got you covered! Let's get into it!

Why Your Website Needs Good Pictures

Think pictures are just a nice extra for your website? Think again.


Pictures evoke. They tell stories. They make your content look visually appealing, and they jump out to your audience.


They do what words cannot: they create instant feelings and evoke instant responses and thoughts.


And with research suggesting that most of us are visual learners, this just reinforces the message that your website needs good pictures. Many of us value what we can see over what we hear or experience or feel. Don't take that premise for granted as you craft your website!


Think about when you were a child reading your favorite storybooks. Maybe you read the text, but where did your eyes typically land? That's right- the photos!


Who doesn't love a beautiful storybook with captivating, dynamic photos? As it turns out, kids had it right all along, and you need to transfer that energy to your online presence.

How Pictures Impact SEO

Ah, SEO. Anyone who has half a decent website knows the importance that SEO plays in improving your online reputation and driving traffic to your site.


SEO dictates everything from your domain and page authority to the perceived expertise you may have within your particular industry or niche.


Did you know that your website needs good pictures in order to boost its SEO? Google believes so!


With that said, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

Decreases Bounce Rate Risk

Another SEO reason your website needs good pictures? Photos can decrease your bounce rate.


Bounce rate refers to the percentage of online users who click back to the original search engine results without pursuing further on your website. Google simply refers to it as a single-page session.


As a general rule of thumb, you don't want a high bounce rate. It means that people aren't staying very long on your website- they're just getting the bare minimum and then "bouncing."

Quality photos can help reduce this from happening.

Improves and Converts Your Leads

Your website needs good pictures because high-quality images attract more visitors to your site. This can result in longer visit times for each user, which allows you more time to show off your awesome good and services.


Images can increase the overall views your website receives, increase user interaction and engagement, and form a powerful connection between you and your customers.

Must-Know Photo Tips

Now you know your website needs good pictures, but simply getting "good pictures" is the first step. You need to know what to do with those pictures in order to improve your website SEO and keep users engaged!

Relevant Images

Even if it seems like a total no-brainer, this is an important reminder: your visual content needs to match your written content. If you're talking about your law firm but posting pictures of chocolate chip cookies, you're only going to confuse or frustrate your readers.

Stay Smart With File Names

When you name your images, name them to something that actually pertains to your website.

Don't just keep the random pile of numbers or letters automatically given to you. For example, if you're using a law firm photo, actually change the name to the law firm (or something relevant) in the file name.

Include Alt Descriptions and Title Tags

Alt text description and title tags provide a brief overview of your images that can be orally read aloud. This is ideal for people who may struggle with vision impairment.


What's more? Search engine bots find these, and it can naturally improve your website's ranking. Just don't go overboard- describe the image in a natural and cohesive way. Stuffing it with keywords will look obvious, and it can actually penalize you.

Obtaining Quality Images

Your website needs good pictures, but good pictures are not just a Google Image click away.


There are a lot of legal implications that come with photography and stealing someone's original photo without permission could land you in serious hot water.


Besides, nobody likes theft! It's unattractive and highly unprofessional.

Stock Photos

Many successful websites use stock photography. Today, there is no shortage of free and paid photo sites for personal or small business use.


These photosites provide royalty free images, so you don't have to worry about legal or copyright issues. You simply search your theme and choose from the selected list.


Depending on your individual needs, you can choose from paid subscriptions or buy single images at a time.

Professional Photography

Even though it may be a costly method, professional photos provide a unique, one-of-a-kind touch to your website.


After all, nobody else has access to those pictures: they are inherently yours.


Professional photographers work great for providing people-based images (you, your team, business events) or specific product and service images (the inventory and items that you carry).


Shop around for different quotes and make sure that you view the professional's portfolio. A website needs good pictures, but not all professionals are created equally!

How To Take Your Own Photos

Like taking your own pictures? Looking to cut down on costs?


Go for it! Even though it may be the most labor-intensive option, you can definitely create high-quality photos for your website.

Use Natural Light

Your website needs good pictures, and good pictures are natural-looking. That means you want natural light sources- this will mimic how professional photography looks.


Find bright spots by openings or windows, and make sure that you are checking the shadows. If you are taking shots outside, check out the golden hour. Consider the late afternoon or mid-morning for optimal lighting.

Buy a Lightbox

A lightbox is a basic piece of equipment that can elevate your amateur photography skills. Remember, a website needs pictures, and the right tools can make all the difference!


A lightbox is a square-shaped device with translucent sides. It helps to diffuse lighting coming in from natural sources. They create a bright lighting free from shadows., so you have a simple and solid background.


Get a Tripod

You know that shaky feeling when you're using your iPhone and have to keep retaking the picture? A tripod can help with that. Eliminate the smeared or blurred look, and keep your picture-taking perfectly still.

Follow the Rules of Composition

A website needs good pictures, and good pictures typically follow the infamous "rule of thirds."

What does this mean? Imagine a grid, kind of like a tic-tac-toe-game, placed on your phone or camera's viewfinder. Today, many cameras and smartphones actually have grid options available, so you don't have to "guess" by yourself.


You need to place the main subject of the photo on the direct intersection of these lines.


You want to make sure that you are appropriately zoomed in on the people you are capturing in your photos. Don't zoom out enough to see their feet. Don't zoom in enough where the photo still looks blurry.

Learn to Edit

So, a website needs good pictures, but good pictures don't always happen automatically.

Sometimes, a little extra magic is needed.


Basic editing tools can go a long way. Familiarize yourself with how lighting, exposure, and different gradients can impact your pictures.


Check out free third-party editing sites and apps if you need an extra boost. Today, many smartphones and cameras also have options for you to directly edit on the device.


With that said, be careful and don't go overboard. Nothing looks tackier than an overly-filtered or overly-edited photo. Remember, you want to go natural! You don't want your readers looking at a grainy, pixelated image!

Final Thoughts on Why Your Website Needs Good Pictures

With over a billion websites floating around on the Internet, it's more important than ever for your online presence to stand out from the competition.


Remember, a picture tells a thousand words. Next time you think you can't afford to spend time or money on photography, remember this: you can't afford not to!


Interested in learning more marketing, SEO, and small business tips? Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list today! We deliver high-quality articles directly to your inbox.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Monday, March 26, 2018 9:22:41 PM

by Robert Clough



Building a strong brand means everything for your business. Here's a quick guide to brand building and what it can do for you.

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It's hard to have success as a business without a great brand.


Branding helps you bring in new customers and can encourage previous customers to come back.


So what are the basics for developing a great brand? Check out this guide to brand building.

Have an Iconic Logo

No discussion about brand building is complete without talking about your logo.


Everything about your company is encompassed in your logo. Your products, your service, and your community are all summed up by this one piece of artwork.


The first key to a great logo is that it should set you apart from the crowd. Aim for something unique to ensure that you'll never be confused with something else.


Your logo should also show people who you are and what you do. Someone should be able to see your logo and understand that you're a pizza shop or an auto mechanic or a place to learn more about distance healing.


Finally, a logo needs to stand the test of time. Constantly changing your logo hurts your long-term branding. Create something that you think can last for generations, like the McDonald's arches or Coca-Cola wordmark.

Use Colors Effectively

Picking a color scheme to use on your logo and other branding materials is about more than choosing your favorite hues.


In marketing, color can have a profound effect on an audience. Certain colors can elicit emotions or subconscious feelings.


If done effectively, you can build a more positive perception of your business through color alone. In contrast, the wrong choices can hurt you.


Do some research and analysis on which colors would be the best fit for your company and industry.

Be Consistent

When you hear the phrase "Just Do It," you immediately think of one brand: Nike.


That's because Nike has used the same slogan since 1988. Even though it's not a name or a logo, "Just Do It" is synonymous with the apparel giant.


Consistent messaging is an instrumental part of Nike's dominant brand. Whether it's a shoe advertisement or a social media graphic for a t-shirt, the message stays the same - Wear our gear and you'll kick butt.


You don't need to be an international powerhouse to follow their example.


Maintaining consistency is what ties the different aspects of your brand together. Your website should look like your social media pages. Your digital presence should share the same attitude as your office decor and documentation.


When you create your brand, stick to it in everything that you do.

Provide Great Service

Your logo, messaging, and advertisements are only part of building a strong brand.


Marketing can only go so far without a great company to back it up. Branding is about representing your business. So what kind of business is it representing?


For a truly great brand, you need to offer valuable products and provide top-tier customer service. You need to build meaningful relationships with your customers and the community you serve.


It's on the back of your products, services, and interactions that your reputation is built. It's what makes people think of something positive when they hear your name or see your logo.


More Brand Building Tips

Building a great brand is vital to the success of your business. For more tips on branding, check out our brand building blog.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Monday, March 26, 2018 8:45:01 PM

by Robert Clough



10 Key Digital Marketing Solutions for Your Business

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Are you looking for ideas on how to better advertise your business? Here are 10 key digital marketing solutions that your business should take advantage of.


Looking for new ways to advertise your business?


Wondering how digital marketing can help you succeed?


While you may have heard about digital marketing before, you may be surprised to learn just how many different techniques and tools that it encompasses.


If you're looking for the lowdown on which digital marketing solutions can help build your business, look no further. In this list, we'll give you the full scoop on the best digital marketing solutions around.

1. Social Media Marketing

It should come as no surprise to you that social media marketing is one of the main focuses of digital marketing these days.


With so many social media platforms out there it can seem overwhelming for many businesses. However, by being on at least a few platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can build strong connections with your customers. You'll ensure they keep coming back to you year after year.


Just don't make the mistake of promoting too much. Instead, speak to your customers like you would a friend and let them get to know you and your business on a more personal level.

2. Content Marketing

If your business doesn't have a full content marketing strategy in place, you're making a big mistake. Content marketing is one of the top digital marketing solutions around. Many of the other digital marketing strategies rely on content to succeed.


Your website should have some great content on it. A well-updated blog is a great place to start, but it's important that you're strategic with it.


You always need to ensure that you're posting relevant and very helpful content to your potential customers and clients. Content is also crucial because it will also help Google find your site more easily and convince them to send even more visitors your way.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you haven't heard about search engine optimization (SEO) yet, you're missing out. SEO is one of the best digital marketing solutions around and can really go a long way to boosting your business and help you achieve success in the digital realm in the long run.


SEO is the process of improving your website and optimizing it for search engines such as Google. Strong SEO takes some time to develop, but once your site is doing well, Google will continuously send your site more and more traffic.


There are many indicators (including great content) that Google likes to see a site, and if you optimize your site right, it can be a great help for your business.

4. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing, or SEM, sounds very similar to SEO. However, it is a very different animal.


While SEO allows your website to appear higher in search results in an organic way, with SEM, you can attain more immediate results. You'll instead make use of paid advertising campaigns including pay per click (PPC), cost per click (CPC), and cost per impression (CPM).


While many people equate digital marketing with only SEO and content marketing tactics, the truth is that using a mix of both SEM and SEO can be great for a business.


This marketing company, for example, understands the importance of both and offers services in not only SEO and content marketing but also in PPC and Facebook advertising.


If done right, SEM can be highly effective in getting new customers to your website and can be a cost-effective alternative to other types of advertising.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a particularly interesting way that you can market your products or services online.


If you decide to market your business with affiliate marketing, you'll promise a commission to other marketers. These marketers will then promote your business and attempt to send new customers your way.


As a result, you'll have a cost-effective way of marketing your services and getting new business without needing to invest a lot of capital upfront to do it. It can be tricky to master, but if done right, affiliate marketing can work wonders.

6. Email Marketing

Email marketing is hardly new. However, it is still a very effective digital marketing technique, even with the rise of social media and so many other types of marketing solutions around.


Email marketing still has some of the highest conversion rates compared to other marketing tactics. It's a great way to market directly to potential clients and customers, without having to go through a third-party.


While sites such as Facebook and Twitter always have the final say over how many people can see your marketing message, with email, you'll be marketing directly to your audience and they'll simply need to click on the email to read your offer.

7. Mobile Marketing

More users than ever are on mobile devices and many people will never even view your website on a desktop computer. Because there are so many mobile users, it's another great avenue for digital marketing.


First of all, it's important to have a mobile-friendly website. However, there are many types of advertising solutions available as well.


Whether you make use of mobile apps or create a targeted SMS marketing campaign using text messages, mobile marketing can be a great digital marketing solution that can get your business results.

8. Video Marketing

While written content, photos, and other types of content are popular, video marketing is on the rise and becoming more important than ever for businesses and digital marketers. Videos are highly shareable and make for a great way to get the word out about a product or service.


Youtube is the most popular avenue for videos but they can also work well on other platforms as well. Some other popular video platforms include Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo.

9. Remarketing

An often overlooked form of digital marketing is remarketing.


A remarketing campaign is a marketing tactic in which you'll advertise to people who have already shown an interest in your business in the past. They may have visited your page or they may have clicked through to your online shopping cart without completing a purchase.


These marketing campaigns can be highly effective since you'll be targeting only the people who are already familiar with and/or interested in your business.

10. Viral Marketing

While viral marketing can be difficult to control, the truth is that there are steps to make content more shareable and for making a business go viral.


It's not always easy but with a well-crafted campaign and some sharable content viral marketing can be a very real solution that can get a business some great results. It can also be very cost-effective.


Once a campaign starts gaining traction, your followers on social media will do the hard work for you. They'll help get your content in front of many more eyes than you could have done on your own.

Making Use of Digital Marketing Solutions

While you may not have realized there were so many ways to market your business online, the truth is that the possibilities are endless. By utilizing the digital marketing solutions listed above you may just be surprised at how easily your business achieves success.


Want to learn more about these digital marketing solutions for your small business? Read more on our blog now.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Monday, March 26, 2018 7:43:49 PM

by Robert Clough



Do you have a niche product that needs help with marketing? This article outlines some tips on marketing tactics perfect for marketing niche products!

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There are over 28 million small businesses in the United States alone. Even more, an average of 534,000 independent businesses are founded each month. Marketing tactics must be leveraged to even get noticed, let alone flourish, in this busy marketplace.


Niche marketing has gone from being optional to becoming an absolute essential. Trying to rank for broad keywords on search engines is a losing battle. So is trying to snipe customers from the biggest names in the industry.


Marketing tactics for niche businesses basically boil down to good business sense. They can help you turn your brand into a marketable, profitable business enterprise.


Continue reading to find out how marketing tactics can help you master your niche!

Marketing Tactics For Niche Businesses

Niche marketing is actually easier to pull off successfully than advertising a business in a larger market. Niches are specialized communities with their own rules and customs. These deep, granular insights into your customers' behavior make it easier to create marketing tactics to win them over.


Here are some marketing tactics that will help your niche business get noticed in the crowded marketplace.

Build An App

The app market isn't quite as vibrant as it was a few years ago when businesses were trying to cash in on the mobile marketing gold rush. This can actually be to your benefit, however, as that means there's also less competition in the app store.


You might consider creating a basic app to help promote your niche business. Apps get lots of user engagement, especially in the case of games. Every time they open your app, they will see your marketing content.


Consider the case of The Kraken: Simulation Application For Nautical Maneuvering app. This clever app was released by Proximo Spirits for their Black Kraken Rum.


The game had little to do with alcohol. Players simply navigate a boat through Kraken-infested waters. The app was still hailed as a triumph by designers and game lovers alike!


If your app is successful, your marketing tactics will be handled for you. Customers will happily spread the word about your brand while telling their friends about your app.

Use Social Media To Share Inspiring Content

Social media marketing is a given when it comes to marketing tactics for a niche. Like search engine marketing, social media marketing needs to be a part of every brand's marketing toolkit.


Social media marketing is one of the most efficient marketing tactics for a niche business. When it's done correctly, your customers will spread the word about your brand for you.


Social media marketing on platforms like Instagram is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your products or services in action. Seeing someone actually use a product like a water softener does more to convince a customer than 1000 lines of compelling copywriting.


Social media networks like Twitter are an indispensable way to showcase your brand as a thought leader in your industry. These posts can be automated using a program like Hootsuite, meeting the goal of marketing tactics to be measurable and repeatable, as well.


Social media marketing features greater conversion rates and a better ROI than nearly any other marketing tactic, as one final benefit.

Incorporate Augmented Reality

Small businesses likely lack the resources to build a full-on VR app. Apps that feature augmented reality are becoming more commonplace, however. That means they're becoming easier and cheaper to develop.


If you're wondering about the effectiveness of a virtual reality app as a marketing tactic, consider the Pokemon Go craze of a few years ago. Everyone from the ages of 8 to 80 was running around town trying to capture tiny cartoon creatures. It was a brilliant example of corporate synergy if ever there was one.


If your virtual reality app is successful, local businesses could be incorporated into your marketing tactics. They can advertise for you. You can shout them out, in return.


Augmented reality apps also allow an opportunity to showcase physical products in a customer's environment. This will have major implications for certain industries, like furniture retailers for instance. Seeing a sofa in place in their actual living room will convince your customer in a way that abstract measurements and product descriptions are incapable of.

Develop Your Website

Your website is a wonderful source for niche marketing tactics. It's possible to configure your website in a way that both the search engines and your customers will respond to.


First of all, understanding your niche allows you to create branded content that your audience will respond to. If you're marketing to upscale business professionals for legal services, you'll want your website to appear serious and authoritative. Avoid bright, flashy colors in that instance.


Setting up landing pages and subdomains for niche topics you're trying to rank for in the search engines is one of the most time-honored digital marketing techniques available. Here's where your business strategy comes back into play. You'll need to know what you're trying to rank for before you can create sub-sections of your website to fill those needs.


You should have a fairly detailed list of keywords at that point. You can begin to develop blog posts and authoritative content around those keywords. Those keywords can be employed in your social media content strategy as well as PPC ad campaigns if you're so inclined.

Go Local

Local SEO can be a major blessing for helping your brand to get noticed. Customers are increasingly likely to research local businesses before making a purchase. There are innumerable niches that are tailor-made for local searches, as well.


If you're looking for marketing tactics for a niche business that offers physical products or services, you simply cannot afford to overlook local SEO. Spend some time thinking of search terms and keywords around those search phrases and start generating content!


Local SEO is an amazing opportunity to showcase your brand as an expert in your area.

Interesting stories around obscure local history make for excellent blog posts. Discussing local news and current events shows that your brand is in the know and paying attention.


Local news stories are also prime candidates for being shared on social media, as an additional benefit.

User-Generated Content

Consumers are notoriously resistant to official advertisement. Almost anything that doesn't appear to be from a corporation is going to be better-received than even the most expensive official marketing campaign.


User-generated content is a way out of this quandary. It's a way to encourage your users to advertise for you. They'll create the content themselves, so your marketing department won't have to do anything. Then they'll spread it to their own networks, who are then encouraged to do the same.


One word of caution. It's dangerous to unleash a user-generated content strategy into the wild unmonitored. These campaigns can quickly grow out of control and do more harm than good. You don't want unethical users to derail your marketing campaign with unsavory content.

Choose The Right Platform

One of the biggest parts of knowing your audience is knowing where they spend their time online. Not every social media network is created equal. They all offer opportunities to grow your audience and produce real revenue, however.


If your audience features younger women and stay-at-home parents, you'd be smart to consider Pinterest as part of your promotional strategies. Looking to capture the hearts of Millennials and the even-more-elusive Gen Z? Snapchat could be useful for more than making yourself look like a deer.

How Marketing Tactics Can Help Your Niche Business

Taking some time to research your niche and build your brand will make your marketing tactics infinitely more productive. It's never wise to go stumbling into the dark, especially when time, money, and your reputation are at stake.


Solidifying a marketing strategy ahead of time puts you light years ahead of your competition.

With it being so easy to start a business at this point in history, more people are doing so than ever before. Only a very small percentage of them actually have any business background or training, luckily.


Don't be afraid to start your business even if you don't have a 10-year plan, however. Many successful businesses have started out with a great idea, a wing, and a dream. Marketing can even help you fine-tune your business!


If you're just starting out, spend some time building your network and community. Then ask that community how things are working. Your marketing can even help you perform market research, saving even more money in the meanwhile.


Finally, the research you'll conduct as part of your marketing effort is worth more than its weight in gold. Identify the leading influencers in your niche and reverse-engineer their process. You'll be able to see what's working and what isn't.

Ready To Find Out More About Marketing Your Small Business?

Our goal is to help independent businesses stand out in the search engines.


Even small businesses can compete against the majors when you're armed with knowledge!


Check out our SEO Tools for small business owners today, and start ranking in the search engines today!

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Monday, March 26, 2018 5:47:49 PM

by Robert Clough



Digital Marketing For Aviation Courses

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Excellent digital marketing strategies can bring customers to your aviation courses in droves. Here's how to get your school noticed online.


Did you know that you can use digital marketing to promote your aviation courses?


If you'd like to learn how you can do this, keep reading. Because in this post, we're going to review the digital marketing strategies you can use to generate sales for your aviation courses.


We'll explore strategies that will help you get near instant results as well as strategies that take a more long-term approach.


When you're done reading, you'll know exactly which steps you need to take, if you want to sell your aviation course using digital marketing.


Let's begin!

What is Your Budget for Marketing Aviation Courses?

The first thing you need to do is calculate what your budget is. This is because different kinds of digital marketing demand different levels of expenditure.


If you have a large marketing budget, options such as Pay Per Click (PPC) can help you sell more courses. However, if you are short on cash, then you might need to focus on strategies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO).


In the following sections, we're going to take a look at each of these options.

Pay Per Click

PPC marketing can be a great way to put your courses in front of people who are most likely to buy them. As mentioned, though, it does cost money to use PPC.


For most people, there are two great options for PPC -

  1. Google AdWords

  2. Facebook Ads


In most cases, Facebook Ads can be the cheaper option of the two. However, it can be somewhat harder to ensure your ads are shown to the right people.


Google AdWords is generally more expensive. However, it does ensure that your ads are going to be put in front of people, who are actively searching for courses like yours.


To see which one works best, you will need to experiment.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is another way you can help produce more sales for your courses. With SEO, your goal is to rank for certain keywords your target audience will type into Google when they're looking for courses like yours.


Unlike Google AdWords, if you don't have to pay every time someone clicks on your listing in the organic search results of Google. Because SEO takes time to implement, it can be a good long-term strategy. It is also relatively cheaper when compared to PPC.


To get the best results with SEO, you need to -


  1. Select keywords that will be typed in by your target audience

  2. Create great content around those keywords

  3. Build links to that content


So for example, one such keyword might be 'learning flight instrument rules.'


Based on that keyword, you might create a piece of content called - 'The Ultimate Guide to Learning Flight Instrument Rules.' And then once, you have created that content, you'd reach out to other people in your space and ask them to link to your content.

Digital Marketing Dreams?

Digital marketing can be a great way to promote your aviation course. Depending on your budget, you can either use PPC or SEO to help you generate your initial sales.


Digital marketing can be tough to get right. So if you're not achieving any results, to begin with, try to stick with it. After all, if you can make digital marketing work, it won't be hard to promote and sell a lot of courses.


Best of luck!


Want some more digital marketing tips? Check out our blog to learn more!

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Friday, March 23, 2018 8:27:57 PM

by Robert Clough



Looking to bring in more clients for your brokerage company? Check out these brokerage marketing tips.

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In 2018, digital marketing is in and advertising is out.


Does your brokerage firm have an effective digital marketing campaign in place? If not, you need to get in the game!


Brokerage marketing can be a lot to wrap your head around, though. Start with a few simple strategies to get the ball rolling.

The New Word-of-Mouth

To Millenials, Facebook is already an old hat. They're not the ones investing, though. To your target audience, it's used daily to connect friends and give referrals.


Facebook has a new function called "seeking recommendations." Users can post that they're looking for a referral for a business or service that they need. Word-of-mouth these days isn't so verbal.


Your name should be among the comments. Creating meaningful connections with your clients and following up via email marketing strategies can help you create a good reputation.


The next time someone asks their friend list, "what is futures trading?" hopefully your name will pop up in the comments somewhere as a preferred broker!


Besides the value of word-of-mouth growth, clients can also leave reviews on your business page. Your business page is a great resource for clients who casually browse Facebook to find their next needed service.

Digitize your Ads

Where is your allotted money for advertising going?


If it's not being spent on digital ads, you're wasting a portion of your money on ads that aren't even reaching your target audience.


$1 per day on Facebook ads can grant you access to the eyes of 4,000 individuals in your target audience. Billboards, bus stop benches, and newspaper and other print ads won't reach the exact people that you need your ads to reach.


The benefit of advertising through Facebook is that the site employs an algorithm to make sure that your ad reaches a specific set of people, every time. Instagram does this, too. Instagram will only release your promotional material to your exact target demographic.

Mobilize

Internet users spend over 69% of their screen time on their phones rather than in front of their computers. When it comes to your brokerage marketing tactics, that means you should primarily be gearing them toward mobile users.


Nowadays, it's more accurate to need to be desktop-optimized than mobile-optimized.


If your website isn't responsive, mobile users will not visit your site. If you don't have an active social media marketing plan, you're missing out on organic engagement with potential clients.


If your local SEO isn't set up, you're missing out on tons of local business that simply won't see your business high up in their local search results.


You need to be thinking about the internet as a whole, not device-specific. Don't focus on desktop brokerage marketing strategies. Look at the big picture.

Diversify Your Social Channels

Americans spend about 10 hours a day in front of a screen. Where are they spending all that time?


It's not just in one place. Social media users diversify their platforms, with most using at least two.


You should show up and try to stay active on all platforms. That includes Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.


When new, buzzworthy platforms pop up, like Vine, try to get in on the ground floor along with everyone else. Staying on trend like this can show that you're a brokerage firm that's leading the industry in the 21st century.

Are You All Set with Your Brokerage Marketing Strategies?

Now that you've got the skinny on some basic marketing strategies, you can begin to devise your marketing plan of action.


Check out some of our articles on social media marketing to further enhance your marketing tactics!

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

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