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Sergei Prokopov is the founder and CEO of CATz Soft Ltd. He’s one of the top Software Developer and WordPress experts in Estonia, best known for his great WordPress plug-ins named ReDi Restaurant Reservation. Sergei also runs a Web Development business and works for the Estonian community.
In this article I am going to interview Sergei as a developer and human above all! Plus you will also get a honest critic review of Sergei’s plugin. I am also a WordPress Developer and I am an entrepreneur doing different businesses. So I will judge the plugins from the developer’s point of view and also from the business man.
So let us get started with the interview. I am putting the question in the order I asked him through the Skype and letting you to read the exact transcript of our conversation.
Hello Sergei, welcome I hope you are good. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi my name is Sergei Prokopov I am from Tallinn, Estonia
Great! What is your background in web development?
I’m doing software development for 20 years and for last 12 years I’m doing web development.
That’s awesome, what is your background in Restaurant business? How you got involved with this idea?
I have started my journey from producing and installing digital JukeBoxes to restaurants and pubs, thus I met restaurant business from inside. I love to visit different restaurant occasionally, and that how I looked for business outside. As a client, I have faced many times with a reservation when I did reservation over phone and when arrived they have not registered me.
Same situation happened with me when I reserved slot to change my car tires over phone. When I arrived, they stated that I have not made my reservation, and I was not able to give them any evidence, as I did not have any confirmation in my hand. After that, I decided to change the situation and create an online reservation software.
Why do you focus so much on WordPress?
I found that most of restaurants choose as their home pages WordPress engine. In addition, WordPress is a good platform to validate ideas. You just create any plugin, and wait for people installs it and gives you feedback.
Well, how did you come up with an idea to create WordPress plug-ins?
When I have created an online reservation portal, I started to find service providers and sell them reservation service, here in Estonia, but I was unable to find them. Most of service providers questioned us how popular our web site is and declining to sign up. But without service providers there is no point to invite clients. So I get into the chicken or egg trap.
Then I have started to look into other possibilities where on how to get service providers I came to an idea to write a plugin for WordPress. WordPress is installed into 26% of world web sites and it’s growing up. Among them different type of businesses. This is huge market for reservation plugins. So I wrote plugin for WordPress.
That’s great. Tell our readers something about your plugins.
My plugin is one of the most downloadable and recommended plugin for restaurant business. It is highly ranked and I do my best to get it with maximum quality. I tend to answer any question or reply to any issue within 1 day. I have several restaurants with Michelin star that chooses ReDi Restaurant Reservation plugin. At the moment more than 80 000 reservation was made with help of my plugin, and number of monthly reservation continues to grow. Plugin translated to 16 languages.
What are the features of your plugins.
The most valuable feature of ReDi Restaurant Reservation is that it automatically displays available seats, accepts reservation and sends instant confirmation. All that removes manual reservation verification and confirmation, and removes reservation conflicts.
Restaurants can define their open times, custom fields they want to collect, when to accept early and late bookings.
How it can help a restaurant business.
It’s increasing client satisfaction by providing instant reservation availability and confirmation.
24/7 hours availability
It reduces manual work that restaurant stuff needs to spend reviewing reservations and communicating back to clients.
It reduces reservation conflicts.
We have seen your plugins has two versions. One is free and the other is premium. What are the difference and extra feature that are available in premium version?
View upcoming reservations on Mobile/Tablet PC
Setup maximum available seats for online reservation by week day
Multiple open times.
Support for multiple places. Number of places depends on number of subscriptions.
Send client reservation confirmation emails from WordPress account
Email template customization for all supported languages
Can a restaurant run the operation with the free version?
Absolutely they are able to define open time, number of available seats, custom fields, when to accept early and late bookings, and that’s covers needs of most restaurants
How they can benefit with the premium version.
Premium version allows more complex reservation configuration that should cover all types of restaurants. In addition, premium version helps to organize manager’s works on the field with help of Tablet PC. Additionally I takes orders for plugin customization and can do anything that solves restaurant reservation management.
What is your plan for the affiliate marketer to promote your premium paid plugins?
I am looking for partnership with Restaurant theme makers, so they can include our plugin into their bundle and I’m open for any kind of partnership.
How many plugins do you have? Are you planning for anymore plugins release?
At the moment I do have 3 plugins. First plugin was a reservation plugin for different types of businesses.
Then I have created a plugin to call a waiter from smartphone. It works in a simple way: client scans QR code, web page opens with set of actions. Client select one of the actions: call waiter, bring menu or pay a bill, and then action displayed on a waiter tablet pc.
Currently we develop plugin to send SMS reservation confirmations and collect prepayments for reservations. After that, I have two plugins in plans: one is for managing Spa Reservations; another one is for restaurant online menu with possibility to order from table.
Now a human to human question (I mean from developer to a person Sergei), what is your goal in life as a plugins developer and then as a person?
My plan is this to release as much as possible plugins that helps others to drive their business. As a person, I would like work and travel in different countries meeting local culture and people.
That was a great time together! I hope our readers going to love it and Restaurant owners are going to try your plugins. And their business will be benefited. Thank you for your time mate!
Thank you also. For your blog, the blog reader who mentions this article will get some good treatment from us if they purchase the premium version.
Dear readers that was Sergei for you! A great talented developer who are helping restaurant business to run their business smoothly by automating some step. In the next part of this article I will be reviewing the plugin from my point of view and will let you know the honest opinion of a developer and businessman. Until then have fun and eat healthy!
When you start a website (or any kind of business really) it is very easy to lose track of things and focus on what you personally think needs to happen. We all do it, it is perfectly natural to do this yet in the long run it can be quite damaging. Any successful business knows that THE most important person for them is the customer. You always have to keep putting yourself in the customer’s shoes to see where you need to improve, but in order to do that you need to know your audience!
Only by knowing who your audience is and knowing your target market can you begin to move forward as a business. But how do you do that???
Questions To Ask Yourself
Websites and blogs are always trying to think of ideas for new content to publish on their site. In fact, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is (along the lines of) “What can I write about for my site?” I always give the same answer to this question – “Well who is your audience?” – which is often followed by “……erm?!?”
Too often website owners seem to know absolutely nothing about the people that they are writing for. This is crazy when you think about it as you wouldn’t expect other types of business to do this. Only by knowing who your audience is can you better approach your website.
Take a few minutes to think about who your ideal reader would be. Ask yourself;
Where do they live?
Where do they work?
What is their native language?
How old are they?
Are they male or female?
What kind of job do they do?
What kind of education do they have?
How much do they earn?
Are they married?
Do they have kids?
What are their interests?
What are they passionate about?
What are their driving ambitions?
What are their wants and needs?
Difference Between “Ideal” & “Actual” Audience
Now, there is a HUGE difference between your “ideal reader” and your “actual reader”. Your ideal reader may be young, trendy, single and have a well-paid, exciting job, whereas the people who are actually visiting your site may be middle aged parents with little time on their hands due to having children.
This is why it is important to know your audience as you may be writing for the wrong kind of people.
How To Find Out Who Your Audience Is?
There are many different ways to actually find out who your audience is but one of the best ways is to use Google Analytics. Analytics lets you track certain data that can give you a better understanding of who is actually visiting your site. Specific data, such as; age, gender, language, location, in-market audiences, etc. can all be found within Analytics.
Google works this out by tracking the browsing tendencies of people online. This is what “cookies” are used for, as they can help advertisers and website owners to better understand their audience. Learn more about how Google determines user demographics.
So Analytics is good for learning about specific user traits, but what about other useful information, such as; passions, drives, wants and needs? Well, a lot of this information is right there in front of you already. Blog comments, social media streams, forums, emails, question and answer sessions, etc. that are already associated with your website can give you a big insight into the type pf people who are visiting your site. If not, why not just ask your readers themselves. At worst they can just say no, otherwise it can be a good way to get people talking and help to build a community around your site.
If you can use these two sets of information together you can build a more accurate representation of your audience. That way, when you are thinking of ideas for what to write about, you can visualise what your audience would like to read about.
Create Reader Profiles
With the information that you gather about your audience, you can begin to piece together reader profiles. The great thing about these profiles is that you can have more than one.
For example, let’s say that I ran a pet website. My ideal reader would be family oriented, married people with young kids that have a dog or a cat. The actual person that I found tends to read the site are people who are looking to buy their first pet, are quite young and often single. I may also be able to create another profile of older individuals who have lots of pets who like reading about them.
From these three simple profiles, I can come up with plenty of ideas better suited to each of them. If my aim is to better target the “Family Oriented” people, perhaps I could publish more about pets & kids, for example.
There are plenty of ways to better understand your audience online. Only by truly knowing who is visiting your site can you better aim your content and tailor it for them.
What type of people visit your website? Which tools/programs/methods do you use to determine your audience? We want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.
Hello Everyone, firstly happy Tuesday – secondly how the hell is it June? Anyhow, here at Bizzebee we have a posting schedule that we follow here, and I am stepping in today for Andi who is otherwise engaged with work commitments so couldn’t post today …. All is not lost though, as I have a really great 2 part special for you today to really get your teeth into.
Some of these I may have already covered in some level of detail in previous posts and updates I’ve made. However, I have done SO much reading over time, and researching and thought it would be a good chance to put all of the information down in one place so you take take away from it what YOU want and start applying to your own business.
Every marketing campaign has the same end goal – to raise awareness of a particular product / service / business, its HOW you go about achieving it that is important. Social Media is a great FREE way (as I’m sure you are all very aware of now) of helping you reach this end goal.
My ‘Think Tank’ is a really great place to be at times, all of the information that I digest allows me to pull all of this together so I can share with you.
Here are the first 25 ways of getting you to STAND OUT from the crowd
1) FIND AND SHARE GOOD CONTENT – People want to see and share compelling, inspiring, helpful, valuable content – if you find it OR produce it, get it out there, people like to share it and that’s how it goes viral.
2) WRITE CONTENT – Whether you are a great content curator, or have a flair for writing your own content, or even reviewing / posting an opinion about another article. This is crucial in starting ANY social media campaign. Gear the content at your target market – think about what they want to know about, and supply it. For more information on creating that all important blog check out http://startablogthatmatters.com
3) BUILD THE HYPE WELL IN ADVANCE – Use your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ accounts to build the buzz surrounding the holidays – people often only do this as the holidays are upon us, but its far better to build this up in advance – get people talking and looking forward to whatever is coming up.
4) ADD SOCIAL BOOKMARKS LINKS – Make it EASY for your content to be shared and commented on! Include the social bookmark links and buttons to your blog, website and most important posts
5) CONSISTENCY IS KEY – Make sure you update regularly and consistently – its important that people identify WHO you are and what you are about – so if you have a style of writing, or make videos to get your point across – make sure you use that to get your message across so people understand what you are about. If people know you are hanging out where you say you are and are working on updates frequently, they tend to come back to see whats happening.
6) BRANDING – It is important that people know what your brand is about, and you can really use social media to get the most out of it. Seasonal timeline covers, backgrounds and profile images – ensure that if you do update one, then you update them all to mirror the same.
7) WRITE COMPELLING HEADLINES – You need to draw people when you are promoting your content on social media sites – write something that interests people so much that they want to read the rest of what you have to say. If you want to learn more about copywriting and writing compelling headlines then check out http://www.copywritingsupremacy.com
8) MEASURE AND EVALUATE – Everyone goes on about ROI with Social Media, and it is very important to track your success rate, and how it compares to more traditional marketing methods – google analytics and dashboards like Hootsuite are great for keeping a check on your conversion rates and tracking where the traffic is coming from.
9) CREATE POPULAR LISTS – TOP 25 WAYS TO INCREASE TRAFFIC – A little bit like this list here – if you compile something like this they tend to get passed around online very quickly!
10) METADATA AND TAGGING – Without going into detail about SEO (search engine optimisation) you can dramatically improve your visibility and ranking on search engines like google by utilising this. Metadata is data which is a description of the characteristics of a piece of information. Tags can be terms or keywords that are assigned to particular resource. Tagging and incorporating other metadata can help improve searching and measure the spread of information.
11) COMBINE SOCIAL MEDIA AND TRADITIONAL MARKETING – Social Media is a PART of your overall marketing efforts, so ALWAYS ensure that any printed marketing materials show your social media addresses and profiles – brochures, business cards, leaflets, booklets et al. You want to FULLY get to grips with Social Media from the word go – then give The Social Networking Academy a visit!
12) USE WORDPRESS PLUGINS – If your blog or website is powered by WordPress, then you must ensure that you incorporate the plugins that will help your page become more visible and the content is shared, particularly the ‘retweet’ button for Twitter.
13) USE A MICROSITE – This can be a 1 page website or even a cleverly designed Facebook landing page that that can showcase your social media and general marketing efforts, and can also be specifically target driven to a campaign.
14) COMMUNITY PLATFORMS – By this I mean Forums, Groups, FanPages – build up a following and a network of people to talk to around these. It helps with engagement and conversation, and if you are somewhat of an ‘expert’ in your niche / industry then get involved in Forums – answer questions and share information with people.
15) ADD A FACEBOOK LIKE BOX – This is the quickest and easiest way for someone to ‘endorse’ your brand – the power of the ‘like’ is incredible, and if there is a one click box on your blog or website that is easily visible then people will use it! Facebook make it even easier to add this, with their social plugins that are added to your sites with a simple piece of HTML code., and people can still LIKE your page whilst visiting your website and blog.
16) ADD A FACEBOOK SHARE BUTTON – Install the wordpress plugin that will allow the content your audience is reading to be posted directly to their Facebook wall without even leaving the page they are looking at!
17) DON’T OVER HASHTAG TWEETS – If you are anything like me, I kinda switch off to those tweets that just have 4/5 # per tweet – that’s to get their visibility up, not necessarily providing me with anything of value
18) WORK TOWARDS A HIGHER FOLLOWERS TO FOLLOWING RATIO – If you are seen to have more followers on twitter than you it kind of enhances your influence on the site which then add’s to your twitter profile’s SEO potential AND also further backs up the concept / idea that you are a leader in your field / niche
19) AVOID ‘OVER SELLING’ – Rather than constantly tweeting and updating about what you are selling across your social profiles, look for useful content to post about how to help people out, by doing this, and occasionally adding a self promoting post you are building up trust between you and your audience – which increases the chances of them turning from a prospect into a paying customer.
20) ADD A LINKEDIN SHARE BUTTON – Install the wordpress plugin which allows the content to be posted directly to a linkedin profile and any relevant group people are a member of on there, again without leaving the website page they have visited. (gotta love these wordpress plugins!!!)
21) COMMENT ON BLOGS – Find the top 10 influencers in your niche, and start commenting on their blogs – this forms a big part of making and establishing connections with people
22) USE YOUR ONLINE COMMUNITY – There is no point in building it up if you don’t use it! Ask for feedback, run competitions and giveaways and always remember to THANK people if they mention you, retweet your posts or share your updates.
23) GIVE OUT FREE TIPS AND ADVICE – Twitter is a great place to do this, by added a specialist branded hashtag – I regularly do this on my twitter and I find that it sparks a lot more engagement and responses from people. To take it a further step, you can link your twitter to a Facebook tab purely for twitter and then start to use Youtube to create videos to expand on these tips and create some great helpful tutorials.
24) CONDUCT RESEARCH POLLS – You need to find solutions and answers for people, the only way to do so is to ask them what their challenges and limitations are – this will then allow you the chance to review and look at how your product and service can help them, and then communicate that to them.
25) WRITE BENEFIT RELATED CONTENT – Your audience will always be thinking ‘Whats In It For Me’ so it’s very important than when writing content or sharing content always highlight and talk about the problems that your product and service can solve! People don’t tend to be that interested in what your product or service features are, but more what it can do for them!
Wow, that’s a LOT of information that I’ve shared there with you!!! Stay tuned for part 2 – where I run through another 25 top tips that will ultimately HELP you generate more traffic and visibility online.
One thing I would like to stress to you here is that, if like me, you are finding there is a BIG long list of things that you know you need to do, and that is always growing …. Try setting yourself smaller more manageable lists. For example, if you accomplish ONE of the above 25 tips each day, in just under 1 month you will have made BIG progress towards your end result.
Have a truly fabulous week everyone & I look forward to writing again for you soon!
Things have been really busy for me in both the online and offline business world of late, and as such I wanted to write this weeks’ post to give an update on the offline business that I have involvement in. It’s been 3 years now since I started to use Social Media to network and create more business opportunities for it and as we’ve just recently moved to our new printing premises, I thought it would be apt to share this post with you all today. Exhibit U is one of the best Printing Companies in Orlando. Digital Printing is their specialty. However everything printing Melbourne cbd print includes high quality paper and materials, inks and coatings, to make you look your best, You can order everything you need for your marketing and branding at affordable costs
As you may (or may not) know my family business in the offline world is in Printing and Graphic Design I make now secret of how hard this industry is, and during the last 5 or so years it’s taken a really big hit. 3 years ago or thereabouts I decided to give myself a little “project” and that was to see exactly what social media was about for business, and more importantly HOW it could help my family business with more opportunities. I have been working tirelessly investigating new avenues to reach new people, market some of our products and offers too, and when I realized the strength of Social Media if applied correctly I’ve steadily grown the business month on month over the last 3 years now. For good record keeping and always having paper back up, having copiers in the office is a great idea. Also, commercial copiers are the best thing to have when starting a printing business.
Our business handles all sorts of different jobs. Sometimes we just have to design a logo for someone’s website or business, and other times we have to handle printing whatever fliers they will be distributing, we always get services from the Super Cheap Signs company to make all the promotional signs and banners.
We also do poster printing as well as invitations, and signs of all different dimensions. As varied as our business is, it can be difficult at times to let potential clients know we are available and provide these services, which is why I undertook this project.
Before I progress, I just want to let you know, we do not rely 100% on Social Media efforts for getting new business, and neither should any business – it’s just ONE part of the marketing mix.
I’m a firm believer in never putting all your eggs in one basket, our Social Media work forms a part of a much bigger picture, and I only have an allotted amount of time that I can dedicate to this particular business, because of all the other work that I have going on. The business has a clear cut marketing plan that combines both the traditional marketing methods, along with the new, and I think that it is very important for ANY business to not pigeon hole themselves or be ‘closed’ to any opportunity to network / create new business possibilities. Check out the best 3D printer for miniatures or any project you have in mind here.
WHY? Because in this world today, all types of marketing has a time and a place, for anyone that doesn’t believe in the power of one method, or places one over another, I would just urge you to research and keep an open mind, not all marketing tactics and plans will work for each business, but without investigating the possibility further, you could simply be missing out that vital ingredient that could transform your business.
3 years in and our turnover has increased by £100K during that time and is growing month on month. Mainly from a promotion of selling 500 Business Cards for the price of 250 (£27) Make NO mistake I am not stating that this is a life changing figure, but what I am trying to highlight is that in a ‘real’ business selling products in an industry that is effectively killing itself with undercutting on pricing, our achievements are commendable. None of those orders are ‘bad debts’ either, we have taken zero risk in selling print, none of those orders taken have been on a ‘credit’ basis. All orders are exactly the kind of clients and customers that any business today who wants to try and do better needs. Payment always in advance / at the time of order.
The great thing about using Social Media to achieve this is simple – it requires minimal effort (in the grand scheme of things), being realistic here, as long as you are there everyday (at some point) you are naturally going to meet people and make connections and build relationships. The biggest bonus of course is that the only real thing it costs is your time (which to be fair is actually of real value – but a lot of people tend to judge “cost” in monetary terms, so in that respect its “free”)
The printing business is a family run business, and my Dad is very hands on in his role as the boss, we sit down and regularly review orders in, who our new clients are, the promotions and offers that we want to run, and the more you throw yourself into getting involved the more momentum builds. He now leaves the running and managing of this side of things to me and across the social networking sites people now know me as the ‘face’ behind the company.
I am a big believer in showing your personality, and I do honestly believe that this has been a big part in developing our online presence. People feel like they ‘know’ me, they know if i’ve been away, TV shows I’ve been watching and all kinds of things on a surface level. On the other side of things, as someone who tweets, uses linkedin and connects with various facebook pages I find I am naturally more drawn to those profiles that I feel I can ‘see’ a person behind the company name.
Without a doubt the work that I have been doing has created brand loyalty, these people that we have printed business cards for and designed logos for will recommend and praise our services to their peers if they ask for a good, affordable, reliable printing company! This page have a fantastic team of professionals who are always happy to help and advise on any technical enquiries. The prints are always high quality and the service is very reliable and most of all friendly. It’s also important to have a great printing management software that will help you run the business smoothly and efficiently. Print management software – MPS is a reliable company that could create impressive results fit for you and your customers. The best thing here is, we have not asked for a single recommendation. As a consumer, when something is good today, we all love to make a deal out of it and share it with the social networking world. And I think that is a key factor right now.
Social Media encourages ‘sharing’ as much as we might have frowned or disagreed with Mark Zuckerberg at F8 Conference when he introduced timeline and said he wanted to bring the world together to connect and share their life experiences, he was right (to a degree)
If you have immersed yourself in Social Media on both a business and personal level, you want to share stories and experiences with your peers. I have, and will continue to do so. If I get a good service, or I rate a product I’ve used, then I will tell people about it ….. and similarly I do the same when I have a bad experience too!
Do you know what else is great? Out of all the orders in the last 3 years we have generated, a LOT of them are returning customers …. Something that as a business we feel is very important, because it proves that we have built trust and provided a good service with these people, and for a business relationship born out of a ‘virtual’ environment clearly means that we have been doing something right.
One customer who has been with us for the last 2 years is continually growing his monthly spend, and if things continue, he could be spending between £5k a month with us by the end of the year. We are working together to nurture our relationship and build the trust on both ends, and for now, this is a risk free customer, who we are dealing with on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.
I had a conversation only last week with yet another returning customer, and he said to me this ‘its amazing what the power of ONE tweet can do’ And I am inclined to agree with him you know! The facts truely do speak for themselves.
In conclusion to this post, I think the message I want to get out there to you all is this:
If you are wondering ‘can Social Media work for MY business’ or you are wondering whether it is worth the effort, all I can say to you is ‘TRY’ You have absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain. If I didn’t make the effort to try this out with the offline business, I probably wouldn’t be sitting in the position I am now in (for the opportunities it has opened for me personally is unbelieveable) and more importantly my Dad’s business wouldn’t have reached the amount of people it had, nor built an online following that has allowed us to reach new prospects AND turn them into paying customers.
Finally, like I have said many times before, I am no Marketing ‘expert’ or ‘guru’ I am just a regular person, who saw an opportunity and took the chance to explore and develop it. The printing industry is a tough place to be, and with not much going on around me, I got nosey, and with time on my hands during work hours I decided to make myself busy. So if you think ‘I don’t have a clue’ then trust me you are not alone, because 3 years ago or so, I was that person – I used facebook to upload and tag pictures and talk to my friends! Now I am advising people and helping them make a start using these free tools that are at our fingertips to establish their businesses online and to make a big difference at how they approach marketing, all thanks to the ‘on the job’ research and training I have done with a custom label printing business.
Check out this timelapse we did last week on an iPad showing our new machine entering the building – again a great use of social media to connect and show people who we are 🙂
I will continue to update you with the progress that we are making with the offline business, but if you want to stay in touch then give us a follow on any of our social channels – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or G+
If I told you that there were 3 simple words that every online business should memorize, what would you guess they would be?
Dedication, innovation, strategy, marketing, turnover, trust, efficiency, advertising, sales, networking, experience, goals, etc. These are all fantastic words that spring to mind, but they aren’t the ones that I want to talk about. What if I gave you a further clue and said that all 3 words begin with the letter P. Any ideas?
Well providing you haven’t cheated and scrolled down the page already (shame on you) I’ll tell you. For any of you that have never come across it before, there is a fantastic quote by Napoleon Hill, a very famous American author and advisor to President D. Roosevelt.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill
I love that quote as it really gets to the heart of what success is. All the words that I listed above (and many others) all play a part in that success, but without patience, persistence and perspiration you won’t get very far.
The businessman Shravan Gupta explains, starting your own business online is a very exciting process. Your mind is full of ideas and you are keen to make those ideas real. This initial excitement and drive is fantastic, but like anything, nothing lasts forever.
Online businesses, just like traditional offline businesses, take time to get off the ground and even longer to grow. This is where patience comes in as you need to prepare yourself for the long road ahead. If you think that your website will take off and start attracting millions of hits after only a few weeks then you are in for a shock. Websites need time to grow, to attract traffic, to build up a loyal readership and get noticed by the search engines. Factor in that there is a lot to learn about if you haven’t run a site before (i.e. SEO, blogging, social media marketing, link building, HTML, CSS, etc.) and you can begin to see why it can take time to build up some momentum.
Alongside being patient, one must be humble when it comes to building up a following in business. There is no shame in seeking professional help when it comes to managing finances. The Virtualauditor experts in Valuation Companies are sure to help you every step of the way.
Now, since websites can take a while to get up and running online, it is vital that you don’t give up when the going gets tough. Persistence is needed, not only to get your site off the ground, but also when it does start to pick up you need to be able to continue that drive to grow it further.
I speak to quite a few new bloggers who are thinking about, or have just started, their own website. Whilst some are very enthusiastic initially, that can quickly turn after a few weeks because nothing has really happened. Despite encouraging them to persist, many give up and move on to something else. Now some of those sites may have been destined to fail, but I can almost guarantee that some will have gone on to become successful IF they had not given up so easily. Life Coaches can help you to improve a lot on this, check iNLP Center reviews
It is dead easy to give up on something, anyone and everyone can do that. What is much harder is to persist and see through an idea/project to the end.
You can have all the patience and persistence in the world, but the one key ingredient that is needed to be truly successful is perspiration. It takes bloody hard work to get anywhere in life, no one is going to hand it to you on a plate, you have to get out there and put the work in.
There are plenty of people out there that will live their entire lives trying to get around doing hard work and taking the easy way out when they can. It’s their life, let them do that if that is what they choose to do. Bar winning the lottery, there is no shortcut to success so it is up to you what path you are willing to take.
The 3 Words Every Online Business Should Live By
Running an online business is no walk in the park, but it is very achievable if you approach it in the right way. Patience, persistence and perspiration are the key things that you really need. If you have them, everything else will fall into place.
Do you follow the 3 P’s of success? What words do you try to live by? Let us know below by leaving a comment.
If like me you have thought about becoming a published author and stay at home writer then today’s post should definitely interest you.
Last night I watched a documentary on BBC2 called Business Bloomers about the story of Amazon.com from its birth in a Seattle garage to the multi-billion dollar business it is now.
It followed Amazon with every high and low including the 98% drop in shares which lead to people being made redundant to the success of its Kindle and how it changed the way we interact with books.
It also interview people here in the UK who have had to close down their businesses because of Amazons influence on the market place and those who have used Amazons services and become very successful. It was a very interesting documentary and I really enjoyed.
Nick Spalding’s Story
What really captured my attention was the story of Nick Spalding. I myself am currently writing a couple of books (This article will be part of one of them) but because of my work load and other projects I drop onto them as and when I can.
I would like to spend more time on them and I am going to force myself to otherwise I run the risk of not finishing them if I carry on as I am. Nick Spalding must have been in a similar situation; Nick wanted to be an body camera and was at the time working in the press office of the local Police force., and for this I was given a anchor, is the same as the police officers wear daily so I could record all my experience and make better and accurate reviews.
He decided that it was a ‘now or never’ time to make his dream come true and set aside one Saturday to write a book from beginning to end. He sat down one Saturday morning and started writing. He wrote for 30 hours, I am not sure if he had a sleep in the middle then continued on the Sunday but he says he wrote for 30 hours and produced over 50,000 words.
His first book was written, he spent a bit more time editing and fine tuning his book and then published it on Amazons self-publishing platform.
Once it was live he would check his sales on his laptop which annoyed his girlfriend Gemma a bit. She wasn’t as excited by his new venture as he was; she had faith in his writing abilities but had no idea if it would amount to anything.
Nick got excited when a copy of his book was sold, someone he didn’t know and would never meet had just bought one of his books and this was a big buzz for him. How well his first book ‘Life With No Breaks’ did I cannot say but it wasn’t long before Nick wrote his second book ‘Love From Both Sides’
Nick’s second book started to sell well and you could say they flew off the shelves hitting over 1000 sales in the same day. Watching this happen in the sales reports left Nick’s ‘head spinning’.
There are two different commission settings on Amazon, for lower priced books you earn 35% of the price and for higher priced books you can get 70%. Nick would have been receiving 35% as he priced his books at a lower competitive rate, the lower the price the greater chance you have of selling more.
And that is what he did; Nick went on to sell 430,000 books that year on Amazon. If he sold a book at £4.95 his 35% commission would be £1.73 so it is safe to say that his 430,000 books brought him in a nice sum of money.
Some people say that there is too much competition on Amazon and that you cannot be successful however there are others who say the audience on Amazon is huge and that the ‘world is your oyster’
If a book sells really well here on Amazon.co.uk, do you not think people in other countries will not be interested? We do now live in a shrinking world and with social media it is possible to build up a global fan base. All of the English speaking nations generally enjoy the same TV shows, films and books, think ’50 Shades Of Grey’ and ‘Harry Potter’
Offline Book Sales
To top it off, Nick was able to cash in twice when he was approached by a traditional print book publishing company who wanted to put his books into shops. He was paid a six figure advance. Not bad is it really?
Nick has now retired from his job with the Police and works from home as a full time writer; he has written several books creating several different income streams. He said this about Amazon… “ I love Amazon… they bought me a house.”
Nick is a success story but he is not the only one, there are more so if you fancied become a self-published author then what, apart from yourself, is stopping you? The opportunity is there as we can see from Nick Spalding’s story.
What Is Success?
I will not say you will all be successful, that depends on what you do, how you write, what you write about and how persistent you are. Nick was fortunate that his first two books were received well and he went on from there.
There are people doing very well writing short stories, erotic fiction and the popular information eBooks & how to guides.
Also let us discuss what is considered as ‘being successful’; it means different things for many people. Some people may not think they are successful until they are completely retired from any work with plenty of money in the bank to cover the expense of enjoying life. Whereas others may class being successful as nothing more than being debt free and working from home doing what they enjoy bringing in a nice amount of money each month.
For many, being successful is not about ‘not working’ but actually doing what they chose and being paid for it rather than being forced to work in a job they detest. Nick Spalding is in a great position because he works from home, he enjoys what he does and he gets paid well for it.
You Can Do It Too
If you believe that you cannot create books because you cannot write, or that you are not any good at writing or maybe just don’t like writing but would like to be an author then all is not lost.
There are things that you can do and we have discussed this in the past, you can always outsource the work to a ghost writer. The ex-glamour model Katie (Jordan) Price has admitted several times on TV and radio that she does not like to write and probably has never typed one word of her many successful books.
Instead she talks into a Dictaphone and crafts her stories and ideas verbally then sends the audio files off to a writer who fattens the stories out by adding all of the detail, descriptions and dialogue.
You can find many writers and researchers online who could do the writing for you, this is ideal if you are working, you go to work and earn some money then pay someone to write your books for your. You lose little time and leverage the skills of others and your money.
Books do not need to be fiction; they can be compilations or true stories. Google is an excellent place to do research on that kind of stuff and as I mentioned a minute ago, you can find excellent researchers online to do your research for you.
The other method of crafting a story to be sent to a ghost writer is to create a story plan, this is similar to a story board used in movies except that you use words instead of images in a Word document.
You could add images if you choose to give your plan more detail but a plan consists of a chronological list of characters and events including what people look like, their age and personality types. Places where they frequent and where certain things happen and what events happen in the right order.
Make the plan as detailed as possible but the great thing is you do not need to fill it out with descriptive words and dialogue unless you want to add a few lines that are important to the story. Your ghost writer will do that for you or at least will try to with your lead. You might need to keep in contact constantly to make the whole process easier for the two of you.
If either of those two ideas do not appeal to you then you can still do the old traditional route and write your book yourself but you will need to put the time in. You can do what Nick did and put aside a chunk of time to write your book until it is finished which to be honest can be very tough going.
Or you can set aside and hour or two each day and write the book over a course of a few weeks, either way, writing a book can actually be a quicker task than you first think if you have a plan and stick to it. Once you get started and get into it you can often not want to stop.
I shall leave you with these two points though,
1. When you have a lot of stuff written it is easier to edit. You cannot edit a story floating around in your head
2. The sooner it is written and edited it can be published which means you can start to change your life for the better sooner rather than later.
So it just leaves me to say, get writing… trust me, if you write 1000 words every other day, even when you think you have nothing to work with, after 6 months or a year you will have a lot of content to edit and chop up into a book. It helps if you have a fore plan though, 6 months or random ramblings is harder to construct into a book but 6 months of written documents about ‘serial killers’ for example means you have a book ready and waiting to be edited.
I wrote a post recently about people hesitating on starting a blog, which let’s face it, many of us do when first starting out. This led to a few questions though on social media asking what people should actually do within their first week blogging. Well ask and you shall receive.
I’ve put together a simple 6 step plan for you to follow during your first week blogging. Now, this isn’t a strict “Day 1 do X, Day 2 do Y, Day 3 do Z…” kind of plan, it is more of a loose guide for you to follow. The main aim though is to highlight key areas that you should be focusing on initially so that you don’t get distracted by smaller, insignificant details that can wait for later.
So without ado, let’s get blogging!
1. Pick Your Niche
If you plan on starting a blog, THE most important decision that you will have to make is on what subject to focus on. This can/will determine whether your site will be successful or not almost from day 1.
I go into much greater detail in a previous post about picking a niche to blog about, but essentially you need to take some time to really think about and analyse your preferred subject. Rushing in and committing to a blog all about your favourite hobby may sound like a good idea to you, but does it appeal to a wider audience? Without a large enough group of people who would be interested in your site, it is doomed from the start.
On the other hand however, if you pick a subject that is too broad, you run the risk of being too generic and not attracting visitors. There is a definite balance that you need to find;
Blog niche is targeted at a large group of people.
Blog niche isn’t too generic that people won’t know what your site is about.
Blog niche is too small to appeal to enough people.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say you had a passion for cheese cake and wanted to start a site on that. A blog that focused purely on cheese cake would probably be aiming for a much too narrow niche to attract that much traffic (and you’d likely run out of ideas pretty quickly). If on the other hand you broadened it out to include all types of cakes, that would appeal to a much broader audience. Take it to the furthest extreme though and broaden it out to “cooking” in general and you risk being too generic. If people know you as a “site about cakes” or “the cake blog” they know what they are getting.
2. Set Up Your Site
A pretty important part of setting up a blog online is to actually set it up. Now this is a lot easier than most people first think as all you really need is;
A domain name,
WordPress theme (optional).
A domain name is essentially the address of your site (e.g. www.ExampleSite.com) and every site needs one. If you can, always go for the ‘.com’ version as that is what 99% of people will type in without thinking about it. We would recommend you to GoDaddy* to get your domain, we use them for all of our sites and have never had a problem with them.
Web hosting is essentially the space where your site is stored online. In order for people to access a site 24 hours a day, all the images, text, website files, etc. need to be stored on a server somewhere. This is why you need web hosting. Bizzebee and the whole Bizzebee team use HostGator to host our sites online and would recommend them to you.
Reseller hosting are often defined as that sort of web hosting during which an internet host buys bulk plan from a hosting company. the online host then sub divides the majority plan into smaller plans then resells the smaller plans to individual users. The reseller can sell space and bandwidth from a rented dedicated server. Alternatively, the reseller can get permission to sell space and bandwidth from shared server. this sort of hosting is that the most inexpensive method by which websites are often hosted on the web .
Top reseller hosting is all about affordability, flexibility and reliability. It shows that every and each type or quite website can easily work well, if this hosting technique is incorporated. Its best feature is that it connects the clients with their webhosts and acts sort of a connector for them.
Things aren’t too simple, once you are handling this hosting technique, because it requires some basic and clear knowledge of webhosting services before you really take a start for hosting your own website.
In case you’re facing problems because you are doing not have enough time and budget to host your own website by controlling the servers and data centers, then you are doing not want to stay yourself in an unmanageable situation. Reseller webhosting can do all this on your part and you’ll make yourself satisfied with the results.
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) that makes it incredibly easy to setup and manage your blog, and what’s even better is that it is completely free! You simply install it onto your web host and then you can add posts, images, edit the look of your site, etc. without the need for any complicated coding.
You may want to install a WordPress theme for your site, as this can greatly improve the look of your site. There are plenty of free WordPress themes available online, but for a professional looking site you probably want to go for a premium one. There are lots of sites that offer high quality themes for you to buy, such as StudioPress.
3. Set Up Your Key Pages
Once you have actually setup your site online, it can be tempting to just start writing your blog and focus on that. You really need to setup some important pages before you do that though, including;
About page – Who you/what your site is about.
Contact page – Allowing people to get in touch with you.
Sitemap – Very important for the search engines to find all your content.
Subscription page – Allowing people to subscribe to your newsletter if you have one.
Legal page(s) – Affiliate disclosure, earnings disclaimer, privacy disclosure, etc.
Category pages – Allowing people to easily find all your content.
Home page – With a good, clear layout.
Creating these pages right at the beginning of your site will help greatly in the long run. You may need to come back and edit them now and again, but at least people will be able to navigate around your whole site easily.
4. Get Writing
You have started a blog, so at some point you are going to have to start blogging.
As this is your first week, there is no need to go mad and publish tons of content. One or two posts would be more than enough to launch your site with. After all, you will probably be spending most of your time this week on the other points that we have listed.
One thing that you should do, however, is to make a list of future posts that you want to write. This doesn’t need to be a definitive list of post titles, more like a list of ideas that you can pick from. You will need to produce regular content for your site every week (2-3 posts at least) in order to begin to build up an audience, so having a list of ideas to draw inspiration from is very beneficial.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan
Successful sites don’t happen by accident. Owners have planned out where they intend to take the site over the weeks/months/years and work towards achieving that. Since you are just starting out, planning is more important than ever, as without a plan you are destined to fail. As the old quote goes;
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
…or another of my favourites;
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Think about how you will;
Attract new traffic to your site,
Get people to navigate to your key posts/pages,
Compete with other sites in the same niche,
Make your site stand out against the competition,
Develop and grow your site over time,
…and much more.
6. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles
A massive part of attract traffic to a site and building a brand is linked with social media. This is why it is very important that you take the time to, not only, setup social media profiles for your website, but also take time to be active on them as well.
Again, as we are focusing on your first week blogging we shall just look at setting up your profiles. It is better to do all these at the beginning as then people will be able to find you on their preferred network.
Start by setting up profiles/pages on;
Depending on your site, you may want to create profiles on sites like Instagram and Flickr as well.
It is also important that you brand each of these profiles in the same way. A brand identity can be built by consistently using your logo for each profile picture. What you don’t want to do is create profiles that all look as though they are by different companies.
7. Get Involved
Lastly (and this links in nicely with our last point), you need to start getting involved online to help spread the word about you and your site. There are literally hundreds of ways that you could do this, but some methods would include;
Follow people within your niche on social media,
Get involved in conversations online to do with your niche,
Get involved in the comment sections of rival sites (don’t spam though),
Keep up to date on what is happening in your niche,
Join forums within your niche,
Essentially, just get involved with the community that you are aiming your site at. Ask questions, answer questions, be helpful to everyone and always remember that what you say online can (and will) reflect on you in the long term.
Go And Get Started!!!
There is no getting away from the fact that there is a lot of work to do to get your site up and running. If you are serious about starting a blog though, you will approach it in the right way.
Blogging is a fantastic industry to get involved in. It is great to, not only be involved in an online community that you are passionate about, but also to be at the heart of that community where people come for information. I am a firm believer that anyone can create a successful site online, they just need the right attitude and a good plan.
Are you thinking about stating a blog? What would you add to this plan to do in the first week of blogging? Do you have any questions that you would like to ask us? Please feel free to get in touch via the comment section below.
If you are a small offline business and you are building up your online presence with a blog and a social media campaign you will know that it isn’t easy unless you are creating and sharing content.
Creating fresh content isn’t particularly easy either especially if this is all new to you or creating digital content is not the nature of your job. I am a writer and content creator and I knew that I had to write a post today but I was struggling to think up what to write about, and I write regularly so for someone who is new to all of this it can be a real nightmare.
I looked through a few of the last posts I had written recently for numerous projects and found some inspiration for today’s post. For a new website owner you might not even have much to go back through to help inspire your creative side.
Well today I want to share with you the best and fastest ways to create content for your website and social media campaigns and that is to curate content from the web. Content curation is a newish term that describes basically what newspapers have been doing for years now.
Papers need to sell papers for their businesses to survive and to keep people buying those papers they needed to fill their pages with good content. If there were a big event happening like the tragedy of September 11th 2001 then there is a lot of content for them to fill their paper with but if it was a quiet week for news and they needed to fill out their pages they would source interesting news stories from around the country and often the world then re publish them.
There would be a specific journalist who would look for these stories then re write them to go into the paper and include all the relevant and important source credits. The people who read the paper would still keep on buying it even if a lot of the stories were sourced from other papers.
They very rarely went out and changed their daily paper for those where the stories came from, mainly because they were too numerous to mention and often small regional papers. They preferred to have all of the interesting news and stories delivered to them in one place.
When you have a website and a social media campaign you can do the same as long as you give the right source credit and play fair. For example, if you ran a local Cup Cake Bakery and you had a blog that you were building up, you could do a post that included the ’10 Best Cupcakes We Have Ever Seen’ and include 10 pictures of cakes you have seen in magazines or on the web.
You write a little blurb about the cakes then add any relevant source links to the image/cake owners etc and then you are good to go. You might see in a magazine an article with images about a cup cake bakery in Australia and decide to re write the article in your own positive way re using the images.
Again you make sure you have the right credit links in place, if you do then most people would be flattered that you have featured them or their work on your website. After all it is free advertising and exposure for them.
Some people may ask you to remove their images or stories from your site but it isn’t personal, just remove them if you are asked. It is unlikely though, if they do then they are seriously missing the big picture. As I said it is free advertising and exposure for these people.
Now you are beginning to see that you can mix up your website content with your own images and content with content you have found and enjoyed that is other people’s work. This is actually good for your social media campaign because it can do two very important things..
Your followers will not get fed up if you share content that is interesting and not just yours. If you posted on Facebook & Twitter everyday your own images with a dull ‘Like My New Cupcake Picture’ style posts people will get fed up. Sharing other interesting stuff and other people’s work shows that you are an interesting person and not just out to ‘Constantly Sell & Push Your Products’.
You can start to build a network of likeminded friends, you may not be able to meet up with or work with your fellow cupcake bakers in Australia but you can share ideas, chat work and share each other’s videos, pictures and articles. You might make friends with bakers in a neighbouring city which might lead to some work or at least a great friendship.
It is building up a network of like-minded friends that led to this bizzebee site being developed.
Curating content is big business and yes there is some work involved especially when re writing the content or adapting it into a series of fun images but there is no big thinking needed or planning required. You have access to all of the information right in front of you and usually all of the images you need just require you to download them to your computer and upload them to your site.
If you want to add more content such as a YouTube video or more images you have all of the details you need to do a search for more information. For example if you were recreating an article on the ‘10 Best Cupcake Shops In England’ and you were writing about the shop ‘Cupids Cupcake’s’ in Colchester (Fictitious example). But the article you were using as your base only had 2 images for this shop yet it had four for the rest, you could easily do a Google search for more because you have the exact keywords to find out more information and images for ‘Cupids Cupcake’s.’
Curating content is not theft if you correctly use source credits and links to the places where the images and content come from. You might not have permission to use them and if you really want to be all above board then shoot off emails to the right people asking for permission but usually it is seen as ‘fan advertisement’.
There are millions of websites online run by fans and they often write about the things they love like films & TV, books and sports, they would use images of the actors/sports people but rarely get sued because they were generating free advertising which is good for these industries. In fact when blogging by fans became huge with many websites having millions of regular visitors big companies took notice and now regularly send fan writers free stuff to review or just to say thank you.
When you curate content you are not using those images for commercial gain in its truest sense, yes you are using it for site content to help grow your business but you are not using their images as your own or recreating them within a book that you plan to sell. If you want different types of books information checkout Books First blog website.
They can ask for the content to be removed but if you have done your work properly then the chances are they will be happy that you have shared and featured their work or they will ask for the content to be removed in a friendlier manner than they would if you had stolen the work for your own use.
So if you have a website and growing a following on social media but struggling to think up or create content then why not look at the things you are reading and enjoying online then curate it into your own relevant content? It can be done while relaxing at home in the evening in front of the TV because it does require less thinking than creating your own unique content.
According to this top SEO reseller a pretty important aspect to focus on when starting a new site is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is because the vast majority of your traffic will be coming from the search engines. Now I know many people struggle with SEO when they first start out, which is why I thought I’d put together a list of some helpful SEO tips for you to use, you can visit here for SEO services. You may have already seen some answers to this question on our about as page, but if not, please do have a quick read, In seo mastermind sessions, it explains our approach and gives details of our experience, discover answers some vital questions about SEO. The purpose of any SEO activity, either national or local, must be to attract potential customers. We established Local Client Takeover because we’re passionate about local marketing. To know more about local SEO specialist courses & training, then go here. The Kick Start web design marketing agency has something that no one has. What is it? Free Google Cloud Platform hosting and https free of charge plus 1 years domain hosting for free. We are talking about huge saving. Getting the immediate attention of your prospective client is paramount in today’s competitive online world. It’s important that your business makes the very best first impression and encourages users to engage and explore your website that’s why The Web Shop work with you to research your competitors and get to know your business, honing in on what makes you unique. The first thing that potential clients will notice when they see your company on social media is the professionalism of the page, Then read about how we perfected social media marketing for lawyers.
1. Learn About SEO!!!
Yes, it may sound obvious but it is VITALLY IMPORTANT (I can’t stress that enough) that you spend time learning about how SEO works.
I get the sense (from readers, comments, emails, etc.) that many new bloggers think that they can put off learning about SEO until later. Something along the lines of “…oh, I’ll build up my site first and gain a following before I read up on SEO” is what comes up a lot. This is just the wrong way to look at it. You may as well say “…oh, I’ll jump into the ocean and splash about for a bit before I learn how to swim.” That’s not going to go well!
Traffic is essential for any site, so if your plan is to build a successful site, then SEO is one of the first things you need to learn about. Putting it off will only slow you down. Start by learning the basics about both on-page SEO and off-page SEO techniques.
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2. Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term
SEO is certainly no “quick fix” for a site and can’t instantly make a difference to your traffic. Instead you need to think of SEO as a long-term strategy for your site (which is another reason why you should learn about it sooner rather than later).
When you first start out online, your site will likely only have a handful of pages. While you can (and should) optimise those pages for the search engines, they can only make so much of an impact. Some of the best best seo company‘s have said that the real value of SEO comes when you have built a much bigger site with hundreds, if not thousands of pages, all optimised for the search engines. This creates a snowball effect – as your best pages help to raise the rank of your site, which in turn helps to attract more traffic to your other pages, which helps to raise your rank – and so on.
Always try to think “long-term” with your website. After all, the tortoise always wins the race in the end.
3. Always Write For Your Readers
As important as SEO is for a site, readers should always take priority. Again, this may sound obvious, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of just writing content purely aimed for search engines. That may help attract traffic to a site, but you want them to stay when they get there.
Search engines have gotten a lot better at spotting the fake sites who are only interested in manipulating their traffic. They wised up to them and now heavily penalize sites that abuse this practice. Instead, it is much more beneficial to write quality content for your readers and attract traffic that way. That doesn’t mean you can’t use SEO techniques, just not to overuse them and spam keywords just for the sake of it.
4. Don’t Fall For The Scammers
There are plenty of individuals and “companies” online that will happily scam you out of your money when it comes to SEO. The sad thing is that it is easy to get fooled by them when you are just starting out.
Stay well clear of ANY adverts that claim to be able to “get you to the top of Google in X days/weeks/months” or that suggest that they have “the secret to ranking highly”. In most circumstances they are simply talking out of their ass.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of legitimate SEO companies online, like https://www.seoagency.com.sg/, and the only real way of knowing is by talking with them. You see, SEO is a very specific service that has to be tailored to a specific site’s needs. That is why you should avoid doing business with any that make promises before you have even spoken to them. How do they know what business you are in, where you are from, what keywords you are aiming for? All that information is key to planning out your SEO strategy. Again, this is why you should learn about SEO, even if you plan on outsourcing the actual work.
Meet with L.A SEO Experts to learn more about what SEO is and have them help you with your website because if you understand the fundamentals of how SEO works and how a site can attract more traffic through it, then you will save yourself a lot of work in the long run.
What other SEO tips would you like to add to this list for new bloggers? What helped you out when you first started? What SEO questions do you have? Feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below and don’t forget to contact the Boston SEO Company for further information.