We all know we need to pay attention to our page stats, page rankings and "optimizing" our online brands. But how many of us don't do it because we simply don't know HOW to do it?
Here are 5 quick tips you can apply yourself without feeling SEO challenged!
1. Broken Down Links
For sites on WordPress, you can install Broken Link Checker plugin. It will alert you if and when you
have broken page links. This does happen from time to time as documents, files and pages change. Worth monitoring. You can also go to BrokenLinkCheck.com and take advantage of their free link that checks if you have any issues on your website pages. It takes just a few seconds to enter your details and you receive results fairly quickly. You can choose an "occurrence" report or a more detailed report by "item" which takes a bit longer.
2. Robot Crawler Friendly
If your pages are inter linked and connected to each other logically and often, it allows for better search ability by the various search engines. Take the time to make sure that content and key words are consistent between pages and then to take you into the SEO arena; make sure content is consistent across platform such as social media, press releases, blog posts etc.
3. Search Engine Check
Many different issues can cause problems with search engines not finding your site, from broken links to improper code. To determine whether or not yours is guilty of an infraction or tow, try the free Search Engine Simulator. You simply enter your site's URL, if your text goodies show up correctly here and you can see everything, then the search engines can as well.
4. Creep Your Competition
Yes, you read that right! Take advantage of the free online tools that will allow you to see where your competitors are getting links from to THEIR website. Knowing this allows you the opportunity to see where their key traffic is coming from and gives you the information you need to apply to your site. Try Majestic SEO or the SEOMoz Open Site Explorer
5. Check Your Own Direct Links
Same as above except check your own website(s) and see where your traffic is coming from. This helps you determine what marketing initiatives are working and also gives you valuable insight into supporting blogs, posts and comments that may have driven traffic to your site that you didn't know about.
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Leah Chevallier, Business Consultant & Marketing Educator
Serial entrepreneurs have no shortage of ideas and often, they are running off with their great idea before actually getting properly prepared to run with it! Here are 5 tips for any start-up or new business owner to consider BEFORE galloping off into the successful sunset! Ready - Set - Go!
5 Business Start-Up Tips:
1. Research your business name THOROUGHLY. This means your business name at the registry office, your trade name, DBA (short for "doing business as") or your proposed operating name. Then check the trademark databases in your country to make sure the name is not already in use or possibly something too similar. But don't stop there; you will need to make sure the corresponding domain name is available as well as Twitter handle and Facebook! Yes! Your name matters, research it well and cover ALL your bases.
2. Talk to an Accountant. They can help you prepare your filing system for receipts, month end preparation as well as give you advice on tax breaks/cuts you may not have realized you could use. You will want to understand the difference between being a Sole Proprietor or being Incorporated etc. Let them help your startup launch on a clear, planned and strong base.
3. Invest in your brand from day one. Having a business name is one thing, having an identity is another. Plan on hiring a graphic designer and other professional to help you formulate your brand image, from logo concept, corporate colours to social media icons and online personality. You have only a few seconds to make a first impression, regardless if it is online, in an office or a brick and mortar store; make it count!
4. Hire professionals where and when you need them. All startups need to invest in their social media. Companies are being made and broken online every day; knowing your brand and being able to successfully take it to market and bundle it up for social media is crucial. Do not make the mistake of assuming you can do it all yourself if you are brand new to the world of social media; the learning curve will leave you in the dust of your competitors with no guarantees of ever catching up. Launch strongly, clearly and with a strategy in place.
5. Research your market and competition VERY thoroughly. Many people assume that their idea or concept is better than anything in the marketplace and blindly run to production or execution mode only to find that a competitor has already launched a bigger, better version at a much friendlier price! Knowing your competing products or businesses inside and out will always put you at a vantage point. Don't skimp on knowledge!
For entrepreneurs, the holidays can be stressful for all the right reasons and for some, all the wrong reasons! Either way there are a few things to try and keep fresh in your mind!
For some people, this time of year brings enormous sales volumes, shipping, receiving conundrums and hiring of seasonal staff, increases in theft. Yet for others, depending on the industry they are in, it is a time of massive decrease in sales volumes, manufacturing/plant closures for holidays or simply, they offer services that people are just not buying this time of year. A good example of that would be Lawn & Landscaping, Exterior House Painting, manufacturing plants overseas or Plastic Surgeons! ( I am assuming people who partake in plastic surgery will not be looking to have black eyes and puffy faces over the holidays, at least not from self inflicted procedures!)
So here are a few tips for ALL of you, regardless of what side of the fence you fall on!
1. Pay attention to your business during this time.
Create detailed reports for both positive and negative effects this season has on your business. Every bit is a potential learning! Look at your numbers from previous 1-2 years, are you on top of trends and patterns? Are you trying to offer extra services? If you are an "off season" business, perhaps you can offer an extra service this time of year like Gift Certificate bundles as gifts or even tie in with another business and offer packages together.
2. Do not let details slip!
As busy brick and mortar businesses gear up, they often fall down on absolute store basics like keeping cardboard and garbage out of sight. Be sure to receive product before or after regular stores to keep clutter and mess (and liability) to a minimum. Hire the extra staff or schedule earlier starts and overlaps to ensure it's done. Keep your floors, aisles and entrances squeaky clean!
3. Traffic speaks volumes!
If you have 5-10 times the traffic coming through your business, what are you doing to capture that beyond only targeting a sale? Get them on your email list, client database and mail out list! Have an entry ballot with gift raffle with email request, or staff with an iPad at the exit of the store offering a coupon handout for every email newsletter sign up! Use great tools like infusionsoft or mail chimp for iPad and get those customers INTO your database! Need a 1 one hours session on how to use some of these tools? Email me!
4. Downtime turning up?
If your business is quiet this time of year, take advantage of the lull to work out your marketing and social media for the year. Sit down with an expert if needed and plot out your goals and make a strategy on how to implement those goals using your social media platforms, marketing and PR efforts. Using the tools on the internet, you can set up pre-posts for the first quarter ahead of time, freeing up tons of time when you start to gear up again in Q1!
5. And the survey says….
If now is a quiet time, focus on pulling all your customer service and feedback learnings now. By contacting your current clients with surveys now, you will be way ahead of the game in terms of pulling feedback, learnings and ultimately strategizing and prepping before your busy time comes in the New Year. Any changes that need to be made can planned and executed well in advance if you start now.
6. Streamline Social Media
If you are slammed this time of year, make sure to utilize the tools on the internet and your iPhone to pre-plan your and streamline whatever you can. Social Media is an obvious one. If you have planned your SM strategy, you should have already done most of your pre-planned posts for Facebook, Twitter etc. If you haven't, get in there now and do it! If you need to, hire somebody to do it or you!
WordPress has a built in feature that lets you to prep your posts, preview them and then schedule them for a later date. The same can be done with Hootsuite (and also TweetAdder for Twitter). You can also sync your blog RSS feed to Hootsuite to be automatically tweeted. Engage your key (senior) staff to help animate the day to day "live" component where needed but setting up your posts ahead of time will save you a TON of time!
7. Book in YOU time!
Yes the hustle and bustle can drown the best of us, please remember to book in down time for you, yourself, family and friends. Let's not forget that we are #entrepreneurs partly because it is in our blood but also to support ourselves, with a hope to gain a better quality of life. Don't lose your quality of life in the chaos of Christmas! Family and friends first!
*Book your consult today, let's see how we can streamline, strategize and IMPROVE your business!
As business owners, we all know how easy it is to get sucked into the "busy" vortex. We all do it, day in and day out. We jostle between emails, social media posts, research, vendor/supplier relationship maintenance, sales calls, collection calls, invoicing, filing, remittances, paying bills.... *sigh*... the list is never-ending.
So if you are self employed and wearing all of these hats on a daily or weekly basis; how many of those tasks do you truthfully think you are doing well? That's right. Not many.
Hiring various levels of help in your business does not necessarily mean you need to break the bank. In fact, if you are careful and think through your wants vs. needs very carefully, hiring the right people will make you money.
5 Reasons Why Hiring Help Will Make You Money!
1. If you rely on #socialmedia, hiring somebody in that arena will not only free up time for you but allow you to strategize ON your content and posts more efficiently. They will help source content, plan posts per day in advance, drive traffic to your website or blog and EARN you money via traffic. It's up to you to get the conversion!
2. If you are spending time on collection calls and accounting, who is doing your sales and marketing? 65% of your time must be devoted to selling or marketing your offerings. Either hire the sales staff to market for you and you focus on building your business or hire the back end so YOU can do the sales!
3. Cloning your daily tasks into the job profile of a #VirtualAssistant will free up your time to focus on what your business needs - in real time. You can hire a VA either locally or even off-shore to save money. Keep in mind the off-shore deals usually involve you committing to a fulltime VA. Not always the right move for smaller business owners. What can a VA do for you? They can research competitors, track social media, contact suppliers, customers, vendors or potential clients. They can maintain and update databases, track your accounting and hunt for the perfect birthday gift for your star employee!
4. Bringing in an industry specific Business Consultant, even for a day, offers fresh perspective and insight to items you may be completely oblivious to. They can pick up on visual cues for things that are working (or not) within your business and they bring years of tangible, hard earned experience. Why not cut a few years off your learning curve and pick their brain for a day or two? In the end 20 years of experience will ultimately save you thousands in potential mistakes, oversights or under performance!
5. Last but not least, let's face it. As business owners, there is no possible way that we can know everything we need to about our industry or niche. Every entrepreneur has skills they excel at and others.... not so much! Mine is accounting, hate it. So it makes sense that rather than me bang my head against a wall and stumble along begrudgingly, my time is much better spent on my production projects, product design, sourcing and working with my clients. If I am out making money on my projects while the book-keeper and accountant take care of details; then we are all excelling in our correct domains. I am making money and they are greasing the wheels that keep me moving forward!
So figure out what your skill sets are; determine just as importantly what they are NOT and hire appropriately. Your time will better spent on areas that earn income, move you forward and grow your business!
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"Leah, what are some simple organizational tips you can offer to help get out from the awful pile of papers I always seem to have on my desk?" ~Janet, Store Owner, ON, Canada
COLOR CODING FOR YOUR "IN BOX":
Don't have time to file paperwork every day? Color code and "fast track" your in pile. Have a few different colors of post it tags; matching to things like HR/EMPLOYEES, ACCOUNTING, INVOICES (A/R), INVOICES A/P).. so maybe red for A/P (Accounts Payable).
So your staff expense the odd paid out receipt from the till for postage, UPS drivers, Paper towels etc.. most computer/till software programs print out a receipt at the time of the cash payout. Take your actual product/expense receipt and your till pay out copy and staple them together BACK TO BACK. Scan them.
If you have a SCANSNAP scanner, it scans 2 sides at the same time, your staff can scan in your paid out receipts for you or your accountant, this way you have the till paid out copy with reason code and details of the paid out if there are any questions).
SAVVY STAPLING, SCANNING & STORAGE!
One of my filing pet peeves might seem trivial, but when you are reconciling daily reports for 7 retail stores, you will get organized FAST!
Leah Chevallier, serial entrepreneur in the Juvenile Industry sharing insight, success and 18 years of award winning retail experience! Took $2000 Micro-credit loan and turned it into $30 million!