SEO 2017: A Beginners Guide

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key factor in driving traffic to your website. Incorporating the newest SEO techniques will make your web page appear higher in the search results of Google or Bing. Unique, high-quality content with a reasonable number of keywords is still the foundation of SEO. The frequency of new content keeps your website fresh and appealing. Guest posting services can help establish a routine for publishing new content. Sharing the responsibility for content creation with someone else will give you more time to interact with your customers.

The technical back-end factors can heavily influence search engines. An XML sitemap tells search engines how to index your site. Faster is better. A web page that loads slowly or has broken links will push your site down in the search results. The newest Google Penguin algorithm looks for human-friendly websites. Penguin gives you points for high quality and relevant data. It takes away points for sites using keyword stuffing and link buying. Pleasing Penguin will not only improve your search ranking, but it will also give your visitors a better experience.

The goal of “off-page” SEO is to appeal to the majority of Internet users are active on social media. Sharing images, videos, and interesting graphics draw traffic to your site. More importantly, visual content is more likely to be shared with other users on Facebook and Twitter. One study found that the engagement rate for visual content is 600 times the engagement rate of text-only information. See the infographic below for more information.

Image credit: Rankz

Best POS Systems For Your Business

Photo credit: nosheep

Business is complicated. Make it easier by giving your business the gift of a point of sale system. What’s a POS system? According to Wikipedia  a ‘retail point of sale system typically includes a cash register (which in recent times comprises a computer, monitor, cash drawer, receipt printer, customer display and a barcode scanner) and the majority of retail POS systems also include a debit/credit card reader’.

A POS system is a multi-purpose tool that helps you to organize and run your business like a well-oiled machine. While it does cost to use the many services that a point of sale system for businesses can provide, the benefits profoundly outweigh the costs. Gathering information and keeping track of inventory are only a few of the benefits that a good POS system can bring to the table.

Another benefit of a POS system is its ability to accept and process different kinds of payment methods. EMV chip cards and NFC payments are generally new technology, and equipping your business to process these payments is a good way to stay with the times. Many POS systems like the Clover POS system can handle the many new methods of payment that are available to consumers today.

Photo credit: Pexels

The best part of having a POS system for businesses is the ability to build a relationship with your customers; a relationship based on familiarity and a sense of togetherness. Using the information gathered by your POS system, your employees can be more personable with your customers by making sure to have that one item that they wanted right there ready for them when they walk into the store.

Having the versatility of accepting more than the traditional forms of payment, and the utility of tracking customer information and inventory, are two big reasons that a business should invest in a POS system. Being able to seamlessly use information about your customers to cater your service to their needs is a surefire way to get them to make your business a part of their daily lives.

Get Smarter, Not Bigger With Marketing

The online world is what allows most people to start a business at home. They have skills to sell or a product they can produce from home and the internet is what allows them to get customers without the need for a storefront or an office full of underlings. But big businesses have the advantage in the online world. They have bigger marketing budgets, which means where you can’t outspend them, you’re going to have to out-think them instead.

The website

When it comes to standing apart from competitors and others in the industry, the website is where you have the most potential. You’re in control of the visual branding, the content, the layout and much more besides. But you need to know the fundamentals of good site design to make sure that you’re making the best use out of all of them. For instance, what are the goals of the site? Is it an ecommerce page where people can click and order goods or services directly? Is it meant to drive them to get in contact with you? Those are the focuses you need to cut out the superfluous content. You don’t need as much spiel on what your business is all about if people can buy products directly, for instance. You just need content that directs them to those products and demonstrates the value of them above all else. Your goals should speak to your niche on the market. That’s how you differentiate yourself.

Search engines

There are two ways to compete on search engines with your competitors. And again, having a niche to your business is going to bolster your chances of success with either. In terms of search engine optimization, the more specific you can make your content and the keywords you use, the better. The same goes with pay-per-click advertising, but you can also use tools like those mentioned on Clicteq to make sure a little more room is made for your bids. For instance, you could make your ads more active when there’s less competition. You can also use tools that measure and modify your campaigns as you go on, cutting out the keywords and links that don’t perform as well as others. You want to make sure your money is being spent on only the most effective adverts.

Social media

As a small business, your personal connection to customers plays a much more important role than it does for big brands. Start by finding your own online persona and having a deep enough insight into your community’s wants to curate content that appeals all the better to them by peeking into who they follow and what they like. One of the methods put forward by Small Business Trends is getting some social media management tools to do the heavy lifting for you, too. You don’t want to spend all day dipping in and out of accounts to share a piece of content you’ve made. Instead, spend a good half-hour to an hour of the day scheduling the majority of your messages. You want to stay active in terms of replying and retweeting, but that takes nowhere near as much time as having to pause your work to post new content.

A good online marketing strategy takes time, there’s no doubt about that. When you get the wheels up and running in the business, you might think that you should spend more time making money, not trying to bring in more customers. When that’s the case, remember that there are plenty of services willing to help you with that.

Email Marketing Strategy Challenges of the Modern Marketer

There is no magical formula you can start using, and continue to use, when it comes to marketing. To guarantee success, modern marketers need to stay on the ball as the marketing world changes, watching emerging patterns that will turn into effective marketing techniques.

Email marketing is one of the marketing channels that are most difficult to master. A survey completed by marketers showed that their number one strategic challenge was increasing engagement rates. This infographic shows that if you are struggling in this area, then a good tip is to use segmentation and personalization to achieve higher rates of engagement.

Content creation, or more specifically, creating relevant content for the target audience, is a key driver in engagement rates and should enable you to achieve better results. Survey results also showed that acquiring new customers was also a big challenge for them.

Did you know that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than using Facebook or Twitter? That’s a pretty astonishing statistic, so if you are struggling with customer acquisition, then you know what area to dedicate your efforts to.

Email Marketing Strategy Challenges of the Modern Marketer - Infographic by Campaign Monitor

Source: Email Marketing Strategy Challenges of the Modern Marketer by Campaign Monitor

The Do’s And Don’ts Of The Perfect Website – When You Work For Yourself

When you work for yourself, you have to be skilled in a number of different areas. Big companies have specific people to manage their accounts, HR and marketing issues. If you are running a startup, or if you work on a freelance basis, you have to be your own boss AND fill all these roles as well. It can be pretty challenging, especially if you are starting out from scratch. But with the right kind of knowledge behind you, you can be sure to pull it off. Take marketing, for example. You might be a successful writer, photographer or consultant – but if no-one knows about you, you are not going to get any business or make any money. Most marketing goes on online these days, so having a strong online presence is crucial to your success. Here are some of the ways you can use your website to your advantage and you can start attracting clients to your business.

The overall ‘look’ of your website

First impressions count; especially in business. A client will figure out whether they want to work with you or not in the first few minutes of looking at your website. Two things are important here: functionality and design. If your website doesn’t have a clear heading, navigation bar and contact form, potential customers are simply not going to be interested. After all, no one has time to spend ages trying to figure out how to use a website – your service should work for them, not the other way around. Secondly, pay attention to the colors, fonts and photos used on your website. If your business is, for example, a bespoke marketing service, the whole thing should look classy, expensive and sleek. A multicolored website with six different types of font is not going to tell your customer that you will be able to create something modern and timeless for them. If you are in any doubt, contact a Website Design Agency who will help you create a website that truly represents your brand.

The right amount of information

When you are freelance, you often work quite closely with your clients – often on a one to one basis. In order for people to want to work with you in the first place, they will need to know a bit about you. An ‘about me’ page is designed to give an insight into your personality for the potential client, so they will know if they want to work alongside you. However, be careful not to overdo it. After all, they don’t need your life story. A paragraph or so about your professional background, and maybe some personal interests to (to lighten the mood) should suffice. Include a professional picture too – everyone likes to put a face to a name.

Portfolio

In order to trust you, a client will first want to see some examples of your previous work. If you are charging a lot of money for your service, it is only right that they know they can put their faith in you. Build your portfolio carefully – avoid anything of little worth, or any material that is over five years old (unless it is groundbreaking). You can add different types of plug-ins to your website in order to display your previous work effectively.

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