eBusiness Blog

Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for Entrepreneurs

Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for Entrepreneurs

How Keyword Rich Content is Directly Related to SEO for your Business

Ever wonder what SEO really is but were afraid to ask?

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. It’s the umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure your website is found by various search engine result pages (SERPs).

Google is the most widely used search engine but it’s certainly not the only one. There’s Bing, Yahoo!, AOL and others.

If your website does not appear higher up in their search rankings, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity.

If your website is not SEO friendly, you're missing out on a huge opportunityClick To Tweet

The goal of SEO is to get qualified leads and prospects to discover your business when they are searching for products or services that you offer in the search engines.

SEO isn’t Rocket Science but it can be Complicated

When it comes to SEO, a few important tactics can greatly improve your presence in the increasingly crowded online space.

If you’re attempting search optimization on your own or more wisely hiring an SEO expert, it’s important to be informed with certain SEO fundamentals before proceeding.

Search engines try to provide the most relevant results to a searcher’s query. Whether it’s an answer to a simple question like, “how many ounces are in a gallon?” to more complicated queries such as, “what is the best Chinese restaurant nearest to me?”

After reading this article, you will gain a better understanding of what you need to know before beginning an SEO campaign and what your role is if you decide to outsource this valuable marketing strategy.

Know Your Audience and What Content They’re Looking For

Why Content Marketing Plays a Big Role in SEO

First let’s look at what SEO feeds on. And that is content (text, images, videos etc) found on your website.

Since great SEO relies on how well your content is ranked,  as well as factoring in your social media and local engagements, you want to keep fluff content to a minimum and focus on quality.

While it sounds time-consuming, quality content has benefits that reach beyond SEO.

Quality website content has benefits that reach well beyond SEOClick To Tweet

Good content is useful across all marketing mediums and forces you to think through your message from a topic and keyword perspective.

The key is to ensure you are honing in on what actually matters to your audience.

It’s imperative you know who would want to buy your products or services and what they’re searching for in the search engines in order for them to find your website as the solution to their needs.

Your initial instincts may be correct, but you might be missing things that could gain additional website traffic, potential relationship opportunities, or new market segments to your business.

Therefore, proper due diligence is paramount in order to map your target audience to the keywords, topics, and phrases they’re using in and around your industry.

Create SEO-Driven Content

Writing only for search engines usually makes your content boring. Typically that strategy won’t help to  convert your visitors into customers.

It’s far better to focus on people first. Make your content as value-driven as possible and then optimize it for search engine bots without sacrificing the quality of your content.

The underlying content is extremely important. Too many people skimp on content but it’s one of the major anchors that tether you to Google’s relevancy algorithms.

The problem we see a lot of entrepreneurs run into is them creating content “they” think is perfect and sounds great to them but SEO wise, can at times be utterly worthless.

Being authentic is important but do so while factoring in the reason why you’re creating the content in the first place with marketing, branding, lead generation and of course SEO in mind.

Thin content with errors, or duplicate content and spun or spam content can really hurt you.

Instead, the content not only has to be lengthy, but it has to be well-written, keyword rich and highly engaging where readers are spending a good amount of time digesting and consuming that content.

Content Creation for SEO Success

As you create content, you’ll want to make sure each page is optimized for:

  • Page speed,
  • bot crawling,
  • responsive friendliness, and
  • overall findability.

An Initial investment in a site audit or recommendations for establishing a few initial best practices will save you much time and money in the long run.

Ideas for new content can be gathered from questions your own clients often ask or visit online forums and social media to find questions around your industry, products, and marketplace for more inspiration.

Check the competition with content ideas to ensure you’re on par with your competitors when it comes to covering topics and questions in the industry concerning your company.

Manage Your Keywords Wisely

The key to pleasing both search engines and visitors is to have quality content on our website that includes keywords your target market would be using in the search engines when looking for a solution to a problem your business can solve.

To do this, you want to run your keywords and topics through a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure the topics and keywords you have chosen have enough search volume and potential traffic to make them worthwhile.

Be sure to take into account the relevance of the search to your audience.

The narrower the topic focus, the lower the traffic typically. This is often offset by the accuracy and interest of the audience.

Do not Spam the keywords!

This also means using different connotations of the same words over and over again within your content.

Google loves NEW content. Keep in mind that websites are liquid so this is where your blog plays a major role in effective SEO.

What Search Engines Are NOT Looking For

Search engine spiders only have a certain amount of data storage. If you’re performing shady tactics or trying to trick them, chances are you’re going to hurt yourself and your business reputation in the long run.

At the end of the day, focusing on quality content that can be easily found by your target audience will benefit all of your marketing and sales efforts. Spend a lot of time on the things above and the rest will fall into place.

Ready to Hit the Top Pages of Google for Your Best Keywords? We can help!

eVision Media offers robust SEO Services.  We are experts in optimizing WordPress sites to rank higher in the search engines. Contact us today to find out more how to boost traffic and rankings with SEO strategies for your business website today.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Basic Search Engine Optimization Principles for EntrepreneursClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How to Ensure Your Website is Ideally Positioned For Your Target Market

How to Ensure Your Website is Ideally Positioned For Your Target Market

5 Key Components Your Website Requires to Attract Your Ideal Client and Get the Sales You Want

Is your website attracting the right people who are actually interested in purchasing from you?

Or is it just sitting there and not really accomplishing what you hoped it would?

Every business owner wants to get more qualified traffic to their site and then convert that traffic into sales. I mean there’d be no point in having one if that weren’t the ultimate goal!

But it seems to me a lot of business owners miss the mark in HOW to make that goal a reality.

The truth is, you’re not going to get the results you want from a purchased WordPress theme or worse, a free WIX or GoDaddy site.  Sorry, but throwing up a cheap, pre-built site just for the sake of having something up is not going to win you any Brownie (or Scout) badges in the Business Marketing category (if there is such a thing??)

Why? Because those types of free, low-cost or DIY sites are not going to do the job you want them to unless you have expertise in all of the different factors a website requires that converts visitors into buyers.

Free, low-cost/DIY websites won't get results unless you have lots of web development expertiseClick To Tweet

This is why we design and build custom websites and never touch the purchased themes or drag and drop DIY sites. They simply aren’t going to get the job done that our clients expect.

What do I mean by that?

First, it’s important to understand your website serves many purposes such as:

  • A way to showcase your business and its offerings
  • A means for constant marketing and promotion 24-hours a day
  • A platform that emphasizes your brand positioning
  • A facility for converting visitors into paying customers
  • A device for attracting your ideal clients into your sales and marketing funnels so you can continue to nurture them

And in order to accomplish all of that, a lot of planning, strategy and design needs to take place.

To have a lead-generating website, a lot of planning, strategy and design is first requiredClick To Tweet

This article provides five factors that go into building and promoting a website that converts. Each factor requires the right expertise to make your site a client-attracting, lead-generating machine:

  1. Visually-Appealing Branding

    Your visual brand is extremely important. The impression people instantly get about you when they land on your home page or landing page will greatly impact their decision to keep exploring or move on to your competitor.

    Not Just a Pretty Logo…

    Branding is not just having a pretty logo designed by you or someone on Fivrr. It’s a visual representation that shows your understanding who your ideal client is and how to position yourself in front of them in order to appeal to them.

    Identify Your Ideal Client

    The first thing to do is define who the people are that are your perfect client. You need to clearly understand what problems they have and how your product or service will be a solution for them.
    This analysis needs to be a deep exploration not only of the typical demographics such as age, gender and location, but also a psychographics study of what emotional state they are in.
    The analysis will then help you understand what specific colours, imagery, fonts and other style assets to use on your website, logo and branding so that it strongly appeals to them.
    By going through this process and designing a website with a specific purpose of positioning you favourably in front of your ideal client, you will then “speak their language” and reassure them they are in the right place.

  2. Compelling Marketing Messages

    Having a visually appealing website is just half the battle. You also need it need to be user-friendly and not cause confusion that will potentially send them away.
    But more importantly, when your ideal client lands there, the words they read and the images they see also need to appeal to them.
    This is why you need to create a powerful marketing message through excellent copywriting that speaks directly to their situation, needs, challenges and struggles.

    Let Your USP Shine

    Your unique marketing message needs to be prominent on the home page through the use of headlines, videos, testimonials, and images. This message also needs to showcase your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – why should they choose you over your competitor?
    Here’s more tips on what your home page should include.

    Your Home Page is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

    The rest of your site pages also need to stay focused with this intent. And having other means in getting your marketing message out to the masses is also a big factor to consider.

  3. Consistent Content Marketing

    Whether it’s a blog post, newsletter, podcast or YouTube show, pick at least one or two of these content marketing strategies and consistently get your message out there in front of the right people.
    Frequency is the key. But not only do you have to be consistent, you also have to create and stick to a marketing calendar where, at minimum, you should be producing informative content on a weekly basis.

    Create a Free Giveaway

    Most first-time users to a website won’t make an immediate purchase. This is why you want to get them into your newsletter database so you can continue to nurture them where they will eventually make the purchase when ready.
    This is often done using a free giveaway. Something that your ideal client would want to receive from you that would be very helpful to them.
    Do some market research to find out if a free report on a specific topic would be something they would find valuable enough to provide their name and email address for. It might be a video series that is more compelling to them.
    You need to find out what they will find irresistible and then create it.

    Create Shareable Content

    Your blog is a prime place for you to showcase your expertise and provide solutions to your ideal clients’ problems.
    By being consistent with creating and sharing new, informative content, the more you are developing the “Know, Like and Trust” factor with them. This then creates a better chance of them converting to paying clients.

  4. Implementation of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Strategies

    Once your website is built, it needs to be search engine optimized in order to be found through Google and other search engine results.
    The text, titles, descriptions and keywords all need to be in alignment with what your ideal client will be searching for when they are looking for a solution to their problem, of which your product or service will provide.
    Your website should also be submitted to various search engines and directories to ensure it is being properly indexed and found.

  5. Active Social Media Involvement

    When you know who your ideal client is, it’s easier to find them on social media and draw them to your website.
    Provide valuable, informative and inspirational posts you know they will want to receive from you to help build your brand exposure. This will compel them to want to check you out further by visiting your website.
    Be sure to use the 20% rule and sprinkle in promotional posts amongst your value-driven posts that will drive traffic back to your website.
    Also make sure your visual brand is consistent throughout all your social media accounts. That’s very important for brand continuity so your ideal client will begin to recognize you and your business just by seeing your brand visuals.

‘Cheap and Easy’ Could Be Costing You Qualified Business Leads

As you can see there are several factors involved in having a website that will actually get you results.

So before you convince yourself the cheap and DIY route is the best way to go, take into consideration how much potential business you could be losing because your primary piece of marketing, your virtual storefront if you will, is not appealing to the right people.

If you’re worried your website is not reaching its true potential, give us a call and let’s discuss how we can turn that around for you.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Here’s How to Ensure Your Website is Ideally Positioned For Your Target Market from @eVisionMediaClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How to Hire the Right Web Developer for Your Business

I was speaking to a potential client this morning, and she was expressing concern over having had somebody on her team who was a “techie geek”.

Yes, he built her a website but he didn’t have all the qualities that she needed in that kind of a resource in order to help her build and expand her business.

What I mean by that is there are a lot of people who have a vast array of skillsets in the online marketing world such as programmers, graphic designers, digital marketers, and SEO specialists.

There are a lot of different components that come into play when we talk about having a website.

The trap many people fall into is that their next door neighbor, a friend or even their son has learned how to figure out how to build a website.

They go, “yay I’ve found somebody who can build me a website!” and go for it but end up being disappointed with the results. The reason isn’t because of this particular person they hired, it’s because this person didn’t have all the skills they needed in order to put all of those different considerations into place when it comes to building a proper website.

Branding Considerations

One of those factors is branding; you have to have the right brand design. How you are visually presented to your audience is extremely important. If the wrong colours, font choices and layout display (the way you are being presented) is wrong and is turning off your ideal client, then it doesn’t matter what kind of website you have.

You are going to be turning away more clients than you are attracting.

If your website is not branded properly, you will turn away more clients than you are attractingClick To Tweet

Technical Considerations

The other part is on the technical side; the programming. There’s a big difference between somebody who has learned how to download and install a WordPress theme that’s already been built and a qualified web programmer.

A programmer understands the back-end of how a website functions and can build a proper website. Like what we do here at eVision Media where we don’t use pre-made themes.

We custom design a template or theme for our clients so they get exactly what they need and exactly what their potential clients are looking for when they come to the site and so we don’t have to work within the constraints of those prepackaged themes. Yes, they are cheaper but they are often not working on your behalf.

You are going to end up losing more money in the long run than gained. A programmer would be able to take a custom design and create a website that looks exactly like that design and understands all the functionality that’s going on behind the scenes so that if anything goes wrong they can immediately fix it.

Marketing Considerations

And then there’s the marketing component which is the copywriting and visuals. How is your site being presented? What kind of text is on there? What kinds of images are being used that are going to attract your ideal client to want to hire you?

SEO Considerations

The final part is SEO. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean that miraculously all kinds of people are going to come to it and start buying from you.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. How a website is built directly affects the search engine optimization which affects how Google and other search engines can easily find your website.

So the better your website is built, the more SEO optimized it is, the easier Google and other search engines are going to find you by being higher up in the search engine rankings. Of course there’s more to it than that. There are other SEO techniques that you should be doing regardless of how your website was built.

If your website was built properly with SEO in mind right from the beginning, you are going to be off to the races quite a bit faster than if you use one of the templated websites.

Programmers are Not Marketers and Graphic Designers

Going back to what I was talking about hiring programmer: programmers are often not a marketer nor a graphic designer.

Yes, they can technically put together your website and make it function but they have may have missed those other areas; the graphic design, the brand presentation, and the marketing.

Most programmers aren't graphic designers or marketers; hire the right people for your websiteClick To Tweet

And that is going to break your site. It’s not going to be as effective as it could be.

In a perfect world you would want to hire a team of people where there’s somebody who understands the brand design, programming and technical part of it, the copywriting, marketing and SEO. And that’s what eVision Media is.

We are a team of people who are experts in all those different areas so if you hire us to build your website for you, you are getting all of those under one roof. That’s standard operating procedure for us when we build a website for a client. The site is customized and optimized and is going to get you presented way better than if you just had those pre-built themes or had a ‘techie geek’ put it together.

I say that very fondly because we have techie geeks on our staff but I would never ask one of my programmers to design something because that’s not in their realm of skill and expertise. I’m asking somebody who doesn’t know that skill to do something and that’s the kind of thing you are wanting to have happen if you hire a programmer to build you a website.

You are hoping and anticipating them to also know graphic design, marketing and SEO and the chances are really good they don’t. You need to ask because there are some generalists who can do that and know all of those areas but there’s not that many of them out there.

Do your due diligence and when you are ready to hire somebody to build you a website make sure you are asking them the right questions, do they know all of those other areas? If they don’t, give us a call and we’ll help you out with that.

I’d love to hear what you think – Have you resisted in starting or continuing to blog? Share your response below in the comments section or if you have a question, I’d be happy to answer.

To your success,

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.
CLICK HERE: www.eVisionMedia.ca

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How Industry Jargon is Scaring Your Clients Straight to Your Competitor

How Industry Jargon is Scaring Your Clients Straight to Your Competitor

Are you speaking a different language to your prospective clients and aren’t even aware of it?

I travelled to Montreal Quebec recently and even though my stay was brief, it was not without its challenges in the communication department.

In case you’re not familiar with Canada, we have two official languages: English and French with Quebec’s official language being French. The Constitution does require Quebec to have all legislation be enacted in both French and English though.

With me living on the West Coast all my life, I was never fully aware of how prevalent the French language is throughout that province until I tried to be a tourist there.

Much to my surprise, everything was in French where we were lucky if we saw English sub-scripts on the signs. Unfortunately my grade 12 French many years ago did not do me so well on this trip and I found myself being quite frustrated at the lack of English in my very own country. Just ask the gas attendant who saw me try to fill up the car while trying to read a screen all in French!

This experience reminded me of how language and communication is so important in our business.

Industry jargon in your business can scare clients straight to your competitorClick To Tweet

Every entrepreneur and business owner must be able to communicate clearly with their clients and prospective clients or risk losing them to a competitor. Trust me, if my tank wasn’t so low I would have easily driven off to another station that catered to us English-speaking folks!

One way we often don’t realize we are having a negative effect on our followers is through the “industry jargon” that we use on our website, social media and in our blog posts.

Industry jargon is using particular words or phrases that are very common in our own industry, but not necessarily what the general public is familiar with.

In the web development and online marketing industry, this can happen quite easily where even using the term “Industry jargon” could confuse a reader! Those in our industry know what it means, but does everyone?

Industry Jargon Creates Communication Barriers

I can provide lots of my own examples where it’s easy to talk over other people’s heads using website and marketing industry terminology and acronyms that are second nature to me, but are lost on the receiving end. This is especially true when trying to explain something technical about a website.

But the problem when we fall into that trap of using industry language we’re most familiar with, is the other person is left feeling embarrassed they don’t know what a term means. Often they don’t want to risk looking silly by asking for clarification. Then a disconnect happens where they are not feeling comfortable and will look for the nearest exit.

A problem I see often is on a website when the site owner is using industry jargon to communicate what it is they do and how they can help. The big risk here is if the reader doesn’t quite understand what is being said, they are much more apt to hit the back button and find a site they find more familiar.

Using such language on a website does not make you relatable to your target market since many people will not bother to try and figure out what is being communicated. They hold no allegiance to you so are more than willing to move on.

Industry jargon doesn't show off your expertise - it just makes you un-relatableClick To Tweet

Communicate in a Language Your Audience Can Relate

The best way to ensure you’re not speaking over your ideal clients’ heads is to communicate in a language they understand.

Use words and phrases they would commonly use and be familiar with, especially when describing the problems and challenges they are facing where they are looking to you to help solve.

So take a critical look at all of your marketing materials, including your website, promotional materials and even your social media posts. Are you using any industry jargon, acronyms or slang terms that are specific to your industry but others might not understand? Now is the time to find out and adjust as needed.

During my visit to Montreal, I could give several businesses some advice in this department! Especially where we rented our car – the car’s console display was in French! The attendant ended up spending 30 minutes going through all of the settings and getting the car drivable for a non-French speaking client.

This should never have happened but to those living in Montreal, having everything in French is quite normal to them. But it sure left a poor impression on how they run their business from a client’s perspective!

So always put yourself in your customer’s shoes – is what you are presenting to them something they understand or are you speaking French to them?

Your goal is to be relatable, approachable and non-threatening to their intelligence and you have a much better chance at not losing them to a competitor.

Do you have any experiences similar to mine where you moved on in an effort to find someone that spoke your language?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

6 Steps to Content Marketing Made Easy

6 Steps to Content Marketing Made Easy

One of the challenges of running a business online is that when people connect with you online, they are strangers. 

Before they can even think about doing business with us, they need to know that we understand their problem, they can trust us, and if the solutions we offer will solve their problem.

That’s why content marketing is such a valuable technique for growing your business. It helps you boost website traffic, grow your mailing list, and increase sales.

Content marketing helps you boost website traffic, grow your mailing list, and increase sales.Click To Tweet

But what exactly is it and how do you do it?  Here are some simple steps to get started:

  1. What is Your Intention?

    Before you design any marketing campaign, the first step is to figure out what you want the prospect to do as a result of reading the content marketing piece.

    Are you trying to get people to sign up for your event? Wanting them to schedule a free consult? Trying to get people to enroll in your coaching program?

    Once you have your intention, you can design your content marketing piece to attract and deliver extreme value to your ideal client.

  2. Find Out Your Customers’ Biggest Problems.

    Sometimes we are too close to our business to accurately understand what it’s like to be in our customer’s shoes. That’s when you should directly ask prospects and customers what they need most.

    Ask them to complete a survey about what worries them the most about their business. Call 3 of your best customers and ask them what issues are keeping them from having the success they’d like.

    Read the posts of people in social media groups sharing their problems.

  3. Choose a Format.

    There are so many formats to choose from – you can write an eBook, shoot a video, do a free webinar, design a free online assessment, or host a Google hangout.

    Choose a format that you are comfortable with – that way it’s easy to jump in and regularly offer new content marketing pieces.

  4. Write an Action Plan.

    Make a list of everything you need to do to complete the project. This includes creating a title, writing the piece, editing it, and creating a landing page with an opt-in form. 

    Hint: if you want to do it stress-free, hire some help to tackle the tech, make it pretty, and get it done fast!

  5. Launch.

    Put your content marketing piece on your website. Write a post on your blog.  Create a social media graphic and share it on social media.  Place a Facebook ad to drive traffic to your freebie. Share it in social media groups online.  Do guest blog articles and mention your freebie in your byline.

    Sign up for podcast interviews and mention your freebie as a free gift to listeners. Offer your freebie as part of a free gift bundle and share with your list and others. Print a copy of your freebie and show it at your networking group, telling people how to sign up and get a copy.

    There are so many ways to share your content with others. Just remember, you have to market the free stuff as much as the paid stuff.

  6. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    People love new things – always be offering something new to your followers.  Make an editorial calendar of blueprints, checklists, white papers, special reports, and videos you would like to offer them.

    Coordinate your freebies with your sales promotional calendar. Always share value, and you’ll have a tribe of happy campers always waiting to see what incredible resources and offers you have to share.

Content marketing is a highly effective way to grow your business.  If you would like to make it part of your ongoing marketing efforts, eVision Media has a team of professionals to make it easy. We can help you choose a concept and design it from start to finish – then we’ll help you launch it. 

You just sit back and watch your sales grow.

Here’s to big success in your content marketing efforts!

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Secrets to Creating a High Converting Website Home Page

Secrets to Creating a High Converting Website Home Page

We all know first impressions are very important. That’s why, whether you are redesigning your website or building one from scratch, the home page is undoubtedly the most important page of your website.

Your website often offers a first impression to your prospective clients; make it favourable!Click To Tweet

So how do you create a design that is eye-catching, engaging, and draws visitors to take the next step with you?

Here is what to include on a truly effective homepage.

Define Your Target Market

Before you write a single word or jump into designing a snazzy logo you need to identify your target market.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you serve a certain geographic market or do you serve customers nationwide or globally?
  • What key problem do you solve for customers?
  • What age and gender are they?
  • Are they in a certain industry or profession?
  • What income bracket are they in?

Now that you have defined your target market, you can begin planning content and a design that speaks to the needs of your ideal customer.

11 Top Elements of a Highly Effective Home Page

  1. Compelling Headline

    Clearly state what you do, who you do it for, and how you help them. Keep it short and simple.

    Place this prominently near the top of your website.

  2. Welcome Video

    Visitors love video because it helps them get to know you and get a sense of what it’s like working with you.

    In the video, tell viewers your name and the results that clients get from working with you. Then introduce the challenge of why people struggle with the problem you solve.  Next share why you are successful helping people overcome that problem. Then tell visitors who you can help them now in the free offering you are sharing.

    Then call them to action to sign up for your mailing list.

  3. Free Offering

    Generate leads by featuring an opt-in where visitors can get an irresistible free offer such as a special report, audio, or video tip.

    Once someone joins your mailing list, you can send high value tips and information to prospects along with offers and calls to action.

    This helps you to earn a prospect’s business when they are ready to buy.

  4. Text Copy

    The best website copy is simple, direct, and compelling. It’s not only important to describe what you do, but also why what you do matters.

    Prospects want to know about the benefits of buying from you. Reveal why customers should buy from you and not your competition.

  5. Services or Products Highlights

    Aside from getting them into your list, the other primary goal of your website’s home page is to engage customers to dig deeper in your website and move further into your sales funnel.

    For visitors who want to learn more, add teaser text and images that link to your most popular services and product offerings to help visitors decide what they would like to do next.

  6. Social Media Icons

    If a site visitor likes your content and wants to follow you on Twitter or Facebook, they should be able to do that without having to hunt around for the icons or links.

  7. Blog Preview

    Often people want to see what information you have available for free to help with their problem. A blog helps establish your credibility as a thought leader in your industry.

    By posting topics which resonate with your market and show your knowledge, you are marketing your skills for your business, service or product too. Plus, blogs help to deepen the connection with your followers by giving them an opportunity to learn more about you.

    Having the most recent 2-3 blog articles highlighted on the home page not only helps visitors easily find your posts but also gives your website extra SEO juice.

  8. Testimonials

    Sharing words of praise builds credibility with potential customers. They want to know that your product works and creates results.

    Endorsements from satisfied customers build trust so be sure to have a testimonial feature on your home page that links to a page of them.

  9. Credibility Builders

    . Displaying the endorsement of a major media or a top national organization is a powerful reputation builder. If you have been published anywhere or have been on TV or radio, add those logos to your home page.

    For example: “featured on:”, “As seen in:” or “Member of:” located at the footer of your website can build trust and credibility.

  10. Call To Action

    Offer calls to action to visitors at every stage of their website experience. Create calls to actions to learn more about your products and services, review frequently asked questions, start a free trial, sign up, or schedule a free consultation.

  11. Contact information

    Your contact information should be visible on the site. You don’t want visitors to have to hunt for your phone number or email address if they have a question.

    If you run a shopping cart, it’s best to have a customer service phone number located in the top right corner of each page on your site. This will build trust and help with the decision-making process.

  12. Your homepage acts as the face of your company.  It welcomes visitors, builds trust, communicates value, and directs visitors to the next step.

    Hopefully these tips have been helpful to you. If your website is in need of a re-do in order to incorporate these best practices, let me know and we can discuss how your website can be redesigned for better results.

    To your success,

    About the Author, Susan Friesen

    10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

    Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Blogging or Newsletters or Both?

Blogging or Newsletters or Both?

Why adding blogging and newsletters to your content marketing mix will increase sales opportunities

Often when I work with new entrepreneurs or even seasoned business owners, a lot of confusion happens around the whole content marketing thing. Should they blog? Should they send out newsletters? Do they have to do both?

The first thing that pops into their mind is it sounds like a lot of work! So often both marketing options are dismissed under that assumption.

The second thing that creates resistance to writing blogs and/or newsletters is not knowing what to write or how to do it.

So this article first explains the benefits of blogging and sending out newsletters and then I offer a simple solution that should easily be able to fit into anyone’s marketing budget.

Why Send Newsletters?

One of the most important assets to your business is the people that are listed in your database. This is important because these people have shown an interest in your product or service and therefore are considered to be a part of your “target market.”

One of the best and easiest ways to get people listed into your database is through an online newsletter offering, often referred to as an eZine or eNewsletter.

I realize this can be a scary proposition – not only with what to write but making the commitment to write something on a regular basis.

However, the benefits of sending a regular newsletter should far outweigh these fears.

Consistently sending out a newsletter will:

  • Continually remind your followers of your existence and thus, reminding them of the product or service you offer.
  • Enhance your business brand recognition when sent through an email template that matches your brand and website’s look and feel.
  • Position you as an expert in your field, giving you credibility and trust amongst your followers.
  • Enable the ability to be forwarded to friends and associates of your followers, spreading the word about you and providing an opportunity for those to subscribe as well.
  • Make it much easier to “sell” to a person who already knows, likes and trusts you rather than to strangers first visiting your site.

Why Bother With Blogging?

Blogging, considered an extension of social media marketing, also has its benefits. It gives you an opportunity to write about news and information related to you, your business and your industry on a regular basis.

By doing this, you can be discovered by a much bigger audience. This audience is found from a variety of different avenues but primarily via Social Media and Search Engines.

Some advantages to blogging are:

  • Search engines pick up blog postings quickly and easily, giving you great SEO optimization and exposure in search results.

    Not only that but search engines will also see that you are updating your website on a regular basis, rewarding your efforts by getting your site higher up in the search results.

  • Blogs can be built within your existing website, thus driving traffic to your whole site when someone wants to read one of your articles.
  • Subscribers have the ability to subscribe to your blog, reminding them of you and your business each time you post a new article.
  • People have an opportunity to share your article to their various social media channels, giving an opportunity for your article to “go viral.”

    Other bloggers could also pick up your post and re-post it to their blog (with your permission of course) or reference to it from a post, creating a “trackback” that gives positive SEO juice to your site.

  • They are positioning you as an expert in your field, giving you credibility and trustworthiness amongst your readers.
  • Being much easier to “sell” to a person who already knows and trusts you – visitors will get this from being a faithful reader of your blog postings

So which strategy is more important than the other or should you do both?

If I had to choose one or the other, I’d opt for the blog to be more important; however, I personally feel it is best if you do both methods of marketing to get optimal results.

Here’s why:

  • Newsletters give you the opportunity to have an active database of your target market where blogs don’t.
  • A blog gives you a more economical way of frequently reaching out to your target market – whether it’s a short note or a lengthy article, you don’t have to pay out money since the blog can be fully managed by yourself.
  • Newsletters give you the opportunity to personalize and direct your message to each person on your list where blogs need to speak to a generic audience.
  • Blogs are picked up by search engines easier and can attract a more global audience where newsletters are targeted to a specific audience within your database.
  • Newsletters give you the opportunity to attract subscribers by offering a free digital give-away (such as a report, audio message, short eBook etc) which can then be followed up with an auto-responder series that can lead to sales where blogs need to entice with each posting created to generate a loyal following.

As you can see, each method has its own unique marketing qualities and should both be used to attract more clients.

One trick that I do to avoid redundant work is to include the blog post in my newsletter. Each week when I send out my newsletter, I reference the blog post and ask my followers to read the whole post on my blog.

This way, a newsletter does not require a lot of extra writing, it’s simply being strategic about the content that you write and ensuring it reaches the largest number of people through different marketing methods.

Always Provide Value

There is a cautionary note to both forms of content marketing – in order to create a faithful following, you must always think in terms of what your readers (and more importantly your ideal target market) are wanting and needing from you.

You need to give them valuable information (or entertainment) that will make them feel it is worth their while to either receive your newsletters or read your blog postings.

As soon as it isn’t worth their while, you have lost them by either removing their RSS feed from their blog reader or unsubscribing to your newsletter.

If you want further information on how to get started on either, we help many busy entrepreneurs with the writing, posting and sending blog articles and newsletters for our clients. We can help you too! Contact me for information.

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

The Biggest Reason Why Your Website Is Not Attracting Your Ideal Client

The Biggest Reason Why Your Website Is Not Attracting Your Ideal Client

Do you know what is the #1 requested headline I am asked to add to a website’s home page?

I get this request so often, and see it even more often, that I am compelled to write about it in hopes to share just how critical that main headline is.

It could make or break the effectiveness of your website.

Firstly, it’s important to keep in mind that your website is your primary marketing platform above anything else you have in place to promote your business. It’s above social media, your newsletters, the sales funnels you have in place, and even your networking efforts.

Even if you rarely update it, which is an absolute must as well, it’s tirelessly working on your behalf by telling everyone that visits it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all about your business.

Why is this so important? Many times, it’s the first impression your potential clients will get of you and your business.

This cannot be taken lightly in this highly competitive online world we live in. Even if you believe your website is quite useless and you hardly pay any attention to it, heaven forbid, the truth is your business success could hinge on how your website appeals to your ideal target market.

When a prospect visits your website, their primary objective is to find out if you can solve their problem.

When a prospect visits your website, their objective is to see if you can solve their problemClick To Tweet

If they didn’t have a problem to solve, they wouldn’t be looking for you or your services.

Their problem could be something like needing to sell their home fast, or needing to find peace in their relationship, or perhaps they are looking for a solution to make them healthy again.

Whatever that problem is, they need to know right off the bat if you can help solve it for them.

You have literally 3 seconds to convey that message to your website visitors. The primary way it is going to happen is through your main headline.

What do you think? Is the following headline going to convince anyone that their problem will be solved?

“Welcome to my website”


At best, it’s going to give them the impression you’re a friendly person. At worst, it’s going to tell them you’re only interested in what you have to say, that your website is going to be all about you.

Making their big question, “What’s in it for me?” remain a mystery.

So guess what happens? Neither scenario is going to grab their attention enough to make them go any further past that opening statement.

And this is the most common headline I see and am requested to add to a website.

Sure. you can have fabulous branding and the most well-written, compelling copy underneath that headline, but the initial opportunity to capture the interest of that visitor is lost.

Faster than you can say “back button,” they have moved on, resuming their search to find someone that will solve their problem.

Your website headline could prevent your ideal client from contacting you.Click To Tweet

So I encourage you to take a look at your website and ask yourself if your primary home page headline is grabbing enough attention to make your prospective clients read further.

Ask yourself if it is addressing their problem, telling them you know exactly what they are going through?

If you are one of those, “Welcome to my Website” headline writers, I encourage you to take a critical look at how effective it is being and really give some thought to what problems you are solving for your clients.

Write a list of not only the actual problems your ideal clients face but also what they THINK their problem is, and from there decide what is the biggest / most common problem you come across.

Next, compose a compelling headline that will get your prospective clients to read more to convince them that you are their ideal choice.

If this feels like a daunting task, some of your best spent money would be on a professional copywriter to help you with this so you can start attracting your ideal clients instead of losing them to your competitor.

The success of your business could truly depend on it.

Share your comments below about website headlines – what has worked for you and how do you measure its effectiveness?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Stop Thinking Your Website is About You

Stop Thinking Your Website is About You

When working with new entrepreneurs, I enjoy being a part of their energy; it’s a very exciting time for them. They are thrilled their vision is coming to fruition with their new logo and branding and of course, their website.

Naturally, they want to tell the world about what they do and have big hopes and dreams for being inundated with daily leads that will keep them joyfully busy.

But then I come along and burst their bubble.

Well, sort of.

While some business owners already have experience and a solid grasp of online marketing, others don’t and sometimes it’s necessary for me to share my wisdom on the finer details of creating an effective website.

Some will gratefully appreciate the advice I provide on how they can best position their business to the world while others feel they have a pretty good handle on the whole process and just want to hand over all their prepared materials. And of course once the site is live, they anticipate sitting back and waiting for the money to roll in.

Now even though this article could be about SEO, it’s actually about something just as important and very related to search engine optimization – and that’s the text or copy that’s on the website.

Your website copy is just as important as SEOClick To Tweet

Once you’ve read through, you’ll understand why website copy is extremely important and what to watch out for when wanting to appeal to your ideal target market.

As a web developer/online marketer, one of the biggest challenges I face is when the client insists on having things done their way. Understandably, they know their business and industry more than I do; however, what they aren’t quite as well versed at is the psychology behind brand positioning and how we come across to our potential clients.

First impressions are the cornerstone to business success.

So what am I getting at here? I’m talking about websites that talk all about the business or individual as if they are writing out an achievement journal. The sentences all start with “I” or “We” (or in 3rd person like “BusinessName is very capable in these areas:”)

And what is the result? A huge turn off to the reader.

Certainly, it’s a natural tendency for us to want to talk about ourselves and our offerings. But unfortunately, the message received by the reader is more like:

“Welcome to my website, I’m so excited you found it. Here’s all about me and my products and services. Please buy, I could use some sales here!”

Now you don’t want your website to have that kind of an impression, do you? How do YOU feel when you encounter websites like that?

Yes, the purpose of your website (usually) is to sell your product or service but how we do the selling is what makes or breaks its success.

Whether your business is B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer), you are still wanting to capture the interest of a real person. So really your website needs to be written to accommodate P2P (Person to Person).

Regardless if B2B or B2C, your website copy should be P2P: Person to PersonClick To Tweet

Do you enjoy listening to someone go on and on about themselves? Then why would you expect others to come to your website only to hear you go on and on about how great you are?

I hate to break it to you, but no one is interested in YOU or your business until you build up some credibility in their eyes.

What they ARE interested in is to see if what you provide can take care of their needs or solve their problems.

In order to do be able to set the stage for sales that will naturally come once they realize you are the best solution for their problem, you need to develop “know, like and trust” factor with them first.

Show them you understand what they’re going through and what challenges they face.

Paint a picture on the kinds of results they are looking for that demonstrates you know exactly what is happening and that you’re the best solution for them.

So instead of writing phrases like: “MyBusinessName can help you…” or “I am qualified in this area because…” or “We at BusinessName are experts in…”

Write phrases like this: “You need someone who…” or “What you’ll learn is…” or “How would it feel if…”

Notice how all of these phrases are about your ideal client. You’re talking to them, about them. You’re empathising with their challenges and offering a solution.

Now when you take a look at the text that’s on your website, does it do this?

Are you talking TO your ideal client as if this person was standing in front of you? Or are you talking AT them, trying to forcefully convince them to buy?

Aside from the Home, About and Products or Services pages on your website, another way you can demonstrate you understand your ideal client is through blogging and social media.

Use these inbound marketing channels to help your prospective clients learn more about you and your expertise in an organic way.

But do this through sharing your expertise, not your sales pitches.

Sales pitches are a turn-off. People don’t want to be “sold to”, they want to know they can trust you to help them.

This is especially true if your target market is women. Women are all about relationships and feeling trust and safety with the people they work with or purchase from.

So when it comes to writing text for your website, stop thinking it’s about you. It’s not at all about you.

It’s about your ideal client and what they need to hear from you in order to convince them you are the right choice. Once you have that mastered, you’re good as gold!

If writing in a compelling style that will draw in your ideal client and entice them enough to purchase is not your forte, hire a copywriter that will help do that for you. It’ll make a big difference in the success of you website!

Have you taken a close look at your website lately to see how it’s written? When looking at it from this different perspective, what did you discover?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

9 Self Publishing Do’s and Don’ts You Need to Know

9 Self Publishing Do’s and Dont’s You Need to Know
Congratulations! Your book is finally done. Years of blood, sweat and tears have finally come to this. Now comes the big question, what next? After careful research, you’ve decided that self-publishing is the route you wish to take, but unfortunately you aren’t sure exactly what all that involves. Not to worry, we are here to help. Here are some self-publishing do’s and don’t’s.

Self-publishing Do’s

  1. Do know that self-publishing is a business.
    It’s so much more than putting your company name on the cover of the book. Go into it knowing this.
    That means you have to know things such as how to get an ISBN number, the requirements to get on Amazon, how much marketing will be involved, etc. And speaking of ISBN numbers, yes you do need to get one for each of your books.If you have an ebook and a paperback, they require their own ISBN.
  2. Do have a clear goal for your book.
    Do you want to only sell books or do you want to use your book to help your speaking career or business consulting?Very important. Once you know what you hope to accomplish, you will be better equipped to do so. This is especially true with self-publishing because honestly, you control everything and get to steer the ship how you want it.

    That’s one of the best parts of having that control. You get to decide what you want to do and can make sure you work in that direction.

  3. Do figure out the formatting for your book and stick to it.
    This avoids the typesetting nightmare that happens when you change from a 6 x 9 to an 8 x 11 format or something similar.Go to the bookstore and explore your section of books (i.e., business books, romance, etc.) to determine what format would be best for your book. And, of course, review where you are going to get it printed to see if they have any recommendations.
  4. Do develop a great website to sell your book and don’t just rely on selling on Amazon.
    You want people to be able to connect with you long afterwards. This leads to more speaking and media opportunities down the road, as well as more sales for your other products or services.And don’t forget to have a way for your readers to connect, leave reviews, find you on social media, and more.
  5. Do remember the importance of marketing. With published books, you might have the first few months of their expertise, but often times that amounts to a press release sent to a targeted database and a few reviews.Create a marketing plan and work on ways to accomplish it. Know that the work starts well before the book is completed and continues on from there.

    Just a few of the marketing you should be considering are:

    • Writing a press release and sending to targeted databases;
    • getting book reviews;
    • planning a book launch both online and live;
    • doing a blog tour and blogging yourself;
    • creating a social media plan and following through with it;
    • setting up your newsletter (with a great free offer) and an auto-responder series to stay connected;
    • Facebook or Google ads;
    • securing radio or TV interviews;
    • etc.

    Now, rinse and repeat monthly and watch your sales skyrocket!

Self Publishing Don’ts

  1. Don’t look unprofessional.
    Remember your book is also your brand. From the book cover to your social media and website, you want it to represent the best you.So often readers will run from a terrific book just because it looks so unprofessionally done or they see the website and it reeks amateur.

    Don’t let that happen to you. If you need help in an area, get it. That includes editing as well.

  2. And speaking of editing, yes you want to have your book professionally edited even though Aunt Sally is really good at English and she has read it for you.I can’t emphasize this enough. When a reader sees constant errors or even a few typos, they immediately lose a little respect. And watch for common mistakes, such as putting the punctuation outside of quotes instead of inside.

    If you can’t afford to have it professionally edited, consider an edit review. Many editors will do a quick review and give you some thoughts on consistent mistakes they see.

  3. Don’t spend your money unwisely.
    Yes, it would be awesome to have 5,000 copies of your book and you’re sure you will sell that many in a few months. However, that is rarely the case.Even if you get a lower rate, chances are your garage is going to have a couple thousand of books for the next year or so. Just be smart. Not saying not to have a supply on hand, but consider your options.Also, know many places now print on demand for each order. Just find out what is right for you. Plan too for all your expenses. Yes, you want to have a marketing budget, but know what that looks like for you and budget accordingly. Don’t count on book sales for this budget.
  4. Don’t announce you self-published when it’s not necessary.
    Now that self-publishing is so recognized and accepted today, there is no need to lead with that fact in your marketing.No need to hide the fact that your book is self-published at all, but you don’t need to waste valuable space emphasizing it.

    For example the title of a press release, mentioning that it is self-published adds no value. Same with the subject link of a pitch that is going out.

Self-publishing a book is challenging, exciting, thrilling, and then downright overwhelming at times.

Be prepared for the gamut of emotions involved. And don’t fret, that is normal.

Just remember, not everyone can say they are an author and have written a book. Be proud of that on a daily basis and take it all a step at a time enjoying the journey.

Hopefully these tips will help!

About the Author, Diana Ennen

Diana Ennen

Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com offers PR and Marketing services and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching. She's the co-author of Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA.

Sign up for her PR Tips at her site and email her at diana@virtualwordpublishing.com to receive her "pitching the media audio" from her PR Success Classes.