eBusiness Blog

Blog Content SEO to Boost Search Result Rankings

Want to make sure you get the best Google rankings possible for your blog articles? Then you need to be more strategic with what you’re writing, who you’re writing for and how often you’re writing.

Watch today’s eTip as I explain what Google and the other search engines are looking for in respect to your blog articles and how to get optimal search engine rankings for your efforts:


Blog article writing is extremely important for many reasons. It is a key component to your content marketing strategy in efforts to drive traffic back to your website.

You want to make sure people find your blog articles and one way that can happen is ensuring the search engines are displaying your articles in the search results when people are searching for your blog article topic.

Consistency and Frequency are Key to Blog SEO Success

Writing a new blog article only once every three months is not going to earn you any Brownie points.

Once a week is far better and even more often that that if possible. The reason being, Google will notice that your website is being updated frequently and will reward your search rankings as a result.

Being consistent is not necessarily related to SEO but it is related to your readers knowing they can rely on you posting a new article in a consistent manner, enhancing the strength of your followers.

Write for Your Audience

Speaking of followers, this is another key component to blog writing. You want to make sure you are writing for the people you want to attract to your website.

These are the people who are most likely to hire or buy from you – your ideal target market – so writing articles they will find of value is paramount.

When you pick a blog topic, ensure it’s on a subject your target audience is going to be interested in. Think about what they might typing in the search engines to find answers about. What will they find of value or entertaining and that’s what you want to write about?

Include SEO Keywords

When writing your post, make sure you have included keywords your target market would most likely type in the search engines when finding information that’s related to your article.

But don’t keyword stuff! (Watch this previous eTip about black hat SEO here.)

Using good keywords in the HTML Meta tags are also good SEO practices.

With each article you write, ensure your keyword is included in the title tag and description tag along with 3-4 mentions of it throughout the body of your piece.

Make the title tag captivating so it pulls your audience in and compels them to read your article.

Use a Hero Image

Including a large hero image at the top of your article is also important. This will capture your reader’s attention and be more apt to compel them to keep reading.

Your image can also be SEO optimized by naming the image file using your keyword. The keyword phrase should also be included in the image ALT tag.

The hero image is also very effective in grabbing attention on social media.

Too Busy to Write? Help is Here

There are many SEO components to a blog article that will get you the best opportunity to showcase your business and bring traffic back to your website. If this task seems too overwhelming for you, this is something we do for our clients on a daily basis.

We write articles for busy entrepreneurs and business owners with SEO and brand messaging in mind. We’ll add those articles to your blog and even send them out as newsletters too.

This is one of our specialties so if you need any help, let me know!

If you have any questions about SEO, feel free to leave a message in the comment section below and I’d be happy to answer. Also, if you’re looking for a qualified SEO specialist who can boost your search engine rankings, give us a call to discuss.

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. New to Social Media and online marketing or find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

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

The Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEOClick 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".

12 WordPress SEO Hacks to Boost Your Business Website Traffic

12 WordPress SEO Hacks to Boost your Traffic

We all want websites that are search-engine friendly.  But sometimes when you are busy it’s easy to publish a new blog post and be off to the next thing on your to do list.

Over time, this can really hurt your SEO efforts.  That’s why I’ve put together this short hit list of things you can do to boost your WordPress SEO.

Not having an SEO friendly website will hurt your site trafficClick To Tweet

Schedule these tasks in your calendar to make your blog traffic soar!

  1. Post New Stuff Regularly

    Google has a bias towards fresh content. Part of Google’s algorithm looks at how new the content is and gives preference to more recent results. So publishing original content on a regular basis is important.
    Also size matters when it comes to content. Generally longer content ranks higher than shorter content.  So strive to make your post at least 500 words.

  2. Create a Keywords List

    If SEO is a priority, then you’ll want to develop a keyword list.  This is basically a list of keywords and phrases that describes your products and services. These keywords should include words from search terms that are more likely to be used to find your offerings online.
    Google has some incredible tools to make keyword research easy including Google Search, Google Suggest, Google Instant and Google Wonder Wheel.
    Hint: if you want a really targeted keyword list, hire an SEO expert

  3. Install an SEO Plugin

    This will allow you to set keyword-rich custom titles and Meta descriptions for your posts for search engines.
    A couple of popular SEO plug-ins to consider are All in One SEO Pack and WordPress SEO by Yoast.
    Again, this is something your web designer or an SEO professional can easily install for you.

  4. Hand Submit to Search Engines

    What good is a site if no one can find it? That’s why getting listed in Google and the other popular search engines and directories is one of the most effective ways of getting free targeted traffic to your website.
    You have probably seen lots of automated submission services where you pay a small fee for them to submit your site to hundreds of search engines. These services not only won’t help – they can actually hurt you.
    Almost all of these free directories never send an actual visitor to your website and getting links from them can hurt your ability to rank in the real search engines like Google and Bing.
    The best practice is to manually submit your site to search engines yourself.  WordPress makes this easy once you set up an account in Google, Bing and Yandex Webmaster Tools.
    If unsure, just ask your webmaster or SEO Specialist to set up these accounts.

  5. Add Tags to your Posts

    WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines.  The tags features is one of those SEO friendly features you should take advantage of.
    Be sure to add relevant keyword-rich tags to every post you publish.

  6. Leave Comments on Other Blogs

    Start linking more to other people’s posts on their blogs and encourage them to link back to you.
    One search engine factor that Google considers is backlinking.  A website that has more backlinks is considered more of an authority site and gets higher rankings.

  7. Block Spam Comments

    When people leave comments on your blog, it counts as content to Google.  So if you have a website about DIY crafts and someone leaves 5 comments about “cheap enhancement pills’ that ruins your keyword relevancy and hurts your rankings.
    So blocking spam comments from posting to your blog will improve your SEO – as well as make your real blog readers happy.

  8. Internal Linking

    One easy way to get more traffic is to add internal links to your blog posts.
    For example if you have an article on Overcoming Your Resistance to Blog Writing, then at the bottom of that article you can post links to “Other Related Articles You May Enjoy”: 4 Content Marketing Trends for Business Owners in 2017 and other related articles. WordPress SEO by Yoast does this automatically for you as you can see at the bottom of this post.

  9. Use Image Alt Tags

    For each image you use in your post, ensure you add the Alt tag to help them rank better in image searches. This is another excellent place to put relevant keywords.
    Google has an image search function that works in pretty much the exact same way as the webpage search with keywords and relevance.  So adding Alt tags helps Google find and include your images when someone does an image search.

  10. Tweak Blog Post Titles

    If you quickly wrote titles to your blog posts before, take time to review them first before publishing.
    Your  blog post titles are vitally important to your SEO rankings so compare the keywords used to your keyword list and make your blog titles more keyword rich.

  11. Add Social Media Sharing Buttons 

    When Google sees a blog article is getting a lot of posts and shares on social media, it boosts the ranking of that blog post.

    So making it easy for readers to share your posts helps others Tweet and share your great content!

  12. Update Your Theme

    Not all WordPress themes are SEO Friendly and the free WordPress themes may be hurting your search engine rankings because of this.
    Having a premium WordPress theme ensures your content will be indexed by the search engines, since the developers have taken special time to optimize every aspect in terms of both security and SEO.
    It’s smart to make sure your theme programming isn’t bloated with inefficient code that slows down page load times. We find this a lot with purchased themes and that’s why we only provide custom designed and built WordPress themes for our clients.

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

    eVision Media offers WordPress 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 WordPress (and other sites!) today.

    To your success,

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

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    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".

Why ‘Perfectionist’ Should Not Be A Dirty Word In Business

Why ‘Perfectionist’ Should Not Be A Dirty Word In Business

Ways Your Website Should Be Perfect to Avoid Losing Sales

“I can see I’m dealing with a perfectionist here.”

This is what a client said to me the other day when I pointed out a glaring error on her website that we had just launched for her, appearing after her assistant made an update.

“Well of course!” I wanted to exclaim back, “aren’t you with your business?”

Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your business? You should be!Click To Tweet

To me, being a perfectionist is a must when it comes to business success. If you’re not super picky about how you are being perceived by others and the quality of work you produce, then your business results will more than likely suffer.

Let’s take your website as an example.

Forget what the “gurus” tell you when they say to have at least something up, that it can always be updated later… at least have an online presence even if not perfect.

I argue your website should be perfect. It needs to perfectly match your:

  1. Brand positioning
  2. Ideal clients’ needs

If it isn’t perfect in these two areas, then you are losing sales.

Keep reading to find out what I mean by that and then ask yourself what improvements you need to make to help increase your website conversions.

Here’s 2 areas where your website needs to be perfect in order to avoid losing sales:

1.   Brand Positioning

Your brand is how you are perceived by those that are in contact with you on a daily basis, whether directly or indirectly. It’s the essence of who you are and what you stand for.

On your website, the brand positioning comes through in its look and feel (design) as well as in the text and imagery (content) throughout the site.

When a prospective client comes to your site, what is their first impression? What do they immediately know about you, your business and your products or services?

Are they getting an immediate sense you are a professional they can trust with their hard-earned money?

Not if your brand positioning is not done correctly.

Here’s a couple of examples:

  • If the design of your site looks home-made or a standard/typical/cheap WordPress theme, the statement you are making to your prospective client is something like, “I’m too cheap (or broke) to invest properly in a nice website.”
    And what does that prospective client think? “This person is either just starting out or is not really serious about their business.” And when that happens, the lower quality presentation tells them your prices should be low.
    Now you might be thinking this is a good thing where you’re appearing affordable, but think again! Unless you are purposely targeting the “cheap” crowd, you don’t want to be wasting your time on those that either can’t afford what you have to offer or want to barter a better deal because they don’t value what you provide.
  • If your website has spelling / grammar errors, is poorly written, has broken hyperlinks or images that are either the wrong size or unsuitable, the message your prospective client is going to have is, “This person is clearly not very careful about their work. “ And you’ve lost them. End of story.
    The same applies to my initial client example. Even when you have gone through the time and expense of having a professionally designed and built website, ensure that it continues to look professional once you or your team starts going in and making updates. If things are added that are not congruent with your brand, it will reflect negatively with your ideal client when they come to visit your site.

Bottom line: If your website is falling short of perfection in relaying your brand positioning, it’s time to make a proper investment in it and have one professionally designed and built for you.

You will be amazed at how quickly new prospective clients will start to contact you once they trust you are a committed professional to your craft. And the only way they are going to get this assumption about you is through how your website is presented to them.

2.   Ideal Clients’ Needs

Another area that needs careful consideration, especially when it comes to your website, is ensuring it’s appealing to the right people.

Do you know who your ideal client is?  Do you even know what makes up an ideal client?

If not, now is the time to find out!

If the design, text and imagery on your website don’t match the expectations of your ideal target market, then you are missing the mark, and they are flocking over to your competitor’s websites. Guaranteed.

Identifying the qualities that make up your ideal target market should be one of the very first things you do when coming up with your business and marketing plan:

  • Who do you want to best work with?
  • What is their gender? Age? Income bracket?
  • Where are they geographically located?
  • What industry are they typically in?
  • What are they passionate about?

This is an example of areas that need to be worked out so you know how to appeal to the right people on your website. You need to speak their language and identify with them through your website presentation.

And once you go through this process, then you need to REALLY understand DEEPLY what their pain points are. What problem is your product or service going to solve for them? What struggles are they going through to help them understand you get them?

If your ideal client was a 20-something millennial that loves the outdoors and is currently attending college and you are selling the perfect school app that would save them a tonne of time and effort, then you want to make sure your website is immediately telling them you have the perfect solution for their needs.

If you are a 40-something tech geek that hasn’t seen past your computer monitor in months and the website you built appeals very much to you, then the odds are really good you are missing your target by a mile.

Bottom line: Your website needs to appeal to  your ideal target market, not you! The design, the imagery, and the text all needs to speak the same language as they and address the specific problems they are experiencing.

Now I could probably list several other areas where I’d insist on perfection when it comes to your business, but we’ll save that for another article.

For now, take a look at your website and ask yourself, is it perfectly reflecting you, your business, and your products or services? Is it perfectly appealing to your ideal client and market? Is it error free so you are perfectly positioned as a professional in your industry?

If not, then let’s talk and see how things can be adjusted to get your website appealing to the right people so your business can grow to where you want it to.

Have you been accused of being a perfectionist in your business? If so, good for you! Don’t be insulted if someone thinks you are striving for perfection in what you do.

However, if that perfectionism is preventing you from getting anything done, that’s not good either! I’m talking about having pride of ownership in your business so you are perfectly positioned in front of your ideal target market, not allowing perfectionism to prevent you from taking the next step forward.

Share below when a client has told you about your perfectionism, it’s time for you to brag about it instead of thinking it’s a dirty word!

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".

7 Easy Steps to SEO Optimize Your Blog

7 Easy Steps to SEO Optimize Your Blog I’m sure you’ve heard by now that blogging is a proven form of content marketing that drives traffic to your website. It’s true.  Writing juicy articles that answer your prospects’ biggest questions and provides value is a smart way to attract your ideal target market.

Writing articles that provide value is a smart way to attract your ideal target marketClick To Tweet

But writing the article is only half the battle. 

The key is to optimize your blog post so it’s easily found in the search engines.  And relax, you don’t need to be a techie genius to do it.

Here’s a simple guide to SEO optimize your website blog posts:

  1. Start by finding highly searched upon topics to write about. Google AdWords™ is the ultimate tool for helping you find high-traffic keyword phrases.  Not only does it ensure you are writing about topics that thousands of people want to know about, but it also guarantees you’ll get lots of traffic to it too!   Think about it.  How many times have you typed “how to _____” in a search engine?  You find the top article that comes up in Google and read it, right? So your goal is to have YOUR article be the one at the top when someone else does a similar search for your area of expertise.
  2. Write a blog title that includes this keyword phrase. When you write your blog title, it’s one of the most important parts to your piece. You want to strike a balance of something that stirs curiosity and also includes your keyword phrase.   Ultimately, it should appeal to both readers and search engines so give this some extra time and thought to get the most out of your piece.
  3. Use your keyword phrase several times in key places in your article. These places include:
    • The first paragraph,
    • Keyword-rich hyperlinks,
    • Image ALT tags,
    • Image file names using the keyword phrase,
    • Subtitles in the article using H2, H3, H4 header tags,
    • The last paragraph of the article, and
    • A concluding article sentence.
  4. Optimize your Title, Description, and Keyword meta tags. If you are using WordPress, there are plugins available such as YOAST SEO that give you the ability to quickly add these tags. Be sure to get familiar with using YOAST SEO properly so you can master the art of SEO optimizing your articles.
  5. At the end of your article, list related articles of interest. You could say “If you enjoyed this article, here are some related articles you may enjoy.” And list their hyperlinked titles. We have DISQUS for comments installed on our blog that does this for us automatically.   Doing this gives you the opportunity to link to other related articles that are also related to similar keywords. This creates internal cross links between your blog articles that will boost your overall blog SEO.
  6. Post teasers and links to your blog articles on all your social media platforms. This will give you incoming links to boost the popularity of your website with the search engines.   If you keep a checklist handy when you publish a new blog (we use an Excel spreadsheet), it makes it easy to get into the habit of ensuring your post is being promoted to all of the available channels.
  7. Be consistent. All of these tips can be very effective at driving SEO traffic to your website but ONLY if you post new articles on a regular basis. Search engines will quickly think your website has been abandoned if you haven’t posted anything new to it for a while.

If SEO makes you dizzy, just know that at eVision Media, we have a team of professionals that can help optimize your blog, drive traffic, and boost engagement by promoting your content on your blog. I recommend Yeah! Local for all your SEO needs. They will help you and show you the results you want. Happy blog posting! 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".

7 Tips to Protect Your Website from Hackers

Website Security: 7 Tips to Protect Your Website from Hackers

We have all heard in the headlines about major companies like Chase, Target, and Home Depot having data breaches with Ashley Madison being one of the latest high-profile victims.

The threat to small businesses on experiencing attacks by hackers is very real and not something to ignore.  In fact, according to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association over 44% of small businesses have had their systems hacked.

The Dangers of Not Protecting your Systems

It’s easy for a small business owner and entrepreneurs to say “Oh it won’t happen to me.”  Or because they are too busy with the day-to-day operations of the business not to make website security a top priority.

But the dangers of doing nothing are alarming.  Hackers can:

  • Break into your database and steal customer information.
  • Deface your website and put inappropriate pictures or text on it.
  • Submit malicious code through forms to deliver viruses and other harmful code to visitors who enter your site.
  • Log into your email server to send spam through your server.

As a business owner, it’s important to understand these dangers and know what needs to be in place in order to minimalize your risk of being compromised.

How To Protect You And Your Website from Hackers

  1. Keep your Website Platforms and Scripts Updated. If you use a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla etc., it’s important to install updates as they become available.
    The makers of these platforms often find and fix security holes that will leave your website vulnerable to attack.
    Wordpress is especially vulnerable due to the extent of its popularity.
    Same applies for shopping cart systems or plugins and scripts that facilitate extra functionality on your site.
  2. Be Careful with User Uploads.  While allowing users to upload an avatar, picture, or other file to a website or form can add interactivity, it also allows a way for malicious scripts to be uploaded to your server.
    Ensure security measures are in place that check submitted items from users to check if they are safe before uploading them to your website server.
  3. Protect Your Web Forms.  It is possible for hackers to fill out a contact form and place malicious code into the name or email fields.
    Having a tech person review your website can protect you from leaving this opportunity open to hackers.
  4. Set Up Strong Passwords.  While many people are learning the importance of strong passwords, some still leave their usernames at ‘admin’ or set simple passwords like ‘password123’ or use the same password for every online account they have.
    Passwords like first names, pet names, and simple words are easy to guess. There are algorithms hackers can use to easily figure out your user ID and/or password when either are very simple.
    Adding numbers, symbols, and capital letters to a password makes it harder to expose.  Plus, many password management programs can help you generate a random hard-to-guess password.
    This may seem inconvenient to have to memorize a more complex password but doing this to avoid being hacked is very much worth the effort.
  5. Lock Down Your Directory and File Permissions. It’s important to have someone with technical expertise review your hosting server directories to make sure the read, write, and execute permissions are set in a way that allows for maximum security.
    Look at folders, directories and individual files to review their settings to ensure your website is as secure as possible from harmful attacks.
  6. Set Up A Generic Website Error Page. If you have a portion of your website where users need to log in with a username and password, be careful what information you share on the error page.
    For instance if someone is trying to log in and gives the wrong username, it’s better to have a generic error message that says “wrong username and password combination”. This way, you’re not providing would-be hackers any clues to guessing the login credentials.
    Having the ability to lock a user from trying to log in after too many failed attempts can protect your website as well.
  7. Use A SSL Certificate. If your website has a shopping cart system, a membership component, or collects sensitive personal data via online forms, it’s always wise to get a SSL certificate installed.
    A SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate will protect the data that is being submitted into your website by encrypting it as it travels from the web browser to your web server, making it much harder for hackers to intercept and malign.
    Not only does an SSL protect your data but it also invokes a sense of security for your customers when they go to purchase. You will probably lose sales if you don’t have an SSL installed.
    Additionally, Google gives a small SEO ranking benefit to websites with SSLs installed.

Make a Point to Review Your Website Security Today

If you feel uncomfortable doing a security review yourself, hire a “techie” to do it for you.

Plus, when you are hiring a web developer, making sure they are aware of security issues and take a proactive approach to protecting you is important. Ensure they give your website the regular security updates it needs can keep your business website safe.

Has your website ever been hacked?

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".

Website Neglect: How To Go From BUST to BOOM

Website Neglect: How To Go From BUST to BOOM

7 Vital Website Updates To Achieve Better Business Success

How long has it been since your website’s home page has been updated with fresh new text and images?

How about your blog? Has it been months? Years even since your last entry? Do you even have a blog?

What about the last time you sent out a newsletter to your list?

If you now have a strong urge to click the delete button due to the sudden guilt pangs that just hit you, hold off on that temptation… instead keep reading to find out why those questions are so important…

Your Website Doesn’t Have To Be A BUST

Over the years I have spoken to a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners who, for one reason or another, have pretty much abandoned their website. Well, maybe abandoned is too strong of a word, let’s say they’ve neglected it badly…

Either they lost contact with their original web developer, don’t have time to deal with it, or simply don’t know that it needs to be looked after in the first place! Some even have told me they’ve given up on the whole thing; it’s been a bust because they hardly got any business from it.

If that at all describes you, don’t abandon ship! read this article instead…

Before diving into the 7 key website considerations, it’s important to remember that your website is NOT a brochure.

It was never meant to be built and forgotten about. Not if you expected it to get you an ongoing and sustainable influx of clients and new business.

So before you neglect your website any further and end up losing business to your competition, here’s seven reasons why it’s vitally important to keep your website updated plus what you can do now to get it back on track:

  1. Your website is your most primary marketing piece for your business. Period. This is due to it being accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It never takes a holiday and is never not seen by anyone who visits it.
    Ask yourself what impression others are getting if they visited your site right now? Sometimes this requires a very objective look because you may be too close to it to truly understand that impression.
    Does it look old and outdated? Are the images used not a very good representation of your business any longer?
    You want your website to give an accurate and favourable impression to not only your prospective clients, but also to your current clients so they can trust and believe that your business is in good shape.
    The bottom line is that for the majority of you, your website IS your brick and mortar building for your target market to get an insight into who you are and what you’re about. Ask yourself this, would you ever not spruce up, modernize and refresh a real brick and mortar storefront?

  2. Google and other search engines will only love your site if there’s something new to index.  If it detects that nothing has changed since the last time it indexed your website, then it will downgrade it in the search results.
    This is a critical point – you don’t want to get poor search result rankings or your prospective clients won’t be able to find you when they do a search for someone in your industry.
    Along the same line, search engines are only going to display your website in the search results if you have the right keywords placed within its text.
    Don’t ignore website SEO and at least occasionally change your keywords to match what your ideal client is looking for is very valuable so they will find your site easier when searching for products or services that match their needs.

    You will in fact be penalized by Google for having stale content. Remember this one important thing: Google loves change!

  3. Prospective clients can tell if a site has been left stranded and will immediately get the impression you are either out of business or are not attentive enough to bother updating it.
    Either way, they have formed a negative impression on you and the credibility of your business.
    No one wants to do business with a failing company and if your website looks like it’s been abandoned, that’s exactly the impression your prospective clients will get.
  4. If you have a newsletter signup box on your site but never or rarely send out a newsletter, this also gives the impression you are not on top of things and really don’t care about building your business.
    Newsletters are an excellent way to keep top of mind with the people who literally put their hand up and said, ‘Yes, I want to hear from you!’
    Send out regular newsletters and skyrocket your visibility with the people who are ready and waiting to do business with you.
  5. Your website no longer accurately depicts your business direction anymore. Every business goes through an evolutionary process and it’s critical your website stays current with your product or service offerings.
    If you find yourself telling people, “oh sorry, my site doesn’t actually say anything about that particular service…” or “I don’t offer that any longer”, think about what kind of message is that person is getting about how well you run a business. Think about it.
  6. Your website looks like it was created in the 90’s. Yes, even sites we designed several years ago are looking old and outdated.
    Avoid your site looking old by giving it a fresh redesign; otherwise, it looks like you don’t care enough about your business or about technological advances to keep it up to date.
    Keeping your website looking modern will improve your credibility and will give the impression you are attentive to the success of your business.
    Not only that, but mobile-friendly websites are a must now and if yours does not display properly on a smart phone or is teeny tiny to look at, you are most certainly turning away valuable sales because it’s not easy for your prospective customers to see your offerings.
  7. Along the same lines as the look of your site being old, so can the technology and coding used behind the scenes to build it.
    Old technology and outdated plugins can create many problems
     including security threats and costly programming to work around the old scripts and code if new features need to be added.
    Often it is more cost effective to re-develop your website than to continually patch the security holes and do programming workarounds that can be precariously unstable as soon as the next version of web browser comes along.

If you’re wondering if any of the above is applicable to you, then ask yourself if your website is performing the way it was intended.

Are you getting sufficient leads? Are people finding your website and signing up for your newsletter to get them into your marketing funnel? Is your conversion rate high enough to continually bring in new leads and sales?

If not, it’s a sure sign to take a close look at your “busting” website and have a talk with your web developer about ways to get it up-to-date so that it can provide you with the results you desire.

Your website can be a constantly evolving, powerful business tool if you give it proper attention.

It’s important to view it as an integral part of your marketing collateral so that it can work IN your favour instead of against it.

It can be as exciting, innovative and interactive as you want it to be, all you have to do is ask; the technology is available to create an amazing marketing piece for you like never before!

Taking an objective look at your website as it is now, is it time to update it or even give it a fresh new look? If you’re not sure, leave a comment below and I’ll take a look!

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".

Entrepreneur eTip: How to Avoid Turning Off Potential Clients

Today’s eTip is about how your website affects your potential leads

Listen to today’s 1 minute tip to find out how your website could be turning off qualified leads and what you need to know about the importance of having a brand identity.

Many new entrepreneurs aren’t very aware of branding and this can be their biggest obstacle they face in attracting qualified leads and paying clients.

Why? It’s because of the perception potential clients have of you the moment they visit your website, see your social media profile or even see you in person.

You only have a few seconds for people to decide if they will find you credible or not and since your website is your primary marketing platform that you have, it’s imperative that your visitors get the best impression of you and your business instantaneously.

And that all happens through defining your brand identity and having a website that accurately reflects that brand.

If your site visitors are turned off by an amateurish looking website that is representing your business, they most certainly will not be interested in doing business with you.

Or what could happen is you will be giving off the impression that you offer low prices just by the way your website looks and you will end up getting leads expecting to pay low prices.

Have you built your own website in hopes to get something up quickly and cheaply? If so, as proud as you might be with your accomplishment, take a critical look at how OTHERS are perceiving you and your business when they visit it.

Are they getting the feel that you are professional? Experienced? Offer high Quality? Or are they seeing a poor and cheap representation instead and just the opposite is happening?

I’d love to hear what you think – do you think websites play an important role in your potential client’s perception of you? Share your thoughts in the comments section or if you have a question, I’d be happy to answer.

To your success,

P.S. For more tips on how to make your website get you the results you’re looking for, sign up for my free guide today. CLICK HERE: www.ultimatewebsiteguide.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 to Determine Who to Hire To Be Your Next Ideal Web Developer

How to Determine Who to Hire To Be Your Next Ideal Web Developer - Critical Benefits and Drawbacks You Need to Know About Different Web Developer Types

Critical Benefits and Drawbacks You Need to Know About Different Web Developer Types

I get asked to do website estimates a lot and sometimes it’s downright heartbreaking to hear about the struggles and challenges entrepreneurs and business owners face when trying to find the right web developer.

Too many times I hear about people who feel they were ripped off by their previous webmaster and are very reluctant to hire someone new for fear of the same thing happening again.

Some of these people decided they better do all the work themselves, struggled terribly trying to literally learn a whole new profession. They end up calling me out of sheer frustration that nothing is working and things are worse off than before.

One time I was having a conversation with someone on a completely unrelated topic and he asked me what I did, when I responded he blurted out, “I hate web developers.”

I cringed.

I’m sure this happens in every industry where there are people who are really great at what they do, some who do enough to get by, and some who only THINK they know what they’re doing!

The web development industry is no different.

If you are unhappy with your current web developer or are in the process of finding someone that you can trust and depend on to fulfill your web development needs, this article will provide some valuable tips that will help you find the perfect complement to your team.

The first thing to get clear on is exactly what kind of help you need.

There are many different types of “web developers” out there and making the wrong choice can be very costly. So be sure you understand “who” you are hiring first and then your selection process will be much easier from there.

Here are four common types of web developers:

  1. The WordPress VA (Virtual Assistant)

    This person has figured out WordPress pretty well. They know how to install a WordPress theme (either free or purchased) and can make some modifications to that theme to help match your brand colours. They will have a good understanding of what plugins are available to match your needs as well.
    Benefits: Usually hiring someone for this work charges less per hour than a fully qualified web developer. Putting together small-sized sites are their specialty.
    Drawbacks: Often Worpress is all that they know and rarely do they know HTML or CSS to customize your website for any extra bells and whistles that you want to have.
    Often purchased themes are so rigid that even moving an element from one part of the page to another is impossible to do with this type of limited knowledge.
    When to hire them: You would want to hire a WordPress VA when you are not interested in a fully branded/customized website. You realize that any customization options are limited and you basically get what the theme preview shows aside from some colour, text and image changes.
    You would also want to make this choice if you are already well versed in marketing strategy, copywriting, and branding and can simply tell your VA what needs to be done. Anticipate them having limited knowledge in some or all of these areas.

  2. The Programmer

    This person is what I lovingly call a “techno geek”. We have a few of these people on our team and we would not be able to be as successful as we are without them!
    The Benefits: They know programming inside and out. They live, eat and sleep programming.
    The Drawbacks: They can most definitely build you a fully functional website, no problem. But don’t expect it to look pretty! Branding, copywriting, design layout and marketing are rarely found in their list of skillsets.
    You will probably need to hire someone else to help with those areas if you are not fully versed in them yourself.
    When To Hire Them: You would want to hire a developer of this caliber if you have a complex website in mind that needs to be customized to fit your needs. Whether it’s an eCommerce engine, membership site or a database-driven tool, a fully trained and experienced programmer is your best bet.

  3. The “All Round” developer

    This again is a single person who has built enough websites to have a pretty good understanding of the bigger picture. They are what is called “a Generalist” where they have enough skills to be able to design and develop a decent website.
    The Benefits: Having one person have knowledge in the different areas needed for web development is a big plus.
    Usually this person has enough programming acumen to be able to handle most customizations and challenges that come up and will not need a plugin for every functionality (which will bog down your site’s performance).
    They also are knowledgeable enough about branding and visual design that your site visitors will enjoy the experience of being there.
    The Drawbacks: Even though they may appear to know a lot about web development, it’s impossible for one person to be really good at everything. It’s rare to find a really good designer also be a good developer (they do exist but they are a rare breed.) So you will still need to be, or have someone else on your team who is, well versed in online marketing and copywriting to help offset any weaknesses the person you hire has.
    When To Hire Them: If you are lucky enough to find someone who has these skillsets AND is dependable, then you will have a great asset on your team. You will need to be aware of what their limitations are so that you can offset those areas with other people on your team.

  4. The Web Development Agency

    There several different types of web development agencies and for the sake of this article, I’ll focus on the kind that eVision Media is, a boutique web development and digital marketing agency. (If you’re looking for a big name agency that only multi-billion dollar corporations use, you wouldn’t have read this article to this point anyway!)
    The Benefits: A boutique web development agency is not a one-man show. They are a team of professionals who can offer, as a collective group, all of the different areas of expertise that your business needs from a marketing perspective.
    These areas generally include:

    The other big benefit to using a web development agency is that they are very knowledgeable in your brand, your positioning and the message that you want convey to your ideal clients.
    With every request you give them, they will already know what is needed and can discuss options with you to create something for you that is a perfect fit for your needs.
    This avoids you from having to know what is needed yourself and also have to ensure other people on your team remain consistent with your brand message and design so you can focus more on what you do best.
    The Drawbacks: Depending on who you find, the price point might be outside of your budget. Do your research: ask for and talk to referrals to help you decide if they will deliver what they promise. If they have a good reputation for being on time and on budget, then the extra costs will balance out in the long run.
    When to hire them: Hiring a boutique web development agency can be one of the best things you can do as a new business. Doing this will assure that your new venture will get going on the right foot right off the bat. You will save a lot of time and money in the long run if you make this initial business investment.
    If you already have an existing business and website but are ready to step up to the next level, this is the time to bring in an agency that can help you with not only the “doing” but also the strategizing to ensure you get to where you want to be without wasting a lot of time, money and energy.
    You will also want to look for an agency when you want someone on your team for ongoing, consistent support. After your website is built, you will want someone you can contact at any time for website updates, creating new campaigns, doing SEO work etc.

My final piece of advice is to be sure you do your research on who you approach. You want to find someone with experience and skill who will partner with you to help you build your business.

Unless this is what you’re looking for, you want to avoid programmers and developers who only do exactly what you tell them. Having someone who can offer ideas and suggestions and be a part of your team to be a valuable resource when needed may be more ideal for you.

References are very important in this industry: Always ask to talk to their clients to see what their experience was working with the developer.

Be aware of those that claim to be developers when in reality, all they learned was how to use a “do it yourself” software like WIX or Weebly.

The quality of your website – both in design and in how it is coded – is very important on many levels. Ensure the person you hire understands how to design and build a quality product for you. Otherwise, you will most likely be faced with going through the whole process again in a short period of time once you realize your site is doing you more harm than good by turning off your potential clients instead of attracting them!

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".

7 Blogging Tips To Get You More Raving Fans

7 Blogging Tips To Get You More Raving Fans

In a previous article I wrote about the benefits of blogging and how it can greatly affect your long term business success.  Judging by the comments it generated, it looks like my goal was achieved by inspiring entrepreneurs and business owners just like you to put some serious blogging effort into their online marketing efforts.

So now that I have you all fired up to start blogging, there’s a few things that you need to be aware of for those benefits to materialize and get you some raving fans who will happily comment on and share your posts to their followers.

After reading this article, you’ll know what you need to do, and not do, in order to be successful at blogging. When done, leave a comment and let me know about your biggest blogging challenges – did this article help at all?

Here’s 7 tips that will help with your blogging success:

  1. Update frequently or don’t bother at all.

    There are two reasons to add new posts to your blog on a frequent and consistent basis. The first one is that if someone visits your blog and sees that the last article posted was 6 or more months ago, then their immediate impression will be that you are no longer in business.
    Yes, it will be that drastic! They won’t assume that you’re too busy to tend to your blog. What they WILL assume is that you’ve abandoned your website; therefore, your business as well.

    The other reason is for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The more you write and post an article in your blog, the more Google and other search engines will see that you are actively updating your website and will reward you for it.
    Over time, you will notice that your articles will get picked up in the search engines quicker and, as long as you are using good keywords that your ideal target market is using in their searches, your article will show up higher in their search results.
    How often should you post? Let me put it this way: once a month is better than every 6 months, once a week is better than once a month, every day is better than once a week. You get the idea…

  2. Provide substance over quantity.

    I recently participated in a Facebook group daily blog challenge where the idea was to motivate members to write a blog post every day. When a new blog is posted, that member must go to the previous two blog posts and add a comment. I think the concept is terrific but when it was my turn to write a comment on other posters’ article, it was a challenge to come up with something to say!
    The reason is, many of the times, these articles, if you call them that, were thrown together with, what seemed like, very little thought. It was obvious they were only in place so that the author had something to post for that day. Essentially, they were posting useless crap.
    This is not how blogging should be done. The articles that you write must be topical to what your target market wants to learn about.  This is why doing your research on who your ideal client is first is critical.
    You want to write about things that they will find of interest, of value or find entertaining and captivating. Write for them, not just for the sake of having something posted.

    So be sure to write about topics that your target market will find of interest and value. And always have a purpose in mind: what do you want your readers to get out of this and what do you want them to do after reading?

  3. Give them a reason to keep coming back.

    One of your objectives when blogging is to create a community – a place for people to keep coming back to get more of what you’re offering.
    This means your blog posts must be either entertaining, informative, compelling and/or emotionally charged to keep people engaged and wanting to come back for more.
    You know you have accomplished this when you get lots of subscribers and lots of comments on each post where your followers are eager to add their two cents worth.

  4. Be specific to one thought, idea or topic.

    I’m guilty of this. often.
    In fact, what you’re reading right now was part of the previous article I wrote on blogging. Luckily I’m getting better at recognizing that I have tried to add too many ideas or topics into my posts and have learned to put my editor’s cap on and break out my “extra” thoughts into articles of their own. I remember one article I wrote not long ago provided me with three separate articles!
    The point here is to avoid sharing everything you know all in one article. Instead, pick one specific topic or idea and write about it.
    It’s harder than you think because if you’re anything like me, that one specific topic will compel you to explain in more detail an idea you’ve shared and the next thing you know, you’re going down a rabbit hole.
    So remember, you can always save those other ideas for your next article like I’ve done many times before.

  5. Include at least one large image.

    Blog preview on Facebook exampleImages are a must for blog posts. Not only do images help your readers get a visual idea of what the article is about, they also help break up text, emphasize important points, and create more interest than just a long article full of text.
    Each article should have, at minimum, a large image at the top of your post so that it’s sharable to Pinterest.
    But it’s not just for Pinterest; many social media channels provide a preview of the blog post that gets displayed and usually, if your blog is set up properly, the image is grabbed and provides something visual when sharing to those other social media channels.

  6. Don’t use 3rd party blogging services.

    Be sure to have your blog hosted on your own domain where your website is hosted. Do not use 3rd party services like Tumblr or WordPress for your business blog.
    Unfortunately, because these services are free and usually easy to set up, they make it very tempting to go that route instead of hiring a web developer to install WordPress and theme it to match the look and feel of the rest of your website.
    But using these services negate the whole SEO reason why you want to be blogging in the first place.
    Essentially what you are doing is sending people to THEIR services instead of to YOUR website – and that, at the end of the day, is the whole point of blogging! To get people to go back to your website so they can find more about you. If you are just sending them to a 3rd party blog, you’ve missed that boat entirely.

  7. Fix the spelling and grammar mistakes.

    Honestly, this shouldn’t have to be said by oh my goodness, does it ever need to be said!
    I remember once reading someone’s blog post and it was so hard to read due to grammar mistakes that I gave up. The irony is, she was a copywriter! Can you guess what impression her readers have on her ability to write well? Not so great.
    Understandably, not everyone has a Masters degree in English. I don’t either and more than likely, if you looked hard enough, you’ll find mistakes in my writings. But that’s not the point here, nor the expectation. What you do want to strive to achieve is something that is readable and not full of obvious mistakes.
    If you’re one of those people who have great ideas and lots of information to share but are terrible in the English department, this is the time to hire someone to help you. We do this a lot for our clients – they will send us their rough draft of the newsletter, we’ll edit it, make it look pretty, add it to their blog, SEO optimize the post, and then send out their newsletter that includes the post as well. Easy peasy for the non-writer.

Ok now that you are aware of all the benefits of blogging and what you need to know to make your efforts successful, it’s your turn to get writing!

What are your biggest blogging challenges? Share in the comments section below!

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".

Why Your ‘Just Another WordPress Site’ Could be Costing Valuable Sales

Just Another Template WordPress Site

Back when I first became a web developer, WordPress never existed. It was first released on May 27, 2003 (yes, I’ve been at this longer than that!) Of course, back in the beginning, it wasn’t at all what it is today but everything has to start somewhere.

The thing is, WordPress has grown to such an extent that entrepreneurs and business owners think it’s the ONLY way to build a website. This is far from the truth where many times WordPress is not the ideal solution to meet the needs of a business.

But I digress.

After reading this article, you’ll discover one of the main reasons why your website is not getting you the results you’re wanting… and a big culprit is WordPress.

With the evolution of WordPress has come an array of problems and issues that many entrepreneurs and business owners aren’t fully equipped to handle. Why? Because they aren’t knowledgeable in the full spectrum of brand identity and website design.

I mean, they’ve got a WordPress site; what else do they need, right?


First of all, WordPress started off as being a blog platform. It was a means for website owners to be able to add a blog to their site and take advantage of the trackback, categorization and social sharing capabilities it offers.

Then it evolved into being a Content Management System (CMS) where non-blog pages could be easily created too. Thus allowing the creation of a full-fledged website without needing to know a hexadecimal of code.

Pretty cool eh!

Well, yes and no.

As convenient as WordPress has become to quickly get up a functional website, there are other factors that require careful consideration, which are often ignored.

Factors such as:

  • Branding and Design
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Usability and Accessibility
  • Code Validation
  • Image Optimization and Page Load Times
  • Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Analytics

And when these factors are ignored (or not done well), that’s when the business owner finds their new, quick and convenient website has become underwhelming at bringing in new leads and sales.

So a big trade off has happened. Cheap and Convenient for Loss of Leads and Sales.

One of the biggest reasons for this is branding.

If your website looks like any other WordPress site, it has lost its uniqueness that showcases your business as being distinctive from the competition.

What needs to happen is for it to appeal to a specific audience, your target market, that will compel them into action.

Unfortunately, whether you purchased a theme or are using a free template, the odds are great that you have lost that appeal and it’s going to look like the hundreds, if not thousands of other websites that used that same theme.

Not only that, but if an “out of the box” theme is being used, then that means no thought has been put into the actual brand of the business.

How is your website being received by your ideal target market? Does it look boring and/or amateurish? Is it turning them off because they assumed within seconds that you are not the right fit for them? Are the right colours, fonts and imagery being used to draw them in and compel them into action? Are they confused and can’t tell what you offer?

If you’re not sure what the answers are, then the odds are good that you don’t fully understand or appreciate what a brand is and how important it is to the success of your business.

So if you have a high bounce rate (meaning if people are leaving your website within moments of coming to it), then that’s a big indicator your brand (or lack of one) is not working. It’s certainly not the only factor, but it’s a significant one.

A good brand begins with identifying your ideal target market and unique selling position and then creating a visual representation of your business that will appeal to the right people for the right reasons.

Once done and you have created a unique brand that is specific to you and your business, then your website will no longer look like just another WordPress template and you’re on your way to business success.

If your business needs a proper brand identity to differentiate you from your competitors, eVision Media can help. Contact us today to find out more about our branding and web design & development services.

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".