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5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

Last week we discussed a few things you should line out before you build your website. Now we are going to make sure that you’re familiar with those 5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP that I promised I would cover with you. And I think you are going to like this, because it’s all about designing and setting up your WP site!

Obviously, this after you get hosting setup and domain registration covered. But I always recommend getting familiar with what comes directly after, before you jump into paying for hosting and your domain. So let’s go directly to the fun stuff…

WP Website Settings

Settings

Your WP site requires some attention to a few basic settings; a vital part of creating your website. This won’t take long when you know what you’re doing though. For now, I just want you to get a basic idea of what’s involved in this Phase.

➜ Once you login to your WP dashboard, you’ll navigate to “General” settings.

Here you’ll be setting your website name and url, tagline if you want one, and setting the date and time format that your site will run on.

➜ Next, the “Writing” settings will enable you to post via email, which is handy if you’re on the go.

➜ Under “Reading” you’ll determine what your front page does; you can display your posts, or set a static page as your Homepage. You can also edit the emails your followers receive from your blog.

➜ The “Discussion” tab is where you will adjust your default article settings, determine how comments will be handled, insert your Avatar display and Gravatar Hover Cards. Your sites’ rating can also be selected here, along with Jetpack settings, and your comments greeting text.

➜ Under Media, you can change the settings for your image sizes. But these can usually be left alone.

➜ “Permalinks” settings are going to be one of the most important settings to get right. That’s because this setting determines how your page and post urls look. These should be set to /%postname%/ for optimal search ranks.

➜Under the “Settings” tab, you’ll need to go to “Sharing” to integrate your Social Networks with your site so that your visitors can interact with you on Social Media. Very important. (I actually recommend setting your Social Network Accounts up before you build your site if you can. That way you can get this taken care of when you create your site, rather than having to come back later to do this.)

➜ Your site verification services, like Google Analytics, Bing and Pinterest tracking are set up under the “Tools” tab. You’ll need to create accounts with these services in order to do this.

And that’s it for the Settings. Pretty straight forward and easy, right? Okay, so let’s move on.

Website Theme

Themes

I like to get the theme taken care of right away after I adjust the settings, so you can see your website coming together almost immediately. That’s why I consider this “Phase 2” when I create a WP site.

It probably goes without saying, however, this is where the design of your site is determined. Themes are sort of like the “paint and carpet” of your site, so to speak. And they are part of what makes WP such a good platform for building your site; because you don’t really need a web designer to make it look fantastic.

Depending on how personalized you want your site to look, a free theme may be all you need. WP has a lot of attractive free themes available. Some are far better than others. You can waste a lot of time trying out themes. So, to save you a lot of time I’ll be showing you step by step how to customize one of my favorite free WP themes at the Workshop.

However, free themes usually have limited customization capabilities. If you want a more customized site you will probably need to go for a paid theme. Paid themes can also come with additional functionality built in, which can reduce the number of plugins you’ll need to make your site function like you need it to. So it pays to pick a good theme.

If you are going to want a paid theme, you might as well go with one of my tried and tested paid theme recommendations, rather than potentially wasting your money on a theme that doesn’t work well, or lacks design capability.

And believe me, you can spend a lot of time and money looking for a good paid theme. Because you can easily wind up taking the time to purchase, download, install and customize a theme, only to find out it’s not going to work for your particular needs. Worse, you can discover, after all of this, that it may be “glitchy” and simply not work well at all!

➜Once you have your theme selected and installed, this is where you get to set your logo and customize your theme colors. And you get to see your website coming to life!

Now we are going to need to add some features and functionality to your site, and we do that using…

WP Plugins

Plugins

You can think of plugins as apps, or little programs that you install on your site to add features and functionality. This is where you’ll be able to get contact forms, site backups, Social sharing buttons, newsletter signup forms, anti-spam filters, front end SSL setup and more.

Most all the juicy features you may want to add, or imitate from other WP sites you like, goes on here. Plus, there are plugins you’ll need for spam filtering, statistics and maintenance. There are good, free plugins for all of this, and I’ll show you these when you join me for the workshop.

Installing plugins in WP is pretty easy. Good plugins provide documentation to help you set them up properly. So, although I will show you how to set up the plugins on my list, you can always look to this information for help if needed later on.

Just remember that the more plugins you install on your site, the more you put its security at risk.  Because hackers can access your site via a plugin. This is another reason why you want to be sure to check that the plugin you want to use has good reviews, is kept up to date, is well documented, and has been tested with the latest version of WP. And again, you can keep the number of plugins you need down to a bare minimum by choosing a theme that has common preferred features and functionality built in.

Now, comes the phase where you will add the “meat and potatoes” of your site…

Build A Website Content

Content

Once your site design is customized, the settings are taken care of and you have the plugins you need, you’ll need lots of content. Because you will need to fill your pages with everything your audience, visitors, customers and clients need to know so that they can make well informed decisions before they purchase.

You’ll also want to include additional relevant information regularly to keep your visitors, and search engines engaged. Because if you want to give your site the best possible chance for first page search ranks, you must keep adding fresh content regularly.

We’ll discuss the fresh content you can add at the workshop, and how you can schedule it to post out whenever you want, even when you can’t be there to publish it. This means you can, for instance, spend 1 day putting up content that will go out regularly over several weeks. Yes, even while you are sleeping or on vacation, your blog can be updating its self, on auto-pilot, with fresh, new content!

(Work smarter, not harder my friends.)   

As for the standard and required basic content that makes your initial site polished and professional, that’s what we’ll focus on most. This includes your About, Contact, and Privacy Policy pages, as well as your Homepage. Once you get a visitor to your site, these pages need to hook them in and drive them to take action.

You will also need a Privacy Policy, as this legal information is now required by law for most sites. Don’t worry, I’ll show you where to get one online. And I’ll point out the key information you’ll need for your About and Contact pages. And we’ll add a contact form (via plugin) so visitors can reach you when needed, as well as setting up an opt-in page so you can start building your email list.

Next, you’ll create your main navigation and footer menus, so you can see your pages. This is where your site will start to look complete with pages and content you can see live on your site!

And to make your written content look polished, all you need are some quick, yet effective html codes to spice things up a bit. Don’t worry, I’ll show you this too. This is extremely lite code we are talking here, nothing difficult at all. Just a few short character and letter strings to create font styling that will accentuate key points, adjust font sizes etc.

Of course, content means images too. And lots of them, if you really want your site to attract attention. You can and should use images of your business building (if you have one), perhaps your office and team (if possible).  Or, if you want to setup a personal business site you’ll need an image or two of you.

But you’ll also need some additional images to spruce things up. Especially for your regular weekly content, like posts and such. There are lots of free, professional looking images to be had online, and I’ll show you where and how to get them.

Plus, we will add an Image Gallery to your site, so you can show off your products or services.

This includes icons and other graphics to add a professional touch to your site. You can get these online, or if you Join Me in the Web Genesis Nation Silver Member Suite, I’ll give you my Web Graphics Toolbox, so you have plenty of high quality web treats for a good head start.

You’ll want to take a look at video as well because, while lots of static visual imagery is great, video is always better. The best place to go grab video for your site is YouTube. And I’ll show you how to install a plugin that will make embedding videos into your site fast and easy, and display beautifully across all devices.

Now that we’ve discussed content, we are down to the last few details of your website creation.

Build A Website Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches

Putting the finishing touches on your WP website includes setting up your widgets and sidebar(s), and understanding some best practices for regular maintenance on your site. Because I want you to not only create your site, I want you to know how to take care of it in the future so you can avoid issues and costly fixes or updates.

Widgets

For simplicities sake, you can think of Widgets as little packages of code you use to insert content in your sidebar, and also on your pages and posts. Basically, they allow you to add certain types of content and functionality without coding. For instance, you can insert Social Media icons, your RSS feed, buttons, Google maps, display recent posts, newsletter opt-in forms, custom menus and more.

Sidebars

To create your sidebars, all you need to do is drag the widgets you want into the sidebar panel and configure them. To insert widgets in your page, there is an awesome free plugin that makes it really easy. In some cases, widgets also come bundled with themes, featuring standard and specialized widgets you can add to pages.

Basic Maintenance

Proper care of your site includes regular backups, so you can get your site back fast in case anything happens to it. There are plugins for statistics, so you can analyze your traffic, cache plugins and others to help speed up your site. Then there are security plugins to help keep your site and content secure. Some disable and block the right-click-copy function from visitor use, others are a firewall of sorts to keep hackers out, and some can be used to alter your login page url.

You can over-do this though, and again, it’s best to keep plugins down to a minimum, so you should only use the plugins you absolutely need for security, functionality and features. You should also never have disabled plugins on your site. If you are not using them, delete them. And be sure to keep your plugins up to date to help ensure your sites’ security.

Organization

This is something I always highly recommend. You’ll collect lots of materials and passwords when you create your site. Keeping it properly organized is the best way to avoid confusion, losing or misplacing important materials, and having to reacquire or create your materials over again.

Quite frankly, organization will help you avoid the urge to start pulling your hair out at times!

Okay, so that is the basic overview of the 5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP. Taking a quick look back over the post, you are probably surprised that there is no more to it than that to create your WP site. And honestly, I didn’t leave much out here, so that is pretty much it.

These are the basic features you generally get when you hire one of those corporate “big boys” to create a WP site for you. I’m actually probably showing you the “How To” for a site that would cost more along the lines of $1500. Because the fee generally starts out at an initial quote, then works it’s way up when you want to add features, functionality and customization.

But who’s counting?

You now understand how to build, manage and grow your website. And when you join me for the workshop you’ll discover exactly how to complete these simple phases to create your WP website; one that’s capable of helping you achieve your online business goals. And that is what really counts, right?

5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One    

Having an SSL Certificate now has more to do with the success of your website than ever before. This security feature is no longer a luxury to have installed on your site, it’s a necessity. So let’s discuss what an SSL Certificate is, what it does, and why you need to have one installed on your website or blog.

What Is An SSL?

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates protect the data transferred between a web server and a browser  by enabling a secure connection between the two. Basically, it means that all data transferred from a web server to a given browser is encrypted.

A little more technical explanation; when and SSL is installed on your server, it digitally binds your websites’ details with a cryptographic key, activating the https protocol and that little padlock you see in a secured sites’ browser url. This means your website now has secured connections to your users’ browsers.

So, when visiting an SSL encrypted site, you’ll notice the https (in green lettering) and the little padlock preceding the sites’ url in your browser. This means that any data that you input into forms or at checkout on the site is encrypted and secure. (If you look in your browser right now, you’ll see the padlock and green https in front of my url here.)

Google Search Ranks & Organic Traffic

A lot of people didn’t catch this in Googles’ big algorithm storm that’s been going on since the end of 2015, but Google now requires sites to have an SSL security certificate installed. Google has actually been “strongly advising” SSL certificate installation since at least 2014, when it began giving sites with an SSL a boost in search ranks. And, the Google Quality Guidelines state that a SSL certificate is “good practice”.

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

It’s not that Google has been penalizing you for not having this level of security, you simply get filtered down in search results beneath your competitors that have one. So, currently, if your competition is on the ball, you may find yourself falling further and further back in search ranks.

Consequently, if you get on the ball with an SSL faster than your competition, you could see your search ranks rise, maybe even beating out some of your previously higher ranked competitors! Every chance you get to get the jump on your competitors, you should take. And that’s certainly better than losing traffic, at any rate.

So again, it’s not that Google penalizes you for not having an SSL, it doesn’t have to

Because more recently, Google has made it so that websites without SSL encryption display a little grey circle with an exclamation point next to the sites’ url in the browser when viewed via Chrome. Click on that and you are going to see a message saying: “Your connection to the site is not secure. Do not enter sensitive information…” The message then goes on to basically tell users to either “go back” to the safety of Google search, or continue to the site at your own risk. And that is bad news. Not something you want your customers seeing when they visit your website.

Because you always want your visitors to feel secure when they visit your site, right? You want them to sit down with a cup of coffee and hang around, read your content, sign up for your newsletter, buy your products or sign up for services, and feel confident that when they use your contact form, their personal information is secure.

You want them to feel all warm and fuzzy about being there.

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

As if that shouldn’t have you scrambling to get an SSL right away, word has it that sometime this winter (around January), that little grey circle with an exclamation point is going to turn into a RED caution triangle with an exclamation point instead!

Now that will grab visitors’ attention right away.

It means that if you haven’t already, you will soon lose organic search traffic, at least on Google search anyway, if you don’t have an SSL installed on your site. And worse, visitors seeing this message will begin to associate that lack of security with your site, your business, your Brand.

That being said, let’s not get to giving Google too much of a bad time on this one. After all, the web is not such a safe place, for your sensitive personal and financial information, or your pc. You must be vigilant to use the internet safely. And big companies like Google were bound to pick up on this and do something about it sooner or later. And again, Google has been telling us things were headed in this direction for at least 3 years now. (Which is why I started recommending that my clients secure their sites with SSL’s back in 2014.)

So, while it may seem like a pain for businesses, the goal of this is to make your site safer for your customers. It helps keep their personal and financial information safe and secure. And this alone is a reason to get your site covered immediately, even if you just have a service site, because your savvy customers will be looking for that padlock, and green https in their browser to determine if the site is safe to shop. Even if they don’t know this (yet) if they see that exclamation point and warning instead, they are likely to just leave.

PayPal Buttons & SSL

There is talk that PayPal buttons will no longer work on websites without an SSL. In fact, PayPals’ own information states that this is the case since 2016. There is something there about “grandfathered embedded buttons”, but I wouldn’t wager on that. I’ve looked into this a bit and found people saying their buttons don’t work on their non-secured sites. And they also report that PayPal support told them they needed an SSL for their buttons to work. But even if this is not a problem yet, I would not be a bit surprised if it happened sometime in the near future.

For those who sell items using embedded PayPal buttons, this would be a huge issue. Even IPN integrated sites may be effected. I’m not sure about that. And I don’t figure it is worth looking up either, because let’s face it, with Google now insisting on having an SSL secured site, it’s a dead-given that other search engines soon will too.

These types of things generally don’t go away, they only get more prevalent. Most especially, financial companies like PayPal are likely to follow along soon, if they haven’t already. So, I just recommend protecting your site with an SSL right now. Why wait until it causes you and your business problems?

Okay, I’m done freaking you out now. Sorry, but I had to give you that information in order to make sure that you are fully informed, and taking this seriously. Not my favorite part of the job here, but necessary just the same.

Now let’s make you feel warm and fuzzy about your website again…

How To Get An SSL For Your Website

Not to worry. You know I always have a solution for you. SSL’s used to be rather expensive, but fortunately costs have gone down significantly since all of this has gone on. You can get an SSL that covers your site for two years for around $60 vs a few years back when they cost an average of $130-$180 per year.

Your web host should be able to install an SSL for you, so check with them before you go elsewhere. (And if they won’t install one for you, I would probably recommend changing hosts.) In fact, most good web hosts are now including a free SSL with their new hosting packages for a year or two. So ask your host if they offer this.

Make sure that no matter where you get your SSL that it’s provided by a trusted company. There are cheap, low quality SSL’s to be had. So be sure to go with a good one like Comodo or Geotrust.

 

 

 

Important SSL Information To Know

Once your host installs your SSL on your server, you are likely to need to finish up on the front end, unless you want to pay someone to do it for you. And since that can run you anywhere from $50 – $180, you may want to just take care of that yourself if you can.

If you have a WordPress site this is no problem in most cases. All you need to do is install a plugin that does most of the work for you. Go to your dashboard>plugins and click “add new” in the top left-hand corner of the plugin panel. In the search box type in “SSL” or “https”. You’ll see several plugins that will help you finish your SSL installation on the front end of your site, by forcing your pages over the secure https connection.

Just make sure the plugin you choose is kept up to date, and well supported by the developer. And be sure to find one that is well documented, with easy to follow instructions on how to set it up. With a good https plugin, there isn’t much to do, the plugin does most of the work for you.

Now, please note that all WP installations are different, and this plugin method can be problematic. Sometimes this method just doesn’t work. In which case, you may need the help of a developer, or your host, to set things up for you.

However, most of the time the simple plugin method works, and you will have no trouble.

Quick Note: I’ll be helping my Silver Members with this SSL topic very soon, with a video tutorial on how to install and setup my top recommended SSL plugin. I’ll also be sharing my recommended hosting solution that provides and installs a free SSL for the first 2 years with each of their hosting packages!

This information and video instruction will be available along with an entire professional WordPress setup video Workshop for my Silver Members in the Silver Member Suite on Web Genesis Nation when it opens this fall. So if you need or want help building your WordPress site, be sure to Join Me!

And moving on…

A Few Last Important Things To Note

Once you have installed your plugin you will need to go to your WP dashboard>settings>general and set your WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to include “https” instead of “http”. Save the settings, then you will need to log back into your site over the secure connection.

You will also notice a new section in the right sidebar of your page and post editor pane with the option to secure your page with SSL. You may need to go through and tick that box on your pages and posts, then re-publish to secure them. Sometimes you don’t. So, if you set up the plugin and the SSL isn’t working, try that before you start pulling out your hair!

Once you are all set, be sure to embed your SSL certificate logo or “check this” image link in the footer of your site to let your visitors know they are protected. They will appreciate the reassurance.

Of course, if you created your website with Shopify, Wix or something of the like, this is taken care of for you automatically. You won’t have to worry about the SSL issue because you will already have one, at no extra charge.

But if you have a Shopify store integrated with your WordPress site for eCommerce, you’ll still want to secure your WP site with an SSL.

I hope this helps you to better understand why you need to have an SSL for your site, and how to get an SSL for your website or blog. Because I know it may seem like a big scary deal at first, but it’s really not. And aside from the detriments of not having one, having SSL encryption on your site has big benefits that are only likely to get bigger. Your search ranks will be better protected, your site will be better protected, and your customers and visitors will feel safer knowing that they are protected.

For more information about Why You Need An SSL For Your Site Check Out A Helpful WPFixIt Article About SSL Here…

This of course helps create trust in your business among your visitors, something that is virtually priceless.

What Is SSL Certificate Encryption And Why Every Website Should Have One

 

 

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Getting your WP website or blog ready to greet the world can be a bit stressful. Especially if you have never done it before. But I assure you it’s not as difficult as it may seem…especially when you take the time to go over these Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Only A Few Basic Phases To Create Your WP Website

Yes, that’s right. It’s easier than you may have been led to believe to make your brand new WP blog or website. You don’t need prior skills. No coding, no techy, confusing junk. You don’t need to spend months or years to get a WP site or blog. And you don’t have to pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars for someone to build it for you. Best of all, there are only a few phases to building a WP website, and I like to complete these in the following order:

➜ Settings

➜ Themes

➜ Plugins

➜ Content

➜ Finishing Touches

Hosting and domain registration no withstanding, that’s really all there is to it. Of course, it is a bit more involved than this. But it’s all pretty simple once you know how to get it done. And we’ll take care of hosting and your domain later on too, so don’t worry.

Seriously, I guarantee you it is easier than it seems. You just need the right information to “cut to the chase” and create a WP site you’d typically get charged at least $1000 for. Me, I decided I would rather show a lot of people how to create their site, rather than charge a few people every month to build one for them.

After all, I could build it for you, but how will you manage and maintain it afterwords? Yup, that would cost you more money and time. And keep you reliant on me to make changes, adjustments or additions when you need them, along with regular maintenance.

Hence my mindset; building your website for you today isn’t nearly as helpful as showing you how to build it, manage it, and grow it for a lifetime.

And fortunately as well, we’ve come a long way in the world of online business. Because now, savvy people like you want to learn this. 

Which is fantastic. I am so glad you are here, ready to go on this. That means we are all set!

Wrap Your Head Around Your Site Project…

We won’t be covering the actual WP steps here in this post. Here I just want you to wrap your head around the concept that making your WordPress site is far from rocket science. You CAN do it. It doesn’t have to take months, and certainly not years.

However, to get the best results possible, you need to know how to get started. And there is getting off to a good start, and causing yourself problems right from the start.

Because, as always, I want you to understand what you are about to accomplish. I want you to know  how to go about your site project in an efficient, orderly way that will get you the best results the fastest, and with as little stress (and cost) as possible.  I’m all about efficiency. Because it keeps stress, costs, and time down to a minimum.

That said, you may be surprised to discover that this does not have anything to do with what CMS (content management system) you use. In other words, nothing to do with WordPress. Not initially anyway.

A quick interjection here: Really soon I will show you how to make your WP site.  But for now, let’s go over the first thing you will need to decide before you build your site…

Essential “Getting Started With Your Website” Mindset

In today’s high-tech world, having a website is crucial to the success of most businesses, online or off.

If you have a brick and mortar store, the ability to reach more customers or clients via the world-wide web is an opportunity you and your business cannot afford to miss out on. If you have one of these businesses, you must know this. And that is why you are here.

And if your goal is to start an online business, you know that there is no business without a place on the web to call home.

Yes, your website offers the chance to connect with virtual visitors from all around the world. It provides information about your products or services, as well as your company, connecting your business with those visitors 24/7, 365 days a year. But most importantly, it provides a chance to communicate with them, and inspire them to become followers, customers or clients. In taking the desired action, they put more money in your pocket.

However, while the prospect of attracting more readers, customers or clients with your new website is understandably exciting, there are some key elements to be considered before you venture into website creation.

And especially, you will be need to make an important decision that directly effects the design, structure, and functionality of your site. For this, you will need to understand a little about how your website is created, and how it will function, in order to create a site that behaves as needed when visitors interact with it.

Makes sense right? Okay, so right now I want you to focus on this…

What Kind Of Website Site Will You Make?

I’m not talking about selling clothing vs selling health supplements, or catering services vs pluming services. I’m talking about the kind of site you will build. Because the basic structure and layout of your site will be determined when you answer this question. And it determines the kind, or style if you will, of site you will be creating.

When it comes right down to it, there are basically two main options; we’ll think of them as “Information” sites, and “eCommerce” sites, (online stores). So let’s take a closer look at this for a moment…

Information Sites

The “Information” site is the kind of site used for service industry businesses, bloggers & affiliate marketers. These types of sites generally do not require a “cart system” or eCommerce setup for selling product, because the content is entirely comprised of information.

The information can be any type; information about your personal, business, or company service(s), random articles and helpful information like you see on blogs, which can also include product and service reviews, etc. As such, these are the fastest, easiest types of sites to create.

So what we are saying here is, within the Information site category, there are two main types of sites; each designed to meet the requirements of these two basic types of businesses.

  • For service industry businesses, your site structure will be similar to a business brochure. Your main objective is to inform visitors about your business and/or service(s) you provide, with as much information as possible in order to gain their trust, and encourage them to take the desired action. The “Home” page in this case is a static page that introduces the business, and directs visitors to the desired information, all the while appropriately encouraging them to contact or visit the actual business for service.
  • For Blogs and affiliate marketers, your site is structured in the format of a blog, basically like an online magazine. Your main goal is to provide extensive amounts of content for readers in a well-organized manner. The “Home” page for these types of sites will generally be formatted to best display large volumes of articles/posts in an organized manner that is as attractive as possible.
  • For Ecommerce websites, or online stores used to sell products, your site is structured in a way that enables you allow customers to purchase items from you. You can sell physical products or downloadable media products, accept payments for those products, monitor, and process the orders. And for this you need a cart system installed on your site. The “Home” page in this case is a static page that introduces your business and products, and provides visitors with the information needed to decide on a product or products, while encouraging them to checkout and complete the purchase.

This is fairly easily determined by your business. However, there are some variations to note here. For instance, if you have a service industry business, and want to increase your revenue by selling some relevant physical products, then you will need an eCommerce site, rather than just a basic service website. Or, maybe you want your service clients to be able to pay for services on your site; again you need a site that is able to accept digital payments.

Alternatively, you could sell custom physical products, and just want to gain a larger audience online while selling in person, at your place of business. This means you are selling products, but don’t need an eCommerce website, and you can just go for a service style website with a blog (I always recommend adding a blog in any case).

Okay, so by now I am sure you get the point. Take time to carefully determine which kind of site your business requires. Because this is really important; it will ensure that you set up the right site, with everything you need right from the start.

Once you have that sorted out, it’s time to think about…

Web Design Vs Development – What’s The Difference?

Web Design Vs Development – What’s The Difference?

We won’t linger on this topic long, I just want to make sure that you have a basic understanding of these terms, just in case you are concerned about which is which, and what is what. Because a website or blog needs both of these elements working together to impart the overall look and feel of the site, and to make the site function as needed.

Web Design

What you actually see when you view a website is the design of the site. The colors, banner images, background image, text layout, fonts, navigation menu appearance, etc. determine the look and feel of the site. Web Design is also where your branding comes in to play, and calls to action are present if preferred. This is where you present your readers with the best possible visual representation of your company, in an organized, appealing and professional manner.

Web Development

Web Development is what goes on in the background that makes a site function as needed. These are the elements of the site that enable it to work like it needs to in order to be beneficial, rather than just beautiful. This includes integrating with Social Media, contact forms, your navigation, how your cart functions, etc. It does have somewhat to do with the appearance of your site as well, because some of that development tells the device your website is being viewed on how to display it. (Mobile friendly.)

Fortunately, WordPress makes all of this easily attainable, without much effort on your part. Because the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) comes pre-loaded with much of the functionality you’ll need for a professional website or blog. Any additional functionality can be added with the simple addition of some carefully selected plugins. And the design is determined mainly by the theme you choose.

So, when we get down to creating your WordPress, most of what you need will already be there as soon as you install WP. Incidentally, that’s why a lot of internet professionals choose WordPress.

Hopefully this post has given you some direction as to your WordPress site project. And you have gotten a good idea of how the process gets started.

Now I would like to briefly explain how I will help you make your WP website or blog…

Ultimate WP Workshop

I have an entire WP video workshop tutorial coming for you this next month. This is something I am really excited to share with you, because I know it is going to help you out BIG Time with your WP site.  I just have a few finishing touches to take care of, and within the next couple of weeks I’ll have the Free WP Workshop all ready for you. The Workshop is a step-by-step video tutorial to show you exactly How To Build Your WP Site!

And you’ll be able to access the COMPLETE video workshop to make your basic WP website…for FREE!

I am doing this because I really want to help you get your site up and running fast, without spending a fortune on designers. And most likely even have some fun doing it. Because I don’t want you to have to struggle with your site. Honestly, all that expense and hassle is completely unnecessary. If you are ready to take this project on, then you deserve this help. And I can make it so much easier and cost effective for you, I just won’t turn down the opportunity to show you how.

When you join me for the workshop you’ll have no trouble making your entire WordPress blog or website. Whether you need a business site for your existing business, or you are starting an online business with your site, the workshop will help you get it done right, the first time!

And, I’ll have additional video tutorials for you if you want to create the kind of business website that would normally cost you over a $1000 to have built for you!

As for your Brand, like I said, I have you covered there too, if you decide you want or need that help. Whether you have that existing Brand ready, or not, you’ll have the opportunity to work that out once the workshop goes live. I have an excellent video workshop coming up that will guide you to create a memorable Brand for your website and business, and even help with your custom logo creation!

What I want you to do in the time between now and the workshop;

  1. Think about what kind of site you will need; “Information” or “eCom”.
  2. Understand the difference between Web Design & Web Development.

So, that’s it for now! Just make sure you fully understand these Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website.

I promise that your effort will be well worth it when we get down to creating your site in a few short weeks.

Be sure to Click Here and review the 5 Simple Phases To Build A Website With WP now. This will give you a better idea of how easy it really is to create your WordPress Website.

If you would like for me to email you an invite when the Ultimate WP Workshop goes live [Click Here]. I’ll be happy to send you an email invitation and notify you when the Workshop is ready!

Things To Consider Before Making Your WP Website

Relax With Me A Moment – Sunset Relaxation Video

Relax With Me A Moment – Sunset Relaxation Video

Relax With Me A Moment – Sunset Relaxation Video

Working on our online businesses can be exciting and fun. You find a whole new absorbing world of opportunities. But we must never forget to take time to relax and enjoy the little things while we are at it, which is why I created this post; Relax With Me A Moment – Sunset Relaxation Video!

When our minds are calm and rested, we think better; we are more focused, and we make better decisions. Especially when we have a tough decision to make, or need to get our focus back, it’s important to take a few moments, or a few hours if needed. As a work-a-holic myself, I know it’s tough to make yourself take a break. And it may sound funny, but especially when things get difficult and stressful, it’s a must.

Simply put, if you want to work well, you have to rest well too. It’s good for us, and it’s good for business.

So Relax With Me A Moment and take some time to enjoy this Sunset Relaxation Video. Just sit back, think about the simple pleasures of life…

I hope you enjoy the video; I created it a few years back for a Youtube channel I was playing around with called Cool Notion Quest –  some of my first forays into relaxation videos. I thought it would be a great way to relax, and it was. I really enjoyed making these; and when I would get stressed, or had something that I was stuck on somewhere I would go work on one.

Perhaps someday I will make some more again, but for now I thought I would share this here just for fun. Because it’s so very important to let your brain have a chance to clear out and get calm, even if it’s just a quick coffee, or green smoothie break! I also have more videos that are a good length for a well deserved break here>> And don’t forget to check out my blog for more great articles…

Take care, relax and enjoy!

Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

 Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

So, a few months back I posted a recipe for healthy yogurt smoothies over on my WordPress.com blog. In this post I thought I would share with you a Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy!

No really, it tastes great. And it’s good for you too!

Now, why am I talking about Green Smoothies? Because I want you to be successful in your business, and happy with your life. And if you don’t have your health, you won’t have either.

If you are like me, you probably spend most of your day sitting at your computer working. That’s just life in online businesses. Its sort of difficult to do what we do while jogging or swimming. (Yes, that was a bit of sarcasm.) And while we may love what we do, this sedentary lifestyle can have adverse effects on your health if you don’t take care of yourself.

Poor health = business problems & unhappiness. It could even be worse. And we don’t want any of that.

That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself, right from the beginning. It’s too easy to start an online business thinking, “I need to get this done. I’ll exercise later.” Or, “I’ll exercise just as soon as this project is done.” Then there is another project, and another…and you wind up simply not getting any exercise time in.

You just have to make time, just like you make time for checking your email, posting to your blog. Make an “appointment” to exercise just like you schedule your clients if you have to. Only make this appointment 5-6 days per week. Just 30 minutes a day will do wonders.

Get 20-30 minutes of exercise every day. Get your heart rate up, and don’t forget to stretch out first. Actually, take 5-10 minutes to stretch out 2-3 times a day. And be sure to take good look out the window periodically; give your eyes a chance to focus on things that are further, and closer in the distance to help avoid problems with your vision. Because looking at a computer screen all day long…not good for your eyes.

And perhaps most important of all, take care of your digestive system. Because if your digestive system isn’t healthy, the rest of your body will surely become run down, and you’ll eventually develop health problems. And all kinds of nasty things can happen when your digestive system is in poor health.

Sure, it may seem difficult. I mean, who has time to stop for breakfast, or lunch, right? And I don’t like having something heavy on my stomach all day long either. Fortunately, there is a great solution to this problem: Green Smoothies.

You may like them, you may not. But you owe it to yourself and your business to at least try this. And if you already love Green Smoothies, you are in for a treat! It’s super-easy to make; just a few ingredients to grab, a few seconds in the blender. But the benefits to your health are huge. Green Smoothies help balance your ph levels, and they provide you with all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get on with the…

Green Smoothie Recipe

All you need to make this smoothie is two average size bananas (I like mine just a little past perfectly ripe), 5-6 Romain lettuce leaves, 3 average size Kale leaves, and 1/8 cup of spring water. I like to blend my bananas and water first, then add the Romain & Kale leaves. Blend until super-smooth, chill for 20 minutes in the fridge, and enjoy!

Green Smoothie Variations

My daughter likes to add a cup of Organic Vanilla Green Yogurt to this recipe, leaving out the water. I like it just the way it is. It’s up to you.

If you want you can leave out the Kale and substitute 2-3 more Romain leaves. And you can add a teaspoon of cold milled Flaxseed too. This will make your smoothie a bit thicker, and it adds a nutty flavor that goes great with the “green”. Plus, Flaxseed has its benefits too, but I won’t go into that right now.

You can also try this recipe with ripe Mango instead of banana, if you like Mango. I don’t, but I tried it once, and if Mango is your thing, it’s pretty good. Mango is good for you too. But if I add anything different to mine it’s usually ¼ cup Blueberries.

So that gives you the main recipe, and quite a few tasty, healthy variations.

If you try any of these and like them, have any thoughts, or variations of your own that you would like to share, please feel free to post in the comments section below. I’m always happy to hear what you think. And I’m always up for trying a new Green Smoothie recipe!

If you want my Blueberry or Mango yogurt smoothie recipes you can get those over at my WordPress blog, in my post Healthy Recipe For Morning Rituals here ➦ 

Be sure to spread this recipe around; like and share this post. And until next time, take care of yourself, and enjoy that smoothie!

Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Really Enjoy

Content Marketing Importance & Ethics

Content Marketing Importance & Ethics

Content Marketing Importance & Ethics

Just after New Years’ early this past spring I did a post over on my WordPress blog about Content Marketing. And as the year moves on, unsurprisingly, Content Marketing is just getting to be more and more of a discussion for online businesses everywhere. And something that is considered by pretty much every expert internet marketer in the world to be an essential part of any modern business marketing strategy.

Of course, content has always been important, even before the internet came along. But in the online world, what we call “Content Marketing” has been on the rise for the past few years. And it’s been getting a massive amount of attention for a good reason.

It’s not just that Google has changed its algorithms, and it’s not just because Content Marketing is free (for the most part). There are literally tons of reasons why it’s a big deal, and organic traffic doesn’t cover it all by far.

Why Content Marketing?

There is the fact that consumers have become “banner blind”, tired of seeing ads so they just click them off, hit the backspace button, or flat out ignore them. And then there is the opportunity to attract visitors into joining your valuable mailing lists by enticing them with free downloadable goodies that add value, and you can create tons of content around. There are all kinds of places on the web where you can post your content for backlinks (which ARE still highly important to your traffic when the links are of high quality). And regularly networking with your social media followers about your content is a great way to get attention too.

But for ethical businesses who really want to help their audiences, visitors, customers and clients, there is a reason that overshadows all of this. For one thing, Content Marketing gives you the chance to create value beyond just what you sell. It also gives you the opportunity to reach out and help others in a conversational way that makes connections that are important everyone; connections that last. It gives you the opportunity to be REAL, with REAL people who appreciate it. And it gives you a chance to make a difference all of the time, not just when you are coaching a client, or someone buys your product or takes your training course.

Plus, the words you place online are there every minute of the day and night for others to see. The value is always there as well, right where you left it for everyone to find and benefit from.

Someone can visit your site or blog, read your post or watch your Youtube video at 1am on Christmas Eve if they want. They don’t have to buy something from you or schedule an appointment with you to get that value. And all of this makes content so much more important that it has ever been, perhaps, in a world where consumers are more readily informed than ever before.

Yes, Content Marketing will make you an authority in your niche or particular business field if you do it right. And for those who take that job seriously, it’s priceless in more ways than one.

Content Marketing Importance and EthicsContent Marketing, Trust & Responsibility

Just remember, with authority comes the “R” word: RESPONSIBILITY. Because when you are an authority you are (or should be anyway) responsible for providing the most accurate, beneficial information, training, and help you can offer. Do the very best you can do, only that which you can be proud of.

Do that, and your followers, audience, customers and clients will trust you. Trust you to deliver on your promises, trust you to give them only the best you can give, regardless of what it is. And sure, if you do it right you’ll make money. But someday far down the road, you will be able to look back, and feel a sense of accomplishment that you have done something that truly contributed to the lives of others, in whatever way you specifically can. No matter how small or large.

Maybe you just showed people how to relax for 10 minutes a day. Maybe you pointed them towards a great web host and saved them money on quality services. Maybe you helped them learn how to cook a healthy meal on a budget, or a gourmet meal for a memorable family gathering. Maybe you showed brides how to shop for their cherished wedding gown, or taught someone to crochet a baby blanket for their first grandchild. The point is you helped people, and that means something. Something very special, especially to those people you were able to help.

And you can do all of this through content. Quality content that will also attract traffic to your offers, so you can help more people with more quality content. Even sell them on your products that will just add more value to what you have to say.

Or maybe you’ll just sell them that thing they so desperately desire or need right now. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s what they needed, what they wanted. The thing that solved their problem or fulfilled their expectations and performed as advertised. And you brought it to them, you helped solve the problem, or helped them find that thing they were after.

Give Only Your Best

Think about it this way, if you have kids you do whatever you can to make them happy, right? You want to give them the best; the best emotional support, the best care, the best education, the best guidance and direction…even the best Christmas presents.

While guidance, direction, support, education, and care are definitely serious necessities for children, those Christmas presents are just frills. After all, if you are providing the important things, your kids probably don’t care about awesome Christmas presents as much. They would love you even if you had a lean Christmas. Even if all they got was a candy cane.

So why do we do these things, why try so hard for our kids? Because we care about them.

Well, it should be the same for our customers and clients, even our audience and visitors. After all, they are the ones that make that wonderful life you want to give your kids possible. They are the ones footing the bill. And therefore, they mean that life for your and your family. Don’t they deserve that same level of care, that same loyalty respectively?

You bet they do. Because they basically make your life possible.

And again, responsibility. I know it’s not widely associated with business these days. With all the false promises, products that prove to be nothing like what was promised, customer support that you’re better off without, and stuff that doesn’t stand up to the overinflated hype surrounding it, it’s as if businesses don’t appreciate their customers any more. And consumers feel that. Boy, do they feel it. So much so that they find it hard to trust anyone anymore.

When you are an influence to others, you have the responsibility to influence honestly and wisely, and in the best interest of those people you influence. You should take the trust they instill in you seriously, and not lead them astray. Or at least that’s how it should be.

And it’s not that hard. When you do things for the right reasons it just comes naturally.

It’s a two-way street; you take care of them, and they will take care of you. Appreciate them, and they will appreciate you for it. Everyone is happy.

Okay, sure, you can’t make everyone happy all the time. I’ve covered this before somewhere here on the site. There will be times when a customer just cannot be made happy. Things that are out of your control will go wrong. That’s just to be expected. But when you strive to live up to your promises, take the responsibility to be honest and ethical about your business, be honest about those things that do go wrong and do your best to fix it, those times will be few and far between.

And your best opportunity to lower the chances of mishaps or hard feelings right from the start is good communication. That content you use to inform, educate, and add value. On your website, in your product listings, social networking, freebies, your email marketing; it doesn’t matter.

Communicate well, provide value, and do what you say you’re going to do.

So you see, that content is very important; to you, your business, and your audience.  And in all honesty, it always will be. Because effective, honest communication makes strong connections and relationships that last.

By now I’m sure you get the point.  But I just cannot stress the importance of all of this enough.

Regardless, we’ll move on, because want to give you the shortened, condensed version of my Content Marketing Express Checklist. This is the basic foundation for a good Content Marketing Strategy that most any business needs. I know it will help you out a lot if you are just getting started with your business online, or if you have neglected your Content Marketing. So here we go…

Content Marketing Checklist

  • Set Your Goals
    • Traffic – Set clear, reasonable goals for your traffic volume. Assess your traffic regularly so you can adjust your Content Marketing Strategy accordingly.
    • Sales – Set clear, reasonable goals for your sales. Start with the goal of getting or increasing sales by an achievable amount. Assess on a regular basis and adjust your Content Marketing Strategy as needed.
    • Search – Go for as much search traffic (organic traffic) as you can get; after all, it is free.
    • Shares & Engagements –Your goal here is to get your content shared as much as possible; monitor your content for engagement and create more around content that you notice working best.
  • Understand How Google Indexes & Ranks Content
    • You don’t have to be a Google search expert, but you should be sure to have a good, basic understanding of how Google indexes, sorts & serves content.
    • Familiarize yourself with the current algorithms so you can produce content that has the best chances of ranking well, and working for you the hardest. Stay on top of what Google is looking for by using Google Keyword Planner, and watching the content your top-ranking competitors are serving up to their audiences across their web presences.
    • Most importantly, remember that Google demands “unique, conversational” content, so make sure you don’t have duplicate content, and create content that speaks to your audience like you would talk to them in person. Aim to connect with your audience, gain their trust, show them that you are an honest authority in your niche or industry by sharing accurate, relevant, important information with them. And when they are engaged, sharing, commenting etc. on your content, be sure to respond back with timely, professional, courteous, helpful, and most of all, grateful replies!
  • Logo & Specific Platform Imagery & Graphics
    • Make sure that you have all imagery and graphics required for each marketing platform ready.
    • You will need a well-designed, professional logo; one that accurately represents your business, and will give your visitors, customers and clients a memorable impression of your business. Your logo should be clear, uncluttered, easy to see and read.  (If you need a logo, be sure to check Video Graphics Edge collection of logo PSD Templates you can download instantly, and use to create a professional looking logo in just minutes!)
    • Be sure to maintain congruity throughout all branding materials and across all platforms; anywhere your audience and customers encounter your brand so that your brand is quickly and easily identified.
  • Website/Blog Tagline
    • Have a short, effective tagline, or slogan, that clearly communicates your company’s message.
  • Basic Information About Your Company
    • Make sure you have all your basic company information included on your website or blog.
    • Basic company information includes:
      • Physical Address
      • Phone #
      • Contact Info; Email Address, Phone # etc.
      • Web Address
      • Other Company Contact Info; Social Media, etc.
      • Hours of Operation
      • Policies, Terms of Service, Disclosures, Guarantee/Warranty Info, etc.
      • Privacy Policy (Required by law if you collect any info from visitors.)
      • Payment Processing & Security & Site Security Features (SSL, other)
      • Team Info
    • Make sure your NAPS are listed and accurate on top online directories (name, address, phone # -LinkedIn, Yellow pages etc.)
  • Organization
    • By now you are starting to get a lot of information, research and imagery collected, and you need to organize it to ensure that it is safely stored and easy to find.
    • Make backups/copies of all of these valuable materials so you won’t lose them and have to start all over again if something goes wrong.

Social Media Setup

Determine the Social Networks that best support your niche or industry..

  • Facebook – Great for any business, Facebook is a wonderful way to spread the word about your business, and can even be monetized with eCommerce solutions like Shopify so your customers can buy your products directly off Facebook. Perform proper setup with a Fanpage, join groups and post regularly-but watch for specific group rules & regs so you don’t get into trouble. For Facebook training, be sure to review the FB training materials they provide for free.
  • Twitter – A great Social platform for most businesses. Set it up and Tweet regularly. Make the most of your words here, Tweets allow few characters. Include images and/or videos with your Tweets whenever possible, shorten your urls, and don’t forget to use hashtags (#). *Another Social Network you can sell products from Shopify on!
  • Pinterest – This platform is one that may or may not work for all businesses, depending on your niche. Pinterest still attracts a predominantly female demographic, and is highly visual in nature.  Surround your business, product or service pins with niche or industry relevant pins from all over the internet.
  • Instagram – Instagram is great if you have a lot of visual content and video to work with, and caters to 20 somethings and younger demographics so it may not work to the best advantage for every business. *You must use a mobile devise to set up and use Instagram.
  • Google+ –Share content, images, video, recommended links, etc.
  • Automate your Social Networking to make the most of your efforts in less time with a Social Automation Tool like Mass Planner.
  • Note: Always use Social Media Best Practices.

Your Website and/or Blog

  • Content for Static Pages
    • Static pages of your website may include pages such as home/landing page, services, products, terms of service, guarantee, subscription, about page, etc. Be sure to have the required content for all of these pages. Don’t forget that privacy policy if you collect any information (email, name ect.) from your visitors, & an advertising disclosure if you’re displaying affiliate or 3rd party links! This is required by law.
  • Blogs & Posts/Articles
    • A blog should be part of your content marketing strategy.
    • Set yourself a schedule for writing articles/posts for your blog regularly.
    • Be sure to included sufficient visual imagery throughout the content of your posts.
    • In each post, include at least 1 text or anchor link to another relevant area of your website.
    • Make sure to “Drip Feed” your content.
  • SSL
    • SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”; it essentially creates an encrypted connection between the user’s web browser and the server, so that all information transferred between the two stays safe, private, and secure. Make sure to have an SSL installed on your website or blog – sites with this security feature are now preferred in Google search over those without!
  • Mobile Responsive
    • Your website/blog must display well on all devices!
    • Test your site on Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool, or me
    • WordPress makes it easy to have a mobile responsive site, especially with WP Bakery Page Builder Plugin. Most eCommerce solutions like Shopify (which I highly recommend as an eCommerce solution) and the like are already mobile responsive or offer apps to make your store responsive. Be sure to use these tools, test your site and make sure it looks good on all devices. Make adjustments if it doesn’t display well. (If you would like to learn how to make your pages mobile responsive with VC Composer, or create a Shopify store, Join Me in the new Web Genesis Nation Membership Suite here on my site. You can get an email invitation here and I’ll reach out to you when the Members Suite goes live!)
  • Email Marketing
    • Get an effective autoresponder, like GetResponse to build an email marketing list.
    • Set up newsletters, don’t pitch products too often, give value!
  • YouTube
    • YouTube could very well turn into a major source of traffic to your site…and it’s free! Your videos can even be monetized –just don’t try to monetize anything that may be considered controversial or offensive.
    • Observe Youtube best practices for posting videos as well as metadata for the views possible.
  • Video
    • If you prefer not to get involved with YouTube, you still have the option of creating awesome videos and loading them to video hosting platforms like Amazon S3, or Vimeo, and then embedding them in your site for all to see!
    • Be aware of the top video types; Explainer & real footage type videos.
    • Use software like Explaindio Video Creator to create eye-catching explainer videos, and other marketing video.

So that’s the basics for a good foundation in Content Marketing. You should set all applicable elements above up and attend to them regularly. Of course, there is a lot more to it. If you want more information about Content Marketing I that for you too; you can get comprehensive Content Marketing information in my Content Marketing Crash Course eBook here>>
Content Marketing Crash Course eBook

I’ll be posting more great information as time permits. Remember, I’m focusing my efforts over at Video Graphics Edge, setting up to provide affordable, quality graphics for your video and video marketing projects. And there are also static graphics for your Branding, website, blog and more, so be sure to join me over there too!

I hope you found this post helpful and informative. And I hope it helps you come away with a better understanding of Content Marketing Importance & Ethics. I’ll have new information for you at least weekly, so be sure to join me for my newsletter, and visit the blog again soon!

Content Marketing Importance & Ethics

Catch Up On Your NAPS

Catch Up On Your NAPS

Catch Up On Your NAPS

Here is a quick tip to help small businesses get better coverage online. As you may know, I’m not talking about sleep. I’m talking about your name, address and phone number on the top ranked directories online; also known as NAPS. These directories generally offer basic listings for free, and those free listings can have a big impact on your visibility online, so make sure and Catch Up On Your NAPS!

These days people tend to go looking for what they want or need on the web, even when it comes to local services or products. Mobile devices have made it far easier to grab this information fast, right at their fingertips, rather than going for the phone book. Hence, having your NAPS accurately listed within online directories is just as critical today as having a business listing in local phone books used to be.

Getting this information in place and/or up to date is a good way to start off every new year, but anytime is a good time. You don’t want outdated phone numbers or information in there. Make sure you are checking your information, making sure that everything is up to date and accurate on those directories. You can also pick up some directories that perhaps you may have missed initially. And since things change fast online it’s always a good idea to do a quick search and see if new high authority directories are available.

The top ranked directories get a lot of love from search engines due to their popularity and the high volumes of traffic they receive. These are high domain authority sites that command top search ranks, so your information is likely to show up in a search via one of these directory listings before your website does. And even if your site does have top search ranks, it never hurts to cover another slot under a well-known, trusted directory listing for your keywords.

Simply put, NAPS on these directories can help your customers find you and/or contact you more easily. The information you include helps to inform them of what your business has to offer.

The following are some top directories to make sure to cover:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yext
  • Manta
  • Linkedin

You should make sure to have a presence on all of the top ranked directories. In addition, you may also find that there are popular industry or niche specific directories available to you to list with. While these may not pack as much punch as Yelp or Google, any chance you have to get your local service listing or business listing out there for everyone to see, and give your business the more power to get searched – take it!

Any business with a physical location will benefit from having this information included in high ranking directories. Restaurants, hair salons, plumbing companies, book stores, mechanics shops, coffee shops, even thrift stores. You name it, that business should have up to date, accurate NAPS in online directories.

And of course, online businesses can get a boost by simply having this information out there too. You can list your website, email address and PO Box address and include images and information about your products or services to entice your visitors.

Make sure to include images whenever possible, such as images of your storefront, your team, maybe your top selling product or a new product you are offering. Other information is helpful too; for instance, restaurants can post their menus. You should list any services, certifications or awards you may have. If you can include videos you have available include those. Basically, any information that your customers may find helpful, or might influence them to try your business rather than your competitors should be listed whenever possible.

The type of information you can include and number of images you can have in a given directory may vary, so just include anything you can in each one.

If you find you are really behind on your NAPS and have a lot of updating to do, or if you are just starting out and need to set your listings up on these directories for the first time, set a schedule to set up or update one directory each day until you have them all completed and up to date.

Any time you change your address, get a new phone number or the like remember to make those changes to your directory listings. This will help encourage traffic to your website, or to your place of business!

Catch Up On Your NAPS

 

 

Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers

Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers

Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers

It’s the most important aspect of any business, one that can make or break it at every turn. Even if you have all of the other elements that you need in place for your Web Presence, you can wind up losing out for of lack of good communication. So Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers is vital to the success of your business.

This goes for any stage of contact, from your audience, to those who choose to buy something from you or pay for a service (customers). Regardless of where people are in the process of their encounter with your business, you want that experience to be as good as it can be.

This means you need to make the most out of any connection you make with your customers and clients. And you want that experience to be congruent across every area of your Web Presence.

To communicate effectively you will need to help your audience, customers and clients get to know you. Help them understand your business, your goals for helping them, and what your products or services can do for them. Essentially, why they should choose your company over your competition.

Communicating this message effectively to your audience helps establish that all important connection that makes the whole world go around. And when it comes to your business, you want to make sure you are included.

You can do this basically by creating all kinds of content and spreading it around as much as you can. Your static site content, posts on your blog, videos on Youtube, top ranking directory listings, guest blog posts, classifieds, social networking, webinars and so on should all be focused on getting your message out there and making strong emotional connections. These pieces of content are the fuel that drives any successful business.

So that’s your “vehicle” so to speak, for getting your information out there. But you can put loads of content out there and get nowhere fast if it doesn’t resonate well with your audience. Fortunately forging strong emotional connections is more straight forward than you may think…

Give your audience accurate, honest, ample informative content. Content they will perceive to have value. Content that helps them solve problems. Content that makes them feel secure, and motivated to choose your company over others.

While this is a fairly simple concept, there are a few key details we’ll discuss now.

Since we have established that effective communication starts with accuracy and honesty, you want all contact with your audience to adhere to this simple rule. Be sure that everything you put out there is exactly what you say it is, that you are giving your audience the most accurate, up to date information possible. And be sure that you give them enough information about your business to make an informed decision about choosing your products or services.

This means clearly defining who you are, what you are about, what your goals are, about your message. Show them how you can help them solve a problem, or how you can improve their lives. Provide your policies and information about how orders will be handled; the promises you make to your customers.

Pay close attention to information about the products and/or services you are offering – basically provide everything someone would need or want to know about your business in order to become a customer.

Provide Accurate, Comprehensive Information Across Your Web Presence.

I can’t stress this enough. Though it may seem like overkill, and I know I’m repeating myself a bit here, you would be shocked at how many businesses fail miserably short on this. So show your customers and clients that you are different. Show them that your business is honest. That you are considerate about how your customers are treated, that you strive to provide a good experience for them. That you would appreciate their loyalty, and won’t let them down.

Since it’s always best to be honest with your customers, and of course no one is perfect,  you should also address the possibility of issues. You don’t have to weigh heavily on this topic, or place it right out front. Simply add a reasuring statment and instructions on what they should do if an issue arises, provide support contact information that is easy to locate, offer a covenient contact form on your contact page. These things go a long way towards easing worries up front, and help those who need assistance should an issue arise.

Provide every detail about your business, products and services so that there is absolutely no confusion.

Provide an accurate, comprehensive description about your products (and be sure it is unique-don’t use the same description you get from your dropship or wholesale supplier). Include clear images of the item from different angles if at all possible. If you are selling jewelry for instance, include images of the piece on both light and dark backgrounds, or whatever gives the customer the best view of the product. You may even want to set up a great looking background to make your products stand out.

When it comes to your videos do the same. Keep in mind that even though written content is effective and essential, videos are a great opportunity to make an emotional connection with your audience. So be conversational. Talk to them just as you would if you had that person right in front you. You would talk to them in a way that is courteous, professional and helpful.

Spread this information across your entire Web Presence; your website, blog, social networks, articles and marketplaces.

Live up to those promises you make.

Do what you say you are going to do, provide the information, product or service you promised. You will gain the trust of your audience, helping them to make the decision to become a customer.

It will also help you avoid problems after members of your audience become customers. Good communication throughout the entire relationship will result in loyal customers who come back again and again for your products and services. Because they know you will do what you say you will do, provide what you told them you would, and give them the support they need to feel secure in buying from you. (And it will also get you valuable likes, shares and shout outs online which will in turn help bring more traffic to your business.)

Make sure that your information is well organized and easy to find.

Clearly list your company information on an about page that provides all those details about your company. Don’t just stop at listing your contact information and policies. Tell them your story, tell them who you are, what your business is all about. Be informative and professional, but be friendly; make sure they know who you are and what you are all about. Make sure that they feel comfortable. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate by creating well organized menus.

Your product or service pages should contain all the information we discussed earlier; product or service details, ample pictures of your products, or images that accurately depict your product. Do the same with services if possible. Organize these pages in your navigation menu or menus so they are easy to find. Provide a search box so visitors can easily find what they are looking for. And feature popular products, items that are on sale, or those you recommend most on your home page.

You get the idea, make sure they can easily locate any information they need to get a super accurate idea of what your product or service is. And make sure to clearly define what your product or service will do for them. Give all the details and information you can!

Never forget to double check your content for quality; spell check everything and make sure your grammar is correct. Have someone else check it over if needed. Just make sure that your written content looks professional, because people do notice. But don’t get fanatic about it, a few errors here and there humanizes your business, just as long as it’s not too often.

Make sure to follow best practices and talk to your audience on social platforms regularly. And do the same with other external areas of your Web Presence.

All of this effort will pay off. It will not only help you acquire customers and clients, it will also help you keep them. By giving them information of obvious quality that they can find easily. Provide them with information they can count on, and products and services they love, and you will gain valuable, loyal customers. You can even become an authority in your niche, which should be your ultimate goal. And that will bring you even more success.

Provide Excellent Customer Support.

Aside from it’s obvious benefits to your business, customer service is also one of the best ways to stand out among your competition. If you go look at your competitors’ online reviews, you are likely to find more than one getting reports from customers that were not satisfied with that companies’ service. Astonishingly enough, you may even find top competitors making this mistake time and time again. Even though they know that good support is vital, a lot of businesses simply don’t provide quality customer service. Do a better job than they do, and you can pick up valuable customers.

Some of the top mistakes you will see: they don’t respond to email inquiries quickly, they don’t return phone calls, or their support is not friendly and informative. In some cases, this is due to simple lack of support staff. If you encounter this problem, it’s best to outsource the job than go lacking for timely, quality support. And in a day and age where basic email support services can be put into place for around $20 per month, it’s just plain silly to comprimise on this critical aspect.

Think of all the information you provide online as customer support.

Because even before they went astray with their customer support, those businesses were failing to provide enough information for their customers. Perhaps they even gave inaccurate information. They don’t communicate to their audience and let them know who they are, what they are about. A surprising number of businesses don’t provide enough information right up front about their products and services either. And all too often customers find that what they thought they were buying isn’t all it was worked up to be. We all know this dissapointment first hand, and you don’t want to land yourself in that category.

For one thing, if you communicate effectively it reduces the amount of support customers need after purchase. Now, that’s not to say that you won’t get questions from customers or encounter some issues. But it’s a sure bet there won’t be as much support work to do because they were well informed before they chose to do business with you.

When Things Do Go Wrong…

You will have dissatisfied customers from time to time, no matter how on your game you are with your communication. The up side; issues like this are perhaps the best opportunity you have to make a powerful statement about your business.

People make mistakes; it happens. And for the most part consumers understand that. So when you encounter an issue do everything you can to work it out and make them happy. Make a happy customer as often as you can. You’ll find that in most cases all they want is to feel that their concerns are being addressed, that they are being heard. And that you are there, more than happy to help as much as you can to make them happy.

This starts with getting back to customers and clients immediately or as soon as possible if they contact you with a question, concern or an issue. Read their email all the way through a few times so that you can address each of their concerns directly and precisely.

Even so there will be times when there is just no fix, even if you offer a full refund. You just can’t make everyone happy all the time, and a certain amount of this is to be expected. Unless you have an oddly high rate of such instances, don’t let this get you down. Just work to remedy the issues you can. Sometimes you’ll even get high marks in online reviews for the fixes you worked hard to provide for those tough customers. Either way, this will reduce the number of permanently unhappy customers or clients significantly.

Cultivate Reviews Whenever Possible.

Todays’ consumer has a world of information at their fingertips. They are more well-informed than any time in the past, and they are apt to check company or business reviews online before they buy. This means that you should encourage customers to leave you reviews on Google and other high ranked review platforms, even your website, so that those prospective customers can see what others are saying they can expect from you.

Be sure to check your online reviews regularly, at least once a month or so. Sometimes unhappy customers don’t give you a chance to rectify an issue before hopping online and giving you a bad review. So you won’t even know that they were unhappy with their experience. If you find someone who was not satisfied with your product or service, respond to those people and do your best to see if you can fix things to their satisfaction if you can.

Now for some finishing touches.

Keep your information up to date. Don’t put out that initial information and forget it. When something about your business, products or services change, always remember to ensure that all of your information reflects those changes, across your entire Web Presence.

Refresh your content from time to time; return customers like to see well maintained information. They view new content or updated content as coming from a business that is on the ball. A company that is attentive and serious about their business. Meanwhile, search engines love to see fresh content at least once every six months.

Don’t let your information get stagnate. Rewrite some of your content, like your product or service descriptions, or update your images if you have some that could stand a makeover. Even if nothing has changed, fresh content is always a plus. And be sure to add new information on a regular basis.

Keep your information, images and so on organized and stored into folders so you can quickly and easily recover it if you need to. Sometimes websites crash, or something goes wrong and content gets deleted. You don’t want to have to write all that content, or take those pictures of products again. Keep your content safe with copies of everything stored in some different locations. You’ll save yourself huge headaches in the future.

Make customer support faster and easier; compile a collection of responses to common questions or concerns. When you get an email to your support inbox that you encounter often, you can simply copy and paste the response, make necessary adjustments to personalize them a bit and click send.

You can also list these responses on a Q&A section of your website for everyone to see. That way you can work smarter, instead of harder, and still come off with stellar support.

If you are just starting out, then this may seem like a lot to cover. It may seem even harder if you are already affected by communication blunders. Just take your time, tackle one area a day or perhaps one thing a week. For instance; work on your static pages this week, directory listings the next, set customer email support in place the next week, and so on. Keep going down through the topics we’ve covered here until you have the information in place for solid, effective communication.

Implementing the information and techniques we have discussed here will have you Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers like a pro in no time. Your customers will be happier, and you will be happy because your business with grow and thrive all the better for it!

Communicating Effectively With Your Audience and Customers

Building Authority & Trust The Right Way

Building Authority & Trust The Right Way

Building Authority & Trust The Right Way

Thanks for stopping by the blog; I have a nice little treat for you here today; Building Authority & Trust The Right Way. This an important topic I wanted to cover. Why? Because people buy from businesses and people that they trust. They want to know that you know your business, and that you are reputable.

To help demonstrate this topice, I’ve got a great infographic for you that describes the path to gaining the authority and trust of your online audience, customers and clients.

When you cannot speak to people in person, it makes it seemingly rather difficult to build a good repor. Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to achieve, even on the internet. Sure there’s something to be said for charisma, and personality that your customers or clients may like, but when you take a look at the infographic I have for you here, you should begin to realize that it’s the peice of mind you can provide, the connection with you that they respect and trust the most. My point: you won’t build authority and trust if you don’t do these things offline, let alone online.

Anyway, I couldn’t say it better myself, so here you go:

Building Authority & Trust The Right Way

Building Authority & Trust The Right Way

Attention: Landing Page & Sales Page Addicts

Attention: Landing Page & Sales Page Addicts

Attention: Landing Page & Sales Page Addicts

Addicted to your landing pages or sales pages? Maybe you are thinking of using these pages to sell your products or services? Or perhaps you are working on your first sales page or funnel right now. If you are consumed with trying to create the perfect landing page, you’re out of luck…because there is no such thing. Not so far anyway.

There are however certain people who have put more time, more money, and far more consideration into carefully crafting their landing and sales pages than us dedicated, yet hobbyist landing page and funnel designers. And if you want your sales pages to really shine, they are the ones to pay attention to.

The Perfect Landing or Sales Page?

Admittedly no. These people do not have THE perfect landing or sales page. Since what works can vary from product to product, niche to niche, brand to brand, even season to season, and most importantly from one demographic to the other, the perfects sales page is likely never to happen. Especially with new technology driving us along at seemingly lightning speed; all those wildly attractive new elements, and styles to use. Let’s just face it, the way things are going we will all be doing video sales pages soon. Probably should be doing it now. And looking to figure out 3D, holograms, or something of the sort next. 

But the perfect sales page. Not a chance. No, but we can certainly strive to attain, and succeed in producing what the elite pros of online marketing achieve; landing pages and sales pages that convert like crazy. And that is our goal, right? So if you are interested in crafting stunning sales pages, sales funnels, and spellbinding landing pages, you go to the experts. And one of my all time favorites is Neil Patel. This man made his first fortune before the age most of us even finished college! I particularly like that he works hard to openly share his experience, information, techniques and knowledge with others.

And while we are talking landing pages, sales pages and funnels, I must also speak the name: Patric Chan. Both of these guys make millions of dollars a year, and they do it mostly by creating killer sales pages that convert like nobodies’ business. And better yet, with laid-back style (at least in Patric Chans case anyway), they frequently share some of their lucrative secrets with us!

So I thought I would call attention to all Landing Page & Sales Page Addicts out there, when I came across this awesome Landing Page infographic Neil Patel created. And he has made it insanely easy for us to share his recipe for success, so I figured “Why Not?” So I present to you the following informative and entertaining infographic: (Study well & enjoy!)

The Anatomy of a High Converting Landing Page
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Landing & Sales Pages Made Simple

Easy right? C’mon, you can do it. If you follow my blog, you know that I am all about sharing essential information to help everyone succeed in their online goals. AND you know I don’t want you to get ripped off by those who would take advantage of you. And they are out there. So I hope you enjoyed Neils’ Landing Page Infographic here, and as always, I hope you will take the most important step: ACTION. Go implement some of this great stuff in your own Landing & Sales pages, save yourself some money, and be pleasantly surprised with the results!

If You Are A Landing Page & Sales Page Newbie

To make these landing and sales pages that work like they need to, experts like Neil recommend using the same WordPress Plugin I prefer. It comes with a sensational page builder, and outstanding Membership capabilities. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the guys who create some of the most valuable Landing and Sales pages in the world use the very same membership plugin I use. I already knew years ago it was the best sales page/landing page builder I’d come across.  It comes with great documentation, and loaded with options to make your membership sites, sales pages and funnels pop. It integrates with JVZoo and Clickbank beautifully. But that’s just cool! 

You can just Click Here to check it out.  (Yes, this is an affiliate link. However, I have no problem referring you to this life saver of a plugin, and I thank you for the coffee if you use the link.)

If you want to just go there and not share a bit of your well-spent money with me, I won’t hold it against you. Click Here instead. But if you are looking into this kind of WP functionality, please do check it out. It’s totally worth it, I promise you.

Okay, so that’s all I have for you for now. I truly hope you enjoyed the post, and learned something that will really help you out. And I guarantee Neils’ formula will do wonders for your Sales & Landing pages. Just use it and you’ll see.

Until next time, Learn, Explore, Enjoy,

And create beautifully valuable pages!

-Tina

Attention: Landing Page & Sales Page Addicts

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