You have probably heard that a blog is an important part of your website and when you remember, you add a post.
But why is having a blog an important part of promoting your business?
There are five main reasons;
- It helps position you and your business as the expert – the go to person who knows everything that is needed to know
- It builds a relationship with your customers and potential customers
- It helps to build your brand awareness
- It helps with your search engine rankings as you will have fresh and engaging content being added to your site
- It increases the traffic to your site
Just having a blog as part of your site is not suddenly going to do all of the above. You will need to work on your blog and write engaging useful and unique content. Try and post a blog post at least once a week and share it on social media and in your newsletter.
Not convinced you need a blog?
Here are some stats for you;
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads
- Interesting content is one of the top three reasons why people follow brands on social media
- Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages – which means more ways potential customers can find you
Source: Social Media Today
What Do You Write About On Your Business Blog?
Write blog posts about what your customers are looking for;
- Think about the questions that you often get asked by your customers and answer them on your blog by making them into an interesting article with images and extra info.
- What is the latest news in your industry? Can you write a blog post that is a bit controversial as this has a bigger chance of being picked up by social media.
- Look at your keyword research and see what your potential customers are searching for online.
- Your posts can include video clips as well, this would be a great way to show what your products or services are really like.
- You can also introduce your team on your blog – a day in the life or who answers your calls and why you are all the best at what you do.
Researching, writing and keeping your blog up to date will take time but it is worth it.
If you find that you are a bit short on time but want all the benefits of having a blog we can help by writing posts when you need them and we can also manage your blog for you.
Please get in touch.
Really excited as heard this week that I am a finalist in the Mumpreneur Awards 2014, the business awards solely for parents in business in the UK.
“Mumpreneur” Reaches Finals of National Business Awards
Mum, and entrepreneur, Suzanne Daykin, has earned herself a place in the final line-up of The Mumpreneur Awards, an annual ceremony aimed at celebrating parents throughout the UK who manage the difficult task of juggling business with
The mother of 2 from Swindon, runs Little Web hut, helping small business owners stand out online through social media management, blogging, online marketing and web design. Suzanne also runs her own websites; Cheap Wedding Solutions, Anniversary Gifts By Year, 1st Birthday Party ideas and has recently taken on the Coolest Pet site too. Suzanne also finds time to blog and run the social media campaigns for LumiPotti.
Suzanne has been shortlisted for the Voice category, which is open to exceptional Mumpreneur bloggers. Suzanne has been blogging since 2007 and hopes she has what it takes to walk away with the prize.
As well as being shortlisted for this category, Suzanne is also in with a chance of winning the title of The Inspirational Business Mum 2014, which will be awarded to the mum who is an inspiration to all women in business, and could walk away with a fantastic prize.
Judging Suzanne’s entry will be a panel of top entrepreneurs but she’ll have to wait until 8th November, when the winners will be announced at The Mumpreneur Conference and Awards, being held at the Heart of England Centre in Warwickshire.
Busy with a website redesign for 1st Birthday Party Ideas to make the site cleaner and easier to navigate.
Have also moved the site from SBI to WordPress which will make the site easier for the client to manage and gives it a much cleaner look.
Benefits of Moving From SBI to WordPress
- The hosting is much cheaper
- The site also now has a blog as part of the site as standard.
- A more modern look.
- Easy for the client to add new pages and edit old ones.
New Website Banner
We have now moved a number of SBI sites to WordPress and it is a relatively smooth process with very little down time for the site owner.
If you are interested in moving your own site, we can;
- Make a copy of all of your SBI files
- Set up a new wordpress site with either your old site design or a new one.
- Create a new site design for you.
- Manage the site transfer to our own wordpress hosting.
- Re-create your current site pages to wordpress.
Please get in touch if you would like to find out more.
Really pleased to start working with our new client LumiPotti to help grow their online business.
LumiPotti is the only complete toilet training potty from Small Ideas. LumiPotti was launched this year and they have already won a number of awards.
- Gold in the Loved By Parents Award as the Best Toilet Training Product
- Highly commended in the BANTA awards 2014
- Winner of Right Start Best Baby Essentials 2014
- Shortlisted at the Mumii Awards 2014
- Shortlisted in the Nectar Small Business Awards 2014
Small Ideas is definitely one to watch, excited to be part of the journey.
Being social online can really help a small business find new customers, chat to old ones and get the word out about what they do and what they are about.
Being social is about being human, if you think of the web as one big party then you want to be there chatting, helping and quite often having a laugh with potential customers. You really don’t want to be the one that turns up late to the wrong party and then bores everyone telling them stories and tales all about you.
First Find The Right Party
Where are your ideal customers hanging out? Are they on Linked In, Reddit, facebook, pinterest, youtube, twitter, or instagram?
If they are on all of them it would be a good idea to choose a couple of places to start with and party well, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
If you don’t know where they are, have a look at where your competitors are hanging out and see how well they are doing.
Also, use the search facilities on these platforms to see how many people are chatting about what you do or the products you sell.
In the real world if you turned up at the right party you wouldn’t stand in the middle of the room and start shouting who you are and what you do. And it should be the same in your online social world too.
- Start following people that talk about things that would interest your potential customers and share their content. Be generous and do this without expecting any return.
- Reply with relevant comments and new useful information to their posts.
- Have a laugh and join in the fun, be yourself. It will all help make your small business more social.
- If you get it wrong, apologise.
- And share items, about your business that show the human side. It could be a photo of you all packing up orders, drowning in a sea of boxes, you and your stand at a local fair or sharing you using your products.
How To Use Social Media Automation
When you run your own business it is hard trying to do it all and managing your social media accounts is quite often low down on the list of priorities. There are a number of tools that you can use for free that will help you monitor and evaluate social accounts.
Currently I use hootsuite but I have also used sproutsocial and tweetdeck.
You connect all your social media accounts and can then monitor what everyone is saying about you. Plus you can follow those in your industry and monitor keywords that could be relevant to you and your business.
It cuts down the time you need to keep up to date, you can also schedule posts which is very useful for when you know you are going to be busy or when you are on holiday.
However don’t go mad on using automation as it is obviously not very human. It would be like you sending a recording of yourself to the party to be played every hour – most people are going to turn you off and they are very unlikely to stand there and tell the recording that they would love to do business with you.
Use automation wisely to get an important message across but don’t just use it.
There is a lot to be said about standing next to the most popular person at the party, sharing a joke, maybe even a glass of wine and having a laugh.
I had a funny twitter conversation last week that has been bugging me. It all started when someone asked what were the best traffic sources to attract more traffic to wedding sites and since I look after one particular wedding site, Cheap Wedding Solutions, I felt I was in a good place to share my experience.
So I shared the usual; search engines, facebook, twitter and pinterest and left it at that. However, quite a few people couldn’t believe that pinterest was that useful,
they couldn’t see the point
I know, shocking! Well probably only shocking if you have started using pinterest.
For those of you that don’t know, pinterest is a social site where you share your favorite images and you pin the images to boards that you create.
For pinterest to help drive traffic to your site you need to have a lot of images. It works really well for gift sites, weddings, interior design, gardening, cooking, babies, fashion, hair and beauty, sport, books – life basically. If your site is about life then it is a good idea to have a pinterest account.
Pinterest also works really well for coaching, marketing and business advice – just think of all those inspirational quotes on fab images and infographics. Most things can bee made into an image.
How To Set Up Your Own Pinterest Account
- Go to pinterest and register with either your facebook account or with an email.
- Set up your account as a business account as you will then be able to use the analytics to see which of your pins are the most popular.
- You will then be asked what you are interested in which will personalize your experience and show you images within those sectors.
- Next, go to your profile and add new boards themed to your important keywords.
How To Attract New Followers & Traffic
If you are using pinterest to gain new followers, fans and ultimately more traffic and customers to your website you will want to pin images that you know they will love.
Here are my top tips to get lots of new followers
- Add the pin it button next to all your images on your site, so visitors can share them for you.
- Pin great looking images from your site on to themed boards
- Pin other peoples images to your boards
- Like other peoples images and leave comments for them
- Follow people that are pinning similar images to you.
- And then repeat!
As you use pinterest more, you will start to be invited to pin to other people’s boards, definitely accept the invites as you will then be able to share your images with their fans. But just like all social media, keep it real and pin other people’s images too.
If you need help setting up your pinterest account and boards, or you would like someone to help you build your followers as you don’t have time, please get in touch.
If you have a facebook fan page for your website or blog you may at some point want to add a new tab to the top of the page. It’s perfect if you have a newsletter or an offers page then these would be great to add as a link from your facebook page.
Here is one client’s facebook fan page with their new custom tab for their newsletter sign up.
The great thing is it is fairly easy to do yourself, honest! I use the Woobox App to do this, most of the features are free but some more advanced ones you will need to pay for. The instructions below won’t cost you anything.
Step By Step Instructions For Your Own Custom Facebook Tabs
Step 1: Go to Facebook and login as yourself, and install the application. Install the page tab (see image below)
Step 2: Choose the Facebook Page you want to install the tab on – this will be available in the drop down box at the top and then click “Add Tab”
Step 3: Setup the newly installed page tab so it can be shared, click on the Edit link (top right of the top box) and you will see all of this, with your website details in!
Step 4 This is where you fill in all of your details and you have a few options
- you can redirect your fan to another page
- add your website page to your facebook page – I use this for newsletter sign ups
- Add your own html – this would be good if you wanted to add your own personal welcome message
- Or they could see an image when they click on the tab – could be good if you were showing a flyer
Don’t forget to add a new Tab image, this will need to be 111px wide by 74px tall. You could create your own image on your own graphics package or use a free web based package like Picmonkey.
And then you can save your settings.
If this is the first time you have used this App on facebook then you will need to autorise it to manage your page – this means that you will be able to edit the tab. There doesn’t seem to be a way round this, which is a bit annoying.
To make sure everything is as you want with your tab on your facebook page it is a good idea to open your page in another tab so you can refresh and make any changes that you want before you exit the App.
If you have any problems with this, or would much prefer someone to do this all for you, please get in touch.
What is SEO?
SEO or search engine optimisation is considered by some a dark art and not something that us everyday folk need to know about or could possibly understand. But if you have a small business online, free traffic from the search engines is a big bonus, but remember it isn’t the only way to get traffic.
And that is all SEO is, telling the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask for example what your website is about and also telling them how great your site is too.
As search engines are not real people (seriously, there are not little people running around the internet finding what you want) they need to know in a fairly uniform way all the important information about what you do. They send their spiders out instead to find out all the information about your site and pages, they are not real spiders either. So much for dark arts and potions involving spiders legs!?
SEO In The Past
A couple of years ago telling the search engines about your site was really easy to do; you filled in the boxes with the title of
your page, chose the best keywords for your page about what it was about, placed those in as many places as you could on your page, added the keyword to your title, your description of the page, described your images in the alt tags with the same keywords and then linked to that new page using the keyword in the description. Phew that’s a lot of keywords!
However things change, search engines especially Google change their algorithms and all those sites that had over optimised are now penalised.
But if you still want that free traffic from the search engines you still need to tell them what you are about, but in a very real and authentic way, not in a BIG shouty way.
So, still choose your keywords carefully, look for those that have a reasonable demand and not much supply. More on that in another post. Place that keyword in your title, add it once to your description in a normal way so it makes sense and also once in your keywords data, plus use the keyword on your page of really interesting and unique content.
And that is really important your page needs to be very unique, in your own voice, relevant to what the title and keyword are and it has to answer the question that your visitor wants to know about.
Of course just filling in the right boxes is not going to suddenly bring you oodles of traffic from the search engines, but it helps to have everything in place!
How Do You Get More Traffic?
Traffic will come to your site when your page is shared on social media, linked to in emails, and when another site links to your article and page telling their visitors how great you are.
When the search engines see all of this activity on your site it sends them the signal that you are worthy of sending some of their traffic. They can tell that your page answers visitors questions and will send you traffic that is looking for that information.
It is really important to keep the buzz very real too, here is my list of dos and don’ts;
- don’t pay anyone for hundreds of links back to your site
- don’t pay for likes and followers to your social media accounts – they won’t come and buy or interact with you
- don’t exchange links with everyone you have ever met – link to sites you think are worth linking to.
- don’t write loads of articles for article sites for the link back to your site
- don’t add your site to a ton of directories
- don’t write thin content
- do write great content, that is unique
- do answer your visitors questions
- do share your pages on social media and be active on social media
- do add your own unique images
- do write attention grabbing titles and descriptions to make people want to click and read more
Social Media Plays A Big Part In Traffic For Small Business Websites
Search engines do change their algorithms a lot, they do this so that their results are the best they can be to ensure people carry on using their search facilities. There is no way that anyone can know what they are looking for exactly so don’t spend hours trying to. Believe me it makes your head hurt!
Instead make sure you have the basics in place – all of your meta data filled out and then write great content that you know people will want to share.
Social media is the biggest free tool small businesses have to bring traffic to their websites, and having a plan in place will really help to bring more people to your site. Plus search engines do monitor the activity of a site on the social media channels so it is a double win.
One of the sites I manage the social media for receives hundreds of very interested visitors every day from Pinterest, definately worth checking out if your site is very big on images.
Web hosting is a vital part of owning your own website, I know that won’t have come as a shock to you but how much web hosting you actually need probably will.
Before I started out working online I was a normal, trusting individual and presumed that when a web hosting company provided me and charged me for 500MB of web space that was how much I was going to need. I normally went with the smallest packages as they were the least expensive and always ended up with loads of space left over. There really must be millions of web sites with so much unused space.
I know that websites will need more space over time and they will also need more monthly bandwidth as the visitors and page views increase each month, but to be honest very few small business need a massive amount of online web space. And you can always increase the amount of web space and bandwidth over time.
Just so you know;
- 1024 Kilobytes (KB) = 1 Megabyte (MB)
- 1024MB = 1 Gigabyte (GB)
Hopefully I am not making your head explode, but I do like numbers, they appeal to my logical side and if you are like me and like to know how things work as a whole then hopefully this will help you have a lightbulb moment. (Obviously that has to be said in the voice of Gru from Despicable Me)
How to save money on web hosting is all about buying what you need.
How Much Web Space Do You Really Need?
Web space is the amount of space your website takes up being online.
If you are planning on using WordPress as your content management system (it’s free) to create your website you will need for a typical wordpress site 5-15MB of web hosting and approximately 20KB per page on your site.
If you have 100 pages on your site you will need approximately 2MB space for your pages.
You will also need space for your images on your site too, 6 images needs approximately 1MB.
So, if you want a really small site to tell the world a little about you and your business you really don’t need that much space.
Which is why we have set up a hosting package with 25MB of space. Perfect for small businesses.
How Much Monthly Bandwidth Do You Need?
Bandwidth is the amount of data that transfers between your website, your visitors and the internet. The more visitors and page views you have in a month the more bandwidth you will need.
If you like numbers you can work out how much you will need using this formula;
Daily visitors x Daily page views x Average page size x 31
Work out your average number of daily visitors and page views, it would be safe to say an average page size of 40KB would be a good size content page with a couple of images and 31 is the most days you can have in a month.
e.g. 10 daily visitors x 40 page views x 40KB x 31 = KB = 1984000KB
1984000KB divided by 1024 = 1937MB
With that calculation our package that provides 2000 MB of bandwidth a month would be perfect.
Change Your Hosting Package
If you find that you need more space and bandwidth as your site is attracting more visitors then we can easily increase it for you.
Also if you find that your hosting provider is not being as flexible as you need for your business or blog then we would be happy to have a chat through your options.
You don’t want to go too small either as this would have an effect on how your visitors see your site, it may end up being too slow and that would put them off.
The Little Web Hut has been a dream of mine for the past 8 years, during that time I have been creating my own content rich websites, managing online businesses and learning the dark art of attracting visitors to my sites without spending any money.
Well, it’s not really a dark art but when you first start out, it can seem overwhelming as there is so much to learn and the terminology doesn’t make it easy. I wanted to find a place to share what I have learnt, what has been successful and what to avoid when you have an online business.
The biggest one to avoid, if you can, is packing boxes in your garage during the freezing cold winter months, unless you have a large number of layers! I sold that business to a lady with a much bigger garage than me!
Thankfully there is a heater in The Hut so sub zero temperatures are not so much a problem now and my lovely cat LC likes to keep me warm in there too.
If you need a hand with your online business, from getting you online to increasing the traffic to your site I would love to help.
You can get hold of me via email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you.
Here is to your online success!