3 Fundamentals You need to understand about SEO for your online business

SEO for your business is important for growing your presence online. But where do you start, what do you need to know...here are the 3 fundamentals of SEO you need to understand to get started growing your online business.

I’m going to go ahead and say it before we even get started talking about 3 important SEO fundamentals.

You’re never going to have as much time and expertise as an SEO expert.

There is a LOT of information and strategies and just a basic understanding of how Google works to pull in search results for you to know and also run your business. You’ll always benefit from hiring an expert.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get started and do some things to improve your SEO strategies.

In fact, I think ignoring it until you can hire it out or just ignoring it in general, is going to slow your growth down and frustrate you with the limited progress you are seeing. Don’t expect results overnight and settle in for the long haul are my best two pieces of advice when it comes to making this kind of strategy change. Which brings me to my first point.

It’s an ongoing process

As buy entrepreneurs, we have a LOT of irons in the fire. We have tons or strategies to implement, administration work to complete, client projects, marketing… on and on.

Inherently we love fix it and forget it kind of systems and processes for our business. I get it, I love that too which is why I use a system to send out payment reminders, workflow items, and paid receipts.

But your SEO strategy and your website for that matter are not one of those systems.

It’s typically a lot of work up front with ongoing work daily/weekly/monthly but there is always something you can tweak, experiment, implement when it comes to SEO.

And even that upfront work may come in chunks, for example, you work on optimizing one page on your website each week until you work through all of them or you could try to bust out the entire thing in 1 – 2 days. There is no way to get around it… and with every new blog post you publish there are SEO steps you need to take with those too.

So cut yourself some slack, spend some time getting your strategies planned out, and start slowly working through your lists because it’s a never-ending process. Trying to stuff everything in a short period of time is just going to burn you out and cause you to miss out on the biggest lessons you can get from experimenting and learning what works best for your business.

SEO isn’t about keyword stuffing

There are very few things that the word stuffing brings to mind that are positive, the Thanksgiving turkey…stuffed pasta shells…stuffed pillowcases… but like your belly after stuffing yourself with turkey your blog posts also feel bad when stuffed with keywords.

It makes your readers miserable because you’re trying to get all the fancy buzzwords in and every possible combination of your topic so that search engines pick you up.

Fortunately, search engines no longer work that way, ranking your content based on the number of times the search word shows up in your content.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief because not only do we not have to figure out how to get our point across while sounding like robots our readers can enjoy our content instead of wading through the muck.

Search engines and their algorithms have come such a long way and can recognize when a blog is doing this, therefore, hurting your chances of getting seen rather than being seen. They realized the value that content can provide readers and found a way to reward those that are using keyword appropriately to build their content empire not just trying to stuff everything they can into one article.

So with a few simple steps you can optimize your posts and write for real people at the same time.

Step 1: pick your topic

Step 2: come up with a few keywords to use throughout your content

Step 3: write like you are talking to a person and sprinkle in your identified keywords.

It’s that easy to get started. Don’t overcomplicate it right out of the gate.

The almighty algorithms

It’s so easy to get worked up in trying to learn everything you can about every single SEO strategy. SEO is a game changer for your online business.

It’s important.

But don’t forget Google uses over 200 signals to determine ranking.

There is no single strategy that is going to blow your analytics up overnight. On the flipside, there is no one thing you can do to hurt your businesses SEO.

It’s a lot of different elements that come together, which is why when you can I recommend you hire an expert to help. There are just toooooooo many things for you as a busy entrepreneur to keep up with and implement.

Your Turn!

What are you biggest SEO questions? Why haven’t you started your SEO strategy? Let me know in the comments!

Pin one of the hidden images SEO fundamentals to your Pinterest board!

 

 

SEO for your business is important for growing your presence online. But where do you start, what do you need to know...here are the 3 fundamentals of SEO you need to understand to get started growing your online business.
SEO for your business is important for growing your presence online. But where do you start, what do you need to know...here are the 3 fundamentals of SEO you need to understand to get started growing your online business.
SEO for your business is important for growing your presence online. But where do you start, what do you need to know...here are the 3 fundamentals of SEO you need to understand to get started growing your online business.
SEO for your business is important for growing your presence online. But where do you start, what do you need to know...here are the 3 fundamentals of SEO you need to understand to get started growing your online business.
Ekk..Is your brand coming off as unprofessional?

Your branding can make or break your business' trust and credibility with potential clients. What are 5 signs that your branding is unprofessional and scaring away potential clients? Read on to find out

The judgment of you and your business happens rapidly…like within seconds of interacting with your content, web presence, marketing material, ie. anything you put out there about your business.

These few precious seconds are vital for establishing trust and credibility with potential clients.

And the sad reality is once they’ve had that initial impression of you it is an uphill journey to try and rebuild that relationship.

So you have to make those seconds count and having a polished professional brand goes a long way in earning that trust and credibility.

So what are some signs that your branding looks unprofessional to your potential clients? Before we get to that I want to take a second to talk about all the places that your brand lives because it may be a surprise to you how you are unknowingly affecting your brand.

Your brand is the way you define your business. It is things like the messaging you have in your social media, email communications with your list, potential clients, past clients, collaborators, biz besties…ie everyone you communicate with.

Your brand is also your visuals, everything that someone can look at and associate with your brand. Things like the packaging with your mailings, your logo, the social media graphics you use, the clothes you wear in your photos, the subjects you photograph and the way the pictures are edited all help strengthen or weaken your credibility and trust with potential clients.

I have a story to tell you about how powerful your packaging is if you ship products to clients. I’ve interacted with and bought several items from this brand that I love, they are cute and they put a lot of thought into the details of their brand. They typically include fun packaging, branded elements like stickers or notes, or even a sweet thank you. Fast forward to my most recent purchase, it was just my purchase shipped in a white bubble wrap without any branding.

I felt crushed, my favorite brand didn’t put any additional thought into this shipment. I absolutely love seeing how they love on their clients and this time they just didn’t.

And if you do work with local clients, people in your community and word of mouth referrals your interactions with others in public can also strengthen or weaken your brand reputation.

Now onto the fun stuff….the 5 signs your brand is coming off as unprofessional.

No clear vision

This may sound overly intimidating to even consider but having a clear concise vision can really help you and people you know understand what you do so that you can talk about it.

I’m going to tell on myself for a second.

When I first started I used to tell people I was a blogger, photographer, graphic designer. Then their eyes would glaze over because while I have lots of skills it wasn’t connecting with them. I wasn’t being very clear and therefore people didn’t know what I really could help with. Then they didn’t talk to me when they needed my services.

I had several people tell me after they got a new brand, a new website, family photos, etc… that they didn’t know why they didn’t think about me when they were looking for a professional.

Let me tell you…this is so discouraging. It is definitely not what you want to hear from the people you want to work with.

But it is a recoverable situation. I promise.

Just too many everything… too many “styles” too many fonts, too many colors

Another sign your brand needs a little TLC is that there is too much going on. You’re using too many styles of graphics (watercolors, overlays, 3D text) and every image is different. You’re using too many different fonts either in general or on one piece. The same with colors.

If you are constantly changing your fonts, colors, and style you’re starting from 0 every time you put something out there when trying to build recognition with your audience.

You want to pick consistent colors, fonts, and styles so that your audience instantly recognizes your content when you publish a new post.

Inconsistent usage

This is partly the result of having too many everything like I talked about above but also you’re inconsistency in sharing your vision. Or showing up inconsistently. Posting once every once in a while is going to make getting traction difficult because you aren’t showing up and building a relationship with the people you want to work with.

If you don’t have time to post everywhere or blog consistently cut back on where you are trying to be. Then focus on growing from there.

Remember the fable about the tortoise and the hare. Even slow consistent work will help you reach your goals.

You’ve outgrown your brand or you’re out of alignment with your brand

Chances are your business will or has grown and changes since you started maybe you niched down or changed something significate in your ideal client avatar. Or maybe you’ve shifted your entire business like going from services to product based.

If you haven’t made changes in your branding it is very likely that you will find your branding holding you back. You aren’t attracting the right people to your business, or people are having that dazed and confused look on their face when you tell them what you do.

It could be anything from as small as tweaking your messaging to an overhaul of your brand.

The only thing I do know is that by not doing anything and continuing business as normal you are holding yourself back.

Low-quality images

And the last thing I want to talk about that can make your brand look unprofessional is the quality of your images.

I know that a lot of people don’t have access to professional photography or have the time to set up, take and edit their own pictures so they make do with cell phone photos.

BUT…

Unless you are taking good quality photos with your cell phone your putting out less than professional images for your brand. Meaning you look unprofessional.

And in this case, done is not necessarily good enough. Take some time to learn phone photography skills and you’ll see a great improvement on the quality of your photos.

Now…I want to know where are you struggling with getting your brand polished and professional? Let me know in the comments!

Your branding can make or break your business' trust and credibility with potential clients. What are 5 signs that your branding is unprofessional and scaring away potential clients? Read on to find out
Your branding can make or break your business' trust and credibility with potential clients. What are 5 signs that your branding is unprofessional and scaring away potential clients? Read on to find out
Your branding can make or break your business' trust and credibility with potential clients. What are 5 signs that your branding is unprofessional and scaring away potential clients? Read on to find out
Your branding can make or break your business' trust and credibility with potential clients. What are 5 signs that your branding is unprofessional and scaring away potential clients? Read on to find out
Using the Divi WordPress theme? 5 reasons to hire a designer

Starting your online business is easy.

Deciding you want to do it is the first step.

Securing all the social media profiles is number two.

But somewhere around this point, you start hitting some bumps in the road.

It’s time to start your website.

Your 24/7 home that you have entire creative control over….but the process isn’t very well outlined there are a million choices and geez…you’re just getting started so hiring someone to help is OVERWHELMING.

I know…

It is a story I hear over and over again in the online community and the outcome?

DIY-ing it because there are so many tools available to get you started that you don’t need an expert by your side. You decide to take the plunge and get something up there becasue good enough is good enough, right?

Sorry but that thinking is going to end up costing you time, clients, and $$$….

Seriously.

What is the number one thing that you do every time you land on a website? You may not even think about it because it all happens so fast…

But you make a determination if that website is credible, professional, and worthy of your time and potentially money.

And if you are being totally honest with yourself you can tell when someone has DIY-ed it and it wasn’t what they’re an expert at. You know you can.

Even with all the builders and tools out there, you should still hire a web designer to get you rolling. I’ll tell you why in just a second.

But first, let’s take a second to talk about WordPress and the Divi theme.

It’s great and it really lets you have control over everything without having to touch a bit of code so you can feasibly make a good enough website with the drag and drop builder… but the magic I think comes from being able to make changes and adjustments later with ease so you don’t feel like you are constantly bothering your designer to make minor changes.

So let’s dive into my 5 reasons you should still hire a web designer even if you are using a Template builder for your website.

Familiarity with the tools

One big reason to hire a web designer is that they are already familiar with the tools. Whether that is WordPress, the Divi Theme, another theme or another platform.

They know the ins and outs and can help set your website up for long-term success.

For example, you may or may not be aware of some security plugins or an extension to the media library that will save you tons of time and help your website be secure. But when you reach out to an expert on that platform they will know the direction to steer you in or even like I do for my WordPress clients install and configure my base plugins for them as a part of the process.

Now this is going to be a common theme throughout this whole post and I’ll go into the details in its own section but this will save you time and money because you don’t have to spend so much time learning all the ins and outs of the tools you can focus on learning what parts of the tools you’ll need to know for maintenance and minor changes.

Outside perspective (valuable for all sorts of spots of running an online business)

I know that many, myself included, have struggled at one point or another with “getting in our own way”.

Yup, that’s a thing.

You could be self-sabotaging or not seeing an opportunity or stuck hitting the same wall over and over again or… the possibilities are endless.

But when it comes to your website having another set of dedicated expert eyes to look it over is going to be very valuable.

You’re going to see gaps in the content that happen naturally because you know exactly what you mean but others may not.
They will also be able to give you ideas on what you can do to connect with your audience and how to display that content effectively.

And I help my clients with their Google Analytics so that we can make educated changes to the site rather than guessing what works and doesn’t. Which is a great part of the long-term strategy for online business growth….

pst…let me tell you a secret.

Websites are never fully finished. You’re constantly experimenting and trying new things as well as growing your brand so it is important to keep fresh eyes helping to guide you on your way, think outside the box, and make sure all the important pieces are there.

Quick a cake break…

I want to share with you an analogy I came up with while discussing this over coffee with other online entreprenuers.

I bet you can make a cake. And I bet that it is delicious and perfect and just exactly what a cake should be.

Now picture the setting.

It’s a wedding. You can make a cake and it fits all the requirements of what a cake should be…. but do you make your own cake?

Sometimes but more often than not we head straight to an industry professional who knows the tools of the trade, deals with cakes all day everyday and can make a beautiful masterpiece for the happy couple to share with their guests.

So why do you try to make a homemade cake for your online business? Doesn’t it deserve an experts touch to make it exactly what you dream of?

Chew on that for a bit…

expertise in lead generation strategy and how to create an effective website layout design to attract your client

saves you time and money

Frustration central

if you aren’t enjoying it then DIY is not the route for you – you can get a great understanding of how to interact with your site even if you didn’t do the design yourself

To wrap it up…

I want you to consider one more thing as you go forward.

Your web designer is a great tool to have in your tool belt. They know their industry and have multiple strategies up their sleeves to help you create the website that is best optimized for you.

So even if you want to make changes down the road consulting with them for their ideas is a great way to make sure your website stays professional, cohesive, and on point for you. Think about it this way. I’m sure you’ve seen an older house while out on the road.

You can clearly tell where the original house began and ended because different sections were added at a different time. Presumably by different people with different ideas and materials available to them. This can happen to websites too if you aren’t careful.

And that really can undermine your message so consider reaching out for a consultation or a small add-on project to help keep everything nice and beautiful for your online business.

 

Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
No email list? How to still get visible and grow your business without one
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Sometimes you may not be ready for an email list and all that goes with it…
That’s ok, it can be scary to get into when you aren’t fully ready.
I’m always going to advise starting to grow your list because it gives you more power and you can work out the kinks early.
But I know that it may take some time.
In the meanwhile, I don’t want you to not do anything for growing your business.
Here are some things you can do while you are gearing up for a list…even though you should get yourself an email list going.  It’s never a good idea to wait out of fear until you’re ready to pull the trigger on these things. Do things to help you get closer to the goal and keep moving forward.

Turn to your current clients.

Treat current clients like gold and give them an experience they are excited to share with everyone.

This is a great way to grow your referral network. And you never know people may not be the right fit right now but they will remember you when they are especially if their friend referred you.
They are also a great resource to talk to and find out what content you could create to help others with similar problems.

SEO Strategy

Invest in your blog content’s SEO strategy.
This one is huge for residual traffic and getting found in the first place.
It may take some time, money, and frustration at first but it will pay off in the end. I only say frustration because it takes a while sometimes for your efforts to pay off and that can be really frustrating because you’ll want to try different strategies and see what works.
But coming up with a plan for your content and taking the time to implement it, learn about it or pay someone else to take it over will really help you show up in search results.
And this even helps with things like Pinterest and Facebook because Google is now searching and returning that content.

Local Connections

Don’t underestimate the power of using local connections to grow your business.
Local connections are a great networking resource as well as being a great place to start growing your email list.
When doing local events as long as you can capture and keep confirmation from them when they sign up you can add your local network to your list and start growing your online presence that way.
There are a lot of rules when it comes to what you can and can’t do with email signups so do some research before you start collecting and making sure you are compliant with the Anti-spam laws.

Testimonials are POWERFUL

Testimonials are a powerful method for attracting new clients and getting your name out there.
Sometimes you’ll see testimonials referred to as social proof.
And that is exactly what they are proof from people to people. There is another level of confidence people gain from having this outside source backing up what you are saying through your content.
Start gathering testimonials that you can sprinkle throughout your site, use on your social media, or put up around your office to remind you how amazing you are!

Invest in an awesome website

And the last suggestion I’m going to share with you for growing your business without an email list is to invest in an awesome website.
Your website is your online space to connect with and convert visitors to clients or customers and you need to have a strong online space to accomplish that.
It is especially important to have a strong website because your visitors may not come back so you’ll want it to be clear and have a strong flow that helps first-time visitors move through your site getting to know you and connecting so that they do remember you and what you do when they need your services.
Your website is the best place to connect the “what” you do with the “who” you serve and clearly make that connection with your visitors.
So if you aren’t ready to start working on growing your list right now my best piece of advice to you is to put in the time and energy to make your website functional, professional and clear.
And I can help you with that.

Are you my next dream client? Let’s get started!

Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
How to boost your content strategy in 4 easy steps

4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics

As an online service provider, I want to constantly be making my content strategy better.

I believe in the power of my content to connect with and help other business owners navigate this online space.

So I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve and I’m going to tell you what I learned in just a second. First I want to tell you about how I began my journey with content strategy.

At the beginning of developing my content strategy, I was just throwing all kinds of ideas out there looking at whatever everyone else was posting and putting my own spin on the same idea.

I think this is how a lot of people get started because unless you go to school for online business (not even sure you can) you mostly learn by observation and practice.

Let me stop you, yes there are some specific principles that apply to all business but the implementation can be different and online seems to be a whole different beast because you can connect rather than shout at your people like in traditional marketing.

Anyway, I was writing on all of these topics that were interesting to me and trying to tie them back to my overall business idea and services. But it just felt like I wasn’t getting any traction.

I was posting a LOT, like 3 times a week. But I wasn’t really getting anything for it. Just frustrated and burnt out.

That’s when I started developing my content strategy and learning how I could take my topics and break them down to support my main focus. Which made writing way easier.

Through this process, I started reviewing my analytics and trying to understand what worked on my website and what didn’t.

Sure there is still the occasional post that I write outside of my strategy because I deeply believe that it needs to be said but I always look at my numbers because it is really the missing link between determining how your topic is in alignment with what your audience is looking for.

You could be putting out killer content but unless your audience cares about it they aren’t going to stick around. You’ll have some die-hard fans that are going to read everything you put out but cognitively people are only interested in reading what is important to them right then.

Now onto what I learned about strengthening my content strategy through my analytics and how you can apply the same principles to your content strategy.

Review

Always start with a review of what is going on. But look for what content is popular.

These articles that get lots of hits or get hits consistently are great posts to look at for creating more content.

What do I mean?

These popular articles are telling you exactly what your audience is interested in and you can incorporate more content surrounding those topics into your strategy.

Maybe they are supporting articles that talk about topics in parallel and you tie them together, or maybe you are writing content that drills down even deeper into the topic and could be thought of as an advanced post to that previous one.

The beauty of building on your popular content is that you know it’s already getting traffic and you can link to the other content you create to help people click around on your site. Thus staying longer and building the relationship with your content.

Compare Content Types

Not all content is created equal and this is true of the way you are presenting your content to your audience.

Do you only do written content? Long form blog posts? Short blog posts? Videos? Graphics? Podcasts?

The list of content types goes on and on. You’ll want to create one set of content in different types and test out what your audience prefers.

Maybe your audience really loves the written transcript that goes along with your podcast content.

Maybe your video content performs really well.

By either reviewing what content you’ve already got out there or testing out some new content and running an experiment you’ll get to find what content you like to create and what your audience loves to consume.

The best way to find out what content types your audience prefers is to review the analytics and see what content is popular and then reviewing what type of content is at that URL on your site.

Traffic Drivers

Another cool think your analytics can tell you to create a better content strategy is to review where your visitors are coming from. By finding your best traffic drivers you can focus on marketing your content in those locations and letting go of underperforming strategies.

Why is this important to your content strategy?

Besides giving you the freedom to say no to posting on social media platforms that aren’t working for you…you could develop better strategies for these underperforming platforms.

Test out different ideas for driving traffic from them or give them up altogether and focus on the places that are performing well for you.

Metrics & Goals

Use your analytics to Identify what metrics and goals you want to achieve. Not every goal is supported by the same strategies with your content plan. So having a clear idea and plan for what you want to work on and then breaking it down into the steps you have to take to make it happen.

This way you aren’t wasting your precious time on strategies that aren’t in alignment with your goals.

It’s easy to get this way. You hear of this next big strategy you need to try and so you throw yourself into it. And that is totally fine but it could be even more powerful for you when you know what you are aiming for. And then you can make the decision if this strategy is right for you to try now or try later when you are reviewing your strategies and trying new things.

This knowledge gives you real power to take control of your content strategy and not get sidetracked by this new shiny strategy or that.

In conclusion…

Make your plan and implement it, then review your analytics and see how you are doing.

It’s a constant process that your content strategy will evolve through. Sometimes what is working now may not work later because of timing and what your audience is looking for right now.

The biggest thing to remember in my opinion is it is a moving target. You are going to have to keep circling back around and trying out new things, tweaking your plan and reviewing again.

So don’t give up. You’ll get more efficient at the process as you get familiar with it. And your content strategy will improve as you focus in on what is working and how to amplify that.

Now it’s your turn!

What questions do you have about using your analytics to develop your content strategy? Let me know in the comments!


Want to dive deeper into your Analytics?

Get my Google Analytics Crash Course and learn what all those numbers mean for your website and content!

4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics
4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics
4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics