What Are Google Alerts? & How They Can Help Your Business

We all know how important it is to protect your personal identity online, but are you also protecting and monitoring your business’s brand online? Do you know every little thing that is being said? All of the positive and all of the negative? If you answered “No”, you really should consider finding out what is being said. It can potentially be what makes or breaks your business and your reputation.
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Are You Afraid to Blog?: Why You Shouldn’t Be

When we are working with a client and re-vamping their website, or building a new one from the ground up, we always ask “Would you like to blog on your website?” We have found that question is one that many people are very quick to say “No.” But after we explain the benefits [original content, content, content is king in the eyes of Google!] and the idea resonates for a while, we usually get the “What does blogging entail, how hard is it and is it REALLY going to benefit myself and my business? question.

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Why You Should Hire Us As Your Maine SEO Consultant

If you have taken a jump into the land of SEO [search engine optimization] only to find yourself completely overwhelmed and not sure if the SEO techniques you are currently doing or reading about will only end in you being black-listed by Google, which means your business’s is dead on the Internet. Did you just find out that “Yes!” you can be black-listed on Google? If the company or individual you hire is not practicing what we call “White Hat SEO” AKA the good SEO techniques, you will end up in the one spot you don’t ever want to be… Not a friend of Google!

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Why Your Website Should Be Mobile Friendly

The reality is that we live in a world where 83 million people globally are mobile phone web users. There are many different reasons to why your website should be mobile friendly. For starters, let me clarify for you the difference between a ‘mobile friendly‘ website versus a ‘mobile optimized‘ website because there is a big difference, but I often see the terms used interchangeably. A website that is ‘mobile friendly‘ means that it is a website that can be viewed on a smartphone because it’s a HTML website, NOT flash*. A ‘mobile optimized‘ website means that the website, when viewed on a smartphone is transformed to fit the size of the smartphone screen. *Note – Please read our post on 3 Reasons Why You Don’t Want A Flash Website.

  • Did you know that Google has a separate index for mobile users? Well it does and it is substantially smaller than Google.com, so by making your website mobile friendly, you will rank higher as far as SEO [search engine optimization] for mobile search.
  • Being mobile friendly is better than having an app [application] for your website. An app can’t always do everything that your website can do. A website is always instant access for your users without any limitations.
  • Keep in mind that mobile advertising is on the rise! There has been a huge increase in mobile advertising. It is projected that ads for the mobile web will surpass 6.5 billion by 2012.
  • If you’re looking for a way to increase traffic, get your website mobile friendly. If your site is not easily accessible, studies have shown that your traffic will decrease.
  • There is a WordPress plugin called Mobify that will make your website mobile friendly, which is just another benefit for using WordPress as your CMS!

If you find yourself thinking “I need to get my website mobile friendly!”, well you’re definitely not alone, but it is something that you want to do sooner rather than later. So give us a call, tweet, email or Facebook message… We’d love to help you get your website mobile friendly. Did you know that the average iPhone user only spends about 45% of their time making calls. The other 55% is spent checking email, using apps & the mobile web! Is your website accessible to the 55% percent of people that have the ability to access it?

How To Find Related Twitter Followers To Engage With

So you just signed up for Twitter… Now what? Remember that Twitter is about building relationships and starting conversations, and MOST importantly, listening. In fact, you will probably spend more time listening [or reading tweets] as you begin using Twitter to build your business and/or brand. Twitter is all about finding real time conversations and injecting your brand when it’s appropriate.

Here are 3 ways to help you find related Twitter followers to engage with:

  • Twitter Directories - Twitter directories such as Wefollow and Twellow allow you to assign yourself to a specific genre[s] relating to your business. This is also a great place to find similar businesses or other influencers within your industry.
  • Twitter Bio Search - Every Twitter profile contains a short bio entered by the user. Followerwonk is a tool that allows you to search the bio of every Twitter profile. It’s helpful to find people interested in specific topics and niches that are related to your business.
  • Real-Time Twitter Search - There are many ways to search Twitter in real-time. One of which is search.twitter.com and the other is Topsy. Twitter’s internal search function allows you to search tweets by keyword and location, which is very helpful for finding Twitter followers local to your area. Topsy’s search also shows tweets, trends and other social networking status updates.

Hopefully these three ways will help you find related Twitter followers to engage with. Remember that listening is more important than shouting your brand’s message online. It takes time, patience AND consistency, but by breaking up the time into small chunks, it’s feasible!

 

 

How To Brand Your Business Online

Inconsistent and/or inaccurate branding of a business can make it difficult for people to understand who you are, what you are doing and why your business exists. Many small businesses tend to put branding on the back burner and focus more on growing their business. This is a big mistake because your brand can be the key to your success.  Keep in mind that your brand is also your company’s face to the world and people need to be easily able to find you. You want to start tweeting your brand, networking your brand, advertising/promoting your brand, but most importantly, be consistent!

You want the same look everywhere. By ‘everywhere’ I mean:

  • All thumbnails/avatars, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr icons should be the same [No eggs if you want people to take you even a little bit serious].
  • You want to make sure you have a Facebook Welcome Page that matches your website.
  • Your Twitter background, website, email template and email signature should all consistently display your brand.
  • Set up a blog and become the subject matter expert in your industry. Again, try to be as consistent as possible.
  • Protect your name! Make sure have registered all various domains in case someone types in the wrong exchange, they will still get to YOUR brand. As an entrepreneur it may also be a good idea to secure a domain in your name with all of the variations including; .com, .net, and/or .biz.

If you’re looking for consistency with your online brand and need help getting started, talk to me! I KNOW that my Mainely SEO team can get you on the right track to having that strong online brand presence that you absolutely need.

Why You Should Comment On Blogs To Build Your Brand

If you have your own business then you know how important it is to get your brand “out there.” By now you also know how important it is to have a strong web/social media presence if you expect your company to survive and thrive amongst your competition. Part of  the strategy to meet your goals and build your brand should be to actively blog comment.You should also be participating in the conversations in and around your brand’s niche. There’s a whole lot going on in cyberspace regarding you company’s specialty, I guarantee it! And why wouldn’t you want to be an active participant? If you aren’t, you are probably missing out on precious dollars that I know you would love to have.

I read a lot of blogs each and every day and I am very thankful to Google Reader for keeping it all organized for me, but I am even more thankful to all of the bloggers out there that keep the original, awesome content coming! If you read other blogs, I guarantee that you will come up with some ideas that could help your future blogging efforts or that may help you to market your brand more effectively. Either way it’s all good stuff.

By blog  commenting you are creating many potential opportunities for yourself, many of which you may have never realized. For example, if you leave a comment on someone one else’s blog, you may get more traffic to your website because someone came along and found what you had to say to be interesting and wanted to see what else you had to provide. This can lead to conversation, that turns into more followers and subscribers, that results is more business for you. Makes sense right?

Some more advantages to blog commenting include:

  • Increasing your search engine ranking because you are building links back to your website.
  • Getting an idea for a topic for your next blog post. It tends to happen and if it does, go with it!
  • Building relationships – If you are leaving positive, thought provoking comments that provide some sort of value or create a conversation you will build up your network which could lead to more opportunities and connections.
  • Marketing! The more you comment, the more you are getting your name and/or brand out there for the world to know about. And the more it seems like you know what you’re talking about and/or doing, the more authority you will gain within your industry and we all want more authority, don’t we?

You always want to try and make sure that you respectful when you do comment. You do not have to agree with everything that everyone says, but you should try and be respectful and mindful when making your mark. Also, never ever spam! You only want to produce relevant comments, not ones that are blasting your website domain all over the place, not being relevant to the conversation. This will only get your comments deleted, and potentially banned from commenting in the future.

So get those comments going on the blog posts that you find worth commenting on, because at some point, your business and your brand will be right out in front for everyone to see. Why?  Because you blog commented your way to building your brand just the way you envisioned.

If you aren’t sure where to find the blogs that are related to your industry and/or niche, you may want to check out the following:

 

Image courtesy of Zazzle

 

Why Your Business Needs Social Media

I don’t think it would be an understatement to say that in the past five years social media has absolutely exploded! Facebook has an estimated 700 million worldwide users and Twitter has about 50 million tweets being sent per DAY. If you have your own business and you do not have a web presence via either a website, Facebook page or Twitter account you may be missing out on reaching as astonishing number of people that can potentially turn into new clients or customers. But before you get too excited we need to chat… You need goals and a strategy. Otherwise you have a Facebook page and Twitter account but what’s the point if you don’t know how to properly utilize it? Just to say you have one? OK, so your prospective client or customer goes to your Facebook page to “Like” it. Great! Are you providing them with any useful and engaging content? The social media world can be very intimidating to someone that is not familiar with it at all. However, I think everyone  has been convinced and can agree that social media is now necessary for the survival of a business in today’s world. And if it’s not necessary, it always helps.

There are many of reasons as to why your business needs social media:

  • It reveals your customer/client’s interests
  • Introduces your brand
  • You learn what your customer/client’s like and don’t like
  • You get feedback
  • You are able to showcase your company’s personality
  • You can share!
  • You can create contests or provide coupons/discounts! [Trust me, this is becoming HUGE online].

But the two most important things to keep in mind when using social media effectively for your business is to have, yes I am saying it again, goals & a strategy!

All of your tweets and posts should be coordinated to meet your ultimate goal, which should be to establish trust, build your brand and make money [increase sales]. By incorporating a social media strategy, you will quickly discover what is being said about your business’s industry and from that you will be able to listen and respond to these opinions, criticisms and suggestions about what may or may not be a problem, that YOU could potentially solve!

Trying to dive in & incorporate social media into your brand/company can be a very daunting & time consuming process and to be honest, if you don’t really know what you’re doing or aren’t doing it with any sort of strategy in place, you are more than likely wasting your precious time. If you are thinking of getting your brand/business online, & you know that you need to have a social media strategy in place because you know it will help you to increase sales, but you don’t know where to start… & the thought of tweeting and status updating sends your head spinning? Call me, tweet me, Facebook me, email me, or text me because I will help you to get on the right track to where you will soon be saying to yourself “Why the heck didn’t I do this sooner?!” because how can 700 million people be wrong? [They probably aren't ;) ]

 

 

3 Reasons Why You Don’t Want A Flash Website

As an internet marketing company that designs and builds websites for small businesses, we at Mainely SEO get the question time and time again when we meet with new, potential clients…

“Can you make our website like the ones where things pop up and fly by, there’s music and it just looks really fun and cool?”

Each and every time we tell them “You really don’t want to do that [in fact, we won't build Flash websites] and here are three reasons why…”

Flash websites [those created entirely in Adobe Flash] may be visually appealing with all the fun and excitement they usually contain, but there are several reasons why a flash website isn’t the best option for you or your business and how it can actually do more harm than good.
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5 WordPress Plugins I Use & Why

If you want to take your blog to the next level, here are 5 WordPress Plugins you may want to consider using. The best part about all of them is that they are FREE!

Social Media widget/icons - This is the first plugin that you want on your blog if you want to be make your content shareable. Sharing content is the entire point right? AddThis and ShareThis are the two most popular icons that I know you have all seen at the bottom of various blog posts and articles. Get this plugin and be part of the power of the sharing revolution.

LinkWithin – If you would like to increase your pageviews and time people spend on your website [decrease your bounce rate], you may want to consider installing the LinkWithin plugin. This is a blog widget that that appears under each post, linking to related stories from your blog archive. The content you write is valuable and you don’t want the past blog posts that you have spent so much time on getting lost behind all of your new content. The best part about this plugin is that it is minimally styled and will fit right into your website design.

Google XML Sitemaps - This plugin helps the search engines [Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com] to better index your blog. This is very helpful to help spread and sculpt your page rank which over time will allow all of your pages to be indexed by Google.  The best part about this plugin is that it notifies the search engines every time you create a new post about the new content and this is exactly what you want and need. Trust me!

Disqus – This plugin replaces the WordPress comment system, is pronounced ‘discuss’ and gives you the ability to comment on blog posts and have social features available.  The best part is that is has full spam filtering, blacklists, whitelists, and you have the ability to receive comment notifications via email and also the ability to reply by email. Very convenient when you need to play spin control over a particular post.

FeedBurner - Yes, I know WordPress already comes with RSS capability built in, but if you want options and the ability to see your subscribers growth and engagement, this plugin is my final must have. Options and tracking within your blog? Yes PLEASE! FeedBurner takes your RSS feed from your website and allows your visitors to subscribe. If your web address ever changes, your subscribers will follow. Another cool function is that you can inject Google ad words into your feed and begin to generate an income from your blog

If you have been thinking of making some improvements to your blog, make sure you consider installing these 5 free plugins. They will make a world of a difference to you and to your blog subscribers. What plugin is your favorite to use and why?