1. Your logo!
You would be surprised how many businesses forget that the blog needs the same brand as the business to work as a form of brand awareness building. A logo is great for awareness of your brand and your first key element needed. It gives your blog site a face to your readers, something that they can remember it by.
Your logo is a subtle and very effective way of making your readers remember what your blog is all about and in turn, remember what your business is all about and what its products and/or services offered are.
2. Clear navigation bar
The navigation bar should be easily accessed, straightforward and simple. Your readers are after the content of your blog. They do not want to have to deal with too much design. Much like your content, your navigation bar should also be user-friendly.
3. Social sharing buttons within blog posts
You can increase your chances of going viral by making your content easily shareable on social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram buttons can be easily setup on your website to be accessed on all of your webpages.
4. Proper typography
Your font style, colour and size can affect how well a reader perceives your blog posts. True, it is the content that matters but they need to read it to find that out! If the font isn’t very easy on the eyes, you will lose the readers before the end of the post. Never use font less than 12px!
5. Responsive design (mobile-friendly layout)
If you really care about your visitors and how they view your blog, make it easier for them to navigate your site in any screen sizes especially for mobile users. In 2018, the present is mobile.
6. Related posts, most popular posts and latest posts.
These three things assist in keeping your blog site as organised as possible as it can help readers get to know what’s the latest, what’s trending and other posts related to what they are reading, further increasing traffic and subtly giving readers more reasons to stay.
7. Breadcrumb trail
If possible, add breadcrumbs to your blog site. It makes navigation so much easier and helps readers understand where what topics they are reading belong to.
8. Tags or categories
What makes tags so important is that they not only keep your blog site organised but also allow search engines to know what ‘topics’ are covered by each post, acting like keywords. They are crucial.
9. Comment box.
We can’t be clearer on this point – use every single opportunity to encourage interaction between the business and your readers. Use a ‘call-to-action’ – a line or two telling or asking your readers to do something – on every post, at least once. Once you have a large enough reader base, they will discuss the content of each post on the content box and may even provide additional insight that you can use later on.
10. About page & contact info
These are simple pages that are quite self-explanatory and they are necessary because they complete the overall professional look that you will want your blog site to have if you want to attract readers and increase overall traffic.
11. Service/product pages and payment options
Blogs are made for a reason and it’s not just to give valuable content. It is your way of advertising to your readers as well. Make sure that you capitalise on your reader base and further increase traffic by including a services or product page in your blog site. If possible, include payment options as well to make everything easier for your consumers.
12. Blog sign-up form (and/or newsletter sign-up form)
Email marketing is extremely powerful so allow your readers to receive your blog posts and/or newsletters by email. Used in this way, the content builds brand awareness, consumer trust and loyalty. Make use of it.
13. Google analytics
Google analytics are great as it gives you concrete numbers that will show you what is wrong with your blog, what is missing, how you can improve it. Look at each blog post over a period of time and learn from the results – promote those posts that do well and edit/rewrite those that don’t.
14. SEO tools
SEO plays a very important role in driving traffic and putting your site on the map. Use tools to come up with proper keyword placement, frequency, etc. so that you drive traffic to your blog site and get your site ranked higher and higher in search engines.
This checklist hopefully will help you see if you have all the essential elements on your site. Once set up, most of these things need very little attention. You can focus on keeping the quality of your content high so readers keep coming back.
Need a little help with your blogging? Get structure, support and a great big boost to get your blogging bringing in business in our six-week coaching programme. Click here to check out the next available online programme:
Pop-up messages and forms are common now. They distract the visitor from what they are looking at and the best of them cause the visitor to become a lead and to give you their contact details.
While they can work extremely well, they can work very badly and distract your visitors enough for them to leave you website.
Here are our pointers for using pop-ups effectively:
- Ask visitors for their contact details after they have browsed your website long enough to at least find out what you do.
- Get your pop-up popping up after content loads and not directly after they have arrived on the site or logged into anything.
- If possible, make your cookie part of the page and not a pop-up. We have grown very tired of cookie notices - it is an actual thing called 'cookie fatigue'! - so keep them as small and unobtrusive as possible.
- Add lead magnet pop-ups three quarters of the way down a page and make sure they don't cover the content on the page. A right side pop-up works well.
- Make your pop-ups look just as good as the rest of your site does. Use your branding.
- Give your visitor something to do next - have a box that asks for their email address or a button to click to download or read something. Ask for their email address, not their shoe measurements or anything else.
- Make them work on your mobile version or hide them if they don't.
- Keep the text short.
- Make sure that if they can click to reject it, they don't have to click on something like 'I don't need your report' or, as below, 'I don't want to know the latest trends'. Keep it friendly.
Google has some strong feelings about pop-ups.
To avoid them penalising your site, make sure you avoid:
You can create pop-ups in:
However you use pop-ups, get them fitted into your sales process. They should help you visitor become and lead and, one day, a client.
For specific help with building your sales process or website, find out more here.
This is an unusual time. The coronavirus has changed our personal lives, our work lives and the lives of almost everyone, around the world. March and April 2020 will be remembered for the next hundred years, if not longer.
Businesses are in shock. While some are obviously suffering, others are near collapse under the weight of a huge upturn in sales.
What is your situation? Have you got a handle on where you are now and where the business will be in 3 and 6 months.
If you are still working and have money coming in now, should your strategy be to look ahead three/six/twelve months and work out what you need to do now to make sure you have work and money coming in then?
If you are in one of the industries that are thriving right now (or perhaps better put as getting lots of sales right now), is it inventory you need to focus on and for marketing, what do you need to think about to make sure you keep getting sales longer term?
If your sales have dried up or you hadn't had time to build them up before the world locked down, do you need to focus your efforts on protecting the brand awareness you had and building it up so potential customers know that you exist?
Every business needs its own survival strategy right now. What's yours?
It is tempting to retreat at the moment, especially if you are at home, rather than in the office and if you have children at home, it is especially easy to deal with today's tasks and not think ahead.
We aren't sure what 'ahead' with look like, are we?
Although nothing is certain now, nothing is ever certain. What we do know is that 'out of sight, out of mind' is fairly true now and under more normal conditions,
Do you want your potential customers to remember you when they need/want you?
Small businesses start with zero brand awareness. No-one outside your immediately family has any idea who you are or what you do. You may be at the bottom but the only way it up, right :) What we do is start to tell our own network what we do and then spread it outwards from there.
Usually, as long as you keep up the effort, the awareness of your business - your brand - will grow.
Do this now. If you have been in business for years or just for weeks, treat your brand as an unknown fledgling and help it grow.
"Brands that continue marketing efforts throughout a recession also do better in the recovery." Perform, 2020
A business account on Instagram is free and really easy to set up. If you use your Instagram for marketing your business, there is no reason not to convert your account to a business account.
A business account gives you:
Here is how to do it.
- Only 3 lines of primary text will show on Facebook mobile News Feed. People will be prompted to click to view additional text.
- The max height for photos and videos will reduce to 4:5 on mobile News Feed. The tallest supported aspect ratio for images without links and for videos is now vertical (4:5). Media taller than 4:5 will be masked on Facebook's mobile News Feed.
You will need to think hard about the first three lines of your text - they need to inspire people to click 'See More'. Not an easy task!
On the positive side, images that you use for Instagram will work better with this Facebook ad format.
Contact via email is often the best, most effective way of marketing your business so hand over an ebook, free report, guide to something important – anything that your potential customers will think it is worth giving you their email address for. Then remember to email them, regularly.
If you have advice to give, try creating an infographic using a template online or free creation service such as Canva or Venngage.
Everyone loves a good image/graph/chart!
1. Stay on top of the latest Instagram trends in your industry
Hashtags are a key tool to use when posting but also use them to keep up with things happening in your industry. Look at what your competitors are doing. For example, if a competing yoga studio is offering 50% off evening classes this month, don’t post about your 20% off. Wait until the end of the month.
2. Use Instagram's direct message function to get in touch directly with followers
There is a huge gap between social media marketing and the personal connection often needed to close a sale. When you can see a specific reason why a follower should buy your product/service, send them a direct message simply explaining why. If you don’t see any clear reasons right now – maybe you haven’t yet launched or your followers aren’t ready yet – use direct messages to create a first step in their relationship with you and your brand. Be personal.
3. Click on the explore tab (popular page) and engage with potential followers
The ‘explore’ tab on Instagram is where popular photos and videos get featured, usually tailored to your previous behaviour and that of your followers. Use it regularly to find new accounts to follow or engage with – this, plus hashtag searching, is your fastest route to new followers.
4. Experiment with shoutouts
A ‘shoutout’ is when another Instagram user posts a post about your business. Ideally you'll each do a shoutout for each other but this needs both accounts to have similar follower numbers to be fair. The more people you reach out to, the better and this technique is commonly used. It is effective if done correctly.
5. Post attractive and provocative (in the business sense!) images and films
High-quality photos and images with plenty of colour tend to get the best reactions on Instagram. Combine looking good with real value for your followers, especially if you want more engagement. Ideally, post photos and videos that evoke some kind of emotion – a feeling of trust, agreement, humor, motivation or even mild fear – such as the fear of missing out or the fear of a taks deadline if you are an accountant!
6. Don't overuse filter effects
You can choose a filter to use for all or certain types of posts but keep your posts very clear and easy to see/read. Filters themselves add nothing to your business success on Instagram!
7. Use hashtags properly
Don’t bother using Instagram for business if you aren't going to use hashtags properly. These are YOUR MAIN ROUTE TO NEW FOLLOWERS. Use all 30 each time if you can. Do not describe what is in the image directly but connect the image to your potential clients and their needs/wants/interests. So, adding your own brand name as a hashtag only works if people will search for it. Instead, if…say you help people with their health, use hashtags such as #getfit and #workouts. Don’t forget the most important hashtag of all – location, location, location – unless you are online only!
If you want to get engagement from your followers, you should be posting content regularly. That doesn't mean posting 10 images a day. Posting between once a week and once a day is frequent enough to do a good job of keeping your current followers interested. You will lose followers if you don’t post for a while but, more importantly, you won’t make any sales either.
9. Interact and engage with your followers
A step so many businesses miss out on is replying and reacting when followers like and comment on your posts. Try never to ignore engagement. Instagram itself will be much less likely to promote your posts to new audiences if you don’t react to engagement on your profile. What is crucial is the engagement – it is here you are most like to start a buying process or build a relationship before a sale later on.
10. Don't be tempted to purchase followers or use an automated commenting tool
There is no point in having followers if they aren’t real people, they aren’t your target market and especially if Instagram recognises that you bought them. Think quality over quantity in every case. The same goes for automated tools. Firstly, Instagram might spot it and shut your account. Even if it doesn’t, the automated tools tend to follow the other people using the tools, without considering your target market. You’ll end up with random followers who will unfollow after a few days.
Try these useful tips and watch your Instagram account grow with followers and hopefully start generating sales too. If you need some help, we run both training courses and can run your account for you. Find our next workshops here and get in touch here for a chat about your business Instagram account.
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