8 quick ideas to get blogging and keep blogging

 When starting off blogging so often there are two issues –
  • How do I start?
  • What do I blog regularly?

With a little rational thought you can easily answer these questions and have fun.

1. Where to start?

Look at all the material and information you already have. This will probably be marketing material, brochures etc sitting on the shelf. Don’t publish them verbatim look at the wording – read it out loud to see what it sounds like. Don’t publish it all at once – break it up into small pieces and you will get more than one post out of it. Every time you have a special offer you have a blog. 2. Case Studies You must have success stories to talk about – a happy customer, a good sale, a good month. Make a story around it.

  • What you did for the client? – “Delivered in record time”
  • Why the client was happy? – “With in client budget”
  • Talk to the sales team regularly and use their insight into the business.

3. Questions

I imagine you are always being asked questions use these to make a blog post. One idea is to have a notepad somewhere to note questions as they happen. Talk to Customer Support for ideas as well. These can be an endless source to blog entries

4. Ideas from the News

There are always things happening in your sector in the news – give your opinion. What do you think? What can you business do about it?

5. Seasonal Blogs

Is your business seasonal – most are – do seasonal blogs and don’t be frightened to re-use content from previous years but not verbatim. Look at the calendar and you will see that there are lots of possibilities with a little lateral thinking.

6. Pictures

A picture is worth 1000 words (so they say). A photo with a one paragraph caption is fine as a blog entry. Inside the business Finish product Happy employees Happy clients Its worth getting permission from people if they are in the picture and make sure you have copyright for the picture

7. Lists

Lists are great, don’t worry about the number in the list – but it needs to be a list three or more items. Every business has top list (this is one). In a dull moment or with friends make up a list it can be fun.

8. Finally

And remember whenever you are writing

  • Engage the whole business at regular company meetings for ideas
  •  Keep your blogs short and concise
  • Think about the headline – it needs to catch the eye and engage
  • User pictures where possible.

The most important initial basic mobile SEO steps to make

With more mobile sites coming on the market daily there are 3 things that people seem to forget in the excitement.

  1. Get a sensible mobile domain – or in this case sub-domain.
  2. Ensure that you full website has a link to your mobile site and visa versa.
  3. Include the word “mobile” in the title of you mobile home page.

ComScore on Mobile Content Usages Nov 2010

Mobile Content Usage

In November, 67.1 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 0.5 percentage points versus the prior three month period, while browsers were used by 35.3 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 0.8 percentage points). Subscribers who used downloaded applications comprised 33.4 percent of the mobile audience, representing an increase of 1.1 percentage points. Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 1.0 percentage points, representing 23.5 percent of mobile subscribers. Playing games attracted 22.6 percent of the mobile audience while listening to music attracted 15.0 percent.

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2010
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
  Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Aug-10 Nov-10 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 66.6% 67.1% 0.5
Used browser 34.5% 35.3% 0.8
Used downloaded apps 32.3% 33.4% 1.1
Accessed social networking site or blog 22.5% 23.5% 1.0
Played Games 23.0% 22.6% -0.4
Listened to music on mobile phone 14.7% 15.0% 0.3

form comScore http://comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/1/comScore_Reports_November_2010_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share

Microformatting another way of getting better listings.

We all know that local search marketing is all the rage because the global community is looking more to their local area than ever before – and if you don’t then get researching.

Google of all the search engines is responding  in a big way by changing the way search results are displayed. If your apparent  intent is a search for  a local provider (by using postcode or place name) then they will show integrated local results. These results are outranking and being mixed in with natural search results. The result are natural looking listing that have more items like location markers and stars from review ratings that draw the users’ eye to those listings.

For local businesses and directories the way to win here is to code your website with microformatted to allow much better information updating in Google search results.

If your businesses that provide reviews of local businesses, microformatting  these reviews can provide a good gain traffic from local searchers.

If you want to know how to microformat your website successfully then please get in touch with Community Connections and we can really help to get things kick started for great results.

In your dash for Social Media don’t forget the power of the Newsletter

Recent research has shown that email newsletters are a much better way to stay in touch with your customers than updates posted on social networks like Facebook or Twitter. There seem to be three main reasons.

  1. A newsletter is delivered to the customer inbox and stays there until it is acted on. Social networks messages are “streamed” past the customer with new postings constantly pushing the old ones out of sight.
  2. Generally social networks are used mainly to keep in touch with friends and family. Business and corporate content can often mismatch with this and be seen to get in the way.
  3. The look and feel of a newsletter is mostly under your control and will deliver a more complete and complex message. The format of delivered information on Social Media is greatly restricted and this in turn will restrict the delivered message.

Additional research showed that users, when asked how they would like to receive updates from companies, 10% elected to do so through Social Media, while 90% opted for an email newsletter.

This is really horses for courses social media is very good at delivering nuggets of information such as breaking news and one off special offers.

If your newsletter is the most important way of communicating with loyal customers and fans, so it’s important to treat them well and as more important than audience on social networks. If you have an important message for your customers make sure to send out it out in your newsletter before through your social media channels (tweeting and Facebook news).

One last trick to use in your newsletter is to feed your subscribers snippets of news and offers that they can post to their own social contacts, making them feel more informed and involved – this gives them social advantage, improves loyalty and helps spreads your message.

Think about what keywords to use for your website

Selecting the correct keywords to attract interested visitors is the most critical step in any search engine optimisation campaign. One of the biggest pitfalls is selecting the wrong keywords and then building a campaign around them. This especially true for commercial sites where you want visitors who are buying.
There are a few common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Search Volume – Don’t select phrases based on the daily search volume, but look at relevance. Think about what people using the phrase are looking for – will they be interested in what you are offering?  It is better to have a hundred interested visitors than a thousand disinterested ones.
  2. Word Order – Don’t optimise for words in the wrong order. Research keywords based on “phrase match” not “broad match”.  For example “marketing small business” under broad match will have a high search volume but using phrase match shows that what you really wanted was “small business marketing” which has an even high search volume.
  3. Search Expression Phrase Length – Don’t use short phrases – generally short phrases don’t attract buyers.  Internet buyers usually use phrases with 3-5 words. Buyer phrases are usually very specific including make, model and location to get more refined search result.
  4. Localisation – If you are a local business then don’t compete on broad, national keywords. It is much better and easier to get good ranking for local phrases i.e. search terms and location. The chances are that your local catchment is where your sales will come from. Think of your neighbourhood, village, town and county.

Community Connections can help you get good results in all these areas.

Flash is dead as a web design tool

The war over Flash is over as more and more sites and web developers are moving away from Flash-only web solutions.

Flash still has its place in the world of fully interactive designs,  but for small businesses who have not interest in this sort of market using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3 instead of Flash just makes sense.

The issue is Mobile access to your website – on so many devices Flash will not work. Even those mobile devices that do support Flash it is usually not full support and is unreliable. There is no worse experience than visiting a website from a mobile to find that it can not be accessed if the core of the site is built in Flash.

Flash was the cool tool for websites around 2005 – if you are one of these site owners then it may be time to upgrade to something more accessible.

There are some very clever on-line tools on the market that will automatically detect mobile and switch to an automatic mobile version of your site. Possibly one of the cleverest is Mobify.me where a mobile version of your site can be set up in minutes.

For more advice on making your site more Mobile friendly and on how to find out if people are visiting your site from mobiles please contact Community Connections Cambridge

Make sure your headlines are right if you want people to read, not scan.

Researchers are discovering that smaller type encourages people to read the words where as larger type promotes scanning.

This was especially the case when we looked at headline size on homepages. Larger headlines encouraged scanning more than smaller ones – an  appropriate balance is important.

Users tend to view both the headline and blurb when the headline was bold and the same size as blurb text and immediately preceded the blurb on the same line.

With a headline larger than the blurb and on a separate line, people tended to view the headlines and skip the blurbs; they scanned the headlines throughout the page more than the group that looked at the smaller headlines. If  the headline is larger than the blurb text people appear to decide that viewing the headline is sufficient and they skip the blurb.

Underlined headlines also discourages users from viewing blurbs on the homepage visual breaks — like a line or rule — discouraged people from looking at the blurb below the break.

3 tips for making better use of your Adwords

There are ways you can make the most of your budget on Adwords with minimal affect conversions.

Tip 1 – Content Network

Switch off  content network. Adwords are shown not only in searches, but also across the Content Network (i.e those sites that use Google ads) as well. Content network traffic is renowned for poor conversions and too many click thrus. You can save money by simply switching it off. You might want to look at the other channels as well

Tip 2 – Negative Keywords

Make the most of negative keywords. Many people don’t realise that their ads are showing up for all sorts of searches that aren’t even related to their products or services. The obvious one is the use of  “Free”. If your service is not free then you are not interested in people searching for “Free” items relating to your ad.  Keep a close eye on how your ads are working and spot negative words as you find them. You can do this by running

Tip 3 – Quality Score

Google looks at the page your ad is going to (your landing page) and assigns it a Quality Score. The lower your score the more you will pay per click. So optimise your landing pages – best of all write a special page for the ad this should increase conversions anyway.  Y should be able to lower your cost per click and increase your position without spending more.
There is a Google Relevance tool that will tell you how your landing page works for specific keywords

If you would like a free no obligation appraisal of your Adword Campaign please get in touch?

You need more than a domain name to cover your bases

The modern age of the internet and social media means that it is no longer good enough just to bag your domain name and build your website. I’m afraid its more complicated than that.

  1. Firstly it is becoming more difficult to find the domain name you want as more and more are registered and parked.
  2. What words your domain name consists of is becoming more important as keywords within the domain have a significance.
  3. Then there are all the Social Media handles to make sure you grab. This is especially true for Twitter, Facebook pages, Foursquare, Linkedin and blogging sites like WordPress and Blogger.

So when planning a new website, be it for a product or business you need to check the whole gambit of internet services to ensure you can secure the same “image” domains and common social media services.  Even if you are not using these services still bag the names so no-one else can use them and they are available in the future.

My advise – check them all, you might want to do this for your own name as well.

There are tools to help one of the best is http://namechk.com/

The ones to really look at are:

And possibly: