Blog on Websites

So many of my clients ask me why I keep banging on about having a blog on their website.

And I hear so many excuses – not having time, not having anything interesting to say, etc., etc.

The truth is that it’s vital to have a blogs on websites because you, as the writer, are an expert in your field and you can provide valuable information to help other people.

Not only that, if you do the posts correctly, you can improve your website’s ranking in Google by using the right keywords and providing changing content on your site.

Jo Dodds explains it really well here in her guide to social media blogging

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Organic Listings

“So what is it that you actually do?”

Hmmm. I’ve heard that question a lot recently.

Basically, most businesses spend a lot of money on advertising in media that has been around for a long time. Strategies that they understand. Physical directories in book form or local newspapers. It’s expensive but, historically, it’s had a relatively good success rate.

Over the last few years, these traditional methods of advertising have experienced strong competition from online services which offer a similar product on the internet. Again, it’s expensive, but if someone comes round offering to provide you with your own website and the marketing to go with it, if you don’t understand computers, you bite off their arm.

However, whilst these companies can be very successful in getting your company ranked on Google, they are in it for themselves, not for your business.

This means that, in many cases, the Google juice acquired from the website that bears your name actually goes to the advertising company. The data relating to ‘your’ website is, often, either too generic to give your company any real help or actually drives the Google spiders towards their website. A lot of the time, this is because the people designing those websites don’t understand how meta data or keywords work.

Another way of advertising is to use Google Adwords. Specific keywords that relate to your business and which are given a monetary value that you agree to pay every time someone clicks on that link.

"organic-listings"So, on the Google search pages, the top two or three returns will be ‘paid’ or ‘sponsored’ links. As will all those in the right hand column. If anyone clicks on them, the companies to whom they link pay Google the agreed amount, a figure which varies depending on how high up the listing you want to be. The url at the top will have agreed to pay the most money every time that link is clicked.

The other links on the page are known as organic listings.

These are sites that the Google spiders, scouring the internet on your behalf, have decided are the best match to the terms of your search.

In days gone by, the sponsored links would get as many as 30% of any clicks on the page. However, recent data shows that only 2-3% of searchers actually click on the paid listings at the top of the page and only 1-2% for the column on the right-hand side.

Averaged out this means that if you’re spending as much money as you possibly can advertising on Google Adwords, you’re still only able to get 4-5% of the available clicks on that page.

This is because the general public are becoming more internet-savvy. We now know about the composition of the page and that the person at the top of the paid listings might not be the cheapest or, indeed, the best. More and more, we are turning to the free organic listings which are decided through popularity.

As a website owner with a site optimised for a specific keyword, you want your business to show up in the top ten results on that page.

The site at position Number One will get as many as 45% of any available clicks.

Position Number Two will receive between 11 and 18%.

7-15% of users will plump for the url situated at Position Number Three.

Sites ranking from 4th to 9th will get 2% of the clicks – equalling the performance of the best paid rankings at the top of the page but without any monetary input. That’s right, they get the same number of clicks for free.

Curiously, because people ‘scroll’ down, the site in 10th place is better placed than the six sites ranked above it, achieving 3% of the page’s interest.

So that’s what I want to achieve for my clients – front page ranking for their chosen keyword but, better still, getting them slotted into the top three or tenth spot on the free organic listings.

And, I tell you this for nothing, I’m a hell of a lot cheaper than Google Adwords.

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Starting Up Your Own Business

The gurus kept on saying that the best place to start a new business is the internet. Apparently, it’s the cheapest place to fail.

But that really isn’t the best frame of mind in which to decide that you want to put yourself out there, liable to ridicule and the risk of failure.

With all his experience at dealing with official form completion, my friend, Gray, would say that you have to start with a business development plan which addresses exactly what you want to achieve from your labours. What’s the end result? Where do you see yourself in five years time if all has gone according to plan?

I’m afraid I did none of those things. I sort of toyed with the idea that I might be any good and I put a few feelers out here and there which led me to believe that people might be interested… at the right price.

More than anything, what I came to understand was that there was no money available for internet advertising because it was an unknown quantity. They were still putting their faith in more ‘reliable’ methods of driving traffic, even though they knew that it was expensive. As far as they were concerned, they had spent their money on something that had a ‘proven’ track record. So, whilst accepted strategies appeared to work to a certain extent, business owners were not prepared to pour any more money into their marketing budget. Especially when they didn’t understand the new ideas or any of the new-fangled technology.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’ve put a picture of two neck/shoulder muscles at the side of this picture. Well, they were what gave me the oomph. The final push to actually launch myself back into the business world and face the consequences.

It’s been nearly three years since I first started to get a pain in my shoulder and realised that the movement in my neck was restricted. Two osteopaths, a physio and a year’s worth of yoga and pilates later, I’m finally starting to get better. But it was Mike’s massage that really put my recovery into hyperdrive.

I went in for an Indian head massage to try to free up the tension in my traps – those two muscles that run down the side of your neck to your shoulders, but he suggested that I have a good, old-fashioned back and neck treatment instead… and could he use some sports massage techniques?

I should have known from the twinkle in his eye when I gave him the affirmative that it was not going to be pleasant. Hell, I’ve listened to Chris Moyles and his team receiving sports massage on the radio in the morning. Their squeals have confirmed to me that, generally, a sports massage tends to equate to pain before relief.

So, as I lay there with his elbow wedged into my semi-spinalis capitis, exhaling enthusiastically to try to relieve the agony and knowing that he still had to do the other side, I heard my voice say: ‘So, do you have a website?’.

His response echoed the well-worn path of other friends in business… and that’s when the idea struck me. I knew that I needed to have a lot more treatment to really get better but I couldn’t afford to come twice a week every week. So supposing, instead of using cold, hard cash, we came to some sort of mutually benefical arrangement that utilised the swap of services.

And that’s when I made the appointment to see him and discuss it properly.

I’m not sure that I really thought this business deal through properly because, as things stand, he gets to look at my bottom and inflict pain, whilst I get to stay up ’til 2am cursing the computer…. hmmmm…

Anyway, no cash has changed hands but he has a fully-functioning website with an ongoing marketing strategy and I can now turn my neck to either side without experiencing the familiar tightness and discomfort.

He’s now moving in on my tight hamstrings and I’m looking at the many opportunities to list his business with online directories.

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Starting Your Own Small Business

So, here we go!

Finally, I get my act together and start a blog about my own activities on the internet.

It’s all very well telling people that I can get them online and then find them customers, but if I can’t do it for myself, then there’s no pudding and certainly no proof.

In the eight months since I first attended an ‘internet marketing’ seminar, I have been sifting through all the different ways to make money on the ‘net.

And what I’ve discovered is that the only people who are really making money are the ones who are selling products that will make you money on the internet.

Invariably, there is one vital piece missing from all of their ‘inclusive courses’ or ‘mentoring programs’ – OOMPH!

People either don’t have the energy or the confidence to get out there and have a go.

Well, I’ve tried most of the methods now and I’ve made a few bob here and there but certainly nothing that would buy me a new Ferrari… or even support my expensive vegan chocolate habit.

I felt as if I had wasted my time and should go and get a proper job.

However, that’s when it struck me.  All these months, I’ve been learning all these systems to generate traffic to websites that were built from blogging templates.

I should be starting my own small business working with all this knowledge. In comparison to a lot of people, I am an expert in this area.
"Jo Shaer Social Media Solutions"
And who are the people I interact with every day?  Small local businesses who don’t have the budget to hire an expensive web designer and don’t have the time to market themselves online.

What they need is someone who can build them an affordable website that they can run themselves and a virtual assistant who will handle their online advertising strategy, preferably using as many free methods as possible.

Hello!  I’m over here!!!

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