why your business service should be using content marketing

Content Marketing: Why You Should’ve Started Yesterday

Creating a customer base is difficult. I get it. It can feel like a constant hustle to reach out to people, create ads, make phone calls, and convince people to use your service.

What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be like that?

One of the biggest mistakes that I see in the service industry is that too many companies aren’t taking advantage of content marketing. In short, content marketing is creating and distributing content that is both relevant and valuable to your customers (for example, a video about how to fix a clogged sink).  Show them your best your best projects.  Show them behind the scenes of your company.  Trust me, people want to see.  I’ve built a multi-million dollar service business largely on content marketing, and one of oldest pieces is still bringing in sale after sale.  I continue to charge forward with more content!

As one of the few tools that brings customers to you, instead of the other way around, content marketing is one of the most effective (and cost-efficient) methods of marketing.

Here’s how to take advantage of it.

  • Start Now.  The best time to implement a content marketing strategy was five or ten years ago. The second best time? Now. While it can be frustrating to look at more established companies with mountains of content and visitors, that doesn’t help you or your company.Although it can seem overwhelming at first, the most important thing that you can do is to start creating content immediately. It doesn’t have to be perfect content. You can spend hours and hours editing a blog post or a video to make it perfect, but it’s better to simply get some content out there on the web — anything.The older your content gets, the stronger it becomes. Since Google ranks your content, in part, based on how old it is, you have to start getting something out to the world now. As I mentioned earlier, a blog post from 5 years ago still generates a tons of sales…. It gets over 200 visitors per day from organic Google searches, around 150 visitors from Facebook ads, and it is active part of other emails in our sales pipeline.  Personally though, every time I look at the page and read it, I cringe (see here).
  • Create a Strategy.  Just randomly posting content at odd intervals isn’t going to get your anywhere. Once you overcome the initial hump of just posting some content, you then need to think about your strategy is going to be.To create a content marketing strategy, think about the type of content you’re going to create. Is it going to be a blog? Will it be photo series of your projects? Will it be a YouTube channel?Once you’ve decided what kind of content you’re going to provide, think about how often you’re going to provide it. People like to know when to expect your content to be released, so consider choosing specific days and times for which you will release your new content.
  • Provide Value.  Your content is useless if it doesn’t provide value to your audience in some way.So, how do you provide value?Think for a minute about the types of questions that your customers are always asking you. Maybe you’re a mechanic, for example. If people are always asking you how to change their spark plugs, that’s a great place for your business to start. You could create a blog post about how to change spark plugs, or you could create a video that shows people how to change their spark plugs.

    There are all kinds of ways that you can go about finding questions to answer.

    You can go by what your customers are asking you in-person, you can look through comments that people are leaving on your website, you can search industry-related forums to see what people are asking, or any other way you can think of that helps to answer your customer’s questions.

  • Promote Your Material
    • What good is your content if nobody sees it?  The best way to get your content in front of people is to optimize it for the search engines. Your best visitors are the ones that find your content organically through a search engine. While it would be great to rank your content for some of the most common search terms, that just isn’t going to happen for most people. Focus on search terms that are a bit less common but that you can rank on the first page for.In addition to getting your website found organically, you should also be promoting your content through social media networks. Depending on what niche your business is in, you can use networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Pinterest to promote your material. Find out which networks your customers are using and post your material there.
    • Be Different.  Anyone can look up an article online and rewrite it. However, that won’t cut it most of the time. You have to be different than your competition.Instead of focusing on rewriting content, find out what your competitors aren’t doing. Maybe their articles are missing some key content. Maybe they just haven’t answered some of the questions that you’ve been hearing.Fill in those blanks. No matter what it is, find out how you can separate yourself from the competition.
    • Your Next Step.  If you haven’t already gotten started, get started now. Today. Write a blog post. Take some photos. Create a video. Sign up on social media.
    • Whatever your next step is, do it now.  I understand that creating content can feel like getting started on a walk at the bottom of a mountain, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Just like hiking up a mountain, focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t even look at the peak.

Before you know it, you’ll be standing on the top looking down at everyone else.

Aside note: While I do have a post about The Problems Of Content Marketing, I should clarify that the problems only exist once you reach a high level of success with content marketing and start generating interest from a huuuuge audience.  Something which many will fail to do.  At that point you’ll be making plenty of money, you’ll be out of the day to day operations, and should look to implement processes to handle the issues, and capitalize on your new audience (coming soon: a post on how to handle the problems that come with content marketing on a large scale).

Content Marketing Why and How To Get Started

Content Marketing: Why & How To Get Started

If you have ever searched for something online and saw a bunch of web pages come up, you are seeing the process of content marketing in action.  Content marketing involves creating material, (blogs, videos, social media posts and emails) in order to attract your audience’s attention. If you haven’t started with your content marketing strategy just yet, then you are late to the game. Bear with me, not all hope is lost!

Here are Some of the Many Benefits of Content Marketing:

  • It can help increase your traffic and brand visibility
  • It can help you create relationships with your prospects
  • It will allow you to build trust with your clients and prospects
  • It will help you to be seen as a credible expert in your industry

If that doesn’t convince you, maybe these stats will.

  • “53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.” (HubSpot, 2017) (Source)
  • “Content marketing has become an almost universal tactic, with almost 90% of companies using it in 2016, and even more utilizing it in 2017” (Source).

One of the best things about content marketing is that once you put it out into the internet world, it will continue to work for you over and over again. You see, once you put an article online, it will stay there forever and the older it is, the better chance it will have at staying ranked. If your content is made up of great quality, then the results will be even better. Getting your content shared, commented on or liked will also help to push visitors and traffic to your website.

Personally content marketing has been the single most effective generator of growth for my contracting company in South Florida. It answers customers questions (before they ask), and establishes us as the resource.  It takes a cold prospect and warms them up before they even pick up the phone to call us.

 


Inbound Marketing

Gone are the days where we need to go door to door to pass out flyers. The new marketing trend is called inbound marketing. This means that people will come to you instead of you going to them. By having great content circulated the web online, you will be able to see this passive marketing strategy in action.

Where Do You Begin with Content Marketing?

It might seem overwhelming at first to not know what to talk about or where to start when it comes to coming up with a content marketing strategy but let me make it easy for you.

I’ve been putting out content  since 2012 when I started my company and it definitely helped me grow into a multi figure business. Since it builds upon itself, there’s no better time to start then… well 5-10 years ago! The 2nd best time to start  is right now. It’s time to get things off the ground and rolling.

A lot of business owners get stuck on not putting any content out there because they don’t have any ‘good ideas’ or they are worried that their content might suck. These thoughts will leave you with not putting any content out there ever… and you can’t afford to miss out on all the great benefits that content marketing can bring to your business.

One of my best pieces which continues to bring in new leads and lead them to closure is the blog post ‘4 Types Of Screen Every  Homeowner Should Know About [And What To Avoid].  It’s a post a wrote up on the fly, and quite frankly I cringe every time I look at it, but it works.

You don’t need to be overwhelmed by how to start. You need to just start getting content out there and you’ll get the hang of it.

Here are Some Simple Blog Post, Article and Video Topics to Start With

If you run a service business you might be sick of the same questions that your prospects ask you day in and day out. You can actually use these questions as ideas for content topics. Answer these common client questions by turning each question into a 500 word blog post answer or a 2 minute video.

I’m sure you can think of at least 5 questions that you get on a day to day basis. Once you have all these answers written up on your websites blog, or in  video format, you will be able to save some precious time by answering your client questions as well as point them to your video or website blog for even further information.

The best content is the content that circulates and gets syndicated and shared. If your clients like what they see, chances are, they will share the post with others and your website may be in front of new prospects at the click of a button.

A simple FAQ page on your site can do wonders. Don’t forget about the call to action at the end of your blog posts. (Give them something they want, like a discount, promotional offer or invite them to subscribe to your blog for more info)

Your assignment this week is to take notes of the common questions your clients ask you, and simply write down the answers. Take your notes and add them to your website. Share these links through your social media outlets, your email campaigns and maybe add them to a few article sites.

If you break content marketing down, you’ll see that it doesn’t always require some big elaborate strategy. It starts with one question and one answer at a time. You’ll get the hang of it.

Keep in mind, I’m not telling you to just tell your clients to get their answers online, you’re still going to have to be personal in your answers, and keep a friendly conversation going.

But by having them head over to your website or videos for more information, you are also making your clients aware of your other services. These clients will be educated consumers and will trust you and your business more. They will be more satisfied with their experiences if you can provide them with the information they are looking for.

Rules for Content Creation:

  • Keep it factual and set a clear line of expertise.
  • Be personal and friendly. Write or speak in a tone that seems like you’re right beside them (kind of like I’m doing here with this post).
  • Point to other similar links on your site.
  • Share your content wherever you can.
  • Add images to your content (preferable from your own photo reel).
  • Be consistent and relevant.

It’s surprising how very few contractors are actually doing this. You may have already noticed but if you take a look at other service business owners, they may have only a few blog posts on their site. That’s a good start… but content marketing doesn’t end there. You need to be consistent with content marketing starting today. And keep building on it. Don’t stop – there’s always something you’re going to want to tell your customers. It’s pretty simple.

Quick Trick: Turning Paid Post Likes Into Page Fans For Free

If you’re running Facebook ads, you’ll certainly have folks who ‘like’ the post – assuming your posts are relevant and engaging.  While post likes are good, wouldn’t it be better if you could turn those people into an audience you can tap regularly?

You can, quite easily.  It’s a little feature often overlooked.  Unbeknown to many is that Facebook gives us the opportunity to simply invite those that have liked our posts, to like our page.  These are people that have already engaged with your content, and now you’ve got the chance to build a further connection with them.  Taking those post likes and turning them into page likes keeps your content in their news feed regularly.

Unfortunately, there is no automated way of doing it so you must click each manually, but its something that can be easily done in only a few minutes per week.

Website First Impressions And Your Home Service Business

Website First Impressions And Your Home Service Business

You don’t get a second chance at making a first impression, and with the way of the internet your website is often making the first impression while you’re working, or at least it should be.

And it is important that the first impression is a damn good one.  It doesn’t matter if your selling home services, auto repair services, or b2b printers.  Not only does it increase the chances of an inquiry and sale, but a study has found that a positive first impression leads to higher satisfaction.

Ever visited a poorly made website (aka a website that does not breathe) and immediately tried to find the back button? We all judge based on the usability and appearance of a website before we waste time reading anything else or making an inquiry and your clients are no different.   Even with my experience in marketing, I still gravitate towards doing business with companies that have a clean and breathing website (notice I didn’t say amazing or well designed website, more on that in a later post – leave a comment to remind me).  And to a degree it does reflect internal organization.  The way I see it, as a consumer, a business that has a professional website, has a bunch of reviews, and uses Adwords, generally has their shit together well enough to effectively handle my needs.

Within seconds of landing on a page we that first impression is made and a few key details are anchored in the prospect mind.  A negative impression will lead to clicks away and few inquiries while a positive impression leads to not only substantially more inquiries but also better targeted inquiries.

They will quickly form an opinion and if it is negative, they will click away and you will have lost a potential sale or long-term contract.

Upon first find a website most home service prospects usually determine:

Company Scale

First and foremost for home service businesses, customers will immediately determine if you’re a large organized operation, or on the other side of the spectrum, a small informal operation.

There’s a fine line you have to balance on that spectrum as well.  A website that is too nice or professional may intimidate potential clients, particularly if you are a tradesperson. This is because a large and impressive website may not be representative of your company scale and you could cause people to look elsewhere as they feel you are too big of a company for them, or charge too much.  At one point in 2016, I had ditched a totally pricey redesigned version of my company website because it looked too big, and the feedback was that many prospects thought we were a ‘big corporation’

You need to maintain the “family business” mentality and avoid something too corporate or impersonal. With trades in particular you will find that potential customers are looking for localized companies and their websites should reflect this rather than that of a multi-national corporation if that is not what you are.

Location

Are you making your location obviously? If you only cater to a small area, which is most home service businesses, then make this known to avoid disappointment. Also ensure that if you have several branches or different contact details according to customer location that these are highlighted as well. I find the best way of doing this is prominently displaying your local phone number with area code.

Brand

What does your website say about your brand? It is clean, professional and easy to use or is it a bit of a pain to handle? Your website represents you, so apply the same principles to your website as you do to your business. Also remember to use the same color palette, style and logos or graphics as well as this helps with brand recognition and keeps it consistent across the board, making your website an extension of the real world.  A clean and organized website will convey a clean and organize operation, whether true or not.

Feedback Conscious

If you’re comparing two business websites, one that displays customer reviews, and one that does not, which one lets prospects know that the business cares about their customers and wants more happy customers?

Obviously the website that displays the reviews.

Showing customer feedback, and showing that you care about it subconsciously lets prospects know that you’re customer oriented and in it for the long haul.

Services

Are you making your services clear? Does your website easily highlight the services that you provide as well as what you don’t provide? Being unclear about your services can waste visitors and client’s time and could also be misleading which could cause legal liability issues further down the line. Ensure you have clear guidelines about what you offer as well as what is included in any packages, particularly if your website allows customers to buy directly to avoid confusion and disappointment.

Common Website Mistakes

  1. Confusing Navigation – A common mistake for businesses when choosing website designs is that they forget that users won’t inherently know how to use it. YOU know how to use it because you either put everything where it is or someone has explained it to you but you need to remember that users aren’t mind readers. Make navigation easy to use and obvious so that clients and users can get to where they want.
  2. Too Focused on Images – You can create a beautiful website with stunning graphics, colours and design but if it doesn’t have the content that the user needs, it’s effectively useless. Make sure you have all of your services, up to date pricing and the information you want to convey before you package it nicely so that you know it won’t be forgotten.
  3. No Contact Page – Someone has landed on your page, found what they wanted and now they want to hire you, but how do they contact you? Make the “contact me” page obvious from the homepage (it will also be picked up better by search engines this way) and this will allow you to convert website traffic to leads more easily.
  4. Too “Busy” – When someone lands on your page, you want them to look at a variety of things but trying to draw their attention in too many places can be confusing and make them click off. Keep it easy and simple and focus on the one or two elements of your website that are most important.
  5. Ad Heavy – Ads and advertising space can be an excellent revenue stream from your website that you should look at utilizing but ensure that you aren’t putting on so many ads that it affect usability and experience because this can be a big turn off for many.
  6. FAQ – Your website is bound to provoke questions so always aim to have a frequently asked questions page where you can highlight other areas of your website as well as respond to natural questions that customers will want answered before they contact you.

As a representation of you and your brand, your website is important and has to give the right impression. You will also need to bear in mind that those who are looking to pay premium prices will gravitate towards a professional, clean website that makes it seem worth it, particularly when no tangible products are available as they are buying your service and your website reflects the service that they are purchasing. Remember to make your website easy to use, presentable and on message so that you can effectively reach your demographic and rank higher in search results which also gives a better impression to users who are looking for you.

the new seo is no seo

Why The New SEO Is No SEO

Although this title might sound a little bit confusing, believe me, read on and you will completely understand what I mean by “The New SEO Is No SEO”. Gone are the days of searching for the perfect keywords for your site. Stop worrying about the proper tags, coding, keywords and meta titles and descriptions. Search engine optimization can get lot easier, especially if you don’t pull your hair out worrying about SEO. Let me explain how this concept works.

Search Engine Optimization can take up a lot of your time. There are industry terms and techniques that are confusing, not necessary and worst of all, extremely time consuming. You want to be focused on selling your products, your services, and your company, not on which tag goes where on your website.

SEO is something that I see lot of home service business owners, obsess about. Getting free rankings for keywords organically would help you get some traffic to your site for sure, and certainly sales, but many take it a bit too far and spend countless hours or thousands of dollars trying to do SEO.  Hell, I’ve been that person pulling my hair out late at night, checking keywords day after day to see if they’ve gone up further in the rankings.

Yes, getting targeted search traffic is awesome, and very valuable, but if you’re actively doing “SEO”, I’m here to tell you that you’re fighting a mythical game. You don’t know exactly what is going to rank or what factors will get your site ranked, and neither do the so called ‘experts’. Even there is some trickery out there that gets you to the top of page 1 fast, its only a matter of time until google catches on and cuts off that free and easy traffic (aka your site loses substantial rankings).

So What Do I Do Instead of SEO?

I use to focus on search engine optimization and getting specific researched keywords ranked and that was all I cared about but I actually found myself wasting time just worrying about a certain keyword and its performance in Google instead of actually getting anything productive done. You see, a lot of time is also wasted by doing on page tricks to rank faster and higher, but in reality, most of it gets you no where.  These days the Google algorithm is good enough to figure out what your site and pages are about with little input in the way of SEO.  Its even sharp up to pick up when you’re trying to game it.

Rather than worrying about SEO,  you should instead be worried about creating great content for your website. I know that might sound cliche and you’ve heard it numerous times before but it is the winning formula. If you consistently create great content that educates your customers, and engages your readers, Google will do the rest (for the most part, sharing it directly with your customers, and audience when you get the chance does help).

By answering your customers questions via making blog posts and videos, and stuff that people want to see, your website will see organic traffic. You’re much better off focusing on content creation strategies than using keyword ranking techniques word for word, or trying some link building campaign.  One reputable marketing agency for contractors, DarrenSlaughter.com, has even stopped offering “SEO” as a service, offering only blogging.

It’s not rocket science and there is no trickery, just create content with good topics, use relevant information to what you offer on your products and services pages. It doesn’t even have to be perfect. The point is to just get it out there and start helping people with your great content.

With the content method, you will sleep better at night because you won’t be worried about rankings. If you have enough content covering your products, services and some common answers to common client questions, you can get the keyword rankings naturally and without the stress of implementing SEO techniques.

I hope you are realizing that by now, your primary thought should not be focused on rankings – but on creating and posting good content instead. Let the SEO work happen naturally in the background while you’re focusing on helping your clients.

For example: there is a page on my website with number 1 rankings that I created that gets the most traffic thus far. It’s this post here: 4 types of screen every homeowner should know about and what to avoid. It’s from 2014 and this page gets over 200-400 visits per day!  There was no specific focus keyword when this was written and no keyword stuffing or image tags, meta descriptions, page optimization work whatsoever and it’s our most popular page.

Another post ”Keeping dirt and debris out of your screen enclosures” is another top page on my website that drives a bunch of traffic and leads to sales. There are several posts on my site that have great rankings, and I wasn’t even focusing on keywords at all.

One Blog Post and That’s It?

I’m not saying that you can just write up one blog post one time and get first page rankings. Your website needs to also look great, be user friendly and be updated with consistent content. I like to call this, making sure your website breathes. Your website needs to stay relevant and current with your consumers needs. If you choose to put a blog section on your site then do your audience a favor and keep that content rolling out. 2 posts a month minimum is what you should be aiming for.

It happens so often in the home service industry and you’ve probably come across this a few times. You visit a website, and you see a broken page error, or you can’t access their blog page, or perhaps their social media links aren’t working. These are still things you need to pay attention to if you want to get your web traffic to turn into real clients. You need to nurture your website, just like you do with your business.

Convinced Yet?

I hope this tells you that it’s not all about SEO! Focusing on answering questions is a much better use of your time. By uploading great content consistently to your website, you might even be able to delete meta descriptions, titles, keyword loaded images and even be better off without all the SEO tricks.

Online marketing is now all about creating content. That should be a huge plus for those of us who spend our days supervising crews, and dealing with customers.

Why Nextdoor.com Should be on Your Radar

These days, it seems like there’s a new social media site popping up every single day.

While the major ones are still around, it’s difficult to sift through the smaller sites and start up sites to find networks that are actually useful.

But that’s exactly what I just found with Nextdoor.com.

After a potential client called me up and told me that they found me on the site, I had to check it out for myself.

After looking through the site for a bit, I was impressed with what I saw. The interface was simple, the content was great, and the potential for the site is enormous.

That’s why I’m going to let you know what I found, why it’s useful, and how it could potentially help your business.

 

What is Nextdoor.com?

nextdoor.com

 

If you’ve never heard of Nextdoor, the concept might sound a little bit strange to you. The basis behind the new social network site is that your network is comprised of your actual neighbors.

Yes, you interact with the real people that actually live in the same geographic area as you. Not people from all around the country or world that you haven’t seen in five years. While I was a little bit skeptical about the service at first since they ask you to provide your address (yes, I know that it’s already accessible on the internet), I decided to create an account anyway.

The verification process is what initially convinced me that this was a reputable service.

When you go to create an account with Nextdoor, they put you through a series of identification checks to make sure that you are who you say you are. Once I logged in, I was shocked by the sheer number of my neighbors on the platform – I actually felt like I was late to the party.  Although there are certainly some people who could probably game the system, I was pretty convinced that the people signed up around me were who they said they were.

 

What are the Benefits of Nextdoor?

The best thing about Nextdoor is that a vast majority of the information that gets posted on the platform is highly relevant to the local community, and home ownership. Whereas your Facebook feed gets filled with useless memes and videos, the posts on Nextdoor are all about things that are relevant to the community in which you live, and the property.
And the stuff that isn’t relevant is quickly filtered out by the moderators.

Here are just a few things that the network covers:

  • Contractor Recommendations
    Users can post discussion threads about anything, but there are frequent posts for contractor recommendations. The cool thing is that not only can people reply, but the replies that are left mentioning the name of the business are automatically tagged to that business making it easy for a customer to see ALL the recommendations of that business.nextdoor advertisng
  • Events
    Putting on a garage sale? A block party? No matter what it is that’s going on in your neighborhood, you can let everyone know. It’s an easy way to organize people that you’ve never even met in person.
  • Safety
    One thing that just about everyone in every community can agree upon is that they want to live in a safe area. While some neighborhoods rely on a neighborhood watch program, Nextdoor allows people to discuss things like robberies, break-ins, scammers, and anything else that may be detrimental to a community.
  • Pets
    Losing a pet is awful. However, Nextdoor makes it much easier for people to find their lost pets or find someone to watch their pet while they’re gone.
  • Creating Community
    All in all, these things come together to create a much more friendly, inviting community in your neighborhood. Whereas you may have never even met some people on your street, you can now come together to meet people from all over your neighborhood that you never would have talked with otherwise.

In addition to all of these great things that help to build community, there is one more aspect that is especially relevant to those in the home services industry.

Using Nextdoor for Business

Although creating a happier, friendlier community is the primary focus for Nextdoor, there is also an added benefit for those in the home services industry.

Recommendations.

As people interact on the Nextdoor platform, they are bound to need some work done around their homes. What better way to find a reliable contractor than to ask people that you know and trust in your own neighborhood?

That’s why you want to be a member of Nextdoor if you’re a contractor.

While your local business page is unable to interact in neighborhood conversations like a normal person can, there are several ways that having a business page on Nextdoor can help you.

With a Nextdoor business page, you can access Nextdoor’s color-coded map that shows you what neighborhoods people have recommended you in.

In addition, people can recommend your page to other people on the network, and they are also able to reach out to you directly. Although you cannot reach out to people yourself, it’s a great place for people to find your business.

Advertising

Another important feature on the platform is that Nextdoor allows you to run ads – although this functionality is very limited and not accessible to all at the moment.

The system works much in the same way that Facebook ads work. From the layout in news feed style to the Call to Action to the copy that you write, it’s all the same. You can basically copy everything from your Facebook ads over to your ads on Nextdoor. Nextdoor also does a ‘daily digest’ emailing informing their users of all the new posts and replies in their email, complete with, you guessed it, ads up top. An informative content piece up there with a catchy title would do wonders for reaching prospective customers, who own a home, and care about the community in your area.

nextdoor-ads

In addition, you do not have to pay per lead like you do with Google Home Service Ads, Home Advisor, or even Angieslist. Instead, the Nextdoor system is a content-based advertising system. If you’ve already got awesome content, Nextdoor is going to be the perfect place to leverage it!

If you want to get your name around in your local area, Nextdoor is going to be one of the most effective ways to do it.

Get Started

The next step for you is to just get started by setting up an account on the platform. Although the site is still in its early stages, there is still a lot of really great stuff going on in these platforms.

If you sign up as both an individual and as a business page, you get the best of both worlds from the service.

I’ve already set up my account and have set up my business profile so that I familiar with the platform. When advertising is available to me, I’ll be ready to roll it out!


Have you used Nextdoor?

Let us know what you think about the networking service in the comments section below!

five-reasons-why-your-website-needs-to-breathe.jpg

Does Your Website Breathe? 5 Reasons Why It Needs To!

Animals breathe. Humans breathe. It’s the essence of life. Without oxygen, life wouldn’t exist on this planet.

What about your website? Does it breathe?

What I mean by this is whether or not your website shows signs of life.

When I scroll through the websites of home service companies such as painters, electricians, and landscapers, I often find that their websites aren’t breathing. The site hasn’t been updated in years. There is no blog. The pictures are boring and old. The copy falls flat.

Those are what I call dead sites.

With over two billion users on the internet, it’s easy to see why it’s important for small businesses to have a web presence.

But do you know why it matters what your website looks like and how it’s structured?

Today, I’m going to give you five reasons why your website needs to breathe.

You Only Get One First Impression

Let’s face it. The first impression that you make on someone, whether it’s in a social setting, romantic setting, or professional setting, is important. That’s why people buy nice clothes, have their favorite pictures of themselves on social media and apps, and dress for success when going into an interview.

Your company is no different.

The first impression that you make on your customers is the most important. When someone visits your website, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

The answer should be that you and your company are professional.

Before anyone calls you, comes into your storefront, or orders something online, you better believe that they’re finding everything that they can about your company online. If you have poorly written copy or amateur photographs, you’re going to come off as an amateur.

If you’re concerned about what kind of impression you’re making, consider adding the following to your site if you haven’t already:

  • Regular updates with information that is highly relevant and valuable to your customers
  • Quick, easy, and accessible answers to any questions that your customers may have
  • Testimonials and reviews from your satisfied customers
  • A comment section so that your customers can interact with you and your content

These are just a few of the initial ways that you can give your website the appearance that it and your company are both breathing.

SEO is Super Important

Although the days of stuffing keywords into your website to rank high in Google searches are over, SEO is still one of the most important aspects of a company’s digital marketing strategy.

One of the most important ranking factors, when Google crawls your site, is whether or not it perceives your website to be helpful to people.

Do you think that a website that hasn’t been updated in a year or two is helpful?

You need to be producing strong content (preferably on a regular basis) to help show both Google and your customers that you are active and engaged with your industry.

It’s Costing You Business

Although having a website is one of the most important things that your small business can have, you’re generally better off not having a website at all if you aren’t putting any time, effort, or money into your site.

When you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunity, but your company doesn’t necessarily look bad.

When you do have a website (and it looks awful), you’re actually giving your customers a negative impression of your company. Thus, if you’re going to have a website, you want to make sure that it looks good and is encouraging customers to trust you.

People are Online

It’s 2017. The internet is almost everywhere. Back in 1995, less than 1% of the entire world was on the internet. Today, over 40% of the entire world is using the internet.

Think about how many people that is for just a moment (it’s over 3 billion for those that don’t want to do the math).

The internet isn’t exactly trending downward, which only means that more and more people are getting online with each day that passes.

Where do you think those people are going to go to make their purchases and find the companies that they want to use?

The internet

Here are a couple of quick statistics to help show you just how important an online presence is for a business:

  • 51% of American shoppers prefer shopping online to shopping in person (61% of millennials)
  • Around 96% of Americans have purchased something online at some point in their life, and around 80% of Americans have purchased something online in the past month alone
  • Ecommerce is growing rapidly (23% year-over-year), and almost half of all small businesses don’t even have a website

If you want to be a successful business now, and especially in the future, you need a strong website.

 

It Tells People What is Important

The next time that you find yourself on a website, think about the way that it is structured. What information is at the top? What jumps out to you the most?

Site hierarchy is one of the most important aspects of web design, and those who are ignoring likely don’t even know what information they are portraying to their visitors.

When you visit a website that breathes, you can scan it with ease and understand the most important information (most people only scan websites anyway). Whether it’s video, calls to action, or well-made graphics, a site that breathes grabs your attention right away.

If you have a static site, it’s likely that people are going to leave within the first few seconds of it loading.

Moving Forward

Although it may seem like your website doesn’t matter that much (especially if you aren’t a web-based business), it’s much more important than you can imagine.

There’s no way of telling how much business you’ve lost by having an ugly website that drives people away from your company.

Take an honest look at your website, and have someone else look it over as well if you aren’t familiar with web design principles.

Your business (and wallet) will thank you.

VLOG: Content To Closing

This is the case of how one of our customers went from a cold lead to a customer in less then 24 hours, through value adding content.

VLOG: What Can This Hardscape Contractor Do To Get More Business From Their Website.

They’ve done well with content marketing for a contractor, but there are few things they could improve on the site!  In this video I discuss someways the site can be improved, and some SEO fixes which will leverage their content marketing efforts!

 

Full Transcript:

 

Alright I want to take a few minutes to review your websites, based on what you asked. I think you got a really good website and a lot of momentum going with it.  Something that a lot of other contractors don’t add and we’ll like to add and I think it’s important that you cultivate that and build on it, you’ve got a lot of opportunity there that you probably didn’t realize.

 

So, you’ve had it for ten years now since 2013, it has really started growing, grown a lot, it’s got a lot of authority content which I see and has a result good and then people spend a lot of time reading the website.  They read it, and then you say you live far from your servicer which I got to say is a contract that is difficult.  I couldn’t imagine having any of my guys doing more than two hours from the office, but if it works for you and you need the money, power to you on that.  So, you have some local SEO and a good portion of garden sculpture, garden sculptures are cool by the way.  Optimizing for your local area, let me give you some tip on optimizing for your local area, but not a whole lot, there’s couple other things that I think you should kind a know about.

So, first thing with your website, I kind of clumped in with this tool called SEMrush, to see how much traffic you get which is what interesting to me, cause a lot of contracted website get nearly zero or just a few people.  You go into SEMrush you do this and it gives you an estimate, down here, are there any traffic, that’s the last two years but if you go back to all time, you could see you’re not getting nothing and somewhere around here it’s started taking off towards getting reasonable.  They are not exact numbers obviously, it just an estimate it’s a rather low estimate, based on what the assume formula does in experience and you probably getting five to ten times this amount of traffic.  And I went back to a website and I searched, I looked at the source end of it and I noticed you did not have any google analytics tracking code in here, which is kind of shocking, because nearly everyone uses google analytics if not google analytics tracker website and track the users, or readers or browsers whatever you want to call them, their traffic.  Any they might use that or other program, but you didn’t google analytics in here so, I don’t even know if you realize how traffic your website is getting.  The amount of traffic that SEMrush is show you here, you’re getting quite a bit, and it not accurate, it’s an estimate but like I said you’re probably getting five or ten times actual traffic of what this is.  So, I think that you’re really not getting the most from your website.  You should be able to get enough leads at least a dozen or more a week, say a dozen a week, my website was getting about this much traffic it was getting a dozen a day, at least a on slow days, so you should be able tons of leads, dozens of leads from this website.  And I don’t even know if you are, but it doesn’t seem like it, I could be wrong.  It doesn’t seem like you are, I’m sure you are getting a ton of work and a ton of business from it but not a ton like you could, but if you really had this website optimized and kicking.

 

So, when I logged on the first thing looked is, am I at your home page?  I don’t particularly understand that you are a service provider, you got a phone number here but then as I scrolling down, is this some guys blog, is this DIY wall, is this hobby wall?  I don’t really get the feeling that anything is really been sold, that I can contact you for some services.  I mean you got something up here, consultation services but you really need to encourage the people to contact you, and you got your phone number here, but I know for a fact that most people are not landing on the home page they are probably landing on one of your blog post.  Like this, probably landing on one of your blog post like that.  Now if someone lands on this blog post there is not phone number or anything that prompts them to contact you, so I really think you got to have a phone number and a get estimate button right up here at the top.  I’ll tell you, on my website which is gulfcoastaluminum.com, on my company website, over half of the traffic that converts to either calls one of these phone numbers and these phone numbers are being tracked or people can come to our online estimates page and get an estimate.  Over half of those people only view one page, and most of those are going to be calling.  So, over half of the people are calling just view one page on our website, so if there are just landing on one page of your website and they don’t see a phone number, how are they going to call you?  So, you got to get the phone number up here and definitely the online estimates button, number one and then the home page, shape it out so it looks like you’re a service business, cause here you still just kind a fall like a DIY blog and it’s very and it’s great to have the DIY blog, it awesome I do a lot of blogging on my own.  I think it’s one of the most cost effective for sure marketing method you can ever have.  But for your home page it shouldn’t look like such a blog it should be very clear that you are a service business and you want to sell something, whether you have a jacket to sell or you have something to sell.  I think when most people they don’t realize you offer a service and that kind a slowing down the amount of conversions your website is getting.

 

The other thing I really want to mention, since you were talking in this forum right here, you were talking about hiring a company or something and I kind a mention redoing the home page.  If you do that you want to make sure the url structure and the content remains the same.  Don’t hire a company that’s going to tell you I’ll build you a whole new website, no, it’s got to be done on the same framework   It’s going to be worded across website of course and you also have to leave these urls the same.  This url is still the same unless you do a proper redirect, the easiest method is using the same, same thing with the content and the pictures on the page.  And it is really time consuming for the web developers to do that and many of them can’t pull that off properly, direct.  I’ve done it myself for this website it’s gone through several other editions of websites or variations.  And leaving the content the same and the same url instructions and the same content on the page is rather difficult to do, so whoever you hire make sure they are cut out to do that.

 

The other thing, you were talking about getting more SEO and local optimization, what you need to make sure of number one you have phone numbers for all the area you are trying to target, I think that having an area code that matches the area would be reflective of the area you trying to target, up in the top here would be good, so try to mark a 999 area code, people will recognize that number and call you from that area.  But what you are doing with these blogs post is also really good, doing a Wayne, Pennsylvania, Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania and then doing these story blog post.  I mean you are really doing a great job with the content marketing and such, but I feel like there’s a lot that could be done on the website and hopefully this video will kind a help to do that.  Just want to google ‘Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania,’ soon pop up, the website does not quite number from the top, it’s in the twenty thousands, I got it set to a hundred it’s, I got it set to show a hundred results and here you are down here you should be a lot higher I would expect for Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania, why are you not?   Let me see if I can figure this out really quick while I am here running the video, I might pause it.  I just got a Mac recently, I don’t know how to use it, I’m trying to do source I don’t know why I can’t do it.  Let me look for title tag and see if you wind up, it’s in here.  For some reason google is not indexing this page as the page for Wayne Pennsylvania, whereas it’s indexing your category page.  I would, personally you have to check your canonical urls and such, make sure that all the urls are pointing back to this exact url.  I forgot how I got here, I came through and I clicked this and you can see up here it’s tagging you, this little symbol.  So now it essentially got two different urls so i think that the fact the it is having two different urls are confusing google.  I think if you cleaned up you urls structure to where you avoided things like this, I’m sure your other blog posts are doing it.  That you would probably rank a lot better, since that way all the entries are going to a particular url, a particular page.  And the other thing I would do too is may be go into some of your other ones and do like, some of your other blog post and just go in there and better link and say to add like “You may also be interested in hyperlink this project from Wayne in Pennsylvania.”   Cause you are on the right track with getting these blog post using the location based keywords. But quite frankly before I made this video I popped your url into some of my SEO tool and they indicated that you are a very strong page rank and very strong search matches.  I guess that’s a vague word for describing it, and by the traffic the customers shown to site that is true, but you should be ranking for relatively easy keywords like Hardscaping and Wayne in Pennsylvania, Hardscaping in Wayne Pennsylvania, however I really think you’ve got some issue going on with the urls, you definitely have an issue, but I’d say it’s an important one.

 

So, I hope that helps if you have any questions, post it and I will try to help you as much as I can, try to tell you what I can.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VLOG: On Page SEO For My Local Service Business - coreyphilip.com

VLOG: On Page SEO For My Local Service Business.

I look into an SEO audit and actions for my company.  Transcript below!

Transcript:

Hey everyone I wanted to go ahead and share with you know some on-page SEO tricks. If you’re a small business owner it doesn’t matter which type of business owner from an ice cream shop you know to a book store, to a restaurant SEO is very valuable. I’ve built you know this company that you see on the screen largely on SEO and traffic from online and I kind of love SEO and love doing it and love seeing the results. This is my company website here and like I said it’s been something that’s done well with SEO, gotten a lot of SEO but over the last few months I’ve kind of been slacking on and that happens when you’re a busy business owner, that sounds kind of funny busy business owner but if you’ve ever been a busy business owner you know what I’m talking about. You get tunnel vision, you get stuck on your projects one thing leads to another several months go by and then it’s like shit this SEO thing or whatever you had to do just kind of went to the wayside and it’s kind of lacking. So that’s what’s happened to me on my SEO and I need to step it up.

 

We’ve been doing a lot of content and creating content. When see blog posts here on my screen but it just hasn’t taken off, hasn’t gotten the traction, hasn’t gotten the rankings that we’re looking for. So you know we have you know our main money keyword here which is screen enclosures it’s a rather big traffic keyword in my market but we’re way down on page three or something organically for it and that’s just disappointing, embarrassing I’m not sure. We’ve got an awesome website, we’ve got the best content out there by far for screen enclosures but for some reason we’re on page three it sucks but it’s no one else’s fault but my own. So right now I’m going to nip it in the bud and take a look at what we can do to make it better. Now I don’t focus too much on the off page SEO and link building yes I take links when we get the chance and all that but I really believe that just having a good content, high quality stuff and having the on page format done right is all you need. That’s all Google wants you know get the backlinks like I said when you get a chance, don’t spend a hundred hours you know focusing on backlinks you’re not going to get a hundred hour’s worth of value out of that backlink. So if you get a backlink opportunity you take it but don’t lose any sleep over it.

 

On-page SEO you can control, you’re responsible for it you can do it rather quick or have someone else do it rather quick without much oversight. So with that in mind you know I went ahead and kind of started looking up some plugins you know well not plugins I say plugins because that’s the URL of this website but some programs online to check SEO. Now these programs you know are there to find things and kind of check some points on there. And I went through a lot of programs before I found the two I’m about to show you and these ones just happen to provide the most valuable. And you already see some errors up here. So first one is there’s more than one h1 tag on this page. That’s kind of weird I didn’t think about that heading tags and here’s the page right there, it’s the URL and I’ll come back to this URL in a second but let’s go to it. It’s right here and if we view the page source, view page source 03:28 to control up. Look for the h1 tag now h1 is a heading and it should be used in an order or kind of format towards h1 and then underneath that you have your h2 is in your subtopics or h3’s but in the worst case scenario the website should not have more than one h1 tag. If we did h1 we see there is and it’s got post title, entry title, that’s the blog post title that’s using is h1, that’s fine I will do it again a see if the other h1 tag is and here we see it. Let’s discuss your project ok.

 

That probably shouldn’t be an h1 tag and we come back to our site, go down here and we see on the side this is what it is. It’s in the sidebar let’s discuss your project. Just a little call to action section on the sidebar. There’s no reason for this to be an h1 tag but whoever was doing the coding work on the website put it in there because it fit the formatting that it needed to be so it looks good but behind the scenes it’s not functioning well. I think this is a really big problem too because this is a useless irrelevant h1 tag. So number one we only need to have one h1 tag but number two our second h1 tag is useless and irrelevant and number three the side wall is duplicated across a few hundred pages of blog post content. So not adding any value to the user at all and this could be done using other HTML coding standards. So that needs to be fixed and we need to get these down to just one HTML tag per blog post.

 

Our next up was page title and this one was interesting. There’s more than one HTML title tag on this page ok, let’s check that out, we’ll do a search for the title code and here it is one title and then the other title. So now this title is coming from our SEO plug-in and that’s legit this one I don’t know where it’s coming from but it’s using the blog post title so there is something in the WordPress install is using the blog post title as a HTML meta title and that’s just not good practice. Google says we only need one title and not two and sometimes you know if you search this page you’ll notice that they do come up with two different titles so there’s really no method to the madness is which one is Google’s picking it’s probably confused and that just throws our ranking down the hill, down the drain. So these two things h1 tags and titles blatantly obvious stuff and stuff genuinely affects the user you know we have problem with it. I generally see that affecting our rankings in a negative way. Now there’s a few other things with this little plug-in report and that’s app.plug-in SEO .com you see my screen I’ll highlight it, leave it up there for a second there’s few other things that it points out. Now it also checks images. Images do have all tags and titles you can google that for more information I’m not going to go into it and while not all of the images on the page are optimized for it. The both of the images on the page should be optimized and have our keywords in there. The other thing is file names. Again not every file is going to need the keyword in it. It’s nice for some of them but not necessary for all. You just need to have it sprinkled in there. So you know I’ll go through my page and we’ll check it. You’ll see that most of the file names do have it in there.

 

So come back we’ll go to the actual live page and you know here’s one of the pages we’re trying to rank and you’ve seen the code for it but before we go into why we’re trying to rank this. Let’s look at another problem my website has and this is something that no auditing tool that I’ve seen to point out and tell you, you’re just kind of have to use your own intuition and that is the pages that you’ve been trying to rank. So this one right here is a service page geared for screen enclosures and pool cages. The terms are ambiguous they mean almost the same thing and this is just a page to promote the service that we do where we build these structures. Relatively straightforward but this has been the page that we’re trying to rank and we’re trying to rank this page for screen enclosures, pool cages and also another word pool enclosures which isn’t even mentioned on here and I think this whole thing kind of confuses Google because number one we’re stuffed to the max with keywords and they’re not all consistent. In other words I’m not always using the term screen enclosures I’m not always using the term pool cages and then the internal links and external links that we have coming to this page are coming from a bunch of different anchor text. We have pool cages you know being sent here and links with screen enclosures as the anchor text being sent here and I think that kind of confuses a lot of the Google crawlers. What page is this supposed to be anyway? So I think we’d be best served with one page for screen enclosures and then another page for pool cages.

 

The other thing is this page is kind of weak on written content. I mean it’s got a lot of content this is actually a video if we reload the page you’ll see it play. So there it is right there, video that plays looks nice, shows the actual structure. So the page is pretty engaging but when you get down here we just don’t have a lot of text. We don’t have a lot of words and you know Google really ranks the words and the content length pretty high, the longer is better it reads, the higher it goes, so I’ve seen pages with these you know kind of features as we have them on here. They just don’t seem to rank as well as something that’s long far in content and more novel style. So with that in mind in this video, it’s kind of stuck there, it’s  probably is too good the fact that the video player is showing other videos up here we might need to look into that, anyways I’m going to close this page and just remember the keywords screen enclosures because everything kind of comes back to that.

 

We’ve decided to take the blog posts and optimize them for keywords so we found this blog post is on roof designs for screen enclosures. And we basically rewrote it or didn’t rewrite it but we optimized it for the word screen enclosure. So we get screen enclosures in the title. Screen enclosure in the URL. We got some bolded text around the important points including the word screen enclosures. We’ve got the word screen enclosures in heading tag here and this will be the only heading one tag on the page or heading two tag because this is the heading one. So heading one, heading two and remember as we discussed earlier this thing is also heading one and this is going to get fixed and removed. This whole section will be removed but it just won’t be a heading one tag. So then we’ve also got these images here and you can see the alt text pop up right there screen enclosures with 10:59 roof going over it and this is going to pop up screen enclosure gable roof. So these images have been optimized, so the key images in the body have been optimized as 11:09 names but we’re not going to optimize these little images. So these are the things that the report was fitting out that say should be optimized but quite frankly unnecessary for sidebar content to be optimized and not only that when these sidebar images appear on multiple pages, you can optimize it for every page. So we’re just going to leave them default you know the images in the body and the content we’re going to optimize and they have been optimized. The other thing too is this page is much more long form and has a lot of text to it. A lot of context. You see right there we get a lot of words, there’s a lot to read and we can squeeze a lot onto this page. And if we ever want to add to it you know to increase the rankings we can do that as well. So the goal is now to get this page to rank for screen enclosures and we’re going to do that also by changing all of the internal links, every link for screen enclosures or not every link but most of the links on the page of your screen enclosures are going to get put in here.

 

Now we get our keyword in the title, we got an h1, we get the URL, we get some internal links this page should do pretty well and we’re going to go through and do the page like this or a blog post for every one of our keywords pool cages on some of the other ones re screening stuff like that, do a full long-form blog post and not even worry about SEO to the services page. The customers end up with these services page rather quickly you know one of the first things they do when they land on those pages and read it boom boom boom and they usually always either go to online estimates or services. So they’ll find the services page which looks nice and also our paid traffic gets sent to these services page. For SEO purposes we’re going to optimize the blog posts. Now you know it does take some time to see the results from you know the SEO it doesn’t happen overnight. That is one of the problems with it why nobody likes it. It doesn’t happen overnight but you know I’m very optimistic that these changes will work and we’ll see the results of it. Now my site currently gets a dozen or so on a slow day. I guess and then a few dozen on a busy day you know results so our SEO is already pretty good. We get a lot of traffic to the blog post but this is just to boost it up beef it up fix the problems, get it all taken care of. So I hope that gives you a better understanding of on-page SEO and how it works. If you have any questions feel free to let me know. Thank you