When it comes to web design, many people are happy with a simple WordPress template or one of the formulaic website options that can come with domain registration. However, for more complicated or customized website designs, or even to take advantage of many of the widgets and extras that sites like WordPress can offer, getting a professional can be easier.
When seeking out a web designer, one important factor you will need to consider is whether you simply want to pay for a single website design service or would prefer to enter a management and upkeep contract. Which is right for you?
The Two Options
A one-time fee is exactly what it sounds like – you pay your web designer a single fee for a single service, the design of your website. Your contractual relationship is then over, and neither of you owe each other anything.
By contrast, a management service is ongoing. You pay a regular fee to your web designer, and in return you can call upon them for extra services. In general, your monthly fee will include a certain amount of work, and should you require anything above that, you will need to pay extra.
The advantages of this option are clear – the cost of a website is set out at the start and that is what you pay. It can often be a good option for those who do not intend to make major changes to their website for some time.
However, should you require updates or new additions in the future, you may end up paying more than you think! In addition, the person who designed your website originally may not have room in their schedule to take you on, so you will have to find a whole new designer who will need to become familiar with your website’s inner workings – potentially adding to the bill!
With ongoing contracts, you have a monthly fee that is paid to your designer. While this can seem like an unnecessary expense, for those who are constantly working on or changing their websites, it can be very cost-effective.
When you realize your website is not loading quickly enough and you are losing customers who grow impatient, having your designer on call can be a great help. In addition, you may be able to pay a lower initial price for your website if you agree to an ongoing service contract. Plus, you get the benefit of having the same person working on your website, with no learning curve.
You should, however, be careful and make sure you know exactly how much work is covered with your monthly fee, or you could end up having to open up your wallet again!
So you’re ready to start promoting yourself or your business on the Internet. You sit down at your computer, hands poised over the keyboard. You have a great business, maybe selling Mustang accessories, but you realize you do not know the smallest thing about online promotion.
This can seem overwhelming, but don’t let it frustrate you. If you’re a newbie to the world of online advertising, just take a deep breath and relax. It’s not half as hard as you think it is, and before you know it you’ll be running a website, Tweeting about sales and updating photos of your store on your own Facebook page.
Calling In Reinforcements
If you truly are a novice when it comes to the Internet, you may want to have some help beginning this new journey. Hire someone to help you create a website for your business. Ask colleagues and friends who they’ve used to help get up and running online and see what you can get for your budget. Once your website is online, you’ve crossed the first major hurdle.
Using Your Website
Now, decide what you are going to offer potential customers and clients who visit your website. Will they be able to order items online, such as Mustang parts? Or will the site simply offer information about the items you sell, such as uses and prices?
Something else you could add to your site could be how-to videos. You can even start a blog offering a different piece of advice every week for how to use one of your products. Add lots of photographs and videos so people can see how easy and great using your products is.
The next step you’re going to take is to get a presence for your business on Facebook. Yes, that’s right: Facebook isn’t just a site where teenagers post their thoughts about the latest music or clothing. It’s also an amazing and valuable resource for promotion and advertising, so take full advantage of this by starting a page for your business.
Get friends, customers and family to “Like” your page, which will raise its popularity. Update your status frequently with news about store promotions, sales and new products. Ask satisfied clients to post positive reviews to your page so visitors will be able to see them. Make sure to update your page frequently to keep people interested, and post a link to your website on the page as well.
Twitter is also a social media tool, but it’s a little different from Facebook. You can post status updates, but they have to be short, interesting and to-the-point. You can also post photos and links. Encourage people that “Like” you on Facebook to follow you on Twitter and you can offer special coupons or promotions for followers, maybe adding a new one every week.
Update, Update, Update
Now that you’re up and running with a creative, fabulous website, Facebook presence and Twitter page, don’t just walk away and think these sites will work without you. You have to stay up-to-date on all of your sites and keep them going by adding content weekly, if not daily, to keep interest going.
Don’t forget the importance of incorporating keywords into your copy, such as the names of your most popular products, your store name and other words people would use to find you online. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see your business boom.
There’s no escaping the blogging phenomenon – you’re reading an example of it right now. But blogs aren’t just another form of expression for would-be writers; they’re a vital component of online marketing.
Blogs are a great way to share valuable information, raise brand awareness and develop stronger relationships with your audiences. That’s why your marketing efforts would go a lot further if you add a blog to the mix.
Why should I Start a Blog?
Businesses that aren’t blogging find it harder to drive traffic and build a reliable customer base. If you’re one of those companies, here are three key reasons why a blog would turn things around:
Website Traffic: Blogs lead to more web content, which leads to higher search engine rankings and thus a better chance of being found by potential customers.
A Strong Brand: As you write about topics related to your business, you start to develop a reputation as an expert in your field. Over time, that reputation starts to spread, and soon people are seeking out your expertise.
Customer Value: People read your blogs for all sorts of reasons: how-to advice, news and updates, product reviews and recommendations, etc. This is a value to them, which reinforces their loyalty to your company.
How do I Run a Successful Blog?
Like any other marketing channel, your blog takes time and effort. You can’t just post a new article every now and then; you have to plan what you write, when, how and for whom. Make it happen in three steps.
Develop a Blog Strategy
If you define the focus of your blog, you’ll know what type of content to add to it. If you’re writing about cookware, are you sharing industry news? Offering buying or cooking advice? Or will you review green cookware and other related products? Knowing what you want to write about makes it easier to write it.
Update it Regularly
The only way to keep your blog relevant is to keep the content fresh. Writing once a month causes readers to drift away to newer content; conversely, daily blogging can dilute the quality and relevance of the blog. Most blogs update their entries at least once a week to ensure readers constantly stay engaged and learn something new.
Make it Relevant
Readers come to your blog to learn something, so make sure they do. Stay focused on your blog’s perspective, since that’s what readers are looking for. Keep the topics relevant, and add keywords throughout each entry to attract new readers. Allow readers to offer feedback that might prompt new ideas for future blog entries.
Write your Way to Marketing Success!
Blogs are a great way to connect your business to your target audiences. If you want to find more customers and build greater loyalty, get your blog up and running.
Unless your website is search engine optimized, chances are you’ll have some trouble drawing traffic. Here’s what you need to know to drive visitors to your site – and how to convert those visitors to customers.
What SEO Services Do
When your site traffic is low, you need better content and analytics. Effective content announces your website’s presence with authority—meaning, establishes you as a leader in your industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling services or products: content matters.
Content—whether a blog, a landing page or article—should incorporate the keywords that people who want to do business in your industry are searching for. Because Google assigns search rankings to site pages, the higher quality your content is, the higher it will rank. And the higher it ranks, the more customers will visit your site.
Analytics are the back end of the content experience. Work with a web marketing professional who understands what people in your industry are searching for and how often your site visitors converted to customers. When you want to know what content turns a visitor to a customer, analytics have the answer.
Selecting a Reputable Company
Because the website optimization industry is booming, there are several companies from which to choose. Unfortunately, many so-called “experts” are anything but. As a result, choose your SEO services company wisely.
Web optimization is time consuming and expensive, so be wary of companies that charge seemingly small monthly fees. They may not spend the time or have the experience required to get your website the exposure it needs. Worse, they may jam your content with so many backlinks and keywords—called “stuffing”—that search engines may actually penalize your website by labeling it as spam.
In addition, be wary of companies that claim they can get you number-one rankings on Google or other popular search engines. Reputable Internet marketing companies aren’t afraid to demonstrate what they can—and can’t—do. They should also be willing to provide references from current happy customers.
Remember that just like your products, your website is a living thing. You must continue to refresh your content just as you would your inventory of products or services. That’s why analytics is key to the back end—without knowing how customer tastes shift, how can you tell what to offer as a product or service?
When you develop a relationship with a professional Internet marketing company, it’s easier to keep your business’s page rank high. And because consumers don’t have the time or the inclination to search through page after page of search results, high page rank is essential.
I’ve come to learn over time that friends and family are really what makes me happy. So I’ve tried to devote more time in recent years to spending special time with each friend I have, in the hopes that they will be long lasting, knowing that the memories we create now, will be worth much more than any value you can define. And all I can ever ask of these people I so fondly spend my time with, is that they appreciate me in the same way.
And what better way to do that than through receiving the honor of being the Best Man in your friends wedding! It is a symbol of honor, and a dedication to the friendship you’ve developed, that not many others can replicate. So as you can imagine, it’s something I always wanted to be asked to do, to know that someone cared about me enough, that they would honor me the role of best man. But I thought it would never happen for me. You see, most of my best guy friends have brothers, which in my eyes, means I’m out of the drawing. And not to mention, earlier in my life, I found myself devoting all of my time to another best friend, one that happened to be female.
But two years ago, I met someone who I respect, love, and care for, and it happened from pure luck. Long story short, his name was Kenny, and after a year of living together, John, Kenny, and I became best friends, for what I think will last a lifetime. So much fun and so many pranks…poor John had to come home to find all his bedroom and the living room trading spaces!
Anyway, this past year, Kenny gave me a huge honor by asking me to be his Best Man. Almost speechless, I agreed wholeheartedly, knowing that early in my life, I was afforded the pleasure to be the Best Man in the wedding of two people who mean so much to me, Kenny and his beautiful wife, Jayna. This past July 13, 2012. That dream came true.
Here’s the speech I gave. It got SO many laughs! Probably won’t mean much to anyone but those who know Kenny, but here it is anyway…
So maybe this one wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, but I still took the time to do it, and that’s still important to me. If you know me well, then you know I’m not much of a morning person. Not that I am ever cranky in the mornings, more or less, I just hardly see them! I like to stay up late, and feel the most productive then, so normally stay up till around 3 AM. Which I did the night before this sunrise.
But regardless of how tired I was, I begrudgingly decided to quit wasting the day, and to start changing my life’s motto to “Carpe Diem;” Sieze the Day. So I rolled out of bed, and took the amazing opportunity of being at the beach this week, to go up on the roof top deck and watch the sunrise. It wasn’t as picturesque as people usually imagine it, there were dark clouds rolling slowly, and it didnt happen right over the horizon line in the water. But still, it was a sight to see, and gave me a minute to stop and reflect.
Just happy I took the time to watch the sunrise. Little things like this are important to realize what is really important in life. So my advice. Always try to take a minute to think in the morning, about what it is that is important to you. Not material things, but values, and traits that you want to exude. And then set out to accomplish them through your actions.
For me. My values are that I want to be adventurous, confident, and experienced. So my goal is to be active and participate in everything presented to me, by friends and family. And not hold back at even the most ridiculous things. Live and let live!
Learning how to juggle is something I’ve always wanted to know how to do, always been jealous of others for, and all this time, I kept that frustration internal for no reason. Want to know how long it took me to finish this item on my bucket list? A whopping 15 minutes!!
Here’s the breakdown:
5 Mins of watching a Youtube video on how.
7 Mins of trying really hard.
3 Mins of Taking the video!
MASTERED. Feels good. Here’s proof! Too bad I dropped it at the end.