The 5 Most Important Ways to Promote Your Small Business Online

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So you’re a small business owner, you want to build an online presence, but you’re wondering where you should start?

Your online strategy should begin with and centre around a small business website. I know what you’re thinking – “You would say that, you own a web design company” – that’s true, but you will find it very hard to achieve real success online without one.

Trellis agree too, a website is the first item on their list of essential small business promotion tactics below.

The 5 Most Important Ways to Promote Your Small Business Online

https://blog.red-website-design.co.uk/2016/06/03/the-5-most-important-ways-to-promote-your-small-business-online/

How to Use Social Media For Photographers – It’s Not Just Facebook and Twitter

Unless you are a really into social media, it’s easy get to get tunnel vision and just focus on the two main channels, Facebook and Twitter. Both are great ways to promote your work and reach out to customers but there are other channels that can be useful for photographers. Here’s a quick reminder of other social media services to consider.

Instagram

instagram

While you may associate Instagram with lots of ‘retro’ photos of people’s morning cappuccino, Instagram is actually about sharing and enjoying photography. So it’s a perfect way to get your work out there.

If somebody likes one of your images they are likely to talk about it and share with their friends – and because Instagram is all about images, you don’t have to compete with all the other trivia that people see in their Facebook newsfeeds. Share new images on Instagram every time you have done a shoot and link it back to your main website or other online platforms.

Common sense suggests it’s best to post images around late afternoon/evening in the territories you want to target, or at the weekends, but with the rise of smartphones, people are now on Instagram all the time. Use Iconosquare to find out when your account is most active, and other important information.

Google +

google plus

It’s easy to forget about Google + and dismiss it as a wannabe Facebook, but it’s becoming more and more important as an image-sharing platform. Being active on Google + and posting good content on there can also help improve your Google rankings, for free.

Research has suggested that most people look at their Google + accounts in the mornings, before the beginning of the work day, but you can post anytime. It’s worth being on Google + just to raise your presence on the Google search engine, and again it’s free.

Pinterest and Tumblr

pinterest

Pinterest may not be for everyone, but it’s useful for wedding and portrait photographers as there seems to be a lot of brides on there, looking for ideas for the big day.

As with Facebook, there is a lot of other information to contend with – everything from recipes to random pictures to clothes patterns – so you need to be posting quality images to make sure you get people’s attention.

It’s important you provide full contact information with your ‘pins’ so potential customers can easily get in touch. Tumblr is another good way to post portfolios of work, though it seems to be slightly waning in popularity.

It’s worth putting regular work on there though, as research also shows that people spend more time on Tumblr than they do on Facebook.

LinkedIn

linked in

If you’re a commercial photographer, don’t forget LinkedIn. It’s a great way to keep in touch with business contacts and make new ones, and photography-related jobs are regularly posted on there. You will need to pay for a professional account, but if you only get one job a year off LinkedIn, it should soon pay for itself.

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/photography/blog/social-media-for-photographers

Improve Your Website’s Performance With These Photo Optimization Tips

stopwatch

Much has been written lately about slow page loading times on news websites. People are increasingly consuming news on mobile devices, often with limited bandwidth.

Earlier this year, Google announced that they now use “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal in mobile search results and even adding an extra second or two of load time has been shown to increase abandonment rates on websites.

Sites that aren’t optimizing for performance on all devices and connection speeds are limiting their own audience growth. Every time someone can’t find your site or they’re too impatient to wait for a page to load, you’re losing a potential reader.

Fortunately, the INN Nerds aren’t content to just complain about it, we’re here to help fix it!

Let’s Start with Photos

The average web page now weighs in at just under 2 MB, and images are the main culprit. Photos on the web are essential elements of storytelling and connecting with your audience. But if your photos aren’t optimized, they can also weigh down your web pages and make them slow to load. To improve the overall performance of your website, photo optimization is a great place to start.

What is Photo Optimization

Photo optimization involves compressing the file size of photo using a tool like Adobe Photoshop. We want the highest quality photo with the smallest possible file size. Too much compression can impair the quality of the image. Too little compression can result in a large photo file size which slows the performance of our web page. Optimization is finding the right balance between quality and file size.

Consider these two images:

Photo of Delicate Arch

Not Optimized. Width: 1200px, Height: 800px, File Size: 939 Kilobytes

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Optimized. Width: 1200px, Height: 800px, File Size: 107 Kilobytes

The second photo has a file size of less than 12 percent of the first. You can probably see a slight degradation in the photo quality. But most people would not notice the difference between these two on a web page.

On the web we should never use any photo with a file size like 939 Kilobytes. This will slow the loading of the page, especially on slower connections and mobile devices. We want to keep website photos under 100 KB if we can, and much lower for smaller images. For example, here’s the same photo reduced in dimensions:

Delicate Archive in Arches National Park

Not Optimized. Width: 300px, Height: 200px, File Size: 192 Kilobytes

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Optimized. Width: 300px, Height: 200px, File Size: 14 Kilobytes

The file size of the second photo is less that 10 percent of the first image, yet most people would see no difference in photo quality. If you have a web page displaying a number of similar-sized images, for example a gallery page or a series of stories with thumbnail images, smaller photo file sizes can add up a huge reduction in page loading time.

How to Optimize Photos in Photoshop

Best practice for optimization is to start with the highest-quality source photo, then resize and compress it for the web. Start by cropping and resizing the photo for the space it will fill on your web page. If the photo will be displayed in a sidebar widget that’s 300px wide, there’s no reason to upload a photo wider than 300px for that space. Reducing the size of the photo by itself will reduce its file size.

After the photo is cropped and sized, in the File menu go to Export -> Save for Web:

Save for Web dialogue box in Photoshop

Here you can select which photo format to export (always use JPEG for photos), and how much compression to apply. Medium is often the optimum setting, but this is a judgement call. If you don’t see a preview of both the Original photo and the JPEG export, click the 2-Up tab at the top. Now you can try different compression settings and see a preview of the results, including the file size:

Optimized image in Save for Web dialogue in Photoshop

Once you’re happy with the image quality and file size reduction, click Save to create your web-optimized photo. This will not affect your original image, which should be archived for possible use in the future..

Tip: If you like keyboard shortcuts, in Photoshop you can launch Save for Web like this:

  • Command + Shift + Option + s (Mac)
  • Control + Shift + Alt + s (Windows)

Optimizing Photos without Photoshop

If you don’t use Photoshop, there are any number of other tools for optimizing website images.

Compressor.io is a free online tool. You can drag and drop a source photo into it, and download a compressed version of the image. Compressor.io doesn’t have any cropping or resizing tools, and you can’t adjust the amount of compression. In our tests, Photoshop does a better job of balancing photo quality and file size. But if you have a photo sized correctly for your website, it’ll do in a pinch.

If you’re comfortable using the command line, there are a number of tools available to you for optimizing different image types.

Your Photo Workflow

If you’ve produced photos for print, you know it’s important to maintain the highest quality photo throughout the process. But with today’s cameras, the highest quality photo is likely to be 5000 pixels wide, and more than 20 Megabytes in file size. Such a photo is great for print, but a problem on the web.

Best practice is to safely store the original photo files in their highest resolution, for the day when you need to resize or reuse them in another context. Use the original photos to crop, size, and export for the web, then keep the originals safe for future use.

https://nerds.inn.org/2015/11/23/improving-website-performance-optimizing-photos/

How Internet Behavior is Changing Around the World

internet-behavior-shifts.jpeg

Last year, marketers and businesspeople around the world saw a huge change in the way people use the internet. Most notably, in May 2015, we saw that more people were using their mobile devices to search for things online than on their desktop computers.

But these changes aren’t happening at the same rate everywhere in the world. In Iceland, Monaco, and Ukraine, the majority of internet users are using desktop to surf the web. On the other end of the spectrum, most internet users in many Southeast Asian countries are relying on their mobile devices for internet.

Which devices are folks using to search the internet around the world? What do social sharing behaviors look like by device? What are some notable global social media trends?

To help us understand how internet behavior has been shifting on a global scale in the past year, the folks at AddThis looked at more than one trillion global pageviews from more than two billion internet users around the world. They used that data to create the infographic below. Check it out.

shifting-internet-behavior-infographic.png

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/internet-behavior-changes

4 Steps to Boost Your Social Media Engagement

4 Steps to Boost Your Social Media Engagement

Simply too many brands use social media as a free advertising platform where they can sell, sell, sell. While the drive to push sales on whatever platform available is admirable, social media (as most of us have realized by now) plays by different rules. It’s not like broadcast television, where you buy spots on primetime, talk about your brand, and see sales walking in the door.

Social media instead demands a symbiotic relationship between brands and their fans

You will only drive results from social media when your fans truly like you, identify with the values you project, and derive value from the content you publish.

Here we shall discuss a few ways to move your business beyond “sales” mode into to true “relationship” mode.

Discover Where You Stand

When you work on shaping a distinct brand identity to influence your audience via social media, you first need to know what they think about you now. You need to know how aware they are of your brand, its offerings, whether they perceive your brand positively or negatively, how your competitors fare in the same space, and so on. This allows you to make more informed decisions, as opposed to shots in the dark.

A tool like Mention offers you the ability to listen in on conversations about your brand and its related keywords across the web. Using Mention, not only do you get to hear in real time what’s being said about you online, you even get to participate in these conversations directly.

An interesting feature of Mention is that it allows the right people to engage with an audience in discussions that are taking place somewhere else. For example, a technical question on Quora can be answered directly from within the tool by your product manager, while a promotion-related query on Facebook can be tackled by your marketing manager simultaneously.

Mention

Mention allows you to track and analyze your brand’s position over time, helping you judge the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

Another powerful tool is Talkwalker, which corrals all online activity surrounding your brand in a single, searchable place. Choose your search terms (your company name, your industry niche, potential content topics, etc.), and watch related posts appear alongside easy-to-understand engagement data. You can even sort results by engagement statistics or tweak your search terms to monitor your competitors’ activities.

PR Tips results

Talkwalker also provides handy “hashtag cloud” visualizations, which illustrate activity surrounding related hashtags. Whether the hashtag is an official part of your campaign or fan-generated, you’ll be able to track its use over time and any positive or negative sentiment attached to it.

Free Up Precious Time with Auto-Scheduling

Posting content on a regular basis is critical to showing up on users’ cluttered social media feeds. A post or two a day may seem relatively easy to do, but will have pretty much no impact on your fans. The odds of your lone post showing up versus thousands of others put up by friends, family, and other brands fighting for your users’ attention are pitiably low.

While Facebook is getting all the negative publicity for low (or no) exposure, the problem is especially compounded when it comes to Twitter. How many 140 character bursts do you need to get your followers to react? How do you manage to craft and publish multiple “interesting” or “engagement-inducing” tweets every single day?

Enter Tweet Jukebox. All you need to do is divvy up your content into different “jukeboxes” or categories. Tweet Jukebox then uses this content to automatically post tweets as per a schedule you decide. You can store thousands of records per jukebox, ensuring that you never run out of things to tweet

The best part is, when a user mentions your brand online in a tweet, you can thank every single one of them (automatically).

Tweet Jukebox

As you can see in the screenshot above, Tweet Jukebox comes with a free built-in Jukebox with quotes that can be directly posted on Twitter at the click of a “Tweet it Now” button. They also have an interesting “Jukebox Store”—a little like the iTunes store—where they feature hundreds of Jukeboxes that users can download and use for free. The service even allows users to create their very own content, store them in Jukeboxes, and share them with the Tweet Jukebox community.

Still short of content? Tweet Jukebox also goes back to older tweets and reposts them with a fresh twist. So much for social media being a time hog. With the chore of posting and scheduling multiple times a day taken care of, you can now focus on the more important task of creating and curating great content that your users will love.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the channels you monitor and fill in a single day, Sprout Social offers a solution. This social media management tool’s standout feature is its single, streamlined feed—a blessing for any manager who’s tired of juggling multiple tabs and menus. From your dashboard, you can auto-schedule posts across all major social platforms. Free social ROI reports help take the mystery out of how those posts performed.

SproutSocial Messages

Get Credible Spokespeople for Free

Talking up your brand on social media is good, but getting important people talking about it piques your audience’s interest and takes your brand visibility (and eventually acceptance) to a new level. Advertising professionals have known for decades what social media marketers are only just realizing: A celebrity endorsement is social media gold for your brand.

HARO is one such tool that will help put your brand on the New York Times front page (It could happen!) without you spending a penny on any of it. HARO (or Help A Reporter Out) connects journalists in need of interesting new content with content experts who need a platform to publish their stuff. This synergetic equation means that you can offer interesting and novel content that features your brand to reporters looking for their latest scoop.

HARO sends you alerts about journalists in need of “sources” or content experts in specific areas, and you can reach out to the ones that match your skill sets. The credibility of the journalist in question automatically lends credibility to your product and gives your brand an opportunity to be featured on respected platforms that it may not have been able to get on otherwise.

Deal with Customer Issues in a Jiffy

Getting face to face or screen to screen with users in real time is an option that no marketing platform other than social media offers. Then why relegate the critical function of CRM to traditional channels like the phone or email? Companies that have invested in CRM via social media regularly reap the benefits of instant and engaging conversations with customers instead of plain old complaint resolutions. You should, too.

Nimble is a social CRM tool that allows you to offer customer care over social media platforms with ease. Nimble does a bunch of things exceedingly well. It builds detailed customer profiles by collating data from various sources: Outlook, Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.

Nimble

It tracks step by step every interaction you’ve ever had with each user, thus offering a clear portrait of every customer. This rich customer data helps you respond to them in a more meaningful way, on the platform they are most comfortable with.

Conversations across platforms all come to one location, creating a unified inbox from where you can respond to every customer input instantaneously.

Every seasoned salesman knows that it’s not rock bottom prices but the strength of relationships that they build with clients that will see them through. Use social media as a tool to build relationships instead of hard selling to them with every post.

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-strategy/social-media-engagement/

8 SEO Trends for 2016: How to Achieve Google Success

2016 has arrived, it’s time to take stock of what worked and what didn’t in 2015, and then decide where to spend your time and money throughout 2016.We recently shared infographics about how video marketing and User Generated Content (UGC) were expected to continue their huge growth, and they are both predicted to be hot in 2016 by ZenContent. Find out what else is tipped to make the difference in 2016 in their infographic below.
8 SEO Trends for 2016 How to Achieve Google Success Next Year
http://blog.red-website-design.co.uk/2015/12/18/8-seo-trends-for-2016-how-to-achieve-google-success-next-year/

The Benefits of Business Blogs for Marketing

Why you should use blogging as a marketing tactic.

1) It Helps Drive Traffic to Your Website.

Raise your hand if you want more website visitors. Yeah, me too. Now think about the ways people find your website:
  • They could type your name right in to their browser, but that’s an audience you already have. They know who you are, you’re on their radar, and that doesn’t help you get more traffic on top of what you’re already getting.
  • You could pay for traffic by buying an email list (don’t you dare!), blasting them, and hoping some people open and click through on the emails. But that’s expensive and, you know, illegal.
  • You could pay for traffic by placing tons of paid ads, which isn’t illegal, but still quite expensive. And the second you run out of money, your traffic stops coming, too.
So, how can you drive any traffic? In short: blogging, social media, and search engines. Here’s how it works. Think about how many pages there are on your website. Probably not a ton, right? And think about how often you update those pages. Probably not that often, right? (How often can you really update your About Us page, you know?) Well, blogging helps solve both of those problems. Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search. We’ll get into more of the benefits of blogging on your SEO a bit later, but it’s also one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface.
Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.
Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going — instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channels. Quite a symbiotic relationship, if I do say so myself. So, the first benefit of blogging? It helps drive new traffic to your website and works closely with search engines and social media to do that.  
blogging-inbound
   

2) It Helps Convert that Traffic into Leads.

Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post. Often, these calls-to-action lead to things like free ebooks, free whitepapers, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials … basically, any content asset for which someone would be willing to exchange their information. To be super clear for anyone unfamiliar with how traffic-to-lead conversions work, it’s as simple as this:  
  • Visitor comes to website
  • Visitor sees call-to-action for a free offer
  • Visitor clicks call-to-action and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
  • Visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer
  If you scroll down in this blog post, you’ll see a call-to-action button. In fact, 99.9% of the blog posts we publish have call-to-action buttons … and yours should, too. That is how you turn that traffic coming to your blog into leads for your sales team.
blogging-inbound-image
 
Note: Not every reader of your blog will become a lead. That’s okay. No one converts 100% of the people who read their blog into leads. Just get blogging, put calls-to-action on every blog post, set a visitor-to-lead conversion rate benchmark for yourself, and strive to improve that each month.  

3) It Helps Establish Authority.

The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a particularly handy tool for Sales and Service professionals. Can you imagine the impact of sending an educational blog post you wrote to clear things up for a confused customer? Or how many more deals a salesperson could close if their leads discovered blog content written by their salesperson? “Establishing authority” is a fluffy metric — certainly not as concrete as traffic and leads, but it’s pretty powerful stuff. And if you need to tie the impact of blogging to a less fluffy metric, consider measuring it the same way you measure sales enablement. Because at the end of the day, that’s what many of your blog posts are. Think about the sales enablement opportunities blogging presents:  
  • If prospects find answers to their common questions via blog posts written by people at your company, they’re much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say because you’ve helped them in the past — even before they were interested in purchasing anything from you.
  • Prospects that have been reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated on your place in the market, your industry, and what you have to offer. That makes for a far more productive sales conversation than one held between two relative strangers.
  • Salespeople who encounter specific questions that require in-depth explanation or a documented answer can pull from an archive of blog posts. Not only do these blog posts help move the sales process along more swiftly than if a sales rep had to create the assets from scratch, but the salesperson is further positioned as a helpful resource to their prospect.
 

 

4) It Drives Long-Term Results.

You know what would be cool? If any of the following things helped you drive site traffic and generate new leads:
  • Trip to Hawaii
  • Going to the gym
  • Sleeping
Good news, though! That’s what blogging does — largely through search engines. Here’s what I mean: Let’s say you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today. Let’s say that blog post gets you 100 views and 10 leads. You get another 50 views and 5 leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers get caught up on their email and RSS. But after a couple days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down and you’ve netted 150 views and 15 leads. It’s not done. That blog post is now ranking in search engines. That means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while it may feel like day one or bust, in reality, blogging acts more like this:
blogging_compounding_returns-1-1
 
So while you’re hitting your snooze alarm, surfing in Hawaii, and pumping iron, you’re also driving traffic and leads. The effort you put in yesterday can turn into hundreds of thousands of views and leads in the future. In fact, about 70% of the traffic each month on this very blog comes from posts that weren’t published in the current month. They come from old posts. Same goes for the leads generated in a current month — about 90% of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts that were published in previous months. Sometimes years ago. We call these types of blog posts “compounding” posts. Not every blog post will fit into this category, but the more evergreen blog posts you write, the more likely it is that you’ll land on one of those compounding blog posts. In our own research, we’ve found that about 1 in every 10 blog posts end up being compounding blog posts.
Screen_Shot_2015-09-22_at_11.57.42_AM
 
To me (and hopefully to you), this demonstrates the scalability of business blogging. While you might not see immediate results, over time, you’ll be able to count on a predictable amount of traffic and leads for your business without any additional resource investment — the work to generate that traffic and those leads is already done.

Secondary Benefits of Business Blogging

There are other reasons businesses might want to blog, but I think they’re smaller and stray from the core benefits of blogging. For instance, I love to use our blog to test out big campaigns on the cheap — before we invest a lot of money and time into their creation. I also love to use our blog to help understand our persona better. And while this shouldn’t be their primary use, blogs also become great outlets through with marketers can communicate other PR-type important information — things like product releases or event information. It’s certainly easier to get attention for more company-focused initiatives if you’ve built up your own audience on your own property, as opposed to pitching your story to journalists and hoping one of them bites. These are all great side effects or uses of a business blog, but they’re secondary benefits to me. If you’re looking to start a business blog or get more investment for one you’ve already started, the reasons above are a great place to start arguing your case. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/the-benefits-of-business-blogging-ht

Want to Rank Better in Search? Avoid These 10 SEO Mistakes



Search ranking is a critical component of any inbound marketing strategy. When it comes to designing and writing content for your website, it’s important to have search engine optimization top-of-mind.

After all, the top three results on a search query get 61% of all search clicks — and 75% of search engine users never scroll past the first page of search results.

If you find yourself struggling to gain exposure in search engines, it could be because your website isn’t optimized for search.

Want to increase your website traffic via organic search? Start by ensuring you aren’t making any of the most common SEO mistakes on your website. Mistakes like keyword stuffing, broken links, duplicate content, and non-unique title tags can really hurt your chances of being found in search.

Check out the infographic below from Fertile Frog for a list of 10 common SEO mistakes and how to fix them. 
 




http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/seo-mistakes-to-avoid 

How to Promote Your Blog: The Definitive Blog Post Promotion Checklist

Are you looking for ways to promote your blog? Want to attract more readers and generate more social shares and links?

From guest posting and social media to industry specific forums and manual blogger outreach there are loads of ways to get more eyeballs on your blog posts. Take the time to research your industry and establish the best people to contact.

For guidance Blogging Wizard have shared their blog promotion ideas in the infographic below.

How to Promote Your Blog The Definitive Blog Post Promotion Checklist


How Social Media Impacts SEO and Your Websites Ranking on Google

Social media should play an important part of any successful SEO and content marketing campaign. Without social media we’d lose 80% of our blog traffic and no doubt a huge chunk of our backlinks would never have been earned.

To see how social media can work for your business take a look at this infographic by Submit Edge which highlights how social media can aid outreach and looks at how social signals impact rankings themselves.

How Social Media and SEO Impact Your Websites Ranking on Google