Time to Follow My Own Advice

I’ll admit I haven’t been as consistent with my blog posts lately as I should be. It’s been a busy summer. I’ve been on the road a lot. My work time is primarily focused on taking care of my clients’ needs. In addition, I’ve been spending and extra time strategizing and implementing ideas to grow my business.

However, it’s important to remember that a blog is a business-building tool. It increases website traffic. It creates more social media engagement opportunities. It ultimately converts more customers.

How Often Should You Run Blog Posts?

For my blog clients, I typically recommend posting once every other week at the very least. Most of my clients run a blog post every week. Some go the extra mile with two a week. The important thing is being consistent with whatever frequency you choose. Posting a blog randomly any time you think of a good topic or just doing it “when you have time” is not a good plan.

I definitely want to follow my own advice and start being more consistent with my regular blog posts like I used to be. Or, I need to consider outsourcing it to someone who does have more time than I do.

Outsourcing Your Blog

That’s why businesses turn to me and NextGear Marketing for my blogging services. They don’t have the manpower, time, focus or dedication to keep up with their own weekly blog posts. They hire a professional blogger who knows how to maximize SEO potential, integrate with social media and create more customer conversion opportunities. Outsourcing blog management is a more affordable, effective and efficient solution to a necessary marketing activity in today’s technology-driven marketplace.

Stay In Touch

As my own blog inconsistency shows, my clients always come first. I put their needs way above my own. Yet, stay tuned to this blog and I promise to be better at practicing what I am preaching. I will continue to share good ideas and strategies for blog management, web content, social media, print/direct mail and all forms of marketing.

For more information about business blogging services and other marketing help from NextGear Marketing, fill out this contact form or call (714) 348-0642 to speak with me directly.

“Copy and Paste” – The Two Worst Words in Content

When it comes to your web content, the term “copy and paste” should be one that never crosses your mind. This is true whether you are talking about static site page content or dynamic content such as your business blog.

What Do We Mean By “Unique?”

We’ve talked plenty on this blog about the importance of having unique content whenever possible. However, let’s delve a little deeper into the meaning of “unique” in this context. It doesn’t mean that every solitary idea, topic or piece of information you share has to be 100% original. Odds are, any topic you are writing about will have already been written about somewhere else online (multiple times).

The trick is to make it your own. Put your own spin on it. Add personal insight. Make the messaging relevant to your specific brand identity.

Above all else, never simply copy content from another online source and paste it on your website or blog. You can write about the exact same topic, but take the time to rewrite it and make the language unique to your site. Ultimately, the article may say the same basic things, but as long as they say it differently it will be well worth the effort.

Why Be Unique?

The algorithms used by Google and other search engines are extremely sophisticated. They can detect copied content (and even heavily plagiarized wording) from miles away and it can work against you. The more unique (yet still relevant) your content is to your site, the better your organic SEO appeal will be on search engines like Google.

The only time it is acceptable to copy and paste is when you are quoting another source, such as a customer review. Let’s say one of your customers writes a glowing review on Yelp. Feel free to share that on your website and attribute it to the source. Maybe even break up the quote and write a testimonial-based blog post. Even though the content may not be completely unique, the value of a strong (and genuine) customer review is worth its weight in gold.

Otherwise, avoid copying and pasting, as well as blog feed services that give you the exact same content as hundreds of other clients. Customize your content as much as you can and you will see the difference.

Content Services from NextGear Marketing

If you are interested in custom blog content for your small business, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’ll help you stand out with unique and engaging content that will boost your organic SEO and convert more customers.

Is Your Website Frozen in Time?

I’m an avid golfer and I’m fortunate to live in a place where I have access to great golf courses all year-round. However, during the colder winter months there is always a possibility of frost delays in the morning. Courses don’t usually let you play when there is frost on the ground because it’s bad for the turf when people are walking all over the frozen grass. It’s usually a minor setback and a small price to pay in order to be able to play golf in the winter.

When your website is frozen in time, however, it can be a major setback. You could be losing out on a lot of SEO potential without fresh content. Potential customers might be turned away by a dated site. Basically, you are missing out on great business opportunities if you let your website become stagnant.

I recently went through this experience myself. I write my own golf and travel blog and it had gotten seriously out-of-date. I originally built it on Tumblr because it was free and easy to use. I wasn’t intending for the site to grow as much as it did. Unfortunately, over time the Tumblr platform just couldn’t handle the amount of content, links and photos that I was posting. I eventually had to make a change.

It took a lot of work in my spare time to rebuild a new site on WordPress. I had to transfer all the old content over and rebuild each link one by one, in addition to updating the overall look and navigation presentation of the site itself. It was well worth the effort, though. I’ve already noticed a big spike in visitor activity and more social interaction because of the new site. I refused to let my website become frozen in time and it paid off.

Here are some tips to help you from letting your business website get outdated and ineffective:

1. Refresh Every Year

You don’t have to rebuild your site from scratch every year, but make it a point to go through it at least once a year. Update content, check all the links, remove outdated information, add any new relevant information and update graphics or imagery as needed to refresh the site as much as possible. If your site is old, it may be time to consider redoing it. If the platform is not mobile-friendly, it is definitely time to build a new site.

2. Add New Content Whenever Possible

If you have a blog, use it. Make sure you are posting new articles regularly and keep fresh content coming in. You will benefit greatly from the natural SEO boost that comes when you add content regularly to your site. If you don’t have a blog, add a blog page to your site and dedicate the resources needed to manage it. In fact, you can hire NextGear Marketing to run your blog. Our services are affordable and will take the stress of running a weekly blog out of your hands. By the way, if your web provider’s platform does not have a built-in blogging capabilities, that’s another sign you are probably due for a new website.

3. Focus on Search Engine Optimization

Older websites just aren’t optimized the way newer websites are. Even if you do no additional SEO beyond what’s already built-in, you will see an automatic boost in SEO by creating a new site on a modern hosting platform. However, you should never settle for the bare minimum. SEO should be a major priority. Whether you are building a new site or updating your current site, a thorough SEO review and strategic optimization should be top priorities.

4. Social Media Integration

The more your website is integrated with your social media pages, the better it will perform. Your site and your social media response will both benefit when they are working in harmony.

These are just a few of the ways to update your website and optimize it for better performance. Consumers are more savvy than ever and the technology continues to evolve daily. If you are not keeping up with the times, you are missing out on major business opportunities.

For a complimentary website content review or to discuss blog management services, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Increase Your Organic SEO with Blogging

There are numerous benefits of having a business blog. You can engage more customers with interesting content. You can generate good response with captivating calls to action. You can promote your business and share information with people, whether they are existing customers or new site visitors.

However, there is no bigger benefit to having a blog for your business than what it can do for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you want to increase your website’s organic SEO appeal, then having a regular blog is one of the absolute best ways to do it. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Fresh Content

Having a blog will help keep your web content from going stagnant because you are always adding fresh information, news and insights in the form of blog articles. As long as you are posting often and regularly (once a week is a great goal to aim for), you will definitely see the organic SEO benefits of your blog over time.

2. Relevant Content

A blog allows you to talk about a number of different topics related to your business or customer interests. You can get detailed and specific within each blog article. Cumulatively, you will be able to cover so many different topics without it ever feeling like too much information.

3. Timing

If you took a year’s worth of blog articles and posted them all on your site at one time, you would surely see a quick boost in your SEO. However, it would eventually dwindle if no new content is added. Regularly scheduled blog posts allow you to space out your new content and make sure there is always something fresh on your site. This not only gives followers a reason to keep coming back, but it is better for SEO.

4. Keywords and Tags

Your blog will allow you to include keywords, key phrases, descriptions and tags that can be as targeted as you want. I recommend a “base” of universal tags that you would put in every article you post (geographic references and words/phrases relating to your most common products or services). Then, on top of those you’ll want to add article-specific tags that speak directly to the content and concepts within that article. This will maximize your SEO results for each article you post. The cumulative impact of all these tagged posts is even more powerful, as well.

5. Image Searches

Even if you use only stock photography in your blogs, change the image file names and image descriptions to include your business name and the service/product/topic you are writing about in the blog it is being used with. Images are directly searchable, and they can be another way that someone finds your site organically.

6. Social Media Integration

Link to your social media pages within your blog and then share links to your blog articles on all your social media pages. This addition of inbound and outbound links will really help your organic SEO.

7. Internal and External Links

In addition to social media, you’ll want to include several internal links (links to other pages on your website or other blog articles) and even 1-2 external links (links to outside sources relevant to the topic being discussed).

If you utilize these strategies in your business blog, your organic SEO appeal will continue to grow over time. A blog won’t replace any pay-per-click or paid SEO-boosting you may already be doing. However, when it’s all done in harmony, the results can be truly amazing.

To learn more about business blogging and organic SEO web content strategies, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’re here to help and we have weekly business blog packages for as low as $299 a month!

Don’t Let Your Content Get Iced Over

I grew up on the northern coast of California, where winter weather usually means a lot of rain and fog. Christmas snow was never anything we expected in our small coastal town.

However, this year I spent the holiday season visiting family in Vancouver, Washington. It doesn’t snow that regularly here either, but it definitely happens more often than in my hometown. This year, the snow came down in flurries all day on Christmas Eve and covered the ground with a fresh blanket of powder. It was really cool to have a true, Crosby-like “White Christmas” for once.

The next day, the temperatures stayed below freezing and that snow just turned to ice. It was crunchy and slick, and it made for some dangerous driving conditions on Christmas day.

What is the point of this story? Well, it makes me think of what happens when you let your web content go a bit stagnant. This is a topic I’ve covered before. However, it’s an ideal time to bring it up again because we’re at the start of a new year. It’s the perfect time to revisit your website’s content and freshen it up.

Your website content may have been as fresh and pure as the driven snow when it was first written, but it will eventually ice over if left untouched.

Let me count the ways to keep your content from icing over and becoming dangerously stagnant

1. Update Your Site Content

Take the time to run through every single page of your website. Make sure all the information is still relevant. Add any new information that is needed. Rewrite some sections of text, update graphics and revisit your SEO tags, keywords and links to freshen things up as much as possible.

2. Bring in Fresh Eyes

Don’t be afraid to ask for second or third opinions on your web content. Bring in an outside source or someone who wasn’t involved with the original site development. Let them look things over and provide a fresh perspective on what updates, upgrades and revisions could be made for better site performance.

3. Be Proactive

Don’t neglect your blog, news feeds and other dynamic content sources. Use these to provide fresh, relevant and searchable content on your site regularly. If you don’t have a blog yet, start one. If you do, just make sure to stay on top of it with regular posts. At least once a week is recommended.

4. Social Media Integration

Make sure your site is fully integrated with your social media platforms. Be active with your posts and advertising on social media, share all of your blog posts and news feed links, and engage your followers as much as you can.

5. Don’t Forget Your Brand Messaging

So many business websites these days are focused on SEO. That’s great to attract more site visitors, but only that kind of content can also come off as a little robotic. Don’t neglect your brand messaging and marketing goals. Once you get them to your site, you want to pique their interest and ultimately convert them into customers. Building a strong brand with well-crafted, engaging content is the way to do this.

These are just a few ways to freshen up your web content and keep it from going ice cold on you. To learn more about web content strategy, to discuss business blogging options or for a free, no-obligation review of your current website content, contact NextGear Marketing today.

What Are Your 2018 Marketing Resolutions?

New Year’s Resolutions don’t just have to be personal goals like losing weight or quitting smoking. If you are a small business owner, you should have resolutions to make 2018 your best year ever. That means it may be the perfect time to rethink your marketing strategies and implement new ideas.

Let’s look at some marketing resolutions you can make for 2018:

1. Solidify Your Brand

Branding is so important to your success. Your brand should be consistent across all platforms. It should be evident in any design pieces in terms of a visual brand that is recognizable to your customers. It should also drive any content in print or web marketing. This is what we’d call your “brand message.” All branding elements should work together for the best results.

2. Update Your Web Content

When is the last time you went through your entire website and made some content updates? Content easily gets stale and outdated. Take the time to freshen it up and update as needed. You will experience a natural SEO boost in the process.

3. Get More Out of Your Blog

Speaking of SEO, your business blog is a great way to maximize your site’s organic SEO appeal through regular, targeted content. If you don’t have a blog, start one. If you have a blog but don’t post often, make a concerted effort to be more active with it. If you have a regular blog but aren’t seeing any benefits of it, it’s probably time to rethink your strategy. The content you write, the way you write it and other ancillary facets of the blog like SEO keywords, titles and tags can all make a major impact.

4. Take Advantage of Social Media

It’s hard to have a successful business these days without a strong social media presence. Make the commitment to be more active with social media and learn how to use new and evolving platforms to your advantage.

5. Be More Proactive

In all forms of marketing (print, web, blogging, outdoor, direct mail, social media, etc.), use the New Year to revitalize your commitment. Be more proactive with planning and follow through on those plans to make your marketing campaign as successful as possible. Revisit existing marketing materials and programs to see where adjustments can be made. Marketing should always be evolving. If you sit back and rest on your laurels, you will quickly fall behind the times.

These are just a few of the New Year’s Resolutions you can make to get more out of your business marketing. For more ideas or to discuss blogging, content updates or any other marketing needs you have, contact NextGear Marketing today.

The Shift from Visual Appeal to Content Marketing

I feel like I’ll be stating the obvious with this particular article. However, I still think there are a lot of business owners—and even some marketing companies—who haven’t quite grasped this concept completely.

The Shift Has Already Happened

The point is that in the world of online marketing, things have shifted dramatically in the past 5-10 years. Websites used to be about visual appeal. Fancy graphics, animated elements, complex designs—it was all about catching the visitor’s attention and making your company stand out amongst the sea of competitors online all trying to vie for the same customer’s business.

This is simply not the approach of online marketing anymore. Now, good content is more important. Sure, you want your site to look sharp. You want it to catch people’s attention and build value for your brand.

Modern Design Approach

However, design nowadays is more perfunctory. The most important thing now is to have a site that is mobile-friendly, with a format that is automatically adaptable to be viewed on different web browsers and different devices (desktop, laptop, tablets, phones, TVs, gaming systems, etc.). This goal naturally hinders how “fancy” you can get with your graphics and visual elements, which is why you see a lot of template-type sites. Developers like WordPress make it easy to build your own site. Or, secondary developers piggyback on these platforms to repackage and resell templates designed for specific industries.

I’m helping one of my clients right now get started with a home investment company and, of course, there are many companies out there with plug-and-play mobile-friendly websites that are pre-built with all the SEO keywords, content, etc. I’ve gone into customize the content and make it more unique to my client’s business, but otherwise most of the heavy lifting was already done and the site was ready to launch minutes after my client signed up for their hosting package.

Content is King

The point is who ever builds and/or hosts your site, the “look” of the site is only a small part of the battle now. The way to grow your business is through content marketing. We’re talking about the content on the site itself, targeted community or landing pages, SEO tags and keywords and business blogs. When you have a lot of content that is relevant to your customer’s interests, of high quality and is added frequently, you will boost your organic search engine rankings.

Heck, look at the world’s leading search engine site. Google’s design is as plain as it gets. Sure, the point of their site is finding information. And yes, they do change the header logo every day to something clever. Honestly, I’ve always assumed that their graphics department got bored one day and started doing those headers—just for something to do.

Look at Apple’s website, as well. It is ultra clean and simple. It’s all about the products and content. It makes you want to shell out your money to buy the latest Apple technology. I am not immune, as I just picked up my new iPhone 8 last week!

Put Your Focus on Content

If you are going to be successful in online marketing, you need to make sure the majority of your focus is on the content side of things. Nice visual elements are great and not to be overlooked, but content is king and it will be for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about content marketing and business blogging, schedule a free consultation with me. Contact me at NextGear Marketing today.