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Wednesday, 26 June 2019

8 Common Mistakes Your Boss Expects You To Know About SEO


Imagine today you have instant access to tools on SEO that would put you in good stead with your boss. How much would you pay for it?

Well.. today you pay nothing for it.

In this article I am going to show you what are the 8 common mistakes that will help you dominate your SEO game.

To start all you need is an open mind, and the will to implement these changes. These tips are not technical, and can be followed through by anyone (even the layman).

What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quality and frequency of organic visits from a search engine.

It goes without saying that SEO is extremely important for any successful inbound lead generation campaign, and it is only logical that it should be approached with some best practices put in place.

SEO changes, and the history of the world's largest search engine Google speaks for itself. There are various factors which affect your website to be found through search.

This article works as a consolidated source which we have experimented on and find useful. 

1. Duplication


A common occurrence is when there is carbon copy content on your website in more than 1 page. It is having the content of about being duplicated in the corporate profile.

Having 2 of the same content on different domain extensions confuses the search engine. This means, the likelihood of your website being recommended on the 1st page on any search engine difficult.

2. Conflicting URLs


Clean up your links. Clean your URLs to show uniformity and structure, because a search engine will struggle to decipher the order of content on your website.

For example, avoid this:


  • https://www.everworks.com/dedicated-server/
  • https://www.everworks.com/Dedicated-Server/


For the more advanced you can read more about follow links from WordStream

3. Make your website mobile friendly


It has been widely covered that Google will rank websites which are mobile friendly higher compared to websites which aren't mobile friendly.

Google has a great tool here to test how mobile friendly your website is.

4. Sacrificing speed for looks


Speed is important and is a ranking factor on Google. Do not discount on hidden areas of your website which may contribute to your lack of speed. Less visitors, means that your website's speed affects your bottom line.

Here's a quick way for you to instantly improve your SEO.

5. Keyword stuffing


Do not stuff for keywords. Google has explicitly stated that this may affect your ranking on it's webpages.

According to Google, it's the act of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results.

6. Buying links


There is a strong sentiment within the society about paid link-building, and it's strongly advised that this isn't recommended.

Link-building is a great way to build a strong SEO. Pay attention to the quality of back-links. Rubbish links greatly affects the reputation of your website.

For further reading, we recommend an article from Moz, which covers a great article here about why link-building is important.

7. Forgetting the 'Alt' tag


Although there isn't an emphasis on ALT tags, there is a great opportunity for your photos to appear on search.

This is an alternative source of visitors to your website could be the image search on a search engine.

For example, DSC_001142.jpg compared to "Panasonic-Microwave-Below-Market-Price.jpg".

8. No emphasis on content building


Here's a fantastic resource on all of Google's ranking factors here.

Don't forget, search engines have an objective to deliver relevant, up-to-date, and quality content to people who search.

Conclusion


Commit to a SEO strategy and have faith to do the right things. Over time, optimizing for SEO would do more good for your website than bad.

Although, you are optimising for your SEO, don't forget your readers. Make it an easy experience for them with the right spacing, text separation, font size, etc.

Secret tip: Remember to fix any broken pages (404 pages) with a 301 redirect. You'll thank us later.

What's stopping you from committing to a SEO improvement campaign?

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The Unconventional Guide to Web Hosting


Guess how many people surf the Internet everyday?

Any ideas?

Google alone has 63,000 searches per second. That means 630,000 searches would have already been done, while you were reading these words.

Why should this matter to you? The increasing demand for the Internet - 4.39 billion users - creates opportunities on the web and in tandem the need to deliver these web solutions.

And, in all likelihood, you know web hosting helps you to deliver these web solutions. You are reading this guide to learn which option is best suited for you.

For those who are new, to deliver web solutions, web hosting is required. Simply, your web hosting acts as a storage place for your website, web application, and anything you need to deliver through the web.

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to web hosting because of the options available in the market.

In this guide, you will learn where web hosting differs, how to work around a fixed budget, and ultimately which web hosting option is best suited for you.

Below we will be digging deep into web hosting and to deal with the complexities to follow, systematically. Feel free to skim through to sections which interests you most.

Overview


Before choosing a web hosting option, you first need to know the 6 common options for web hosting you will commonly come across:

Shared hosting Web hosting you share with other users.
Virtual private server hosting (VPS hosting) Private web hosting, where you share the infrastructure with other users.
Dedicated server hosting Exclusive web hosting rented by you.
Cloud hosting Flexible web hosting allowing you to scale when required.
Managed hosting Web hosting which provides technical services such as hardware and software setup and configuration, maintenance, hardware replacement, technical support, patching, updating and monitoring.
Colocation hosting Space you can rent to fully manage your web hosting (hardware, software and services).

To systematically identify which option suits you best, we recommend a framework that you can use to analyze, prepare for, and narrow down almost any situation you may encounter.

To better understand our framework, we've simplified it into 3-steps.


Step 1: Distinguish your needs
Step 2: Narrow down your options (through elimination)
Step 3: Discover your true goal

Step 1: Distinguish your needs


To start, consider the following. What are your core needs?

An analysis of your needs is crucial, because it allows you to define what is the lowest acceptable service you would accept and your highest best option.

Consider the following questions you should be critically assessing:



  1. Is your business relatively new?
  2. Do you depend on the web solely / partially to carry out its business model?
  3. How much speed do you need? How can you determine the amount?
  4. How much space do you need? Will you need to push this in the near future?
  5. Would you require technical assistance?


Depending on how you assess the above questions, you can frame a needs profile that will form a sheet for you to compare which options to narrow to.

A great read on determining how much speed you need is covered by Jonathan at WhoIsHostingThis.

In summary, estimate the average page site using Pingdom's Load Time test, multiply this value by the average number of visitors, and multiply the result of this with the average number of page views per visitor.

Space largely depends on the nature of business you plan to carry out on the web. Hosting Manual has a great guide on space required here.

Step 2: Narrow down your options


Industry jargon:


  • Space = Amount of # GB HDD
  • Speed = Amount of # Mbps (also known as bandwidth)


Shared hosting► Great for new entrants to the worldwide web.
► If your business is relatively new, and only partially depends on the web to carry out your business model.
► There is not much need for space and speed can be at a minimal because of small number of page views.
Virtual private server hosting (VPS hosting)► The environment for this mimics a Dedicated Server, but shares the features of a Shared Hosting.
► What this means is, the Web Hosting is divided into virtual partitions, however, you still share the physical server with other users.
► Great, if you have been in business for some time and actively using but need more control.
► If you require technical assistance.
► Budget limits or just not willing to pay for the high price of a Dedicated Server Hosting.
Dedicated server hosting► For you if your business is very matured on the web.
► You expect / continue to see an increase in page views.
► You don't need technical assistance.
► Require full control.
► Enhanced security.
Cloud hosting► Great for you if you expect your business to scale in space and speed requirements in a short period of time.
► Pay only for what you need (some providers have a base package you can start from).
► You can scale without having to build and maintain your own computing infrastructure.
Managed hosting► Most web hosting options will likely be managed.
► You should always opt for this if you require technical services such as, hardware setup, software installations, maintenance, hardware replacements, technical support and more.
Colocation hosting► When you need a large amounts of speed at a lower cost.
► The major disadvantage is you will be left to your own devices (your web hosting is not managed).

Conclusion


The choice of which web hosting option relies on your current situation. This post has provided to you the required framework to choosing a suitable web host.

Where web hosting differs is, in the amount storage space, the level of control, requirements for technical assistance, speed, and reliability.

In the end, which web hosting option did you choose?

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The Hidden Secret to Generating Leads for Beginners


Sales is often generalised as a single activity.

However, to fully understand sales and it's role to your business you must realise that sales isn't a single activity. It is a collection of steps your customer has to take before becoming a paying customer for your business.

This collection of steps is made easy to understand and explained through a Sales Process.


Before you begin with any stage of the Sales Process, I encourage you to find out your sales forecast in 2 steps here.

I've compiled below hidden secrets I wish I knew before I started my own business. It's because I only realised after 3 years, that a consistent flow of leads ensures that business is sustainable and continues to grow.

Below I will cover Stage 1 of the Sales Process.

Hidden Secrets for Beginners to Unlock the Leads Waterfall


Secret 1: Identify Your Target Audience - Learn Who Are Your Potential Customers.


‘Make a Customer, Not a Sale.’ ― Katherine Barchetti. When you rush to make a sale, you forget the person in front of you.

Listen and understand to the needs of your customers. Target your customers, and build your product with the best message to suit their needs.

Great reads and additional resources:





Secret 2: Choose a Promotional Method


After Step 1, you would have understood the preferences of your potential customer. You will need to ensure the benefits of your products are made known to your customers.

A great guide to create your detailed customer avatar here.

Secret 3: Use Social Media as Your Primary Tool


To start, I recommend advertising on Social Media, because you would save a great amount of advertising cost. A great guide I find useful is a LinkedIn marketing plan example covered by Suzanne here (although this is specifically for a financial advisor, I believe it would work for any other profession)

Secret 4: Don't Overlook Email


An alternative for customers which are not tech savvy, consider sending an email instead




Lead generation is a continuous process however, with an efficient system in place your business is primed for sustainable future growth.

So are you going to take action to experiment the 4 secrets above?

Friday, 7 June 2019

The Easiest Formula for Forecasting Sales (Just 2 Steps)


If you want to sell well or to pitch for funding, you need to forecast your sales well.

It can be especially challenging for any startup or small business owner. This was especially frustrating for me too, because there was no reference which was readily or easily accessible.

Step 1


To start, I learned that to find out what is the sales potential of any business I had to understand which key factors affected how customers purchase from my business.

Do the customers of my business need to visit my store to purchase from my business or can they purchase through the Internet?

These factors are segmented into 2 categories.


  1. Sales Limited by Geography = Customers needing to visit my store to purchase from my business.
  2. Sales Not Limited by Geography = Customers are able to purchase through the Internet.

These 2 categories helped to organise a complex problem to become an easily understood 1st step.

Step 2


Lastly, identify customers which would be a good fit for the business and multiply that number by the average value each customer would contribute to the business.

This helps you to form your total Market Size. This tells you the potential sales your business is able to earn.

How does Step 1 help with Step 2? The 2 categories mentioned earlier in Step 1, helps you to identify customers which would be a good fit for the business.

For example,


  • You own a cafe located within the city center. 
  • You know that your customers need to visit the Cafe to purchase from the business. Therefore, the Cafe's sales is limited by Geography.
  • You learned that there are 2 office blocks which are within walking distance to your cafe. Within each of these office blocks there are 20 floors which has 1,000 employees.
  • If each customer of the Cafe on average spends RM15 each for lunch, this means the total Market Size for the Cafe is RM600,000 per month (RM15 each for lunch x 1,000 employees x 2 office blocks x 20 business-days).

Conclusion


When estimating your own Market Size, consider reflecting your business against Market Size. This will help you to know how much you are currently contributing to the customers around you.

Following the previous example, if your Cafe makes RM30,000 per month this means your Cafe owns 5% of the market (RM30,000 / RM600,000). This to you means, you can focus your efforts knowing which activities are likely to increase your Market Size.

Additional resources:


How to estimate, number of employees in an office building? 


  • A great way to make an estimate of how many people are within the surrounding buildings of your business is by searching about a building's capacity and current tenancy from popular websites such as iPropertyPropwall, and Propsocial. For 1 employee on average the space allocated is 250sqft. Here's a great article here about space allocation for employees.
  • Be sure to reserve 25% of your total office space as open areas for walking and other furnitures.

For example, if on average an office is 3,000sqft - you can safely estimate 9 employees (3,000 sqft x 75% active area after open areas for walking and other furnitures / 250sqft per employee).

How to estimate, number of people in an apartment or home?


  • There may be homes surrounding your business too. If you come across advertisements for homes of 800sqft or 1,000sqft, these usually house a family of 4 people.

Focus your efforts to increase your Market Size. Do this through SMS and Email (learn more here), which are cost effective tools to help you reach more customers in your Market.

Separately, learn how a sandwich store employs a tactic to leverage on SMS as a way to promote their business.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Case Study: Restaurant Continues to Engage with Customers Resulting in More Repeat Sales


Customers come and go, and it is hard to keep in touch and continually engage with them. There's a lot going on in their lives.

Social is a big pull for business owners because of the reach it gives and potential it promises. However, there is a constant need to develop content to keep current.

A more direct solution to this would be to employ 2 tried and tested marketing tools to keep customers engaged.

SMS and Email.

SMS and Email has many benefits as they are both affordable tools where business and customers can choose to interact directly with each other.

Both being synonymous and come together like bread and butter.

The sales journey for a potential customer is much longer compared with customers that have already positively interacted with your business.

Ideally, you are providing the customer with an option to maintain the positive relationship they have had with your business.

Examples of engagement include options for customers to consider when choosing their preferred choice to be notified of any offers or promotions your business can offer them.

Restaurant uses this to their advantage by capturing customer's information quickly through a text message.

The benefit is to reduce any challenges customers may face to opt-in. SMS helps to make the process quicker compared to the need to physically write down on a paper form or have them go to a website to fill out a subscription.


All the customer has to do is submit a text message containing a keyword and email to a short-code and the server would respond to their email indicating subscription has already been confirmed! 

This reduces the barrier with customers who are not technologically savvy. Everything can be done straight from their mobile phone with a  simple text message.

What efforts are you making to capitalize on repeat sales?

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

3 SEO Secrets To Make You Become An Organic Powerhouse


SEO is everything to being discovered through search. What is the secret behind the search behemoth?

This continues to be elusive to most businesses embarking on their content development journey. Inbound lead generation seems to be a myth.

It can be demoralizing when your traffic sources start continues to be in a decline, that so much so it is in a plateau that never seems to go past zero.

Rather than hitting the eject button, we decided to scour the Internet for a solution and to find the culprit.

What we discovered is that our editorial strategy of brainstorming topics and relying on our intuition did not work.

We decided to pivot and focus our energies on the channel organic search. 


Here in this post we will share with you our 3 SEO secrets we've employed in our updated strategy as we deliver more relevant content to our readers.

Below is a brief outline of the 3 SEO Secrets:


  1. People First, Search Engines Last
  2. Link-Build
  3. Compress Images


1. People First, Search Engines Last


Although the algorithm does dictate the result of search, you must remember that search engines reward for the best content on the internet, not for the best algorithm.

The 1st step we took is to understand the intent behind the keyword we want to target.

To do this we analyze a keyword's search engine's result and determine the problems that the users were trying to solve.

After which, we tried to find the best solutions to find the best steps to solving it. Finally we create engaging copy with clear, concise, and compelling copy.

We try to highlight findings, data, and include images that keep our readers stimulated for more.

2. Link-Build


Crucial to improving your domain authority, it is imperative for you to earn high-quality inbound links from websites and pages with high authority scores.

The main method we are currently using to earn high-quality links is by networking with other websites that have a higher domain score.

We are making every effort to also make sure our content is relevant to the referring website's content.

3. Compress Images


A basic rule for optimizing for search engines that often gets overlooked is compressing of your image files.

This may seem rudimentary and not a top priority but file size affects your website's load speed, which is 1 of 10 most important ranking factors for Google.

A great place to start on optimizing your page for Google is the guide prepared by them: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide.

In a previous article we've covered a hidden trick to quickly and easily to enhance your SEO in Malaysia - this is a no brainer and can be done within 1 day.

Conclusion


These are the 3 secrets that we are currently devising as our SEO strategy, and continues to break records for us.

It's entirely possible that they could be outdated quick as SEO keeps changing and improving for the benefit of the users using the search engines.

How fast are you employing these new tactics?

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

4 Free Ways to Promote Your New Content


Placing greater efforts on crafting a killer header and writing great content would be worthless, if you do not promote the content that you create.

It's similar to planning for a Friday night party, but not inviting anyone to the party. If you take the time to promote and build excitement, you might attract people who are interested in attending.

This is the same with your content and gives you the best chance of success.

Here's a big tip. Don't promote your content to everyone. It's like inviting your mom to a guy's night out. You should target each of your content that you create to a specific buyer persona.

Hubspot has a great guide on how you can easily and step-by-step identify your buyer persona. Start this first before you begin to promote your content.

Below you will find the 4 free ways we use to promote our content. 


1. Promote Consistently on Social


At every possible time, we promote our content through our social channels to keep each post fresh. Make sure you include an image, link and a hashtag.

2. Notify Current Audiences through Email


Email is often overlooked as a source for inbound leads. We've covered interesting points on Email Signatures and what to avoid here.

Another great read is some neat tricks for email you can implement here.

One other use for your content through email is to approach new prospects by providing them with valuable information, and establish authority to assist with your sales efforts.

3. Recycle Content


Old content can be repurposed, with a new header, improved more in-depth content to make it more helpful for new readers.

It can cover more resources and provide better value to the readers.

4. Repurpose Content Into New Formats


A great trick to increase your content's reach you can repurpose your content into other formats, such as a slideshare deck, Pinterest post, or podcast.

Are there any other free ways you currently use to promote your new content?