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Mobile Friendly – Is Your Website Ready for April 21st?

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Got Clicks Mobile Friendly WebsitesI’ve been playing for awhile with making a website mobile-friendly in Serif WebPlus.  It works great if you have a simple website like InsuranSites, however, when you have LOTS of pages, it can get a little sticky.  I have 2 urls for Got Clicks and after a bit of reworking, it is now mobile-search friendly.

Why Do I Need to Make My Website Mobile-Friendly?

While yes, it’s a pain, Google does make a valid point:  If I’m searching on my mobile device for your business and I have to scroll clear across Canada to see your Contact Us info on my iPhone, I’m going to dump your website and go to one that’s a heck of a lot easier to read than yours. The Cardinal Rule: Make it easy for customers to buy from you.

How do I Know if My Website’s Mobile Friendly for Google?

Easy!  Just go to this simple link, type in your url into to test and see if you’re good to go on April 21st.

Helpful Links:

Depending upon how far the rabbit hole you wanna go, here are some articles that may be helpful to you and your web designer:
Google’s developer guide to smartphone sites – this is the most important document and the best place to start:
For sites with separate mobile and desktop URLs, this section is especially important:
These are common mistakes Google has seen in mobile sites:
Changing in rankings of smartphone search results:
25 key principles of mobile site design:

Free Tools to Rev Up Your Lead Capture Strategies in 2015

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The New Year rang in some wonderful free tools ideal for lead-capture, conversions and putting muscle behind your social media posts.  Here are two reviews for Snip.ly and SumoMe, both free and both worth your time.

Snip.ly:  I took App Sumo’s new tool, Snip.ly out for a test-run this afternoon, and I’ve gotta say, this tool has some serious power.  They’re doing a free one-year subscription to the Pro package and I suggest you get it while it’s hot – (it’s a $300 value) and no, I don’t have an affiliate link to them… (yet…)  Here’s a quick 4-minute video showing you the back-end:

Snip.ly not only abbreviates your long urls, but it allows for embedding a call-to-action button right onto your landing page with a one-two punch.  I used it to promote my affiliate hosting site, Midphase with their 40% off sale and my tutorials for Serif WebPlus.  It allowed me to promote BOTH pages on 1 post in both Facebook and Twitter (now how cool is that??)

SumoMe:  I’ve gotta admit, this one was a little confusing (still is…) in that I don’t always see the lead capture box show up on my website.  I put a device up on my home page (lemme know if you see the bugger…) to give away my free report, “The Top (Dirt-Cheap) Tools I Use to Get Noticed Online.” Some leads have come in, but not an avalanche. In all fairness, I haven’t promoted this to the max – I may use the power of Snip.ly to drive traffic to my pages that house the SumoMe lead-capture device and see if that works a bit better.  Nonetheless, it is easy to install, just not always easy to see it all the time, especially if you’ve put in commands that it only show once a month so as not to pester loyal followers of your website or blog.  Here’s the scoop on SumoMe and a few other GREAT tools:

So if you’re playing with your website over the weekend, take these two tools out for a spin and let me know what you think of them in the comments below.

Dear VT Legislature: WTF?

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What would you do if you had an internet business for 10 years and received an email like this one telling you one of your revenue streams was going to dry up tomorrow?  Yeah, our shop got that letter yesterday:

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I always tell my clients to avoid blogging about the Big 3 your mother warned you about discussing around the dinner table:

1)  Politics

2)  Religion

3)  Sex

However, when it adversely affects how I put food on the table, I go looking for answers.  I went out on Facebook and Cairn Cross of Fresh Tracks Capital had talked about this back in 2011.  I don’t really think the Vermont Legislature fully understands the impact of their decision.  We’re messing with flippin’ Amazon here – and the legislature’s decision could affect so many people.

I just released my book, “A Man to Honor You,” which I’m about to do a major campaign for on February 9th – in time for Valentine’s Day. Will my income eventually be affected by this decision?  How about other authors eeking out a living?  What about folks who started an Amazon store to sell coffee or widgets or???

I’m all for paying my fair share, and yes, I should’ve paid closer attention to all of this, but I didn’t – I was working to build my business.  It ain’t cheap to live here in Vermont, but it’s where I was raised, it’s where my roots run 5 generations deep.  Do I have to leave (as many others before me have…) to make a living?

I don’t want to just sit here typing to you and complaining; I really want to fix this.  Maybe there’s someone at the legislature I can explain how affiliate sales work so we can mend this gaping hole in the fence. If Amazon found Vermont too much of a pain to work with, where will that leave Google?  I make $ off each click on my tutorials I have on YouTube.  Will my Adsense profits be dinged here, too?  Short of that, I may be looking for work – sooner rather than later. (Anybody need an internet marketer?)

A Girl Named Tsu – A Social Media Platform that Pays You Back

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Got Clicks - Tell Me, Tell the WorldI know, I know – I groaned too when I heard there was yet another social media platform to play with.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have a problem with Facebook ads.  I DO have a problem with them owning all of my content.  I DO think the way they monetize by boosting your post is cumbersome.  I like how YouTube uses AdSense and rewards you for good content.  That’s how it should be done and happily, Tsu has taken this to a higher level.

I’m promoting my new program Tell Me – Tell the World where I teach you how to create your own lead capture devices to get more clients.  I was about to post about it on LinkedIn when Caleb Wright’s FANTASTIC review of Tsu hit my screen.  Do yourself a favor and read his whole blog, watch the videos, they’re worth your time.

Here’s a quick video showing you how to setup your Tsu.  Go ahead, sign up and follow me on Tsu.  Let’s see how much we can bank together.

Website Overwhelm: Has it Hit You, Too?

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Has website overwhelm hit you, too?
Has website overwhelm hit you, too?

It’s funny, I warn clients not to talk over customers’ heads and just last week, I did exactly that: I wrote about how stoked I was with the new Serif WebPlus X8 software and posted a video of how it all works on my LinkedIn wall.  I had a very kind woman point out that she had no idea what I was talking about.

Whoops.

So, I decided to review 3 website building platforms – Joomla, WordPress and Serif WebPlus to give you a view of the back-end as well as the front-end of these website builders along with what the heck is the difference between hosting and domains (watch the video for the exciting conclusion.)  I hope it helps bring more clarity – especially if you’re in the uncomfortable shoes of having to revamp a website and you’re not sure whether to throw in the towel and hire a web designer to start new or fix the one you already have:

I’ve been working with Vinny Hebert over at Web Help U.S. because he’s a staunch Joomla fan and I am – well, I’m not – yet.  He’s been patiently touting the virtues of a Joomla website and I’ve been slowly coming over to his way of thinking – albeit initially kicking and screaming.

I guess what drives me batty about both Joomla and WordPress is the fact that I can’t see the WHOLE page laid out until after I’ve typed or put in an image.  You’ll see what I’m talking about when you watch the video on the comparisons.  Joomla’s very left-brained – and I am decidedly right-brained.  So, instead of complaining, cursing Joomla’s modules and WordPress’ plugins, I decided to sit quietly and play nice. And just like anything that is new – once I let go of my pre-conceived notions of how I think it SHOULD work, I just accepted the way it DOES work.  The result?

Joomla works quite well for enterprise level businesses.  If you have a business that needs to scale, that has multiple users, that needs logins, security, variables for products, unique permissions for different users, Joomla’s your go-to.  In fact, we’re using it for a MAJOR project we’re unleashing in 2015 for the insurance industry because little Serif WebPlus just doesn’t have her big-boy pants on yet.  However, for a small entrepreneur?  You can’t beat Serif WebPlus for simplicity, affordability and speed.

So here’s a checklist of what you should ask yourself before you delve into building your own website or hiring a web designer to do it for you:

1)  What do you want the website to do?

2)  How many people will be updating the website?

3)  If it’s an e-commerce, how many products will you be selling off the website?

4)  Where is your customer base and how will you attract them to your website?

5)  If you’re building it yourself, are there resources you can turn to for help if you get stuck?

6)  Database storage – how and where will you store your client list?

I love Serif WebPlus because it’s a wicked (yes, I said ‘wicked..’) easy platform that allows me to draw my ideas out start to finish.  Joomla is great for heavy-lifting – sites that need a login, protected pages, a subscription perhaps.  WordPress I’ve used primarily for blogging, however, it can also be used as a website and has similar plugins as Joomla’s modules.  However, what’s missing for me in both WordPress and Joomla is the ability to create the website as I see it in my brain from start to finish.  When I’m talking to a client, I already start forming the website in my brain before I’ve even pressed my fingers to the keyboard.  Serif allows me the creative room to put a picture skewed to the left or right – I don’t need to think about it.  I don’t need a plugin or module, everything I need is right within the Serif software – I just draw it the way I see it.  Boom. Done.

What if you have a website and it’s just not working right?  Or you don’t dare hit that update button for fear it’ll blow your website out of the water?  Web Help U.S. has a Dedicated Webmaster program that will update your website so you don’t have to think about it.  He works in both WordPress and Joomla and you can’t beat the price of $59.95 a month.

As much as I love Serif, there are some drawbacks to Serif WebPlus. One, if you have more than one person managing your website, it’s not the ideal platform.  Both WordPress and Joomla allow for multiple users with a simple login.  Joomla allows for limiting accessibility to the site as well (as does, WordPress, so don’t get your shorts in a knot for all the WordPress fans…)

Second, it’s not a very robust shopping cart.  Vinny showed me some fantastic things you can do inside of Joomla for shopping carts and subscription-based websites that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  As Got Clicks grows and evolves, I’m going to need the subscription capability because I’m recognizing many of my clients do not have two grand up front for a website, but they’d be happy to spend a hundred to two hundred a month to promote their business.  I need to pay attention to that, lean in to change, embrace it and see which of these platforms will suit my needs.

But dang!  You can’t ignore the ease of using Serif WebPlus.  I just launched the X8 tutorials last week and already have about a hundred hits on it – so that shows me there is still interest out there.  I have looked at Weebly and I do remember the Homestead websites that came and went, but those have a hard time showing in the search engines and didn’t seem to have a place to put metadescriptions in or page names which are critical to search engine visibility.

So if I’m feeling the overwhelm of what’s the right platform – I can only imagine what you must be going through.  Yes, there are big changes in the wind for Got Clicks.  Yes, Joomla is going to be a very big part of that change and yes, I’m ready to take the next steps – how about you?

Did Google Kill the Keyword?

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Is the Keyword out of style?
Is the Keyword out of style?

When Google sounded the death knell of the Keyword tool, I was heart-broken.  I’ve always loved playing with words – making it easy to find what your clients are looking for (hopefully, you and your website…) and Google making it phenomenally easy to research how people searched locally and globally. I loved writing the right keywords and page titles along with meaningful metadescriptions to perfectly tailor a customer’s search for their expectation of what greeted them from your page.  I loved seeing my research pay off with my client’s website showing on the first page of a targeted keyword search.

Now?  It’s not so easy to research (for free, anyway…) the behavior of an online patron.  The pay-per-click landscape has definitely shifted from the easy 3-line adword campaigns to more sophisticated PLA (Product Listing Ads).  Gone are exact phrase matches and heralded in are the graphical units driven by a product feed.  The former innocence of Google replaced by the creepy big-brother looking over your shoulder mentality of Facebook ads that harvest your every thought and whim for the sake of your demographic (and psychographic) data.

So is the keyword dead?  Not really.  But it forces marketers to think more like consumers – how do we make it easy for people to buy your products and services?  Where do they hear about you?  On a blog post?  On YouTube?  On an app? When they search on their mobile phone, are they more likely to turn to Siri?  Or your cousin in Kansas on Facebook?

The Last Click Attribution

What triggers the last click before a purchase is made?  It’s not dependent solely on a Google search anymore.  Just as video may have killed the radio star, apps, social media and voice search have put a dent in the traditional keyword search, no doubt.  In Dave Schwartz’s smart article asking if we’re reaching the end of the keyword era, I would say no.  Is it changing?  Oh yeah.  Is it more point at a picture and click based?  Definitely.  But I’m not willing to throw in the towel and face an “Idiocracy” apocalypse.  The word is still mighty – stories still need to be conveyed as an art form.  Killer copy still sells just as it did in the 80s with Gary Halbert’s timeless letters, it just translates differently.

It still comes down to the Big 3 Elements Google has touted for a decade now:

  • Relevance
  • Content
  • Engagement

In fact, go back in history and you’ll see these 3 ingredients are key to any enterprise whether online or off.  The last ingredient?  The Secret Sauce?  Desire.  Do you have what your clients want, need and are willing to pay you for?  If you have these key ingredients, it won’t matter what algorithm Google pitches or how Facebook positions your ads – what will matter is people willing to search for what you have to offer and you making it easy for them to find what they need.

It’s called a great product or offering great service and that never goes out of style.

Playing Solitaire with Your Business

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The Click Retreat happens this September.  Details at FindTheClick.com
Fold. Shuffle. Play Again.

I’m getting ready for the retreat I’m teaching called The Click in mid-September.  Someone private messaged me on Facebook and it took me awhile to respond back to her.  Here’s what she asked:

“I’ve been in business for 7 years now and it’s been rough.  The recession, banks not lending and my credit score taking a nosedive have made me think I need to get a job, but no one will hire me.  Okay, they’ll hire me, but not at a living wage.  So I’ve been dealt a bad hand and I’m trying to make the best of it.  Will The Click help?”

Wow.  I wish I knew the answer to that one.  I can guide, set up a marketing plan, build a website and e-commerce stuff, but no one knows how to deal with a bad hand… or do we?

I put my cell phone down and picked up a deck of cards.  I played the only game I know next to “Go Fish,” and that’s “Solitaire.”

So I dealt a hand.  And I lost.

I dealt a second.  And I lost.

I dealt a third.  And I won.

So what did I do once I had won?  I dealt again.  And I had one of those “aha” moments.  Whether I win or lose, the result was the same:  I dealt again.  Why?

“Hey Vin, what do you do when you lose a game of solitaire?”

“I deal again.”

“And what if you win?”

“I deal again.  But I don’t play it like you do.”  This gave me pause.

“How do you play?”  I pushed my cards aside and he showed me the solitaire game on his phone.  “Each time I play, I accrue points, so it gives me more incentive to keep playing.”  Accrue points; experience.  Each time you play, you learn, right?

Keep playing… So no matter whether you win or lose at Solitaire, we fold up the cards, shuffle, and play again.  Just like in business.  I remember when I had my corporate handcuffs and how people discouraged me from starting my own business.

“Business is risky – work in the cable industry.”  So I worked for Adelphia.  And they folded.

Deal the cards.  Shuffle.  Play again.

And I created (and re-created) Got Clicks along with many other companies.  Some did very well, some not so well.  But I kept playing and learning and accruing not points, but knowledge and experience on how to do it right more quickly.

Ready to Play?

Here are some tips on getting it right in your business:

Stop Putting Cats in Dresses:  My last blog post talks at length about this and it’s the number one reason businesses fail – lack of customer research.  Do your customers want what you have to offer?  Ask the RIGHT questions and learn what your clients are hungry for.

Simplify Your Messaging:  Stop talking over your audience’s head.  How do you describe your business?  “I do Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management and build websites and landing pages,” was how I used to lead my elevator pitch and I found people would nod and politely walk to the cash bar.  I now say “I help businesses get noticed online.”  Much less scary, more engaging and memorable.

Make it Easy:  Make it easy for a customer to buy from you.  Think about how you want your customer to receive your product or services.  Is your website concise?  Is it easy to understand what you have to offer?  Do you engage with the right people on your social media?  Are you on social media with a purpose or on there because somebody told you to be there?

Success is not defined by how much money you make, the money you make is directly related to how much success you accrue.  If it doesn’t work? Fold. Shuffle. Play Again.