Websites

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:
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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.

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?

Got Clients? No? Then Stop Putting Cats in Dresses

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Two_cats,_dressed_as_humans,_holding_rope,_which_doll_appears_to_be_skippingBack in January, I had the assignment from hell.  Every day, I had to cold-call 50 people I didn’t know, asking if they wanted digital marketing for their business. There were several things wrong with this scenario:

1) Most people I spoke with didn’t know what digital marketing was or why they needed it.

2) I had a quota to fulfill, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to research their companies.

3) I undervalued what Got Clicks brought to the table thinking that a big-named company could deliver the goods better than my little company. I was wrong.

4)  The power is NOT in the list, (I had literally thousands at my fingertips…) the power is in what you have to offer.

What did I do? Well, I didn’t hit quota, I can tell you that. (Nor did many of the other salespeople I had trained with for that big conglomerate.) But I came away with something far more important. We were missing something in our technique – the ability to listen.

Stop Putting Cats in Dresses

I made the simple (yet fatal…) mistake of talking about my solution before understanding their company, their products, or even understanding what their pain points were. As entrepreneurs, we create a product or solution first and THEN look for customers to sell our product to. It needs to be the other way around. Find the Pain, Find the Money THEN Follow Your Heart. Otherwise, you’re putting cats in dresses – forcing your solution to people who really don’t want (or need…) what you have to offer.
I spent endless amounts of time yapping about how I used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a kickin’ lead capture page to generate leads (and results.) What’s wrong with that? Nothing –  if it’s the right fit for that customer.

But what if it isn’t?

I’ve had more than one client have HUGE success independent of social media. Why? Because they spent the time learning what their clients REALLY were hungry for. They created what I like to call “Raging Cookie Fans.”  Raging cookie fans will go to great lengths to find you if you have what they’re hungry for.  Social media and web pages only make it easier for them to find you.  But you MUST have the product, solution or service your fan base is hungry for, otherwise, no Facebook, Twitter or cool website will EVER work if you fail to understand the pain points your customers face and how you can solve them.

The Click Retreat Begins This September

IF…

S-E-L-L is a four-letter word
Marketing means misery
Your client base has fallen off and you don’t know why…

Then maybe it’s time for The Click.

I began teaching this workshop last April and it was a HUGE success. I’m teaching it again in September and it’s perfect for those of you who are:

  • Stuck in your business and need a serious reboot.
  • Considering starting a business, but you find social media and website stuff overwhelming.
  • You want some hand-holding and help honing your message and finding RAGING cookie fans for your product or service.
  • You’d like someone to unveil your communication style and how you can successfully approach your clients without it being a hollow, sales-y pitch.
  • You want to meet other entrepreneurs who are interested in joint venture opportunities.
  • You want a weekend away where your main focus is on the messaging of your company.
  • You don’t want a “rah-rah” weekend and then it’s over. You want continuity, a well-defined start-to-finish program that you can implement with your style and your clients in mind.

If it’s time for you to Find The Click, LEARN MORE HERE

Rebranding the Right Way

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tootsies7daysDaisiesAwardIt’s one thing to get the marketing message right for a new business, but what about a well-established, well-loved, successful business? That was the challenge that came into the shop a couple of months ago.  How do you transition clients over to the new brand?

Verrryyyy slooowwwly…

Beth Estey of Tootsie’s Mini Spa had a couple of dilemmas:

1)  Gift Certificates – The system she had was tricky for customers to order gift certificates and print them off.

2)  Rebranding – While Tootsies had received 5 Daysies awards for Best Pedicure, they were being pigeon-holed into that one service.  Many customers were surprised to learn of all the other offerings.  Beth needed a way to educate her clients that Tootsies was a lot more than playing footsies…

4)  Social Media – Tootsies has a very loyal following, how were we going to bring them to liking a new entity such as Mini Spa VT?

Here’s a before/after video of the transformation of the website.  You’ll see some of the ways we made it easier for Beth’s clients to buy from her.  What do you think?

Last Saturday, Beth conducted a “Win a Free Facial” Facebook contest which was very popular.  She gave me one so I could have the whole experience.  The result?  The REN products left my skin softer than a sugar glider.  She had light appetizers, she had another upsell opportunity of receiving a full-blown facial for $50.  She also took the care in writing down all the products used that day and emailing the list to the client so they knew the products.  Later, she’ll set up a coupon code so those same participants can use her new website to order REN products at a discount (how cool is THAT?)

As for transitioning the social media, Beth will use the techniques outlined in this blog post – again, it will go slow and steady so that clients aren’t jolted.  If you make it easy for your clients to continue buying from you, tell them what you’re doing, give them a forum to give an opinion (such as Facebook), you’re engaging your customers and have your hand on the pulse.

If your company needs a website makeover, let’s talk!

What the Heck is Empire Avenue?

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208I had been told to try Empire Avenue a couple of months ago and quite frankly, I just didn’t get it.  I got busy, I ignored it.  I joined a very active social media group on Facebook and they devote a day to promoting their Empire Avenue links.  I felt like the kid who was always tagged “it” and never really “got” Hide and Seek until I just took a day of educating myself on the merits of this little social media game.  It’s much more productive than any session of Candy Crush and has numerous possibilities if you’re in the serious game of increasing likes and engagement with your social media marketing.

For starters, watch this tutorial from Lisa Cash Hanson – it is excellent on how you get started.  The really cool part of Empire Avenue is the missions.  You need to gain “eaves” (akin to dollars) in order to afford a mission.  Invite friends to buy “shares” of your stock.  The more engaged you are on social media and in the game, the higher your net worth.  My video below shows my very first mission and within 4 minutes, I already had retweets of my post:

I’m by no means an expert at this, however, it is a powerful tool for engaging others to help you promote your page, event, business, etc.  Wide open for your imagination.  For those of you veteran Empire Avenue players, I’m all ears for tips and tricks on improving my skills on playing this wonderful game and improving my reach on Social Media.

Afraid You’ll Tank Your Business? Read This…

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I just watched another business shuttered that I had built a website for a few months ago.  I remember asking her, “Do you have a customer base for this?”  “Oh yeah, lots of my friends are on board with it.”  Well, it’s great to have the support of your friends and family, but what about finding customers who need you?
Do you know why 90% of new businesses fail within the first 3 years? Because they didn’t do the most important step to starting a business online sensibly and affordably:
They didn’t research to see if their new business would have any customers.
Surprised?  Me too.  Just because you’re passionate about it doesn’t mean everybody else is.  Sure, it’s important to love what you do, but make sure people need what you do.
Ethically, I could no longer take people’s money to build websites for them that I knew had a high risk of failing.  So, I got busy working on a system that would help new and seasoned entrepreneurs  research an idea before ever spending a nickel on a website or marketing plan.  I put together “Niche not Noise” so that you can avoid that costly mistake.  You’ll learn:
  • The most strategic step in effective marketing that most businesses neglect
  • The 7-7-7 Principal – Learn how to turn your passion into profit.
  • Useful tools to research your business idea to see the number of potential customers searching for your particular product or service.
  • How your audience finds you.
  • How to create your USP (Unique Selling Point)
  • 8 Must-have tools to discover your special niche- and how to use those tools.

– BONUS:  Marketing Budget ROI Worksheet

The Marketing Budget ROI worksheet is really helpful.  I use it with new clients to figure out how much to spend for each new customer you bring in for your product or service.  You can find that in the back of the e-book.  This is all free – it’s a recording of a webinar I did on this topic a few months ago coupled with a 20-page excerpt from my book, “Niche not Noise.”  I just brought out the meat-and-potatoes so it’s a useful working document for you.  The upcoming book will be filled with interviews from clients and others who have successfully created and marketed a niche business.  I’m really excited about what I’ve learned so far and I wanted to get this in your hands as soon as I could so that more people can be enjoying their business instead of closing it down.

Are you ready?  I can’t wait for you to get started.  This is the most important step to business success.  Please set aside an hour to watch the video, review the e-book and take plenty of notes.  Believe me, one hour of your time is worth the investment; especially when you could save yourself from wasting thousands of dollars on a business that has no client base.

Don’t let me keep you – GO GET STARTED!

 Link to your copy of Niche Not Noise HERE