got clicks

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.

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?

How Does Facebook Know Which Stories to Show?

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I’ve been playing around with the Facebook boost and really loved it – initially.  Now I’ve noticed without the boost, my views are lagging on my Got Clicks page on Facebook.  Why??  Here’s my video of using Boost:

I did some digging around and connected to Facebook for Business which has some great content for those of us wanting to know the Holy Grail of Facebook Algorithms.  Here are some great pointers that we know instinctively, but also, there are some new algorithms Facebook has just trotted out:

Content:
Whenever someone “hides” your comments from their newsfeed, it’s a ding against your page and will lower your ranking for Facebook.  Your content will either appear lower down on the newsfeed or not at all.  So, to avoid this penalty, follow these tips:

– Make your posts timely and relevant
– Build credibility and trust with your audience
– Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”

How Does News Feed know which stories to show?
By letting people decide who and what to connect w/ and by listening to feedback. When a user “likes” something, that tells the newsfeed they want to see more of it. When it’s hidden, of course it tells newsfeed to display less in the future.

How Does the News Feed Algorithm respond to signals from you?                                                                                                                                 Facebook responds by the actions of you and your followers:                                                                                                                                                           – How often you interact w/ a friend, page or public figure                                                                                                                                                                 – The number of likes, shares and comments a ost receives from the world at large, as well as your friends
– How much you’ve interacted w/ this type of post in the past
– Whether you and others are hiding or reporting a given post.

There are also some new features on Facebook that will change the playing field a bit:  Story Bumping and Last Actor:

Story Bumping –
Allows engaging posts you haven’t seen to be bumped up to the top of News Feed later in the day.  There’s more on this in Justin Lafferty’s article that I’ve picked the highlights from below:

Lars Backstrom, Facebook’s Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking, discussed Story Bumping with reporters:

What can we do to make it so people aren’t missing these important stories? Maybe the position 1 and position 2 stories were a little bit better, but that story that was just below the fold, we really would’ve preferred to see that rather than (another story) … which just happened to be the newest thing. So we had this idea, “Let’s change the model slightly.” Before, I said, whenever you come to feed, we’re going to take all the stories that are new since your last visit and put those at the top. Let’s just tweak that a little bit, and instead of taking all the new stories, we’ll take all the stories that are new to you.

Last Actor –
Takes the last 50 engagements a user has performed and gives those users a slight bump up in News Feed ranking.

I’m bummed that my Facebook page isn’t getting as many eyeballs as before I used the Boost, however, I recognize Facebook needs to make a buck as we all do.  Content is King, however, dollars may speak a bit louder…

Facebook: It’s More Than Toast – 5 Conversation Starters for Business

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Mark Johnson Show WDEV with Sarah Spencer of Got Clicks
Sarah Spencer of Got Clicks and Mark Johnson, WDEV

Last week, I was on the Mark Johnson Show talking about internet marketing and of course, the typical questions came up: why do I care about a picture of somebody’s toast?  A lot of people don’t “get” Facebook; what does her toast have to do with me selling my stuff?  Every good sales pro knows:  people buy people.  They buy the storyteller, toast and all.  Facebook is all about storytelling.  Blogging is about elaborating on the story.  You sell when your story’s compelling enough to convince your customer that you’re The One.

So you don’t think Facebook fits in your business model?  Maybe it doesn’t – not every personality works for Facebook.  Many balk at the idea of having to set-up a personal page in order to start your Facebook business page.  For that client, LinkedIn may make more sense.  For clients who don’t have a lot to say, a Twitter account may work better.  Yes, take your comfort level into account, but more importantly, find out where your customers hang out.  When you can envision your customers, you’ll have a much better chance of reaching them and making it easy for them to buy from you.

Facebook Conversation Starters:

Here are 5 Tips to help you start a conversation on Facebook:

  • Like Your Clients – If you’re not following your clients on Facebook, why not?  If you’re a B-to-B business, “like” their business pages.  If you’re B-to-C, your business page cannot follow an individual, however, give them a reason to like your page.
  • Offer Incentives – I offer $10 off my Got Clicks Tweak consultations for clients who “like” my page.  Thank those who take advantage of it.
  • Comment on Client Pages – Facebook is not all about you – once you “like” client pages with your own page, go ahead and comment on their feeds.  Ask questions that will help them get clients.
  • Share  –  It doesn’t hurt to share your client’s page with your Facebook fans.  Chances are, they’ll appreciate it so much, they’ll be more than happy to reciprocate.
  • Contests – I created a contest landing page that I change out on my Facebook page.  Here’s a video to show you how to do it:

R.I.P. Google Keyword Tool

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One certainty in Internet Marketing – change is inevitable.  I had done a webinar a few months ago called, “Niche not Noise” and turned it into a free e-book and video to show people how to brainstorm new business ideas and hone in on keywords to trigger a search for customers to find you.  Recently, I learned the Google Keyword Tool was no longer available, except if you setup Google Adwords.  I’ve created a video tutorial on using the new Keyword Planner which you can watch in this little 5-min ditty below:

A tool I mention in this post is Market Samurai. I find it gives me A LOT more information than the Google Keyword tool ever did. I loved it so much, I signed up as an affiliate to share it with others who struggle with finding the right keywords. There’s a free trial you can sign up for HERE. I highly recommend this tool.

Please let me know of any tools you use out there so that I can pass it along to others.

In-Depth Content – An Excuse for Verbal Diarrhea?

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Is your Evergreen Content quality or just noise?
Is your Evergreen Content quality or just noise?

Have you ever endured a department head meeting monopolized by that one person who speaks for 20 minutes without saying much of anything?  That’s my concern with the latest In-Depth Content craze.  It’s original intent was to be a warehouse for white papers.  However, seeing the Twitter #indepthcontent hashtag bandied about shows some marketers are mistaking crap for content.  “How to write #indepth content that Google Loves” boasts one early adopter.  What about what you love?  What your readers love?  Yes, if it takes 900, 2000, 60k or 100k worth of words to say it, by all means, do it -but don’t write for the sake of writing what Google loves, write with a clear purpose in mind.

  • Write with Purpose:  What idea are you trying to get across?   Do you have a different point of view that’s interesting?
  • Write in Service:  Are you writing to solve a problem or are you writing for Google? The key to great content is knowing who you’re writing to and why you’re writing in the first place.
  • Write for Engagement:  Does your topic encourage conversation?
  • Write Strategically – Who are you talking to?  Are you sharing your writing with those who care?  Are you writing to those who need to hear your message?

Honing in on who you’re talking to makes the writing flow.  Writing in service comes from the heart – there is no better content than articles written from a place of service.  Writing for engagement is the art of the storyteller.  If  you’re stumped on how to make your content engaging,  go to your local diner sometime and just listen.  You’ll spot ’em a mile away; they have the whole lunch counter enthralled with a story that’s just as juicy as today’s bacon and cheeseburger.  It’s a story worth repeating to your family at home, at the water cooler at work, only now LinkedIn is the watercooler, Facebook’s your family at home.  Knowing who will be interested in your story is the basis of smart, strategic marketing.  If you need help figuring out your messaging, I’d love to work with you.