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The #1 Marketing Tool Your Business Needs

  The No. 1 Marketing Tool Every Business Needs By Rieva Lesonsky, AllBusiness.com December 22, 2017 Do you think your social media presence or your word-of-mouth is so strong that you don’t need a website for your business? Maybe you have amazing online reviews or a stellar reputation in the community. But that doesn’t mean your business can survive without a website of its own. Unfortunately, a surprising number of small business owners seem to view a business website as an “extra” rather than what they really are: an essential foundation for their marketing efforts…. Why is a business website so important? It’s all about control. As a small business owner, you can’t control the algorithms that social media sites use to determine what posts people see. You can’t control whether a crazy customer writes a negative review that stirs up controversy and attracts unwanted attention. You can’t control whether a newspaper subscriber actually reads the ad you placed. On your business website, however, you’re in complete control of the way you present your business, the image you create, and the information you share. And if you use social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, local SEO, and online advertising wisely, you’ll have a great deal of control over whether people searching for what you sell end up on your website. Here are some keys to making the most of your business website: Regularly update your website so it always looks contemporary and fresh. Outdated design elements will make your business look less competitive. Don’t forget about functionality. If your website isn’t working as well as it used to, perhaps you need to revamp some navigation features. For example, your website should be designed to not only look great but also function smoothly on a mobile device. Create high-quality

Marked jump in brute force attacks against WordPress sites

If you haven’t done a security audit on your WordPress sites recently, now is the time!   Breaking: Aggressive WordPress Brute Force Attack Campaign Started Today, December 18, 2017, @ 3am UTC by Mark Maunder, Wordfence December 18, 2017 A massive distributed brute force attack campaign targeting WordPress sites started this morning at 3am Universal Time, 7pm Pacific Time. The attack is broad in that it uses a large number of attacking IPs, and is also deep in that each IP is generating a huge number of attacks. This is the most aggressive campaign we have seen to date, peaking at over 14 million attacks per hour. The attack campaign was so severe that we had to scale up our logging infrastructure to cope with the volume when it kicked off, which makes it clear that this is the highest volume attack that we have seen in Wordfence history, since 2012. The campaign continues to ramp up in volume during the past hour as we publish this post. A graph of the attack volumes is shown below which shows the number of attacks per hour and the number of attacking IPs that we see each hour. Our infrastructure automatically blacklisted the participating IPs in real-time and distributed those to our Premium customers. This all happened unattended early this morning. We continue to monitor the campaign and are analyzing its origin and who is behind it. What we know at this time: The attack has so far peaked at 14.1 million attacks per hour. The total number of IPs involved at this time is over 10,000. We are seeing up to 190,000 WordPress sites targeted per hour. This is the most aggressive campaign we have ever seen by hourly attack volume. Read more…

Google: Getting your site ready for mobile-first indexing

Getting your site ready for mobile-first indexing Google Blog December 18, 2017 Currently our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for…. Sites that make use of responsive web design and correctly implement dynamic serving (that include all of the desktop content and markup) generally don’t have to do anything. Here are some extra tips that help ensure a site is ready for mobile-first indexing: Make sure the mobile version of the site also has the important, high-quality content. This includes text, images (with alt-attributes), and videos – in the usual crawlable and indexable formats. Structured data is important for indexing and search features that users love: it should be both on the mobile and desktop version of the site. Ensure URLs within the structured data are updated to the mobile version on the mobile pages. Metadata should be present on both versions of the site. It provides hints about the content on a page for indexing and serving. For example, make sure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent across both versions of all pages on the site. No changes are necessary for interlinking with separate mobile URLs (m.-dot sites). For sites using separate mobile URLs, keep the existing link rel=canonical and link rel=alternate elements between these versions. Check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. When using link rel=hreflang elements for internationalization, link between mobile and desktop URLs separately. Your mobile URLs’ hreflang should point to the other language/region versions on other mobile URLs, and

Google Rankings and Your Business

  An important reminder about Google Search Rankings: If they can’t find you, they can’t become clients or customers!     Are Poor Google Rankings Hurting Your Business? Here’s What You Can Do About It NoobPreneur.com December 4, 2017 How Important are Your Rankings? Perhaps you’re in the group that doesn’t really give much credit to Google rankings. If that’s the case, you may be surprised to learn that studies show 94% of Google search clicks result from that first page worth of results. What this means is that if your company isn’t showing up on that first page, there is only a 6% chance that customers will find you. It’s not that there is a lack of people searching for information it’s that they can’t be bothered to look past that first page of results.Make Sure You are Using Keywords Properly One of the biggest tips for those looking to improve their Google ranking is to take a close look at the keywords they are using, and how they are using them. Keyword phrases must be properly placed in order to garner results, and of course the right words need to be contained. It’s always a good idea to take a look at Google Trends to see which phrases are currently “trending”. It’s also a good idea to stay on one topic per page, rather than bounce around.Make Sure the Site is Updated Regularly Another tip is to make sure your site isn’t stagnant, meaning it is updated on a regular basis. Google likes active websites that are constantly getting attention from you. Blogs can be very helpful in this regard because it’s fresh new content that you add on a regular basis.Investigate the Speed of the Site Another area that you can be suffering is with the site

Paying for Nofollow Links in Directories

Is it worth paying for links to your website from directories like the Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce? This question was recently raised in a thread at the Local Search Forum and an earlier version of this post was written in response to that thread. One of the questions posed was specifically, “Why are the links nofollow and what is the benefit if any of continuing to pay an annual fee for a nofollow link?”. Basically, is this some sort of scam with no benefit to the webmaster, i.e., a waste of money? To understand why such links are nofollow, you need to understand the history of directories and links. In the early days of the internet, directories popped up as a way of screening out good sites or useful sites for crap sites. There were some good ones back then and you had to provide useful and accurate information or a useful service to be included. And people actually used those directories to find information on the net because they provided something older search engines didn’t: an evaluative component. Sites in the directory could be assumed to be better than sites not in the directory, all things being equal… except of course that all things were not equal because the process of scouring the net and screening sites using human editors could not possibly keep pace with the number of new websites being added every week or month. Then Google happened, one might argue the first search engine that had real value in ranking sites for value to the searcher the way the directories used to. Suddenly links pointing to your site and then to specific pages on your site had real value to webmasters. And that link value meant there was money to be

Local Search: Blogging will Help Your Small Business

Keep it Local: How and Why Simple Blogging will Help Your Small Business by Scott W Johnson, NoobPreneur.com October 28, 2017 Step One: The Exact Same Listing, Every Time Before you go and spend tons of money hiring people to do all sorts of search engine marketing, the very first thing you should do is to claim your operation on Google, Yelp, & Hotfrog. Don’t fret if your operation is home based, just follow their rules. Use the exact same way of writing your companies name and address for each and every internet listing moving forward. In other words, do not change up the name of your company from Johns Plumbing to John’s Plumbing; those types of slight differences can wreak havoc. Step Two: The Local Contact Page and Contact Form If you already have a company name and website established you are in lucks way. Make sure your website clearly states your contact information that exactly matches the address of the Google Local listing – on your Contact page. Preferably your website will also have a ‘contact me form’ which will easily allow potential clients to reach out to you for a request for service…. keep the contact form as simple as possible. Step Three: Blog about Business, Blog about Local The first blog post that many people write can seem extremely scary, get over it. Just write it. Your first blog piece should shoot to be over 600 words and contain information about what you do and where you do it. Depending on exactly what you do, people may or may not care about the quality of the writing. … Now you will want to repeat this exercise each and every week for about six months, changing up topics and locales, the more specific the problems of the

Why your service business needs a website

Starting a service business? Here’s why you need a website. By Jonathan Long, GoDaddy Garage September 18, 2017 If you are starting a service business like landscaping, carpentry, or carpet cleaning, here are some of the benefits and reasons uou need a website. Why you need a website for your landscaping business Most consumers, no matter what product or service they’re looking for, begin their search online. Now, your business can — and should — use local listings and social networks like Facebook to connect with future customers. But to really do it right, you’ll need a website as well. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, either. A simple, one-page website with the right things is really all you need. If you’re not online, you’re invisible to your customers. When someone is looking for a service like landscaping, they turn to the internet for a solution. For example, a local couple might go to their desktop computer in the evening to look for a landscaper who can handle a large backyard redesign. Another person might remember they need the lawn mowed while standing in line at the coffee shop. On the spot, they’ll pull out their mobile phone to search for someone to do it. Your chances of showing up when they search improves if you have a complete online presence — including a website. Read more…

Websites to sell crafts

Looking for ways to sell your crafts to make a little extra money, but not ready for your own website? This article from GoDaddy discusses the Best Websites to Sell Crafts and the Pros and Cons of each option. The 6 best websites to sell crafts by Ashley Grant, GoDaddy Garage September 7, 2017 Do you have a knack for creativity? Are you constantly making amazing crafts for birthday gifts and holidays? Or perhaps you just make them for yourself and folks frequently tell you that you should sell your handmade awesomeness. If this sounds familiar — or you’re a knitter, jeweler, potter or some other craft maker who’s considering selling your goods — this post is for you. It’s easier than you might think to start your own handmade crafts business. Below, you’ll find some of the best websites to sell crafts, as well as some advice for creating an eCommerce store of your own. The 6 best websites to sell crafts Etsy Handmade at Amazon Artfire eBay Zibbet Bonanza Read more…

How Independent Contractors can Help Your Small Business

An interesting article discussing some of the reasons small business are reluctant to hire independent contractors (freelancers) and debunking some of the myths that are barriers to hiring a freelancer. The Truth About Hiring and Managing Independent Contractors in Your Business by Rieva Lesonsky, AllBusiness.com Sept. 1, 2017 A recent poll of over 2,200 small businesses conducted by Manta finds that few small business owners are taking part in the “gig economy” trend. Instead, the majority would rather hire permanent, salaried employees… Here are some myths and realities about hiring independent contractors that you should understand. Myth: You can’t control independent contractors. Reality: You can’t micromanage independent contractors—that much is true… However, providing detailed explanations of what you want from the freelancer, combined with explicit contracts laying out your expectations, will help ensure you get the desired results from the independent contractor’s work. Myth: Managing independent contractors will take up too much of your time. Reality: Independent contractors skilled in their fields often have decades of experience, which means they can typically hit the ground running… you won’t have to train them from the ground up as you might with entry-level permanent employees. Myth: Independent contractors are too expensive. Reality: One of the biggest advantages of hiring independent contractors is that you can find them at a wide range of price levels. Of course, the adage that you get what you pay for is also true… However, because independent contractors can laser-focus on your project without the distractions of the typical workplace, they’re likely to get things done more efficiently and effectively than many employees. Myth: Your employees won’t like working with independent contractors. Reality: Incorporating independent contractors alongside employees is standard practice in many industries. In fact, your employees are likely to welcome freelancers who can take time-consuming tasks

Marketing Myths for Small Business Owners

Marketing Myths Small Business Owners Should Stop Believing by Meaghan McCarthy, Search Influence August 29, 2017 When you’re running a small business, it’s often up to you or a member of a very small team to research and make all decisions for the business. And when you’re trying to allocate a marketing budget, being well informed is essential to the future of the business’ success. If you’re considering investing in SEO for your company but aren’t sure if it is going to pay off in the end, get the real facts about common SEO misconceptions. Myth 1: Only businesses of a certain size, in particular industries, or with certain audience demographics need a website. Having a website in today’s world is essential for getting found by customers, and everyone can benefit from one. SEO will help you get found by the right audience, no matter how niche your market may be, from HVAC companies and mom-and-pop shops to CNC engineers and doctors. Myth 2: Keyword stuffing and duplicate content are good SEO practices. Myth 3: SEO is all about keyword rankings. There’s more to SEO than sprinkling some keywords into your content and calling it a day. Content creation, link building, local search optimization, and technical aspects of your website, like page speed, are all necessary components of a well-rounded and robust SEO campaign. Myth 4: Social media is just for sharing pictures of my kids at the beach. Social media helps you promote your content, share industry news with your followers, show off a bit of your personality and your brand’s tone, and engage directly with your customers. It’s the personal touch that matters in today’s business world. Plus, social media lets you find your customers where they spend the most time. Read more…
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