Small Business

5 Business Blog Topics

by Joe B on July 10, 2012

business blog ideasClients often ask us what should they blog about on their business blog. Here is a list of 5 business blog topic ideas to get you started.

  1. Frequently Asked Questions by Customers. A great place to start is with questions your customers often ask you. Make a list of the top 5 or 10 most asked questions, then write a blog post for each of them. If your customers or potential customers are asking you questions in person, others are likely seeking answers to the same questions online.
  2. Customer Case Study. Post a story about how one of your customers used your product or service with great results.
  3. New Product or Service. Write a post about a new product or service that you will be offering.
  4. Trends in Your Industry. Talk about where your industry is headed- new products or services on the horizon. Show readers that you are the authority in your industry.
  5. Conference Report. If you’ve attended a conference, seminar or class where you obtained information that might be helpful to your customers, write a report discussing the highlights and ideas you learned.

These are just five business blog ideas to kickstart your brain and get you started. Tell us in the comments about your ideas for business blogging.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Internet Marketing

by Christi on July 9, 2012

Internet Marketing New OrleansMonday is a great day to start improving your internet marketing to help your business. Here are three things you can do this week to help you attract more visitors, and convert them into leads and customers for your business.

  1. Identify new keywords – check out your analytics (you do have analytics for your site don’t you?). See what keywords people are using to find you and then brainstorm what words are working and what needs improvement. Use a keyword tool to see how many times those words are searched, and then optimize your site for those words.
  2. Create new blog posts. Blog posts are a perfect way to optimize for your newly identified keywords. Use the keywords in your post title and in your post as well. Use those keywords effectively so they can be ranked by search engines and make sense to your readers too. Provide useful information to your readers. This will help you attract more traffic.
  3. Now that you have optimized your posts and have attracted more traffic, you need to create a great call to action. What can you offer your visitors to convert them into leads for your business? Perhaps you can create an informative whitepaper or eBook. Maybe, you should offer a demo or a sample of your product. Be creative and come up with something that is useful and helpful to your visitors and that will get them engaged.

Okay, those are 3 easy steps that you can take this week to get started improving your internet marketing. Get started this week and then repeat these three steps each week and see what happens. What ideas do you have for improving your internet marketing this week?

Want some more ideas? Download the free eBook, Essential Guide to Internet Marketing today.

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Internet Doomsday Virus

by Christi on July 6, 2012

Are you protected against the “Internet Doomsday” virus? According to Reuters, “About a quarter-million computer users around the world are at risk of losing Internet access on Monday because of malicious software at the heart of a hacking scam that U.S. authorities shut down last November.”

Make sure you are protected. You can find out how to identify and clean up this virus at dcwg.org. So many businesses rely on the internet for sales and leads. It is well-worth taking the time to make sure you are safe!

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The Golden Rule

by Christi on June 26, 2012

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That rule is not only golden for our personal lives, but it is golden for our businesses as well. People remember where they get good service. They remember where someone gave them a little bit more than expected- a lagniappe in our neck of the woods. They remember, they return and they also refer others.

You may be wondering how this transfers to online marketing. Think about your presence online. You can offer a little bit more information with a blog. You can provide information and discussion through social media. When you are online looking for information, don’t you appreciate the businesses that take the time to provide just a little more information and keep that information up to date? What about businesses that respond to your comments and questions on social media? Doesn’t that make a better impression than those that ignore you and your questions, and offer only the bare essentials of information?

We offer lots of information about online marketing on this blog. Some have told us we should keep some of these things secret because our competitors may see what we are doing and try to steal it. That is absurd. If we are doing something that is helpful to businesses, we hope that anyone who does internet marketing would do the same, go the extra mile. It helps everyone in the long run.

Do unto others . . . it’s golden.




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Why PPC Ads Don’t Always Work

by Joe B on March 29, 2012

How many times have you clicked a PPC ad for something specific that you were searching for only to be taken to some website’s home page. Once there, you have to search the website for what it was you were looking for. I’ve asked people why they do this with their PPC ad campaigns and they either don’t know or they want visitors to look around their whole website.

Wrong answer! It’s not about you, it’s about your customer. Sending a PPC ad clicker to your home page is akin to having an ad for iPhones in front of your store and then when someone comes in your store and asks “Where are your iPhones?” You say, “They’re here somewhere, have a look around the store. I’m sure you’ll find them.” It’s not good customer service.

When people are searching on the internet (Google, Bing, etc), they are usually looking for something specific. If your PPC ad is for that specific something, they don’t want to click on it and have to start their search all over again from your website’s home page. They want to be taken to a page on your website that is about the specific item they are searching for.

This is not rocket science, folks. You have three seconds to convince someone to stay on your site. Your website visitor decides in that three seconds whether or not she is going to find what she is looking for on your site.

If you are doing PPC ads and you want those ads to be as effective as possible, have a specific landing page tailored for that ad to send the visitor to. Don’t send them to your home page.




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We all use equipment with lithium-ion batteries, cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. And we have all experienced the battery charge in that equipment not lasting as long as it once did. Even if you don’t use the equipment for a few years and try to charge it, it won’t work.

A number of factors can accelerate battery degradation (see study from Battery University).

Battery Temperature


Permanent capacity loss when
stored at 40% state-of-charge

(recommended storage charge level)


Permanent capacity loss when
stored at 100% state-of-charge

(typical user charge level)

0°C

25°C

40°C

60°C

2% loss in 1 year; 98% remaining

4% loss in 1 year; 96% remaining

15% loss in 1 year; 85% remaining

25% loss in 1 year 75%; remaining

6% loss in 1 year; 94% remaining

20% loss in 1 year; 80% remaining

35% loss in 1 year; 65% remaining

   40% loss in 3 months

By not charging your battery fully, your run time might be a little less, but your battery will last longer. Heat is also a factor in battery degradation. Keep this in mind when recharging the batteries in your equipment.




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Google to Penalize Over Optimized Content

by Christi on March 26, 2012

According to a report by Search Engine Land, the head of Google’s search spam team, Matt Cutts, was asked this question on a recent SXSW panel discussion:

“With so many SEO companies showing up claiming to do SEO, a lot of markets are getting saturated with optimized content…What are you doing to prevent, for example, if you’re looking for something, and the first page is just optimized content, and it’s not what you’re actually looking for? Are you pretty much out of luck if you’re not optimizing your site but it has relevant content? If I’m a mom or pop and I’m trying to optimize a site by myself, I’m going to get beat by people paying thousands of dollars.”

Matt explains that the new over optimization penalty will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month or next few weeks. The purpose is to “level the playing field,” Cutts said. To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great, but do a better job with SEO.

In an article by our HubSpot Partners, they predict that “If your content is driven by topics, you shouldn’t expect to be penalized when the new algorithm update rolls out, even if you do take the time to search engine optimize that content with keywords and relevant links. If your writing is driven by keywords, however, we predict it’s more likely you’ll suffer some search ranking slips.”

Does that mean that SEO does not matter? Matt Cutts also goes on to add, ”SEO can often be very helpful. It can make a site more crawlable; it can make a site more accessible; it can think about the words users are going to type whenever they come to a search engine to make sure those words are on a page. The same things you do to optimize your return on investment and make sure things spread virally or socially are often the same things that work from a search engine perspective…but there are some people who take it too far. If you’re white hat or doing very little SEO, you’re not going to be affected by this change.”

Also on the panel was Bing’s Duane Forrester, who added, “If you’re not engaged socially, you’re missing the boat because the conversation is happening socially about you and about your content. Those are really important signals for us. Whether you’re involved or not is your choice, but those signals still exist whether you’re in the conversation or not.”

We also know that search engines like fresh content as they have told us in the past. So what does this mean for you and your business?

You must keep delivering fresh, interesting content to the people who are looking for your products and services. Obviously, if you want to rank for a keyword or phrase, those words will have to be included on your site. It seems that people who try to “game” the system make it more difficult for small businesses. Search engine companies like Google and Bing have told us over and over how to use keywords effectively to optimize our content. I’m not sure how they decide what is “over optimized.” The problem, in my opinion, is that search engines are in fact “engines” and they have to decide what to deliver based on something tangible.

The easiest way for a small business to deliver fresh and relevant content is through a blog. Blogging can be time consuming, as can social media, but for today’s small businesses, it appears that they are a must.

What do you think of Google’s announcement?




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Website Design vs. Graphic Design

by Joe B on March 22, 2012

Lately I’ve seen a lot of websites that look good on the surface, but are horrible when you look at their underpinnings (on page SEO). When I ask about this, I am told that the website designer doesn’t do SEO. Really?!

From a graphic design point of view these websites may be stunning. But from a website design standpoint, they are ineffective at best. Graphic design is not website design. Website design incorporates graphic design and much more. It is possible to build a website a hundred different ways and still achieve the same finished look. However, hidden in the code and content can be a website’s inability to be marketed, managed or monitored properly because a designer/developer used poor or dated techniques.

Some of the items that need to be considered when designing a website are:

1. Canonicalization (does www forward to non-www or vice versa [301 redirect])

2. Map 2-3 keywords per page.

3. What is the density of the target keyword on each landing page?

4. Image & Hyperlink Optimization

5. Header Tag Optimization

6. H1 Analysis – Is the target keyword in the H1 for each page?

7. Title Tag Optimization – Is the title keyword optimized?

8. Nofollow – Are non-target words nofollowed on site.

9. W3c Validation

A website is like a house. You can cover up the poor underlying structure with an aesthetically pleasing surface, but you still have a poor structure. Would you buy a house where you knew the underlying structure was in disrepair even though it looked good on the surface?

Ask your website designer if s/he includes SEO with the website. If not, find another website designer.




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SEO for Small Business

by Christi on March 19, 2012

Is SEO part of your internet marketing strategy? Not including SEO in your internet strategy is like spending money on a sleek, beautiful car and then not putting fuel in it. SEO is the fuel for driving traffic to your website. When people are looking for you, you want to make sure they can find you!

As we have discussed, many times, keyword research is an important first step for SEO. But, as we have also seen, search engines really like fresh content. The best way to use the keywords that you have researched is to combine them with fresh content through blogging. Okay, I know that many of you might want to stop reading right there. I’ve seen it on the faces of business owners when I mention blogging. It is true, blogging is not one of the easiest things to do. However, it produces such great results, it is something that you really should consider. Studies show that companies that blog:

  • get 55% more visitors
  • convert 40% more of their visitors into leads
  • have 434% more indexed pages
  • get 97% more inbound links

Those are some pretty powerful numbers. If blogging is so great for helping you get found and convert visitors into leads, isn’t it something that you want consider? Blogging is like super-fuel for your internet marketing. So why aren’t you blogging?

  • “I don’t know what to write about.”
  • “I don’t write very well.”
  • “I don’t have time.”

These are just some of the reasons we hear. However, every business that we have worked with that made the effort to blog, even if it wasn’t that often, has seen good results. Don’t wait, the only way to get started is to take that first step.




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What is the purpose of your website?

by Joe B on March 14, 2012

What’s your website’s purpose? That’s a pretty simple question, but you’d be amazed at the number of people who can’t answer it. By the way, the answer is not to make you more money, but more money may be the result of your website achieving its purpose.

The purpose of your website might be to:

  • Drive customers to your brick and mortar store- this type of website informs visitors of what’s going on at your physical location (sales, special inventory, etc.) in hopes of enticing them to visit your store.
  • Generate leads for your sales force- this is where website visitors fill out forms to get additional information, they then become leads in your sales funnel.
  • Provide a way for customers to shop online- these are ecommerce sites where customers can shop online
  • Provide contact information to potential customers- these are brochure or yellow page websites that provide information to visitors who may be looking for a phone number or address.

Once you decide what the purpose of your website is, you can start measuring your results to see if your website is achieving its purpose. If you aren’t getting the results you need, then you can modify your website.




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