Articles on this Page
- 10/11/19--07:00: _Showcasing classic ...
- 10/14/19--07:48: _How to create a rea...
- 10/15/19--06:30: _How to choose real ...
- 10/15/19--08:36: _Influencer Marketin...
- 10/15/19--15:01: _What’s the best day...
- 10/17/19--06:30: _9 Black Friday emai...
- 10/18/19--01:04: _How to Open a Spa B...
- 10/18/19--09:49: _How to optimize ima...
- 10/21/19--03:07: _Consulting proposal...
- 10/21/19--07:00: _14 web design forum...
- 10/21/19--09:08: _Top website securit...
- 10/22/19--02:25: _Dermatologist: Job ...
- 10/22/19--06:30: _eCommerce SEO — How...
- 10/22/19--16:25: _Finding the best fo...
- 10/23/19--03:00: _Guide to Opening a ...
- 10/23/19--06:30: _8 things to conside...
- 10/24/19--06:30: _How to make a buyer...
- 10/24/19--09:02: _Quiz: Do you have w...
- 10/25/19--03:00: _Consulting contract...
- 10/25/19--06:30: _What is local SEO? ...
- 10/11/19--07:00: Showcasing classic LA architecture with Preservation of Style
- 10/14/19--07:48: How to create a real estate website with WordPress
- Benefits of using WordPress for a real estate website.
- Getting your real estate domain name ready.
- How to create a real estate website with GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting.
- WordPress themes for real estate.
- WordPress real estate plugins.
- Tips for building your WordPress real estate website.
- Conclusion and next steps.
- Advance listing search
- Map display
- Property details
- Agent listings
- Yoast SEO: An all-in-one SEO solution that offers on-page analysis of your blog posts and pages.
- Social sharing: Plugins like JetPack will let you connect your favorite social networks to your blog and then share them automatically
- Security (e.g. Sucuri): There are plenty of hackers who want to break into your website, whether it’s to sabotage your site or use it for their own nefarious hacking purposes. Protect yourself with a strong security plugin.
- Smush Image Compression: Compress your photos by removing unnecessary information without reducing the photo quality. Your images will be smaller and load faster, which makes your site more mobile and SEO friendly.
- Lazy Load: Improves your page load speed, which is an important SEO factor. The faster a page loads, the better Google ranks it.
- Contact Form 7: Lets you create forms for visitors to use via drag-and-drop interface. Use these for Contact Us pages or surveys.
- Google Analytics Dashboard: Lets you track important metrics like the number of visitors, how they found you, the social networks they used, and even what kind of device (mobile vs. tablet vs. laptop) they used.
- Business Profile: This is a local SEO plugin. If you depend on local search traffic (think restaurants, retail, and real estate agents), install this one.
- WP-Property: Great for real estate agents and property managers too. It uses Google Map integrations so you can display your listings on a map.
- Easy Property Listings: A listings-based plugin that lets visitors sort by price, date and location. You can link to virtual tours and floor plans, and add a photo gallery to your Google Maps listings.
- IDX: Let visitors search for MLS-listed properties on your website. Since searching for properties is what brings people to you in the first place, this is a critical plugin to get.
- WPL Real Estate: Customize your listings database without changing the entire database, and your search listings will appear on Google Maps as they’re added. You can even create your own customized iPhone or Android app with this plugin.
- Leadin: Collect all your website leads and push them right into your customer relationship management (CRM) sales software.
- 10/15/19--06:30: How to choose real estate company names and real estate domains
- Do your research.
- Create business name options.
- Start your real estate domain name search.
- Check out your domain options.
- Check all of the listing portals where you have a profile, as well as any referral networks you belong to.
- Put your URL on your social media profiles so you can drive traffic there.
- Check your business cards, flyers and mailers and ensure they are updated with the new website address.
- 10/15/19--08:36: Influencer Marketing: the $68M secret you don’t know
- Instagram – $10 per 1,000 followers or $250 to $750 per 1,000 engagement
- YouTube – $20 per 1,000 subscribers or $50 to $100 per 1,000 video views
- Snapchat – $10 per 1,000 followers or $100 per 1,000 views
- 10/15/19--15:01: What’s the best day to send a holiday email marketing campaign?
- 10/17/19--06:30: 9 Black Friday email campaign ideas to take you through Cyber Monday
- Get in your customers’ minds early.
- Offer a pre-sale for loyal subscribers.
- Entice with a free shipping coupon.
- Create a scarcity-based bonus.
- Create a time-based Black Friday sequence.
- Frame your sale as smart Christmas prep.
- Create a raffle or free giveaway.
- Partner with other complementary retailers.
- Extend your Cyber Monday sale, aka the Tuesday Blowout.
- Send a thank-you email on Thanksgiving day to be on the front of your customer’s mind.
- Create an exclusive pre-sale for your most valued customers before Black Friday begins.
- Offer a free shipping coupon on top of your heavily discounted prices.
- Include a high-value bonus that’s only available to your first 200 buyers.
- Use a countdown timer to inspire people to buy before time runs out.
- Frame an email as taking care of Christmas shopping early.
- Create a super enticing raffle for one lucky customer who buys something during the sale.
- Partner with complementary retailers to have them share your sale with their email list.
- Extend your Cyber Monday sale into a Tuesday blowout sale for those who missed out.
- 10/18/19--01:04: How to Open a Spa Business and Be Successful With It
- A day spa
- An amenity spa
- A holistic concept
- A beauty spa
- Amix of east and west
- A combination of salon and spa
- A green spa
- A theme spa
- A cross-over spa
- A medical spa
- A hot tub
- A dental spa
- A mobile spa
- A resort or hotel spa
- An Ayurvedic spa
- reduces tension, anxiety, and depression
- improves blood circulation
- stimulates the lymphatic system
- prevents and relieves muscle cramps and spasms.
- soothes arthritis, sciatica, muscle spasms.
- Bathing or soaking
- Artificial waterfall
- Hot spring: Japanese Onsen and Roman Thermae
- Hot tub
- Mud bath
- Jet hydro massage
- Peat pulp bath
- Steam bath
- Vichy shower
- Body wraps
- Nail care, manicures, and pedicures
- All services, with ample room for equipment
- A reception desk
- A waiting area
- A break room
- A storage room
- Salon equipment, for all the treatments you offer
- Beauty supplies
- Uneven cash flow between seasonal peaks in business
- Modeling your salon or spa
- New health and beauty services
- Front counter or desk
- Computer system with scheduling software
- Product shelving
- Hairstyling stations and tools
- Massage tables
- Pedicure chairs
- Manicure tables
- Facial equipment
- General Business Licenses: Retail seller permit, and Spa business operation license.
- Article Of Organization. This document must include a business model. Day spa, medical spa, ayurvedic spa, dental spa, and club spa,… Fill out a business name and address. Include LLC’s members, managers, organizers, and directors. Describe the business purpose.
- Certificate Of Occupancy
- Sales Tax
- Federal Income Tax ID
- Liability Insurance Policy
- Cosmetology License
- Esthetician License
- Electrologist License
- Massage Therapist License
- Manicurist License
- Is the spa luxurious? Robes and slippers provided? Is there a locker room. A steam sauna? A comfortable lounge? The more luxe, the higher the prices.
- Are we talking about a resort or hotel spa? Locals can use them on a day pass but will have to cough up at least $150.
- Most ‘normal’ day spas will start at around $80 -$120.
- Massage services cost between $65 and $85 per hour. 55% of the service price goes to the service provider
- A pedicure costs between $20 to $65
- The cost of a facial varies from $50 to over $250
- How much is a spa day? Most “normal“ day spas start at around $80 -$120
- Skincare tools
- Manicure & pedicure tools
- Shower room tools
- Microdermabrasion machines
- Waxing applicators
- Back heat packs
- Neck wraps
- Start-Up Costs
- Licenses and permits
- Website and tools
- The best salon booking app that you can use
- How to Open a Hair Salon and Make It a Successful Business
- How to create a booking website with great user experience
- 10/18/19--09:49: How to optimize images for the web
- Why images matter.
- What is image optimization?
- 7 steps to optimize images for the web.
- Conclusion and next steps.
- Choose the right images.
- Carefully consider the text associated with your images.
- Adjust image size and format.
- Consider lazy loading.
- Enable browser caching.
- Don’t forget image metadata.
- Create an image sitemap.
- Imageoptim: 69% (JPEG) vs. 40% (PNG)
- Shortpixel: 42% (JPEG) vs. 59% (PNG)
- Kraken.io: 13% (JPEG) vs. 63% (PNG)
- TinyPNG: 27% (JPEG) vs. 65% (PNG)
- Optimizilla: 27 (JPEG) vs. 60% (PNG)
- Imagify.io: 6% (JPEG) vs. 1% (PNG)
- Compressor.io: 42% (JPEG) vs. 58% (PNG)
- 10/21/19--03:07: Consulting proposal template examples to use for your clients
- The goal of the work you will be doing together, along with all the details surrounding it. This is important because you do not want to discover any discrepancies later on after you’ve already started your work.
- Include your background, something that will show the client your experience and the fact that you can understand their problem. It is a great form to gain trust and will help both you and the client define the scope of the project fast.
- Make a list of points, and explain what results you will provide to the buyer. You can also have the right information on what kind of impact this is going to have for the buyer’s organization.
- A timeline is a section where you show the entire project duration together with a good consulting proposal that is going to manage expectations so that no unwanted surprise shows up. Part of this requires outlining when you are going to end the project.
- Show all that is expected from your buyer in order to ensure that your job goes smoothly.
- A good consulting proposal template also needs to show the pricing and offers that you want to make.
- What your terms are, how payments should be made, and any other payment details need to be included in a simple proposal template.
- Website Design Quotation Templates and Tips to Set Your Fee
- Amazing Portfolio Websites with Great Design (145 Examples)
- 6 Useful Web Design Contract Templates You Wish You Knew About Sooner
- 10/21/19--07:00: 14 web design forums worth joining
- Good moderation and clear guidelines.
- Posts that are responded to quickly.
- A format that works for you (discussions vs. Q&A vs. articles and tutorials).
- Relevant. Say something that is on topic and helpful to others.
- New. Only post things that haven’t already been posted or given as an answer – especially in the same thread. Nothing turns a forum from useful to useless faster than the same question asked over and over.
- Meaningful. Don’t just post to get your name out there, say something substantive that engages others.
- 10/21/19--09:08: Top website security posts by Sucuri – September 2019
- Does the plugin or theme have a large user base?
- Is there a high average rating with a large number of user reviews?
- Are the contributors actively supporting and updating the plugin or theme?
- Has a contact page or physical contact address been published?
- Does the plugin have a support page?
- Backups are stored offsite—not on your server.
- Automated backup schedules so you don’t forget.
- Regular testing for reliable recovery.
- Super Users
- 10/22/19--02:25: Dermatologist: Job Info & Career Requirements
- 10/22/19--06:30: eCommerce SEO — How to boost eCommerce search rankings in 8 steps
- 93% of online activity begins with a search.
- 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search, compared to only 10% from paid search, 5% from social and 34% from all other sources.
- More than 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic.
- 79% of people took a relevant action on their phone prior to making a purchase.
- 39% of purchasers were influenced by a relevant search.
- Do your keyword research for product pages and category pages.
- Optimize your pages with meta titles, descriptions and H1 tags.
- Create and optimize product and category descriptions.
- Revise and redirect URLs.
- Improve images for better loading and searchability.
- Perform technical SEO.
- Add content for additional eCommerce SEO.
- Don’t forget mobile search.
- A unique 150- to 200-word (or more) description of the product
- Three optimized images of the product — including one of the product in use, if applicable
- Customer reviews
- Product-specific details that can be easily scanned by users, such as measurements, weight, requirements, etc.
- If possible, a video of the product in use, describing why it’s better than a competitive set of products
- Ideal: https://www.yoursite.com/product-keyword
- Acceptable: https://www.yoursite.com/category/product-keyword
- Avoid: https://www.yoursite.com/category/category-keyword/product/product-keyword
- Buyer’s guides
- Gift guides
- How-to and learn-to guides
- Commonly asked questions
- 88% of users search on a smartphone.
- 65% of people use their phone in their “I want to buy” moments.
- 40% of eCommerce sales during the 2018 holiday season came from a smartphone.
- 57.13% of global eCommerce visitors visited from a mobile phone .
- Ensure your site renders well on mobile devices. Have you ever visited a website that was riddled with pop-ups and overlays that were hard to navigate around or even impossible on your mobile phone?
- Double and triple check your load time optimizations. As internet consumers, we want everything fast-faster-fastest. The days of being willing to wait 30 minutes for a single song to download are over. Now, if a site doesn’t load — especially on our smartphones — within seconds, we’re hitting the back button to go back to our search results. Ecommerce sites often have many images that strain mobile bandwidth if not optimized properly.
- Make anchors a priority. Using anchors on your pages to link to important information, like reviews and feature lists, makes your site easier to navigate on mobile.
- 10/22/19--16:25: Finding the best food and hospitality domain names
- What is a domain name?
- Domain extensions for food and hospitality businesses.
- Do’s and don’ts when choosing a domain name.
- Should you register multiple domain names?
- Conclusion and next steps.
- 10/23/19--03:00: Guide to Opening a Gym and Starting a Successful Gym Business
- Name of your gym
- Who will be your customers?
- Gym start-up costs and funding. How much does it cost to open a gym?
- Legal structure and licenses.Getting all the paperwork in order
- Expectations of revenue
- When do you think you will break even?
- Matching your staff with your customers
- Accounting and business software
- Client management and scheduling software
- Website and digital marketing
- Fitness equipment
- Ample lighting
- Clients who want to lose weight?
- Clients who wish to work-out with personal trainers to meet personal fitness goals?
- Bodybuilders who want to be Schwarzenegger?
- Specialty fitness center
- Traditional gym
- Medical fitness and wellness center
- Family fitness and wellness center
- Again, think about your customers. This will be in your own interest. The right location can break or build your gym.
- What if a customer has an hour to spare and wants to hit the gym? A lunch break workout might come in handy. So, located within walking distance preferably.
- Foot traffic is another good one. You want lots of people walking by and popping-in for info.
- Costs and convenience are factors that influence your traffic. Don’t give customers an excuse to skip a session. A nearby location helps to avoid this.Find a locationthat is easy to reach by car, foot, and public transport.
- How many clients are you aiming for? How much space will you need?Which location is suited for the size of your gym?
- Start with a small business and grow bigger later.
- Keep marketing free. Business cards at your front desk. Use social media, cross-promote with other businesses, give free trials of your services.
- Use Free Resources. The US Small Business Administration offers free services. From help with business plans to legal and accounting advice, take advantage of these.
- Word of mouth. Happy clients will talk to others.
- A local bank or credit union for a small business loan
- Look for online alternatives, for fewer requirements and faster funding
- Sole proprietorship
- S corporation
- C corporation
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- The most important license you need as a gym owner is a business license. The cost depends on how large your team is.It will not be more than a few hundred.
- Try to hire trainers with a license already, so you don’t need to spend on getting them licensed.
- The services you provide
- Opening hours, location, contact info, and pricing
- An online booking system
- Client-friendly location
- Fully insured and licensed
- Promoting the business through clients, and online presence
- A booking plugin
- A professional team
- UX Designer Portfolio Websites that Attract Clients
- The best law firm websites to use as inspiration
- 10 Cool Website Mockup Tools to Master Today
- 10/23/19--06:30: 8 things to consider before you give up on your business idea
- Is there a demand for your product?
- Does your business have a core group of fans?
- Have you talked to your mentor?
- Have you already made substantial progress?
- Are you able to financially continue?
- Do your partners know how you feel?
- Will you need to dissolve the business?
- Do you still believe in, and have passion for, the company?
- How many followers you have on social media platforms
- Your website traffic and visitors
- Established relationships or partnerships you have with brands
- Media outlets where you have been featured
- Your heart’s no longer in it. More often than not, you feel as though you’re going through the motions.
- Challenges are challenging, not exciting. You dread the idea of trying to jump over more hurdles because the hurdles get more and more difficult with every turn.
- Thinking about your business, and everything you’re working on, leaves you feeling drained instead of pumped.
- The stress of running the business is beginning to seep into your personal life. Or, you feel as though the lines are rapidly blurring between your personal and professional life.
- You often find yourself thinking about other entrepreneurial ventures you could pursue, and are distracted by the idea of going into business in a new field.
- Revisit your mission statement. Do you still believe in the mission of your business? Has it changed since then? You may edit the statement to reflect new values, or rediscover old ones that were the reason for getting in business.
- Figure out your Plan B. If you give up on your business idea, what will you do next? Will you take a traditional 9-to-5 job, or decide to pursue graduate studies?
- Do you need a break? Sometimes, our fatigue is the fault of constantly being “on” with the business and not pausing for breaks. Going on a vacation or taking a long weekend away may help you rest up and recharge to return back to being in business.
- Are you practicing the power of positive thinking? It’s easy to fall into the negativity trap and believe everything you are doing is wrong and you are doomed to fail. Readjusting your mindset, little by little, to think positive thoughts may be the key to reclaiming your passion for being an entrepreneur all over again.
- 10/24/19--06:30: How to make a buyer’s guide to increase holiday sales
- Link to the buyer’s guide from appropriate product pages. If you have an eCommerce shop, link to your buyer’s guide from the associated product pages.
- Add links to your navigation. You can link directly to your buyer’s guide or a collection of buyer’s guides directly to your navigation.
- Add links to related blog posts. You can help site visitors who are already reading your blog content to move into the consideration stage (and potentially buying stage) of the sales funnel.
- Share on social media. Create and share your buyer’s guide on social media with comparison graphics that grab a browser’s attention. You can also add images and descriptions optimized for sharing, like Pinterest graphics and Facebook images so it’s easy for your visitors to share as well.
- Send in your email newsletter. One of the easiest ways to start building traffic and interest to your new buyer’s guide is to share it with your email newsletter list.
- 10/24/19--09:02: Quiz: Do you have what it takes to be your own boss?
- 10/25/19--03:00: Consulting contract examples to use for your business
- Get all the details of the party involved, including names and titles, and be sure that they are written correctly.
- Make a list with goals that you are trying to achieve and set a deadline or end goal for the job where you can say it is complete.
- Make a detailed description of the project and show each aspect and tasks that you need to perform in order to finish the project.
- Record all the things that you will be needed to do in order to complete the project and you can do this by having a list of checkpoints that you can refer to like your work. You can also ask your client to sign each phase of the project to make sure you keep them satisfied as you progress.
- Specify the payment method because this step can ensure that everyone involved in the contract is aware of how the payment is going to be made.
- Make a timeline and specify when you start and when you want to end the project by indicating different dates to go for.
- Make a statement that shows who owns the intellectual property, such as copyrights, etc.
- Include any other information that might be relevant, these details can be related to laws or other aspects that are important for the project.
- Add in your consulting contract the page numbers, even if this sounds simple the idea behind it is to keep your client organized and making sure he checks all the aspects of the contract is important.
- What do I do if the client needs more work in the middle of the project?
- What do I do if a client wants to stop the collaboration?
- How do I distinguish one-time services vs ongoing services in the consulting contract?
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- 10/25/19--06:30: What is local SEO? Everything you need to know.
- What is local SEO?
- The benefits of local SEO.
- Local SEO best practices.
- Local SEO checklist: 11 steps to success
- Local SEO tools.
- Next steps.
- Relevance: Search engines want to show results that best match what the user is looking for. Relevance helps them match results with search phrases and intent.
- Prominence: Search engines want to show results from leading brands and publications. Prominence helps them determine which sites are the most well-known and trustworthy. Sites with higher online authority receive higher search rankings.
- Proximity: Search engines want to show results that the searcher can use so they prioritize results that are near the searcher when the search is related to a local need. Proximity refers to the distance between the searcher and the location of the business displayed in search results.
- Using your official physical address.
- Carefully spelling out your business’s name and address.
- Using the same variation of name, address and phone number all across the web.
- Not all links are equally valuable.
- Backlinks from sites that have high online authority are more likely to boost your SEO than backlinks from lesser-known sites.
- Backlinks from spammy sites can actually negatively impact your SEO.
- Links from a few quality sites are better than a lot of links from low-quality sites.
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Make sure your site is fast.
- Claim your Google My Business page.
- Optimize your Google My Business page.
- Build other business citations.
- Create and optimize your social profiles.
- Get more backlinks for your site.
- Feature your online reviews and encourage more.
- Optimize your content for keywords
- Optimize your content for your location.
- Don’t forget about general SEO best practices.
- Provide an overall better user experience, which search engines want to provide.
- Make your site easier to crawl, which helps search engines quickly understand and better rank your content.
- Reduce bounce rates and increase conversions, which tell search engines that your site is engaging and useful to users.
- Enable browser caching.
- Reduce image sizes.
- Improve server response times.
- Reduce the number of redirects.
- If you haven’t already claimed your listing, create a listing for your location.
- If you have more than one location, create a listing for each location.
- Make sure there aren’t duplicate listings for a location. If there are, decide which is the most important and delete the other pages.
- Make sure the page is verified.
- Use an account email address that matches the domain of your website.
- Description: Add a short blurb about what your business does and why you do it.
- Categories: Add categories that closely describe your products or services. Be as specific as possible.
- Appointments: Add a button that leads users to the page where they can make an appointment.
- Business hours: Make sure your hours are always up to date as this information appears prominently on your profile.
- Images: Start by adding cover photos and an album of photos that show the interior and exterior of your business. Then, continue to add fresh photos that show off the personality, products and services of your business.
- Videos: Add a video that gives potential customers a closer look at your business and what you do or sell.
- FAQs: Keep an eye on this section and answer any questions that come in from customers. If customers don’t provide questions, enter your own. Add the frequently asked questions that your team hears most, and provide the answers to help build out your profile.
- Google Posts: Utilize Google Posts to share information about your business, promote events and highlight new products and services. Also, use offer posts to set a time-sensitive special offer that can drive in new customers.
- Angie’s List
- Yellow Pages
- Apple Maps
- LinkedIn (If your brand focuses on professional services like an accounting firm or a marketing agency.)
- Snapchat (If your brand targets customers 30 and under like a clothing boutique or a nightclub.)
- Pinterest (If your brand is visually driven like a hair salon or interior decorating firm.)
- Approach relevant local bloggers about reviewing your business
- Send press releases to local news sites (it’s always best to have some actual news to share)
- Engage in guest posting
- Link share with other local businesses
- Produce great content and ask other websites to link to it as a resource
For more tips on how to create valuable backlinks for your website, check out the GoDaddy guide: How to get backlinks to a small business website.
- Don’t be afraid to come out and ask your customers for reviews.
- Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by creating a page on your website that directs customers to where they can leave reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook.
- Put up signs in your business that feature review-site logos.
- Ask for reviews in your email newsletter.
- Feature and ask for reviews through your social media accounts.
- Engage with existing reviews to show that your brand cares about reviews.
- Perform keyword research to identify the top search terms that your target audience is searching for related to your business, products or services.
- Create a page of content and assign one keyword to that page of content.
- Use on-page keyword optimization to help search engines see that the page is relevant to the assigned keyword.
- Look for keywords with low competition. Highly competitive terms might be difficult to rank for if you’re just starting out with SEO.
- Look for popular terms. You want to target terms that people are actively searching for, so look for terms with a decent amount of search traffic.
- Identify terms that might be good for a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaign. Through a local Adwords PPC campaign, you can pay for placement on SERPs for terms that are too difficult to rank for organically.
- Consider targeting long-tail keywords (phrases with three or more words). As voice search continues to grow, more and more searches include long phrases and questions.
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Page URL
- Naturally in the content
- Image alt tag
- Add your address to your website. Add your physical address to your contact page. If you have one location, also add your address to your website footer.
- Embed a Google map on pages that feature one address.
- Create a locations page. If you have multiple locations, create a page that lists the address of each of your locations.
- Create a page for each location. Take it one step further and create a page for each of your locations. Include the full address as well as an embedded Google map.
- Optimize your homepage’s title tag and meta description to include your city, neighborhood or defining region.
- Use Schema markup to add your business address and details to the backend of your website. Schema markup is a type of structured data that provides extra information to search engines so they can better understand and rank the page.
- Create an on-going content strategy that allows you to create fresh content that engages readers and attracts search engine bots.
- Submit your sitemap to search engines.
- Use an organized and natural site architecture.
- Add security to your site by installing an SSL certificate.
- Use redirects or delete repeat content to resolve duplicate content issues.
- Use both inbound and outbound links to tie your website to the rest of the online world.
- Examine your website to find optimization opportunities.
- Walk you step-by-step through keyword and phrase suggestions to improve your website’s search rankings.
- Track your search metrics to show you how your SEO improves over time.
- Make your site mobile friendly.
- Speed up your site.
- Claim your Google My Business page.
- Optimize your Google My Business page.
- Build other business citations.
- Create social profiles for your business.
- Get more backlinks for your site.
- Feature your online reviews and encourage more.
- Optimize your content for keywords
- Optimize your content for your location.
- Don’t forget about general SEO best practices.
You know that feeling — you pass by an old, beautiful building and think, Wow, that’s cool. On her daily walks to and from law school in LA, as she strolled along the lanes of Miracle Mile, Hancock Park and Koreatown, Alexandra Gargiulo grew fascinated with the city’s whimsical, Gatsby-goes-west architecture. That fascination awoke her inner entrepreneur, and the result is a coffee table book, Preservation of Style, which honors these design marvels.
“Even the most rundown apartment buildings from the 1920s still ooze style,” she says. “And that’s what makes them cool.”
Of course, you don’t make a coffee table book on inspiration alone. “To get the project started,” she recalls, “I spent almost every day of the summer of 2017 walking around my favorite neighborhoods in LA taking Polaroids.” After visiting the city records to learn about the permitting process of the time, she narrowed her focus. “I condensed the subject matter to just apartment buildings from the 20’s and 30’s.”
On a lovely summer day, Alex took us on a walking tour of these neighborhoods and pointed out her faves, including a three-story from 1934 called the Mauretania. It’s named after one of the most illustrious ocean liners of the 20th Century and, according to the building plaque, is where JFK once logged time. “The curves and modern edges,” she points out, “reflect the idea that the automobile and planes were coming into culture that were about speed.”
There’s also a social commentary in her curatorial choices. “By focusing on two neighborhoods that have historical preservation and one that doesn’t, I wanted to see what happens when we don’t preserve and what happens when we do.“
Research done and Polaroids shook, Alex hired two professionals to properly photograph her selected buildings, then culled through their work and prepared the book. Now it was time to handle what felt like the most daunting task — making a website. She took the leap with Websites + Marketing.
“I built my website myself,” she says, “and I can barely use Instagram. It was so easy, and it looks clean, classic and stylish. I saved a lot of money and time.”
When Preservation of Style was fit to print, the Online Store provided an ecommerce platform to advertise the book, as well as fulfillment and customization tools. “By setting up two products,” she says, “I was able to have two cover options. Plus, I could keep track of each version, and the store automatically updated the two inventories with each sale.”
To amplify the book’s release, Alex used newsletters and email marketing to get the word out to family and friends. “One of the best feelings for me was that within fifteen seconds of getting this email that my best friend from high school had already purchased two copies. She smiles. “I quickly sold out my first 100 copies.”
Having experienced the process of concepting and executing her first large-scale creative project, Alex has a lot of new entrepreneurial skills under her belt. One that stands out for her is tenacity — even if it means finding yourself in an absurd situation.
“There were moments where I just had to figure it out. Like today shooting for the re-print, I had to crawl on top of a fence to keep it in place so my photographer could climb up a building to get the shot we needed.”
Currently, Alex is embarking on a new coffee table book focused on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and she wants to amplify the efforts of other LA artists and entrepreneurs with a podcast about local projects off the beaten path. “Style is different from the cultural obsession with beauty that has developed. It’s about being unapologetic and true. Follow your gut and don’t give up.”
The post Showcasing classic LA architecture with Preservation of Style appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Real estate agents are able to advertise, promote, and even rent and sell homes all over the country and around the world, thanks to online technology. The same technology lets buyers research new homes and neighborhoods, helps sellers know how to stage and price their homes, and lets both find a real estate agent they trust. That technology also empowers you to create a real estate website with WordPress.
Why? While a lot of this new technology is handled through different mobile apps and even third-party websites like Zillow and Realtor.com, real estate agents still need to have their own website that will show both buyers and sellers the kinds of work you do, the homes you sell, and the services you provide.
And when it comes to the kind of website you have, we’re big fans of real estate websites built on WordPress.
The great thing about WordPress is that it’s scalable. This means building a real estate website with WordPress is smart, no matter how big it is, whether you have a one-person shop or a large agency with 50-plus agents and offices throughout the city.
So let’s talk about the ideal choice for your real estate website, and how to create your real estate website with WordPress.
Guide to creating a real estate website with WordPress
We’re going to cover a lot of territory in this article, including:
Let’s get moving.
Benefits of using WordPress for a real estate website
There are many benefits to building a real estate website with WordPress.
Lots of functionality
The biggest benefit of a real estate WordPress site is that it’s almost limitless in its functionality. Thanks to the various plugins and themes available, you can trick out your website to provide all the functionality that buyers and sellers have come to expect.
For example, there’s the advanced listing search, which lets buyers specify the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they want, or to look only at condo and townhouse rentals that allow pets, or even limit their search to a specific geographic area.
Once the users know where they want to look for their new home, you can show the listings on a map display, which usually uses Google Maps to display your different properties.
And when you build a real estate website with WordPress, some themes will even let you customize the pin images and layouts of your website’s maps to take advantage of the different photos of the property.
Of course, once the buyers know where the properties are located, they’ll want to see the specific property details, like a floor plan, square footage, amenities, school district and so on. And you want your theme to display this information in a clear, easy-to-read layout that looks good on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
As they do their research, your buyers are going to find some homes they like and want to keep an eye on. A good real estate WordPress theme will let them save their favorite real estate listings so they can come back and find them later. This lets them compare different homes and properties, and will keep them on your site longer.
You can even offer a mortgage calculator, which will let buyers know how much they can expect to pay each month, based on the listing price of the home.
Booking and reservation requests
There are options for rental properties, which means you can build a real estate website with WordPress that offers online booking and reservation requests. This is useful not only for real estate agents, but multi-family dwellings and rental property managers.
Several real estate WordPress themes will let you display your agent listings. You can show agent details on individual property pages, but you can also show them separately on your Contact Us or About Us page.
Finally, if you haven’t heard about this yet, it’s important to know: Your website has to look as good on mobile devices as it does on a laptop. So you need responsive themes.
87% of smartphone owners perform a mobile search at least once a day — and Google gives search ranking preference to sites that are mobile-friendly, regardless of where people see it.
You can save yourself some major headaches, and even push ahead of your competitors by using a responsive theme as you’re creating your real estate with WordPress.
Getting your real estate domain name ready
Before you start building your real estate website, you need the perfect domain name to tell people where you live online. When you buy your domain name, it’s important to find one that’s perfect for you and your real estate agency.
Choosing your domain name
You want something that’s descriptive, but not too long. If you can, include your location so people know where exactly you’re located and what areas you cover, but don’t go nuts.
For example, you don’t want one that’s overly long — BjornJorgensonSellsHomesInBemidjiMinnesota.com — and you don’t want one that’s not very descriptive — JorgensonSells.com.
But BemidjiHomeSales.com or BemidjiRealEstate.com are just right: They tell your customers what you do and where you do it.
Sure, having your name in there would be great, but consider getting that for your individual agent’s page.
Pro tip: You can buy a domain name, such as your own name, and then forward it to a different website.
For example, my domain, ErikDeckers.com, automatically forwards to one of my blogs. And if I ever wanted to, I could forward it to a new website. Consider doing this for each of the agents in your agency, forwarding those domains to their agent page or even their own listings.
Related: How to buy a domain name in 3 steps
How to create a real estate website with GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting
You’ve chosen your domain name, so now it’s time to set up your real estate website with WordPress. But unless you have some technical expertise or extra time on your hands, you probably don’t want to go the self-installation route. (But if do you, here’s how to install WordPress on cPanel hosting.)
Managed WordPress Hosting is GoDaddy’s streamlined, optimized platform that lets you build a WordPress site quickly and easily.
WordPress sites built on GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting live on dedicated WordPress servers. GoDaddy’s admins are focused strictly on those servers’ security and maintenance, and they manage the basic hosting administrative tasks, such as installing WordPress, automated daily backups, WordPress core updates and server-level caching.
If you don’t know what any of that means, don’t worry.
That’s why the GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting option is probably your best bet. It just means that WordPress will be updated, backed up and optimized to run faster.
And you’ll be able to get starting really quickly. Managed WordPress Hosting features pre-built themes that are easy to customize with a drag-and-drop editor. Just choose your industry — real estate — and you’ll get a ready-made site, complete with images. You can also make it completely your own with thousands of third-party WordPress themes and plugins to choose from (more on that later).
Choose your GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plan
Choose your WordPress real estate theme
Once you’ve chosen your GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plan, choose your real estate WordPress theme. There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, but only a couple dozen for real estate websites. Some of them are free, and some of them are premium/paid themes.
Narrowing down your three to five favorites can be tough, let alone settling on your final one.
To be honest, I like some of the free themes. But the premium themes just have more functionality, better technical support, and they’re often better made.
Since this is the face of your business, this is not an area to cheap out on. If you prefer the look of a premium theme, go with it.
Personalize your real estate website
Next, you want to personalize your website. This is the chance to upload all your own graphics, images, logos and written content. You’ll want to come up with your tagline, get some high quality photographs of your office, staff, and property listings. And you’ll want a lot of high-quality written content for your various pages explaining your services.
Add the right plugins
You’ll also want to start adding the various plugins that will actually make your website functional.
There are plugins for security, social media sharing, search engine optimization, Google Analytics, and various property listing plugins.
We’ll take a closer look at popular WordPress real estate plugins below.
Learn how to quickly add a plugin to your WordPress site.
WordPress themes for real estate
What makes a good WordPress theme if you’re a real estate agent? Which features should you look for? Your website is all about your users’ experience as much as it is your own preferences and selections.
Regardless of what you choose, there are some common features your visitors will expect when looking for real estate websites with WordPress. Many of those will come from the theme you choose as much as from the different plugins you add.
The theme is the facade of your website, the front of the house, the exterior siding and landscaping. In short, it’s the curb appeal of your website, and it’s the first thing visitors are going to judge your real estate website on, before they ever go inside.
To start, scroll through the WordPress Theme Directory, or the real estate themes selection on GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting site, to see what’s available. Whatever you choose will be applied to your entire website all at once, not just a few pages.
When you choose your WordPress theme, you need to make sure that it’s mobile responsive. That means it will adjust to fit on your user’s screen, whether they’re using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Google will actually penalize sites that aren’t mobile friendly, plus many of your clients will be driving around and looking up properties on their phones, so you need to make sure your site will work in those situations.
You also want to make sure that your theme will work on all the internet browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge.
We’ve already discussed it earlier, but remember some of the benefits of specifically using WordPress themes for real estate websites:
Now that you know what to look for in a WordPress theme for your real estate website, let’s hone in on a few available themes you might want to consider.
Premium WordPress real estate themes
Here is a short (and certainly not exhaustive) list of some of the themes we found that really shine for real estate websites. Check out each theme’s page for current pricing.
This premium theme is designed for independent real estate agents and agencies, but you can also use it to allow users to submit their properties for free, for a fee or based on a subscription.
Ideal for just about any type of real estate professional, this theme enables you to build sites ranging from paid real estate listing portals to vacation rental websites.
A standout feature of this theme is the ability to display content in various machine-translated languages.
This premium theme includes about a dozen pre-made demos to help you get a site up and running quickly, plus machine translation capability for 32 languages.
Free WordPress real estate themes
While many real estate WordPress themes are premium (paid), there are a few great free ones out there if you know where to look.
Cabana from SMThemes includes a slider/slide deck theme that slides photos of various homes past the front page. It also has Google Maps shortcode for map listings, and has responsive web design. It has a landscape/horizontal orientation, which makes it ideal for panorama photos.
Also from SMThemes, Interon is ideal for showing off luxury houses and condominiums. Just like its sister theme, Cabana, Interon includes a slider, responsive web design, social media integration, and it’s SEO friendly.
Relic is SEO-friendly, mobile friendly and has a photo gallery that lets you include several photos for a listing. Although it’s free, it also comes in a premium version that has some additional functionality; it might be worth the upgrade.
Avenue integrates with your MLS subscription to let potential buyers search for houses based on price, size, and number of bedrooms. This Browse Listing feature is usually only limited to premium themes, but Avenue is free.
WordPress real estate plugins
Plugins are what give a real estate website with WordPress its functionality. Rather than little sub-programs that you would have to code yourself, these are standalone modules that you load into your WordPress installation.
You can search for new plugins just by going to the Plugins menu on the sidebar, and clicking Add New.
From there, you can find great WordPress real estate plugins like home affordability and mortgage calculators, and ALTOS charts and online calendars so potential buyers can schedule meetings with you.
There are plugins for adding local events, schools, local restaurants and even business partners. You could even consider cross-pollinating your website with local business partners as a way to attract new home buyers to your city or part of town.
You can even offer downloadable content, such as livability surveys and reports, or eBooks on moving or mortgage financing.
When you’re ready to install plugins, check out our step-by-step instructions.
Here are a few plugins that every WordPress website needs:
And don’t forget these plugins for your real estate website with WordPress:
Tips for building a real estate website with WordPress
Once you’ve framed out your website — bought your domain name, ordered your managed hosting, and installed your theme and plugins — it’s time to finally put up your interior walls and decorate this thing.
There are a few things you want to do when you’re building your site:
Keep your audience in mind
You want to give your visitors plenty of reasons to come back. That means it has to be useful (e.g. able to search listings), and provide solid information (such as useful blog articles about buying and selling or tips on finding the right home), and it has to follow solid design principles.
Make your site neat and attractive
The navigation of your WordPress real estate site needs to be simple and limited to the few topics buyers and sellers look for.
This is where having a professional designer or a premium WordPress theme can make all the difference in the world.
Pay attention to SEO
Optimize your site with the appropriate keywords so visitors can find you: your city or the neighborhood you serve; the types of homes you specialize in; the services you offer.
Make sure your site is filled with original text, not copy-and-paste text from other websites.
Write useful articles that people will want to spend 60 seconds reading, and keep your videos to two to three minutes in length. (Note: GoDaddy’s Deluxe and Ultimate Plans come with an SEO Wizard to help you get listed on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. )
Include a blog
Maybe it’s because I’m a blogger, but I think this is critical for most websites, especially real estate sites. Write articles about the neighborhoods you serve, the school ratings, the local restaurants and businesses. Write about house-search checklists and guides to finding a lender.
Ask friends to share photos and write ups about the different festivals and special events in your community. All of these things will help your site’s SEO when buyers Google more information about the community they’re thinking about living in.
Conclusion and next steps
If you want to build a successful real estate WordPress site, it’s pretty easy, and we’ve laid out the entire strategy for you.
First, select the WordPress hosting plan that’s right for you, whether it’s a GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plan or you buy your own server space and host it yourself.
Next, select the right WordPress theme for real estate agencies. Sure, you can use one of the free generic themes, but these themes have been created specifically for you real estate agents — take advantage of those extra capabilities!
Install the WordPress real estate plugins that will add much-needed functionality to your site. And don’t forget the general, non-real estate plugins for security, SEO and analytics. Every website should have them.
Be sure to provide great written and visual content for your website. Visitors want to read valuable information about their next home purchase or sale, so they might as well get it at your site.
Once you’ve got your WordPress site all built and ready to go, be sure to set up your professional email address and link it to your site in your email footer. You can get your professional email address when you buy your domain.
Link your website to your social pages. You can do this with your social sharing plugin, but be sure to include the domain name in your social network bios, too.
Finally, you can keep your website secure by keeping your themes and plugins updated. One way hackers can break into a real estate website with WordPress is by exploiting flaws in outdated plugins and themes. One reason the plugin/theme creators create updates is to plug these holes, so protect yourself by updating everything when it comes available.
WordPress might seem like a huge, unwieldy product to work with, but it’s the No. 1 content management site for a reason. More than 30% of the world’s websites run on it for a reason, and if it’s good enough for The New York Times and Walt Disney, it’s good enough for your own real estate agency.
The post How to create a real estate website with WordPress appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
If you’re starting out in real estate, branding and developing an online presence is essential. With 80% of all home buyers beginning their search online, connecting with them should be your No. 1 priority. That starts with your company name and your custom domain — your window to the digital world. How do you choose from all of the possible real estate company names?
Start with the best real estate domain names.
Related: How to start a real estate business
Your guide to real estate company names and real estate domains
The annals of business lore are full of companies that failed to register their domain names and spent years waiting for the availability of a .com with their brand name. Nissan still doesn’t own Nissan.com and the city of London, surprisingly, doesn’t own London.com.
That’s why it’s important to start early and align your company’s name with the domain you prefer.
In today’s digital landscape, naming your company and creating your website’s URL go hand-in-hand.
Here’s how you can ensure that you are putting the pieces together and branding yourself for the long haul.
Let’s get started building your online real estate presence!
1. Do your research
To help ensure that prospective buyers and sellers will find the website attached to your real estate domain, you’ll want to spend some time looking into the keywords that people in your local market type into Google to find the services you plan to offer.
You may want to identify high-performing words with a large number of searches or, alternatively, look for keywords that are underutilized and underserved by current website content.
Find your niche
There might be a magic keyword or two that people are searching for but not finding much information on. That could become your informational niche.
Think long-term while doing your research and don’t be too specific. Today, you may want to specialize in a specific area or niche, but as your business grows, you might want to expand your service offerings or market coverage. Take this into consideration when you are gathering real estate company name and domain name ideas.
Do a competitor analysis
Another thing you’ll want to do whenever you’re researching content or market information is to conduct a competitor analysis.
Who are the major players in your market and how have they branded themselves? You may want to develop a branding position similar to theirs, or you may want to take advantage of some possibility that they have overlooked.
For example, if they have branded themselves with a wordy or overly complicated name, you might get attention with a short and snappy one. If they have defined themselves around a small market segment, you might follow suit to compete head-to-head or go broad to differentiate yourself.
When you understand who they appeal to and how they generate that appeal, you can create a strategy to successfully challenge them.
Consider current trends
Finally, take a tip from current naming trends in real estate in order to come up with a winning brand. One of the most popular brokerage trends right now are names that are short and sweet, such as Compass, Exit and eXp.
Or choose a real estate-related word or term and play with it to create an attention-getting image.
2. Create business name options
Now it’s time to put your research to work and brainstorm possible real estate company names and domains. You’ve got many directions you could go here.
Since real estate is all about geography, you might want to choose a name that evokes some aspect of your local market.
Consider the city name, a specific area of town, a local landmark, or a nickname for your city. Atlanta Real Estate is good, but Hotlanta Real Estate (a real company name, by the way) might just be better.
Names with value props
Alternatively, you might have a unique value proposition (UVP) that you want to highlight in your business name. Perhaps you have particular expertise in a niche like luxury, equestrian land and farm, or waterfront properties. Maybe you have a background in the law or finance that makes your service offering unique.
Your name could be a reflection of the most interesting and compelling aspect of your business.
Names that showcase diversity
Do you speak more than one language? In many markets, there is a large and diverse group of residents who hail from a non-English-speaking country. Your ability to work with them in their native language can be a powerful differentiator and can help you find a market niche that works for you.
In this case, you might want to convey the international focus of your business in your company name.
Names that speak to market segments
Think about the person you’re trying to appeal to.
It’s tempting to think of your potential client as “everyone,” but realistically, you will have more to offer some people than others.
If you love the idea of working with first-time homebuyers or downsizing seniors, your name could convey that. If you are a military relocation professional (MRP), you might want to choose a name focused on that market segment.
Of course, you can also go with your own name for a one-of-a-kind brand. You’ll want to think about how to style yourself — first name, last name or your whole name. You can also play with the name, adding it to your market or to some other evocative word like homes or properties.
You may be tempted to go with something really over the top when it comes to your company name. One current trend is the compressed version of a common word, like Tumblr or Flickr. This might inspire you to dream up a particularly inventive spelling or format for your company name.
Exercise caution if this is the direction you choose.
It won’t do you any favors to create a name that no one understands or can spell — an important requirement for website searching.
In addition, once this trend is over, you might find yourself with an outdated company name and a stale feel to your brand.
Most of all, remember that at this point you are brainstorming. There’s no need to drill down and make a decision right away. You will still need to ensure that no one else has your preferred name and you’ll want to see what domain names are available before you lock in on a choice.
Give yourself a variety of options and see which one works for the long haul.
3. Start your real estate domain name search
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of potential real estate company names, it’s time to see what corresponding domain names are available. Keep these tips in mind as you begin searching for the best real estate domain names:
Keep it short and simple
You’ll want to look at a variety of iterations in order to find the most user-friendly version of the name you’re considering. If you’re naming the business after yourself, for instance, consider using just your first name or just your last name in order to simplify searching.
One thing you may want to think about is how your website name sounds out loud — not just how it looks written. Consider whether it is likely to be misspelled or written down incorrectly if you are telling someone the address or if you are saying it out loud in an advertisement or on your YouTube channel.
Be sure to check your company name for unintentional misunderstandings that can happen when it is converted into a domain name. For example, the travel website Choose Spain unintentionally hurt their brand with the launch of choosespain.com.
Consider premium domain names
You’ll also find that common words within the domain name can break your domain name budget, especially if they are particularly desirable and heavily searched.
Words like homes, real estate and some place names of major metropolitan areas drive the desirability — and thus the price — sky high. While these can have a huge upside return on investment, they’ll take a chunk out of your startup budget, especially if you’re just launching your business.
4. Check out your domain options
Fortunately, you have a variety of options beyond .com when choosing your domain name.
In addition, some major metropolitan areas have domain extensions of their own, allowing you to pinpoint yourself geographically for potential clients.
One of the big advantages here, of course, is that you could end up saying everything you can’t afford to say in a standard .com domain name at a fraction of the price. For example, a regional domain extension like .nyc or .miami will, in many cases, cost less than a standard .com with those words in the address and will let your potential clients know exactly where you are located.
In addition, because many of these real estate domains were only recently introduced, they haven’t all been snatched up by larger companies with bigger budgets.
Want to appeal to an international market? Consider domain name extensions like .casa (Spanish or Italian), .immobilien or .haus (German) to appeal to non-English-speaking clients. This is also a great way to differentiate yourself, especially if you speak another language and want to convey that to potential clients for whom English is a second language.
Search for your perfect domain name now:
At this point, you’ve done your keyword research, considered alternative real estate company names, and found out what domain names are available, enhanced by unique domain name extensions. That should allow you to narrow down your choices and select from the available real estate company names and the best real estate domains. What’s next?
Buy your domain name
Go ahead and buy the real estate domain you’ve chosen.
Every day, someone in your area is also looking at domain names and you don’t want to find that your favorite has been snatched up by a new competitor.
Related: How to buy a domain name
Get a professional email address
Attach your new domain name to a professional email address. It will look much more professional to communicate with real estate prospects and clients using an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org than your personal Gmail account.
Start building your brand
Now that you have a real estate company name, start to create a brand identity for your business.
Consider colors, images, fonts, and a logo in order to create a cohesive look for your brand. In addition, think about adjectives you would like for your brand to convey: fun and upbeat, serious and distinguished, investor-oriented or friendly enough for first-time homebuyers.
Build a website
Determine your budget for website development and begin putting that new domain to work. You may be attaching your custom domain to your broker-provided site or upgrading to a do-it-yourself website builder. You may have the budget for a developer who can create a custom website for you.
Whatever the case, it’s important to ensure that you get your new site up and running as quickly as possible.
Carry the look and idea of your brand through your website design and development, paying special attention to the tone of the writing on your site. You may also want to ensure up front that your site has a blog integrated so that you can begin creating content to drive traffic to your website.
Great content added on an ongoing basis helps improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and gives you something exciting to promote on social media.
Create promotional materials that include your website address
Once your site is live, make sure you update all of your promotional materials with your new URL.
The right name, the right domain and the right website: Put it all together and you have a powerful selling tool.
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Cate Barker.
The post How to choose real estate company names and real estate domains appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Gretta Rose van Riel used influencer marketing to build multiple 8-figure ecommerce brands.
Scott Paul got LeBron James to promote his business for FREE! (Okay, there’s more to that story, obviously – but you’ll have to keep reading to find out the rest).
But how? And what the heck do they know that you don’t?
I’m going to give away their secrets, and fill you in on the absolute best insights from the genius influencers and marketers on the front lines making it happen.
Oh, and if those numbers don’t impress you, maybe this one will: $10,000,000,000
That’s the predicted size of the influencer marketing industry within the next 5 years, according to Mediakix, a media company that has been closely monitoring growth and trends since 2015.
While that’s not quite as big as a googol, it’s still an enormous number and some truly impressive growth for a business category and marketing channel that was virtually non-existent a decade ago.
Influencer marketing was destined to be a juggernaut from the very beginning. As soon as social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube made it possible for the average person to become a content creator — someone who could create their own brand, their own following, their own influence — the game officially changed. A new player stepped forward, one that would force marketers to alter their playbooks in ways that, at the time, seemed unimaginable.
Jane Doe became Jane Dough, and before we knew it, the modern social media influencer was born.
As brands continue allocating and shifting more of their marketing dollars towards influencer marketing (18% are spending between $100,000 – $500,000 per year, according to data shared by Bigcommerce), the biggest question everyone has is this:
How do I make this work for ME ?
This guide will give you the resources, best practices, and actionable advice you need to create and execute a winning influencer marketing strategy for your business.
Let’s jump in!
Influencer marketing is about being picky: choose the right influencer
For most people, diving into the world of influencer marketing is like blasting yourself into space — you’re out of your element, there are a lot of unknowns, and it can feel suffocating.
At least, that’s how I imagine space…
Ask anyone who has invested any money into influencer marketing where to start and how to be successful from the get-go, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: it’s all about finding the right people for your business and your audience. Without the right people in place, you can still spend a lot of money but see very little return from what you put into it. The people you work with matter.
Here are a few tips for choosing the right influencer:
1. Know who wouldn’t be a good fit
When you’re trying to decide who to reach out to and partner with, sometimes the best thing to do is spend some time thinking about who you are not looking for.
That’s the advice I got when I spoke with Neal Schaffer. Neal is the author of “The Business of Influence,” and President of a social media agency called PDCA Social which works with Fortune 50 enterprises and Grammy award-winning musicians — so he knows a little bit about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to influencer marketing.
“Before looking for an influencer, visualize who the ideal influencer should be,” he says. “Marketers waste a lot of money and time reaching out to, and/or working with, influencers who weren’t a good fit to begin with.”
Schaffer adds that in order to start identifying or disqualifying potential influencer partners, you should perform a simple litmus test. “If your content appeared on their feed, would it be a natural fit? If not, that influencer relationship will not be a natural fit either,” says Schaffer.
2. Don’t let the numbers fool you
Vanity metrics are kind of the name of the game when it comes to influencer marketing, but you have to be careful when it comes to making decisions based solely on follower counts and likes. Some things are not always as they seem.
“It’s not all about the follower numbers, it is about an authentic following and reach & engagement,” says Meghan Connolly, a digital marketing expert and owner of Snowbird Social.
Meghan is skilled at knowing how to build a true community on social media. She grew her own dog’s Instagram following to over 40,000 and now helps other brands run successful influencer marketing campaigns.
“An influencer with 10k followers can have as much or more influence than one with 20k, if the 10k has followers who listen to him/her/them,” Connolly adds.
When I spoke with Kurt Elster, Host of The Unofficial Shopify Podcast and ecommerce consultant for Jay Leno’s Garage, he agreed.
“When it comes to follower counts, bigger isn’t necessarily better,” says Elster. “In one recent campaign, we worked with several influencers. Our largest at 150,000 followers had zero clicks. Not sales… clicks! Our most successful influencer had 20,000 followers but tremendous engagement with his audience.”
Elster wants people to understand that follower count isn’t everything, and that oftentimes you’re better off partnering with a handful of smaller players than one highly expensive, too-good-to-be-true player.
“I’d rather have 10 influencers with 10,000 followers each than a single 100,000 follower influencer any day of the week,” he says.
3. Look to your brand champions first
It might feel like you need to go to the ends of the earth to find the perfect person to represent and promote your brand, but that’s not always the case.
Sometimes, the perfect influencer is right under your nose, according to Scott Paul, CEO at Wooly. “I wish marketers knew that the best influencers are actually their customers,” says Paul.
I talked with Scott because he co-founded and sold an influencer company and spent millions of dollars hiring influencers and building effective influencer marketing campaigns for major retailers (seriously — we’re talking about the absolutely biggest ones, single retailers hiring him to find 200,000+ influencers for their campaign). He shared a great perspective on the value of reaching into your own existing community to find winning promoters.
Scott recommended that, before you spend a lot of time and money searching for a Lebron James-level influencer, look in your own backyard.
“Make sure you look deep at your customers and followers on social media before hiring an outsider to promote a brand,” says Paul.
4. Remember the 3 R’s
To find the right influencer, you have to take a number of factors into consideration — again, it’s not just about reach and follower counts. There are other things you should be thinking about.
Gretta Rose van Riel talked me through this idea and gave me some good pointers when I asked what else someone should be looking for and thinking about when trying to hire the right influencer. In the past, she’s used influencer marketing, including her own 16M+ followers, to build multiple 8-figure ecommerce brands. Today, she’s the founder of Hey Influencer, which she describes as a dating platform for matching influencers with brands.
“We use the 3 R’s to assess the right fit of influencers for our campaigns,” she says. “Reach (the size of their following), relevancy (their niche and type of content) and most importantly relationship (having a strong, trusting relationship with their followers often displayed by quality engagement).”
To ensure that you’re on the right track when searching for an influencer to hire, spend time thinking about the partnership you want to build, the type of person you want to work with, the goals you want to achieve, the brand style you want to support, and the audience you ultimately want to engage and build trust with.
5. Become familiar with average costs before negotiating
Before reaching out to an influencer and talking about price, it’s helpful to know what some of the industry averages are. The investment you make will ultimately depend on the social site you’re trying to tap into and how much true reach the influencer you want to work with has.
Alfred Lua of Buffer put together an impressively thorough resource on the topic that is worth digging into if you’re thinking about allocating any of your marketing dollars to an influencer marketing strategy.
Here are some benchmarks he shares in his article that you can use when talking with influencers about price:
When it comes to talking with influencers about your budget, don’t be afraid to negotiate — but don’t be surprised if the quotes you get fall closely in line with the averages compiled by Lua shared above.
6. Pick true partners
To be successful with influencer marketing, you have to be willing to spend a lot of time searching for the right people — people who are actually going to be worthwhile partners who can help you achieve your goals and grow your business. That means experimenting with people who might turn out not to be the best fit for your business, and ultimately being OK with it.
For Bobby Umar, President at Raeallan, it’s not about finding influencers that look good on paper — it’s about finding influencers who will go the extra mile for you when it comes to engaging with the people you’re trying to reach.
“Some influencers only do the minimum amount of work. Others work over and beyond to build relationships and truly engage their audience,” says Umar. “Knowing the difference between the two will really set you apart when it comes to your influencer marketing.”
I spoke with Umar because of his experience leveraging influence and building community. He has over half a million social media followers and has helped thousands of business leaders leverage their influence and grow their business with influencer marketing.
Some influencers aren’t what they seem, so it’s important to spend time doing work upfront to try to identify which ones are legitimate and which ones aren’t, according to Bill Widmer, Co-owner of The Wandering RV. Bill Widmer is a content marketing expert who’s worked with Shopify, Bold Commerce, and dozens of other high-growth online businesses, using influencers to build up backlinks to his 10x content.
When I asked him about what his biggest tip was when it comes to hiring influencers, he had this to say:
“Understand that it’s completely possible (and very easy) for “influencers” to buy followers and likes en mass,” says Widmer. “Before you hire an influencer, do your due diligence to make sure their followers are real and actually engage with their content,” he adds.
On the flip side, some influencers might not look like they have much influence when you consider the size of their audience, but looks can be deceiving.
There’s a growing trend in partnering with micro-influencers — people who have a smaller following but a more active, engaged, and loyal audience. These can be some of the best people to work with when you’re experimenting with influencer marketing — but people don’t realize it. They get stuck on follower counts and end up missing out on smaller partners who might actually be able to help you more than a big celebrity influencer would.
When I spoke with blogger and influencer Brittany Porcelli, she agreed. “The biggest myth is that micro-influencers will not help your brand,” she says. “Often times micro-influencers are more willing to do more for your brand — more posts, more Instagram stories, etc., and are willing to put their resources towards a longtime partnership.”
Joel Hansen is a Business Development Manager at Skidmore Group. He also helps brands like Adobe, Canucks, Clippers and Linkedin with youth engagement. Hansen agreed with Porcelli when I asked him about the value of micro-influencers.
“The biggest myth I believe that stands to be true is ‘the more followers an influencer has the more effective a campaign can be’. You’d be surprised the amount of impact a variety of micro influencers or a local community leader can have compared to a celebrity account with 40% dormant followers,” says Hansen.
Finding true partners, and working to build long-lasting partnerships with them over time, will ultimately make your investment in influencer marketing much more worthwhile in the long run.
Influencer marketing is about more than likes and followers: Use influencers as content creators
Launching a successful influencer marketing campaign isn’t just about connecting with the right influencer — to be effective, you have to take it one step further: you need to find the right influencer who can help you create the right content for your audience.
Influencers only exist because they create content that resonates with an audience. While we’re here to discuss how to optimize influencer marketing, it all leads back to creating great content.
Here’s a real life example — through my advertising agency, my team and I have done some crazy stuff, like helping a client scale from $20k to $4M in a year. As an ads company, we’re accustomed to paid promotion as a means of delivering content, and less accustomed to leveraging an influencer’s influence to deliver content.
In both cases, the content is the real draw that creates value with an audience. The influencer / paid promotion are just the vehicles.
Influencer + Content is the key formula for influencer marketing. Here are a few tips that will help ensure that you’re set up to build winning content into your influencer marketing campaigns:
1. Evaluate influence AND content
A big part of your time discovering and evaluating prospective influencers should be spent looking at the other content they create for themselves and for the other brands they work with.
Ted Rubin, CMO at Photofy, supported this line of thinking when I asked him about how content plays a role in influencer marketing campaigns. Rubin was the Chief Social Marketing Officer of Collective Bias (an early entrant to the content and influencer marketing space). Today, he’s a well-known speaker, author, and consultant. Here’s what he told me:
“The vast majority of ‘influencers’ are simply talented content creators,” says Rubin. “Treat their influence like you would good content. Consumers like it, share it, and rely upon it to help make decisions…so measure it the same way you would media.”
In other words, don’t choose to work with an influencer solely based on the size of their audience and the level of engagement they receive. Evaluate the type and quality of content they create, and decide if it aligns with your brand and your audience.
2. Throw out the cookie cutters
Every influencer will approach content differently. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Because of the unique relationship and opportunity that exists, you should spend time developing an individual content strategy for each influencer you work with.
“Work with individual influencers to brainstorm ideas for co-creating content,” recommends Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, Host, Punch Out With Katie and Kerry.
When I asked her to elaborate on what she meant, she said, “each one has more reach on one platform or another, and specializes in certain types of content. Some would be perfect for live tweeting your conference sessions, but others are qualified to handle on-site interviews or to create original video content.
“Know your influencers and create a strategy that maximizes each one’s unique talents and abilities,” she adds.
Spending time upfront to think about the unique content a particular influencer could create for your brand and audience will help ensure that you’re building a more interesting and compelling library of content in the long run. It’ll also help you experiment with different types and styles of content in order to learn what your audience likes and responds to best.
3. Look within your existing community
When you’re looking for good content partners, sometimes it’s as easy as looking within your existing community.
“Influence is everywhere, so consider not just collaborating with micro and nano influencers but also with your followers, your fans, your customers, your partners, and even your employees,” says Neal Schaffer.
David Brier, Chief Gravity Defier at DBD International, took this idea one step further when I spoke with him about where to go to find great influencers. Looking at your existing community is one thing — but what about even looking to your own profile?
“BECOME the influencer you seek. Seriously. Too many seek some “impact” from others who have done the hustle,” he says. “The BEST influencer marketing is to elevate your own profile to become an influencer.”
And that’s not just talk for David.
Daymond John (yes — the Shark Tank guy) calls Brier “brilliant with branding.” Grant Cardone calls him “a branding genius,” and Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer of Gary Vee’s VaynerMedia, when asked about David’s bestseller said, “This is not only an outstanding book on branding but is an excellent example of branding, design and content I keep in my office. I only wish I had this book at the beginning of my career.”
Before you spend too much time evaluating talent agencies and negotiating with top-dollar influencers, find out if you have any passionate and willing content creators within your own audience (it could even be you!). Going this route will allow you to spin up campaigns sooner — you won’t have to spend time educating influencers on your products and business because they already know it well).
It’ll also likely cost you less money — brand loyalists and brand champions might help you in exchange for free products or because they simply want to see your business continue to succeed.
Influencer marketing isn’t a “quick fix”: measure influencer campaign success
Because influencer marketing pretty much always requires you to allocate a significant portion of your marketing budget toward something that might not make a directly attributable impact on your business, it’s important to think about how you’re going to ultimately measure success.
Here are a few tips to consider as you think about what you’re trying to get back from your influencer marketing campaigns:
1. Be willing to play the long game
The first thing you need to realize is that influencer marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. It can take a while to see any sort of return or impact.
“Do not expect people to buy your product straight away when they first see it promoted from an influencer,” says Nathan Chan, CEO of Foundr Magazine.
I talked with Nathan, who used influencer marketing to build Foundr from nothing to one of the top 10 business magazines in the app store in just a couple of years, about this idea of having patience (which as an entrepreneur is really, really hard to practice). Chan recommends trying anyway and to not be discouraged just because you’re not seeing sales skyrocket right away.
“Be prepared to play the long game, a lot of those influencer’s fans will follow your company, and eventually buy over time,” he says.
Chan also wants people to realize the additional long-term benefits of building out an influencer network for your brand — benefits that don’t always appear right after launching a campaign.
“It’s not just about generating a return, it’s about the content and the long game and building your brand using influencers overtime,” says Chan.
Ted Rubin, mentioned earlier in this article, agrees. He says that the idea that you get immediate and instant return from an influencer in the form of sales is a myth.
He explains that there’s this mistaken belief that, “influencers actually influence people in the way that they jump up to go buy something when those you are paying as influencers tell them to.”
Rubin adds, “there are perhaps a handful of people who can make something like that happen and they don’t come cheap. The majority of “good’ ones create great content that consumers like to read and watch, and via that ability provide a great deal of reach and attention.”
2. Know which metrics truly matter
When you’re thinking about what success looks like in an influencer marketing campaign, you also have to recognize the difference between views and true engagement.
“I’m glad that the industry overall is maturing but I think that many people fall into vanity vs true engagement metrics,” says Brian Wallace, Founder and President of NowSourcing.
When I spoke with Wallace, who, in addition to running his company, is a Google Small Business Advisor and on the SXSW Advisory Board, he confirmed something that I’ve been hearing from many other experts in the industry. “If you are just counting a number of likes, you’re likely to be disappointed and in many cases those numbers are going away,” said Wallace.
In other words, don’t get distracted by big numbers. Focus on how your audience is engaging with and responding to influencer content to truly understand how it might be impacting your business and relationships with potential buyers.
3. Recognize the true value of an influencer marketing campaign
When you’re spending real dollars, it’s easy to want to dig into the exact financial impact of a campaign — you want to be able to measure direct ROI. But with influencer marketing, you have to understand that the return is significantly more complex. It goes back to being willing to play the long game and seeing what impact you can make to your business over time and in what ways.
Nathan Chan, mentioned earlier in this article, shares an example to help bring this point home:
“When working with influencers it shouldn’t be treated as a transaction and measured just on ROI. This is only one measurement of success on working with a particular influencer,” says Chan. “What about the content they create for you? If you paid Kylie Jenner to do a post, the post, yes, might make you $$$ from her followers, but what about the ability to use that image of her with your product in your PPC ads? What is the cost of that? These are the things that you need to be looking at for a successful influencer marketing strategy / campaign!”
Chan is essentially saying that although you might not see an immediate or direct return on your investment, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to add value to your business down the road. The point is that you are building a library of content that you can repurpose in a number of ways and on a number of platforms.
4. Be true to your primary objectives
Before getting too deep into launching an influencer marketing campaign or hiring influencers, you have to set some clear objectives.
“Know the specific objectives for why you want to work with influencers and how you will measure their success,” says Neal Schaffer, mentioned earlier in this article.
Schaffer explains that setting clear objectives will help you evaluate performance during a campaign and allow you to make the right adjustments along the way.
“Every influencer will deliver different results, so being able to measure and compare their effectiveness will allow you to achieve greater ROI by shifting more budget to well performing influencers,” says Schaffer.
This willingness to plan ahead and make decisions in real-time is the difference between launching a one-time influencer marketing experiment that doesn’t show clear ROI and building a repeatable, scalable strategy that brings measurable ROI and value to your business long into the future.
Influencer marketing is a repeatable process: How to be successful
In most cases, you’re probably not going to experience overnight success when you launch an influencer marketing campaign. It’s going to take time, experimentation, and effort.
That being said, there are some things you can do that can help ensure your success:
1. Be patient and put in the time
Influencer marketing is just as much an art as it is a science. You have to understand that going into it. There’s an art to building community and content that will resonate with people.
Ted Rubin, mentioned earlier in the article, mirrors this line of thinking:
“Influencer marketing, when used to its best effect, is about building a network of business relationships that will yield results over time,” he says. “You’ll get as much out of the program as you put into it. So if your goal is to find a platform, and make this like programmatic advertising, and do whatever you can to automate the process… you will be throwing the majority of your budget down the drain.”
2. Know where it fits in your overall strategy
Don’t just invest in influencer marketing because it’s the latest buzz word you’re reading about everywhere. Instead, decide if it’s actually a worthwhile tactic to test in order to meet your goals and better serve your audience.
Sofiya Deva agrees. She’s the VP of Marketing at Zen Media and has won both a gold ADDY and a platinum Hermes award, and has worked with incredible brands like Chase, the US Navy and Tupperware.
“If you want to invest in influencer marketing, make sure you understand how it fits into your larger marketing strategy, and more importantly — your customer journey,” she says.
Deva believes that before jumping into this particular tactic, you should ask yourself, “What will engaging with these influencers allow your customers/clients to do, say and be?”
Joel Hansen, who currently directs CIMC (Western Canada’s largest marketing/PR conference) and works with brands like Adobe, Canucks, Clippers and Linkedin with Youth Engagement, echos what Deva says with some very practical feedback on what he likes to see from brands that reach out to influencers, “A brand guide and overview of the marketing campaign and how you play a role in shaping the outcome can be a very helpful foundation to introduce a relationship. I always appreciate when there is proof that they’ve done the research on my content and know my audience demographics. Lastly, a couple references from other influencers they’ve worked with always goes a long way.”
When I talked with Sujan Patel, one of the most recognizable names in growth hacking and founder of Mailshake, about this topic, he suggests that people should not get too enamored by the idea that influencer marketing has a guaranteed and immediate return no matter what.
Instead of putting all your eggs (and money) in one basket, he wants people to focus instead on what truly matters.
“Influencer marketing can drive huge sales and drastically grow your business,” Patel says. “It can be and has been for certain companies but it’s not always the case. It’s worked well for direct-to-consumer companies and ecommerce businesses but, as time passes, the things that worked a few years ago will become less effective and played out. Don’t get caught up in the sexy-ness of an influencer marketing campaign…instead, focus on building a product and brand that people love.”
3. Build out your network
If you’re going to experiment with influencer marketing, don’t just dip your toes in — do a cannonball.
Don’t just work with one influencer. Instead, work with and learn from many.
“Work with multiple influencers at once, and use those relationships to cross-promote each influencer’s post,” says Bill Widmer, who was mentioned earlier. “Tag them in one another’s posts and help them grow off each other’s audiences as well as your own.”
Gretta van Riel has similar advice to share.
“What you’re looking for is audience overlap amongst your influencers. This repetition will mean far higher conversion rates as consumers often need to be exposed to a brand several times before purchasing,” she says. “We look for what we call influencer ‘clusters’ or groups of influencers that share very similar audiences for example family members, friendship circles or the fact they’ve all been on a recent reality tv show for example.”
Blogger and influencer Brittany Porcelli recommends building a strategy that leverages both major and micro-influencers to get the best reach and engagement possible.
“Use a combination of influencers and micro-influencers with higher engagement to help drive purchase,” says Porcelli. “Micro-influencers help push your message through the lower funnel.”
4. Keep experimenting with influencer marketing
Finally, never stop experimenting and learning—even while a campaign is still running.
Larry Kim, CEO at MobileMonkey and founder of WordStream (which was acquired by Gannett for $150 million), explains why you need to be constantly testing in order to experience the full potential that influencer marketing has to offer.
“There is a diminishing return due to audience fatigue. The first time you partner with an influencer, your products/services are totally new to that audience,” says Kim. “Over time, the novelty wears off. It’s similar to the concept of “Ad Fatigue” in online advertising. Thus, you need to keep changing the content campaign being pushed by your influencers, and periodically switch influencers you partner with, too.”
Goldie Chan, founder of Warm Robots, agrees. Goldie is the top LinkedIn Video creator with the longest running daily video series on the platform amassing over 5 million views and counting earning her the title of, “The Oprah of LinkedIn” by Huffpost. She’s also a global keynote speaker and digital strategist.
“Influencer marketing is constantly in flux,” she says. “One day a platform may be the number 1 way to drive traffic and the next day, it may fall completely flat. It’s not always influencer-specific, on occasion it is the overall health of a platform that can determine campaign success.”
Influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It’s not a golden nugget or a silver bullet. Like most marketing tactics, it’s easy to plan but hard to implement effectively.
It takes time, money, and effort. You’re going to fail, but you’re also going to learn, and through the process, you can build a strategy that meets the needs of your business, and more importantly, your audience.
Partner with GoDaddy Websites + Marketing to add simple, affordable ecommerce tools that will help you take your influencer marketing campaign to the next level.
This post was co-authored with Rob Wormley.
The post Influencer Marketing: the $68M secret you don’t know appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This article was originally published on Nov. 1, 2016, and was updated on Oct. 15, 2019.
If you haven’t yet, now is a good time to start thinking about your holiday email marketing campaign. Much of your annual sales will come from this hot buying period, and your email marketing campaign has the power to fuel those sales even further.
A large part of your campaign’s success will come from the strength of your offers — in other words, are you offering better products or better prices than your competition? Your design and content will also play a significant role.
But in this article, we’ll mostly be focusing on the best day to send an email during the holiday shopping season.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy Websites + Marketing features a built-in email marketing tool so you can seamlessly send emails that mirror the look and feel of your website.
Timing your holiday email marketing campaign
Good timing matters for your holiday email marketing campaign because it will affect your open rates, your sales, and even your brand reputation.
Timing it right will allow you to:
Maximize the possible buying period
From the moment consumers become aware of your holiday sales until the holiday itself, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.
Sending emails at the right time, throughout the holiday shopping season, will maximize the buying period.
Capitalize on holiday momentum and customer dispositions
Most consumers start thinking about their holiday shopping at certain key moments, such as early November (when Halloween is over), Thanksgiving (when families often get together), and especially the week after Thanksgiving.
Sending an email at these key times can help you capitalize on holiday shopping momentum.
Avoid inbox crowding and competition
Merely sending an email at the “right” time isn’t enough. That’s because consumers are likely getting dozens of emails from every company they’ve interacted with in the past year.
If you send too many emails, or send emails at a time that’s too popular, you could end up blending in as white noise or getting outcompeted.
Adjust for holidays and vacations
It’s also prudent to recognize that many people take vacation time or don’t work their typical hours during November and December. That means they might not be checking their inboxes outside the best days to send holiday email correspondence.
The best timeframe to send holiday emails
You might have an intuition for the best day to send a holiday email, but the only reliable way to determine the effectiveness of your timing is to look at the data.
GoDaddy: Click-through rates peak November 17 and 18
Each year GoDaddy looks at their email marketing data and identifies the optimal day for sending email campaigns and getting people to click.
Year-over-year numbers show that click-through rates (CTR) start increasing in early November (+5% vs. October) and stay at that same level through December.
The December peak is earlier in the month — December 1 and December 2 (+25% vs. December average).
Keep the momentum going into January
GoDaddy’s data suggests that campaigns early in the new year can also be very effective. January 2018 actually had higher open and click rates than both November and December. In fact, the January open rate was 13% higher than December. January CTR was 6% higher than December.
January performance peaked on the 5th and 6th, with CTRs 22% higher than the January average.
Now, let’s look at more data that points to the best days to send holiday emails in October, November and December, respectively.
It might seem like October is too early to be thinking about the holiday shopping season, and in some ways it is.
If you send an email advertising the hottest Christmas presents of the season on October 1, you probably won’t get much interest. However, one study found that more than 40 percent of consumers started browsing for holiday presents as early as September.
You wouldn’t be crazy for starting to advertise your most anticipated products early.
For most retailers, however, October is a month for planning.
A good holiday email marketing campaign isn’t a single email sent at just the right time, but rather a strategically timed release of multiple successive emails, each guiding consumers further into the buying cycle.
Use October to select the themes of your holiday email marketing campaign and schedule your first few emails.
November is when most companies start taking their holiday email marketing campaigns seriously.
In 2018, commercial retailers sent out fewer Black Friday-related emails than usual. However, 43% of retailers saw an average open rate of 20% or higher for those emails.
Shoppers who are interested in Black Friday sales will want to see emails advertising Black Friday specials in the week or two leading up to the big day.
To capitalize on these mid-November and late-November emails, make sure you include “Black Friday” and related keywords in the subject line. You’ll want to follow the same general approach for Cyber Monday, including Cyber Monday-related keywords in the subject lines of emails throughout mid-November.
Keep in mind that email marketing volumes spike around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you’ll be facing much more competition than usual.
You may want to avoid critical November days where consumer attention is spent elsewhere.
For example, November 5 is an election day in the United States, and is a bad time to send a holiday shopping email.
Thanksgiving this year is November 28, and while you might think it’s best to avoid this day, some studies suggest that marketing email open rates are higher on Thanksgiving than Black Friday.
Also, don’t neglect the week after Thanksgiving. While the major landmark shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, research suggests that business email open rates spike in the week after Thanksgiving — this is partially because people are returning to work after the long Thanksgiving weekend.
However, you may be able to capitalize on it to get more eyes on your messages.
If it seems like the big push for holiday shopping is at the end of November, think again; consistently, the busiest shopping day of the year is not Black Friday, but the Saturday before Christmas.
This year, that falls on December 21. Feel free to send follow-up emails and last-minute offers up to and including Christmas Eve.
Depending on how you want to position your brand, you may also want to send an email after Christmas, capitalizing on post-Christmas sales, gift card expenditures, exchanges, and so on.
What’s the best time of day to send a holiday marketing email?
Choosing the best day to send a marketing email is a higher priority than choosing the right time of day, but the time also matters.
Peak open times for email will vary by demographic, but generally fall between 10 a.m. and noon, especially during the work week. However, you may wish to send your holiday email marketing campaign during off-peak hours, to avoid competition.
Creating a holiday email marketing campaign that stands out
Even if you choose the right days to send your holiday email marketing campaign, you’ll still need to draft content and form a design that helps you stand out. Follow these tips to ensure success:
Master your subject lines
Including holiday-centric keywords like “Black Friday” or “perfect gift” in your subject lines is important, but you also want to stand out.
You might consider humor to appeal to your target demographics. Keep your subject lines short and snappy, and make sure to test multiple variants so you can determine which ones are most effective.
Prioritize mobile consumers
While your customers might open emails on both mobile devices and desktops, research shows that 50% of email recipients open their emails primarily on a smartphone or tablet.
Mobile consumers should be your main priority when designing an email, since there are more things that can go wrong on mobile devices.
Keep your subject lines tight and your body designs responsive, and make sure your email loads quickly and completely.
Evoke a sense of urgency
Anything you can do to evoke a sense of urgency in your email recipients is going to motivate action more reliably.
When advertising sales and discounts, include a countdown timer or expiration date so consumers are more likely to make a purchase. You can also get clever by noting the number of shopping days left in the season — though your competitors might already be doing this.
Experiment and analyze
It’s unlikely you’ll stumble upon the perfect holiday email marketing formula by chance.
The only way to get closer to perfection is to experiment with different variables, modifying things like your subject lines, headlines, designs, offers and body copy.
Measure the impact of these variables, evaluating your resulting open rates, CTR and other email metrics. If you start this cyclical process early in the season (around November 1 or 2), you’ll have plenty of time to improve the direction of your emails in the run-up to December 25.
Kick off your holiday email marketing campaign
Now is the perfect time to start planning your holiday email marketing campaign.
You’ll have ample time to organize your emails and polish them to perfection before sending them at the perfect moment.
The post What’s the best day to send a holiday email marketing campaign? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Some of the biggest shopping days of the year are right around the corner. No matter what you’re selling, your customers are ready to open their wallets, and you need to be primed to take advantage by creating Black Friday email campaigns.
But, since your customers’ inboxes are going to be inundated, you’ll need to stand out and give them a reason to open your emails. It’s not enough to show up; you need to sweeten the deal and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
If your idea well has gone dry, then this post is for you. Below you’ll find nine different suggestions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns.
We’ll cover can’t miss coupons, scarcity-based bonuses, value-add partnerships and a lot more. No doubt your brain will be on fire with ideas about how you can make this holiday shopping season your most profitable yet.
The importance of Black Friday email marketing
The Black Friday weekend can be a massive boost to your overall sales numbers for the year. Best of all, you can get this boost just by sending some thoughtful and well-crafted emails.
Year after year, more and more customers are getting their wallets ready for the impending sales, and this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday are primed to be the biggest ones yet.
To take advantage, it’s a good idea to start planning your marketing campaigns early, instead of scrambling at the last minute.
According to Sendgrid, nearly 24 billion emails were sent during these 24 hours last year. That’s an email for roughly half the world’s population.
But that means one thing — crowded inboxes.
You need your emails to stand out and get opened if you’re going to convince your customers to click through and visit your store.
9 revenue-boosting Black Friday email campaign ideas
It can be hard to come up with creative email campaigns from scratch — especially during the holiday season when you have a million and one other things on your plate. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.
Let the nine email campaign ideas below get you moving in the right direction.
Editor’s note: With GoDaddy Email Marketing it’s easy to prep Black Friday emails in advance and schedule them to send whenever you want, so you don’t have to spend your holidays sending emails.
1. Get in your customers’ minds early
Before the madness of post-Thanksgiving sales begins, you’ll want to already be at the forefront of your customers’ minds.
No doubt their inbox is going to be flooded with hundreds of emails vying for their attention. But you can hack this by having them actually seek out and look forward to your email.
One effective way to do this is by sending a thank you email out on Thanksgiving day. The only purpose of this email is to thank them for being a loyal customer and always opening your emails.
Make it a real email, like one you would send to a friend. Don’t use company-speak. Write it with emotion and from the heart.
Then, towards the end of the email, let them know about the massive sale you have coming out. Something like, “P.S. tomorrow will be our biggest sale in company history, so make sure to keep an eye on your inbox.”
The goal of this email isn’t to play with emotion, but instead share your thanks and gratitude and briefly let them know about your massive sale coming up (that could save them a lot of money).
2. Offer a pre-sale for loyal subscribers
If you’re looking to drive sales before the holiday rush starts, you can create a pre-sale email campaign.
This will be for your loyal customers only. To do this effectively, you’ll need to segment your email list based upon active users who regularly open emails or regularly buy products from you.
First, you need something to offer. Maybe you’re marking down certain items, offering a coupon code off the total order, or throwing in a buy-one-get-one-free deal. Whatever it is, create an offer that your loyal subscribers can’t resist.
With this deal, you’ll have a countdown timer in place. You could offer this deal for Thanksgiving day only, or you could offer it for a few days up until black Friday starts. It’s up to you.
Think of this email like a red carpet event. Only your most exclusive subscribers (the ones that are most valuable to your business) are allowed in.
3. Entice with a free shipping coupon
If you’re looking to sweeten the pot of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email deals even more, then consider offering a free shipping coupon as well. You’re already offering incredible bargains, but free shipping too! That’s a no brainer.
To ensure you aren’t losing money on the deal, calculate your shipping costs, and offer a free shipping coupon for orders over a certain value. For example, “orders over $89 will get free shipping, just enter the coupon code FREETHINGS at checkout.”
You can offer this coupon throughout the entirety of Black Friday weekend, or choose a day like Black Friday or Cyber Monday to really boost sales that day.
4. Create a scarcity-based bonus
During this time of year, you want people to take action as quickly as possible. You’re competing with hundreds of other stores for your customer’s hard-earned cash.
One way you can nudge yourself out in the lead is by sweetening the deal. Instead of just offering a discount (like every other store is doing), you can include a free bonus.
Maybe it’s a free backpack or T-shirt. Whatever you’re offering, make sure it’s good, as a lot of customers will buy something from you just for the bonus alone.
You can take this even further by making the bonus scarce. For example, only offer the gift to your first 200 customers. You can also send a follow-up email letting your subscribers know how many of the bonuses have already been claimed.
If you’d like, you can even tease this bonus in your earlier emails. Since you’ll be emailing your customers relentlessly from Black Friday all the way through midnight on Cyber Monday, you can leave this bonus until later on.
Something like, “keep an eye out for our Cyber Monday email where we’ll be giving away a gift worth $250 to the first 200 customers.”
5. Create a time-based Black Friday sequence
One great way to create scarcity is with a countdown timer. Once the timer is up, the sale is over. No questions asked.
There are multiple ways you can run this.
For example, if you have multiple lines of products you can offer a discount on that product line for each specific day. Black Friday is for watches, the weekend after is handbags, and the blowout Cyber Monday sale is all remaining accessories.
Each email you send will focus on the category of items you’re selling, as well as a countdown timer to show how much time they have left to buy.
Or, you can include a standard countdown timer for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals embedded in your emails, or even at the top of your website. You can expect a lot of sales to trickle in at the last minute, just before the timer is up.
6. Frame your sale as smart Christmas prep
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday being some of the biggest shopping days of the year, people are going to be spending a lot of money.
However, a lot of customers will also be looking forward to Christmas, budgeting for this time of the year as well. You can take advantage of this by framing some of your emails as “getting your Christmas shopping out of the way early.”
While all your friends are rushing all over town and filling up their Amazon carts, you can sit back and relax.
Even the reminder that Christmas is coming and these will be the lowest prices you’re offering all year should be enough to garner a few extra sales.
7. Create a raffle or free giveaway
People love free giveaways and the chance of winning big. It’s the reason millions of people play the lotto every single year.
Of course, you won’t be offering a prize that substantial. But, make it compelling enough, and you can see a flood of new orders. For example, whoever makes a purchase over $50 during Black Friday will be entered into a giveaway for a $1,000 gift card.
It doesn’t have to be a cash prize either. Maybe free shipping for a year? A gift card to another store? A free lifetime subscription to the software you’re selling?
Get creative and think of a prize so compelling you’ll have customers buying from you solely to have a chance at winning.
8. Partner with other complementary retailers
This one will take more work beforehand, but it can be a great way to reach new customers while multiplying your bottom line.
The premise is this: Instead of emailing your list over and over again, you’ll get other retailers to email their customers about the massive sale you’re having and vice versa.
Make a list of stores that aren’t your direct competition, but instead offer complementary products. So, if you’re selling backpacking backpacks made from Kevlar you could partner with retailers who sell tents, camping knives, water filters, bottles and more.
Then, you’ll have these retailers email their list with your Black Friday or Cyber Monday coupon codes, and you’ll do the same with your list.
This will not only result in more sales and new customers for your business, but you’ll also be creating goodwill with your customers.
You could even negotiate an affiliate deal, where you’ll receive a portion of the total sales that come through your link. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to pay out affiliates on your end if you work out this kind of deal—yet another way to generate revenue during the busiest shopping season of the year.
9. Extend your Cyber Monday sale, aka the Tuesday Blowout
If you’re not burnt out with the five days of emailing, then we have another one for you.
The single-day extended sale.
The purpose of this is to sell to the last remaining stragglers or those who are remorseful they didn’t pull the trigger over the previous few days.
Think of this as the final blowout sale. However, you have to be careful not to alienate those who already purchased from you previously. They might be a little salty if you’re going back on your word. For example, if you had a time-based deal that ended at midnight on Cyber Monday, then you need to follow through with that.
Trust takes a lifetime to build, but only a second to lose. Don’t get greedy and go back on your word to make a few extra sales.
Instead, offer different items for sale, or provide less of a discount. Think of this sale like you’re a sporting goods store trying to clear out summer inventory to make room for fall and winter.
Wrapping up: How to make this Black Friday weekend the best yet
Running successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns takes a lot of preparation and planning, but it’s time well spent. Do it right, and you’ll be looking forward to the post-Thanksgiving season every year.
You don’t have to execute on every single campaign idea above. Instead, pick a few that are most in alignment with what you sell.
Here’s a quick recap of the email campaign ideas:
Hopefully, the ideas above will help make the upcoming Black Tuesday and Cyber Monday the most profitable yet.
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Macdara Bracken.
The post 9 Black Friday email campaign ideas to take you through Cyber Monday appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
The concept of a spa as a way to make you a more healthy and relaxed person is far from new. It goes all the way back to ancient times. That spas are still popular is founded in that long history.
The healing power of spring water was discovered by the old Greeks. It was further developed by the Romans. Bathing was a social happening. Public baths provided relaxation and personal hygiene.
Natural springs were blessed by the gods. That’s why they cured diseases. In the present day, this belief is replaced by scientific knowledge of Balneotherapy.
There is no consensus in the medical world. But the modern-day approach to a spa is certainly more trustworthy. On a more secular note: the Romans got relief from rheumatism, arthritis, and too much food and drink.
In the colonies, natural hot springs were easy to find. Aix and Vichy in France, Bath and Buxton in England, springs in Germany, Baden, Austria, and Hungary. They became centers for recreation and social activities. Some included libraries, lecture halls, gymnasiums, and gardens.
The name Spa doesn’t have its origin in the Old Greek language or Latin. Spa is a small town with a spring in Belgium, which the Romans called Aquae Spadanae. The French-speaking locals named their spring Espa, meaning fountain.
Forward to the 21st century. Nowadays spas are as popular as ever. A visit to a spa relieves you from the stress of daily life. A day spa offers personal care treatments.
A spa treatment is a non-medical procedure. It will nonetheless improve your health and well-being. There are resort spas, destination spas, day spas, beauty salons and more.
How to open a spa depends on what spa business offerings you have in mind.
Small day spas offer facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, waxing, electrolysis, and aromatherapy. Larger day spas may offer body wraps, mud baths, or hydrotherapy treatments. Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at Amelia..
Great, but how to open a spa business?
It all starts with figuring out what type of spa you want to open.
Every type of spa will offer particular treatments. The decoration and ambience will be in line with the particular type, and each spa aims to give its guests a unique experience.
It’s good to know the differences between spas. What is a day spa? It’s a form of a beauty salon.Why are some spas branded as luxurious day spas?
Spas can be integrated into a resort. A destination spa is a resort for personal care treatments. Often you will find them at an exotic location. Do you see how well these concepts work together? It’s all about self-care at the end of the day, with different offerings aimed toward that goal.
Whatever type of spa you choose, you will take part in the health-improving business. It’s very much like opening a wellness center.
Let’s delve deeper into what you need to consider when planning your spa business.
Branding is a marketing practice.It creates a name and identity that is recognizable and unique. Customers will know what to expect. It sets you apart from the competition and it defines what makes you better. Your public-facing profile gives you your reputation. This reputation is an immediate result of your advertising and branding skills.
Recognition and trust will generate new customers. Stand out from the crowd! A clear and original brand will keep customers coming back. You will create an identity that resonates with a particular crowd of people, who will tell their friends your spa is the place to go.
Be unique. You want to be the proud owner of your day. You wish to compete with small spas and the big chains connected to resorts and hotels. Think big; think branding.
When imagining a spa we immediately think “massage“. And for a good reason. Massages are relaxing and are beneficial for your well-being.
A good massage:
Spa services include much more than massages only. The International Spa Association explains that a spa offers massage, skincare, or body treatments. A standard day spa offers body treatments and lifestyle services. A medical spa tops that with extra services provided by licensed medical practitioners. Extra medical services include acupuncture and microdermabrasion.
Many day spas offer additional services: haircuts, coloring, styling, and makeup.
Examples of spa treatments:
Your customers are willing to spend good money on wellness and relaxation. So, make sure they get value for their money. Know your customers and where they’re coming from. Are you looking to attract local residents? Or are you dreaming about a destination spa on a tropical island?
Your target market will not only determine your location and the size of your spa business, but also the services you provide to make your customers happy.
How to open a spa: Business plan
You have a rough idea of what kind of spa business you want to open. A solid business plan is your roadmap for success. A spa business plan consists of a set of all the steps you need to take to create a spa business in the first place, and to keep it running profitably.
Location, location, location! This catchphrase is a well-known cliche. It’s a matter of “To be or not to be”, or more precisely, “Where to be”.
Visibility is key. Mid or upscale neighborhoods are ideal. And sufficient foot traffic will save on marketing expenses.
It’s important that you find a spacious building that can accommodate:
Think of accessibility, parking space, and the surrounding environment too. No one wants to be interrupted from a relaxing spa session by the sound of motorcycles roaring down a busy highway.
How much does it cost to open a spa? You will need at least $100,000 or more to start one from nothing. If you opt to buy an existing one, expect to pay either less or even significantly more.
How to start a spa with no money? Get a loan from The Small Business Administration.
These loans for salons and spas will finance:
The success of your spa business depends on the expertise of your employees. Their experience and level of service are capital. You need trained employees who can, at the least, answer basic questions about the services or treatments they are providing to clients.
Community college cosmetology instructors can recommend qualified students.
Licenses and permits
As for any business, you will need a business license. Day spas may require additional licenses.
States require particular licenses for spa personnel. Also, make sure your employees have liability insurance.
And a Spa Management Certificate Or Degree.
Your location will affect your pricelist. In an upscale area, you may up your prices and offer high-end spa services. Prices in big cities or major suburbs are higher.
Some factors that influence what you can ask:
Some more examples, to give you an idea:
Website and tools
When we list the tools you’ll need, the following will easily come to mind:
But how about marketing tools and appointment tools?
They are ever so important. A website is your number one marketing tool! The most popular and best website builder is without a doubt WordPress.
Make sure your WordPress website looks good. A beauty business can’t be represented by a badly designed website. If you don’t give your website the treatment it deserves, customers may wonder about the treatment you will give them.
WordPress comes with an easy to navigate dashboard, attractive templates, and simple,click-to-edit functionality. There is no requirement to hire a professional designer or Web guru to create and manage your site with WordPress, although of course, you’re free to do so.
Once you are building your website, install the Amelia booking plugin. This handy app accepts appointments and events online. Your appointment management can’t go smoother. The entire booking process is automated. It’s simple in use, yet powerful, and it will you total peace of mind.
Ending thoughts on how to open a spa
All items on your spa checklist are ticked off:
After your grand opening, your first customers become regulars and they tell their friends about you.
You even held an opening party. You handed out discounts for appointments scheduled at the party. You promoted the values of your business. And had local and regional influencers on your guest list. A simple tweet or Instagram post may bring in many new customers.
And best of all? You made it easy for customers to book their appointments with the Amelia booking plugin. Online, at any time.
That’s professionalism for you! You sat down to figure out what type of spa you wanted and how to open a spa. You are now a successful entrepreneur. You went through every step of your crafted business plan.All your efforts resulted in a busy calendar.
Can you see it in your mind? It’s as easy as that!
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to open a spa, you should read these as well:
The post How to Open a Spa Business and Be Successful With It appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.
This article was originally published on Sept. 5, 2013, and was updated on Oct. 18, 2019.
Fresh, unique images are essential for engaging with users online as you battle for their attention against the vast quantity of other online content. Written content is essential for conveying information, but images are often easier for people to digest and remember. Studies show that people remember 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. When you optimize images for the web, you will be able to better connect with these users, build your brand, and move potential customers down your sales funnel.
Guide to image optimization
You’ll find everything you need to know about optimizing images for the web — including how to optimize images for SEO — in this guide:
Let’s get started!
Why images matter
Image optimization starts with photo selection and quickly moves on to providing smart naming systems, creating alt text, and ensuring the files are the right size and type.
But first, it’s crucial to fully understand why you want images on your website.
Images reinforce content
Fundamentally, images are important because they are content — the kind of content that creates a huge impact on people.
Think about how long it takes to read a short, punchy paragraph. Not long, right? However, images can be processed in 13 milliseconds — 60,000 times faster than text alone.
More often than not, you’ll use images along with text to help drive home a point. This is extremely effective. Along these same lines, textual information can become even more powerful when worked directly into an image by creating infographics.
Images improve content retention
Although infographics can create virality for your brand, a simple photo, in the right context, can significantly improve audience comprehension.
In the same vein, email newsletters with visuals get more clicks and engagement. Images also increase dwell time on a page.
Images communicate your brand identity
The specific images you use can help to communicate the nature of your brand’s identity.
Each picture you post can help enhance, refine, and solidify that identity. Such visuals provide you with the opportunity to create consistent messaging, which leads to brand familiarity and, eventually, customer loyalty.
This ability to associate with a brand without the use of text is incredibly powerful.
Images drive traffic to your site
Image searches represent 27% of all queries generated across the top 10 U.S. web search properties. Along these lines, an increase in website visits from image searches has significantly increased since Google updated its “View Image” button from Image Search to “Visit [Page].”
Images make your website more visually appealing
A well-designed website will integrate strong images and logos with text. When posting additional content throughout your website, you should take the same approach — don’t try to take a shortcut around publishing sharp images.
What is image optimization?
According to Content Marketing Institute, SEO image optimization is the process of creating and delivering high-quality images in the ideal size, format and resolution to increase user engagement. It also involves labelling images correctly so that search engine crawlers can find them and understand what they are.
7 steps to optimize images for the web
Given how important images are to a company’s brand and online presence, it’s a surprise that more people aren’t fluent in incorporating image optimization into their SEO strategy.
So let’s change that with these seven steps:
1. Choose the right images
Search engines focus on delivering the most relevant content to users, which includes images. Because of this, you want to select images that are relevant to what you’re talking about.
If you’re focused on social media content marketing, for example, don’t start throwing around pictures of famous pop stars simply to get attention — unless your business is legitimately connected to that person (and you have their permission).
Ultimately, you should include images in your posts to complement the content, break up long blocks of text, and help your audience better understand the concept at hand.
Use your own images
When possible, you want to use your own images. The online world is dominated by stock photos, so creating your own content is notable.
You’re not just limited to photos here, though. The images you create might include graphs, charts and infographics, as well as other visual aids.
For example, if you own a restaurant, the photos you take of your dishes are going to better represent what you serve than a generic picture. Such images also will help you avoid accidentally misrepresenting your product or services.
Knowing and applying best practices when photographing your products can make all the difference in the long run.
Stock photos are an option
In cases where you don’t have an image of your own that matches what you’re writing about and you’re using the image more as an illustration (instead of an example of the product you’re selling), it’s perfectly fine to use stock photos — if you have the proper licenses.
A license establishes the legal scope within which the image can be used. Some images can be used for many purposes, even commercial purposes, as long as they are appropriately credited. For other images, commercial use might be strictly prohibited. Basically, an image license is a contract in which the photographer grants specific rights to a client/person using their image.
You can obtain licenses by either hiring a photographer and commissioning new work or by drawing from work that already exists. Sometimes, work that is already published online can be free, but often you will need to pay for usage rights.
Facing the facts
As a species, humans are deeply programmed to pay attention to faces. Because of this, images with human faces are usually more effective in encouraging conversions than other types of graphics or animations.
To be sure, there are plenty of situations where using images of people’s faces simply won’t work. But when there is an opportunity to do so — do so.
2. Carefully consider the text associated with your images
If you’re used to uploading a photo on WordPress, for example, you might recall being prompted to add Attachment Details. Because most people don’t know how these additional details impact SEO image optimization, they often don’t have the patience to fill in this information.
The information WordPress is prompting you to add is essential to improving your SEO image optimization. Feeling lost on what should be included when adding text to your images? Never fear, we’ll cover each option below.
Keep in mind, though, while WordPress is one popular content management system for websites, the options we’ll be discussing here will generally apply to many different website creation tools.
With that in mind, let’s break it all down.
With any image that you add, it’s critical that you use an accurate and relevant title. Often, the default title for an image will reflect the file name of whatever you uploaded. If this amounts to random letters and numbers, this mix won’t be very helpful to a search engine.
The file name should also incorporate keywords that the image could rank for in a Google search, omitting stop words. You’ll want to separate the keywords with hyphens — not underscores — as search engines do not recognize these.
Using the right keywords can improve your SEO, as they help search engines better understand what the images are.
Image alt text
Search engines gather information by having “spiders” crawl through websites, logging information as they go. Unfortunately, these spiders aren’t capable of seeing an image and understanding it — they only read code, relying on associated information to guide them.
Alt text was designed to provide a description of the image in cases where the browser can’t display the image.
The alt text also helps search engines understand what the image is. Additionally, alt text helps with accessibility. Such information is useful for users accessing a webpage with screen readers or using browsers that can’t process images.
By including keywords in your alt text, you can give your SEO a little boost too — just make sure you refrain from keyword stuffing.
Captions are the descriptive text below an image that is visible to all users.
A caption can provide additional information about an image that might not be obvious to users, such as the date the picture was taken, where it was taken and who is in it. You can also use the caption to reinforce the purpose of the image. In other words, the caption provides additional context.
If you’re using the same image for several posts, changing the caption you use with the image can be helpful for SEO, as well as user engagement.
Image descriptions are often said to be one of the best-kept secrets of the attachment post. This is because once you enter a description, it is stored as content for the attachment post. So, if someone clicks on the attachment post, they will be sent to a separate page showing the image, image title, caption and the image description as post content.
3. Adjust image size and format
When you optimize images for SEO, there are several factors to be aware of with regards to your image size, formatting and compression rate.
These image qualities will impact the user experience on your website. Done poorly, they can lead to potential clients seeking out a different product or service provider. Here are three ways to make sure you do it right.
Resize your images
The average website contains about 1.8MB of images, which represents 60% of a site’s size. Though it is important to include high-quality, high-resolution photos on your website, they often can result in slow page loading speeds.
This is especially true when images are not optimized for online viewing.
The problem is exacerbated when users access your site via mobile devices — a big deal as more than half of all searches happen on mobile devices.
For example, Amazon found out that a one-second delay in site loading time could cost them $1.6 billion in annual sales.
One way to increase your site’s load speed is by making image sizes smaller, a positive contribution to SEO. Thankfully, it’s possible to limit the size of the images you’re using without severely impacting image quality or aspect ratio.
It’s important to note here that image size and file size are two different things.
Image size refers to the dimensions of an image (i.e., 1024 x 680 pixels), while the file size is the amount of space needed to store it on the server (i.e., 350 KB).
As you might expect, the bigger the image is, typically the file size is also proportionately larger. However, that’s not a cause for alarm when optimizing the image for websites. Even if the image quality is lower, the online viewing experience might not be impacted at all — it just means that users can’t print the picture, frame it and put it on their wall.
Choose the right image file types
Choosing the right file type can help with image optimization, as certain file types are best suited for specific applications.
These formats represent the best ways for an image to be delivered with regards to being the smallest size and having the shortest amount of downtime. Not sure when you should use those file types? Let’s take a look at each.
Joint Photographic Experts Group — better known as JPG/JPEG — is one of the oldest file types.
It’s best used for photographs because it allows the user to balance file size and image quality. One of the significant advantages of JPEGs is that they are easily compressible, which makes them even smaller. However, over time, image colors can degrade.
Graphics Interchange Format, GIF, which was made famous due to animated raster graphics files, have an importance beyond a gnome crocheting heart balloons and other silliness.
Users are advised to use the GIF format when there are large areas of uniform color and the total number of colors is fewer than 256. If you used a JPEG for a similar image, it would be a huge file. On that note, GIF formatting should also be your go-to for animated images and small icons.
Portable Network Graphics, PNG, is supported by most browsers, has a smaller file size and more colors than GIF, and its colors do not degrade as easily as JPEG. However, transparent PNG images run into a bug when used on Internet Explorer, so it’s best to use PNG format when you aren’t dealing with transparent images.
Choose the right compression rate
If you’ve chosen the image file type you think is best for your needs, but it’s still too big, you might want to consider compressing the image. When doing this, choosing the right compression rate is essential.
A 60% to 75% compression will keep your image quality decent. However, it’s best to use that range as a starting point and then experiment with different file sizes and ratios to see which one works best for your site.
An experiment done by Ahrefs compared how image resizing tools fared on average file size reduction:
It’s interesting to note that as much as Imageoptim was suitable for JPEG, it was terrible for PNG. So, overall, Shortpixel is your best bet. You also can compress your images using a plugin like Smush, or an image optimization tool like Pixlr (JPEG) or GIMP.
If your website is made up of lots of images, use plugins that include functionality for GZIP compression, caching or image optimization, such as WP Rocket and Imagify. They can help make your files smaller without sacrificing quality.
Now, if you don’t want to mess around with plugins, you can always use Photoshop to modify your images. To do this, use the “save for web” option, which minimizes file size while optimizing quality.
Other tips for dealing with large image file sizes
There are a few other things you can do to help keep your image file sizes small and increase the speed of your website. If you’re relying on stock images, try downloading smaller files. If it looks fine to you in the size-specific preview before you download it, it’s going to similar on your website.
Another tip is to create responsive images. Such images will grow or shrink depending on the browser size and device used. This helps with both site speed and SEO.
4. Consider lazy loading
Lazy loading is when the browser defers loading images until they need to be shown on screen. This means that images further down on the website (below the fold) won’t be loaded until a user gets to that part of the website.
Lazy loading can significantly increase your website’s speed, especially on long pages that include many images below the fold.
Although there is an ongoing debate on the impacts of lazy loading for SEO, Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool recommends doing it — and Google is in charge of the whole game.
There are several ways to implement lazy loading. However, most of them involve manual coding. That said, if you’re using WordPress, the A3 Lazy Load plugin comes highly recommended by the Ahrefs team.
5. Enable browser caching
Browser caching is when your files, including images, get stored in visitors’ browsers so that these files load faster when they revisit the site in the future. You can enable browser caching through the use of plugins like W3 Total Cache.
You also can enable browser caching manually by adding this code to your .htaccess file:
<IfModule mod_expires.c> ExpiresActive On # Images ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year" ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year" ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year" ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year" </IfModule>
Modify the “1 year” in the code for any time frame that seems suitable to your needs (ask yourself how often you’re updating content), such as “1 month” or “1 week.”
6. Don’t forget image metadata
Metadata is any auxiliary information stored within a file, including when the file was created or last edited.
Metadata can account for up to 15% of a JPEG image’s total size.
Other image metadata can include thumbnails, copyright information and color profiles. This type of information is considered structured data, as it resides in a fixed field within a record or file.
Google Images supports structured data for product images, videos and recipes. For example, if you have recipes on your site and you add structured data to your images, Google can add a badge to your image showing that it belongs to a recipe.
To create such structured data, you’re best off following Google’s structured data guidelines.
7. Create an image sitemap
A sitemap is important because it tells search engines about all the pages on your site.
Google allows image sitemaps to contain URLs from other domains, unlike regular sitemaps, which enforce cross-domain restrictions. This means you can use content delivery networks to host images, which can improve your website’s performance.
Here’s the good news: Building an image sitemap isn’t something you’ll have to do manually.
If you’re using WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to automatically add your content — including photos, videos, thumbnails and posts — to a sitemap. Unfortunately, Yoast does not include any captions you have with your pictures in the sitemap. You may add these to your site manually using these codes:
Conclusion and next steps
Images are essential to your website, as they reinforce your brand and significantly increase the impact your site has on users. However, image files can also slow your website down to the point that you’re limiting your exposure to users and losing clients. To combat this drag in speed, as well as increase your SEO, it’s crucial to optimize your images for the web.
Image optimization can feel like a lot of work. Even when you understand how to choose the right images, the right associated data and the right image size for your website — it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
If you are feeling bogged down with optimizing images for SEO, GoDaddy SEO Services has your back. Contact the GoDaddy SEO experts today to learn exactly how they can help!
If you are a consultant, you need to provide all kind of solutions to your clients that need advices. To do this in a professional way you need to learn and understand how to make a consulting template for your proposal.
There are many consulting proposal template options that you can choose from the internet, but choosing one that goes well with your style is important.
If you have not heard before of this kind of documents, you do not have to worry. This article created by our team at Amelia, prepared you some tips on how to choose the right one and what should it contain. Let us take a look together at the following.
The Structure of a Good Consulting Proposal
For a more effective consulting proposal template,you want to go for one that has a clear, logical structure that can help your client make decisions. Here is what it should include:
Consulting Proposal Template Examples
We’ve made a list of consulting proposal template options that you can check to see if any of them might be a good fit for what you are looking for.
Sample Consulting Proposal
Get this consulting proposal template if you are used with Word. It is easy to edit, and it allows you to show sales and marketing steps in an organized manner. It also shows different aspects of the proposal like expected outcomes, scheduled plans, and much more.
Give it a try and see if it is going to help you out with everything you had in mind.
Business Growth Plan Template
A business growth plan requires a lot of visualizing data, whether we are talking about financial goals or KPIs. These business proposal examples are going to help you condense and present complex technical information in a simple way that can be understood by anybody.
Business Proposal Template
Another simple business proposal template that you can go for is this one. It has all you can ask for from a proposal and you can customize it quickly. Go for this consulting proposal template if you want to increase your chances with the next clients that you are going to have. These types of proposals are well-proven and have been used for years.
Professional Business Proposal Template
This is another great consulting proposal template that can help you with the next big project that you have in mind. Its design and layout are done in 20 unique pages, and it uses master pages, along with different layers in order to give the viewer a clearer understanding of what is in there.
Proposify’s Consulting Proposal Template
If you are searching for a consulting proposal that allows you to change all the information contained within, one that has a more professional look, this might be exactly what you were looking for. You can also attach an electronic signature that will make it even easier for your clients to sign.
Restaurant Consulting Proposal Template
You can describe goals and objectives using this consulting proposal template. Your clients are really going to be happy when they see it because all the content is presented in a professional way. Do not hesitate to try this one. We think you will be satisfied with it.
Consulting Agreement Template
Any freelancer can take this consulting proposal template and use it well. It can be customized easily so it can fit any industry you might be in.
B2C Client Consulting Proposal
Although the design is simple this consultant proposal template can be a great choice to impress your clients, however, if you have already had some first talks with your client, then it is probably time to make the written proposal. See if this one is a match; we think it can do the job.
Proposal + Invoice Template
Create a proposal that gets approved, and then use the template in order to create an invoice when the time to bill your client has come. This pack offers you consulting templates for both a proposal and invoice so you get two from one.
They are easy to edit, and you are going to be quite helpful in the long-term.
Free Consulting Proposal Template by Better Proposals
The structure of this consulting proposal template is well done, and all you have to do is add the specifics that you want your client to see.
HR Consulting Proposal Template
Have a look at this consulting proposal template doc,as it could potentially be the one that your HR team is going to use from now one. The document has a detailed format that will surely impress your client. Also, with this template, you can slightly modify all the details that are present in the proposal template while you are editing it.
Financial Consulting Agreement Template
Because financial consulting services need to be detailed, the structure of this consulting proposal template is going to be very useful. It can be used by both freelancer and financial consulting agencies, and it really does a great job.
Abstract Business Consulting Presentation
Some of the best presentation ideas are usually the simplest. The minimalist color schemes and fonts of these templates will put the focus on the information given. They also have some interesting icons but the key is in the text display to show the relevant details.
Project Proposal Template
This Project Proposal Template has a clean and modern design that can be very trendy. It has 24 pages and works great in Adobe InDesign. It can be a bit more difficult to edit if it is your first time using InDesign, and you can still master it quickly and easily.
Free Marketing Consulting Proposal Format Download
Have a look at this consulting proposal template that focuses on the marketing niche. It has different templates to choose from and the style and design can be really helpful when you plan to show them to your clients.
They can be changed fast so you will have no problems in terms of editing. Check them out and see if they can help you.
Compare This Proposal Template
This consulting proposal template is going to impress your client with its 26 pages of layouts that you can choose from. It can be edited easily and you can also change the colors in just a few seconds.
Ending thoughts on the consulting proposal template
In conclusion, there are quite a few consulting proposal template options that you can choose from in online. The final one should be the template that helps you describe the best what are your services about and how you are going to bring value to your client.
If you enjoyed reading this article about using a consulting proposal template, you should read these as well:
The post Consulting proposal template examples to use for your clients appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.
Looking for a little design inspiration? Need help with that tricky bit of CSS? Want feedback on your latest site mockup? There are forums that can help with practically any question you can come up with. There are forums for web design, web development, and every programming language, no matter how obscure.
These online communities are excellent places to exchange ideas and engage with fellow designers and developers at all levels. Joining one or more of these communities is a great way to catch up on the latest trends, share knowledge, network, and gain skills to up your game.
Joining web design forums is advantageous
Getting troubleshooting help and gaining new skills are good enough reasons to join web design and development communities, but there are even more benefits.
In many forums, you can build a reputation over time by contributing posts that other members rate as valuable.
The more you participate and the more value you contribute to the community, the more other members will begin to recognize and respect you.
Some people like to build up a reputation in a popular community as a way to promote themselves and their services. Where else can you troubleshoot problems, keep up on the latest trends, and build a reputation — all in one place?
How to choose a web developer or web design forum
Where should you spend your time? There are plenty of forums out there, but all are not created equal. Every forum has its own personality. Some are large and busy, with postings on a great variety of subjects, while others focus on narrow niche areas.
A good forum has:
Your current career path may affect your choice of forum.
There are forums that cater to beginners and others that expect a more advanced perspective from members. You’ll be able to tell by the nature of the questions that other users ask and the quality of the answers.
Most forums center around threaded discussions, but some include areas that operate differently, such as design showcases or marketplaces. If you like those marketing aspects, that could be the thing that tilts you toward one forum over another.
Top web design forums
Although the following list is organized into sections, many forums cross boundaries, covering both web design and web development topics. We’ve also thrown in a few coding forums for when you run into a tricky programming roadblock.
Whatever type of forum you’re looking for, this list should help you pinpoint the online community that will best meet your needs.
Designer Hangout lists its mission as “creating the World’s most reliable brain trust for UX designers in a fast-paced age,” and the fact that it has over 15,000 members suggests it’s well on its way.
When you visit the site, you’ll quickly notice it’s invite-only; however, anyone can request an invitation to join. The bad news is that there’s a waiting list to get in, so it may be a while before you’re accepted.
Once inside though, you’ll find advice, discussions on the latest trends, and insights shared by some pretty bright minds. There’s also a real-time chat capability and a job board.
Graphic Design Forum (GDF)
This traditional-style forum boasts nearly 4,000 members and 35,000 posts.
You don’t have to create an account to browse the existing trove of advice, but you will if you want to fully participate. There’s also a special section called the Crit Pit, where you can post your designs and request critiques from other users.
Be aware, though: No self-promotion/job seeking is allowed. This forum is also indexed by Google, so anything you post there is essentially public.
Graphic Design Forums (UK)
If you need help with general graphic design questions, illustrations, logo design and brand Identity, fonts, or anything else related to graphic design, Graphic Design Forums is a great resource.
The site also delves into web design and has sections for specific hardware and software support. If you’re looking for work, this board just might hook you up through its Tenders & Services Required forum. With over 22,000 registered users and 21,000 threads, you’re sure to find something helpful here.
With more than 275,000 posts and 60,000+ members, WebDesignForums.net is a hopping place.
Posts are neatly organized into Web Design Help (this is where you can ask for website reviews), Design Software Help, Programming and Development Help, Web Marketing Help, Hosting and Server Setup and Other.
There’s also a collection of user-submitted articles and tutorials on topics such as Responsive Web Design and How to Make Transparent JPGs in Flash. The tutorials are listed by popularity (number of views), which means you may need to use the search function to find what you’re looking for.
The Web Design Forum
With just over 2,400 registered users, The Web Design Forum is cozier than some others, but still plenty busy. It’s cleanly organized into key sections: Web Design & Development, Tools of the Trade (hardware and software), and Business, Marketing & Networking.
Recent topics include: Becoming a front end web developer, a request for help creating an HTML/Bootstrap dropdown, and a question about what a web designer needs to do to comply with GDPR.
Top web development forums
Web design isn’t the only area with helpful forums. There are also plenty of forums for developers to hone their skills.
Everyone from seasoned professionals to absolute beginners is welcome at Webdeveloper.com. The active forum is divided into five sections: Client-Side, Server-Side, Website Management, Web Developer’s FAQs and Etc. Discussions extend from the highly technical to water cooler chat.
Under Website Management, recent topics include lots of threads on SEO topics, questions about hosting options for WordPress, and a discussion on increasing page load speed.
If you’re looking for a buzzing, active community, SitePoint home to over 1.3 million posts and thousands of active users, won’t let you down.
There’s also a Showcase where you can show off projects you’re particularly proud of. These are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are more than 20 different sections to choose from.
You can read without creating an account, but to post, you’ll need one.
The home page shows the latest posts, but the best way to find topics and threads relevant to you is by clicking the “Categories” tab on the home page. This will bring you to the list of sections, so you can dive into the one (or five) that suit you.
With more than 34,000 members, Webdevforums is one of the busiest web developer forums.
Slower forums include Graphic Design and the Tutorials sections. You are welcome to post a website review request here, but only after you’ve been a member at least seven days and have contributed 12 useful posts.
GoDaddy Community forums
While you will, of course, find a focus on GoDaddy products here, the value of the GoDaddy Community message boards extends far beyond that.
Critical topics such as SSL and Security, managing cPanel or Plesk hosting, and working with domains and DNS records are hot subjects. With more than 11,500 users and 27,000 posts, this is a very active community.
You may or may not be familiar with CoffeeCup, the HTML editor, but whether it’s your go-to or not, you’ll find the company’s forums valuable.
Most sections of the forum do focus on CoffeeCup products, but the general web design forum is also an active place. Recent discussions include conversations about GDPR compliance, how to generate a favicon, and where to find a helpful JQuery tutorial.
Digital Point brings a massive webmaster community to your desktop.
It hosts one of the most active discussion boards about search engines and how to optimize your site for them and achieve marketing success for your website.
You’ll also find helpful discussions on general marketing, payment processing, legal issues, pay-per-click advertising, and practically every other topic related to designing, developing or running a website.
There’s even an active Buy, Sell or Trade section, where you can sell your unused domains or sign up to do a job for someone else.
If you need an answer to a technical question that’s tied to a particular platform or technology and you need it fast, this is where specialty forums shine.
Bootstrap Community Forum
Sometimes you need to get right to a very specific topic, and if your question relates to Bootstrap, the Bootstrap Community Forum is the place to get it answered. Smaller and more focused than some other boards, this one has over 1,800 members.
The downside here is that there are more questions than answers, and quite a few posts go without any replies. Still, this can be a good resource for Bootstrap-specific questions.
If you have a nitty-gritty coding question, the Stack Overflow forum is for you. It is by far the largest online meeting point for programmers, with over 11 million registered users and 18 million questions already answered.
You can even offer a bounty, in the form of reputation points, if your question is particularly tricky or you need a quick answer.
Recent threads include: How to set up a self-signed certificate in a development environment, How to make a splash screen and a bunch of highly technical programming questions. If you need a coding forum or want to build your reputation on a respected platform, definitely check this one out.
WordPress Support Forums
If you have a WordPress question or just want to expand your knowledge, the official WordPress Support Forums should be your first stop. Sections include: Installing WordPress, Fixing WordPress, Developing with WordPress, Networking WordPress, Accessibility, and Localhost Installs, among others.
You can also find out how to contribute to WordPress, should you be so inclined.
Getting the most out of online communities
You don’t have to design and develop alone. By searching out forums that are a good fit for you, you’ll always have a place to get help, stay up to date, and make connections.
When you contribute to forums, make sure your posts are:
Be sure to scan over the forum’s FAQ to avoid committing a faux pas. For example, some forums allow you to include a signature in your post and others do not.
Forums are a powerful tool for connecting with others and building your knowledge and are a great resource to help you excel at web design and development.
We’ve gathered a few of our most popular posts and discoveries from September to educate you about the latest trends in website security.
What is cryptomining malware?
Once reserved for hobbyists and computer geeks, cryptocurrency has now become a global topic of interest—and some sources even believe that crypto is the future of currency.
Cryptocurrencies are produced by solving complex mathematical algorithms, also known as “mining”, and are stored by the user in a personal wallet.
Since these digital assets aren’t governed by central banks, they allow for decentralization and anonymity from institutions. This makes them attractive for bad actors.
Browser based cryptominers
Binary server level cryptominers
Servers are typically more powerful than user’s computers or mobile devices. As a result, they also mine much faster and generate more profit for cybercriminals.
Sucuri researchers often find binary cryptominers at the server level, which abuse website resources without impacting the devices of website visitors. Instead, visitors may experience decreased performance—and in the case of shared hosting providers, these server level cryptominers can impact the performance of other sites and services in the same hosting environment.
How to audit WordPress plugins & themes
The most common threats to CMS’ are associated with vulnerabilities in plugins, themes, and extensions. Auditing your WordPress plugins and themes can reduce the threat to your WordPress site and mitigate the risk to your site visitors.
Perform audits on a regular basis
Assess your WordPress plugin and theme’s security by measuring some important indicators.
Use a backup solution for WordPress
Back your website up on a regular basis. Make sure that the solution you choose has the following features.
Remove out of date and unused components
Uninstall any unused plugins or themes from your WordPress environment to prevent vulnerabilities and mitigate risk.
In the event of a compromise, follow our how to clean up a hacked WordPress website instructions.
Joomla security best practices
Joomla maintains a 4.9% market share among open-source CMS platforms, making it the second most popular Content Management System after WordPress. While this percentage may sound small, it’s actually an enormous percentage of sites.
Attackers don’t discriminate when it comes to a website’s size—or the CMS they use. A lot of website security recommendations include broad advice that doesn’t consider the unique security configurations of each Content Management System.
Joomla security checklist
To protect your Joomla CMS, we’ve put together a helpful website security checklist so that you can improve your security and protect your site visitors.
1. Update your Joomla core and extensions
Using outdated software exposes your website to risk. In the majority of releases, Joomla fixes important security issues and bugs in the Joomla core that may allow attackers to exploit vulnerabilities.
Joomla can notify you whenever a vulnerability is discovered within its core or extensions; you can find more information about this feature from the Joomla Core Security Notifications page. You can also sign up for the Joomla Security news RSS feed to stay in the loop about important updates.
While it’s not always easy to upgrade to the latest version, it’s one of the most important steps you can take to mitigate risk and harden your security.
2. Use them or lose them
Joomla is open source, and anyone can contribute to the code. This also applies to extensions and templates—and not every extension is built with the same attention to security that the core receives.
The more extensions and third-party components you install on your website, the more potential threats you are introducing to your website’s environment. Use trustworthy extensions that have seen recent updates, which indicator that contributors are actively maintaining the extension.
Whenever you stop using an extension or template, it’s good practice to remove it. The less code you have on your website, the fewer potential security problems will exist there.
If you’re unable to update your Joomla installation, extensions, or templates regularly, we encourage you to use a website firewall to virtually patch your site and prevent exploits from known vulnerabilities.
3. Hide the Joomla admin panel
Change the default Joomla administrator URL to some other location. This can be accomplished with a free Joomla security extension, such as AdminExile.
Appending the default admin URL with a unique string prevents attackers from gaining unauthorized access and launching a brute force attack.
4. Use strong access controls
Change default settings and keep all access points secured to mitigate risk against your Joomla website.
A best practice for employing strong access controls includes changing the default username from admin to something unique.
Another important security practice is to use strong passwords. You can generate and store unique, long, complex password combinations with a password manager. To prevent unauthorized access, try not to reuse the same password for multiple accounts!
5. Enable multi-factor authentication
Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security to your website.
This feature requires additional information to verify a user’s identity—often in the form of a code sent by email, text, or an authentication application.
Joomla supports the popular two-factor authentication (2FA) feature through Google Authenticator, but you’ll need to use Joomla 3.2.0 to take advantage of it.
6. Practice the Principle of Least Privilege
Grant the minimum access required to perform functions within your Joomla website to strengthen your security.
You can carefully distribute user roles by using Joomla’s three distinct permission groups:
These roles ensure that unauthorized users can’t perform malicious (or accidental) harm to your website.
7. Remove unused accounts
Immediately revoke users who no longer requires access to your website. This applies to every type of access you grant in your site environment.
The practice of removing unused accounts mitigates the risk of unauthorized access from brute force attacks or malicious behaviour from expired users.
8. Monitor your website
Install tools that help you monitor for indicators of compromise.
Important features from monitoring tools should include integrity checks, website auditing, and activity logging. You can set up alerts to notify you if files or records are modified on your server.
9. Create and maintain backups
Set up website backups to easily restore your website to it’s last known good configuration.
One of the most popular backup tools available for Joomla is Akeeba. This extension will help you backup and restore your Joomla site.
10. Use HTTPS/SSL
Use SSL certificates to securely transfer information between your web server and browsers.
HTTPS is especially important when transferring sensitive information such as credit card details, or personal information from login and contact forms. Protecting data in transit is crucial for ecommerce websites and PCI compliance.
Websites that use SSL get the added benefit of better Google rankings in search results, along with improved performance from HTTP/2.
11. Use a web application firewall
Protect from DDoS attacks and other OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities by using a web application firewall.
Web application firewalls keep your site protected by detecting and preventing known threats before they ever even reach your website. They can also offer caching for improved site performance and increased availability.
12. Restrict public access
Prevent unauthorized access to the /administrator directory and other important locations by restricting access for only select IP addresses.
The post Top website security posts by Sucuri – September 2019 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Dermatologists are a type of medical doctor who focus on the health of the skin. Find out more about how to become a dermatologist and whether or not this career is right for you.
One of the best ways to get traffic to your online store is by appearing in search engine rankings. This isn’t always an easy task, since eCommerce sites are focused on products rather than content. While eCommerce SEO might be challenging, the results can pay dividends for your eCommerce business over time. In this situation, numbers don’t lie.
You can’t always compete with the big guys, but you can focus on ranking well for individual product and category pages for less competitive terms, like long-tail keywords.
How to show up in the search rankings
Let’s look at the example of women’s shoes.
The top spots go to DSW, Famous Footwear, Shoes.com, Macy’s, Amazon, Nordstrom Rack, Nordstrom, Shoe Carnival and Zappos.
The chances of you knocking out one of these big players is pretty low. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on eCommerce SEO.
In fact, you can leverage long-tail keywords — or more specific keywords and phrases — to improve your rankings and gain new customers.
For example, a search for “women’s cycling shoes” still has some big names (like Sierra, REI and Amazon). But in position five, the niche site Competitive Cyclist joins the rankings. This ranking can bring them valuable traffic and customers. According to the Q1 2019 Benchmark Report from Monetate, the global eCommerce conversion rate is 2.72%. That means that for every 100 new visitors Competitive Cyclist gets from their eCommerce SEO efforts, they get almost three sales.
Plus, using email marketing and remarketing techniques, they can sell even more to those customers to expand the customer value far beyond their initial value.
How to boost eCommerce search rankings in 8 steps
Successful eCommerce SEO is a little different than SEO for a content-based website. You’ll likely have more pages to optimize with less content to leverage. Plus, the threat of duplicate content is much higher.
So, how do you optimize your eCommerce site?
Let’s get started.
1. Do keyword research for product pages and category pages
Keyword research isn’t just about brainstorming and hoping you come up with the right terms. With tools like Amazon, Google Keyword Finder and other SEO tools, you can create a list of the terms that your target customers are using to find your products.
Option 1: Google Keyword Planner
You can start your keyword research using Google Keyword Planner. You’ll have to create a free Google Ads account to use the tool, but you don’t have to build any ads or add credit card information to do research.
Once inside, add a few seed keywords. These are just the keywords that you would use if you were looking for yourself.
Your site will likely rank well for your own brand name just based on how often you use it in describing your company.
From the seed keywords you entered, Google will give you more related keywords along with rough search volume. You’ll want to pick keywords that appeal to your target audience and show the right search intent.
Search intent is simply the reason people are doing the search. Are they searching to learn, to be entertained or to buy?
One good way to determine search intent is to search for the term using an incognito or private browsing window. Looking at the first few search results will give you a good idea if they are focused on purchasing or merely browsing.
Another way to determine search intent is the cost-per-click. A higher cost-per-click often indicates a purchase search intent because the companies that are paying for those clicks are willing to pay more for the likelihood of ROI.
Google search engine results pages are another great source for new related keywords. At the bottom of each page are searches related to your original term.
Option 2: Amazon predictive search
Amazon, the world’s most powerful eCommerce search platform, can help you find keywords for your own site optimization. Start by typing in your key search phrase, and Amazon’s predictive search will show you popular phrases related to your entered keyword.
The Amazon Keyword Tool can also help speed up this process.
Option 3: Paid SEO tools
Tools like Ahrefs give you powerful, in-depth tools to do keyword research, including which keywords your competitors are using. While it’s a paid tool, it can save you a great deal of time and give you powerful insights.
No matter which option you choose for your eCommerce SEO research, don’t stop with a short list of keywords. You’ll need to optimize each page — including product pages and category pages — with a unique keyword.
This is most easily accomplished by creating a spreadsheet with all of your pages, adding columns for the keyword you’re targeting on the page. If you like, you can also use the spreadsheet to create meta titles, descriptions and H1 tags. (You can download a sample spreadsheet from my Resource Library.)
2. Update your meta titles, descriptions and H1 tags
Now that you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to start putting it to work on your website. The first step is to optimize your product and category pages with meta titles, meta descriptions and H1 title tags. Each of these elements should contain your target keyword at least once.
3. Create or optimize product and category descriptions
Your product and category descriptions help both your potential customers and search engines understand what you’re selling and why your products are unique.
On your category pages, you’ll only need a paragraph or two to share about your products or services. Be sure to use your target keyword in your category description.
Your product pages should have more content to help communicate the value, features and benefits of your product and help the customer make the right choice.
Your product page should include:
4. URL optimization
Friendly URLs aren’t just better for sharing, they’re also important to successful eCommerce SEO.
Google prefers short, easy-to-read URLs. If possible limit your product page URLs to just your product title, without the category slug.
Your eCommerce platform might dictate the choices you have for URL structures.
Before you change your URL structures, make sure you track any previous URLs and use 301 redirects to point to your new URLs.
Some eCommerce platforms will handle this automatically, so be sure to check your help site or customer support to find out what you need in order to ensure your redirects go into place.
5. Image optimization
Images are key to a successful eCommerce site, but without proper optimization, they can also hurt your eCommerce SEO.
In most cases, you should use JPEGs for images that have a lot of color, and PNG for simple images. Test several different formats and compressions to find the right mix for the images your site uses.
Be sure to include ALT tags for all of your optimized images as well. ALT tags are used by screen readers to help visually impaired users navigate and use your site as well as by search engines to understand what your images are of.
6. Perform technical SEO steps
Good eCommerce SEO goes beyond just measuring what content is on your site and in your meta data. There are also technical elements that can contribute to your site rankings.
Improve site load times
Bounce rates increase by 50% if your website takes two extra seconds to load, and conversion rates fall by 12% for every extra second that it takes your website to load. Optimizing your images and removing unnecessary elements improves your search engine ranking and conversion rates.
Create and submit a sitemap to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools
By submitting your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools, you’re proactively letting the two largest search engines in the world know about your site. Plus, these tools can alert you to critical issues that Google or Bing encounter with your sites.
Have a valid SSL certificate
An SSL certificate is not just something you need in your shopping cart. Since you might be collecting email addresses on other pages (with things like your email signup form), an SSL protects that data as well.
Most browsers now point out to visitors when a site isn’t secure — sometimes even directing them away. Your website host often can help you with an SSL certificate.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing Ecommerce solution comes already protected with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), so it won’t be an additional cost on you or your business to keep your website safe.
Make it easy to navigate
Give customers multiple ways to navigate your site — from the top navigation, to subcategories and site search. Search engine spiders use your site navigation to ensure they’re finding all of the pages on your site — making them findable to search engine users!
Add breadcrumbs to your site layout
Speaking of navigation, there’s another form of navigation that’s often overlooked that can impact your eCommerce SEO and site usability. Breadcrumbs help both your users and search engines understand how your pages relate to each other. Breadcrumb navigation is often a feature of your shop theme.
Clean up broken links
Nobody likes reaching a 404 page, including search engines. To improve your eCommerce SEO, clean up broken links by redirecting as many as you can to appropriate replacement pages.
You also can create a custom 404 page for your site that helps point people in the right direction when they do encounter a broken link.
7. Add content to for improved searchability
Most eCommerce sites don’t feature a lot of content, which makes it hard for them to get good SEO ranking. You can change that by simply adding content with SEO in mind, that’s also useful for your customers, such as:
Another type of content that you need to add to your website is reviews. Customer reviews provide more content to benefit your eCommerce SEO including giving your pages the opportunity to rank for related long-tail terms, including combinations of “Product Name Review.”
Valid customer reviews also describe your products in the terms customers use — not your marketing description — giving you even more terms that you might rank for over time.
Finally, reviews help differentiate your products from others who are offering the same or similar products and services.
Related: How to get product reviews
8. Don’t forget mobile search
With all the talk of how to design your site for conversions and search, it’s easy to overlook the importance of mobile accessibility. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that many of us turn to our mobile devices often when we’re searching:
Optimizing your site for mobile search uses all of the same techniques we’ve already discussed, layered with additional testing and optimization.
Unique challenges to eCommerce SEO
Ecommerce websites face additional unique challenges that most content-based websites don’t face, including:
This usually happens when there are multiple variations of a product, and when a user selects a different variation, the CMS appends a variable to the URL, making it a unique page. When this happens all the content is the same on all variations, except for the name of the variation. For example:
Unless the product is fundamentally different to the extent that new content can be written for the variation, the URL should stay the same when a user switches between variations.
Another option would be to canonicalize all variations to the primary default product page.
Faceted navigation refers to filters placed upon sets of products. These are common with large product sets, where the website allows users to narrow their result set by selecting additional defining product features, such as narrowing results to only products that have more than 4 stars or are available in a specific size.
The challenge is that if your filters are crawlable by the search engines (which most are), it creates almost an unlimited number of pages and product variations that litter your website with duplicate content and spammy pages. This can cause search engines to get caught in a web of infinite possibilities and waste crawl equity on low-value pages.
The good news is that there are ways to structure your filters/faceted navigation in a way that is beneficial to users and search engines.
Moz has tips on how to deal with faceted navigation if you’re a large eCommerce site working toward improved eCommerce SEO optimization.
Putting a product in multiple categories
At face value, this problem is not a concern with most content management systems. In fact, it’s often helpful to have products in multiple categories to help users find what they’re looking for.
Where websites get in trouble is when putting a product in a new category adds the category to the URL, resulting in multiple URLs for the same product. For example:
You can combat that by updating your standard URLs so that the category isn’t part of the URL. In some eCommerce management systems, you can define a primary category used in the URL while all other category URLs are secondary to that one.
Is eCommerce SEO worth it?
Improving eCommerce SEO has many moving pieces, but isn’t without its rewards. With more than 5.6 billion searches per day — that’s 63,000 searches per second on any given day, according to Search Engine Land — investing in eCommerce SEO can help you grow your business and reach.
Need some help? Let the experts at GoDaddy SEO Services guide your SEO strategy and optimize your site so it gets the attention it deserves. Contact GoDaddy today to see how you can work less and rank higher.
The post eCommerce SEO — How to boost eCommerce search rankings in 8 steps appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This post was originally published on June 25, 2015, and was updated on October 22, 2019.
You strive to provide the best in food and drink, cater our important gatherings, and offer us places to meet and relax — but even the best food and hospitality ventures won’t flourish if they can’t be found.
You need a strong online presence. And that means you need a website address that perfectly represents your brand and that people will remember.
Your domain name will help customers find you on the web. That being said, it is important to know exactly what a domain name is, how to find which food and hospitality domain name caters to your best interests, and so much more.
Guide to food and hospitality domain names
This guide will walk you through the basics of understanding your food and hospitality domain name options, and choosing the best domain name(s) for your unique venture. We’ll cover:
Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in!
What is a domain name?
Simply put, your website is your online house and the domain name is the address. It’s how someone locates you online, your piece of digital real estate so to speak.
For example, GoDaddy.com is a domain name.
Like physical real estate, a domain name is an investment.
So, devoting your time and money to finding the right food and hospitality domain name is of the utmost importance.
Domain extensions for food and hospitality businesses
Now that we know what a domain name is, let’s take a look at some of the extensions available.
An extension is technically referred to as a TLD (Top Level Domain). A TLD can come in many forms and is the combination of characters to the right of the “dot” in a web address.
When you think of a domain name it usually ends with .com. Since .com domains are the most common domain extension, finding a short and memorable domain name that ends in .com can be tricky. However, there are other domain extensions that might work for your online name.
A plethora of new industry-, interest- and geo-specific domain extensions can help lock in your branding and even give your website better ranking in search results.
Domain names that end with food and hospitality extensions can tell your customers and prospects exactly what you have to offer at a glance.
Do you own a bed & breakfast? Then consider a .rest or .vacation domain name.
Do you offer event catering? Then consider .party or .catering for your domain extension.
Now, let’s look at more specific food and hospitality domain name extensions that can help you be more successful online.
|If you own a …||Check out these domain extensions|
|Restaurant/bar/nightclub||.com, .net, .club, .restaurant, .bar, .cafe, .menu, .kitchen, .pub, .rest, .beer, .pizza, .wedding, .zone, .recipes, .review, .delivery, .wine, .vin, .vodka|
|Hotel/B&B||.com, .net, .rest, .vacations, .villas, .gallery, .review|
|Catering service||.com, .net, .catering, .services, .menu, .kitchen, .events, party, .cooking, .bar, .beer, .tips, .recipes, .review, .delivery|
|Farm/farmer’s market||.com, .net, .farm, .green, .garden, .market, .recipes|
|Coffeehouse||.com, .net, .coffee, .cafe, .house, .menu, .review|
|Wedding/Party planning service||.com, .net, .design, .guru, .expert, .party, .services, .events,.style, .tips, .wedding, .gallery, .xyz|
|Reception/Convention center||.com, .net, .services, .catering, .wedding, .events, .space, .gallery, .bar, .menu, .review|
|Hospitality supply company||.com, .net, .equipment, .supply, .supplies, .wedding, .restaurant, .catering, .kitchen, party, .delivery, .services|
Using geo-specific domain extensions
Since 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information, it also makes sense to register geo-specific domain names.
Keep in mind that most decisions to visit a restaurant are made spur of the moment by entering food and location search criteria. Likewise, vacationers will look for lodgings associated with a destination.
This is why it’s so important to have a domain name that tells what you are, what your products or services are, and where you are located.
Own a reception hall in Las Vegas, Nevada? Pick up receptionhall.vegas to tell potential customers what you do and where you do it at a glance.
Are you a tour guide that specializes in tours around Los Angeles, California? Try yourtourguide.la.
Operate a bed-and-breakfast in Beaumaris, Wales? Snag an ultra-descriptive website address ending in .wales.
Do’s and don’ts when choosing a domain name
Crafting the perfect domain can be tricky. You want to make sure it’s catchy and memorable. Follow these tips to choose the best domain name.
Do keep it short, simple and easy to remember
There are some obvious obstacles to avoid when choosing a domain name. Do you choose a domain that’s 40 characters long? No — nobody will type it in correctly or remember it. You want your web address to be easy-to-remember, so try to keep it as short and simple as possible.
While it might be tempting to describe everything about your hospitality business in your domain name (BestBedandBreakfastinHonoluluHawaii.com), it’s far better to use your words sparingly and create a domain name that’s easy to remember. Short and sweet is best.
It seems obvious to choose a memorable domain name but what might be memorable to you, the business owner, won’t be to others.
While dining the other day I asked the server for the restaurant’s website and he responded, “Let me go get it.” He brought me a business card with a ridiculously long domain name that had no relation to the branding or food of the business itself. No wonder he couldn’t remember it!
If your employee can’t even remember your domain name, how is your customer base going to remember it?
Your domain should also reflect your business’s branding. Explore numerous domain options, making sure who you are or at least what you do in is the name. Then run your top picks past friends, family and employees for feedback.
Do register early
If you are a new business, check to see if your domain is available before licensing/incorporating the business name.
There is nothing worse than setting up a new business and finding out someone else has the same domain name.
However, don’t be discouraged if you find out that someone else has already registered the domain you want. In fact, digging deeper can actually lead to a better domain name and, possibly, better search engine rankings.
Don’t use hyphens or numbers
Avoid using hyphens. How would you feel saying “Rays DASH Pizza DASH Boston DOT com” everytime you shared your web address? This would be the perfect time to use a geographic domain extension like .boston.
In addition to hyphens, which are generally associated with spam or otherwise unscrupulous websites, try to avoid using any numbers in your domain name (unless numbers are actually part of your business name). In this case, remember to keep the domain name simple since you might have to clarify if the numbers are spelled out or the numeral and that can lead to confusion.
Do get input from others
It might all make sense to you, but the real challenge is testing your domain choices with others.
Take your time and check your options including the new food and hospitality domain name extensions and then narrow the list down to a few good ones.
Once you have a list you’re happy with, ask friends, colleagues and family members which is the most appealing. Have them to write it or type it or even recite it. If they have trouble saying it or even typing it into a browser, you need to reevaluate your choice.
Do your homework to make sure you end up with a domain name that will help people find your business.
Don’t use commonly misspelled words or repeated letters
Try to avoid commonly misspelled words. If your business is Forrest Brothers Hotel (forrestbrothershotel.com), consider abbreviating the domain name so you don’t have visitors typing in “forest” instead. Or, be prepared to purchase a misspelling of your desired domain name and redirect the incorrect spelling to the correct one.
Another thing to avoid is words with repeated letters.
For instance, if you have a business named Miss Sheldon’s Daycare (misssheldons.com), do you think your visitors will remember to put in all three of those S’s in?
When tying a domain name into a browser bar, there are no spaces, and many people don’t stop to count the quantity of repeated letters, thus never make it to your site.
However, one solution if you absolutely have to use these types of domains is to buy up the alternate spellings of the domains and redirect them to your site as well.
Do avoid trademark infringement
One quick way to lose your domain name is to buy one that includes a word that is trademarked.
Using a name that is trademarked can land you in some legal hot water. Check to make sure the words you choose for your domain name are not trademark protected.
The above content should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal situation.
Why should register multiple domain names?
If you can get a great .com, you should. Afterall, it is the most common extension. However, consider grabbing some extra domains while you’re at it.
Registering multiple domains not only protects your branding, but also allows you to get creative with it.
Protect your branding
For a pizza restaurant, you can start using new extensions like .pizza, in addition to your existing domain name, in your business tagline. This can make it easier for customers and prospects to remember how to find your business online like, “We put the DOT in .pizza.”
Regardless of what domain name you choose and how you use it, it is important to register the matching variations and as mentioned above, you should also think about purchasing the predictable spelling variations and misspellings of your primary domain name.
Why? Well, for starters, your competitors could potentially buy up iterations of your domain name and underhandedly redirect those domains to their own websites. It’s not illegal unless you happen to hold a trademark.
Leaving similar domain names to yours unclaimed could negatively impact your ability to fill seats or beds in your establishment. Potential customers will go to your competitor instead.
Since there are so many choices that can enhance your online presence, it is recommended to select several.
Privot for growth
Say you own a Mexican restaurant and you have a website at yourrestaurantname.com. Your restaurant continues to bring in business, but you’ve seen increased interest in your catering services. You can register another domain name like yourrestaruantname.catering that spotlights this service to take advantage of its popularity.
Another great option is yourbusinessname.restaurant. Doing so might help your search engine ranking when potential customers search for Mexican food and catering services online, driving more traffic to your website.
By registering separate domain names for your standout dish or amazing accommodations, you can then forward all of them to your website. Customers will end up on your website, regardless of which web address they use to get there.
Are you ready to find your food or hospitality domain name? Go ahead, search now.
Related: How to buy a domain name.
Conclusion and next steps
Now that you have chosen the best domain name, it’s time to put it to use.
Get a professional email addresses that uses your domain name — such as email@example.com. Domain-based email adds instant legitimacy to your venture.
Create social media handles using your domain name to start building customer relationships.
Get your business online with a website. Choosing a DIY website building solution or a professionally built website is essential to being found on the internet.
However you choose to use your domain, finding the best food and hospitality domain name gets easier and easier as new extensions become available. Picking the ones that work best for your business and branding can ensure your customers can find you online no matter what.
The post Finding the best food and hospitality domain names appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
A good workout starts with good prep. You need your training schedule at the ready. Ask Arnie. Reps and reps. The same applies If you are thinking about opening your own gym. Prep and rep mean the difference between failure and success.
Go through your list enough times to check if you haven’t forgotten anything important. Wait. Let’s first make a list. It can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why this guide to opening a gym may be useful.
Many questions pop up in your head. What type of business is a gym? How much does it cost to open a gym? Is opening a gym profitable? How much do gym owners make?
You might want to be one of the lucky few who make their hobby their job. Or perhaps you are attracted by the revenue. It’s true, you will have a bunch of potential clients. It’s a huge market. They come by the millions, looking to lose weight, gain muscles or just to get in shape. Fitness is golden.
This means there is a lot of competition. To prepare yourself properly, learn from experienced business owners. They will all confirm that research and setting up a solid business plan are the two first steps.
Sit down and calculate the costs. Determine your target market. Come up with a brand name that stands out. Hold on!
A bit overwhelming? That’s a euphemism indeed. Thinking of how to open a gym needs to be an orderly process. This article created by our team at Amelia is here to help. Let’s learn to walk before you start running.
The first step for starting a gym: Plan your Business
How to start a gym? First, you write down the essentials. Like studying a course to prepare yourself for an exam, you start with the table of contents. It is said that once you got the contents in your head, half of what you need to know is dealt with.
The same applies to starting your own gym.
Opening a gym business plan
Your specific business plan is made up of various questions that will answer:
Think about the necessary investments:
This gives you an idea of your itinerary. Your destination will be a profitable business. Let’s put some flesh on the frame.
Target market:Who will be your customers?
Market research is the first you do. This is an expensive way to say: what kind of customers you want to come and keep coming?
Draw out a profile of your preferred client:
You will want to buy the appropriate equipment. And hire staff that meets the expectations of your customers.
Your clients are your niche. Adept your gym accordingly. Niches or types of gyms can be:
Now think of a name for your gym
Try to match the name with your target market and type of gym. Arnie’s Family Fitness may target your desired niche. It also might attract aspiring bodybuilders. Be imaginative and specific. Then ask yourself, if you were your ideal client, would you want to go to <insert your gym name>?
Next is location
Start-up costs and funding
You can expect between $10,000 for a personal training studio to $50,000 for a fully equipped commercial gym. This what your equipment will cost.The location will affect the total cost.
Unless you are willing to pay ten times as much, avoid areas that are known to have high rental costs(looking at you, NYC). The only reason you would choose such an area is if your ideal clients are to be found there, and only there — if that’s the case, think niche.
Your start-up costs will go to:
The most expensive cost. And monthly!
A small personal training studio can be equipped with around $10,000. Commercial gyms will need about $30,000 to $50,000.
Be ready to pay your top trainers $25 an hour. Also, you may need an accountant, maintenance workers, a marketing person or team, and a lawyer.
5. Legal Fees
How to open a gym with no money?
And how to come up with this kind of money?
Even starting a small business will set you back. Only the sunlight is free. You could live on water and bread for a decade, or find an investor who doesn’t want to own 51% of your business. A business partner is another possibility. You could also open a gym franchise.
Sole ownership is only possible with taking a loan. Owning your own gym salary is a plus. You will own the entire debt too, of course. Keep that in mind. But it will be your business only.
Get a loan at:
You will need to show up with a proper business plan. No business plan means no loan.The U.S. Small Business Administration helps you to develop your business plan and to get loans. In Europe, you can find similar organizations.
Legal structure, licenses, and certificates
Choose the best legal structure for your independent business. There are several possible structures.
Gym licenses and permits:
Research local demands, as this varies from state to state. Then get the business licenses. And check regulatory laws: building permits and health department requirements.
Get a fitness professional certification, for more credibility.
The American Council on Exercise and the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association all offer certification and business education courses.
Get it from an agent who specializes in business insurance.Gyms and injuries go hand in hand.
Tip: avoid legal issues by putting a clause in the membership contract.Prevent customers from suing for self-caused injuries.
Promoting and marketing
Your website must provide information such as:
Appointment scheduling plugins relieve you from a lot of work. Your calendar will be bulked up without breaking a sweat. Simple scheduling solutions are:
Amelia plugin for WordPress:A fully-featured automated booking system, that manages all customer’s appointments.
Modern Events Calendar. A popular WordPress appointment booking and scheduling calendar tool.
Team Booking uses Google Calendar for your website’s appointment booking system.
Booked supports almost every type of appointment and booking through your WordPress website. It picks up external calendar feeds from Google, Outlook, iCal, etc.
This is all about relationships and branding. Give your customers an experience they will not find elsewhere. When they think of you at home or elsewhere, make them wish they were rather at your gym instead. Your loyal customers are the backbone of your success.
Social media channels get you connected with your customers and future clients. Completely for free!
Raise the bar. Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, community profiles, Yelp, and Google Places for Business. Reach out to influencers, offer them specials or freebies in return for a review or shoutout.
Expectations on revenue and break-even
How much do gym owners make? To predict your revenue you have to factor in natural ups and downs. The time of the year has an effect on new memberships. You might find more people come to the gym in winter and less in summer, or vice versa.
A year-long membership will cost $20 to $50 per month. You can also charge a sign-on fee of $100 to $300.
Now that you know the membership cost per person, you can multiply. It all depends on the size of your business. Are you visualizing opening a small gym? Or thinking about starting a warehouse gym?
A small gym with 300 members can make a minimum of $100,000 per year. Big gyms can make more than $600,000 annually.
Besides size, location affects your income. A gym in a small town can’t expect huge revenue.
Don’t expect to break-even in your first year. Look at the larger picture and try to predict your sales over the next five years.
Match your staff and equipment with your customers
Employ trained and certified professionals. Your customers expect no less. Fitness instructors and personal trainers have to prove themselves. Both in-house personal trainers and freelancers should be motivated and involved.
Leasing the equipment makes sure you have the latest fitness technology. You can test it out.It will often include maintenance of the equipment.
Conclusion on opening a gym
Six months to a year later, your business is now in full flow. You took the steps described in this guide. You stuck to your opening a gym checklist. You realized that a small gym business plan is no different from a huge gym plan.
You are a success because you started off with a business plan that at least includes:
Opening a gym can be extremely profitable, not only for your bank account but also for your sense of life satisfaction. Live the dream by starting with a firm foundation and building a true business today.
If you enjoyed reading this article about opening a gym, you should read these as well:
The post Guide to Opening a Gym and Starting a Successful Gym Business appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.
How do you know when it’s time to give up on a business idea? Many entrepreneurs try not to address this question head on.
They may keep forging ahead with their business, even if stress starts to take its toll and it starts to feel as though good things do not necessarily come to those who hustle.
However, there are certain considerations anyone should reflect on before they decide to completely give up on a business idea.
8 things to consider before you give up on a business idea
Before you decide to throw in the proverbial towel and give up on your business idea, ask yourself:
Running a business is hard work, but it should not turn into work that you struggle to get excited about or approach half-heartedly. Before you give up on your business idea, keep the following considerations in mind. This will help you figure out if you should keep going or pivot into another direction.
1. Is there a demand for your product?
Take a moment to revisit your business plan. This plan outlined details about what your product or service does, what allows it to stand out from the competition, and why consumers would invest in this offering. It also includes a section for your market analysis.
Before you give up on your business idea, look at the market analysis which covers who makes up your target audience, the growth of said market and its needs, and how you plan to attract, capture and retain this audience.
This is a two-fold consideration, as you need to step back and consider your business offering and the existing market.
Are people not buying what you’re selling? Perhaps there are ways to tweak your existing offering to meet customer demands. You may survey your existing customer base to get their opinion before you give up on the business idea.
Certain changes, like the price point, might be necessary in order to meet consumer needs.
It’s also possible that competing businesses may have similar offerings. You might need to redefine what differentiates your services from the crowd. Or, you may even consider creating a new offering that can reach another market and satisfy their needs.
2. Does your business have a core group of fans?
To loosely paraphrase a quote from musician Lady Gaga: 100 people can be in a room. Ninety-nine don’t believe in you, but one person does. It’s that one person who, ultimately, changes everything for you.
Small businesses typically need a few more people in the room than one person to believe in them and their offerings. The good news is that all you need to get started is a small, core group of fans.
They will return back to you to do business, write positive reviews, and share great word of mouth about your company to countless individuals.
If your small business doesn’t have a customer base like this (or any customers at all), it may be time to give up on that business idea.
However, if you do have this base — regardless of its size — then keep moving forward. The fans that believed in you from day one will continue to be there for your business through its successes and growing pains.
3. Have you talked to your mentor?
Many entrepreneurs pride themselves on being able to go it alone with their small business. However, nobody should be without a support network. These are the individuals that encourage you to keep going and never give up.
One individual you may need to consult is your mentor .
A mentee/mentor relationship isn’t designated solely to the initial stages of starting a business and receiving advice on what to do and not to do. You should be able to reconnect periodically with your mentor as time progresses.
Tell them what’s going on, all things good and bad. See what they advise doing next, and take notes as you go.
Beyond your mentor, you may also want to seek out feedback from trusted, successful entrepreneurial friends. They know what it’s like to doubt yourself when the chips are down, and may be able to help you avoid giving up on your business idea.
4. Have you already made substantial progress?
How much do you want to quit your business when you’re riding high on a success wave? I’m willing to bet that your answer is “No way!” That’s a completely natural response. It’s rare to encounter an entrepreneur that would say, “I’m ready to give up on my business idea!” after hitting a revenue goal, establishing a great partnership, or receiving incredible press.
You might revisit your business plan and check in on the goals you had placed for the next three to five years. How are you progressing along in meeting these goals? If you’ve already met some, great! Make a note of that. If you’re still working towards certain goals, examine where you’re at and what needs to be done next to stay on track.
If you don’t already have one, create a media kit.
This highlights what your business does, its services and offerings, and notable statistics. Some of these stats may include more information about:
For all the moments where you feel as though business is not taking off as quickly as you’d like it to, look back at the areas you have made progress. You’ll feel proud about how far you’ve come since your early days in business!
Related: What is a media kit?
5. Are you able to financially continue?
Answering this question requires brutal honesty.
You may have a business idea that you’re extremely passionate about and have spent a substantial amount of time working on it. However, you must also face the financial reality of your situation.
Are your products or services not selling? Are you running out of savings and taking out loans just to make ends meet? If your business keeps accumulating debt and running ROI negative every month, you might make the decision to quietly close its doors because it’s not sustainable.
6. Do your partners, or co-founders, know how you feel?
Do you have partners or co-founders? If you incorporated your business as a general partnership, then you cannot decide to give up on a business idea on your own. Partnerships are agreements between two individuals. As partners, you split costs, share profits, and make decisions together as a team.
Most partnerships tend to be built on the common foundation that both partners — or co-founders — are passionate about the business.
Your partner might be surprised to hear how you’re feeling about the business. However, they may also be able to remind you why you both got into business together and get you excited about the company all over again.
What if that’s not the case?
If this happens, you may consider a voluntary withdrawal from the partnership. This clause is typically outlined in a written partnership agreement. Certain terms will be outlined that detail what happens once a partner exits the business and if a new partner may be admitted in their place.
7. Will you need to dissolve the business?
Let’s say you didn’t incorporate as a partnership and you’re ready to give up on a business idea.
You’re running the company on your own as an entity like a limited liability company (LLC). If you truly don’t see a future for the startup or your business idea, you will need to file for a dissolution.
What’s a dissolution?
When a business files for a dissolution, they are telling their state of incorporation that they are no longer active and have formerly closed. Doing this alerts the state not to charge your business with any annual state fees or taxes because it has been dissolved.
Filing for a voluntary dissolution is a fairly straightforward process.
First, you will need to file articles of dissolution. These documents include information about your business name, the date of its dissolution, and reason for dissolution. If you have incorporated as an LLC, keep in mind that your managing members must have all agreed on the dissolution. This is also true for corporations, which need their board of directors to vote on the dissolution and agree to it.
Once you have filed the articles of dissolution, you need to make a formal announcement in a dissolution proposal. This is particularly true of corporations that have dissolved, as the dissolution proposal will be part of public record.
Corporations must also file Form 966 Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation with the IRS. This document must be filed within 30 days of filing articles of dissolution.
Finally, any business assets must be distributed to the owners depending on the percentage of the company they own. If anything is owed to creditors, they must be paid back first. Then, owners may receive the remaining assets.
8. Are you still passionate about the company?
There’s usually a telltale sign of unhappiness that slowly begins to creep up when you’re no longer passionate about your passion project. While this is not a scientific list, some of the warning signs include the following:
For some entrepreneurs, all it takes is knowing that the passion is gone — and not likely to return — to close up shop entirely. However, there are still a few ways you can rekindle your passion and salvage the business.
Remember that if this specific business does not work out, this does not mean the end of being an entrepreneur. You can always start another company, or pursue a side hustle that inspires you.
You may even move your full-time small business into part-time work while you work a full-time job. This allows you to keep making a salary to support yourself, but also keep at it with your dream job and find the clarity you need to reconnect with it all over again.
The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
The post 8 things to consider before you give up on your business idea appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
If you’re looking for ways to encourage additional buying this holiday season, you’re probably already thinking of the standard options, like gift wrap services, free shipping and discounts.
But what if there was a tool you could use that built trust with shoppers, could increase the size of their shopping cart, and helped you with SEO all at the same time?
That’s exactly what buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides can do for your business.
Your buyer’s guides give them shopping ideas and reassure them that they’re on the right track.
What is a buyer’s guide or shopper’s guide?
Buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides are long-form content that help readers make purchasing decisions. The goal is to provide all of the necessary information to make a good decision, whether it’s a side-by-side comparison of two products, a list of the best accessories or add-ons, or a list of gift ideas for a hard-to-buy-for person on the shopping list.
Your buyer’s guide needs to be easy to read and navigate — holiday shoppers are even busier than usual. They won’t spend a lot of time to find the information that they need. Instead, they’ll just go back to their search engine and move to the next site on the list.
Make your buyer’s guide or shopper’s guide visually appealing and easy to use with comparison tables, infographics and images.
Your infographics are also a powerful marketing tool to share on social media, including Pinterest.
This combination of powerful, factual information with a visually appealing layout and shareable graphics inspires, informs and attracts readers to make a purchase while positioning you and your company as experts in the field.
Why are buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides important?
Educated consumers are more confident consumers — and more likely to buy. Your buyer’s guide should give readers accurate, unbiased information that helps them ensure they’re making the right decision.
Buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides can also achieve high search engine results placements for “A vs. B” searches and “best gift for” searches. Both of these types of searches show buying intent, so you’ll be attracting searchers who are ready to buy.
What are common formats for buyer’s guides?
Buyer’s guides and shopping guides can take several different formats, depending on the goals of the person that you’re creating the guide for. Here are some common buyer’s guides you can create:
Comparison guides provide an unbiased, side-by-side comparison of similar products, like a Nikon vs. Canon DSLR. These are often used by people who have narrowed down their buying choices to just a couple of options.
First-time purchasing buyer’s guides
New buyer’s guides attract people who are looking at — you guessed it — making a purchase for the first time. They’re filled with information that a new buyer needs to make the right choice.
Going back to our example of buying a camera, a first-time buyer’s guide might actually steer them to either the Nikon or Canon.
Product add-on guides
Product add-on guides are great pieces of content to appeal to holiday shoppers who have a hard-to-buy-for friend or family member. A product add-on guide for a camera might include carrying cases, batteries, straps, lenses and filters.
“How to use a product” guides
Guides that share insights on how to use a product are similar to product add-on guides. In these guides, you’ll focus on tips to make the most of the key product. But you can also include some additional products that help you make the most of the featured item.
Themed buyer’s guide
Themed buyer’s guides are a hot guide for annual gift-giving. You can do themed guides based on almost any characteristic — from “Best gifts for new dads” to “Best holiday gifts for your single, rosé-loving gal pal” or “Great wedding gifts for 2020.” These guides can be a mix of new products and best-sellers.
What should a buyer’s guide include?
So, now that you know why you should have a buyer’s guide, let’s get into the nitty-gritty on how to create a buyer’s guide or shopper’s guide.
Informational and educational content
First and foremost, your buyer’s guide should be informative and educational.
But, if the information you’re providing isn’t accurate, the trust you were working to build falls apart quickly.
When you’re including specifications on products, make sure you’ve got the right details by going directly to the manufacturer’s information or investigating the products yourself. Be sure to keep your buyer’s guide up-to-date with the latest models, product details, and availability.
Your buyer’s guide needs to be neutral — especially if you’re doing a comparison guide. Even if you only sell Nikon cameras, you need to be straightforward about the features and benefits of each product.
If you’re an exclusive reseller of a specific product (for example, one brand of essential oils over another), it will be clear to the reader right away when they look at the rest of your site.
Maintaining neutrality in explaining the difference between the brands allows them to trust you (and your opinion on why the brand you represent is the best).
Remember, the buyer’s guide is building trust with your reader. Your tone should be friendly, helpful, and interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention.
If you try to be too authoritative, it can come across as condescending or demeaning — definitely not the tone you want to use when you’re building a relationship with customers and want to encourage them to trust you.
This is a good time to also leverage your brand voice, since you might be getting new traffic from search engines.
To get the SEO benefit of the buyer’s guide, you’ll need to make sure your buyer’s guide is optimized.
Strive for keyword density of around 2%, meaning for every 100 words you write, you’ll want to use the keyword twice. You should also use your keyword or keyphrase in subheadlines and in alt tags on your landing page.
When you’re doing keyword research for your buyer’s guide or shopping guide, make sure you research a variety of phrases for the same guide. While you’ll optimize your guide for the most popular phrase (for example, “Father’s Day Gifts for New Dads”), you can include variations of the keyphrase to attract more searchers (like “Gifts for First Father’s Day” or “New Dad’s Favorite Father’s Day Gift”).
Images and infographics
Images and infographics are powerful tools in your buyer’s guide to help provide more insight into the topic for your reader. You can create side-by-side comparison images and infographics that give visitors information at a glance.
Finding images for comparisons does open up a slippery slope when it comes to image copyright.
The best option is to either take your own photos or source images directly from the manufacturer or creator that they have offered for editorial use.
If you’re taking your own photos, remember to shoot the products in the same types of settings and lighting — even nuances such as the setting around an image can influence the perspective of the buyer.
Another great option is to share photos of the product in use, or take pictures of how something turns out when you use it.
If you’re comparing digital cameras, take the same photo with both cameras at the same settings to show any differences in how they handle light or sharpness. If you’re comparing cookware, cook the same dish in both pans, then show either the food or the state of the pan (depending on what feature you’re discussing).
Links to buy the products
Don’t make the reader go back to searching to find what you’ve just sold them on. Get them there by sharing links directly to any products that you’re recommending. Buyer’s guides aren’t just for direct sellers either. You can create buyer’s guides for your customers and use affiliate links.
How to use your buyer’s guide
After you’ve created your buyer’s guide, you’ll want to share and promote it to get the full value for your business and to help as many shoppers as possible.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing Ecommerce makes it easy to build your online store and link it to your social media accounts. Need to send out marketing emails? No problem! You can send and track emails with ease.
Great buyer’s guide examples
If you need some extra help with creating your buyer’s guide, check out these examples.
Nikon vs. Canon. It’s the equivalent of Coke vs. Pepsi in the photography world. But if you’re just getting into the world of DSLR photography, it’s hard to know which you should choose. That’s where great guides like the one from Expert Photography give you the information you need to make the right choice.
Sample Guide: The Great Debate: Canon Vs. Nikon
First-time buyer’s guide
Buying a diamond is a big investment. And it’s something that most of us are unprepared for. They don’t teach about cut, clarity and color in our high school economics class. That’s why first-time buyer’s guides for diamond buying like the one on The Diamond Pro site are incredibly valuable.
Sample Guide: The 7 Step Guide to Buying a Diamond
Product add-on guides
One of the most popular product lines for accessories and add-ons is smartphones. MacRumors maintains a guide to popular accessories you can use with your iPhone, from cases and screen protectors to headphones and gaming accessories. While your add-on guide might not be as extensive as theirs, it’s a great model to follow.
Sample Guide: iPhone Accessories Guide: Our Favorite Picks for 2019
How-to product guides
Thousands of creatives around the world use vinyl cutting machines to create customized products, from water bottles to home decor. But those products don’t just work like magic straight out of the box.
There are different kinds of vinyl, different cutting settings and more. Vinyl Cutting Machines put together this guide on how to use the Cricut Explore Air 2, and filled it with links to more products that you can use with your fancy new vinyl cutting machine.
Sample Guide: How to Use a Cricut: Beginner’s Guide
Lucie’s List is legendary in the world of buyer’s guides and shopper’s guides for mothers and mothers-to-be. They incorporate their recommendations for the best products in any one category without being disparaging to the other contenders.
Sample Guide: Best Convertible Car Seats
Wrap it up
There are a lot of buyer’s guide options out there. With these guidelines and examples to build on, you’re ready to start making your recommendations and creating buyer’s guides to support your customers’ holiday shopping needs.
The post How to make a buyer’s guide to increase holiday sales appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
This post was originally published on May 15, 2018, and was updated on Oct. 24, 2019.
At one point or another, we’ve probably all dreamed about being our own boss. You know, calling the shots instead of following orders, or being the innovator behind the next big idea.
No matter what pushes you to abandon your current nine-to-five — whether it be the sixth coffee run of the day or simply lack of fulfillment in your current role — it might be time to seriously contemplate if you’ve got what it takes to be your own boss.
But becoming your own boss doesn’t mean leading an easy work life — you’re still accountable for, you know, work. And yes, while you might be able to accomplish some of this from the comfort of your pajamas while sipping a latte, there are a number of things you’ll need to consider before making the leap into entrepreneurship.
If you’ve ever laid awake at night, wondering whether or not you have what it takes to be your own boss, then we’ve got just the quiz for you.
Answer these 10 questions to see if you’re ready mentally, financially and emotionally to be your own boss. Then, keep reading to see how we can help you turn your dreams into a reality.
When you are in the world of consulting,you may encounter times when you have to have some form of agreement when starting a collaboration with a client. A consulting contract is one way to do this, and asks both parties to describe what their expectations are, and may also describe what instances may occur should any issues arise.
A consulting contract is a deal between the consultant and the business looking to utilize their services. It explains what the consultant is going to do for the business.Most of the time, this type of consulting agreement option also shows the time limit within which the consultant agrees to provide the services to the business. As this is a binding, legal contract, it is important that both parties examine the contract closely and understand it before signing.
Another thing that consultants must do is provide legal support, especially if the client is not going to pay them. On top of that, clients also need contracts in order to get some assurance that they will get the agreed services. Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at Amelia.
Why You Need a Consulting Contract
A consulting contract is important because it is legally binding. If you want to enter an agreement, you have to meet the legal requirements. One of the main reasons why you need a contract as a consultant is:
Project Details Need to be Defined
When you are creating a consulting agreement, you should take time to discuss all the details that are needed. Include a description of the work that needs to be completed, think about a timeline that you think is manageable, and put the details into writing so they will help you prevent any kind of missed deadlines.
Protect Intellectual Property
Another key aspect of a consulting contract is the intellectual property, especially for those that create or develop copyrightable works or other licensable technologies that are needed in consulting agreements.
Define the Business Relationship
A consultant that is going into business always needs to be sure to define the relationship between the parties. This can be done with a consulting contract that is being offered in order to understand all the expectations of the collaboration.
Upsell Your Services
A consulting contract is not only a legal document, it is also a marketing tool because it helps you better understand how your client reacts to certain options that you make available by using it.
Establish the Relationship
If you work on a freelance basis, you will need to come up with a consulting services agreement to show that you work as an independent contractor.
Components that Every Consulting Agreement Needs
If this is the first time you are running a consulting business, you should check these components because they can help you make a strategy for challenges that you have not yet thought of.
In case you have already spent some years working in the world of consulting, then you have probably already had to deal with some of the problems that can appear when working with clients, and can usually be done by using a consulting contract.
Take note of the following:
Some good questions that you should ask yourself when creating your own consulting contract are:
Consulting Contract Templates to Use
Sample Consulting Contract Template
If you need a simple consulting contract that can help you legitimize your services, you can try this template done in Word. It can help you with all the specific details that you have in mind and you can also use it to bring your own style and touch to it without starting from nothing.
Simple Restaurant Consulting Contract Template
If you are a consultant, or are in need of one to help you out with advice on how to run the restaurant you have, then this template can help you protect your business and make things more efficient.
Free Consulting Agreement Template
This is a great consulting contract that you can take advantage of and use for different terms that you want to specify on the legal side.
IT Consulting Contract Template
Go for this consulting agreement template because it is easy to edit and you can use it with a lot of clients that you might come across in your work.
Consulting Retainer Agreement Template
If you offer consulting services for several companies, sometimes you may need to move quickly because the projects are limited. With this consulting contract, a company can pay you in advance for the services you provide, and you also make clear all the legal details that you want to get done.
Standard Engineering Consulting Agreement
As an engineering consultant, you will be able to utilize this great consulting contract with your future clients. It helps you cover all the designs and production stages so you can create a custom agreement for your clients without leaving aside any important terms.
This is a simple consulting contract that you will be able to use in your work. It has all the legal text and it takes just a few minutes to edit it as you want.
Business Consulting Contract Template
Business consultation can be defined as consulting that is done by experts in the field of business. Their input and advice guide and help their clients to make sure they make all the right decisions for their business. So, anybody that works around this field can get this agreement and use it.
Simple Training Consultant Contract Template
This is a great consulting contract that will help you create a well-organized and reasonable document to show to your clients. It uses simplified language and makes understanding all the details and components easy to do.
AICNCC Standard Contract
This contract is great for a wide range of consultants. So, this is great especially because it simplifies the work needed when creating one. Give it a try and see for yourself if it will help you.
Ending thoughts on the consulting contract
In conclusion, having a consulting contract is very important to protect you as a business and an individual, but also protects your clients. Be sure that all the steps are clearly described in it so both parties can be aware of the entire process that is about to happen.
If you enjoyed reading this article about using a consulting contract, you should read these as well:
The post Consulting contract examples to use for your business appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.
The internet is an enormous place filled with millions and millions of websites. Competing in such a massive world can be daunting for small business owners trying to promote their local shops. But don’t fret. There is a way for your business to stand out and connect with nearby customers. It’s through local SEO.
Local SEO helps brick-and-mortar and service-based businesses get found through search, even when competing with large brands and national businesses that have a massive online presence.
Everything you need to know about local SEO
The rest of this guide will explain what local SEO is and how you can use it to drive more traffic to your website and business. It covers:
What is local SEO?
Before you can understand local SEO, you first need to understand what SEO is.
SEO refers to the tactics and strategies that marketers use to help their brand show up organically when a user searches for a keyword related to the brand’s business, products, or services.
For example, Fantastic Sams Cut and Color would want its business to show up when a user searches for “hair salon.” And, Dyser Plumbing Company would want its business to show up on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for “plumber.”
Businesses want to show up when someone searches for a topic related to their brand, products or services. SEO helps them do that.
What’s the difference between SEO and local SEO?
Brands that offer services to anyone anywhere — like a car insurance company or an online software provider — want people across the country (or even the world) to find their business through search.
But local brick-and-mortar and service-based business owners don’t need people around the world to find their business. They only need nearby searchers to find their business. Local SEO helps them do that.
Local SEO refers to the tactics and strategies that marketers use to help their brand organically show up when a nearby user searches for a keyword related to the brand’s business, products or services.
Fantastic Sams Cut and Color in Tampa, Florida, doesn’t care if someone in San Francisco, California, finds the brand while searching for “hair salons.” That searcher isn’t going to become a customer. So Fantastic Sams Cut and Color uses local SEO to help people near the business — the people most likely to become customers — find them via search.
How does local SEO work?
Local SEO follows many of the same rules as SEO. Of the three primary categories that drive local SEO, two are also related to general SEO.
Both relevance and prominence are related to general SEO.
Search engines want to present results from top websites that are closely related to search phrases. But in local SEO, search engines consider another factor.
Later in this post, we’ll look at the steps you can take to optimize your web presence to appeal to the three factors of local SEO: relevance, prominence and proximity.
What do local search results look like?
Now that you know how local SEO works, let’s look at what local SEO looks like when you see it in search.
For example, when you search for “hair salon,” you will see results for local businesses and general results mixed together in organic and paid search results.
General organic search results
Organic search results display websites that search engines have deemed to be the most useful for searchers. The top placements are earned by websites that have strong SEO. In organic search, you might find results that are tailored to your location as well as general results.
General sponsored search results
In general search, you will also find sponsored search results. These results appear because the brand paid for the placement. The position wasn’t earned; it was placed through pay-per-click (or PPC) marketing.
You can tell the difference between an organic result and a sponsored result by the “Ad” designation on the search result. Like organic results, these results might be closely related to local search or relevant for a wider audience.
While organic and sponsored search results appear for both general and local searches, there are some results that are specific to local SEO. They are Google My Business (GMB) and Google Guaranteed Listings results.
Google My Business results
Google My Business results are rich results that appear differently from general results. They might appear as listings and maps that show businesses relevant to the search phrase and located near the searcher.
For a business to appear in Google My Business search results, it must have a page set up on Google My Business. Google pulls information from those profiles to create listings as well as rich search results for individual businesses.
The results in the listings can be organic and earned by following local SEO best practices, or they can be sponsored and paid for through PPC campaigns. The same “Ad” notation differentiates organic listings from paid listings.
Google Local Service ads
Other search results that are unique to local SEO are Google Local Service ads. Google Local Service ads feature service-based businesses by positioning them at the top of search results pages.
The results might also be featured on a Google Local Services page when a user searches for a service-based business.
Businesses that appear on this list have signed up through Google Local Service ads, met certain criteria and paid for placement. Some businesses have taken it one step further and become a Google Guaranteed business.
Google Guaranteed businesses have a special destination that shows that they have passed a Google screening and qualification process and are backed by a guarantee.
If a customer uses a business backed by The Google Guarantee, and is unsatisfied with the work, Google might refund the amount paid for the service.
Service-based businesses might want to join Google Local Service if they are looking to stand out in search.
The benefits of local SEO
Having your local business appear in any type of search results is beneficial. Of course, the more people who find your business, the better. But local search is helpful in other unique and specific ways.
Local search is widely used
A lot of customers use local search. Forty-six percent of all searches on Google were for local information (GO-Gulf), and between 2015-2017, there was a 500% increase in the number of mobile searches that include the phrase “near me” and a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” (Google).
Local search is specific
Local searchers are often near the end of the purchase funnel. They often know what they want and just need to find a place that sells or provides it. Eighty-eight percent of searches for local businesses on a mobile device result in either a call or a visit to the business within 24 hours (Nectafy via Hubspot).
Local searchers are eager to visit a business
When someone searches for a local business, they are usually only a few steps away from visiting the business. As of 2014, half of the consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day (Google).
Local searchers are eager to buy
People who perform a local search are often ready to buy.
They’re looking for a place that offers what they want and are only a few steps away from making a purchase.
Eighteen percent of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day (Google).
If your business isn’t showing up in local search, you could be missing an opportunity to connect with customers at the right time. Local searchers are eager and ready to do business with a local brand. You need to use local SEO to make sure you are the option they find while searching for their options.
Local SEO best practices
Now that you know what local search is and why it’s so important for small and local businesses, let’s look at how your brand can set up a successful local SEO plan. Here are some top local SEO tips to keep in mind as you build out your strategy.
Closely manage your business’s online contact info
Proximity, or the distance between the searcher and the business, is a top local search component. So it should be no surprise that the management of your business’s address needs to be a top priority for local SEO.
Your business contact information, often referred to as your NAP (name, address and phone number), is what tells search engines where your business is located and how customers can contact you.
If it is inconsistent, search engines might decrease your search rankings or fail to show your business at all.
Keep your NAP consistent by always:
Even just a small change in your address (e.g., having one listing that includes your suite number and one that doesn’t) can throw off your NAP consistency. So make this a top priority for your local SEO.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy’s Local Business Listings product enables you to manage multiple local business listings from one dashboard.
Fully understand the local SEO landscape
While there are best practices to boost your local SEO (which we’ll discuss later in this post), there is no exact plan to get your brand to the top of SERPs.
So before you start your local SEO plan, take some time to review your sector to see what you are up against. If the competition is high, know that it will take more work to get top placement. If the competition is low, expect to see results quicker.
Research your industry and competitors
First, look at the brands that are already winning in your industry and location. Perform a search to see which brands receive top placement. Also, look at how many other businesses are in your category and in your area.
Look closer at the brands in the top placements. Understand that you will need to outperform them in order to claim the top spots in search.
Make a list of top competitors and research their strategies to see what you will need to do to compete and overtake their rankings.
Pro tip: Search engines personalize your results depending on past actions and preferences. For example, if you have already visited the website for Fantastic Sams Cut and Color and you search for “hair salon,” it’s likely that Sams will show on the first page of results. So, if you want to get an objective, unaltered view of results, search from a private or incognito browser that doesn’t consider preferences or past searches.
Research your keywords
Next, research the keywords that are top terms in your industry or category. We’ll dive deeper into this later in this guide. But at this point, understand that some keywords will be more difficult to rank for than others.
While you might go into your local SEO strategy planning to rank on the first page of search for broad keywords like “hair salon” and “hair stylist,” you might have to adjust your strategy depending on the competition for those terms. You might find that you need to focus on terms that are less popular but also less competitive (such as “best Tampa hair stylists” and “best hairstyles for the beach”).
Always put user experience first
While there are more than 200 ranking factors that help search engines decide which sites to put at the top of organic SERPs, search engines are really looking for one thing — what results will provide the best user experience.
Search engines want users to find the best results. They want to offer the most useful and relevant information in the best packaging. So as you go through the local SEO checklist, always keep this in mind.
Do what will provide the best experience for them. Pleasing users helps to build brand trust and affinity. Plus, keeping users on your page longer helps boost your SEO even more.
Search engines also consider engagement metrics (like time on site and bounce rate) as ranking factors. So always keep the user experience at the forefront of your SEO strategies.
Understand that backlinks are good — and bad
Gaining links back to your brand’s website is a top ranking factor for both general and local SEO. But it’s important to know that backlinks can be both good and bad.
So as you develop link-building strategies and build citations for your website, always check on the quality of the linking site before creating the connection.
Consider all search engines
While most of this post is about Google, most SEO advice refers directly to Google and most searches are performed on Google—you can’t ignore other search engines.
Many of the tips for optimizing for Google will be the same as optimizing for other search engines. But as you go through tips for optimizing for Google, keep in mind that you might need to repeat steps for other search engines — such as creating a local listing on Bing Places for Business and running sample searches on sites like DuckDuckGo.
Local SEO checklist: 11 steps to success
Now, let’s look at the specific steps you can take to improve and optimize your brand’s online presence to boost your local SEO.
Read on to learn more about each step.
1. Make sure your site is mobile friendly
A mobile-friendly site is a responsive site that automatically repositions its layout so that the content looks good and is easy to read on every screen size. Mobile friendliness is crucial for local SEO for three reasons.
Mobile friendliness is a top ranking factor for mobile searches. Google can tell what type of device someone is searching on. They want to give the best results possible, so they are more likely to show a site that is mobile friendly when the search is conducted on a mobile device.
Many local searches are conducted on mobile devices. When people look for a nearby business, they are often on the go and searching from their mobile devices. Eighty-two percent of smartphone searchers conduct “near me” searches and 90% were likely to click on the first set of results.
It’s imperative for your business website to be mobile-friendly so that search engines show your business to the customers that matter most.
A poor mobile experience will cripple your local SEO and drive away people who are actively trying to give you money. Get this one right from the get-go; and if you aren’t sure if your site is mobile friendly or not, run a test.
Make sure your site works properly on mobile by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your site URL, and the tool will report back with any problems that might exist on the mobile version.
2. Make sure your site is fast
People want a good experience while using a website. They want it to look good on their screen size, and they also want it to load quickly. That is why search engines also use page load speed as a ranking factor.
Search engines give higher rankings to sites that load quickly, and they prioritize this even more for mobile searches (which is where many local searches take place). Quickly loading sites:
To follow local SEO best practices, focus on building a quick-loading website and regularly checking in to make sure your site speed stays high.
Check your site speed
Google helps you quickly identify if your load speed is up to par. Use its PageSpeed Insights tool to measure the load speed of your site.
Enter your site URL, and the tool will provide loading scores for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site. It will also provide tips for what you can do to improve your site speed.
Improve your site speed
To improve your site speed, use the opportunities and diagnostics reports from Google PageSpeed Insights, and follow these other best practices for improving site loading speed:
Many tactics to improve site speed require technical knowledge, website development tasks, or back-end coding. If you can’t implement these yourself, look for a service provider who specializes in site speed to give your site the boost it needs.
3. Claim your Google My Business page
Earlier in this post, we talked about how local search results appear as Google My Business listings and featured search results. So, it should come as no surprise that setting up your Google My Business page is an essential step in a local SEO checklist.
Your Google My Business listing is the heart of your local SEO efforts and gives you an authoritative presence across Google search as well as Google Maps.
It also gives you an integrated way of attracting reviews and ratings, which can help you improve your standing in Google’s revised local 3-pack results and add authority to your paid advertising.
To get started on Google My Business:
Pay close attention to the official Google My Business guidelines as you set up your basic profile information. And remember to be particularly careful in establishing your official NAP information here.
Editor’s Note: GoDaddy Websites + Marketing Ecommerce now makes it easier than ever before for local consumers to find your business via Google Web Search and Google Maps, and even improves your website’s search engine optimization ranking.
4. Optimize your Google My Business page
Once you set up your Google My Business page, you might think your work is over—but it’s not. To give your brand the best local SEO, it helps to regularly engage with, optimize and update your Google My Business page.
5. Build other business citations
While Google My Business is the most important place to list your business, it’s just the beginning when it comes to using business directories and citations.
Google uses prominence and authority as ranking factors. It wants to show the businesses that are the most well known and trustworthy. Business listings and citations send those trust signals to Google, increasing your chances of ranking.
Having more citations makes search engines view your business more favorably, so build profiles on online business directories based on your location or industry.
Here are a few places to start:
To find directory sites based on your location, use Moz’s Citations by City list. It includes the most popular sites in your area so you can be sure to create profiles on the sites where your competitors already are.
Bear in mind that you’re after quality when it comes to these local links.
Citations on high-quality sites can boost your rankings, while citations on spammy, low-quality sites can decrease your rankings. Be mindful when reviewing directories, and only create profiles on trustworthy, high-quality sites.
6. Create and optimize your social profiles
Another way to show that your business is trustworthy and legitimate is by claiming your social media handles and building social profiles. Social profiles provide links back to your website and present another opportunity to share your brand’s NAP, which are both beneficial to your SEO. Plus, social media is a great way to get in front of your local customers.
If you have one location, create one social media profile on each of the top social sites: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Consider what other social media sites might be right for your brand, depending on your industry and audience. This could include:
For the most part, you can use one social account for your brand as a whole. But if you have multiple locations, you might want to create a separate account for each location.
Facebook and Instagram rely heavily on location.
Facebook has a section to add your full address and allows check-ins at individual locations. Instagram also uses geolocation tools to allow users to tag their specific location. It might be worthwhile to create those accounts for each of your business locations.
As you create your profiles, always include a link to your website and include as much relevant location information as possible.
7. Get more backlinks for your site
By creating business directory profiles and building out social profiles, you’ve already started the next task in your local SEO checklist — building backlinks.
Backlinks are the lifeblood of the internet. They connect pages, show relationships between information and help search engines decide what content is the most valuable and useful.
When you have a lot of high-quality links (links from authoritative websites) pointing to your site, it tells search engines that your site is valuable and should receive high rankings.
So in addition to building citations and social profiles, put a plan in place to build links back to your brand website. To build links for your website:
8. Feature your online reviews and encourage more
Search engines use prominence as a ranking factor. To gauge how prominent a brand is, they rely heavily on reviews. Profiles with a larger number of reviews are more likely to show up in search in places like Yelp and Google.
Good reviews help customers decide to do business with you, while also improving your visibility in local search. So, encourage customers to leave reviews on social sites as well as your Google My Business profile page.
To get more reviews:
For more tips on how to get more reviews for your brand, check out our comprehensive guide: Generate reviews —8 ways to get more product reviews.
9. Optimize your content for keywords
So far in this list of local SEO tips, most of the tasks have related to Google’s proximity and prominence ranking factors. Now, let’s look at what you can do to appeal to Google’s relevance ranking factors.
To give searchers what they want, Google matches search queries with the most relevant content. The search engine wants to provide the content that best matches what the searcher is looking for.
To help Google see your content as the most relevant information, you need to use keyword optimization.
Through keyword optimization, you:
Through this process, you create content that users want, appeals to search engines and helps boost your local SEO.
How to conduct keyword research
Keyword research is the process of looking up the terms and topics that will be most likely to attract your target audience and drive traffic to your site.
To find potential keywords, start with a list of terms that are relevant to your business. Research the terms using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to get information about the term’s search volume and competition and then:
How to perform on-page keyword optimization
When you find a keyword you want to use, optimize ONE page on your site for that keyword. Never assign a keyword to more than one page on your site. This leads to keyword cannibalization — where search engines don’t know which page is more important so they don’t rank either page.
Optimize the page for the keyword by using the term or phrase in the:
Remember, don’t go overboard and flood your pages with keywords. Write compelling content with important lingo naturally spread throughout.
Also, as you create content, consider the search intent of the keyword. Ask yourself why someone would be searching for the keyword. Then, give the user what they would want to find in the content.
10. Optimize your content for your location
Keywords that relate to your brand, industry, products and services help your business show up in search when users are looking for solutions you offer.
For local SEO, you also need to use location-based keywords to help nearby customers connect with your content.
Location-based keywords are terms that reference your region or area. They might include your city, neighborhood or district. There are two ways to optimize your site for location-based keywords.
Optimize your website to highlight your address.
Show search engines which areas and cities are relevant to your content by optimizing your site for your location.
Optimize individual pages to target location-based keywords.
Optimize individual pages of content by targeting a general keyword along with a location-based keyword (e.g., “hair salon Tampa” or “plumber in San Francisco”). Also, optimize your site for searches that include a general keyword plus a “near me” phrase (e.g., “hair salon near me” or “who’s a good plumber near me”).
Use the same on-page keyword optimization tips listed above to optimize pages for location-based keywords.
11. Don’t forget about general SEO best practices
When it comes to local SEO, general SEO is still very important. You need to implement SEO best practices on your websites to ensure that your business can compete in search. You should:
Get more tips on how to optimize your site for general SEO in the GoDaddy guide: Beginner’s SEO guide — Search engine optimization for small business websites.
Local SEO tools
As you go through the tips outlined in this post, try using local SEO tools to help you through the process.
Google My Business
Your local SEO presence is built around your Google My Business page, so it should be no surprise that this free tool is at the top of the list of local SEO tools.
Sign up for free, and use it to manage the local search results that show up for your business. Create your free Google My Business business profile.
In the list of local SEO tips, we briefly mentioned using schema markup as a way to provide extra information to search engines to let them know what your page is about and where your business is located.
Adding Schema markup requires adding code to the backend of your website. But there are plugins that make it easy to add Schema markup through simple front-end forms. Top Schema plugins include:
GoDaddy Local Business Listings
Citations and directory listings for your business are essential for building strong local SEO, but the process can be tedious and time-consuming. You not only need to create listings for your business on multiple sites, but you also need to constantly monitor those profiles to make sure your business information is correct. GoDaddy Local Business Listings makes this process easier.
Through GoDaddy Local Business Listings, you tell GoDaddy your business information, and the company creates and manages profiles for you across dozens of sites.
Take it for a test drive by using its free scanner tool to check your current local business listings for errors. Get your free report.
GoDaddy SEO Services
Another way that GoDaddy can help you improve your local SEO is by helping you improve your overall SEO. GoDaddy’s SEO Services takes over your site’s search engine optimization so experts can guide your SEO plan. Sign up for a monthly SEO plan and GoDaddy will:
Use these local SEO tips to grow your business
Now you know the answer to the question “what is SEO?” You know what local SEO is, why it’s important to brick-and-mortar and service-based businesses, and you have the steps you need to implement a local SEO plan.
Use these local SEO tips to build and grow your online presence and start driving more traffic to your business and website.
But if all of this still sounds too daunting even with the list of local SEO tools, GoDaddy is here to help.
GoDaddy SEO Services can work on your site to boost your local SEO and start driving more local traffic to your website and through the doors of your business! Consult with our experts, and they’ll get your local SEO up and running.