10 Poor Excuses NOT to have a Business Blog Now

By Published 15 April 2014

to-blog-or-not-to-blog

Fair warning!  This is a rather pointed prod-of-a-blog, directed towards business owners and entrepreneurs, so if you’re not up for receiving a shove in the right direction, you may want to continue on with your day…however, if you are looking to grow your business for free, then perhaps you might be willing to hear what we have to say…

At LA Marketing, we are in the business of helping other business owners get the most out of their online presence, and it never ceases to amaze and frustrate us that the more we speak to people about the value of blogging and other forms of content marketing, the more we are blown away with lame and down-right daft excuses as to why these men and women are not jumping on the wagon and giving their customers what they are truly looking for.

So in this little post, we have decided to take a break from trying to convince small business owners about the incredible benefits of blogging and to embrace it. Instead, we’re going to talk about some of the bogus excuses we’ve been hearing more and more of these days.

“My company’s website does not currently have a blog because…….”

Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping your website fresh for success

By Published 3 April 2014
Imagine this:

With the help of a website design company, you have just finalised the content and a great look for your new website. Now it’s time to launch it and sit back and let it weave its magic, right? Well, not quite! Keeping your website fresh and up-to-date is a key factor in attracting new customers – and keeping existing ones.

Here we explain why having an up-to-date website is so crucial to its success and offer simple ways in which you can keep your web content performing for you consistently, and for the long term.

3 important reasons why you need to change your web content regularly

1. To help search engines know your value

To put it simply – search engines like websites that change regularly and regard those with the most frequently updated content, to be the most interesting and relevant to web surfers. A lot of value therefore is placed on fresh content so if you want your business to perform well in search engines, then it is vital you appear to be actively updating and adding new content to your website.

2. To show your visitors you’re active and positively involved in your business

Is your most recent news item from 2012? Have you neglected to remove an out-of-date offer from the site? If so, the message you are sending out to your visitors is a negative one. They might be forgiven for thinking your company hasn’t done much recently or doesn’t take itself or you their prospective customer, very seriously.

3. To attract inbound link to your website

The more share-worthy, current and interesting your website content is, the more potential you have for generating inbound links.

Inbound links affect your websites page rank which is Google’s way of determining a page’s popularity and relevancy by examining the number of outside links that point to that page. Pages with a higher page rank are deemed more important than those with a lower page rank. For example; when you post something interesting or of value, the more likely your visitors are going to discuss it and share it – perhaps on social media, on their own blogs, or they might even link to it from their own company website.

Therefore, keeping your website content fresh and up-to-date helps your company attract, and keep more customers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Google+ is a must-have for all business – here’s why…

By Published 4 March 2014

We all know that being found in search engines organically is in essence free marketing – and who doesn’t like something that is free?

SEO is a process that includes online and offline strategies that help the search engines to index your site and ultimately takes all of the information you give it and assigns your website a position on search pages.

Google, the main search engine on the internet, does this by using different signals to determine the quality and relevance of each page of your website. The most important among these signals is links from other sites. These links must be of high quality to rank higher in search engine results. A link from the BBC News site will be valued much more highly than a link from a small independent news sharing site, for example.

Google+ isn’t just another social media platform; it’s a powerful weapon in your SEO arsenal and having an active profile page with Google+ and linking it to your website (and vice versa) can help you increase search rankings for your website.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why content and distribution are important to influence

By Published 3 March 2014

According to Mashable, 100,000 tweets are shared, 347 website blog posts are published, 48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded and 571 websites are launched to the world-wide-web every minute of every day (and those numbers continue to grow year on year).

On its own, that’s a huge amount of published content. But add to that the social-media-sphere and what you have is a never-ending volcanic plume of content being promoted and accessed from a plethora of channels.

social media conversation prismBrian Solis and JESS3 share this infographic, The Conversation Prism. It is a visual map of the social media landscape, and an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life.

As marketers, what this graphic isn’t intended to do is overwhelm us or make us tear our hair out and wonder how we can possibly generate content that will get through all this noise (although this is a key question you need to include in your marketing plan).

The bigger picture is illustrated neatly here in this quote from a US-based marketer and thought-leader, Jonathan Pevelman from Buzzfeed
Read the rest of this entry »

Is your website reacting to the latest browser trends for 2014?

By Published 25 February 2014

Put simply, are you focusing on your UX for today’s consumer market by making your website responsive?

If you don’t yet know what a responsive website is or what ‘UX’ means, then quite frankly you probably aren’t keeping up with the latest online trends.  But unlike fads that come and go, this very powerful trend is here to stay and will affect your business whether you like it or not.

Mobile Responsiveness and the UX (User Experience)

web_design

Having a website that responds to the size of the mobile device it is viewed on, such as tablets, smartphones and mobile phones is essential these days. If yours doesn’t ‘shrink to fit’, then you could be doing a lot more harm to your business than you think.

Almost 13 million smartphone tablets were sold in the UK during 2013. This means that nearly half of the entire UK population now owns a tablet of some kind. And the percentage of UK adults who use their mobile phone to access the internet rose to 49% in the first quarter of 2013. If you consider that only a fifth of all adults used their handset to access the internet in 2010 – that’s an almighty change in consumer behaviour that online business owners really can’t afford not to respond to.

And if you think it’s only the younger population who are making the move to mobile technology for surfing the web – you can think again…

mobile internet usage UK 2013

Read the rest of this entry »

What is lead generation and why is it so vital to your business?

By Published 3 February 2014

Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in your product or service for the purpose of developing your sales funnel.

Most sites on the internet convert at less than 5%. This means that 95% (and more) are not buying into your product or service on their first visit. Selling is often about trust and relationship building. The process of relationship building is essential to getting the customer to trust you, to try out your offering without the pressure of a tough sell.

In today’s complex marketing climate, lead generation has become a popular strategy to help create demand and get your marketing messages heard across multiple channels. Lead generation helps your company increase brand awareness, build relationships, generate qualified leads, and ultimately close deals.

Read the rest of this entry »

How visual media can enhance your visitors experience and develop brand awareness

By Published 28 January 2014

We’ve all heard the saying that a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’ right? I mean where would we be without the illustrated steps we’re given to help us assemble some complicated flat-packed furniture from that blue and yellow store we all know so well? And who could physically digest one of the weekend broadsheets without some compelling or illustrative photography to help quickly engage with the information we are most interested in?

Delivering the difference…

The use of engaging visual media such as high-quality photographs, graphics and video are not only capable of doing a lot of the talking for you, but will make the user or visitor experience more palatable and far richer.

The information market is such a crowded and competitive place nowadays so anything that can help you capture a visitors attention for more than 30 seconds is an achievement and a well-chosen image can go a long way to that end. Especially if you have large amounts of information to get across, the sparing but deliberate use of images can make it much more digestible and memorable.

Go easy on the pepper though!

woman sneezingYou should aim for quality, not quantity. If you have lots of images you want to share think about organising them into a gallery where they can be viewed easily by navigating left and right in an image browser, or have a dedicated ‘Gallery’ or ‘Portfolio’ page where your great pictures can be viewed without heaps of scrolling.

Read the rest of this entry »

7 Ways Twitter Can Help Your Business

By Published 26 November 2013

As I come across many small businesses, I often talk about the benefits of using Twitter to raise the profile of their business, and yet I still see the question in their expression – really? I don’t want to know what so-and-so has had for breakfast.  Why would that interest me?   The truth is that this is far from what actually happens on Twitter – Twitter is so much more than this…

Follow MeWith 500 million Tweets a day and 230 million active users, people turn to Twitter to bring them closer to the things they care about, whether it’s the news that affects their lives or the businesses down the block.

By sharing helpful tips and links you are showing to your peers and potential customers that a) you are keeping up with news and views within your industry but also b) that you are reaching out to other people who may be looking to hire someone with your skills.

1. Listen and Learn

To be successful with Twitter, it’s important to spend a little bit of time listening.  A good start would be to see what your competitors are tweeting about or search for industry keywords to listen and gather market knowledge.  This is an easy way to get insights that you can use to inform your strategy.

2. Connect in context

On Twitter, people talk about what they care about and what’s happening around them right now, be it personal or business. This gives you powerful context to connect your message to what’s most meaningful to your customers in real time. By engaging with real-time Tweets it can influence conversations in a way that can help build your business.

Read the rest of this entry »

Google’s Hummingbird, so what’s the big deal?

By Published 30 October 2013

So Google have put a new engine under the bonnet of its search facility! Hummingbird is not an updated algorithm or a tweak on top of Panda or Penguin, it is actually a new 6 cylinder, fully ported, turbo charged power unit.

Intuitive

HummingIn its efforts to return more intuitive search engine results Google has made quite a few subtle and some not so subtle changes over the last year or so. Google has been making changes to its old engine, some of you may have heard of Penguin or Panda, these were changes to the actual algorithm and were intended to upset some of the less professional SEO people who were using very ‘black hat’ techniques, whilst at the same time honing the search returns. Caffeine was like a gearbox change giving Google six gears enabling faster responses.

While these changes were being made Google (it would appear) was building Hummingbird alongside the existing engine. The switch was around the beginning of September 2013 and for the most part was fairly painless, with few casualties that I have heard of.

Content, Content, Content

We have said for a long time that content is King and now it is not the quantity but the quality of the content that is vital if you wish to perform well on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

If Google wants to up its game on advertising and pulling-in appropriate ads alongside relevant SERPS then it will need better content to search, more accurate information on specific pages. This will work alongside ‘Long Tail Searches’ where more precise questions are being asked. An example of a ‘Short Tail Search’ would be when you type into your Google search ‘Nuts & Bolts Surrey’ a ‘Long Tail Search’ would be ‘Nuts and Bolts 10mm thread Guildford Surrey’!

As you can see there is more information in the search request, Google now has the ability to find all the relevant content that it has indexed and return a more intuitive result.

SEO, a dark art or simple honest hard work?

By Published 2 October 2013

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has for many years been perceived as a dark art and shrouded in secrecy. Forgive me when I quote Erasmas “In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king”!

Image courtesy of WikipediaImage courtesy of Wikipedia

To a point this is true, let me try and explain why this sector has developed its reputation and why it will continue to do so.

As the human race has developed we have been amazed and fascinated by things that we either cannot understand or illusions that simply leave us baffled. Historically we have treated such things as miracles and even attributed God-like status to those responsible for thunder and even wine ‘Dionysus’!

Getting back on track, from the time that Babbage created the calculating machine nobody could have imagined the development of computers, internet, search engines, email and the amazing rainbow of industries that have been born out of the creation of the internet. Read the rest of this entry »