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How to Profit From a Healthy Blog

Posted Thu, October 1, 2015 by Julie Short

In the third post of our blog marketing series, we want to show you what happens when you continually add fresh content to your blog, make sure it’s search-optimized, and start to develop a following.

Many marketers tend to (mistakenly) assume that attracting lots of traffic will automatically increase their revenue. It’s a good start, but bringing visitors to your website alone won’t do much to grow sales. If you truly want to profit from a healthy blog, you have to know how to monetize the interest you’re getting.

Today, we’re going to give you a handful of proven tips for doing exactly that:

End Each Post With an Offer – the easiest way to generate revenue from your blog is to simply ask visitors to take the next step while they’re already reading your content. That could be downloading a white paper, scheduling a free consultation, or even making a purchase. What matters is that your offer is compelling, and that it lines up well with the content you are providing in your blog.

Use Your Blog to Grow Social and Email Lists – alternatively, you could ask readers to sign up for a newsletter or follow you on social media sites. This might not generate the quick profits that a more straightforward call-to-action would, but it’s an easier conversion (meaning that first-time visitors are more likely to do it), and could make sense if you have a longer, more complex sales cycle.

Advertise on Your Own Blog – while some marketers like to add outside advertising to their blogs, that isn’t likely to generate much money for you unless you have a very popular blog in a very targeted niche. Instead, we recommend that you add your own advertising messages to your blog’s sidebar, with the intention of getting visitors to click through to product pages, discount codes, and other offers.

Package Your Content Into Something Valuable – over time, you’ll likely develop lots of great content for your blog, and on topics that are all closely related to one another. If you find that your posts start to be popular, and generate lots of comments, you may consider turning that content into something bigger (like an e-book, or a video) that can either be sold or used for future lead generation efforts.

Position Yourself as an Expert – the biggest benefit to successful blogging is also the least obvious. The more insightful content you add to your website, the more you position yourself as the expert in your field and industry. Over time, this can lead to more leads, more referral opportunities, and even higher fees and revenues. Don’t discount the value of being a recognized authority based on an informative blog.

Remember, your blog is only useful if it helps your company to grow. By bringing in visitors from search engines and social media campaigns, you’re on the way to improving your bottom line. Then, it’s just a matter of using one or two of these techniques to monetize your blog in a way that makes a difference.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , Online Marketing , Blogging | 
Tags : blog , content , blogging tips

5 Steps to Search-Optimized Blog Posts

Posted Thu, September 17, 2015 by Julie Short

Web designers and Internet marketing experts like to remind you (as we often do) that having fresh content on your website – usually in the form of search-optimized blog posts – is the best way to attract attention from Google and its millions of users.

But what often goes unexplained is exactly how you make your posts visible to search engines. Today, we want to give you the basics of SEO for blog posts, in five steps:

#1: Know Which Keywords You’re Targeting – just as every blog post should have a single topic, it should also have one or two search phrases that it’s built and constructed around. Ideally, these will be used once in the title, once in a subheading (if it feels natural) and once or twice throughout the main content.

#2: Begin With the Right Title – your blog title should contain the search phrase you’re targeting, of course, but also something that’s catchy, descriptive, and inviting. In other words, make sure your title has a search visibility element, but do your best to appeal to actual readers and grab their attention. Make them feel like they just have to take a look before clicking somewhere else.

#3: Use Search-Friendly Subheadings – subheadings on a page give you two important benefits. First, they break up long blocks of text that would otherwise seem boring and/or overwhelming. Plus, they give you another chance to highlight important search phrases in a way that’s meaningful to Google’s spiders.

#4: Include 1-3 Internal Links – the same kind of thinking applies to internal links (hyperlinks from within your blog content to other pages on your website). These have important SEO value, especially if you use linking terms that apply to the content on the destination page. At the same time, they stop your blog post from being a “dead-end,” and give readers a chance to learn more while staying on your website.

#5: Mind the Details – lots of marketers choose to focus on search engine optimization details. These won’t necessarily make or break your campaigns, but adding alt image tags, descriptive and search-friendly descriptions, and search-optimized filenames can all give you that “extra push” needed to help climb up Google’s search rankings.

One quick word of caution: as effective as each of these five steps is in making your blog post more visible to search engines, you definitely don’t want to go overboard with any of these tactics. Google and the other engines want quality content that’s easy to crawl, not pages with so many keywords that they are hard for actual readers to understand.

In other words, go too far and your content is likely to disappear from Google altogether, so follow these tips but don’t try to force the issue.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Marketing , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : SEO for blogs , blogging , SEO

Blogging for Home Builders

Posted Thu, September 10, 2015 by Julie Short

To be successful, every business needs to have the mindset to do whatever it takes to connect with your consumer online. In the case of home builders, you’ve got to have an impressive site to showcase your art. An accompanying mobile or a responsive site will help land customers that check out your company on a mobile device. Once you’ve got an attractive site, it’s important to focus on other ways to draw people into your brand.

Blogging is an important component of any brand’s online presence. With fresh, relevant content on your site, essentially, Google will see you as more authoritative and that will increase your online reach potential. Beyond the Google math and more importantly, blogging is a personal, immediate way to communicate with potential home buyers online. Your consumer can get information and news without any added pressure to purchase.

Here are some topic ideas to get you started:

Behind the Scenes:
Potential home buyers are interested in your company and how you do your work. Update them on upcoming developments, the building process and the design process. Are you involved in a lot of green building with high energy efficiency standards? Do you know specifics on how much manpower and material goes into a specific home? This is a good opportunity to go into detail on topics that you wouldn’t have time for otherwise.

Showcase Finished Products:
Taking the time to feature a location you’ve just finished is both an easy topic (you already have all that data at your fingertips), but also a great way to bring attention in.

Special Events:
Do you have a new community you’re opening? What about a sale or event at a model home? This is a great way to get the news out – and if you’re the only one talking about new homes in that community, you’re sure to get noticed.

Local Events:
What’s going on around your communities? You have an ear to the ground in the places home buyers are looking, so share what attracts you to the area and post news! It creates a real sense of community for your readers already moved in and others following you as well.

Homeowner Tips:
What if there’s no news to share? As a builder, you have an internal database of information first time homebuyers need. Whether it's a brief explanation of mortgage terminology or, suggestions on preparing a home for winter, your insider information is perfect for the slow times.

We hope these ideas help jumpstart your blog. Home buying is one of the largest financial decisions a person can make. The more information you put out, the better chance you have to earn the buyers trust and secure the sale.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks , SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Marketing , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : Blogging Tips , Blogging for Home Builders

How to Make the Most of Your Business Blog

Posted Thu, September 3, 2015 by Julie Short

In a recent post, we reminded readers and clients that blogging isn’t dead… if anything, it’s more important than ever to your search engine optimization and Internet marketing efforts.

However, a lot of businesses aren’t using their blogs as effectively as they could be. Part of the reason might be because blogging isn’t a cutting-edge topic anymore, the way social media and mobile marketing is. That’s true, but it doesn’t take away from the importance of a healthy blog.

The other reason probably has to do with the fact that a lot of companies simply don’t know how to make the most of their blogs. That’s understandable, but it’s not enough reason to give up. Today, we are going to give you some easy tips that can help you get the biggest marketing impact from your company’s blog…

Post Regularly – having a blog won’t do anything for you if you don’t regularly post new content. At a minimum, you should be adding new articles once or twice a week; even more often is preferable. That signals to readers – and search engines – that you are an ongoing and current source of new ideas.

Sell Ideas, Not Products – speaking of ideas, the focus of your blog should be on advice, insights, and concepts. Once you have someone’s attention, you can get them interested in what you have to offer. Begin your posts with a marketing pitch, however, and you’ll quickly lose the attention of readers.

Share More Than Text – most of your blog posts will probably be written, of course, but don’t forget that you can use images, video, and even audio or custom graphics to explain or accompany an idea. Visual content is great because it’s easy to understand, not to mention share over social networks.

Promote Your Blog Via Social Media – social media and blogging go hand-in-hand. When you add a new post to your website, make sure you’re promoting it via Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. That helps drive traffic to your blog and provide value to those who are following you on social channels.

Invite Feedback – posting to your blog isn’t just about spreading your thoughts, it’s also about getting feedback from readers. So, make sure to enable comments and invite visitors to submit their own thoughts. If you get lots of lively discussion moving back and forth, you’ll have the basis for plenty of future topics.

Learn From Your Best Posts and Ideas – like most things in life, 80% of your blog comments and traffic will come from 20% of your posts. So, if you hit on a winning idea or concept, feel free to revisit it, update the thought, or generate a related post. The spin-off article you come up with might be even more popular.

Your blog can be a source of new information, a hub of social activity, and the centerpiece of your search engine optimization plan. Are you getting the right kinds of results from your posts? If not, it’s time to put these tips to work on your website.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Business Strategy , Blogging | 
Tags : blogging , effective blogging , blogging tips

4 Ways to Brand Yourself Online

Posted Thu, August 27, 2015 by Julie Short

The Business Dictionary defines branding as “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.” 

Your company’s online presence has got to be an effective extension of the branding you’ve already created.

Here are 4 tips to improve your branding online. 

Decide on a handle and stick with it. 
People shouldn’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to find your Facebook page because you named it differently than your website. For example, if your business is called Okie-Built New Homes and your website references this exact name, all of your profiles won’t be able to match this phrasing. The name is too long for it to be your handle on some social media platforms. Your brand name is usually set in stone, so you’ll have to choose the next closest thing and make sure your brand’s full name is still located on the page. Your Twitter name might have to be @okiehomes, if that’s not already taken, then your name and about us section should contain your company’s full name so your profile easily appears when searched for. 

Be active as much as possible online. 
The more daily content you produce, the more visible your company will be digitally. This could be blogs, quick blurbs about things going on internally or directing people pertinent news going on in your field. This will help you spread your brand further and establish it as an authority in your field. One of the biggest components of branding is getting inside people’s minds. The more exposure you give your brand in front of web users, it increases the likelihood your brand will stick with them. 

Match the design and marketing strategy with the content.
The overall look and feel of your design should match the content you’re putting out there. If you’re a home builder, it would be strange to feature pictures of puppies on in your marketing material. Choose a color palette and stick to it. Colors, moods and images are easily remembered. 

Be deliberate and consistent with your phrasing. 
Make sure your content is designed around your core audience’s perceptions of your field. If you’re blogging for older professionals, newspaper-style blogs might fit for that audience. If you’re writing for people under middle age, try writing more informal, concise messages. Taglines aren’t mandatory for every business, but if you decide to introduce a tagline, don’t change it every other month. Your tagline should reinforce the message you want others to know about your company. 

Posted in : Online Profile Management | 
Tags : branding , marketing strategy

Visit the Park & Palate Fall Food Festival at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas!

Posted Thu, August 20, 2015 by Julie Short

Good news for people who like to eat, or just have a good time at the park!

On September 25th and 26th (that’s a Friday and Saturday), Klyde Warren Park in Dallas will hold a two-day food festival.

Named Park & Palate, the 2015 festival is meant to be the first in an annual series.

It also looks to be a milestone event for the community, and one that is sure to draw big crowds for years to come.

So far, there has been a lot of interest in the event, both in the media and amongst food lovers in the greater Dallas area. Promoters note that Park & Palate isn’t just a cookout in the park – in addition to food stalls from dozens of local eateries, the event will feature live music, cooking lessons, and appearances by celebrity chefs.

Here are a few other highlights you might want to know about:

  • A dozen Texas chefs will get the event started with a “Down to Roots” competition to see who can create the best combination of comfort food with a modern twist. Judging the results will be none other than Amanda Frietag from Food Network’s Chopped. Ticketholders will get to try the creations themselves, tasting the dishes with a selection of fine wine and beers.
  • On Saturday, there will be a Grand Tasting with more than 30 different Texas restaurants and wineries, not to mention an open bar. Culinary minds from across the state have been invited, with some of the area’s hottest chefs getting in on the action.
  • Along with live musical performances from local acts like the Paul Thorn Band and Lucy Wrubel, Park & Palate will feature kid-friendly entertainment options, so you don’t have to feel like you’re dragging the little ones along for an event. Younger guests will have a great time, too, even if they can’t enjoy some of the adult beverages.

Registration is already open at www.parkandpalete.org. Tickets aren’t cheap at $150 each, but the proceeds support the park, which is already a popular attraction in the neighborhood. So, make a little room in your budget – and your weekly calorie count – and join us for Park and Palate next month!

Posted in : FYI , Announcements | 
Tags : Klyde Warren Park , Dallas food festival ,

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