Do you ignore SEO? This blog post will change your mind

When I first started running a blog – a few years back now, I immediately thought: ah, SEO! I need to know everything about SEO!

Cue weeks and weeks of reading blog articles, testing the hottest SEO tools, getting to grips with all the technical terms, optimising my blog, researching keywords, writing posts.

I couldn’t wait. Any day now, I’d be getting thousands of visitors to my website.

Hours, days, weeks went by.

Nothing. Zilch.

I gave up. SEO doesn’t work, I said to myself. SEO isn’t for bloggers like me, it’s for the big businesses with millions to spend. I’ll never compete.

So I ignored it, and focused on other tactics to grow my business and generate traffic. 

Please note this post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.

However, one day I noticed a spike in sign ups to my email list. I wasn’t running any advertising. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were all ticking along as normal and I hadn’t been trying any new strategies. I couldn’t work out where these people were coming from.

And then something odd happened.

Out of the blue, I got a couple of affiliate payments through on Paypal for a training course I’d promoted about 18 months ago.

And then a few days later I got another affiliate payment through.

Well, it turned out Google was my new best friend. Because an old, long forgotten blog post that contained an affiliate promotion was suddenly ranking #3 on a really competitive search term on Google.

I couldn’t believe it.

I checked my stats. I was getting thousands of visitors, all to this one page.

And the icing on the cake? I was making a nice little side earning with affiliate commissions, without really doing anything.

What I learned is that when you do SEO, you’re playing the long game. Yes, the results aren’t as immediate as something like Instagram, but like I always say – and if you’ve taken any of my Instagram sales funnel training, you’ll know this – is that you should always master more than one traffic source. Never put all your faith in one platform, because things can and do change.

So although I heavily promote my business on Instagram, I also market it in other ways too, and one of my long term strategies is to invest some time in SEO so that I can get a steady stream of free traffic from Google. Because trust me, all you need is one or two pages to get a good ranking to suddenly start getting thousands of visitors.

So if you’re a bit like me, and hate SEO, but you want that long term traffic insurance that only something like SEO can give you, what’s the best way to go about it? Well, here are my top tips.

Hire some help

If you have the budget, SEO is a good thing to outsource, because there are people who do this for a living and know SEO inside out. However, there are a lot of people who “claim” to do this but don’t have the results to back it up. In that case, it can get expensive fast. So do your research first before hiring. Look for client testimonials, and look at how recently results were achieved – SEO testimonials from 2008 are no good nowadays.

Aim for some quick wins

If you already have a blog, then invest some time doing some basic keyword research and optimise your existing posts. It’s not much when it comes to SEO, but it’s better than nothing, If you use WordPress, I’d highly recommend a plugin called Yoast for SEO optimisation. It’s the best in the field as far as I’m concerned (and more importantly, real SEO experts will recommend the same).

Write more blog posts

This is just from my own experience. When you have a blog that’s been around for a while, you can start looking in depth at your traffic stats, and what they’ll often tell you is this. You’ll have a large percentage of blog posts that don’t do great, and a small percentage that get a lot of organic search traffic. So my suggestion? Keep writing plenty of quality, relevant content. That’s what Google loves, and if you stick to this, eventually one or two of those posts are going to do well in the search engines, and you’ll start to reap the rewards of all your hard work.

Invest in some training

Well, admittedly, SEO is a dry subject. Especially if, like me, you prefer something more friendly and beautiful like Instagram. So I tend to just follow a couple of SEO experts who help me stay updated and put things in a simple language that I can understand.

One of those experts I loyally follow is a fellow Brit called Matthew Woodward. He’s grown his blog from scratch, and learned along the way how to use SEO to drive thousands of visitors to his site. He’s a true expert in it (even won a few awards along the way) and he actually has a really fantastic – and free – training series on SEO and basic link building strategies that you can access by clicking here: 

Free SEO training – learn how to do link building>>

In the training, Matthew goes into detail about how to rank your site – even if you are in a competitive niche, and he even goes behind the scenes during the training to log into google analytics and share real data from real sites, so it’s incredibly useful. 

In Summary: Ignore SEO at your peril!

So there’s your word of warning. It’s tempting to think SEO is just too big a mountain to climb, but I’d urge you not to ignore it, even if you’re getting great results on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or other traffic sources. Because you never know if one of those big companies is going to change a policy or an algorithm and wham – you’re traffic disappears overnight. So it pays to diversify! And search engines aren’t going anywhere. At the very least, get some basic training under your belt so you can tackle it with a bit more confidence. You don’t have to be a master SEO guru; just don’t ignore it and hope for the best.

Planning On Becoming A Business Coach? Answer These 10 Critical Questions First

So your dream is to become an online business coach.

I get it.

The appeal is obvious: working for yourself, working from home, working directly with great clients, and helping people to make real and visible change that can have a huge impact to their business.

And you’re the perfect fit. You know your stuff. You’ve been doing this for years in a corporate job that you plan to up and leave (or perhaps you already have). And you’re hugely talented.

Please note this post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.

So is that it? Is that all you need to know before you take the plunge?

Well, not quite. As with any business, once you get started it can throw up some surprises and some unexpected challenges. So here are 10 questions to challenge yourself with – 10 questions that really determine if you’ll make success in this hugely popular but highly competitive industry.

Ready?

Then we shall begin.

Oh. little hint here…. make sure to read all the way to the bottom of the post. There’s a rather nice free gift waiting for you.

Here’s the first question:

Do you shine around other people?

It’s pretty obvious to say that you need to be good at working with other people if you want to be a coach. But the key word here is: shine. Because the truth is, most people on some level are good at working with others and building a relationship with other people. However, what sets a good business coach apart is their ability to really be a beacon of light in this role. Not only are they great with people, but they put people at ease. When someone talks to them about a business challenge, they can reassure them. In short, they can become that person of trust in a short space of time. So ask yourself: can you be that person?

How do you communicate?

The obvious question to ask would be: are you a good communicator? But actually, a better question to ask is: how do you communicate?

To sell coaching packages online – to people who have never met you – takes skilled communication. And it varies depending on what business model you choose. If you have a sales funnel, you need great written communication to pitch yourself to your prospects using a compelling sales page. If you plan on pitching over the phone, you need the ability to communicate your message in a softer, less sales-orientated way by building personal rapport. Perhaps you have excellent presentation skills and a webinar approach to selling would suit you best.

The point is, it’s worth taking time to look at where your strengths lie when it comes to communication. There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to growing an online coaching business but you need to understand your own strengths first before you can find a business model that’s going to help you attract and win customers.

Are you focused on the process, or the results?

Here’s the answer you are looking for: results win every time. If you have a background in coaching and consulting, it might be tempting to focus on how skilled you are in all the processes you use to coach someone in your area of expertise. But in reality, that isn’t going to win people over. Your potential customers want to see results. They want to know what real, tangible results you can offer them, and they want to see what results you’ve already produced. So keep that in mind. If you’re new to this business, get some testimonials. Even if it means doing heavily discounted or free work to start with.

Are you prepared for the long haul?

Avoid the temptation for shortcuts. There are a lot of hugely tempting promises out there about how you can create a successful, profitable business in a very short space of time. And whilst there may be people who do that, it’s best to go with the attitude that if you mimic that success, it’s a bonus, But be prepared for hard work, grind, and the need to just consistently get up every day and promote your online business just to win that first customer.

How do you cope with setbacks and challenges?

You can avoid set backs. Its the nature of working online. Things change, and they change fast, and sometimes you can fall down a hole. The most successful people I know running online businesses are the ones who have experienced failure upon failure, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and started again. Be that person.

Are you doing it for the money?

I heard a fantastic interview with the children’s author Roald Dahl where he was asked whether he wrote for money or his love of children. Both, he said. I liked that, because it was honest.

It’s fashionable to say that you should have a great passion for your work, and not focus on the money. That’s great, but in reality, it is a business, a career, and most of us have bills to pay. So if money is a motivating factor, don’t feel guilty about that.

However, as profitable as coaching can be, money shouldn’t be your only motivator. As with any career, you need to enjoy what you’re doing because it’s just no fun trying to make money online doing something that doesn’t fire you up.

Are you brave?

Now there’s a term I don’t hear enough on the internet. Bravery. The truth is, running any business is brave. Running a business on the internet is very brave. And becoming a coach – and promising to other businesses that you can help to deliver them results, is extremely brave.

There are other ways you need to be brave. You need bravery when it comes to pitching yourself to your very first client, when you don’t have years of experience to boast about. It’s brave to put yourself out there on social media, in blogs, in ads. And it’s brave to put your prices to a level you should be charging (and that’s typically a price you’ll be scared to pitch).

How do you handle criticism?

First, some reassurance. As long as you’re good at what you do, you won’t face a constant stream of criticism and complaints from your customers. Deliver what you promise, and you’ll be running a happy and rewarding business.

However, the internet’s a funny place. And not ha ha funny. It’s full of armchair critics. There’s an old saying, which I’m bound to wrongly quote, but it goes something like this: You know you’ve made it on the internet when you get your first hater.

It still shocks me to this day how complete strangers go on the internet simply to hurl abuse. But it’s a reality. And when you’re growing your business online, your online presence gets bigger and bigger – social media, blog traffic, ads on facebook. And eventually, you’ll get some crazy person who’ll drop a negative comment into the ad you’ve been lovingly crafting for weeks, or mock the webinar you worked on until 3am.

It’s horrid, but it’s reality. Be prepared for it, And when it happens, either respond gracefully, or with wit and humor, or just block that person and move on.

How flexible are you?

Any industry on the internet changes at such a rapid pace, it can be exhausting trying to keep up with it in your business. You can create a business model, a sales funnel, a way of generating traffic, and in 6 months from now, it’s gone. Things have moved on.

It’s the nature of the industry, and it’s something a lot of people find hard. If you want to run a business online, and especially in a modern field like coaching, you have to be flexible. You have to be prepared to move with the industry, adjust your tactics, but still keep a sharp eye on that end goal of yours.

Can you admit to not knowing everything?

Even the most talented of coaches can transform their business with the right guidance. Now, I’m not talking about spending months and months reading up on everything you need to do before taking the leap and launching your business, but smart advice from the right people can work magic. Now, some of you might remember at the start of the blog post that I promised a rather wonderful freebie. And here it is.

Eben Pagan is running a brand new (free!) training series called “how to be a virtual coach”. Most of you will have already heard of Eben. For the small percentage who haven’t, Eben is widely regarded as one of the internet’s most skilled and respected gurus, marketers, speaker and online coach.

So when I say Eben is running some free training, this isn’t just any old training. This is premium, first class training from the one person you really should take time out to listen to if you want to be a coach. He’s going to be walking you exactly what you need to know to become a virtual coach, he’ll identify 10 of the most profitable niches in the coaching industry, and he’ll walk you through a process to help you align yourself to the niche that is perfect for you.

I’ve followed Eben for years, I’ve taken some of his courses, and I can’t recommend him highly enough. He is one of the most inspiring and motivating experts you’ll ever have the pleasure of watching online, so don’t miss out.

You can register for Eben’s training absolutely free by clicking on the link here and registering your details. But hurry. It is only available for a limited period.

Grab the FREE Virtual Coach Training From Eben Pagan>>

 

 

 

Starting an online business soon? Here are my predictions for how to succeed in 2018

The online world can feel like a tough gig sometimes. No sooner have you mastered a strategy to market your website, the goalposts change and suddenly there’s a new tool/strategy/social media platform on the horizon that you *have* to learn. Doesn’t it sometimes feel like you are forever playing catch up?

I wanted to use this post to help entrepreneurs get away from that shiny object syndrome, whilst still acknowledging tactics that will work now – in 2018 – rather than in a good old days of the internet (when was that exactly?).

So here are my predictions for what is going to help your business succeed this year; solid proven, strategies that will help you avoid the fads and trends that can set you off path.

Please note this post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information. 

Become comfortable with the idea of paying for traffic

I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but if you hoped to create a flourishing business on organic (i.e. free) traffic alone, then you are mistaken.

I read a great quote recently that put the whole organic vs paid thing into perspective for me and I’d like to share it with you (apologies for not revealing my source as I can’t remember where I read it from. If it belongs to you let me know so I can credit you!):

There’s no such thing as free traffic. ‘Free’ traffic still requires expertise, time and effort in mastering search engine optimization, social media etc. It’s definitely not free.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? And the reality is, if you are serious about your business then you really should be investing money in your marketing, and one of the most straightforward ways to do that is to pay for traffic. There’s plenty of ways to do that and here’s some of my favorite:

  • Facebook advertising: It’s still many online businesses #1 platform for driving traffic to their product or service. In this post, I go into more detail about how I grew my list using Facebook ads, and how I did it at a really low cost per lead. 
  • Instagram advertising: You can do this via the Facebook platform. If you have an instagram profile, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s still very new to the platform, so Instagrammers don’t have the same sort of ad banner blindness that they have (trust me, I’ve clicked on dozens of ads myself).
  • Banner ad buys: Buying banner space on other websites has been around for a long time, so you might be surprised to see it in a 2018 blog post. So why did I include it? Because it still works. You can approach a website directly (worth doing, but research the website on Alexa first) or use a third party (e.g. buysellads.com)
  • Payperclick: PPC i.e. advertising on Google, Bing etc has fallen out of fashion in recent years. I think that will start to change. So many advertisers have fallen out of love with PPC that it is a pretty open market (unlike Facebook which is getting more competitive by the day). What I like about PPC is that you are getting the ‘perfect’ customer to your website – when someone is searching online, they are the most likely visitor to be in a ‘buying’ mindset – selling to that person is easy.

Influencer Marketing

Problem: You’re new. You’re trying to build up brand new audiences, followers and fans and you’re competing against businesses that have been doing it for years, businesses, bloggers and gurus with hundreds of thousands of followers. So what are you supposed to do?

Well, one thing smart businesses are doing is tapping into other people’s existing audiences. This is basically what influencer marketing is. You find an “influencer” in your field – someone with tens of thousands of fans (or more) and you pay them to promote your business. It’s still in it’s infancy, but I think this is likely to keep on growing and growing.

Learn how to do retargeting. It’s not as complicated as it sounds

Retargeting is a must for any business. If you aren’t familiar with the term, retargeting is where you advertise to people who have already visited your website. You will have experienced this yourself, even if you aren’t aware of it. You might notice a banner ad occasionally for a website you visited (you might even see it advertising the actual product you were thinking of purchasing). Adroll is one of the leading companies for retargeting, or you can retarget yourself on Facebook using their custom audience feature (I’ll write a full post on this at a later date).

Retargeting works because you’ve already ‘won’ over that person when they visited your website. They know about you, they’ve heard of your brand, and they are much more likely to pay attention to an ad you place in front of them.

In short, retargeting is incredibly profitable for any online business. So make sure you use it

Connect with your customer on a deeper level

Customers value personal connections with the people they are buying from. That is an ancient rule of marketing. But for your business, this is something that is going to be essential if you want to stand out from the online competition in 2018, which is only going to get more fierce.

So how do you build a connection with your audience? Well, blogging is the obvious route, but why not try video instead? If people can see you or hear your voice, it helps them relate to you. Alternative, try an app such as Periscope, where you can live stream to your audience.

Instagram is my favorite social media platform for promoting my business – and here’s why

I’ve spent lots of my time in my business just experimenting with different ways to drive traffic, so that I can help my customers get a great return for the time they spend on their business. And hands down, Instagram has been consistently one of the best ways of growing an audience rapidly and driving traffic back to your website. It isn’t as saturated as other social media platforms, and Instagrammers are incredibly receptive to what you have to offer.

Plus, Instagram is a lot of fun (business doesn’t have to be boring!). I personally love the visual element of it, and it’s pretty addictive. If you are good with aesthetics and can put together a visually appealing Instagram page, then your business may reap the rewards.

My friend and owner of Shop Compliment, Melissa Camilleri has used Instagram to grow her entire business and she now runs a fantastic course teaching others how to do the same. You can find out more about her course here:

Instagram 21 day course

Keep learning

Marketing online changes rapidly and you need to move forward with it. Your number 1 priority should always be about connecting with your customers, but high on your list of priorities should be learning new tactics that are going to help your business grow. Don’t become complacent. If you are profitable, you are driving regular traffic to your website, and you have happy customers, that doesn’t mean you are doing things perfect. Neither does it mean that you’ll still be seeing that same success in 6 months from now. There is always room for improvement, and you always need to try and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Stay connected with other entrepreneurs

If you are a solo entrepreneur, it’s really important that you create solid connections with other business owners. This isn’t just for your own sanity as you spend day after day on your laptop in your pyjamas. It’s also because business connections are one of the most valuable ways you can grow your business. You can connect with people from around the world and you never know what sort of alliances or joint ventures you could forge with these entrepreneurs. Find the right person, and they could help propel your business forward faster than you ever imagined.

Now I’m passing the question on to you. What’s your prediction for 2018? How are you planning to do things differently this year to help grow your business? What tips would you give other entrepreneurs? Drop a note in the comments box below.

(Guest post) The Latest Trends In Digital Marketing

The amount of consumers that prefer shopping online hoping to find best deals and bargains is increasing day by day. Today, with traditional media declining in importance, companies look towards online tools as an integral component of marketing strategies. Undeniably, the media landscape and marketing has changed in fundamental ways that are long lasting, as digital marketing is expected to continue its rapid growth.

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(Guest Post) 5 Common Mistakes That Amateur Bloggers Make

A guest post from Jennifer Nini

Do you want more people reading your blog? Do you want to build your subscriber list? Do you want to make money from blogging?

Of course you do, why else would you have a blog?

You could just as easily be journalling in the privacy of your bedroom. Instead, you’ve chosen to publish to the world wide web.

So let me guess, you’ve slaved away perfecting your prose, editing and re-editing your work before finally hitting that submit button. But for all the work you’ve put in, I bet you’re not getting anyone reading your blog except for some family and friends who are obliged to. Am I right?

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Edgar Social Media Tool Review

I have a confession.

I’m a lazy social media poster.

You see, I understand how important social media is for growing a business. I know it’s a great way to increase visibility of your brand. It’s a great way to connect with potential customers. It’s a great way to bring regular traffic to your website.

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(Guest Post) 7 Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Use

Messy tables, non-stop ringing phones, sporadic schedules, team management troubles, email beeps, and what not; an entrepreneur often has stacks work of finish.  It can be quite difficult to manage all your tasks once your business in kicking-in and has finally started making profits. You don’t want to mess it up at this point of the cycle since this is a crucial stage in the business. Depending on your survival extinct, your business will pave its way into the market and make a mark with the grit you develop at this stage.

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If You’re Not Making Money on Instagram, You’re Doing It Wrong

Guest post by Melissa Camilleri, Founder of Compliment, Inc. and the 21-Day Insta-course

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock the past couple years, you’ll know that Instagram should be a key component to your online marketing strategy, especially as a service-based business, where the competition often believes Instagram will not work for them.  Newsflash: it can and it will.  Your people  are on Instagram.  So it behooves you to show up there, too.

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How I Grew My Email List At Just $0.50 Per Lead Using Facebook Ads

I want to begin this post by revealing a shocking statistic I uncovered in my own marketing efforts these past few weeks, because the whole point of this post is to convince you of the benefit of advertising on Facebook, and these statistics strengthen my point far better than my meagre writing could.

The Statistic

I compared, like-for-like, a Facebook ad campaign with a mobile ad campaign. The mobile ad campaign was 14 times more expensive than the Facebook campaign.

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Leadpages.net Review

I’ve been using Leadpages for about 6 months now, so I thought it was about time I did an honest Leadpages.net review of the product, because I know it’s a tool that a lot of entrepreneurs consider for their business. So I hope this will help you make a decision. I’ll take you through some of my own results I’ve had with it, what I’ve learned along the way, and some of the downsides.

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