As things continue to return to normalcy in the post-pandemic world, one aspect is for sure here to stay, that is work-from-home jobs. In the early stages of the pandemic, workers were required to move to a remote work setting and nobody truly knew what to expect. Soon after, companies started to realize that many employees began to thrive working from the comfort of their own homes over going to an office. This was due to a much more flexible work schedule that allowed workers to balance their personal lives with their careers. Despite having a more flexible work-life schedule, remote work can still come with some obstacles. We are here to help you maximize your production with our tips on how to thrive in your work-from-home job.

Win Your Morning

With many things in life, you need a good foundation first before you can proceed with the rest. This is the same for your mornings before work. Setting up a consistent morning routine not only gives you a solid foundation to build off for the rest of the day; it helps you start your workday with things that you enjoy doing to ensure you head into work with a clear head. Here are some of our most helpful ways to help you start your morning.

  1. Establish a Wake-Up Time: While this may be hard to adjust to, the benefits are worth it. Waking up at the same time every day helps moderate your circadian rhythm for those desired times. This means that your body will adjust and have an easier time falling asleep at night as well as getting up in the morning. If you need a little assistance, consider downloading a sleep cycle app to help monitor and track your sleep habits. Using a sleep app can help you identify the best sleep patterns for you. 
  2. Avoid Using Your Phone Right Away: Grabbing your phone first thing in the morning to check your messages or personal emails is a natural reaction, especially since most people use their phone as an alarm clock. Seeing that unfavorable text or social media post to start your day can put you in a state of stress which can ultimately leave you feeling down for the rest of your day.
  3. Exercise to Start the Day: Aside from the overall health benefits you get from working out, exercising in the morning before work helps you start your day off at a high intensity and on the right foot. Getting your body moving before work not only helps you focus better but relieves stress that you may be carrying. This is due to the endorphins that your brain releases during physical activity. With this, not only can you start your morning off on a healthy note but on a happy one as well.
  4. Take a Cold Shower: If you have a hard time waking up in the morning, this might be a route you should investigate. Taking a cold shower after you wake up or even after your morning exercise can be beneficial in many aspects; one of which is waking you up. The cold water shocks your body, increasing blood flow and overall circulation. In addition, the cold-water shock also helps you from feeling anxious throughout the day. This process puts your body into a state that produces endorphins to battle those anxious moments when they arise.

Converse With Your Coworkers

Being remote means that you likely spend most of your day at work behind a screen, alone. This makes it very easy to fall into isolation if you’re not careful. If your current position doesn’t require a lot of meetings, take the initiative to set up meetings with your coworkers. Utilize this time to discuss work-related topics or just to converse. While this may not be the same as having an actual in-person conversation with somebody, it gives that sense of interaction that we need from time to time. In addition, most companies will offer some form of messaging platform to communicate with other employees. If video calls aren’t cutting it, this might be a great option for you to include alternative interactions with other employees during your workday. Many companies use apps like Slack, which make it easy to facilitate all your communication needs within the workplace. Find the form of social interaction that you like the most and use it every day to avoid feeling isolated.


Beware of Your Screen Time

Extended periods of time spent behind your screen can cause many different health issues. Most remote employees are unaware of all the aspects of their lives that can be affected by too much screen time.

For starters, your sleep can be affected negatively. Screens, and more specifically the light they emit, impact the section of your brain that creates melatonin. To combat this, make sure you are signing off from work at least an hour or two before you go to bed. Doing this gives your brain enough time to unwind and naturally produce melatonin, ensuring you can sleep soundly through the night. A lack of melatonin can make it difficult to fall asleep or reach a deep sleep.

Secondly, screen time has a heavy impact on your eyes. Screens emit blue light, which over time, can cause your eye health to suffer. Overdoing your screen time can cause dry eyes, macular degeneration, extensive eye strain, and blurred vision. While it seems like we can’t escape screens during our workday, there are ways to limit the amount of blue light we are subjected to. Purchasing a pair of anti-blue light glasses is the best way to stay stylish while protecting your eyes. These glasses block out the harmful lights that have the greatest impact on eye health. Saving your eyes should be a priority, especially if you’re working 40 hours a week behind a computer screen.

Lastly, screen time can impact your posture. It is no secret that when you work from home, most of your day is spent sitting. If you are not mindful of your posture while sitting for extended periods of time, your body will start to take a beating. The most crucial areas of the body that are affected by this are your spine and neck. Slouching in your chair puts ample amounts of stress on your spine as well as your neck. To fix this, practice sitting correctly and take breaks to walk around a little bit or stretch. Correct sitting posture has an abundance of positive effects on you when working from home. Including more energy and less fatigue, better productivity, as well as increased breathing productivity.

Find Your Balance

Even with the flexible work schedule your job can offer, it can still cause some speed bumps when it comes to finding your work and life balance. Because you can make your work office anywhere when you work from home, it can be easy to blur the lines between when it is time to work and when you should relax. To combat this, try to create a dedicated home office space in your home. Doing this gives you that feeling of going to work at the office while staying in the comfort of your home. In addition, this makes it easier on you to cut out the distractions. Simply closing your door and leaving your phone outside can be all you need to scale your productivity levels.

Taking frequent breaks throughout your day is essential to a healthy work-from-home life. Brief breaks from your workday have been shown to boost productivity and focus levels. Here are a couple of our favorite break activities you can try:

  • Go outside for a couple of moments and soak up some sun
  • Take a moment to run down the street and grab your favorite beverage
  • Walk around your house and take a moment to stretch
  • Listen to some of your favorite music

Giving yourself a couple of moments to rest between vigorous work tasks is essential not only to how you perform at work but also to your mental and physical health.

Conclusion

It’s completely normal for you to run into issues when working from home. In the grand scheme of things, working from home is still a relatively new route of work. It has only become more popular in recent years due to the pandemic. But it is possible to thrive in a remote setting.

Did this article help you with any tips on how to thrive in a work-from-home job? If so, please share it with people in your community who might need it. And if you want similar blogs for your business, give us a call. We can create amazing content for you!

WebsiteStandOut

You’ve been blogging for months but the results have been underwhelming. There’s traffic to your website but you haven’t converted interest into sales. You’re frustrated because it takes 2-4 hours to write these blogs and you’re not generating income for your efforts. 

And that’s why you decided to click on our article. 

First off, you’re on the right track. Over the years, the numbers supporting the effectiveness of blogging in helping businesses achieve their goals have remained consistent. 

Second, you’re not alone. 70 million blogs are posted every month. 73% of Internet users spend part of their online time reading blogs. There are other content creators such as yourself who allocate 3.5 hours on a given day working on a blog they hope would deliver the desired results. 

Thus, your blog will be competing with other blogs for the attention of the Internet. Before you can think about writing a blog that rings the checkout counter, you have to think about writing a blog that triggers interest first. 

Top 10 Tips On Writing Blogs That Convert Interest Into Sales

In this article, we’ll teach you how to write a blog that attracts the attention of your target audience and triggers interest in your business that converts into sales on your website.

Before you get down to the business of writing a blog, find out who you’re writing it for.

1. Target Your Audience

Let’s assume you’re selling pesticide products, who will you direct your marketing strategies to? Are you going to run a shotgun approach and blast content to consumers who need pest control management?

That could be everyone but without a focused, targeted marketing approach, your efforts could end up hitting no one. The market for pest control products covers a wide demographic that includes households, businesses, and service providers.

To find out who your audience is, you need to conduct research.

Review your website and social media analytics. Identify and list down the key demographics based on data:

  • Predominant gender
  • Age group
  • Income bracket
  • Occupation
  • Designation 
  • Location
  • Most popular blog post
  • Most viewed topics
  • Blogs with the highest engagement levels
  • Blogs that generated the longest screen time
  • Blogs that compelled backlinks

From these pieces of information, you can have a better understanding of what your audience is interested in; what topics they’re looking for, their common concerns, and the types of blogs they prefer to read. 

2. Optimize Your Blogs

Now that you know who to target your content to, you have to make sure they can find them by optimizing your blogs.

Optimizing means making your blogs readily searchable and easy to find by the search bots. A simple optimization strategy is to embed your content with high-ranking keywords. 

Keywords are the most commonly-used words or phrases used by people when performing a search query. 

Therefore, before writing a blog, you must do keyword research. We’ll write an article on how to do keyword research but in the meantime, you can try out some of the best keyword research tools we recommended by clicking this link.

Once you have a spreadsheet of the best keywords for your topic, strategically place them on your blog by following these simple rules:

  • The main keyword must be found in the title.
  • The main keyword must be found within the first paragraph; preferably in the first sentence. 
  • The main keyword must appear in the body and the conclusion of the article.
  • The recommended keyword density is 2% of the total word count.
  • Choose 2 to 3 supporting keywords. 

3. Create Compelling Titles

Even if your target audience found your blog, it doesn’t mean they will click on it. A big reason why Internet users abandon the search before reading the blog is that the title isn’t compelling enough. 

Here are our suggestions on how to create blog titles that will entice your readers to click on your content:

  • The “How-To” Headline – “How to Cook Scrambled Eggs Without Frying”
  • The Listicle – “Top 10 Ways to Burn Body Fat – No Diet Required”
  • The Personal Experience – “How I Overcame My Fear of Failure”
  • The Learning Experience – “7 Skills I Learned Living With a Remote Tribe”
  • The Question Title – “What Do Smart People Eat for Breakfast?”
  • The Negative Title – “Common Mistakes When Choosing Business Partners”

Keyword research will help you pinpoint the topics and titles that your audience is popularly searching for.




4. The Opening Paragraph Must Hook the Reader

If your blog title successfully compelled the reader to click your URL, the opening paragraph must capture him hook, line, and sinker. 

Studies have shown that a person only spends 27 seconds reading a blog. Of the 27 seconds, the first 15 seconds lets him know if the content is interesting enough to continue reading. 

So how do you write an opening paragraph that hooks the reader? Check out our tried and tested tips below:

  • State their problem – “Are you getting frustrated trying all of these popular diet programs that don’t deliver results?”
  • Discuss their situation – “You’ve been blogging for months but the results have been underwhelming.” Our introductory paragraph!
  • Explain why they should read your blog – “If you’re having a hard time getting funding for your business – stick around! We’ll show you 5 easy ways to secure much-needed capital without having to deal with banks.”

Keep your opening paragraph short. The general rule is to use no more than 100 words for your opening paragraph. Again, make sure the main keyword is in there. 

5. Write for Mobile Devices

More than 50% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, particularly smartphones. For this reason, when you write blogs, make sure they’re easily viewed on smaller screens. 

If you’re reading this blog from a smartphone, you’ll notice the following characteristics:

  • The paragraphs are short; usually 2-3 sentences per paragraph. 
  • The sentences are short; around 20-25 words per sentence.
  • There are many white spaces on the blog. 
  • We use headers to categorize each discussion point. 

We formatted the blog this way to make it more scrollable on smartphones. Can you imagine if all of the paragraphs were tightly bunched together? Or if a paragraph has more than 5 sentences that average 40 words each? 

The web page would look crowded; the letters packed tightly and might make the blog harder to read. The white spaces open up the web page and add breaks or pauses between paragraphs. 

Headers define the discussion point for the next section and help organize the content in your blog. 

You can look at some of the most popular blogs on the Internet such as from Neil Patel or Copyblogger. They feature short paragraphs, have a lot of open spaces, and use headers. Not only are the blogs informative but they’re an easy read.

6. Add Internal Links

Adding an internal link is an SEO technique where you hyperlink a word or phrase to another reference page on your website. 

We did this in #2 “Optimize Your Blogs” when we attached a link to a blog we wrote about the best keyword research tools on the Internet.

This is an effective technique to get readers to explore your website content further. You create an opportunity for visitors to read your other blogs and hopefully consider you as a valuable resource. 

Make sure to update the information on your blogs. They have to be current in order to be useful to readers. If you’re still linking to data from 5 years ago, there could be new information by now.

7. Come Up With a Definitive CTA

The reader loves your content and is convinced that you’re the real deal. What do you want him to do next? This is your chance to get him on board as a customer, follower, or subscriber. 

A Call-to-Action or CTA is a command that you give the reader. Having a powerful CTA is crucial in converting interest into sales. The biggest mistake a blogger makes when creating CTAs is coming up with a weak one; a CTA that comes across as indecisive and without enthusiasm. 

In our blogs, we usually end it with an encouraging invitation:

“Give us a call or drop us an email. We’ll give you a free 30-minute consultation and get your digital marketing campaign off and running.”

This is what a weak CTA reads like:

“If you’d like, give us a call or perhaps drop an email. Let’s chat and figure out how to set up your digital marketing campaign.” 

When writing a CTA, think of grabbing the reader by his shirt collar and telling him to act NOW. A reader who’s quite impressed with your blog won’t hesitate to do as you’ve asked. 

A CTA doesn’t have to be situated at the blog. In fact, we recommend that you put a CTA in the middle of your content. To learn how to write an effective CTA, click on this link NOW.

8. Incorporate Exit Campaigns

Have you ever come across a blog that you scrolled for a few seconds and as you’re about to click out or go to another window, a pop-up like this shows up on your screen?

“Ouch That’s abandonment! Why not stick around and avail of a 50% discount on your first month’s subscription? Just give us your email address and click ‘I Accept’”

Exit campaigns are a great way to connect with your site visitors. A well-written pop-up can trigger emotions that might compel the visitor to consider your offer. 

We recommend exit campaigns for e-Commerce sites. For example, if a shopper abandons his cart at the checkout counter, we’ll have a built-in feature that automatically transmits an email to him. The email could read like this:

“Hi! We noticed that you left some items on your cart. How can we help you with your purchase? Perhaps a 10% discount can convince you to give us another try. Just click on this link and we’ll take care of the rest.”

We’ll complement the email with a nice image that’s relevant to the message. Cart abandonment emails have a high conversion rate of 18.64%.

9. Run Activity Notifications Round-the-Clock

You might have been exploring an e-Commerce site and noticed pop-ups appear every few seconds. These pop-ups read:

“Paul from Archuleta just purchased a pair of ski boots.”

“Sandra from El Paso recently bought a 1-liter insulated water bottle.”

“Andy from Kiowa just purchased a pair of long-range binoculars.”

These are round-the-clock notifications that present social proof of people actually purchasing products from the website. As short snippets of information, people can quickly read them and get enticed to buy on the spot.

You can also run round-the-clock activity notifications to get website visitors to sign up for your newsletter or to avail of special promotions. 

 10. Minimize Sales-y Content

The most effective blogs are the ones that provide useful information the readers can use to solve problems. 

If your business sells a product or service that provides the solution, pitching a sale into the blog once in a while isn’t bad. But posting content that frequently pushes a sale will put off the reader. 

A study conducted by Kentico Software showed that incorporating a blog with a sales pitch can diminish the credibility of the brand by 29%. 

Creating blogs with sales-y content might compromise audience loyalty. Instead of viewing your blogs as information that provides useful content, they’ll see them as generic marketing copy that serves only your interest and not theirs. 

Conclusion

The numbers about blogging have remained consistent over the last decade: It works. 

Blogging delivers results but you need to do it properly. As you’ve just read, there’s more to blogging than just turning ideas into content. There’s a process involved and strategies to consider in order to maximize the benefits of blogging. 

Follow the 10 tips we discussed in this article and create blogs that will help convert interest into sales. 

To save time, you can outsource blogging to our team of content writers. We have experience in content optimization and keyword research. Give us a call and let’s schedule a 30-minute consultation free of charge. 

And if you enjoyed this blog, feel free to share it with your community.

WebsiteStandOut

If you find yourself stuck in traffic on the way to work, the best way to get through the situation is to imagine that one day, organic traffic to your website will be just like this. 

Sure, you can always break out the wallet and spend on paid ads to immediately drive traffic to your website. But the people who go to your website do so because they were enticed by your ad, not by your business. 

Not many know who you are, what you do, and your “why” or your purpose for starting this business. Without this backstory, it’s hard to build your brand and foster loyalty. 

In other words, paid ads can drive traffic to your website but they might not even buy or stick around for long because they don’t know what your value proposition is. 

Unpaid or organic marketing strategies can do this for you – build your business brand by enhancing your online presence. People go to your website not because they were enticed but because they were convinced. 

Organic marketing doesn’t cost much or any at all and the rewards can be sustained for the long term. 

Here are our top 10 tips for increasing organic traffic to your website.

1. Write For Your Audience…

…not for the search engines! 

Yes, you should optimize your content for search engines for it to be found on the Internet. However, some Digital Marketers have taken optimization too far. 

They use tactics such as:

  • Keyword Stuffing – The recommended keyword density is 2% of the total word count. However, that hasn’t stopped some digital marketers from cramming as many keywords into the content as possible in order for the content to get indexed frequently. This is a strategy that’s done on product guides and sales copy.
  • Link Stuffing – This is the practice of linking to high-ranking sites that aren’t even relevant to the content in order to get more views. 
  • Unnecessarily Long Blogs – As we’ll explain later, writing long-form blogs are great for enhancing your reputation as an expert – but the content has to make sense. 

There are some digital marketers who create long-form content that reads like a Congressman filibustering on the floor. The content serves no purpose except to keep the reader on the website longer. 

Using these tactics is an attempt to game the search engine algorithm but results in content that isn’t useful to the readers that matter most – your audience. 

To drive more traffic to your website, you must create content that offers value to your audience. How do you do this?

  • Create an audience profile by reviewing your website and social media analytics. 

Find out their demographics; where are they from, which types of content do they like to read, and what device do they commonly use to access your content. 

  • Conduct surveys in social media; get recommendations and suggestions from your followers on the types of content they want you to create. 
  • Visit your competitors’ websites and social media accounts. What are they writing about? Check the engagement level on the content that’s published on the websites and social media pages. 

In short, optimize your content for search engines but write the content for your audience. 

Lastly, don’t try to impress them by using technical terms. You’re the expert, that’s why they went to you. Write in a manner that’s easy to understand. Your audience won’t find the solutions to their problems if your content is causing more confusion. 

2. Create High-Quality Blogs Frequently

Blogging is a proven way of driving organic traffic to your website. We’ve written several articles about the benefits of blogging for your business. Here’s an updated list of statistics on why you should blog:

  • 20 billion blogs are read by more than 400 million people every month.
  • 77% of Internet users read blogs.
  • Websites that blog get 97% more indexed pages than sites that don’t blog.
  • Internet users agree that blogs are the 5th most trusted source of information.
  • In 2021, 93% more marketers used blogs to drive traffic to their websites. 

Before you start blogging, read our article “Why You Should Have A Blog” to bring you up to speed on what blogging is and how to come up with content that drives traffic to your website. 

The biggest misconception about blogging is that everyone can do it. All you have to do is write your ideas and thoughts on a word document, publish it on your website, and distribute it. 

In theory, yes, but no one will find your blog unless it’s optimized for the search engines. Optimization is a skill that involves keyword research, strategically embedding these keywords into your content, while adding backlinks, and ensuring uniqueness and quality. 

You also have to identify your goals for blogging. 

For example, if you want to enhance your reputation as an expert, you should create optimized, long-form blogs. These are blogs that generally exceed 2,000 words. Long-form blogs also keep the visitor longer on your page thereby improving your bounce rate

Can you write long-form blogs? To give you an idea, it takes 3.5 hours to write a short-form blog that ranges from 800 to 1,200 words. 

Google will also check the quality of your blogs. The search engine’s standards require your blogs to be fresh or unique, useful, informative, and engaging. This is a lot of work for someone who runs a business!

Your best option is to outsource blogging to a digital marketing company like us. At Mountaintop Web Design, we not only design and develop high-performance websites but we also help our clients create high-ranking content. 

If you’re enjoying this blog at this point, give us a call!

3. Add Internal Links to Your Blogs

As you noticed in the previous section, we added an internal link to one of our blogs. Anyone who clicks on the link will find himself on another page on our website. This will encourage him to stay longer and possibly entice the visitor to check out your other pages. 

And if you’re proud of your content, why not? 

It’s possible that you created content that’s of higher quality than those you referenced on the Internet. Showcase what you’ve done to your audience. Internal linking will help build your credibility and reputation as an expert in your field. 

4. Develop a Varied Content Strategy

We’ve discussed blogging at great length – but it’s not the only form of content that you should utilize to drive traffic to your website. An effective content marketing strategy involves a variety of delivery channels because not everyone prefers blogs. 

Here is a rundown of other types of content that you might want to incorporate in your inbound marketing strategy:

  • Video-based Marketing 

Yes, on average a person spends 37 seconds reading a blog – but does he get it? Videos can deliver the message faster and with greater clarity because it’s easier for the mind to process visual images than text. Another study showed that videos can process information 60,000 times faster than text.

  • Infographics

An infographic is a form of content that uses images to organize information. Usually, infographics make use of colorful graphics and a combination of different-sized fonts. The visuals are presented in a manner that makes it easier for the reader to understand the information. A study by One Spot revealed that an infographic can increase website traffic by 12%

  • Giveaways and Promos

Everyone likes to get something for free. The only cost is the time spent going to your website and filling out a form or liking a post. Hosting giveaways and promos are a great way of driving traffic to your website. You see promos and contests posted on Facebook and YouTube. The cost of the giveaway or discount can easily be recovered with a few sales. 

  • Podcasts and Webinars

Podcasts have grown in popularity over the last few years. Statistics show that the percentage of podcast listeners jumped up from 44% in 2018 to a remarkable 57% in 2021. Webinars are also increasing in popularity. Businesses report that webinar attendance has increased by 87%. Meanwhile, 73% of marketers state that a webinar can generate 500 leads. 

5. Maximize Social Media

Social media has been around for decades but its popularity continues to grow. According to Backlinko, there were 4.48 billion social media users in 2021 compared to 3.89 billion in 2020. This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 13%. 

There are many ways that you can capitalize on the size and reach of social media to drive more traffic to your website:

  • Share your blogs and always include a link to your website in the lead-in to the post.
  • Stay top-of-mind by posting frequently but make sure to post content that’s relevant and useful to your followers.
  • Minimize sales-type content as it may appear spammy to your followers.
  • Actively engage with your followers by responding to all comments. Remain professional and courteous – even to negative comments.
  • Encourage your followers and customers to leave reviews about your products and services. It might seem risky but the not-so-good reviews can be used as an opportunity to show your professionalism and willingness to extend support.
  • Respond to private messages as soon as possible. The accepted turnaround time on inquiries is 24 hours. 

Always keep in mind what “social” means in social media. It means humanizing your business by communicating, engaging, and acknowledging your customers and followers as important components of your value chain. 

6. Stay Active Within Your Community

Social media has become a force that draws together like-minded people and businesses. Every social media platform has formed its own sets of communities that cater to distinct interests. 

Whether you’re involved in health and fitness, education, telecommunications, Information Technology, manpower recruitment, business consultation, or engineering, you’re bound to find your interest group in social media. 

Join a few of these interest groups and stay active by regularly participating in discussions. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to remember before joining a group:

  • Don’t sell your products or services right away! Don’t even promote your business website the day after your membership gets approved. 
  • Win the group’s trust first by showing the other members that you’re there to contribute your knowledge and experience. 
  • Create a discussion forum once in a while. 
  • Be respectful to all members regardless of differences in opinions. 
  • Strictly abide by the rules and regulations of the group. If the guidelines state “no discussions on politics”, don’t test the rules by posting about your political beliefs. 
  • If you’re not sure if your post conforms with community guidelines, seek approval from an administrator by sending a private message. 

If you stay active and successfully build a good reputation within the community, you’ll receive private messages inquiring about your business. 

7. Improve On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is also called Technical SEO and focuses on improving your website’s performance and functionality. 

As a web developer, the following items are on our Technical SEO checklist:

  • Website page loading time
  • Crawling errors
  • Broken outbound and internal links
  • Duplicate content
  • Simple site structure
  • Optimized XML Sitemap

To learn more, read our article “What Is Technical SEO?”

If the items listed above pass our on-site audit, your website will generate a better experience for visitors. Over time, your website will develop a good reputation as a reliable resource that consistently makes it easy for visitors to find content. As its reputation grows, you might find your website crawling higher on page 1 of the SERP. 

8. Only Link to Quality Sources

Backlinking is a great way of increasing traffic to your website because you enhance the credibility and reputation of your business in the industry. 

But there’s one caveat.

You must backlink to high-quality, reputable websites that have a good domain authority ranking. Doing so can help push your website up the SERP and give your reputation a big boost as a valuable resource in your industry. 

The websites that you’ve linked might return the favor and give you referrals through mentions in their respective sites and community groups.

9. Incorporate Local SEO Strategies

If your business has a brick-and-mortar outlet, sign it up at online search directories.

For example, if you’re selling vinyl turntables, a person launching a query on “best vinyl turntables near me” might see your listing on the search directory’s results page. 

Among the best online search directories to list your business are:

  • Google My Business
  • BOTW
  • About Us
  • Spoke.com
  • Bing Places

To get solid results from your listing, it’s imperative that you provide correct information about your business. These online directories will require you to give the following information:

  • Website URL
  • Directions
  • Hours of Operation
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Location Map

Getting one of these pieces of information wrong will cost you more than foregone sales. It can damage your reputation. 

Take your time when creating your directory profile. When writing a description of your business, always include high-ranking keywords. Use images with excellent quality and resolution. Lastly, keep your business profile updated. 

 10. Use QR Codes

We’re sure you’ve come across these images made of pixels that are placed at the cashier station and entrances at malls, banks, and other commercial establishments. 

QR codes have been around for years but gained popularity during the pandemic because they allowed businesses to have a contactless way to process transactions. Scanning a QR Code not only makes it easier for a visitor to go to your website, but it can help the marketer collect data about your customers. 

This is one reason why retail giant Walmart decided to create its own digital wallet app instead of having Apple Pay accepted at its locations. Walmart’s digital wallet, Walmart Pay, uses a QR code that collects customer information. 

Similar to a CTA, make sure you give your followers a good reason to scan your QR code. Also, place it at a location on your social media pages and other forms of content that make it easy to find. 

Conclusion

All of the strategies that we discussed in this article have been proven effective in delivering results. Now, if that statement brought a smile to your face, there’s one more thing we need to explain to you. 

It takes time for organic marketing strategies to deliver these results. The keys to a successful organic marketing program are consistency, adaptability, patience, and dedication. 

For example, to get the best results in blogging, you have to create and publish content 11 to 16 times a month. That’s a lot of writing! 

Going from four blogs per month to 16 blogs per month doesn’t happen after 30 days. It will take longer because you’re consistently fine-tuning your content creation strategy and adapting to the changes in the online behavior of your audience.

But with patience, dedication, and consistency, you will see results – more organic traffic to your website!

If you need help with your digital marketing, give us a call and we’ll design an effective organic marketing campaign specifically for your business. 

And if you found this article informative and useful, feel free to send it to someone who’s thinking about digital marketing. 

Website.Protection.CustomersSafe

Despite the pandemic situation taking a turn for the worse, the world already seemed set on embracing the work-at-home arrangement for the foreseeable future. 

“The Great Resignation” has been dominating the news as more Americans prefer to work remotely than remain 9-to-5 brick-and-mortar employees. It’s clear that the shift toward remote work will continue over the next few years. 

Whether from home or at the office, work will continue to present challenges that might encroach on your personal life. But it won’t be that way if you follow our 10 tips on how to balance life and work at home.

1. Stick to a Schedule

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Distractions are everywhere and sometimes family and friends will demand your time. To remain productive without overlooking the needs of others, come up with a schedule and stick to it. 

If you think about it, the only difference between work back then and now is the location. You’re no longer working in an office but at home. However, work is work. You still have to manage tasks, meet deadlines, and complete projects. 

Before ending your workday, prepare the following day’s schedule. Identify the tasks you have to accomplish, schedule them based on priority, and allocate the number of hours you plan to dedicate per item.

2. Take Advantage of Digital Technology

Once you’ve established your work schedule, the next step is to inform everyone involved of the designated hours. You can do this effectively by using online tools for communication, project management, and file sharing. 

For example, if you’re working with a remote team, you can use Asana as your project management tool. Asana lets you establish the chain of communication, create a work calendar, and distribute projects per person. 

If you use Skype, include your work schedule or hours of availability on your profile. By doing so, you keep people who have nothing to do with your business from messaging you out of the blue. 

3. Use Free Time for Me Time

Even when you’re working from home, you still need to take breaks to recharge before attending to the other tasks for the day. If you’ve set aside an hour to 90 minutes per task, a rest period of 30 minutes should be enough to get you going again.

The question is: “How should I spend my break time?”

30 minutes is enough time for rest but not much for anything extensive. Going to the laundromat or shopping for groceries will be out of the question. We recommend using your rest period for yourself. 

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take a nap.
  • Exercise for 10-15 minutes.
  • Check your personal email.
  • Check your personal social media accounts.
  • Review the errands that you have to run after work hours.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t get yourself too tired or worked up. If you decide to exercise, get a good sweat going but don’t work yourself to the point of fatigue. 

If you decide to check your social media accounts, avoid posts that trigger negative emotions or those that stress you out.

4. Don’t Forget Your Loved Ones in Your Daily Schedule

To achieve a balance, don’t just plan for work-related activities in your daily schedule. Include those who matter most to you – your family. 

It’s distressing for children to hear “Sorry, I can’t make it to your recital today. I have a lot of work to do.” They might not show it, but for sure, your child will be disappointed that you couldn’t find time in the day for them. 

The key is planning. 

Here are 3 tips for you to consider:

  • Tell your children to inform you ahead of time of the important dates or events in their schedule. 
  • Review your calendar and pencil in days in the month where you can do something special with the family. 
  • Make your schedule public so that your family will have an idea of your availability. For example, post a hard copy of your schedule on the refrigerator door. Update your calendar when needed.

Remember, you can always find time to get new clients or customers. There will always be opportunities for you to capitalize on. But time lost with family can be lost forever.

5. Keep Your Routine Going

If you followed a routine when you were getting ready for the office, there’s no reason you can’t keep it going when you’re working from home. Keeping your usual routine going will help you achieve a state of mental readiness faster and remain productive. It will feel more like “business as usual”. 

The best part of it is that you have more time to enjoy your “rituals” because you don’t have to worry about traffic, the commute, or looking for an open parking space.

Go ahead and shower longer to feel refreshed. Savor that freshly brewed cup of coffee. Catch up with the family and give them some good advice for the day. Prepare your workplace; organize your area, review your calendar, and put your mind in office mode.

6. Focus On Quality Not Quantity of Work Hours

In a survey conducted by wfhresearch.com, 60% of respondents said they were more productive working at home compared to the office. 

The result isn’t surprising because you don’t deal with the usual stressors and productivity inhibitors at home that you would at the office on a daily basis. These stressors include:

  • The daily commute
  • Office politics
  • Frequent watercooler chat
  • Micro-managing by the supervisor
  • Unexpected changes in work schedule

For this reason, you can get more work done at home in less time than you would at the office. 

If you dedicate 90 minutes per task, you can get 3 tasks accomplished per day while still having time for intermittent 30-minute rest breaks. The 3 tasks can be accomplished in 6 hours. 

Compare that to a day in the office where according to studies, 10% of the workforce only puts in 90 minutes of productive work per day. 

By following our 90/30 work schedule, you can boost your productivity by 300% – and you’ll only work for 6 hours per day not the usual 8 hours schedule. 

Long hours don’t make you productive. It what’s you do during time spent at work that determines your level of productivity. Here are tips on how to get more out of each work-from-home day.

  • Prioritize the high ROI tasks
  • Work on the tasks that are closest to their deadlines. 
  • Start with the task that gives you sleepless nights. 
  • Delegate non-essential tasks. 

Stay disciplined. As our teachers used to say in school, “Finish or not finish”, stop working and take your 30-minute break. If you didn’t finish the task but you’re within the deadline, finish it the following day and work on a new task when your break is up. 

7. Designate Work and Play Areas

In the past, we’ve written about how important it was to dedicate a work area in your home to help you focus on your business. What we haven’t touched on is the importance of having a dedicated space for playtime as well.

Playtime for adults? Yes! Adults need to relax and decompress from work especially if things have been getting stressful. Taking naps are great but sometimes, all nap and no play can make you dull – and more tired. 

What makes you less stressed out? Is it playing video games, playing a musical instrument like the guitar or piano? Do you prefer listening to vinyl records? How about solving puzzles or playing chess? 

Identify the activities that help you chill then designate an area for them. Look for a room that’s hardly used and convert it into your private playroom. 

Don’t be afraid of spending a bit such as for soundproofing if you’re a musician or a gamer. Managing stress helps improve productivity.

8. Take a Holiday

Sure, working from home frees you up from having to deal with traffic and office politics but you still have to deal with the demands of your business:

  • Deadlines
  • Clients
  • Customer complaints
  • Tech issues
  • Problems within your remote team
  • Financial matters

There will be days where 30-minute breaks won’t be enough to help you recharge and de-stress. If these days continue and accumulate, they will affect your performance and overall health. 

When this happens, a vacation might be what the doctor ordered. 

Go ahead and take a few days off with your family. Visit a place you’ve always wanted to go to. Plan a laundry list of activities. Shut down the diet temporarily and indulge. 

Don’t feel guilty about taking a vacation. 

9. Unplug Without Remorse

And while you’re on vacation – feel free to unplug – and not feel guilty about it. Sure, take a few pics and upload them on social media but don’t feel obligated to check on your work emails. 

Trust that your remote team has everything under control. It’s okay to check on business matters once in a while. But to get the most out of your breaks – 30-minute periods or a vacation – unplug from technology. 

For example, when at a restaurant or at the dinner table, tell everyone to put away their smartphones and engage in conversations. While on vacation, explore and get immersed in nature instead of video games. 

Technology isn’t going away but relationships might drift apart without the human touch.

 10. Remain Inspired

Perhaps the best thing about working from home is that you’re with the people who inspire you to succeed – your family. 

When work gets tough, take a moment to seek inspiration from your family. Save the spreadsheet file and spend time with your wife and kids. Rediscover your “why” – your purpose for pursuing a successful work-from-home career:

  • To give your family a life where they don’t have to worry about financial matters.
  • To buy a bigger home where your kids can firmly plant their roots. 
  • To set aside money for your children’s education so that they won’t have to be burdened by student loans. 
  • To have a comfortable nest egg for you and the spouse. 

To look forward to retirement and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Whether it’s a Harley-Davidson, a sailboat, or the new Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster – if you can afford it, go for it! 

Conclusion

Can your life at the office and at the home co-exist? Yes! You simply must make time for both. To succeed in life, you must succeed in your career and with your relationships. 

That includes your relationship with yourself. Don’t give too much time to others that you have nothing left for you. 

Did this article help you gain clarity about balancing life and work at home? If so, please share it with people in your community who might need it. And if you want similar blogs for your business, give us a call. We can create amazing content for you!

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Based on the latest employment data, more people prefer to work from home even as the world continues to recover from the pandemic. 

According to Pew Research, when the pandemic started, 20% of Americans reported they preferred to work from home. A few months after the US economy started to open up for business, the number of American workers who preferred a work-from-home arrangement ballooned to 71%. 

If you’re one of those former brick-and-mortar employees who have transitioned to a work-from-home arrangement, we know that you’ve experienced challenges to having a productive day consistently. 

We’re here to tell you that shouldn’t be the case. You can have a productive work-from-home schedule by following our 10 tips outlined below.

1. Dedicate a Space for Work

Finding a space for work inside the home isn’t easy for everyone. Not all homes have a spare room that they can convert into an office. If your space is limited, dedicate a table as your work area. 

It would be great to have enough surface area to work with a PC and large monitor. But if this isn’t possible, make sure you have enough space to move around and work with your laptop. 

After all, you want to be as comfortable as possible when working in a confined space. 

If you’re using the same laptop for personal use, create a separate account for work. It might seem like a small thing but having different usernames and passwords for work and personal use can go a long way in maintaining work-life balance and focus. 

2. Establish a Work Schedule

You had to abide by a work schedule at the office, why should things be different now that you’re working from home? You can’t accomplish your business goals if you don’t put in the required hours.

That said, the biggest benefit about working from home is that your work hours are more flexible. Why? For starters, you don’t have to deal with the inconveniences of traffic and the daily commute. 

You can start working the moment you get out of bed or after you’ve had your first cup of coffee. The most important thing is to set a work schedule and commit to it. 

3. Have Process Flows In Place

Process flows are built-in systems that help organize work and make everything more efficient. Systems are composed of programs and other types of tools that have been developed to provide a specific function. 

What do we mean and how do these processes, systems, and tools apply to your work from home schedule?

Incorporate software programs that can help you manage the different areas of work such as communication, project management, file sharing, marketing, and accounting. 

Here are a few good examples of software programs that address these key areas of responsibility:

  • Communication – ZOOM, MS Teams, and Skype.
  • Project Management – Asana, Trello, and Basecamp.
  • File-Sharing – Google Drive, Dropbox, and MS OneDrive.
  • Marketing – Buffer, HubSpot, and ActiveCampaign.
  • Accounting – QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Wave.

You don’t need all of these programs in your process flow. Choose one – preferably the program that you’re familiar with.

Once you’ve selected the programs, create an outline of the steps of the process flow.

For example, if you’re managing projects for different clients, this could be an effective process flow:

Step 1: Project assignments and details will be posted in Asana. 

Step 2: Files can be retrieved from Dropbox. 

Step 3: Completed files will be uploaded to Dropbox. 

Step 4: Status of the project and a direct link to Dropbox will be inputted in Google Sheets. 

Step 5: Progress timetable will be updated on Asana. 

Create process flows for marketing, communication, and accounting and circulate the details to the concerned parties.

4. Plan Your Day – The Night Before

If you go to the supermarket without a shopping list, you’ll spend most of your time stressing about what you need, which aisle to go, and how much to pay. Chances are you won’t get everything you need and end up going over budget. 

If you don’t plan your day the night before, you’ll start the day not knowing which tasks to do and to prioritize. Chances are you’ll overlook the most important tasks and end the workday with not much to show for.

That’s the problem with guesswork – you waste so much time. Guesswork is a productivity killer. 

So how do you plan the tasks for the next day? There are a several ways to approach this:

  • Prioritize the task that results in the highest ROI for your business.
  • Attend to the task that gave you a sleepless night.
  • Attack the task that is closest to completion and will put you on the “board”.

Regardless of your approach, the outcome must be productive for your business. By planning ahead, once you get out of bed, your mind is more focused and you’ll be less stressed. 

A quick jolt of caffeine is all you need to hit the ground running, get your day started, and start ticking tasks off the list of things to do. 

5. Set Your Business Goals

Setting business goals is important because it creates direction for your company. Having a goal gives your day purpose. It’s the reason you don’t just rise out of bed but jump out of it to seize the day.

You can have a primary business goal then break the steps of achieving it into smaller goals. 

For example, your primary business goal is to drive more traffic to your website. It’s not realistic to expect website traffic to increase in one day. Driving inbound traffic to your website requires planning, implementation, monitoring, and consistency. It can be touch and go for a while where changes to the overall strategy will be needed to generate the desired results. 

Thus, a typical day could consist of performing the following tasks to keep you moving toward your goal of increasing website traffic:

  • Write a blog.
  • Post content on social media.
  • Email the latest newsletter to subscribers.
  • Engage with followers on social media. 
  • Review performance on all the social media platforms. 
  • Work with the production team on the creation of new short videos. 

Can you have more than one business goal? Yes! 

Your other goals might be to improve the sales conversion rate, streamline costs, develop a content strategy, or look and qualify resellers and distributors. 

Whatever your goals are, make sure they are realistic and measurable. Most importantly, work on them every day. Those steps might be small but with persistence and consistency, they can help you achieve big results.

6. Create Ground Rules

It wasn’t only businesses that had to shift to an online model when the pandemic hit. Even schools migrated their programs online and had students studying from home. 

As the world slowly opens up to the realities of co-existing with the pandemic, many schools continue to run their curriculums online out of safety concerns. Chances are, you won’t be the only one working from home. 

Your children might think that since Mom and Dad are at home most of the time, you’re at their “beck and call” 24/7. If you allow this to happen, the work-from-home arrangement won’t be productive. 

Set the ground rules at home. Let everyone know that while you’re working, no one will be allowed to contact you unless it’s really, REALLY important. Tell your children to take the phone calls and to attend to anyone who’s at the door. 

Leave a voicemail on your phone that advises everyone who calls that you can’t take their call because you’re working. In fact, we would advise you to keep your phone locked away in a drawer during work hours. 

If your spouse expects you to run some errands, inform your spouse that you’ll attend to those tasks after work. 

7. Schedule Rest Periods

When you were reporting to an office, you had 30-minute breaks every 3 to 4 hours. At home, you can schedule 30-minute breaks every 1.5 to 2 hours. 

Why should rest periods be more frequent when you’re working from home? According to studies, the brain can process and consolidate information for only 75 to 90 minutes; 120 minutes maximum. 

Scheduling rest periods every 75 to 120 minutes will allow your mind to relax, recharge, and retain information better. 

During your rest period, you can:

  • Take a nap – highly recommended!
  • Exercise – also highly recommended!
  • Get a snack
  • Check your phone for messages
  • Check on your kids
  • Run an errand that can be done within 30 minutes

The important thing is to be able to rest and decompress after attending to a task. After 30 minutes, you’ll be ready to handle the next task and move closer toward ending the workday productively.

8. Set Aside Time for Your Colleagues

You might find working from home to be a more fulfilling arrangement but not everyone on the team might feel the same way. 

Some people have a hard time adjusting to a work-from-home schedule. They’re used to shared-space collaboration with colleagues and prefer to work in a traditional office setting. 

Yes, believe it or not, some people don’t mind the commute, the office politics, and having the supervisor hovering over them. 

If you’re working with a remote team, always set time in a day for them. You can use Zoom or Microsoft Teams to run conference calls. This will help those on your team who are struggling with the work-from-home arrangement adjust and adapt to the new conditions. 

A few ideas:

  • Schedule daily pre-shift or post-shift meetings.
  • Have short 30-minute coffee breaks with the team.
  • If it’s someone’s birthday, set up an online party with food and drinks.
  • Schedule one-on-one consultations with team members who you know are struggling the most. 
  • Have a virtual night out with your colleagues; kick back a few ice-cold beers and just chill out. After all, no one’s drinking and driving!

Maintaining regular communication with your remote team will help build stronger relationships and keep everyone more committed and focused on their jobs.

9. Keep the Learning Process Going

It’s not just your kids who should pursue higher education. Everyone, including you, can benefit by keeping the learning process going. You can always get better by updating your current skill set or learning new ones. 

For example, everyone can benefit from improving their business acumen. If money management is a weak point, sign up for short courses on business accounting. 

If you want to improve the existing workflows in your business, spend an hour each day learning a new project management software program. 

Why not sign up for online foreign language courses so you can network and promote your business to other regions?

You can also research your industry and find out the latest trends and developments. You may have been immersed in managing the micro details of your business that you’ve been out-of-the-loop with the macro factors affecting your industry. 

Keep in mind that the world doesn’t standstill. In a global economy, events in one region can have repercussions in another. Market conditions can change without warning. 

It would be a good idea to adopt a flexible business model. This means learning new skills that can help you identify shifts or changes in the horizon and implement the appropriate courses of action right away,

 10. Take Vacation or Sick Leaves

Just because you’re working with the comforts of your home doesn’t mean you’ll never get sick or need time off to recharge. There will come a time when the 30-minute rest periods every 75 to 120 minutes won’t suffice and you’ll need time away from work.

When that time comes – get away from work. If you get sick, schedule a few days’ leaves and get much-needed rest. 

Depending on the situation in your region, if pandemic guidelines allow you to travel across the country, schedule a short vacation. Head off to a place where you can get fresh air and sunlight. If possible, disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in nature. 

Our company is called “Mountaintop” for a reason. Whenever we feel the need to decompress and recharge, we get away from it all by climbing mountains in Colorado. 

Mountain climbing is a great form of exercise and helps clear our minds from the challenges at work. It’s also a wonderful way of building teamwork. Getting to the top of the mountain requires everyone to perform at their best and to keep the team’s interest the main priority. 

Reaching the pinnacle of the mountain is always a rush and an amazing accomplishment for the team!

Conclusion

Working from home is an opportunity for achieving a work-life balance. However, its success will depend on being able to maintain a productive schedule daily.

You don’t have to implement all of our 10 tips discussed in this article to ensure a productive work environment at home. Choose the ones that best apply to your situation and nature of work. 

The important takeaway is to understand that when you work from home, you still have to work and put in the needed hours to succeed in your career. 

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we can create these types of amazing, high-ranking content for your website. By outsourcing content writing to us, you can focus more on the tasks that add dollars and cents to your bottom line. Likewise, feel free to share this article with friends who are working from home.

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Hello! What brings you here?

Search is the number one activity on the Internet. It all starts with a need to find information. The keywords you used to launch a query will open a results page with a list of URLs. Every URL you click onto will have content that could provide the answers to your query.

Content can be anything. It can be a tweet. A blog. An article. An email. An image or video. In short, it is a message that communicates directly with the targeted audience.

It’s how you got here.

You wanted to know more about content marketing. And we have the content to show you how to get started.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of using information that is usable and relevant to the needs, concerns, or interests of the target audience. It is a form of communication whereby the message resonates with the recipient and compels him/her to take action.

Communication is very important in marketing. The message must be focused and clearly articulated so that content will resonate and be accepted openly by the recipient.

Content marketing is targeted marketing. You create content that appeals to a specific audience. It is optimized; you don’t have to find them because they will find you.

Compare that to a marketing approach that distributes flyers inside a mall or inserts them between the pages of the Sunday paper.

If you distribute 1,000 flyers, how many will be compelled to take your desired action? Some will just ignore the flyer. A good number will find their way into a garbage can.

Thus, for marketers, content marketing offers an effective and efficient way of communicating with their audience.

How Will Content Marketing Help Your Business?

If you can find a way to increase your visibility or enhance your online presence on the Internet, you will be able to achieve your online marketing goals.

With content marketing, people follow you willingly. You build an audience composed of people who enjoy your content. They see value in it and consider you a valuable resource. Over time and with consistency, great content will develop your credibility and reputation.

A successful content marketing campaign can reap the following benefits for your business:

  • Drives higher inbound traffic to your website.
  • Builds strong brand awareness.
  • Encourages brand loyalty.
  • Improves your search ranking.
  • Improves your sales conversion rate.
  • Enhances your reputation as an expert.
  • Establishes stronger relationships with your audience.

Content marketing is also a sustainable business development strategy. Great content is evergreen; it will stand the test of time. A blog that you published today can be re-published in six months.

You can even re-publish it three years later. All you have to do is update information such as statistics, new developments, outcomes, and other key data. It will cater to a whole new audience; perhaps bring in people who have not heard of your business.

Finally, content marketing will not sink your bank account. Yes, there is a cost to producing great content. However, the cost of publication is much more affordable compared to traditional marketing.

There is no cost to posting content on your social media pages or those in your network. Paid ads have a cost but you only pay every time someone clicks on your content. Now compare that with the cost of publishing content in a newspaper or glossy.

Not only will content marketing save you money, but your content will be visible to more people. Most importantly, it will be seen by the people who matter the most: Your audience.

Learn more about the website services we off

How To Start Content Marketing

If you’re still here, that means we’ve convinced you to push through with content marketing.

Before you sit down and start creating content, please understand that content marketing is a process. There are steps that you need to follow to ensure the success of your campaign.

1. Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

Think of the different types of content – blogs, articles, web copy, product reviews, videos, images, and tweets –  as tools of the trade. Every business that decides on running a content marketing campaign has access to the same tools as you.

However, not everyone will succeed. Some will fail. Others will fall short of their goals.

Therefore, content marketing will only be as effective as the strategy behind it.

Content strategy also identifies the “why”; the purpose of each piece of content you create as well as the “when” which refers to the distribution and publication schedule.

Without strategy, your content marketing plan will be treading blindly into unchartered waters. There will be no rhyme or reason to the types of content you put out. Your message will get lost. Your audience will have no idea of what you are trying to communicate.

A content strategy establishes structure to your content marketing plan. It lays out the path of the journey you want to put your audience on.

2. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team

Can you create and publish your own content? Sure! The more important question is, “Should you?”

Creating content takes time. A 1,500- word blog post can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete.

Thus, even if you have the talent to create content – don’t! Instead, you should assemble a content marketing team. A rundown of the skills you need for your team would include the following:

  • Content Writer
  • Editor
  • Keyword Researcher
  • SEO Specialist

Collaborate on the content strategy with your content marketing team. Make sure all topics, titles, and posting schedules are presented to you for approval before implementation.  

3. Build On Ideas For Content

For a few days, you could find yourself knocking out one amazing content piece after another. Then without warning, you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen. The creativity well has run dry. What will you do next?

First of all, don’t panic. It happens even to the best content writers. Creativity comes from ideas. And ideas are initiated by inspiration. Sometimes you just need to find good sources of inspiration to pour in new ideas into the creativity well.

Here are five good sources of ideas for content creation:

  • Customers – Reach out to your audience. Find out what issues and concerns are of interest to them. Conduct surveys in your social media pages or through email marketing.
  • Competitors – Visit your competitors’ websites and social media pages. What are they writing about? Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement?
  • Influencers – Influencers are movers and shakers in the industry. They know the pulse of the market. Subscribe to their content so you can get daily updates.
  • Sales People – If you’re in retail, your sales people directly engage with your customers. Invite them to a brainstorming session and find out which topics would be of interest to your audience. You might even want to consider asking a few of them to contribute content for your website.
  • Social Media – With more than 3 Billion sharing content every day, you’ll never run out of ideas in social media. Join interest groups and take note of topics that trigger active discussion among members.

4. Create Your Content

What processes are involved in creating content?

  • Topic research
  • Title research
  • Keyword research
  • Fact checking on sources
  • Hyperlinks/ citing of references
  • Submission and review of drafts
  • Draft finalization
  • Spelling and grammar check
  • Plagiarism check
  • Optimization of content

All told, there are at least 10 steps required in content creation. The process can be longer if multiple drafts were needed before the finalizing the draft.

As we mentioned in step #2, content creation takes time. If you are planning to publish multiple content pieces every week, you could have a log jam in your schedule.

This is the value of having content strategy in place. Before creating content, establish a content writing calendar.

For example, a blogging calendar for a real estate company can include the following types of content:

  • How-To articles
  • List-Type articles
  • Informative articles
  • Opinion pieces
  • Management practices
  • Leadership and entrepreneurship
  • Inspirational

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the calendar, it should have a publication schedule in place.

Let’s say you planned to publish 16 blogs every month. A good strategy would be to create informative content for the first four topics. This could be How-To and List-Type articles. The purpose is to highlight the expertise of the real estate agency and how its services can be of value to potential clients.

The fifth article could be an Opinion piece on a topic related to the most recent List-Type article. For example, if you published an article entitled, “How To Get Approved For A Home Loan”, you could write an Opinion piece on why lending rates should be lowered.

The purpose is to provide the readers a break from assimilating highly-informative  content to one that encourages greater engagement and discussion.

By having a content creation calendar in place, you can manage your time better. You will be able to produce high-quality, unique blogs that are well-written, thoroughly-researched, informative, engaging, and optimized.

Best of all, you will stay on schedule.

5. Promote Your Content

You’ve invested time and effort on your content. As an asset, you want it to reap dividends. Where you promote your content will determine if your content can give you solid returns.

An effective content promotion strategy should involve multiple distribution channels. This way, your content will be assured to reaching a wider audience.

Here are five of the best distribution channels you could use to promote your content:

  • Social Media – Choose no more than 3 networks for easy monitoring. Come up with a posting schedule for each network. If you have a content marketing team, they will probably share your content to their community.
  • Paid Advertising – PPC brings your content directly in front of potential end users. It is highly-effective and cost- efficient as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Email – Once you’ve built a good-sized email list, send them short but informative and useful content pieces every month.
  • Blogging Communities – Guest blogging is another effective distribution strategy. Your content will be discovered by a new audience and it may trigger faster growth.
  • Comment Sections – Don’t just post links to your content in the comments section. Build relationships first through regular engagement. When you’ve built credibility and trust with the site, you can post links that are relevant to the conversation. This means, don’t just post your links but include other sites as well.

There are other channels and techniques that you can use to promote your content. These include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Display Ads, and Content Syndication.

You don’t have to use all of these channels to distribute your content. Determine which ones are more aligned with the types of content you are promoting. Initially, select 3 to 4 channels and assess its performance.

If the numbers fall below your target ROI, then you should consider changing tactics by choosing another distribution channel.

Conclusion

As you’ve just read, writing online content is a whole new ballgame. It’s not enough to be a good writer. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done because you want your content to stand out from the rest. You need to combine creative writing with the precision of optimization techniques.

A properly planned and executed content marketing strategy will bring your company closer to achieving its targeted goals. This is the reason we offer content marketing services to our clients at Mountaintop.

By outsourcing content writing to us, we eliminate the guesswork for you. We develop the ideas, come up with the topics, titles, and make sure these are supported by well-researched and fully- optimized content.

If you’re interested in starting a content marketing campaign, reach out to us. We will take you through the process and show you how our content has helped clients achieve their business objectives.

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The fact that video content amplifies the effectiveness of digital marketing should not come as a surprise. After all, as digital technology evolves, multimedia becomes a more entertaining experience for users. However, with the wrong approach, your video content could fail to deliver the desired results.

Video: A Powerful Driver Of Online Content

Which one would compel you to try the latest steakhouse in your town? A 30-second video on how a 16-ounce Porterhouse steak is grilled and served on a plate with baked potatoes and steamed vegetables or a one minute read?

In our article “How To Use Video Content In Marketing”, we identified at least five benefits of video for your marketing campaign. Here are three eye-opening statistics that prove including video in your content strategy is a smart decision:

100 Million – The number of hours people watch videos on Facebook.
5 Billion – The number of videos watched on YouTube on a daily basis.
10 Billion – The number of videos viewed on SnapChat

Video is a powerful driver of content because it is more effective and efficient in delivering your message.

It appeals to multiple senses: sight, sound and feel. A 30 to 45 second video can compel a viewer to take action more immediately than text content that will require a reading time of one minute.

However, posting videos for the sake of having video content on your blog or social media will not produce your targeted outcome. On the contrary, it may work against you. The key is to put thought and strategy behind your videos. Like all marketing concepts, it must have direction, purpose and objective.

7 Ways To Harness The Power Of Video For Social Media Marketing and Blogging

The great thing about digital marketing is that it allows you to focus your efforts on a target audience. If you’re offering coaching programs for running, your investment in marketing will yield low returns if your distribution channel reaches more smokers than fitness or running enthusiasts.

Digital marketing has tools that allow you to fine-tune your marketing efforts toward potential buyers of your product or service. Two of its most effective and popular tools are social media marketing and blogging.

These two strategies go hand-in-hand. You can always post your blog on your social media page and include a link back to your website.

Adding a video makes text-based content exponentially more effective. Here are 7 ways you can harness its full power:

1. Choose Your Social Media Platforms

As we had written in our article, “How To Choose The Best Social Media Platform For Your Business”, not all social media platforms can generate the results you want. Some types of businesses work with certain platforms more than others.

If you have a highly-visual product, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube may work for you. If you plan to use videos to launch promotions and to acquire more followers, Twitter and Facebook should be the platforms of your choice.

Don’t spread yourself out too thin. If this is your first time to produce videos, start out with only one or two social media platforms. Having fewer accounts to manage makes it easier to track performance.

2. Identify Your Objective

What do you want your video to accomplish? If you want your video to inform people of what your business does, you should produce an explainer video.

If you want to show your viewers what your product does, you should shoot “How-To” videos. If you want to enhance your reputation as an expert in the industry, you can set up a webinar.

You can have more than one objective, but do not attempt to accomplish all of these objectives in one video. You will come out with convoluted content; its message will go in different directions and lead to disengagement with your audience.

Instead, the best approach would be to come up with a time-table for your objectives. Then produce the videos according to your schedule.

3. Tell A Story

Storytelling remains an effective approach to content marketing because it makes it easier for viewers or readers to process the meaning of your message.

A good story turns the viewer from a mere observer to a vicarious participant. He/she is transported from the computer screen to behind your lens. Storytelling gets the audience more engaged with your content.

4. Keep Video Content Short

Videos are effective but only to a point. Whether it is text-based or video content, people have a short attention span. A study by Microsoft showed that people have an attention span that is shorter than a goldfish.

However, this doesn’t mean you should produce six-second videos. You can’t deliver your message if the video is too short. The length of your video would depend on the type of video you produce.

Here is a guideline you can use to determine the ideal video length:

Explainer Videos – 30 to 90 seconds
“How-To” Videos – 2 to 10 minutes
Webinars – 10 minutes
Customer Testimonials – 10 minutes
Product Reviews – 5 to 10 minutes

As you may have noticed, most types of video content top off at 10 minutes. Below is a chart of the audience engagement level for a webinar. You will see that there is an inverse correlation between engagement and the duration of video content:

Chart courtesy of vidyard.com https://www.vidyard.com/blog/optimal-length-for-b2b-video-funnel/

5. Integrate Video Into Your Digital Marketing Campaign

As effective as videos have been proven to be, it should not be the focal point of your digital marketing campaign. We recommend integrating video as part of your digital marketing campaign to give you a more holistic strategy.

A diversified digital marketing campaign will allow you to reach a wider audience. Remember, not everyone prefers videos over text-based content. Also, some audience members may have difficulty accessing your videos due to problems in Internet connectivity or web hosting issues.

It will also streamline your costs. Text-based content remains an effective medium for delivery and is comparatively cheaper to produce than videos.

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6. Invest In Video Hardware

Producing good quality videos will require you to invest in hardware. You have to use hardware that can ensure great image and audio quality.

Now, before you think you will have to break open your bank account, advances in digital technology can make you produce awesome videos on a limited budget!

Here are some suggestions on the types of hardware you can use to produce great video content:

Smartphone – If you have an iPhone 5 or higher, you can be sure to have the ability to shoot amazing videos. For example, the iPhone 6 reportedly can shoot 4K videos which offer great resolution and audio quality.

Camcorders – There are many affordable camcorders that you can buy from online retailers like Amazon or eBay. Many of these cheaper models can still shoot great quality videos.

Tripod – You wouldn’t want your video to give your viewers a migraine! A tripod will keep your camera stable without having to ask someone to hold it for you.

Microphone – A lavalier microphone is cheap but will significantly improve the sound quality of your videos.

If you plan to shoot videos while on the move, you should use handheld sticks for camcorders or smartphones. These handheld sticks have motion-stability sensors which keep your videos stable even while you are moving vigorously.

7. Use Video Editing Apps

There’s no such thing as a perfect video but at the very least, you should try your best to enhance it. Video editing apps will help you bring out the details: color, contrast and reducing unwanted background noise.

If you have the ability to compose music, there are video editing apps that you can use to add an original soundtrack. How about closed-captioning? There are video editing apps that can do that as well. You can find video editing apps for a PC desktop or a mobile device.

It’s all about enhancing user experience. Little things such as coming up with an amazing opening credits scene, speed level changes and perfectly-executed quick cuts can turn your video from ordinary to memorable.

4 Worst Practices When Using Video For Your Blog Or Social Media

It takes time to produce a great video. Your efforts will be wasted if if cannot deliver the expected outcome. These four worst practices are often overlooked but can affect the performance of your video:

1. Self-Hosting The Video

In our article, “Why You Should Never Host Your Own Videos On Your Own Website”, we discussed two ways you can post video content on your website. Embedding a video is a better option than self-hosting a video. It will be more accessible and will give your audience a better viewing experience.

2. Failure To Optimize Video Size

When embedding a video, make sure you optimize its size to the width of your blog page. The width of the video should not exceed that of the blog’s column for the content. You’ll be surprised how observant some of your viewers are. They can easily point out these mistakes and call you out for it.

3. Absence Of Text Content

One of the guiding rules of marketing is to give your audience some context before delivering your content. It is a good idea for viewers to know what to expect before the video rolls on. You can use a closed-caption or transcription app to embed a few sentences that will set up your video content.

4. Does Not Include A Call to Action

Great content should be compelling. It should initiate action. So what do you want the viewer to do after watching your video? Do you want him/her to subscribe to your YouTube channel? Do you want him/her to sign up for your newsletter? Without a Call- to- Action, your efforts as well the viewer’s time would end up being wasted.

Conclusion

Using videos is a brilliant way of adding more value to your social media and blogging content. Integrating video to text-based content is like the one-two punch combination in boxing: it is a classic combination that will yield good results.

However, you need to spend time planning the production schedule of your video. The days of point-and-shoot, ragtag videos are over. Viewers are more discriminating of the quality of video content and its production values.

You do not have to hire a movie company to produce your video. Today’s devices, including the latest versions of the smartphone, are good enough to produce high-quality videos. It also pays to take production levels a step higher by using editing apps to make your video content really stand out.

Are you planning on using videos for your blogs or social media? Give us a call or an email and we can schedule a call or a sit-down meeting at your convenience. Adding videos is definitely a move in the right direction. We will make sure that the videos will help you achieve its intended goal.

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Social proof is the phenomenon whereby consumers’ actions are influenced by the experiences, attitudes, and opinions of other consumers. Let’s assume you are on the market for a new smartphone. What would influence your decision more: reading marketing copy on a smartphone’s features or hearing the experiences and opinions of a few trusted friends?

Chances are you would put more weight on the testimonies of your friends. You trust their opinions more because you know they would not give you a bad recommendation. This is an example of how social proof works and why many businesses continue to use it to build trust and reputation for their website.

6 Ways To Use Social Proof For Your Website

  1. Publish content from users.
  2. Highlight customer testimonials on your website.
  3. Cite actual case studies that addressed specific customer pain points.
  4. Find reputable influences who can endorse your product or service.
  5. Invite customers to post reviews about your product or service.
  6. Substantiate key information with actual numbers.

One of the most popular quotations on social behavior goes like this: “When someone talks a lot about himself, it only means no one is talking about him.” The same message can be applied when using social proof for your website.

The purpose of web copy is to entice the visitor to explore the website further. As a rule, web copy content must be able to present the brand’s value proposition within a few seconds. Otherwise, the visitor might just click out of your website.

Given that challenge, it should be perfectly understandable why web copy content highlights the brand’s strongest, most sellable features. However, for the discerning or discriminating consumer, such web copy content can be seen as self-serving:

“Of course, you’ll say your brand is the best. You’re trying to sell your products to consumers like me.”

By contrast, if the same consumer comes across customers’ testimonies, product ratings, and reviews, the perception of your brand will change. Testimonies, product ratings, and reviews are examples of social proof techniques that you can use for your website. They have the ability to boost your claims because like your friends’ opinions, they have nothing to gain by giving you a bad recommendation.

How Social Proof Has Influenced Business

In this day and age where the Internet has made information more accessible, it should be safe to say most consumers think that way. The Internet has shifted the balance of power to the consumer.

Gone are the days when businesses could write anything about their product or service. It didn’t matter if the product delivered on the promise. Businesses could get away with “false claims” because consumers had the platform to air their views and grievances.

The Internet changed all that with the proliferation of social media networks, chat forums, and product review sites.

Today, the fortunes of a business can change overnight with a single post or image that goes viral. Businesses have learned to stay on their toes and be more accountable for their claims and the information they publish.

Here are some statistics that show how social proof has influenced business decision-making:

  • 70% of consumers in America search and read reliable product reviews before making a decision to purchase a product or service.
  • 63% of consumers will patronize a website that publishes both its product ratings and product reviews.

If your business website has not incorporated social proof as part of its content marketing strategy, now is the time to do so.

6 Ways To Use Social Proof To Build Trust And Reputation For Your Website

You’ve probably come across all of the social proof techniques that will be discussed in this section. They are used in E-Commerce sites, social media business pages, blogs and online forums to name a few. Social proof is important for consumers because it helps them make educated decisions.

As we mentioned earlier, the Internet has leveled the playing field between the consumer and business. With the Internet, consumers can do research before making a decision to buy a product or patronize a service. The reason is obvious: They want the best product or service for their hard-earned money.

When you have social proof available on your website, you make the research process easier for the consumer. That is why they prefer to visit websites that provide social proof.

1. Get Your Users Involved

The best endorsers for your products are the end users. Customers who are happy with the consistency and quality of your goods will become loyal to your brand. They will openly promote your brand because they are proud to be affiliated with it.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms on the Internet. People love to take and post pictures! As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Businesses have taken note of this.

Companies specifically search for User-Generated Content (UGC) on image-based sites like Instagram that feature their products. Once they come across UGC about their products, they can repost it from the Instagrammer’s account.

According to a survey, 76% of consumers trust UGC more than brand marketing copy.

If you come across UGC that is related to your business, whether it is an image or a post, reach out to the person who made it. Ask that person if you can repurpose or reformat the UGC on your website and social media pages.

2. Capitalize on Customer Testimonials

Testimonials are powerful influencers because these are seen as honest and sincere endorsements of your products or service. Business consultancy firms often feature testimonials from multiple clients on how the services have helped them generate record- setting revenues the previous year.

If you want to add more power to your testimonials, put them in video format. We’ve discussed how videos can boost your marketing strategy in our article, “How to Use Video Content in Marketing”.

Videos are effective because they appeal to multiple senses: sight, hearing and of course, it can create emotional connectivity. The use of video can deliver your message faster and more efficiently than text.

A good strategy would be to produce a video that includes several testimonies from clients and customers. Then we will embed it on your website’s home page.

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3. Pinpoint Pain Points with Case Studies

The use of case studies is an example of a great target marketing strategy. We define a case study as a more detailed testimony because it relates how a product or service addressed a specific concern of a customer.

For example, if your website is a retailer of Wi-Fi routers, you could include various case studies that show how your products solved the following Internet-connectivity related problems:

  • Homes with thick walls;
  • Homes with multiple floors;
  • Single floor homes that are located in open space such as a ranch;
  • Users that connect multiple devices;
  • Users that run multiple tasks at the same time.

The more case studies you can present, the more specific user concerns you can address. You can cast a wider net and target a larger market of potential customers for your products or services. Like testimonies, case studies are more effective when published in video format.

4. Connect with Influencers

Influencers are people who are widely recognized and respected in the industry. They are generally viewed as experts and their opinions are highly regarded by consumers. Influencers create a lot of pull for products and services they endorse because consumers see it as a “seal of approval”.

Influencers are not necessarily celebrities; although Oprah Winfrey often promotes products openly without remuneration. The advantages of connecting with influencers are that you can leverage your brand with their reputation and at the same time gain access to their followers.

5. Publish Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are commonly found in E-Commerce sites such as Amazon. As we discussed earlier, adding customer reviews on your website will make the research process easier for your visitors.

Studies show that 63% of consumers tend to purchase a product from a website that features customer reviews. Another study revealed that consumers trusted websites that have customer reviews 12 times more than sites that don’t.

A secondary benefit of publishing customer reviews is that it can give you a boost in Google’s search rankings for two reasons:

  • Improves User Experience (UX)
  • Frequently provides fresh and unique content

Lastly, don’t be afraid of getting negative reviews. Consumers know there is no such thing as a perfect product or service. A business that only publishes overwhelmingly positive reviews comes across as “hard sell”. Publishing negative reviews “humanizes” your brand and makes it more relatable to consumers.

6. Validate Your Claims with Numbers

In ways, creating marketing content is like applying for a job. The resume is your marketing tool and you need to impress the Hiring Manager enough to grant you a job interview. Hiring managers will not spend more than a few seconds on your resume.

One of the most effective ways to attract their interest is by citing your accomplishments. However, citing accomplishments without substantiating them with actual numbers is tantamount to committing hearsay.

Consumers want to see how your business has contributed to the success or well-being of its end users. A good example would be the job search website Elance; now known as UpWork, which proudly proclaimed it helped freelancers earn over US$1 Billion.

A good strategy would be to validate testimonies with actual numbers. Going back to our example with the business consultancy firm, a client could state that the service helped their business generate 400% more revenue over the last two years.

Conclusion

Social proof is a proven way of building trust and enhancing the reputation of your website. Today’s consumers are more discriminating. They will harness the power of the Internet to find information that will help them make educated decisions.

By incorporating social proof on your website, you make the research and decision-making process easier for your site visitors. You may be rewarded with a purchase but most certainly, social proof strategies such as product reviews, video testimonies, and case studies will result in higher rankings in Google.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by including social proof content on your website. Even negative reviews can have a positive effect on humanizing your brand.

Did you enjoy the article as much as we did writing it? If so, please don’t hesitate to share it with your family and friends. And if you have experiences, information or opinions that you want to share with our readers, please feel free to use the comment section below.

If you want to know more about the benefits of social proof and how to include them on your website, please give us a call or drop us an email.

We would love to hear from you!

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If you want to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the Internet, setting up a website for your business is the best way to go. People use search to find what they need online. And if your website ranks high in the results page, more people will be encouraged to click on your link and learn more about your business. But in order to climb up the search rankings, you need to increase your website traffic.

A study done by online advertising company Chitika showed that the top position in Google’s search ranking gets 33% of the traffic. The percentage distribution of online traffic decreases as the websites go down the search ranking:

Image courtesy of Search Engine Watch

With more than 1.3 billion websites serving over 3.8 billion Internet users, competition could be very tough. Would it still be possible to move your website up the search results page?

The answer is “Yes”. If other websites can do it, there is no reason why you can’t. But the first step is to create more inbound traffic to your website.  The more traffic you get, the greater the probability of converting a visitor into a paying customer.

4 Cornerstones To An Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital marketing remains an effective strategy for driving more traffic to your website. It organizes all the online tools and processes into a system that is focused on accomplishing your marketing objectives.

The big advantage of going digital is that you can customize your online marketing strategies to meet the needs and concerns of potential end-users of your products and services.

You are not blindly distributing marketing collateral to the billions of people on the Internet. Instead you are target marketing to a specific audience or segment that has the highest probability of being interested in what your business has to offer.

We advise that before you identify the processes you want to include in your digital marketing tool box, you should first build its foundation.

The cornerstones of your foundation will ensure that best practices will always be carried out when planning and implementing your digital marketing strategy,

Here are the 4 cornerstones to an effective digital marketing strategy:

1. Create A Buyer’s Profile

A buyer’s profile summarizes the qualities and characteristics of a potential customer for your business. It will help you determine the best topics to write about and the most effective channels to distribute your content.

2. Update Your Research

Research is a crucial part of business development whether you are a small or large enterprise. If you want to remain competitive, you have to be constantly updated on developments regarding your industry, your market and of course, your customers.

3. Stay Active

If you want your digital marketing efforts to reap dividends, you have to stay active. This means you have to commit to a schedule for creating and distributing content, building networks and engaging with followers. The more active you are, the greater the chances of your content being read by your audience.

4. Use On-Site Analytics

Perhaps the biggest benefit of digital marketing is the availability of on-site analytics. Analytics gives you valuable data on your website: the number of visitors per day, the most read content and where your traffic is coming from. These types of information can be used to fine-tune your digital marketing strategy.

These are the key principles to keep in mind when running your digital marketing strategy. They will help your campaign stay current and on track of the marketing objectives you want to accomplish.

Best Digital Marketing Strategies To Increase Website Traffic In 2018

In order to increase traffic you should build “roads” or “avenues” that make it easy for Internet users to search and find your website. The processes that we discuss in this section continue to be go-to strategies for digital marketers because they have consistently delivered results.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of using a variety of online tools and techniques for the purpose of improving your website’s ranking in the Search Engine Results Page or SERP.

We’ve written extensively on SEO and discussed its many benefits in our articles, “5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs SEO Right Now” and “SEO vs PPC: Which One Is Better For Your Business?”.

SEO remains an integral component in digital marketing because the process will always be in a constant state of evolution as search engines frequently introduce changes in their algorithm.

Some of the more current SEO strategies digital marketers are focusing on in 2018 include the following:

  • Using Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are phrases that are more descriptive in order to fine-tune the search query.

For example, instead of using the keywords, “bmw tires” a long tail keyword search would read, “how to maintain bmw tires cold weather”. This will produce links on the search results page which are closer to the information that the Internet user is looking for.

Thus, during the research process, SEO practitioners are starting to focus on long-tail keywords as the basis for evaluating competitiveness.

  • Updating Old Content

Search engines will reward you with a boost in the rankings simply by updating content.

Let’s say you wrote an article on intermittent fasting that was published three months ago.

If you updated the content by adding the information “Scientists have discovered that fasting for 24 hours increases the rate of autophagy by 300%”, the search engine would move you up slightly in the rankings.

It will then assess how your new ranking compares to the performance of the website you displaced. If your website does better, it will keep you at the new ranking or potentially move you up higher.

SEO is a strategy that will keep finding new ways to optimize and improve delivery of content so that more people will continue to visit your website.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing continues to be an effective strategy for increasing website traffic because people will always look for content online. This is the importance of constantly creating fresh, new, relevant, usable and engaging content and distributing them through a variety of platforms.

The more content you create and publish, the higher the probability of your materials being found on the Internet. People will voluntarily follow websites that consistently produce great content.

Blogging has remained the cornerstone of content marketing. There are many studies that prove the effectiveness of blogging as a key strategy in increasing website traffic:

But you don’t have to limit yourself to blogging. Another emerging strategy in content marketing is video content marketing which we discussed in detail in our article, “How To Use Video Content In Your Marketing”.

Videos and the use of images have become popular because they can generate immediate results. For example, if you are in the business of selling organic fruit preserves, you can upload photos or “pin” them in Pinterest. Every image pinned in Pinterest will contain a link to your website.

All you have to do is produce high quality images of your fruit preserves and hope they can entice the Pinterest community to click on your pinned product shots. If they like what they see, they can easily go to your website to learn more about your business and its products.

3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM uses paid strategies such as PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising to increase website traffic. With PPC your ads are placed in results pages that feature links relevant to the search query.

For example, if you are a restaurant that offers pizza delivery services, your paid ad will come out at the top of the results page that features inquiries on “pizza delivery services”.

An Internet user who finds your paid ad interesting and clicks on it, will find himself/herself on your website. There you can showcase an interactive menu and navigable delivery ordering system which can help you convert visitors into paying customers.

Search engines offer paid ads as a quick-fix solution for businesses to have their websites move up the top of the search rankings. Social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube also offer paid ad options.

Facebook Ads can run your paid ad through three other platforms: Messenger, Audience Network and Instagram, which the company bought in 2012.

With Facebook Ads, you can customize your ad according to your buyer’s profile. Audience Network will place your ad in apps and websites that fit your buyer’s profile.

Having a paid ad on YouTube is a sure way to rocket up the search rankings because it is owned by Google and is a component of its algorithm.

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing can help your business increase its website traffic because it provides you with several channels to distribute content, build communities of followers and opportunities to engage potential end users.

The Internet has exploded with social media networks. Among the most popular are:

  • Facebook – Largest online community with over 2 Billion members. Facebook has its own personal messaging system, Messenger.
  • Twitter – Short messaging system assures you of high level of activity and engagement.
  • Instagram – Image-based platform that is ideal for businesses with highly visual products and services. For example: fashion retailers, restaurants and real estate.
  • Pinterest – Another image-based platform that makes it easy for members to collaborate with others in the community by setting up pinboards.
  • LinkedIn – The preferred social media network of professionals. Ideal for networking activities and connecting with key influencers in your industry. LinkedIn also has its own publishing platform where you can post your blogs.
  • YouTube – The largest video streaming network and the second largest search engine. As mentioned, it is now owned by Google which is the largest search engine on the Internet.

How can you use social media to increase your website traffic?

  • Distribution Channel

Open a business page where you can publish your blogs. Include a link to your website so visitors will know where to find more information about your business. In addition to Pinterest, use Instagram and LinkedIn’s ShowCase page feature to highlight high resolution images of your products and services.

  • Engagement Medium

Customers appreciate businesses that take the time to address their needs and concerns. If a follower posts a comment or question, use the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise. Engagement is the first step to a relationship. In time you will develop trust with your audience. Consumers prefer to deal with brands they can trust.

  • Product Promotions  

Do you have a new store opening? Are you launching a new product? Do you have a limited-time only discount offer? Send out 12 to 20 tweets about the event via Twitter and include a link to your website so interested parties can get more details.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing is an effective strategy for increasing website traffic for your business because your content will be voluntarily accepted by the recipient. The key to the success of an email marketing strategy lies in your ability to create a mailing list.

You can create mailing lists in a number of ways:

  • Regular Engagement – As discussed in the previous section, if you engage with your audience frequently, you will develop trust and a solid relationship. You can ask them to join your mailing list.
  • Calls to Action – When you are consistently putting out great content, expect more people to visit your website. Incorporate enticing calls to action such as free newsletter sign ups or giveaway ebooks and manuals in exchange for email addresses.

Once you have built a mailing list, you can regularly send relevant and usable content to your recipients. These could be helpful “How To” tips or updates on your products and services. Always include a link to your website so they know where to go for more information.

Conclusion

Do not get complacent because the inbound avenues which you created have driven substantial traffic to your website. Stay active and constantly monitor the performance of the strategies in place.

For your business to remain competitive and relevant in 2018 and beyond, your website has to maintain a dynamic presence on the Internet so that your products and services will be found by your target audience.

If you want to learn more about increasing website traffic in 2018, please feel free to give us a call or an email. We will get in touch with you right away.

And feel free to comment on this article. We welcome your opinions and we would appreciate it if you could share some of your experiences with our audience.

In our last 5 articles, we’ve covered at great length how having a website can build your business. Putting up a website for your business is definitely a step in the right direction. It will differentiate you from the 50% who still don’t have one. But a website by itself will not bring in business.

You have to invest time, effort and resources to generate inbound traffic on a consistent basis. Of the strategies you have at your disposal, content writing has been proven to be the most effective. And the cornerstone of an effective content marketing campaign is the blog.

This is the reason we devoted our last 2 articles, “Why You Should Have a Blog” and “Blogging 101” to creating a blog. Hopefully, our articles have convinced you to start blogging for your business.

If you have decided to put up a blog, then you’ve come to the right place! We at Mountaintop have helped many entrepreneurs and companies set up their blog and we certainly can help you with yours.

Setting Up Your Blog Page

As we discussed in “Blogging 101”, it is better to integrate your blog page in your website. In that article, we discussed 5 benefits of having 1 website for your business and your blog. In terms of SEO, a single website will boost your chances of moving up the search rankings than having a separate blog page.

If you already have a website, we can create a blog page for you. If you don’t have a website, then we can design one that best fits your business and include the blog as one of its key pages.

A few things to note when it comes to having a website with a blog page:

  1. Your website must be mobile-responsive; it should have the ability to accommodate the screen sizes of a variety of mobile devices.
  2. Your website must be fast and easy to download; you can lose potential customers or followers if your website loads slower than 9 seconds.
  3. Your website must be accessible by different browsers; Users will view your website from within a variety of browsers. Each browser will display your website differently, which means users could have different experiences with your website. It is critical that your website be designed and tested in multiple browsers to ensure the user experience is the same.
  4. Your website should have fully-functioning features with shareable content; its buttons and social media icons must be in working condition all the time. Otherwise, you might miss opportunities for opt-ins or social sharing of your content.
  5. Your pages must be optimized; no matter how beautiful the images and content are, if they can’t be found, they will not bring in much traffic. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be implemented to increase the probability of readers finding your content.
  6. Your website must be self-hosted; having your own domain name is more professional. A self-hosted blog will give you more flexibility, control and a wider set of options.

The first 5 points are standard qualities of web design. They all deal with enhancing User Experience or UX.

But the sixth one is of particular interest if you want to have a blog page. The other option would be to have a website hosted by a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress.

If Mountaintop opted for a hosted website, our domain name would read: www.mountaintopwebdesign.wordpress.com.

Not only is the URL too long but having the “.wordpress.com” does not give our company the prestige it deserves.

There are also limitations to a hosted site. For one, we won’t be able to upload images and videos. If you want your blog to be well-read, it should have high-quality images or videos that are relevant to the content. Not only do images and videos add substance but it can influence more people to read your blog.

Lastly, with a hosted website, you don’t own your blogs. Since it is hosted on another entity’s web property, they can delete it whenever they want to.

Hosted sites have done this before and they will do it again. You have no control over the fate of your blog. Think of it; hours spent researching and writing content could be gone within minutes.

As we stated in “10 Benefits of a Website for a Small Business”, a website is not an expense. It is an investment where you can expect a return within a period of time. Don’t hold back on your website by using free, downloadable templates.

Remember the old saying, “No such thing as a free meal”. What you save up in a few dollars and cents may cost you thousands of dollars worth of foregone opportunities. The website is your online business address. Don’t just live in it; own it!

With Mountaintop Web Design, you have nothing to worry about. Not only can we provide you with beautiful-looking and fully-functioning mobile responsive design, but we also offer web hosting services that will fit your business needs and budget.

Writing Your Blog

In addition to enhancing your reputation as an expert in your industry, generating traffic to your website and helping you move up the search rankings, there are other benefits to blogging:

  • It sharpens up your writing skills; everyone has the ability to become a blogger. You just need to dedicate time in a day to write.
  • You are able to articulate ideas better; when you blog, you want to make sure the average reader will understand your content. In a way, it forces you to simplify information without compromising its overall value.
  • It’s a great way to firm up your knowledge on any topic; research is a must in blogging. Even if you are an expert on the topic, you should always conduct thorough and updated research before putting content in blog format.
  • It improves your confidence; the saying “knowledge is power” holds true when it comes to blogging. As your proficiency in a topic improves, so will your level of confidence.
  • Opens new doors for opportunity; many bloggers have been discovered by reputable online sites such as Forbes, TIME, Huffington Post and Entrepreneur. They’ve been offered the opportunity to write for these publications and promote their own websites as well.

But blogging takes tremendous time and effort. Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow considers writing for her website Goop her full-time job.

Including research and depending on the complexity of the topic plus its targeted length, it may take you anywhere from 4 to 12 hours to complete 1 blog. That is time best spent managing the core functions of your business.

While blogging has been proven to be an effective business- building strategy, it is not a core function but rather a specialized task. It requires a specific skill set and demands its own time.

Another option you should consider is to outsource your blogging to a professional writer.

Outsourcing is a process that started out as a way of helping businesses reduce costs. Instead of setting up a new department; accounting for example, a company would just outsource it to a third party.

Thus, the company did not have to pay salaries, employment benefits, rent, Internet bandwidth and the usual schedule of expenses that came with hiring full-time employees.

Other than reducing your costs, outsourcing content will also allow you to focus more time on the core functions of your business while being assured your blogs will be expertly- written, optimized and delivered on schedule.

We have a roster of talented writers all of whom can craft high-quality blogs for you. If you’ve read our articles on blogging, you can be assured we know our stuff!

What can you expect from our writers?

  • Well- researched, fresh and original content.
  • Blogs will pass Copyscape.
  • Topics and titles that are relevant to your business.
  • Blogs that are written in a conversational and engaging manner.
  • Well- balanced, keyword- rich content.
  • Timely delivery of blogs.

Your involvement would only cover 2 stages of the blogging process:

  1. Discussion on blog topics and titles – You are the expert when it comes to all matters related to your business. Let us know which areas of the business or the industry you want us to blog about. We can do keyword research to come up with suggested titles that your audience may be looking for.
  2. Review on submitted drafts – If you’ve heard interviews on Sir Richard Branson, you probably hear his voice when reading his blogs. The tone of his blogs capture the same personality you hear during interviews.

This is why we like to say the blog is your voice on the Internet. When we submit a draft for you, let us know if this is how you would talk to someone interested in your services.

We will make the necessary edits and revisions on the blog until you are confident that the content accurately captures your voice and ideas.

Because you own the blog, you will reap the expected benefits from it. You can monetize a blog through paid ads and product reviews. It is also possible that blog sites that have enjoyed your content would offer you a paid opportunity to write for them.  

Keep in mind that the most successful bloggers in the world also employ other writers on their teams. They start out blogging but eventually outsource work as their business begins to gain traction.

Content Distribution

Once you have given final approval of your blog, it would be time to publish it on your website. But that is not enough. Even with an optimized website, you still have to work on distributing content. This is where Digital Marketing comes in.

Digital Marketing is a process which utilizes a variety of tools, techniques and strategies for the purpose of generating more traffic to your website. Some people alternatively refer to Digital Marketing as Online Marketing or Inbound Marketing. Regardless of the terminology, it is about creating buzz that will entice enough people to seek out your content.

A Digital Marketing strategy typically uses the following processes:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • Link Building
  • Online Advertising

You can read up on these processes in our articles, “The Basics of SEO” and “How to Drive Traffic to Your Website”.

Similar to blogging, Digital Marketing is a specialized task and demands its own time. The first step is to draw up a Digital Marketing campaign strategy. This is summarized like a “calendar of events”; it summarizes the list of activities that will be undertaken for a specific month.

For example:

January February March
Blogging – Business Topics Blogging – Business + Entrepreneurship Blogging – Business + Special Interests
Trivia of the Day Trivia of the Day Online Quiz
Email Marketing – New Year Business Tips Email Marketing – “How To” and List-type content First E-Book
Network Building Link Building Stage 1: Podcast Planning

Running a campaign presents its own set of challenges. In order to have a successful campaign, you have to be dedicated to the schedule. Planning a campaign is one thing. Implementing it is another.

Here is a shortlist of activities that you have to do when managing a Digital Marketing campaign:

  • Create a schedule for the production and distribution of content to various social media networks.
  • Review, edit and finalize all submitted content.
  • Qualify all websites that should be targeted for guest blogging or link building opportunities.
  • Regularly check all social media networks for engagement.
  • Prepare customized invitations to connect for pre-qualified potential contacts.
  • Conduct web analytics to evaluate the performance of the Digital Marketing campaign.
  • Prepare, submit and discuss performance reports with the client.

Exhausting right? The good news is we can design, implement and oversee a Digital Marketing campaign for you. We have experienced Digital Marketers, SEO professionals, social media experts and as mentioned earlier, fantastic content writers in our team.

We can get this done for you while you focus on managing the key activities of your business.

So if you’re serious about launching a blog on your website, please drop us an email or better yet, give us a call. We can give you a more detailed presentation on the blogging process and how we can help your content generate traction on the Internet.