If you have any other hints, tips or ideas that have worked for you, we'd love to hear your recommendations!
you can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
These great tips come courtesy of Eugen Oprea from Copyblogger, demonstrating that staying up to date with your SEO doesn't need to be half as difficult and time-consuming as you may think:
If you have any other hints, tips or ideas that have worked for you, we'd love to hear your recommendations!
These days, finding a business that doesn’t have a website, even amongst smaller businesses, is a rarity. For those who don’t have an office, workshop, stall or other physical form of business presence, your website is often the first impression potential customers get of your business. I am lucky enough to know some fantastic graphic designers as well as people with great SEO skills, so any credit people give for the look/ feel/ effectiveness of my site, I should pass onto them. My only contribution to the site was the written content itself- but then again, it’s what I do!
I recently listened to a woman who specialises in Facebook marketing talk about ‘wall’ sites and my own website is currently being redeveloped, and these things caused me to think of how far my site has come since the original. It was a content rich, design poor site that (it has to be said) was really quite boring. Some of the current changes being made to my site will be fairly noticeable, others more subtle. Even the small changes to your site are important- the reason being that, as I mentioned, your website is often the very first chance you get to make an impression on customers. If they can’t understand the web content clearly or the site is visually poor, that can be just enough incentive for them to search elsewhere and your chance at ever selling to those people is virtually dead, in a matter of seconds.
My point is that paying that extra level of attention to even the small details of your website, means that your target audience are more likely to pay that extra level of attention to your website- and are more likely to pay for your products, time or services. It all pays! With the technology available to us now, having a ‘wall’ site is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.
Hold on- what is a 'wall site' anyway?
A ‘wall site’ is a terminology to describe a website that has no links or interactive content. There are no cyber doors for your customers to enter though and take a longer virtual tour of your business and the full range of what you offer visitors, no cyber windows through which to get a better view of your business. If you have a website with no links to your business blogs, social media pages, no online contact forms or no video links, chances are you have a ‘wall’ site. How interesting is it to stare at a wall? Anybody who browses your site feels the same way!
Perhaps having video content on your site isn’t necessary, or keeping a blog isn’t important (for the time being at least). However, the more interactive your business website is, the more browser friendly your site is in terms of aesthetics and navigation, the more links you have to your social media pages/ blogs, the more incentive people have to stick around longer. This translates into increased sales. I’m sure I’m not the only person who is especially interested in that!
So if you’re yet to launch your own business website, take the extra time to launch a site your target market will enjoy browsing. If you have a website and it is a ‘wall’ site- why not tear it down and build the online, interactive business premises of your dreams? If you don’t know the first thing about how to accomplish this, contact us! I know plenty of people who can do great things with websites whether it be interactive content, written content, web design or SEO. I’ll even call in David Hasselhoff to wear his funky jacket and sing when that old ‘wall’ site of yours comes tumbling down!
I have been told, on a number of occasions, how lucky I am to work from home. It’s not something I take for granted, believe me- especially when it’s a cold, wet, winters’ morning outside. Other people by their thousands are shivering at bus stops, nursing a coffee in peak-hour traffic or herding onto trains packed with other damp commuters, bound for another day at the office. Meanwhile I’m sitting on my living room couch, coffee mug in hand, organising the day ahead of me and grateful for being warm and rugged up as I watch the rain fall outside my balcony window. I am also grateful for the fact that while other people complain about their bosses, if I were to complain about my boss I would be in fact complaining about myself! At least I know he’s somebody I can negotiate with…
Yet despite the perks like these, there are aspects to my work environment that are difficult to manage on a daily basis. It’s fairly common for me to encounter a feeling of disconnect from the world, sheltered inside my home while the people outside go about their day, interact with other people and see more than just the familiar walls of their home. I feel cut-off. An e-mail or phone call to somebody in my business circle just doesn’t suffice- neither does a walk down to the supermarket. As I’m sure anybody who works from home can attest to, it can be difficult to go about your daily professional tasks with those feelings of restlessness or isolation building up inside by the minute…
If I have learnt anything from my work environment it’s that in order for your mental output to consistently match your ability or level of expertise, the physical side must have constant attention paid to it- or productivity suffers in the long-term. If we ignore the basic need for physical stimulation or real-life interaction with people, our thinking goes stale. The fluorescent lights in our brain factory begin to flicker or suffer frequent brown-outs. Browsing social media or YouTube becomes an appealing temptation, under the premise that you’ll “only” do it for 5 minutes because you need a break. Or (like me) you’ll get up from your seat and go to the fridge- only to forget what you’re even looking for once you open the door!
We’ve long heard about the value of “hard work”, yet I believe that hard work is an out-dated term. Hard work was a valued ethic in the Industrial age- people went to work and by the end of the day, satisfied their physical/ mental fatigue over drinks (hot or cold) in the knowledge that they’d “worked hard”. Think of the old beer ads: ‘I feel like a Tooheys or two’, ‘I can feel a XXXX coming on’- always featuring sweaty, exhausted people who’d truly earned that refreshing beverage after a days' “hard work”. They felt ready to go home, have dinner, sit in front of the television (or the wireless before that) shower then go to bed. Sure they’d be exhausted from the day just gone and they’d have to do it all again the following day, but this was perfectly acceptable because they’d worked hard and that was all that mattered. According to general consensus, that was how you got ahead in your profession- long hours and hard work- with a couple of small mercies at the end of the day and a pay cheque at the end of the week to make it seem worthwhile.
In this exciting new Digital age, with an increasingly diverse range of work and work environments available to us, I believe that “working hard” is being superseded by a new work ethic that enables every one of us to have a happier, more productive work/ life balance: working smart. The people who are now the most successful are not necessarily the ones working 50+ hours a week. The people who do the best are those who manage their time and abilities the most efficiently. They use the resources available to them to fine-tune their working lives so that they are getting the most productivity out of the least time/ effort needed to fully achieve their professional goals.
So in this age of working smart, how do I keep myself from getting cabin-fever and walking aimlessly around my place, talking to myself for lack of personal interaction during the day on a Monday-Friday basis? How do I avoid the evil lure of day-time television or awakening from a daze to discover I have spent the past half an hour on YouTube, searching for a song I can recall hearing at Primary school discos but can’t recall the name of?
I avoid these time wasting traps by paying as much attention to my physical ability to work as my mental ability. Monday is planning day for me- I’ll go for a walk in the morning, think about everything I want/ need to get done in the upcoming week and list anything that comes to mind on my phone. I can walk long distances- sometimes I’ll even cross the Storey Bridge on foot, stroll through the busy CBD and then catch the train home. Even if I frequently walk the same route, seeing what’s happening in the outside world, being amongst people and dwelling upon what I want from the week ahead while exercising my lower body and building stamina, all leaves me feeling refreshed and energised by the time I return home. By that stage, I’m excited and inspired about the week ahead and I can’t wait to transfer the notes and flashes of inspiration recorded from my phone to my weekly planner! It could have been cold, overcast and windy outside but it doesn’t matter to me, because at least I got to experience the day outside for myself. A couple of hours spent on that Monday morning walk, ultimately saves me more hours wasted by procrastination during the week.
Working as a professional writer means that I have to pay attention to keeping my mind sharp- when my brain is foggy and my focus is becoming more easily swayed, I know then it’s time to put some shoes on my feet, grab my iPod and go for a walk. If it’s not my Monday (planning day) walk, then I usually get this urge later of an afternoon. Either I’ve spent the better part of the day staring at my computer screen and/ or discussing projects, plans and meetings on the phone with people, or I still have a bit of work to do but am beginning to grow restless and easily distracted. So instead I grab my iPod and my keys on the way out the door, either to reward myself after a productive day in the office (I even sleep there so I like to think my dedication to the job is out of the question!) or to recharge my batteries in order to give upcoming tasks the attention they deserve.
Everybody’s work situation is different- I understand that for many of you reading this, you may not even work for yourself or at home. Whatever your circumstance, it is my strongest recommendation that you find a way to physically (and mentally) exercise- because not only does this have a positive effect on your health and your general happiness, but I guarantee you’ll see positive changes in the quality of your work, too. Perhaps (like me) you can even find a way to combine your physical out-put (whatever it may be) with fine-tuning your professional out-put?
Ben is the founder of Scribe Copywriting.