Lately I’ve come across so many unsuspecting people that have fallen into the WordPress trap. Yes that’s right. If you’re a newbie and you have decided you need an online presence but want to take the plunge and create your own website good on you. But make sure you have all your facts and go in with your eyes wide open.
For starters you probably have heard a lot of chatter and people recommending that you build your website on WordPress however what they may have not told you is to build on wordpress.org. WordPress.org is the most popular platform that is used by thousands and thousands of businesses.
WorPress.org is free however you do need to organise your own hosting which can be done for as little as $6.95 per month. Once you have set up your hosting and domain installing WordPress.org is free and can generally be done through your hosting provider, with this platform they have many free themes and plugins for you to use to create your website.
However sometimes the themes aren’t exactly user friendly and may require you to purchase a paid theme to customize.
I’m writing this post in the hopes that atleast a couple of people will become aware of the differences, because it can be daunting enough starting your business but then add creating your website on top of that can make you totally overwhelmed.
Have you just taken the plunge and started your business? Or are you established but come to the realization that you need a website? No matter what the reason is choosing a platform for your website can be really confusing. You’ve got options like WordPress, Wix, Magneto, Shopify, WooCommerce, DIY website builders and the list goes on. You’ve probably looked at that list and thought I don’t even want to go there!
While free website builders like wordpress.com and Wix can seem great you have to take into consideration how your potential clients are going to perceive you. What they sometimes don’t tell you is that with the free sites yes you don’t pay for hosting or a domain but you will have their own branding attached to yours, which can seem unprofessional.
A month after I started my business I realized I needed a website as there is only so much you can do on social media to build your brand awareness and I noticed that a lot of people after speaking to me initially wanted to visit a website to know more. I started with the DIY website builder from Go Daddy and purchased my own domain name and hosting through them. While this was a start now looking back on what my website looked like I’m surprised I got anyone to visit my website but at least I had an online presence and managed to get my second client through my website.
Personally for me I find WordPress.org to be my preferred platform. With hosting starting anywhere from $6 a month for Australian hosting, and domains from $22 you’re already half way there. With wordpress.org there are so many free plugins to use to create your site as well as free themes. What they don’t tell you with wordpress.com is that if you want premium features you have to pay and it will end up costing you more whereas some of these features actually come with the .org version. There are some paid themes available that have the ease of allowing you to drag and drop to create your website, this is great if you want to add your own personal touch and create it yourself.
Around 74.6 million people use WordPress so really that’s a good indication that it’s a great platform to use. Generally I find that WordPress.org goes hand in hand with the Yoast plugin for your SEO, this can be used as a free plugin or you can purchase premium.
So remember while free can be good it’s not always best especially if you want to grow your brand the right way. Wouldn’t you rather do it right in the beginning than later on having to spend more time and money having to change it?
If you would like more information or want to check out some of our previous blog posts you can read them here.
Also head on over to our Facebook page for a constant flow of articles to help you grow your business.
Google the biggest most popular search engine has added a new feature called ‘Google Posts’. When a post is published with this new feature the post will then be displayed on the map search results in Google further enhancing your exposure and your call to actions. This is how you can add a post.
- To do this you need to log into your Google account that is linked to your Google My Business account
- Click on the Google+ icon on the top right menu
- Select your Brand account from the drop down in the top right where you are logged in
- Go to the top right again and click on ‘manage account‘
- You will then see the Brand Account Details page come up click the blue ‘Google My Business’ icon
- On the left hand send click the ‘Posts‘ option second from the top
- Now you can create your post or event. You can add start and end dates and times plus add call to actions in the form of ‘reserve’, ‘sign up’, ‘buy’, and ‘get offer’.
- You can preview your post prior to publishing
Once it’s published you can then see it on the map search in Google under your Google My Business Listing, it’s as easy as that. Below is a screenshot of what you would see on your listing.
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Are you using Email Marketing as a part of your strategy?
There are so many different programs and apps out there it can be difficult to know what you need when you first start your business. Perhaps you are reviewing your strategy and you’re at the stage where you know you need to focus on your marketing so you can gain better exposure for your business and generate some leads.
From e-commerce shops to big online retailers MailChimp is used worldwide by approximately 15 million people.
MailChimp helps you automate your emails to your subscribers, from re-engaging with your customers, allowing you to connect to your store and so much more.
This is just an overview of some of the features of MailChimp.
- Create Email & Facebook Ad Campaigns based on your audience when you connect to your store.
- With an easy to navigate interface MailChimp works off the drag and drop concept, however you can personalize a template if you have a knowledge of coding.
- MailChimp offers some basic pre-built templates for you to use.
- You can set up automations for different stages of the buying process.
- View your businesses analytics. MailChimp allows you to view sales, website activity with revenue reports allowing you to optimize your campaigns.
- Download the app for your smartphone so you can view your results from anywhere.
- Hundreds of integrations with popular programs you may already use.
- Basic features are free to sign up.
One of the more popular ways that business owners use MailChimp is to gain subscribers. This can be done a couple of ways by either integrating a sign up form to your website so you can send out promotional or informative newsletters or perhaps you have an online shop you can have MailChimp send automated emails when someone makes a purchase. There are so many ways it can be used.
An example of a popular integration is Facebook. With 15 million active Facebook users this is also a great avenue to add to your list of subscribers by adding the sign up form to your Facebook Business page.
I hope this has given you a better understanding of MailChimp and for those business newbies don’t forget to add MailChimp as a part of your marketing strategy. If you would like more information about MailChimp you can visit their website here, alternatively feel free to contact us for that extra special template.
Google My Business is where you can add a free business listing on Google. When talking to other people about social media and how to increase your businesses exposure, I’ve mentioned Google My Business and nine times out of ten the person I’m speaking with doesn’t know what that is. Basically by creating a listing it increases your brand awareness and gives you another free avenue to advertise your business and be found, especially because Google is such a large and popular search engine.
A Google My Business Listing looks like the screenshot below. As you can see it shows;
- Any reviews left on Google+
- Phone Number
- Business Hours
- Reviews from the web including Facebook
The benefits of having a listing
- Whether people are searching for your listing on Google search or Maps your listing will appear first.
- Your customers can find you easily and have your contact information like phone number, website and directions on hand.
- Add pictures to give your customers a better idea of what you do.
- Customers can leave you google reviews which will show your star rating.
- You get insights straight from Google which will tell you how many views, clicks and new followers on Google+.
- You can monitor how many clicks have been made on your businesses phone number, directions or website visits.
- You can also see how many times someone has found your business on Google!
So how do we set it up?
Because there are a couple of parts to setting up your listing I have provided the links below to step by step instructions direct from Google.
How to create your Google My Business Listing
Verifying your business listing
Hopefully these guides and instructions will give you a better understanding and help you create your listing on Google so you can increase your brand awareness. You can also download the app for IOS and Android and view your analytics on your phone making it easier to keep track.