WordPress – Search Engine Optimisation beyond Yoast plug-in

I recently joined a friendly and interesting networking meetup group in Dublin. It was organised by Marcin Kilarski, Rodolfo Melogli and Amit Wadhwa. They talked about WordPress Search Engine Optimisation beyond Yoast plug-in.

The presentation was given by Peter Lawless, sales and marketing expert, coach, mentor, trainer, TV & Radio presenter and published author. He is also a business founder.

It was followed by a Q & A by a panel of WordPress Search Engine Optimisation experts with:

  • Amit Wadhwa (Founder, Lead developer at xava.ie)
  • Rodolfo Melogli (WooCommerce expert at businessbloomer.com)
  • Peter Lawless (Search Engine Optimisation and Marketer at 3r.ie).

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In summary, the meetup topics were as follow:

• Is WordPress without SEO like a Shop in the middle of a Forest?

• Is an SEO Plugin, such as Yoast the answer to all your problems?

• How to Set SEO Titles in Just Two Steps

• The 3 Cardinal Sins of Black Hat SEO

• 5 SEO DIY Tips beyond Yoast

• “If you had just 15 minutes to SEO a website, how would you spend them?”

• The Financial Case to Hiring an SEO expert – (Our Secret SEO ROI Calculator).

Please find the slideshow presentation below as well as additional information from the Q&A :

 

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‘Think like a customer’ means that you should use simple everyday language to write/talk to people.

He gave an example of the ‘Green eggs and ham’ children book written by Dr Seuss, which is using 50 words or less. In other terms, do not use over-complicated and sophisticated terms such as ‘refrain from..’.

What are ‘meta tags’?

Meta tags are used in HTML and XHTML documents to provide structured metadata about a Web page. Meta elements can be used to specify page description, keywords and any other metadata. For more information on how meta tags can impact SEO, have a read of this article:

http://www.wordstream.com/meta-tags

Choose wisely your categories in your articles to reflect the content of your posts.

Regarding the 5 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) DIY tips, keep in mind that you have to give something of value to people. It can be free information to get them interested in our products or services.

For those who work as event organisers, you need to act as a go-to-place like Trip Advisor by helping people looking for your service.

When it comes to the call to action, make sure it’s available on every page. The call to action displayed on the home page shouldn’t be a sales one. Instead, it should be a form to fill in and provide contact information. Ensure you clearly explain to your customers what you want them to do and why.

As you start writing, podcasting, filming, focus mostly on content first and SEO second.

Be aware of cultural differences in terms of languages (eg different slangs in the UK, US and IE). Thinking about the customer language helps to get people to convert more easily. You can also link your .com website to your other sites. Before you start, ask yourself the following questions (find your niche):

What is the main goal for my blog? What kind of information do people look for? Which parts of my service do you like most? 

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Create content suitable for your audience (long for Business to Business and short for Business to Customer. Complex topics generally require longer content)
  2. Ask customers if they want to buy
  3. Collect addresses.

Pay attention to the design of your site by UX testing.

For example, avoid heavy high-resolution pictures. Too detailed pictures do not tell the story and add loading time to your website. When designing your website, visualise the customer journey through the following stages: excitement, knowledge and learning.

You also have the option to use advertising to boost the visibility of your blog or website. Keep this option as a cheap and short-time solution.

If you go down that route, you can kick off an Adword campaign for 3-6 months. It will drive more traffic. Remember to do some split tests for your meta description/title. The most clicked ads should become your headlines. Do not ever pay someone to be linked to someone else’s website/blog!

Another better option is affiliate marketing as it’s far more valuable than advertising.

Nonetheless, SEO is your best bet for a more long-term strategy.

For a better SEO optimisation, use a long-tail description with minimum 3-4 words. You can also boost your visibility through a joint press release for example.

When you set up your Google Business account and blog/site, make sure your contact details are consistent with all 3rd party websites: name, address, phone number.

Add a picture that Google will link to google map. You must have as well a table of content  (map.xml) with no duplicated content. Make sure to add appropriate tags to the sitemap. Otherwise, you’ll have to have a good navigation menu.

When you monitor your traffic, you can monitor your clicks. You can also check your Google ranking with:

Finally, you can calculate how much your SEO is worth with this tool:

http://www.3r.ie/website-success-calculator/

Do you have any questions? Any tips you’d like to add to this? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

How to get better Twitter reach and followers with these 3 new tools

pexels-photo-58639

Are you using Twitter to get more leads and clients? If so, this may interest you in. 

As you know, social media networks are constantly competing with each other for attention. They research new features and tools to launch in order to get more businesses in the door. Twitter is no different!

Twitter has followed suit with Instagram and Facebook marketing strategies. It has launched a tagging feature allowing you to mention some Twitter accounts to get their attention to your post.

But it’s not always showing up when you are creating a post! There is a trick for that! To trigger that option, you need to add one or several video(s) or picture(s) from your desktop or mobile phone. I will show you how to do this later on. Although adding a photo or video isn’t quite a new feature, the power of visuals must never be underestimated!

Here is why:

the importance of visuals in social media

They have also added the description or caption you can write under your uploaded image or video. You can use this feature to explain what your post is about for the visually impaired followers.

Now let me show you in practice how it works.

First, you type in the empty field:

  • your title
  • your blog post or website link
  • 2 most relevant hashtags for your topic.

Doing this will help you get your audience interested in reading your article.

Once you’ve done that, click on the following symbol under your text to upload photo(s) or video(s)upload a video or picture to your twitter post

The following sentence will appear below your picture: ‘Who’s in this photo?‘.

See below screenshot as an example:

blog post for twitter adding mentions tags

Then, you will need to click on this symbol to tag a Twitter user in your blog post: tag twitter users in your post

To tag someone, all you need to do is to click on the ‘Who’s in this photo’ sentence and type the name of the person you want to be tagged in your post.

Obviously, it may be helpful to know their twitter handle but you may find it by searching their name as well. You can tag several Twitter handles if the post targets different users.

See below example:

blog posts on new tag feature shown in my post

Before you click on tweet button , you may think about adding a description to your photo(s) or video(s), so that the visually impaired people know what your picture or post is about.

As the example below shows, you have the following white text displayed just below your image: ‘Add description‘. Click on it to add a caption to your photo.

photo showing option to add description

Once you click on this sentence/field, your post will pop like this:

the add description box for pictures shared on twitter

Once you have added your description or caption, click on: apply button to apply the changes to your picture.

When finished, you can tweet your post. The added caption/description will not be visible to you but will be viewable to visually impaired users.

Have you noticed other useful Twitter features or tools that may be useful to get more followers or higher reach?

If so, leave a comment in the below box! 

 

How to skyrocket your product or service sales online and offline

I attended on 5th July 2017 an event in Dublin organised by ‘Tech Sales Hookups’ giving tips on how to skyrocket sales with live video and personal lead.

skyrocket sales

You will find the link to the advertised event in the SlideShare description I will provide you within this post! I thought this could be useful to some of you and decided to do a write-up on it! I will share with you what is, in my eyes, the most relevant information for you! 💡

There were 3 speakers at the event:

  • Grazina Orlovska from e-Frontier recruitment agency told us that the most sought out jobs for companies are in the sales field and talked about the recruitment process for such roles
  • Greg Fry from Careers Coach and Social Media Trainer talked about how to increase your sales by leveraging live videos
  •  Vlad Goloshchuk, CEO and founder at BrightestMinds.io focused on increasing conversion rates in Business to Business (B2B) sales.

All of them reminded us that to be a good salesperson, you need to be extroverted, enthusiastic, perseverant, convincing and excel at building relationships with your influencers. People will buy from you because they like you. So you need to become the likeable person they are feeling connected with.

I will move directly onto the conversation Greg Fry had with us in addition to the above slides from his presentation.

Video marketing, an integral part of the sales process

Indeed, video Marketing is the quickest and most effective way to build a relationship.

What are the most important of video sales and marketing aspects?
1. Follow these 3 core sales principles for your product or service:
  • Connect with your audience
  • Communicate with your audience
  • Build a relationship with your audience.

Example: ‘the happy pear’ Irish based company, successful at building a relationship through live videos on Snapchat.

In order to sell more, it’s important to promote your live videos beforehand and to distribute your created content to people through multiple platforms (social networks, emails). When doing live videos, make sure you interact with your audience by asking questions.

2. Experiment different video formats:
  • live videos: interact with your audience by asking questions
  • customer service videos: reply to the most frequently asked questions from your customers
  • video teasers: create these teasers for the launch of new products or services
  • crowdsourcing videos: connect with your clients and suppliers and answer their questions.

You can create these videos from home with the use of this free Open Broadcaster Software and/or this cheap webinar system.

3. Get higher reach with Facebook live video ads

You can use Facebook Ads to promote your live videos and re-purpose them by sharing them on the different platforms. You can also create content in multiple formats and provide your customers with the choice to select the format they like most (Audio, Video or Text/Transcript).

4. Select the relevant platform for your audience

Depending on whether your company caters to Business Clients (B2B) or Private Consumers (B2C), you may choose a different channel. For eg, for B2B companies, YouTube may be the most appropriate channel. As for B2C, the most appropriate one would be Facebook Live streams and Instagram stories.

In terms of video length, videos should last:

  • around 90 seconds on Facebook
  • around 45 seconds on Twitter
  • max 1 minute on Instagram
  • between 5 to 50 minutes on YouTube, depending on your audience.

Want to check how you are doing in terms of Social Selling? Click here to measure your sales success with Social Selling Index

The importance of personal lead in a sales environment

Vlad Goloshchuk advised paying attention to the structure of your call/email/sales pitch.

1. SALES PITCH guidelines:
  • Identify yourself
  • Sell your services/products benefits
  • Be credible
  • Have a call to action.
2. Email Marketing for B2B sales

According to him, the most successful format for B2B sales is Email Marketing. Indeed, Email is 40 times better at acquiring new customers.

The email subject line of 3-4 words must provide the client with your company name and the benefits your company will give to their business.

You also need to make sure not to send unsolicited emails (emails sent in bulk), as this is illegal. You need to send an individual and customised email to each client.

3. Clients’ follow-up

He also stressed the importance of following-up with clients until they say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by asking them questions such as ‘what is stopping you from working with us?’.

You must provide business value and your service or product must be related to the same of business your client is into.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start-up: Learn How to Pitch your idea to investors

I attended on 12th June 2017 a presentation and workshop on how to pitch an idea for entrepreneurs. Not only have I learnt a great deal but also the host Adeo Ressi from Founder Institute made everyone feel comfortable by joking all the time!😂

idea pitch

The Founder Institute is a global idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program helping entrepreneurs ‘with the structure, training, mentor support, and global network needed to start an enduring company’: http://fi.co/users/1329971/edit

So, Adeo Ressi started his talk by stating the five most important rules to follow when pitching your idea to potential investors:

  1. Show confidence. This is valid for any kind of enterprises you want to launch!
  2. Don’t make excuses for not pitching your ideas!
  3. Avoid superlatives/adjectives
  4. Use data, in other terms, be factual. Back up your ideas by showing you know your audience needs (demographics, size, geolocation…)
  5. End strong by stating clearly what your ask is! Why not leave with a slogan, for example.

He started with the basics, i.e the opening line you need to master for each of your pitch:

‘My company is [name], is developing [a defined offering], to help [a target audience] [solve a problem with the secret sauce].

It sounds easier than it is, so keep in mind these further tips when you are working on your opening line:

  • Be prepared to bring up a defined offering to the table, keep it clear (articulate, especially your company name!) and short!
  • You also need to specify your audience (age group, education level…) and what they truly want!
  • Never lie but don’t tell the whole truth easier. Remember the point about confidence?😉

Then, Adeo went into more general tips on how to get a higher visibility and brand awareness. He advised all entrepreneurs to find a prominent lead by doing research to figure out who might need your deal and by exploiting your networking opportunities through the following sites:

  • AngelList
  • Linkedin
  • CrunchBase.

Remember that your chosen lead must have time, money and expertise to help you out. You may need to repeat the pitching process up to 60 times to get one lead.

Now, let’s enter into the nitty-gritty of the pitching process:

  1. Meet as many people as you can
  2. Send invitations for coffee
  3. Keep updated with news
  4. Meet potential leads at online and offline events
  5. Send invitations to longer meetings once you have broken the ice with one lead
  6. Ask for funding
  7. News update again.

Remember not to over-sell yourself and that the goal of each meeting is to get to the next meeting. You need to build relationship and trust.

Prepare a one-page agreement with those who have shown interest in investing. Remember, the real investor will be the one you come towards to and pitch your idea to, and not the other way around!

When approaching someone about to invest in your company, ask for a little less than you wanted and explicitly ask if they want to be your adviser and lead the round.

When pitching, think about what the focus of your offer/service/product is on:

  1. A vision
  2. Problems/Solutions
  3. Traction/Interest (eg raise money for a business milestone that generates revenue).

Finally,  according to Adeo Rossi, the hardest business areas to pitch for, as investors are harder to convince to invest in due to the high risks are Travel, Music, Sports, Wine.😓 So, keep that in mind and find a complementary service that could add additional value!

 

Funding and Financial Sustainability for Non-Profit Organisations in Ireland

I attended an event advertised on Facebook and organised by Bluefire Dublin called ‘Igniting Change: Funding & Financial Sustainability‘ on Thursday 29th June 2017.

The event was aimed at voluntary and community organisation, social-enterprises, individual artists or community-based project managers, and small-medium NGO’s.

financial sustainability

Bluefire organises ‘igniting change series’ every last Thursday of each month: http://bluefiredublin.ie/our-programmes/igniting-change/

financial sustainability
The guest speakers at the event were a mix of social entrepreneurs and funding bodies:

• Ian Oliver (far right on the picture) from Centre for Creative Practices
• Eoghan Ryan (far left in the picture) from Social Innovation Fund Ireland
• Hazel Hill (right next to Eoghan) from The Community Foundation for Ireland
• Naomi Murphy (left next to Ian) from Connect the Dots

The purpose was for attendees:

  • to be aware of what is required to start up a successful business and
  • to know how to get grants from organisations supporting social entrepreneurs.

It started with a talk from each speaker, followed by a workshop and a networking session.

1. Eoghan from Social Innovation Fund Ireland:

Before launching Social Innovation Fund, he founded his own not-for-profit, Reimagine Cork to tackle issues around homelessness in Cork. Understanding the needs for Not-for-Profits, he felt he could help entrepreneurs best and joined Social Innovation Fund.

The company’s mission is to provide both funding and non-financial support to social entrepreneurs. It has also partnered with the government and every given Euro by SIFI is matched by the government.

Eoghan’s first advice was to think about ‘why’ you want to start up a company and why his company would fund you. He also strongly recommends:

  • having a clear plan in place,
  • having a good value proposition,
  • showing confidence
  • having good management skills.

When filling forms to apply for funding, keep it simple and answer the asked questions.

2. Hazel Hill, Marketing Executive and Programme Leader at The Community Foundation for Ireland:

Her organisation offers both open grants and private grants. The latter ones are given on a project basis with an end date. The organisation offers funds for mergers (shared between teams) to highlight the importance of collaboration and partnership between organisations.

You will be asked about what will happen at the end of the project to gauge how sustainable your business model is.

Her first advice was to not manipulate your core mission value (reason for existing) to get funding. Instead, only apply to relevant grants that fit your organisation. She also advised to:

  • have a clear mission statement,
  • document your research by backing up your project with analytical reports,
  • listen to your community/audiences’ needs,
  • take any constructive feedback on board
  • understand the impact your company will have.

3. Naomi AND MERISSA from Connecting the Dots, a start-up focusing on the community engagement in Dublin: 

Their company started off when there were many unoccupied vacancies in Dublin during the crisis by putting on events with artists, engineers, researchers. Over the time, they worked on a process for events’ organisation, i.e on improving the engagement with attendees, corporate donors.

Naomi’s advice was to volunteer for different organisations and network that way before you start up. She has been helping a lot at ‘Happenings’ organisation.

It is also important to speed up processes with a technology enabler. They are currently working on a software service (SAAS) application (transferring processes online for co-working events), in order to gain time and increase income streams and viability.

4. Ian AND his wife Monica from Center for Creative Practices, a company helping creative artists to come up with a more sustainable model:

His first advice was to start with a small plan before building a full-scale model and revisit this plan when necessary.

Instead of going through a lengthy business plan, they worked on a one-page business model. It detailed their business model and value proposition:

  • the company’s purpose,
  • what problem it is trying to resolve and,
  • the solution offered.

His first business model focused on having a cash projection, i.e ticket prices’ sales and getting people to utilise the space to generate further money. He feels it is best not to be over-reliant on grants for the day-to-day running of the business.

5. participants needing help on setting up their organisations, PLEASE get in touch with the following bodies:

 

 

 

vocal techniques

How to become a singer with good vocal techniques

While flicking through YouTube, I discovered amazing videos about vocal techniques. I created this guide to help you use your voice effectively to sing better while sparing your voice.

1. VOCAL RANGE

So, for those who aren’t familiar with vocal techniques and notes, I’d recommend you to start reading this article on Wikipedia. This will give you a better understanding of what will be talked about later on in this blog post.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_range

But what are the different vocal ranges for men and women?

Take a look!  Depending on your voice type, some notes will be easier or harder to hit.

However, if you don’t know what’s your voice range is, don’t worry. This video will help you figure it out. Note this is both suitable for men and women.

2. BAD VOCAL TEchnique EXAMPLES

As a matter of fact, some singers are able to sing higher notes or even have a whistle register. Yet they may use improper vocal techniques resulting in voice damages over time.

As a result, they can’t hit the same notes they used to. Although, with better practice, they may recover part of their register. Here are few examples of singers who damaged their voice :

3. VOCAL TECHNIQUES

Therefore, let’s me explain you to what is considered good or bad techniques.

First of all, let’s start with what a bad technique is. It is a lack of singing warming-up and over-pushing some of the notes, often distinguished by a lack of breath support and throaty sound.

Additionally, please find below other examples of bad techniques:

Instead, why vocal technique matters so much? This video explains you why.

Accordingly, what is a good vocal technique? 

It’s an unstrained, controlled and consistent voice accompanied by a healthy lifestyle. But, how do singers get good voices? Well, they have a dedicated vocal coach to train their voices for performances or studio recordings.

Contrarily, this video shows you what is bad or good technique (starting at 1.09 minute):

 

4. VOCAL WARMING-UP

Consequently, to develop your singing skills, start with a good vocal warming-up.

Obviously, you may want to start with warming-up basics for yourself at this stage!

5. UNDERSTANDING YOUR VOICE

Moreover, you need to be aware of your voice placement and tone/timber:

6. VOCAL TIPS

Finally, here are few tips on how to get a more powerful and consistent voice.

Do you have other tips to share with us?