10 Ways to Market Your Business Online for $500

10 Ways to Market Your Business Online for $500

You won’t worry that your budget isn’t big enough when you know how to squeeze the most from every buck.

Founder, Market Domination Media®

The internet provides unlimited potential in terms of customer reach and opportunity, and while there is some online marketing that can be done for free, most effective strategies require a marketing budget.

My agencies focus on performance-based digital ad buys and influencer marketing — both of which require a sizeable monthly budget. While not for everyone, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to market a business online using a much smaller budget. I’m often asked for alternative options for those with a limited budget, and the number that’s thrown out more than any other is $500.

I spoke with ten business owners and asked them to share their best tip for marketing online with a $500 budget. If you are working with a small budget, use these ten strategies to help you get the most out of every marketing dollar at your disposal.

1. Launch a Facebook ads campaign.
“With Facebook ads, you know exactly where every dollar goes. You are able to place your offer in front of a very targeted audience and you see how much each dollar you spend brings back in. It can take some time to fully understand, but once you get a firm grip on how to optimize your ads you can scale your efforts.”

Simon Nowak, Founder of Cafe Credit

Related: 21 Ways to Market Your Business Online

2. Hire a dedicated content writer.
“Updating your company’s blog gives your website visitors fresh content to engage with each time they visit, and also helps your business gain visibility in Google’s organic search results. It’s an important part of online marketing that requires a lot of time many business owners don’t have. Hire a freelancer to ghost-write your blog content — just make sure he or she is familiar with your niche and your SEO goals.”

Elizabeth Verdura, Founder of Sell Fast Fair Offer

3. Invest in your own SEO education and training.
“With a new website, search engine optimization is a high priority for me, but it can be very costly. There is a lot of great free information available online if you are willing to take the time to read it all, along with some courses and eBooks you can purchase that are fairly inexpensive. For me, self-education has several benefits aside from just the money savings.”

Marc Lewandowski, Founder of Artisan Movers

Related: 6 Strategies for Marketing Your Retail Business Online

4. Hire influencers to promote your business.
“With a small monthly budget you aren’t going to land a major celebrity, but you can strategically align your business with a handful of local influencers that can help put your product or service in front of a large audience. Consider local news personalities, socialites or even other local business professionals. With some creativity, you can really expand your reach.”

Ryan Dale, Founder of We Buy Cars

5. Create an animated whiteboard video.
“We have seen some of our website design clients experience a much better response to their landing page offers when they added a whiteboard video. Consumers don’t like reading — they would rather watch a video. Also, with a video you can do a much better job at explaining the benefits of your product and push the viewer towards a specific action. You can then use the video in other marketing campaigns, like Facebook ads.”

Andrew Ruditser, Founder of Maxburst, Inc.

6. Hire a virtual assistant to seek out PR opportunities.
“There are several ways to secure free press and exposure for your business, but it requires a large time commitment that most business owners simply don’t have. Services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) present you with plenty of opportunities, but they send out multiple emails daily and you need to respond fast. Consider hiring a virtual assistant to screen them real-time and send you the relevant ones to respond to.”

Christopher Ligori, Founder of Christopher Ligori & Associates

Related: Here’s How Facebook Has Reduced the Need to Pay PR

7. Publish an infographic and perform outreach.
“Infographics tend to perform very well because they allow you to take any topic, even boring ones, and create a visual post that educates and informs your visitors. While they can cost several thousands of dollars from an agency, you can find freelancers with infographic experience to save you some money. Once you publish it, spend some time doing outreach. The goal is to get your infographic published on additional websites that will help expand your exposure.”

Ramzy Ladah, Founder of Ladah Law Firm, PLLC

8. Invest in your email marketing appearance and effort.
“Email marketing can be a continuous source of new business, but in addition to spending money building your list, you need to make sure your emails stand out. I find it very beneficial to have a custom email template created for several reasons. It helps with branding and it also gives you the opportunity to include several calls-to-action within each email, automatically. Make sure whomever is creating your email template makes it responsive so it displays your messages perfectly on all screen sizes.”

Steven Seigel, Founder of The Luxury Team

Related: Your Brand Is Not Too Good For That

9. Hire a virtual social media manager to increase personalized engagement.
“As a hands-on business owner, the time I have available to do marketing is very little. Since Facebook has the largest user base, we have a page that helps potential local customers find us. I feel that a personal approach, especially for a small local business, is best. Rather than just let your accounts sit idle, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help manage them. Responding personally to messages really helps to land more customers.”

Tom Sondergeld, Founder of Tom Sondergeld Plumbing

10. Run pay-per-click ads on Google AdWords.
When someone is in need for a specific product or service, where do they turn to? Online, it’s Google most of the time. Running an AdWords campaign allows you to target specific keywords and search phrases that will attract ideal, ready to purchase customers. Even with just a $500 monthly budget, you can test and optimize, finding ads that convert. From there, as your revenue increases from your AdWords effort, increase your budget to scale your budget and growth.”

Giving Away Your Content and Marketing to Gain Customers

Giving Away Your Content and Marketing to Gain Customers

Best-selling author Jay Baer has some great advice to help grow your business.

In this Dynamic Communication interview, author Jill Schiefelbein chats with Jay Baer, president of Convince and Convert and New York Times bestselling author, who gives a tip that can help you GROW your business. Perfect for entrepreneurs, small businesses, sales teams, marketing teams, content creators and more.

Why should you give away free information as a business content marketing strategy?
What marketing strategies work to grow a business?
How do I use content marketing to increase sales?
Learn the answer to these questions and more in this video with entrepreneur, business owner and all-around-rockstar Jay Baer.

Want to see the full interview with Jay Baer? Learn more below.

Jay’s interview excerpt is featured in Dynamic Communication: Strategies to Grow, Lead, & Manage Your Business Chapter 1: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Perceptions and Reality

In this 27-video series, the author of Dynamic Communication: Strategies to Grow, Lead, & Manage Your Business, Jill Schiefelbein interviews stand-out companies and entrepreneurs to bring you great bites of information to help improve your communication and drive results. You can access 12+ hours of content — the full interviews for each of these 27 brilliant minds — by purchasing Dynamic Communication: Strategies to Grow, Lead, & Manage Your Business and accessing the book’s bonus site.

Watch more videos from Jill on her YouTube channel and buy the book at Amazon.

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical and provides partners with distribution on Entrepreneur.com as well as our apps on Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV.

Do organic keyword rankings matter anymore?

Do organic keyword rankings matter anymore?

With all the ways search engine results pages have evolved over the years, columnist Julian Connors explores the question of whether SEO is still a wise investment.

High keyword rankings are the most sought-after achievement in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). Small businesses and brands alike strive to obtain the first organic listing in search results because of the lucrative traffic and lead opportunities that are associated with this position.

But with the evolution of paid advertising and expansion of universal search, as well as Google’s continuous efforts to provide consumers with content that resolves their demands directly in search results, the opportunities attached to traditional keyword rankings are diminishing at an alarming rate.

In today’s search landscape, SEOs and digital marketing specialists have to consider whether it’s worth the amount of time and resources it takes to achieve premier organic rankings, considering the click-through rates (CTR) associated with organic rankings that are positioned under PLAs, local results and other forms of content.



14 Free Tools Every Solopreneur Needs

14 Free Tools Every Solopreneur Needs

These apps and digital tools help reduce the time a solopreneur has to spend on mundane tasks.

Lucinda Honeycutt
Freelance writer and web designer

Solopreneurs are in a class by themselves. Given all the typical pressure of an entrepreneur that they’re under, and the fact that they have little-to-no outside assistance, solopreneurs need tools to help them reduce the time they spend on mundane tasks.

Additional free time, after all, is a godsend: It allows solopreneurs to maximize their time and creative potential for tasks that actually help their businesses grow.

So, if you’re one of those besieged solopreneurs, here are some suggested tools:

1. WiseStamp
WiseStamp makes it remarkably easy to create a professional email signature that will show your picture and automatically give recipients all your contact information, including links to your website and social media pages. There are several ways to customize the process that are all entirely free. For additional options, the site offers a yearly subscription.

2. Workflow Max
Workflow Max offers everything you need in a single integrated platform. This tool can be used on the computer or on whatever smart device you prefer. You can handle everything from lead and client management, to invoicing and time sheets, job costing, purchase orders and more. There are more than 30 add-ons you can use to adjust the workflow as needed.

3. Zapier
Zapier lets you automate tasks easily by teaching more than 750 apps to work together. The free plan allows you to build individual connections and create basic automation, while the premium plan allows greater customization of the automation processes.

4. Shake
Shake by Legal Shield provides free templates that can be filled in with your specific information and sent to clients or collaborators to sign electronically and return. There is absolutely no cost when you use one of Shake’s free templates, or you can upgrade to the monthly plan to make extensive customizations. For most people just starting out, the free plan will be more than sufficient.

5. Square
Square gives you the ability to take secure payments anywhere you are and has zero fees to get set up. The company will send interested individuals the hardware that attaches to a smart device for free and then keeps 2.75 percent of any transaction that is completed. This gives solopreneurs the ability to accept debit and credit cards from wherever they have the opportunity to make a sale.

6. Adobe Spark
If you’ve read anything about using social media to grow your business, you already know how important it is to have high-quality graphics that are designed for the platform you are using. Adobe Spark lets you do this for free. The premade templates are sized appropriately for whichever platform you are designing for, and the site also gives you the ability to create stunning video with virtually no prior experience.

7. Hootsuite
Hootsuite makes managing all of your social media accounts as easy as delegating the process to a virtual assistant. The free version lets you connect three social media accounts, schedule messaging and see basic analytics information. Plans are available for people who need to organize more accounts and for those who already have a team.

8. GetResponse
Email marketing and connecting to prospective clients through those efforts is incredibly important to effectively grow your business. GetResponse helps businesses do this for as little as $15 per month and includes 1,000 subscribers. As the business grows, higher-tier levels are available within the service. Every company, no matter how small, can benefit from gorgeously designed functional email marketing. Plus, you get landing pages and marketing automation, too. Higher-tier plans include additional features, like webinars, Salesforce integration and campaign consulting.

9. Grammarly
Solopreneurs often begin by doing everything themselves, including writing their own copy for email, social media, website pages and advertising materials. This is an effective way to keep initial costs low, but not all solopreneurs have the requisite skill set to write beautiful copy. Grammarly evens the playing field by catching grammatical and punctuation mistakes often overlooked by word processor applications. The free version also allows you to check for plagiarism, to make sure nothing you’ve read for research accidentally makes its way into your finished product. The upgrade option catches more details.

10. WiseIntro
WiseIntro is a free way to build your online presence without any startup costs. As you gain traction and need more options, it is easy to upgrade to one of the tool’s monthly plans to unlock additional features. This is an especially good choice for solopreneurs. This is because of the strong visual component they have to their work and their need to show prospective clients exactly what they can do while still avoiding — at this early stage — having to pay a graphic designer to create a custom website.

11. Sighted
Sighted is an online invoicing tool perfect for freelancers and solopreneurs. The free plan is perfect for a small business, offering 20 invoices per month in multiple currencies, for up to 10 clients. As the business scales, paid plans (starting at $4.99 a month) allow for unlimited invoices, expenses and 100 or more clients. All plans feature the ability to accept online payments and include a profit and loss report to make tax time a little easier.

12. Evernote
Evernote is a place to store all of those ideas, pictures, mind maps and other assorted information that you want to remember. It can be accessed from a smart device or computer, and when you input something in one location, it will be available from all of your devices instantly. This is a great tool for any planning you do on the go, and it comes with a ton of free storage. If you find yourself relying on it as an extension of your own memory, you can upgrade to a plan with more storage.

13. Portent Title Maker
Everyone gets stuck with creating a catchy title for a blog post or article at some point. Portent’s Title Maker takes your keyword and turns it into an interesting heading to give you a jumping-off point for your next piece of content. This tool can even help generate ideas for newsletters, brochures and emails.

14. Assistant.to
Just because you are a solopreneur doesn’t mean you want to do every single task for yourself. Most businesses owners would agree that having a secretary to take care of details is essential. Unfortunately, it isn’t affordable for everyone just starting out. Assistant.to sets up your appointments by working with your email recipient, automatically adjusting time zones and even rescheduling meetings if something comes up.

Companies have found that by offering a limited version of their services to small businesses and solopreneurs, they are able to develop lasting business relationships that will grow over time.

Then, as their business demands increase, loyal users are more willing to pay for services they have begun to depend on. Take advantage of this marketing tactic yourself, and put it to work for your business today.

How to Use Facebook Live and Instagram Live to Boost Your Business

How to Use Facebook Live and Instagram Live to Boost Your Business

If you have not figured out how, and when, to use Facebook and Instagram for your business, Jessica Abo has some tips from the co-founder of a social media and marketing agency.

Founder of JaboTV, Media Personality, Keynote Speaker and Consultant

Whether you are on Facebook or Instagram daily, or you avoid those sites altogether, Stephanie Cartin, who is the co-founder of SocialFly, sat down with Jessica Abo to talk about how to use Facebook and Instagram to help your brand, and your bottom line.

Watch more videos from Jessica Abo on her YouTube channel here.

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical and provides partners with distribution on Entrepreneur.com as well as our apps on Amazon Fire, Roku and Apple TV.

5 Ways Technology Is Changing Ecommerce

5 Ways Technology Is Changing Ecommerce

Tech-savvy customers are having an impact on the ecommerce world faster than ever.

Growth Marketer, Entrepreneur, And Content Creator

The impact that tech-savvy customers are having on the ecommerce world is not just stronger than ever; it’s faster than ever: Gone are the days when customers would meander online trying to determine if an online order was worth the risk.

Instead, technology today is helping customers keep track of their purchases, and altering the ways in which those consumers interact with online retailers.

These trends, in turn, are affecting the big picture: As technology changes business-to-consumer transactions, new opportunities for both sides of the sphere are emerging. Consumers now have access to a range of tools that help them gauge prices, find alternatives, locate stores and receive coupons.

Retailers are seeing benefits as well, as technology helps them make stronger connections with consumers and build their brands faster.

Altogether, technology is revolutionizing how business-to-consumer transactions occur. Here’s how:

Mobile apps are changing consumer/retailer relationships.
Apps are now affording retailers an opportunity to connect with consumers that goes beyond the boundaries of a brick-and-mortar business. Brands no longer have to wait for consumers to walk into their shop or spot an ad that prompts them to engage with the business.

Now, businesses can reach consumers everywhere. Even when customers aren’t shopping, retailers can still be on their minds. The constant presence of a brand’s app on a customer’s phone reminds him or her that that brand is out there, as an option. What’s more, location-enabled interactions, which deliver messages to customers who enter shops, are getting customers offline back into actual stores.

Retailers are more on consumers’ minds.
Yesteryear’s email notifications are swiftly being crowded out by marketers in favor of smartphone push notifications. These features and their apps allow marketing teams to command consumer attention as never before.

Promotions that once got filtered out by spam detectors or were scrolled over by consumers can now grab a user’s attention right at his or her home screen. Retailers are harnessing these updates to keep customers updated and informed about new sales and promotions.

Personalized customer experience is growing.
The fact that consumers want personally relevant shopping experiences is nothing new. What is new? It’s the fact that technology is making personalization standard. These marketing techniques are becoming a popular method for those looking to build a loyal customer base. With the advent of mobile personal assistants, ecommerce sites are realizing that automated services no longer cut it.

To better serve customers, ecommerce sites are finding they must adapt to the new customer service standards set by technological improvements. This means servicing customers on the various channels they have access to. Brand websites, email, Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram are all being used by customers to connect with brands.

Today’s ecommerce sites have to use these platforms to connect with customers, as well.

Consumers like the convenience of faster delivery and lower prices.
Convenience has been the number one driving force behind ecommerce sites’ success. With the increasing demand for convenience, however, same-day delivery features are posing new challenges. Online stores, for example, may encounter the need for higher price tags: Putting a driver behind a wheel for same-day delivery is far from cheap.

But technology help is on the way: In the near future, solutions to the delivery obstacle, at least, will come in the form of automated vehicles and drones. Ecommerce behemoths like Amazon are already looking to pave the way with such technology. For now, sites aiming to gain a competitive edge are offering consumers faster deliveries with lower prices.

Small businesses are taking over.
Overall, the future for small businesses looks increasingly bright for those jumping into the ecommerce market. Peer-to-peer ecommerce sites like Etsy and Shopify are putting small business head to head with big-box retailers like Walmart and Target.

Smartphones and social media are giving consumers a chance to discover brands they’ve never come across before. The thrift store down the street can now set up shop online and offer global access to its products.

Longtime mom-and-pop stores aren’t the only ones raking in the benefits. Startups are popping up across the country faster than ever before. Social media, mobile, and cloud technology are enhancing entrepreneurs’ ability to get businesses off the ground faster. What’s more, tech features are giving entrepreneurs the ability to start up businesses from home.

What features will technology introduce to enable more business and faster business? Stay tuned.


How to Remain Relevant in Today’s ‘Google It’ Culture and Why That Matters

How to Remain Relevant in Today’s ‘Google It’ Culture and Why That Matters

If you’re an entrepreneur just getting started with a search rating efforts, here are the things you need to know.

Gone are the days when companies placed a listing in the Yellow Pages to catch customers’ attention. Now, people find out about products, restaurants and companies by searching online. Who runs the world? All together now: Google.

When the internet influences 64 percent of all in-store sales, according to Hosting Facts, and search engines, according to Adweek, are the research method of choice for 81 percent of consumers prior to purchasing any product, service or business, startups can’t ignore the state of their search results.

If a company’s website shows up at the bottom — or worse, doesn’t show up at all — during a customer search, the business is in dire straits.

Why Google rankings matter

Companies used to differentiate themselves from competitors with bolder fonts or bigger listings in an annual paper directory. Now they do so by climbing to the top of a user’s online search results. For entrepreneurs building their brands and businesses from scratch, how their websites rank in Google’s search results affects their bottom line — as much as a solid product and excellent customer service.

At the heart of that ranking is search engine optimization, or SEO.

To rate a company’s SEO results, Google uses more than 200 algorithms, or computer programs that look for clues or signals, such as keywords, to return search results that are in line with what users seek.

A specific algorithm called Penguin was revamped in September to be part of Google’s core algorithm, and it may very well change how some sites appear in search rankings.

It now runs in real time, filtering out spam signals as it goes, rather than updating its list periodically. With its new page-specific focus and real-time refreshment, Penguin should prod companies to keep all pages on their websites current.

Make sure your domain name is clean.
Business domains are tricky to manage. Entrepreneurs looking to purchase a domain name befitting their companies need to make sure the domain hasn’t had any past negative SEO issues, isn’t on Google’s blacklist and isn’t the past home of spammers.

A domain with any of those issues will mean a waste of the money spent to purchase the domain, because new owners won’t be able to advertise in Google, and the domain’s organic search rankings could be tanked beyond repair based on prior usage.

So, how does an entrepreneur make his or her website content appear at the top of those rankings? Here are three ways to make sure a startup’s domain is poised for good search results:

1. Google it. Google every potential name the particular business could have, and see if a relevant domain name is either currently registered or available to be registered. You can do this by conducting a comprehensive trademark search. If a desired domain is currently registered, research its rankings and any site issues before reaching out to the current owner about purchasing it.

If it is available, make sure to immediately register the domain name. Not only will this save the business money in the long run, but it will also strengthen the business’s online position. Go into this process as you would go about buying a home. Just as you would do running a title search on a home or property, make an effort to research who really owns the desired domain.

And never send a payment to purchase a domain without consulting a legitimate agency to conduct the transaction and safeguard against fraud. I have used Escrow.com in the past to conduct domain purchases and sales. The company will hold the purchase price in escrow until the buyer and seller both agree everything is as expected.

2. Revamp your site. Conduct a full audit on the site’s content to comply with Google’s search rules, especially with that updated Penguin algorithm. Realize that any alterations made to eliminate spam or poorly written content on the site can now be reflected more quickly, improving the chances of reaching the top of search rankings. And, if necessary, refresh the site’s appearance.

Take my team’s site, Quote.com, for example. Our business was more than a decade old when we recognized that it was time for a full website renovation. If our website had been a house, it would have changed from Terrazzo flooring to all-natural bamboo floors. A complete overhaul showed our customers that our business was current and ensured that our website was compliant with Google’s updated algorithms.

We also analyzed the content on our site, removing quite a few outdated and unnecessary pages. If information is no longer relevant, remove it. Update articles, product descriptions and purchase information to make these factors current, as well. Leave customers with the impression that they’re getting a complete package of information. If the customer experience is first-rate, Google will rank associated keywords highly, thereby increasing the odds of better search results rankings.

3. Produce quality content. Never fill a site with quick pieces of content just to have something visible online. Content should be quality from the start. Even for a simple pizza restaurant’s website, there are things users will expect to be able to find: a menu, the ability to order online, hours of operation and so on.

Domino’s, for example, has used content like its Domino’s Tracker to boost business. In fact, 50 percent of the company’s sales come from online. Every business should strive to be the premier resource for what it provides, and that starts with a customer’s online experience.

But not every business domain provides quality content. Fewer than half of businesses surveyed in CMI’s B2B 2016 content marketing report claimed to have a clear, effective content marketing strategy. They knew they had work to do.

Part of that work is to provide high-quality articles and content that benefit the site’s visitors in some way. At the end of the day, everything is about brand authority. The more authoritative a domain and its content, the better Google will view the user experience. That’s why relevant keywords, the centerpiece of SEO, are one of Google’s 200 considerations for higher rankings.

So, that’s it: The “Google It” culture is here to stay, and entrepreneurs must pay attention to their search rankings to stay successful. Establishing and researching the right domain and creating quality content may take some time and effort, but it’ll pay off in the long run with a lot more pizzas — or your product, in particular — sold.

Founder and CEO

5 Ways to Be More Mobile-Friendly in 2017

5 Ways to Be More Mobile-Friendly in 2017

Don’t beat it. Joint it. Mobile is where it’s at. So, what are you doing to ensure your content gets all those mobile eyes?

Look away from your screen for a second. Go ahead; I’ll wait. What’s going on in the world around you? Are any other people looking up from their screens, or are they all just as absorbed as you were a moment ago?

It’s not just your imagination. According to comScore’s 2016 Mobile App Report, total digital media time grew 53 percent from 2013 to 2016, and 80 percent of that growth was driven by mobile apps. The point is, we haven’t all turned into zombies — we’ve just altered our focus to take in content at an almost constant rate.

Maybe it’s time we adjust to this new world, with more mobile-focused efforts.

To keep your company from being left behind in the ever-expanding mobile world, you need to make content accessible to users where they spend most of their time. This means formatting it and making sure it’s friendly and ready for mobile users to engage with.

The limitations of mobile hardware
A strong mobile strategy is vital to keeping an audience’s attention because, to put it bluntly, that’s where those people are. If your content isn’t available on mobile, you lose eyes — and a slew of potential users.

For this effort, understanding the hardware limitations of each operating system (along with what specs the largest audience has) is vital. Modern websites often employ animation and video to augment the customer visit and create a more engaging experience. Unfortunately, these don’t always work as planned on mobile devices — if they even work at all.

Auto-playing videos on an iPhone is a beast all its own. To reach the largest audience, your content needs to be accessible on the widest range of devices possible.

Strengthening mobile-focused efforts
With so many people consuming mobile content, you need to design in a mobile-friendly way. Here are a few design considerations to keep in mind:

1. Start using “media queries.” This concept will save your life when it comes to content. Media queries are specialized style sheets that tell a website to recognize what size screen or type of device someone is using to surf the web. This provides the visual style sheet that’s right for the device accessing it.

You don’t need to understand how to program style sheets yourself, but your web developer should, as the person person in the process of creating responsive websites for a mobile-focused world.

2. Make content readable. Too often, websites link to PDFs and other documents created on computers for computers (or, worse, intended for printing). These documents are tough to read on mobile and will mostly likely cause users to abandon your site.

Both design and content convey your message to readers, and the nature of mobile content is bite-sized content. Everything from sidebars and widgets to PDFs that don’t fit a mobile screen can have an effect — either keeping visitors coming back or leading them to abandon you completely.

Your mobile site should hide any excess buttons or bars that distract from the primary content. Videos in particular must be embedded in your design interface with HTML5 to avoid knocking your display out of whack.

3. Keep visual quality front and center. Modern mobile devices have high-res or HD screens; and cameras like the iPhone’s retina display. While it’s important that your content look good on lower-resolution screens, it also needs alternate images for clear, crisp viewing on 1080p, 4K and even 8K monitors now on the market.

A phone needs a higher pixel density to achieve this than a TV, which has much more surface space to cover. Regardless of what devices or screens your website is being viewed on, responsive design — such as one that turns a carousel of four images into one static image for mobile screens — allows the ideal image size to create a display as bright and professional as possible.

4. Keep file sizes small. On the flip side of this, even with high-resolution images, you want the lowest file size possible to enable faster load times, reduce costly cloud storage costs and more. Any page that takes more than two to three seconds to load will feel like an eternity to your users.

Several tools and tricks are available using free desktop apps like MS Paint, premium software like Photoshop and even web apps, to lower file sizes without compromising image quality. Sites such as TinyPNG can adjust image size while maintaining crispness to ensure that you’re optimized for any potential display.

5. Don’t forget text. Marketers constantly push the importance of video and imagery, and while these factors are effective, don’t underestimate the power of text. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but 1,000 words loads faster — and is much easier to reformat for visibility on any screen.

On mobile, your fonts will most likely need to be larger, with more frequent line breaks, but this takes a lot less work to accomplish than reformatting images. Your developer can develop or license a special font to embed on the website that will cost some money but is well worth the price tag. And if you must cut content to be more mobile-friendly, do it. In fact, this is great advice for writing in general — less is always more.

In sum, convenience has driven users to mobile, rather than their laptops or desktops. You always have your phone nearby where it’s easy to access, and every time you look up from it, everyone else is doing the same. Computers, even laptops, can’t provide this level of convenience — no matter how tiny, portable or all-in-one they are.

Maybe the world is filling up with screen-staring zombies. But if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them, with mobile-optimized content fit for a tech-savvy horde.

CEO, Rocksauce Studios

A Simple Formula for Mastering SEO the Easy Way

A Simple Formula for Mastering SEO the Easy Way

Great content and backlinks get you to the front of the line.

Trying to understand all the different facets and nuances of SEO is just about as difficult as trying to decipher an ancient language. There are hundreds of different factors that determine your ranking, and Google’s algorithms are shifting on almost a daily basis.

However, like with everything else in the marketing world, it is only 20 percent (or in our case about 1 percent) of the factors that lead to 80 percent of the results. If you can master this simple two-step formula, you can master SEO and increase the success and visibility of your content at an ungodly speed.

So what is this formula? Content + links to your website = Massive SEO Success. It’s that simple. Now, let’s break this formula down so that you can do SEO like a pro.

Step 1. Create great content.
In recent years, there have been many attempted coups in the internet marketing world. Every marketing factor and their third cousin have tried to remove content from the online throne and take the crown for themselves. And even though content might be beaten, bloodied and less powerful than he was in the days of old, he is still the king.

Content is the number one thing that you should focus on to improve the quality of your SEO. But what differentiates “good” content from “great” content, and how can you go about creating more of the latter? By focusing on these three things — relevance, quality and user experience.

The first thing you need to focus on to ensure your content ranks highly is relevancy. This is pretty straightforward. The content needs to be relevant to a specific query to rank for that query. Otherwise, you will have great content floating around in the deep ocean of the internet that no one will be able to fish out.

Once you have made sure your content is relevant to a search query, the next step is to ensure that the content is high quality. High quality content is basically defined as content that meets the needs of your audience. It’s that simple.

If people show up to your content with a problem and you solve that problem, you have created high quality content. Syntax and sentence structure be darned.

The final thing you need to focus on to ensure that your content is considered great is a good overall user experience. This means your content needs to be well-organized, easy to read and clearly formatted. It might not be fancy, but it can make all the difference with your SEO efforts.

Step 2. Get backlinks to your site from authority websites.
Once you have created great content, the next step on your path to SEO greatness is to get links back to that content. This is one of the biggest ways that Google measures site authority. Luckily for you, this is actually fairly simple. Notice I did not say easy.

The process that you will have to go through to build up a solid “treasure chest” of authoritative backlinks can be long and arduous. And it all starts with becoming a master of content marketing.

I could spend ages writing about content marketing and still not even scratch the surface of the subject. But for our purposes, I am going to give you the cliffnotes version — a few simple hacks to get you off to the races as soon as possible.

The first step is to hustle your content on social media. Share your content dozens of times on all of your platforms to ensure it receives as many eyeballs as possible.

Once you have become a proficient social media hustler, it’s time to start using email marketing to your advantage. Send out links to important articles in the P.S. section of your newsletters on a regular basis to keep the traffic coming.

Then, once you have used the above steps and built some traction around your content, it’s time to directly email influencers requesting backlinks. Share your article with them, emphasizing the benefits it will have to their audience and their business, and then request a backlink on their website.

Something that is important to realize is that authoritative sites do not just hand out juicy links. If you expect to get authoritative links to your site, you have to write epic articles and market them until industry leaders are naturally exposed to your content. This will take time, patience and a lot of sweat equity, but if you can master it, you will see your work on the first page of Google in no time.

SEO might seem complicated, but if you can master these two steps alone, you will be leaving your competition in the dust. While they focus on all the nuances and minutiae of SEO, you will be focused on what really matters.

Not only will you be putting less effort into SEO than your competition, but you will also be achieving greater results. So get out there, create some great content, get the backlinks you need, and watch your business growth explode.

Long Tail Keywords

No matter how attractive your site is, it will produce nothing unless you let someone know that it’s available. We’ve been providing Optimization, SEO marketing, email marketing, and Google advertising services since 1996. The United States Census Bureau research shows that a whopping 89% of Internet users search on-line before they buy a product – even when they intend to buy that product from a local business. We have an 85-95% success rate.

Long tail SEO keyword research services is our client’s number one driver for new business. In fact, one client we had went from not ranking at all for specific “executive” search terms to generating over 25,000 impressions per month for specific long tail terms.

A few reasons why we love long tail SEO keywords:

  • Long tail search terms are easier to rank for because there is less competition
  • Long tail search terms convert better they are so specific
  • Long tail search terms help sites eventually rank for the general terms

There’s a few effective ways to conduct long tail SEO keyword research. Anyone can do it. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for, creating a content development plan, and executing the plan.

Clients don’t want to spend hours pouring over Google Webmaster Tools search queries and Google AdWords historical reports. They also don’t want to spend hours playing around with the Google AdWords keyword tool and going through different keywords to develop a content plan.

They rather pay us to deliver them a report showing them exactly terms to target, and what content to create.