Archive for June, 2009

Are you missing out on links?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Branding, Links with No Comments »

It’s so simple, but it’s forgotten way too often and it can cost you more than just google rankings.  It can cost you potential clients.

No matter what you are putting on the internet, make sure you always link back to your website.  We see it all too often with new clients that come to us.  They aren’t taking advantage of the little places that could be bringing good money.

Some of you may have more than one brand that you are working with, so having one link is not an option.  If that’s the case, then create a web hub for yourself.  It can exist on a current URL or buy a URL that has your name in it.  Put a little about yourself as a person and then list all the different brands you have created with a graphic and easy to scan description.  This way people can quickly/easily scan and find the place they want to go.  Use this hub page as your link wherever you can.  For an example of one of these pages, you can see my very simple page at http://www.kristenbeireis.com.  Here I have links to all my pages, brands and activities.

Below is a list of 10 places that are easy to add your website URL to and will provide you with more exposure, traffic, and better rankings.

1)  Link from you blog to your site and vice versa.

2)  Facebook profile - there’s a place in your profile information AND that little bio box under your picture is a good place to link back to your website.

3)  Facebook Fan Page - If not in the bio box under your picture, at least have a link on your boxes tab and in the profile information.

4)  Twitter - There’s a place for a link in your settings.   You can also create a background graphic that has the link.  It’s not clickable, but if you have an easy URL, they can just type it in from there.

5)  LinkedIn - Make sure you include your link in your bio.  You can have several links here, so keep that in mind.

6)  Sales Pages - Yes, I know, sales pages are supposed to be plain (that’s a whole other discussion).  If you don’t have a link back to your main website, then how are people supposed to get to know who you are? When I see something I want to buy (especially coaching related), I want to know who’s behind it and what else do they offer.  So, at least include a little tiny link at the bottom of the sales page that leads back to your main website.

7)  Autoresponder e-mails - It’s easy to forget that e-mails in your autoresponder system do not always link back to your website.  So, it needs to be in your signature.  Some systems allow a global setting where that signature is added to the bottom of every e-mail.  Others will require that you add it into the e-mail message itself.  Either way, don’t miss this easy way to link back to your website.

8)  Any online profile - If you are a member of a social network, or have a listing on a website, make sure you have a link back to your site somewhere on your listing or profile.  Sometimes these sites will ask for a URL but they don’t always add it in a way that’s obvious for people to find. So, make sure you display it prominently in one way or another.

9)  Article submissions - Most aritcle submission sites will allow a bio or author box.  Make sure you include a link to a sales page or website in each article that you submit.

10)  Newsgroups or message boards - It’s easy to forget to include a link to your site in these e-mails.  It’s important to remind people that you have a website.  It also helps if someone passes on the great information you share.  The link right in the message makes it easy for the new person that just discovered you.

So, were there any new ones that you hadn’t thought about?  Do you have others to add?  Feel free to leave a comment and let us know.

One place with big traffic potential.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 | Web Design with No Comments »

Hey everyone!  Another guest post this week.  This time from my colleague and Coaching Website Specialist; Kenn Schroder.  He shares one little thing you can do to boost your traffic and google rankings.  It’s so simple!  Yet, it’s missed so often.  Read on and then leave your questions or comments below.  Have you done what Kenn suggests?

As you know, a website is no good without visitors. If you want to get coaching clients, sell products and get people to subscribe and into your sales and marketing systems, you need visitors.

There are limitless ways to get traffic, but one very popularand powerful way is to drive traffic to your website from search engines. A big factor in doing that is getting links from other websites to yours.

And the bigger and better the “other” website is, the more valuable the link is (from the eyes of search engines) - and hence the higher your rankings go.

It’s completely like being in high school again. If the popular kid says you are cool, well, then you’re cool! If the unpopular kid says you’re cool, it doesn’t buy so much weight. Yes, we are in high school again.

So, who’s one of the most popular kids on the internet? DMOZ. If you have a link from DMOZ to your website, it says you’re website is very cool.

How so?

DMOZ is one of the largest and oldest human-edited directories on the Web. DMOZ is the Open Directory Project - is a multilingual open content directory of the World Wide Web.

Because it’s difficult to get into and because it’s edited by humans, sites that do get into DMOZ are seen as very valuable.

Websites submitted to DMOZ are judged by unpaid (volunteer) editors; these guys and gals aren’t getting paid, they are in it to make the Web a better place with good websites. They want to keep the integrity of the directory.

An editor’s job is to accept good websites, properly categorize websites, and avoid scammers and spammers. This keeps the directory nice, clean, and relevant.

But, getting in isn’t easy because these editors are unpaid and tend to take their time. Also, some categories do not have editors - and if you submit to a category with no editor, you will have to wait for another editor to find time to handle your request.

By the way, DMOZ is here:
http://www.dmoz.org/

So here are the basic steps to getting into DMOZ:

1. Read the submission policies.
It’s slow to get listed, so you don’t want to make a simple mistake and find out a month later that you have to resubmit! The submission guidelines are here: http://www.dmoz.org/add.html.

2. Choose a category
The ideal category is the one that is most relevant to what you do.

For example, if you are a health coach operating in Washington and many of your clients are local, then you will probably be accepted into this category: “Top: Health: Alternative: Coaching: North America: United States: Washington.”

By being listed on this page, search engines will associate the words on the page with our website. And this page has lots of keywords that are relevant to your website such as Health, Coaching and Washington.

Go click through the categories to see where you would fit. Keep in mind that you will probably be accepted into a category if you see other coaches listed there.

3. Write a good title.

Your title will have to be your business name or website name. If you have keywords in your business or website name, then your rankings will improve for those keywords.

For example, if there was a coach whose business name was The Business Success Coach, they would have the keywords “business coach” in their name.

This is good because when your keywords are in the actual link (the blue and underlined text) those words highly correlated to your website and you rank higher.

If you don’t have keywords in your name, don’t sweat it. It’s just one small factor in the grand scheme of things.

4. Write a good description with keywords in it.
DMOZ frowns upon copy with a lot of hype or exaggerated claims. They want you to submit non-salesy, objective, directly-related information about your website. 25-30 words long.

So, for example, if you are a business coach for accountants and you help them with sales and marketing, then you could do this:

Business coach for accountants providing sales and marketing consulting, articles, blog, report, and seminars aiming to increase profits. Located in Seattle, Washington.

Take a look at the other listings in your category to get a sense of what is expected.

5. Mark your calendar to follow-up in two months. Check back in two months to see if you are listed. If you are not, contact the category editor.The link to contact an editor is at the bottom of the category for which you submitted to. If you don’t see an editor, go to the next higher up category.

In summary, getting listed in DMOZ, a valued human-edited directory is seen as a big plus in the eyes of search engines, and as a result your website pages will rank higher.

Kenn Schroder, Coaches Website Expert

Kenn Schroder, Coaching Website Specialist

Kenn Schroder helps professional coaches build client-attracting websites. Get a free copy of his report 5 Website Strategies for Attracting Coaching Clients at http://www.WebsiteAhas.com

What’s this Facebook username thing about?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 | Uncategorized with No Comments »

If you are at all active on Facebook, you’ve seen all sorts of things flying around about Facebook usernames or Vanity URL ’s recently.  I’ve had several people ask me; Why should I care?  Well, there are several reasons getting your own personal Facebook username is important.

First off, for those who aren’t sure what we are talking about…you can now get your own personalized URL for Facebook.  For example, I got http://www.facebook.com/lifeenthusiast last Friday when they went live.  You can read more on the Facebook website at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=897.

NOTE:  If you signed up for Facebook after 3pm Eastern time on June 9, 2009, you will not be eligible to get your username until June 28.

So, why should you get one of these Vanity URL’s for Facebook?  Here are a few reasons:

1)  It’s MUCH easier to send people to this shortened link than that really long profile URL that you would have without it.

2)  A domain name ranks better with Google than content, so if you have a branded facebook URL you are more likely to be found and ranked higher by Google.

3)  Claiming your name keeps other people from using it on Facebook.

The next question I’m asked is “What name should I use?” That’s a question you need to ask anytime you sign up for a username on a social network.  You need a social brand that is consistent amongst all your networks.  You’ll notice my username on Facebook is lifeenthusiast.  On Twitter I’m life_enthusiast.  On LinkedIn I’m lifeenthusiast etc… you see how I’m branding myself across all the networks so that my social brand is Life Enthusiast.  FYI - on Twitter, I have a profile for lifeenthusiast that points over to life_enthusiast.  I’m not sure how long Twitter will let me keep it, but for now, it works.

Now, I’m not saying you have to come up with some super duper coachy name that describes who you are as a coach.  I’m not even suggesting you get creative and come up with a new identity across social networks.  All I’m suggesting is that you be CONSISTENT.  Now, I just happened to choose Life Enthusiast when I signed up for Twitter because I liked it.  Many of the social networking experts recommend you brand your name.  I find that my last name, Beireis, is a bit hard to spell (let alone pronounce) so I chose a different name to be known by.

If you are going to use your name, then by all means, use your name.  Just make sure you use it across all networks!  So, when you go in to get your Vanity URL at Facebook, make sure it’s consistent with your username on your other networks.  Remember, Facebook will NOT let you change it later, so whatever you choose, you are stuck with it.

Oh, and if you have a Fan Page (Business Page) and you have over 1000 Fans, you can claim a Vanity URL for that too.  If you don’t have 1000 Fans, then you will be eligible to claim your page URL on June 28.   I’ll be on Facebook claiming mine that day, that’s for sure!

Happy naming!  Let us know what you decide and why in a comment.

Got Buzz?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 | Branding with No Comments »

Since I’ve been talking about little ways to get your brand out to the world, I thought I’d invite a brand expert to share some thoughts with you.  Judy Winslow has graciously stepped up and offered some words of wisdom on brand building and clarity.  Here ya go!

As you know the word BRAND is a big buzz word these days. Many are running around thinking they’ve got a brand or they want a brand but first, consider the ‘why’. Why is a brand useful for you, why would creating a brand presence benefit your revenue and why go to the trouble to build a brand when your time could be spent doing other things? There are many other ‘why’ questions, but those will get you started. Thomas Leonard said: Clarity affords focus, and so it is with brand building. Becoming clear is essential.

There’s a process to creating a brand, and there are concrete benefits as well. It’s similar to building a house. You can meet with a builder and say ‘Build me something pretty with 4 bedrooms’, and when he asks for the plans, you could say, ‘oh, just make it nice, I trust you’. Can’t imagine that, right? Further there are standards for the structural integrity of a building that are ensured through inspections. So it is with a brand. A brand provides a clear foundation for growth, a platform on which your business can stand. With that clarity and integrity you will be afforded the focus to grow your business with intention, so that upon inspection it will give you increased energy, rather than deplete you. You’ll be on path, rather than fragmented with your efforts.

Some wonder about the ROI on such an activity.  They wonder why they should spend any time or energy in this arena. Well, I would state that marketing and brand positioning is only important if you are interested in a successful business. This is not for the hobby-ist, or someone who has created a j.o.b. for themselves. This is for those who wish to grow and prosper. Consider some of the most successful products (or even not so successful products) and notice the difference marketing and brand positioning made. Would a Pet Rock have made it without a clear plan in place? Do you believe Gene Simmons or Donald Trump or Mrs. Fields (or Thomas Leonard for that matter) would have become household names without a clear plan and someone to assist in implementing for them so they could focus on their core business? Think of the biggest names in your field and think about the ROI they’ve had from such an investment. In today’s world, where it takes 7-9 contacts with each prospect to make a sale, any team member that could assist you with accomplishing those tasks would be a worthy investment.

Begin today. Begin to get clear about what you’d like to achieve, then get the support required to live this dream. Each of us has the power to create a brand presence, yet none of us can do alone what we can as part of a team. Imagine, get clarity and then focus on having it blossom into the beautiful flower only you can grow. You’ll be creating a brand worth buzzing about!

Judy Winslow is an avid entrepreneur who has spent her entire career partnering with business owners to build authentic brand platforms to showcase their services and products. Her classes, consulting and coaching are available to anyone ready to break free of the expected in order to live their dreams. Find out more at http://www.BrightPointeInfo.com.

Live your dreams. Design your life. Choose to be your best. - Judy Winslow

Judy Winslow, Brand Expert

Judy Winslow, Brand Expert

One brand breeds clarity for potential clients

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 | Branding with No Comments »

As a coach you help people find who they are, hold them accountable for being that person, and challenge them to continue growing into themselves.  I believe this is true, no matter what kind of coach you are.  Most likely, your clients are not be aware that they’ll get all that.  However, they do get a “sense” that they want clarity in one way or another.

Now, imagine you were looking for clarity.  You see an interesting title of someone in a networking room that you’d like to approach about helping you.  When you first speak to this person, they tell you their name is Heather.  You start talking about the clarity you seek and Heather then says, oh in that case call me Jennifer.  Then you talk a little more and she changes her name to Kerrie.  How would you feel at this point?  Would you be ready to hire Heather, Jennifer, Kerrie?  Sounds like she doesn’t have clarity about who SHE is so how can she help YOU have clarity?

This is exactly what I see on the internet all over the place.  A coach has one website with their coaching services.  Then each product has it’s own brand, is on it’s own website and has NO relation back to the original site where the coach offers their most valuable services.  When you have multiple brands, you create one of two illusions for potential clients;

1)  This coach ONLY has this product and I want something more.  Guess I need to go to a different coach for that.

2)  This coach has a lot of different brands, which one is the REAL coach?

Neither is an impression that’s going to lead to increased sales or more clients!  Now, I’m not saying you have to ditch all your additional domains and take down all your additional products/services.  In fact, it’s GREAT to have those domains and utilize them for SEO purposes.  Of course, I suspect you already know that value of having those additional sites, or you would never have put them into place.

What I’m talking about here is consistent branding. I’m talking about creating an identity for your business that is consistent regardless of what product or service you sell.  At a BARE MINIMUM, at least put a link from the sales page back to your main website.  Ideally, brand your sales pages to match your main website.  Use a similar template.  You don’t need to include all the links back to other pages on your site, but use a header that looks the same.  Use the same background color, the same fonts, the same colors.  Make sure it’s OBVIOUS that this product is created by the same person who owns your main site.  Make the link back to your main site obvious, so they can research who you are.  They’ll be more willing to buy if they can research you.

I have to say, I’m getting really tired of blank white boxes that have text and product pictures for a sales page.  They all look the same!  If your sales page looks identical to every one elses, you will NOT stand out.  You are a coach and your uniqueness needs to shine through in anything you put on the internet. Your potential clients will appreciate the consistency and the clarity you have about yourself.  They will admire it and want that for themselves…which is way more powerful than any text you can put on the page.

What are your thoughts?  Is one brand enough for you?