Social Media

  • Organic SEO & the Small Business Owner – Day 1

    For most small businesses available budget for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is usually close to the bottom of the list.  It is typically expensive to pay someone to help you and you still end up working with them to ensure that their messages are in line with your corporate message and mission statement.

    Investing in your website is a good thing and needs to be done if you generate most of your business from it.  Websites and blogs are both living and breathing entities.  You must feed them regularly to ensure that traffic is continually driven to them both.

    If you get into pattern of posting to your site or blog at least once a week, you will soon see the results.  Below are some points that you need to consider that will help you increase your organic SEO rank and therefore increase the number of times your URL appears at the top of search engine results.

    What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

    Search engine optimization is the process webmasters use to get their content to rank highly on search engines like Google and Microsoft Edge.

    Search engines have a variety of algorithms that they use to generate ranks for websites and blogs.  Although they change their different algorithms regularly, the basic concepts you need to complete to achieve results do not change.  If you cover the basics you will be sure to increase your organic traffic and results.

    1. Do your Keyword Research

    Keywords are everything.  You must remember that Google is a machine.  It matches the words you write to determine if it’s a fit compared to the queries people are searching for.  Your website must be optimized for keywords to increase the chances of your content ranking for a keyword.

    I highly recommend using KWFinder to do keyword research: It will help you to determine if a keyword has people searching for it and give you insights about how competitive a keyword will be.  There are a lot of websites that offer keyword research, both free and paid for.  Choose the one that works best for you and your budget.

    The idea is that you want to optimize your posts for keywords that have more monthly searches but are not very competitive.  The less competitive the keyword, the more chance your post or webpage will come up in the results.

    1. Optimize for Search Engine Optimization

    Add your chosen keyword(s) in the fields listed below to optimize your pages for Google.  Depending on the software you have used to build your website will depend on what you need to do to find these fields.  For example, if your site is built in WordPress, download a free plugin called Yoast.  Yoast allows you to edit all these fields for all the pages and posts that you have published.

    • Title
    • Meta description
    • Alt text of images
    • Subheadings
    • Your internal links
    • Within the body text of your article
    • There are more, but these are the key areas you need to focus on.
    1. Write Content that Calls to the Person Reading your Website or Blog.

    Take into consideration that all changes that Google makes to its algorithm has its end user experience in mind.  For example, Google knows that users do not like popups, so they negatively score websites that use them, and they also know that posts and blogs that are longer give the user more value for money, so they rank those higher.

    It goes without saying, that you need to write about what people what to hear about.  So, when you write your website content or blog, ensure that the topics are current, interesting and well written.  Double…Triple…. quadropoly check for grammar errors and typos.

    1. Understand your Competitors

    Online Marketing - Unique ResultsWhy? You can check out the best-ranking SEO keywords that your competitors have, and then copy them.  This can be achieved manually; however, I advise SEMRush – you must pay for it, but it is worth the money.  There are other options like SEMRush that are free, but you get what you pay for!  SEMRush are all about Search Engine Optimization and when used will definitely increase your results.

    1. Self-host your Website or Blog

    This does not mean that you need to buy a web server and set it up yourself.  It means that you should NOT use Wix, Weebly or other DIY website design tools.  Without a self-hosted website, trying to rank for content is an uphill battle. Wix, Weebly etc., do not rank well on Google search engine.

    1. Good Web Design & Theme

    You may not see it now, but the website theme you use will affect your do-it-yourself SEO efforts in many ways.

    For example:

    • A good website theme will ensure that your website is mobile responsive.
    • A good website theme will not slow down your site unnecessarily.
    • A good website theme has built-in SEO functions.
    • A good website theme looks good and keeps visitors around.

    These functions should not stop you for looking for places for you to work on your Search Engine Optimization rules!  There are thousands of themes out there built for a variety of different applications.  Choose the theme that appeals to you the most, then research for the above features.

    1. Create a Brand that Stands Out

    User retention is incredibly important. If people land on your site from Google and then leave immediately, Google takes note and adjusts your rankings accordingly.

    You want to have a solid brand that stands out so that people don’t just read your post, they end up on your website for a long, long, time.  Your brand must be memorable so that people can refer others to your website and blog.

    1. Create an Audience of Loyal Readers with your Email List

    This applies more to a blog page than a website page but a blog post with people visiting definitely has a higher chance of being ranked.

    Social Media will allow you to send a ton of traffic to your blog posts, so that these people can then share, link and generally create interest in your post.  We have all heard the phrase “viral”.  You want your post to go viral for good reasons.  A highly shared page is more likely to be classified by Google as having “high-quality content” and that is worth being in the top 10.

    Prompt users to subscribe to your blog and page.  This will help you to build an email list that you can then send information to about your latest posts every time you publish.

    1. Long Tail Keywords

    If I had to start over in a new niche and newly launched website, I would invest heavily in writing articles optimized for long-tail keywords.  Long-tail keywords often have hyper-relevance and it will get you a tribe of people squarely in your target audience.

    For instance, by ranking for “newsletter content ideas” instead of “newsletter”, you can create a community of people with a specific need that you can solve and monetize easily.  It is also a lot easier to rank for the less competitive long-tail keywords.

    1. Write Regular Content

    Regular PostsYou must write regularly if you want organic traffic.  Once a year is not going to get the results you are hoping for.  No articles = no ranking = no search traffic = no subscribers = no business.  Everyone has things that annoy them the most…for me it is bloggers and news outlets that do not date stamp their articles.  For good or bad, the internet is forever.  News and information fast become out of date.  By date stamping your articles and blogs, users can appreciate your article with a difference view.

    1. Get Social Shares

    A blog post with traction is a lot more likely to get ranked than a blog post with no visitors.  Post away on all social media platforms.  Ask friends and colleagues to share your posts to help you increase your traffic.  Depending on your topic you might also try using Pinterest.  It is very effective alternative to drive traffic to any blog post or website, aside from Google.

    There are a variety of social sharing plugins.  You can review Hootsuite and Social Warfare.

    1. Market your website

    We have been discussing both blog posts and websites interchangeably throughout this article.  Promoting both simultaneously will generate great results.  I am avid reader of the Entrepreneur magazine and website.  They had a great article that gives you some great ideas for marketing your website – Here is the link  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/283832

    1. Use Yoast SEO Plugin

    The Yoast SEO plugin is a great plugin to use to help you to optimize your WordPress website and blog posts.  It is worth the extra 5 minutes before you hit the Publish button to give Yoast some attention.  Make sure all of your Yoast comments have a GREEN DOT!  At that point you get a pat on the back!

    If you don’t have Yoast SEO plugin installed yet, you must. It’s one of the best WordPress plugins available on the internet.

    1. HTTPS your website

    You may have heard of Google’s not-so-recent move to prioritize websites with an SSL certificate.  Basically, your website URL will start with “https” instead of “http”.  There are a variety of places now, that you get a free SSL and using WordPress plugins you can easily add your SSL certificate to your website and blog.  Having an SSL cert is especially important if you are selling and accepting payments on your website.  It indicates to the user that you take their online security and identity seriously.  It also adds a little “lock” icon in the address bar beside your website address.  Once installed, if you are still not seeing the lock icon, contact your hosting company.  They will be able to help you ensure that you entire site is secure.

    1. Install a Sitemap

    Having a sitemap for your website is important.  Yoast has a setting that allows the plugin to automatically create a sitemap.  By having a sitemap, your page will be indexed quickly and more efficiently for Google and other search engines.

    Thank you for your time reading my article.  I hope that I was able to answer questions about SEO and take away some of the mystery that surrounds it.  If you need help with your website or marketing material please email me at alyson@webdesignshop.us or call me on 601-667-0009.  You can also use the form below to contact us.

    Alyson Stasek

    Owner at The Little Web Design Shop


    Package Options from The Little Web Design Shop

    #webdesign #webdevelopment #SEO #SearchEngineOptimization #smallbusiness #mississippi #tlwds #bloggin #onlinepromotion

  • Online Networking

    Online Networking and How to be Successful

    This is a great article and thought I would share that looks at Networking Online | Websites | SEO.  Enjoy, Learn, Generate Business!

    As small business owners, we should all take the time to learn more about how we can promote our business.  Traditional advertising and postcards work 75% of the time, but by sticking to those methods will mean you are missing a big chuck of your potential customers.


    Email Alyson@webdesignshop.us  or call 601-667-0009 if you need help with your website, marketing materials, SEO or social media

    #onlinenetworking #smallbusiness #mississippi #website #promotion #marketing #SEO #searchengineoptimization #focusonresults

    The Little Web Design Shop

    If you need any help with your website, marketing materials or just need to ask questions please call me at 601 667 0009 or use the forms below to contact us and subscribe to our newsletter.

  • Why is it that most small business owners do not research the difference between 100% custom, and template based websites?

    Just saw a question on Alignable about web design and small businesses, and thought I would post the question here and my response. Let me know what you think:


    Why is it that most small business owners do not research the difference between 100% custom, and template based websites?

    1. Small businesses run on a tight budget…a fully newly written website coded just for them is not usually an option, and yes they are way more expensive than using a WordPress theme for example.

    2. WordPress has some great templates and themes that are fully functional for small businesses and allows them to incorporate all the features that they need, the site looks custom, and they also able to optimize for SEO using relevant keywords.

    A good WordPress developer will take the tools and make them work effectively. I would not suggest to small businesses that they use Wix or other similar template options as yes, they are restrictive and yes they typically do not look professional and on a long term basis they end up expensive and ineffective.

    3. I do not believe that anything is better than nothing…a dated, badly designed website will turn clients off and stop them from calling your company. It makes your company look inefficient and out of touch with todays world.

    4. It is not because business owners are apathetic (read some of the comments below before I responded) and to be honest, I think that is an insult to most small business owners. A small business owner cannot know everything! Like any business professional they need to delegate when they do not have the relevant knowledge. In fact, the sign of a great manager and owner is the ability to delegate and to accept that they do not have all the answers. It has nothing to do with being unwilling to learn or to expand their repertoire.

    5. Being a small business owner is challenging at the best of times and the owner needs to focus on what they do best…serving and supporting their clients. Web design is not a skill that most small business owners have in their arsenal. Doing due diligence on picking a web designer is based on a variety of things…location, price, value for money and customer service are used just to begin with. These are the things that most small business owners understand irrelevant of the product and service that they are selling themselves.

    6. Referrals are the best way to find a contractor/web designer and small business owners recognize this. That is why Alignable is such an awesome tool and networking site for all small business owners.

    Let me know what you think…either via comments below or email me at alyson@webdesignshop.us!

  • Social Media and its Role in Politics & Religion

    I spend a lot of time on social media and the internet for a variety of reasons: Reading, learning, researching, marketing, and communicating to name just a few.

    I have always respected the internet and the information that is so easily accessible. I remember the first time I browsed a website when the internet first became “live”.  Yes, I can still remember that day in the early 1990’s very clearly.  I even still have my original Hotmail email address that I created in that first exploratory reach into the unknown. Although I learned very little in the first foray, I did understand and appreciate the power such a tool would have in the future. Attending college never really inspired me to want to learn…it took being “romanced” by the era of technology for me to delve deep, learn, read, learn and read and learn some more.

    At the time, I worked for a small direct marketing and research firm based out of Berkshire, and I was a true database and direct marketing geek. I was well-known throughout the direct marketing industry and I would get calls from all over Europe asking my advice about how to manage a direct marketing campaign and what criteria should be used to target a captive audience. Ironically, it was the people who worked in marketing at this time that developed the initial idea around identifying client personas without really realizing what we were doing.

    The company’s client base was purely information technology and I was lucky enough to have worked with the greats: Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, 3M to name just a few. I also worked with a lot of small companies who were dipping their toes into this exciting and rapidly developing industry for the first time. Being a part of a small company and its first timid steps has always inspired me, and even today I get excited when I am talking to a new client.

    Social Media wise, I think my first account was on MySpace.  At the time MySpace was mostly sharing pictures and music.  It could have been so much more, but Facebook hit the market and MySpace slowly lost its way. Yahoo groups was also a fun zone to be in…chatting with people across the globe, learning and expanding horizons. I must admit, I never really saw the bad side of what the internet had to offer.  My focus has and always will be “a glass half full attitude”, and a positive outlook.

    Never did I imagine pedophiles hunting down and talking to young children to persuade them to meet up, never did I imagine political parties sharing false information to win elections, never did I imagine massive churches taking money from parishioners in the way that they do today through online books and fake information. I guess I was still living the life of a young, hopeful adult that could only imagine the positive from this massive wheel that was only just beginning to spin.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still see the massive positives that the internet delivers every single second of every hour in the day. I read extensively, and still value the available information, but I have learned to accept this information with either a small pinch or large bucket load of salt, depending on the website I am reading. I think the challenge a lot of people have when reading information online, be it a website or social media posts, is that they believe 100% of what they are reading and do not make a judgement call based on the source of the information.

    People seem to have forgotten the old saying about “don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper”. The internet seems to add a level of truthfulness about topics…I mean, if they say they are “Doctor”, they must be a “Doctor”…right??!?

    I do not think anyone understands or has information about how Russia supposedly affected the 2016 US Election or if there are “bots” flooding the pages and groups online. To try and keep track of all the memes, images, comments, news articles that travel across social media and to check them as they are posted for accuracy is by far, an impossible job. No matter how much we beg our family and friends to stop sharing inaccurate information, they continue to do so.

    What I do think though is that everything should have its place. Each social media platform is different and has a job. Let us review the top 4.

    1. Facebook – Platform for consumers to share information and stories and for businesses to sell and promote themselves to those consumers and other businesses.
    2. Instagram – Platform to consumers and businesses to share images and to promote their ideas and services to their followers.
    3. Twitter – The favorite medium of the current resident of the White House, Twitter is a news feed platform that allows you to share short news alerts and information with your followers.
    4. LinkedIn – Platform for businesses and professionals to network and promote their services and skill sets.

    All these social media platforms are great for the small business owner through to large conglomerates promoting their services and sharing their news. Of course, the more we use them as consumers, the richer the owners/CEOs get but everyone gets something out of them if they log in to their account.

    Without Facebook, I would not have recently got back in touch with my best friend from school. Without WhatsApp, I would never be able to afford to speak to my daughter in England every day for sometimes an hour at a time. We all have similar stories.

    My question today though goes back to the social media platform’s job. Should any of their jobs in the widest sense of the platform’s definition include politics and religion? Politics and religion are both taboo subjects over the dinner table, so why are they not also taboo on your social media timeline. Facebook and Twitter are now so infected with politics that I do not believe there is a chance to reverse the rapid spread of a pathogen that is a major part of today’s industrialized society.

    Instagram and LinkedIn are so far almost protected from the political/religious virus. Sadly, today I spotted a few political and religious posts creeping into my LinkedIn feed. I have been on LinkedIn for 6 years and have over 3500 connections and I review my feed and connections daily. I have always been quietly happy that LinkedIn has kept to their job of networking, job searching, business promotion, and marketing.  It has been my breathing space from a world gone a little mad!  That now appears to be changing.  It seems that inappropriate posts are creeping to onto my news feed that include obvious political and religious grandstanding.

    Who is willing to fight for LinkedIn and the clean job that it does? Who is willing to stand up and say NO to RELIGION and POLITICS on LinkedIn?

    Will it be the product managers at Microsoft who will put their foot down and announce to the world that anyone on LinkedIn promoting a political or religious agenda will be removed? Or will it be all the professionals who have proactively used LinkedIn since 2002 when it was launched? Either way, action needs to be taken, and I hope that the managers at LinkedIn and Microsoft take note and keep LinkedIn politics and religion-free.