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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Getting Started With Your Business Blog

Content marketing is a great way for small business owners to make themselves known and get noticed by the right people online. If you are unfamiliar with content marketing, don’t worry because we are starting with one of the easiest and well-known areas –blogging. When approached the right way, blogging really is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to create marketable content. This is content that supports your brand while enticing the interests of online users, which maybe potential customers to your business.

Blogging, content marketing, branding, creative content, audience engagement, Getting Started With Your Business Blog image 1. Woman using laptop.
The idea of creating and maintaining a blog may sound very overwhelming but it is our hope that this article will help guide the way toward to success business blogging experience. Once you embark on the process, you will find that it is not intimidating at all. You may even find it hard to stop!

Here are ten tips for starting and maintaining a successful business blog:

#1. Make sure that the information you provide is valuable, useful and relevant:

Always ensure that any and all information you provide is useful for the reader and relevant to the topic at hand. If your information is easy-to-comprehend and well-organized, it will attract reader, many of whom will go on to become regular readers. In other words, the old writing mantra of "show, don't tell" is very effective. For instance, if you are promoting a business strategy, a solid example of a business that has already achieved success will be the best way to prove your point. Also, don’t shy away from adding images that support the information in a blog article.

#2. Don't be afraid to go off-topic sometimes:
While it is always a good thing to keep your focus on brand related blogging topics, too much of it can in fact make things monotonous. A excellent way to keep your blog fresh and engaging is to find a new way to look at the same, old topics or introduce some that are a little more outside the box. Consider discussing local news and events, hobbies related to products/services your business provides, a list of favorite local restaurants or even personal movie and book reviews.

Buying lunch for the office? Why not ask each associate to write a few sentences about their choice of food. Everyone has to eat and your customers may enjoy learning a little about local favorites.

#3. Let your readers subscribe at the touch of a button:
A recurring problem with many interesting business blog is that they either have no subscribe option, or it is not within the reader's general view. Make sure that your blog has a subscription option and see to it that it is in a place that is easy-to-find, like on your website.

#4. Share and promote your content:
No matter how popular or engaging your content may be, there is always a chance that your readers (subscribers included) may miss it. It is therefore best that you give a gentle reminder to your readers about your blog every time you post. There are plenty of ways to share your posts, from social media and your website, to newsletters and even in your email signature.

Be proud of your blog and own it! Don’t just share a blog article on your business’ social media. Log into your personal Facebook account to like and share the blog post from your business’ Facebook Page.

#5: When it comes to format, make sure to mix and match:
The biggest enemy of any blog is the tendency to descend into monotony. A great way to avoid this from happening is to mix up your posts a little, both in terms of format and content. Alternating long all-text posts with shorter posts or video posts is a great idea, as is peppering your posts with a few images.

#6. Express your point of view:
While being neutral is generally a good policy, it does pay to take a stand sometimes. If there is a hot topic in your industry and you feel strongly about it, come out and say so. At times, a little bit of controversy can get your blog in the center of everyone's attention!

#7. Make sure that your blog is easy-to-read:
Remember, a blog that gets the point across simple and easily is always the best. Make sure to keep your posts from getting overly verbose, and make use of formatting (bullets, subheadings, etc.) as and when necessary. This makes your post easy on the reader's eyes and helps them narrow in information that is most important to them.

#8. Edit and proofread!
Grammatical and/or spelling mistakes are one of the biggest turnoffs of any blog posts. You must, therefore, make sure that your blog doesn't have any. Before publishing, re-read your posts to catch any errors that may be present. You can also ask a colleague to proofread your posts to confirm that they are indeed error-free.

#9. Introduce yourself:
Your business blog is a manifestation of your business' personality. A business that is in fact created by you. While your business blog is about business (and should remain as such), adding the occasional post that mentions your personal life and experiences, or even an anecdote is not a bad idea. Such posts give your blog more personality and help attract a diverse kind of reader, while allowing your consistent readers to look at you in a new light.

#10. Be patient:
Your blog is not a race, it is something that you build gradually with time. The blog will have to build momentum, pull in readers, and make a dedicated following - all of which will only come with time. Remember - slow, steady, and consistent wins the race!

If you have been blogging for some time and cannot seem to get more readers, don't get discouraged. Most business blogs need a bit of a boost to get any attention. A successful blog may receive a good deal of attention due to traffic to the main website or webpage, which it is linked to prominently. However, high-quality website design and SEO are necessary to get the most out of both properties. With the right online marketing strategy, a business website and blog can work together to maximize exposure across the web.



Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Your Guide to Maintaining Good Internet Etiquette

Internet Etiquette, netiquette, professional, online behavior, social media, online marketing
Gone are the days when "internet" simply meant talking on chat rooms and typing-in old documents. So many different things are done via the internet these days - from talking with friends and family in real time (even when they're on the other side of the globe), to talking on forums and seminars, and even maintaining entire offices. With so much being done online today, it is all the more important for people to put their best foot forward online in every way they can. From talking on social media to answering emails and online advertising to website content, it is always good to think before you share while also following some basic rules.

Here are some ways in which you can keep your internet etiquette (or should we say, "netiquette") in check:

Mind Your Manners

Just because you're not actually talking face-to-face with the other person, doesn't mean that you are free to say or do anything you like and not bear the consequences. Remember, any professional relationships you build online are just like the ones you make in real life - they are based on mutual respect and politeness.

Here's a small tip to help you get started: If you would not normally say or do something in a face-to-face conversation, make sure that you don't post it online either.

Avoid Strong Language

While strong language does include rude and foul words, those are only a part of the concept. Strong language can mean a lot of things. For instance, refrain from writing overtly verbose language - you are communicating to another person, not showing-off your superior vocabulary skills. Avoid words and expressions that qualify as rude and foul in any way.

Another thing to take notice of is not using all caps while writing. While many consider this a way of making their posts and messages more easily readable, it is often interpreted as a shouting expression, which is considered rude in most instances.

simulated text chat conversation demonstrating the misuse of CAPS

Proofread Your Work

As in real life, there are different ways of communicating with friends and co-workers or colleagues. For instance, a 'Gr8' can work with your sister, but won't fly with your boss. Sticking to formality, writing in proper writing style and keeping up all the grammar rules is always the best practice.

Be Extra-Careful With Sarcasm and Humor

When it comes to sarcasm and humor, interpretations vary from one culture, and even from one person to another. While it is understandable for you to express sarcasm and/or humor every once in a while, you must make sure that the message you convey expresses the intended message clearly. More often than not, a well-meant joke can be interpreted as an offensive statement.

Don't Forget to Cite Your Sources

One simply cannot be expected to come up with a fabulous original thought all the time. If you do borrow a thought or an idea that in fact belongs to someone else, make sure to credit them even if your expression of the idea isn't a word-by-word copy. Not only does that keep you out of possible copyright-related trouble, it also creates a good impression on others by showing them that you are humble enough to mention when a great idea isn't yours. Copyright infringement in the form of duplicated website content is also greatly frowned upon by Google and, if abused, is a penalizable offense.

With the internet expanding into virtually all facets of our lives, there are now countless things that are done online; from texting your best friend, to booking an appointment, and even working in offices. While it may be tempting to forget the rules and "hide" behind your computer, it is certainly not a good thing to do and can do irreparable damage to your reputation. Before you click that 'send' button, make sure that you have followed all there is to proper internet etiquette.

For more business, internet and marketing articles, visit our blog at LeadsOnlineMarketing.blogspot.com

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Bit About Blockchain

The “Bitcoin revolution” has taken the entire world by storm and has brought forward concepts that were previously little-known. Take for instance, blockchain technology – while the technology has been in the news since 2008 (on a concept that is in fact decades old), it is only because of the recent meteoric rise in Bitcoin rates that blockchain has come to the forefront. In fact, Bitcoin would never have gained the reputation it did if it wasn’t for blockchain!

Google search requests for “blockchain” have increased by a record 250% and has put it right beside some of the most famous personalities and celebrities out there. Major companies, retail chains, and even governments are considered incorporating the system in a way that profits them. Ironically, the way blockchain works is still a mystery to many.


Blockchain, block chain, technology, data

So what is blockchain after all? And why is there so much hype around it? This is what we want to explore this time around.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is defined by Investopedia as,
"a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions."
As the name itself implies, blockchain consists of several "blocks" (each of which contains a record of new transactions - be it a cryptocurrency, or some kind of data), which is added one-by-one like chain, thereby creating a blockchain.

Put more simply, one can explain in it terms of the internet - just as the internet allows free flow of information from one person to another without the need of any third person, blockchain technology allows transfer of cryptocurrency from one person to another without any third party (like a bank).

What makes Blockchain so popular?

The thing that sets blockchain apart from any other means of the transaction is the fact that it offers transparency and security – both at the same time, and without the need for any financial middleman (such as a bank) and even entire governments. Blockchain and cryptocurrency allows every user to track any transaction that they ever made, since they’re all stored in the blocks.

The second thing that makes blockchain ideal is the fact that it is tamper-proof – data once written on a block cannot ever be erased or even manipulated, which allows for easy tracking and prevents malicious activities for gaining any ground.

Does Blockchain have a future?

This is a question that is there on the minds of many. While several banks and even governments claim blockchain and cryptocurrency to be a “passing fad,” it is actually anything but that. The transparency and tamper-proof nature of blockchain technology means that it has the power to disrupt practically any industry that needs to transfer data (monetary or not) from one point to the other. A lot can be stored on blocks – from medical records and confidential files to legal files and evidence, among others.

Last but certainly not least, blockchain is decentralized. This means it requires no “facilitator” to function and also means data is more secure. With data spread out in blockchains, it is harder for hackers to target and access specific bits of information. In short this is good news for anyone who would want a middleman-free transaction with more security. And, who wouldn’t? This may also be the security our society needs in a time of high-level cyber-attacks and hacking but, only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Springtime Tips for Small Businesses

Springtime Tips for Small Businesses, Business Owners, Employers, Charlotte NC, North Carolina
Today, spring has officially sprung in Charlotte, NC and across the Northern Hemisphere! Even though the temperature is due to drop back down to near freezing tonight, we can still look forward and start planning for the warmer weather ahead. A mental to-do list may include beach days, family holidays, and lakeside hikes but, there are seasonal changes to consider for your business as well as your personal life.

In this article, we will explore ideas to help business owners make the best of the spring season. Most of these tips can be utilized throughout the summer too.

Spring Clean

Keeping an office tidy throughout the year is important for promoting better time management and productivity in employees. However, ‘organized’ does not equate to ‘clean’ and most offices need a good deep cleaning at least once a year. This is the type of cleaning not being done by the nightly custodian such as deep carpet cleaning, air vent cleaning, dusting high surfaces, and descaling the coffee maker just to name a few.

To tackle the spring cleaning of your office you may hire a cleaning service or devote a day for employees to work together to get it done. Consider structuring this as team building activity. Be sure to reward employees for their efforts, perhaps by providing them with a free lunch.

Make Changes Known

Spring time usually brings about many changes surrounding basic business operations. If there is something changing about your business that could impact customers, then make it known. Announce it on your website, change your Facebook status, update Google, and whatever else you can think of to make new information known to the public.

One of the most commonly overlooked seasonal changes is the updating of business hours. Many businesses operate on seasonal schedules, fall/winter hours and spring/summer hours, but some neglect to make this known. Having the wrong hours posted is a sure way to upset potential customers wanting to contact or visit a business. To avoid this mishap, contact your online marketing company to request a business website and listings update. (Don’t forget to do this again come fall.)

Enjoy the Fresh Air & Sunshine

It’s been proven that a regular dose of fresh air and sunshine can improve a person’s health and vitality. Employees along with employers should have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of our natural world and there are several ways to make this possible. Planning team outings, picnics, and volunteering as a team are great ways to shake things up and get outdoors. Another idea is to invest to create or improve upon an existing outdoor sitting area to give office workers the best place to relax in the time allotted for breaks. A couple benches, chairs or a picnic table and a few seat cushions are all you need to get started.

For companies fortunate enough to own their building and have adequate outdoor space available, the opportunities are virtually endless. From grilling stations and garden plots to corn hole sets and smoking zones, you can create the perfect outdoor spaces for yourself and your employees to recharge -whether it is to be enjoyed every day or bi-weekly.

bench seat under a tall tree and overlooking a flower garden filled with a variety of colorful tulips. Spring flowers. Charlotte, NC
Stay tuned to the Leads Online Marketing blog for more tips to help you improve your business, including a special article on Office Gardens that will publish next month. If you have any questions or feedback about the article above, please feel free to reach out to us at leadsonlinemarketing.com/contact-us/

We appreciate you reading our blog! Be sure to visit our website to learn more about our online marketing services. Give us a call to discuss how we can help your business stand out across the web, (704) 251-6519.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Market Your Business Online For Free

mobile online searches used to find products and services
Advertising is not what it used to be in the world of business. The computer age has taken marketing online. However, marketing your business in this new way does not have to cost a fortune. Here are some free ways to market your business online.

Claim Directory Listings

There are a vast amount of directories that will list your business without a fee. Yahoo! Local and Google Places are just two of those many directories. Additionally, there are an abundance of business associations that allow you to list your business on their respective websites. The benefit of this tactic is that many of these free directories show up in search engine results.

Blogs

The charge for putting up a blog post and then promoting it via social media is zero. It is highly recommended that any kind of business engaged in online marketing should feature a blog with consistent posts. Blogging has evolved into somewhat of a staple when it comes to Internet marketing. Keep content consistent, relevant and engaging.

Put Out a Newsletter

It is meant to include helpful information about your business and its respective industry. Current events are also a good inclusion. Furthermore, there are many e-zine directories, such as The E-Zine Directory, which permit business to advertise their newsletters for free.

E-mail signature example

Use E-mail Signatures

This is a recommended standard. Include a footer in every e-mail which contains links to your website, social media, blog, etc. The process of setting this up is a rather easy one. Anyone who takes the time to read your e-mails will have links at their disposal and can easily learn more about your business.

Use Free Forms of Diversified Content

Try doing a podcast providing helpful hints and expert tips in your specific industry area. Podcasts can be listened to anytime and many people even subscribe to their favorite podcasts. When aiming to go the visual route, video marketing and YouTube are excellent tools! Keeping in mind a similar school of thought with podcasts, videos can boost your website ranking and expand your web presence. Try making a video that appeals to your product or customer base. 

Leads Online Marketing uses a variety of content and strategies to bring your message to the masses. Internet Marketing can pave the way to new business with the help of extensive experience, proven results and industry expertise. Contact Leads Online Marketing today and help your business see a better tomorrow.

Resources:
http://www.ezine-dir.com/