Reasons To Be Cheerful October 2016

A-maze-ing Laughter - Yue Minjun - Sculpture

A-maze-ing Laughter – Yue Minjun – Sculpture

Online tools make us happy. For those of you who have been longstanding followers of this blog, you will likely remember our Reasons to Be Cheerful posts. It has been over three years since our last one. It’s not that we’re not cheerful it’s just that we’ve been kind of busy growing.

The whole point of the reasons to be cheerful posts is to share websites, tools, apps, blogs and other cool stuff we use or have discovered lately. After 3 years, we have quite a long list but we won’t dump them all on you at once!

Canva

We use Canva regularly, and have done for ages, to create images on the fly. You can upload your own photos and images or access the Canva repository images (they don’t cost much usually $1), add great graphics and text and best of all Canva has preloaded templates for social media, Facebook posts, blog graphics and more. This is a must have in any marketer’s toolbox.

Designrr

Every small business owner wants to write a book right? Or at the very least an ebook. Often the content and design are the only things holding us back. Designrr is a great tool that make this happen. You simply grab a URL (i.e. a blog article you have written), choose a template, tweak, tune and publish.

MentionMapp

MentionMapp makes discovering Twitter’s gems easy. It visually displays people, places, events and conversations so you can see the connections, track conversations, hashtags and trending topics all in one view.

Barracuda

Find out if your website has been impacted by Google’s algorithm changes using this Penguin Tool.

Twitter Analytics

Most Twitter users don’t know this exists! If you are using Twitter for your small business it is important to track your top tweets, impressions, mentions and followers. Twitter analytics is a great tool to let you do so.

Wishpond

If you are looking for a marketing platform that is affordable, easy to use and has all the bells and whistles you need to manage campaigns across multiple platforms, Wishpond is the one. Its a great alternative to Infusionsoft at a much lower price point. Use it to build landing pages, manage social promotions, website popups, online forms, lead activity tracking, lead management, lead intelligence, marketing automation, email marketing and measure success with marketing analytics.

Square

If you want to accept credit card payments for your small business then Square is great. It’s easy to set up an account, they send you a dongle that you attach to your phone or device to accept payment (or you can do this manually too). You link Square to your bank accounts and you’re ready to go. Even better, it’s much more cost effective than traditional tools since there’s no monthly fee and the percentage they take is smaller.

Starbucks App

We all need caffeine to get us through the long days as entrepreneurs right? The Starbucks apps is not new but using it to order your coffee and pick up without waiting in the queue is. It’s particularly useful at conferences when you have a short break and long wait for your latte. I really shouldn’t be sharing this one….

Personal Brand – Use Social Media To Build Yours

Thanks to the internet and social media there has never been a better time to build your personal brand. There’s over  1.7 billion people on Facebook (and counting), 450+ million on LinkedIn and personal branding and social media reach300 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, just to name a few social networking tools you can use to connect, reach, influence and lead.

Ten years ago if you wanted to be seen as a thought leader in your industry you had to get out there and network one on one, you had to write a book, do lots of speaking engagements, you had to interact face to face. I am not saying that these techniques are obsolete, face to face is still important but now, thanks to the internet and new technologies, we can do all of these things and more from the comfort of our office (or car, or home – practically anywhere you have a device and a connection!).

Networking is key to building your brand and proper use of social media makes this easy. There are thousands of different social networks you can’t use all of them effectively so choose the ones that are most likely to help you reach your intended audience.

Using Social Media To Build Your Personal Brand

Two important tools that you should consider are blogging and LinkedIn.

Blogging to Build Your Personal Brand

When it comes to using blogs to influence and share your knowledge you have 3 options:

  1. Create your own blog. This is a great long term investment and a fantastic way to showcase your knowledge. It’s easy to set up (use WordPress) but takes longer to build your following.
  2. Comment on other blogs – this is a great way to introduce yourself to industry influencers and to add value.
  3. Guest blog – writing guest blog articles gives you the biggest bang for your buck in the short term. There are blogs in your industry that already have thousands of readers and they’re looking for content. Write for them.

LinkedIn For Personal Branding

LinkedIn isn’t simply tool for jobseekers it’s a professional network where people showcase their career experience and knowledge. It is the perfect forum for to build a strong reputation. Make sure your profile showcases your knowledge and expertise (what it is that you are a thought leader in should be highlighted in your profile and summary), connect with the right people (450m of them – that means a lot of influencers in your industry and, even more interestingly, a network of 450 million people you could potentially influence.

Key Points to Remember When Using Social Networks to Build Your Brand

Connections – it is important to connect with the right people – the influencers in your industry and the people you want to influence, but connections are just the start. Focus on enhancing those relationships and taking your connections to the next level through regular interactions. Build relationships rather than collect connections.

Content – share content that is related to your area of expertise and add your own perspective in the post. The more content you share, the more people will notice, the more you will be perceived as a thought leader in your industry.

Consistency – this is key. Don’t start a blog then neglect it. If I land on your blog and it hasn’t been updated in ages what does that tell me about you? Same goes for LinkedIn. To get the most out of these forums you have to be active consistently.

Related Articles:

Social Leadership – What It Means to Me

Rogers Talks Small Business Events In Review

rsz_20160713_175149Rogers is celebrating small business across Canada this summer by launching their Small Business Centres with Rogers Talks.

In British Columbia, small businesses are the life blood of our economy. Over a million people in the province are employed by these firms.

Rogers Talks provide a networking opportunity for local small business owners. The focus of these events is on helping entrepreneurs learn tips and tricks that will help them succeed in growing their business. We were lucky enough to play a lead role in events at their Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Abbotsford locations.

At these events Mhairi talked to other small business owners about ‘How to Maximize your Small Business Social Media to get Better Results in Less Time’.

Here’s a recap of some of the key points.

  • Have a plan – one that aligns with your overall business plan, and write it down.
  • Determine which social media tools you should use. You can’t use them all so choose one or two and do them really well.
  • Get in the habit of listening out for opportunities (and never stop!).
  • Make the most of your digital time – do not let cute cats or Donald Trump distract you.
  • Share great content that engages and adds value for your audience.
  • Make sure your website is social media ready.
  • Be authentic and real – find your voice and let your passion show through.
  • Put in place tools and practices to measure your success.
  • Have fun – most important of all!

Thanks to the team at Rogers, the caterers and technicians who made these events a success.

 

When To Optimize a Website

I often get asked when the best time is to optimize a website. Watch my latest video and find out when to bring in an SEO expert and why this matters so much.

Care and Maintenance of Your New WordPress Website

Congratulations, you have a brand spanking new WordPress website. It’s shiny and optimized and you’re raring to move on to the next item on your small business’s to do list.

Hold on a minute there.20160409_123435 (1)

A website, just like a car, needs a little tender loving care from time to time to keep it in running order. You can’t forget about it, leave it running and expect it to keep working smoothly. It won’t. Just like a car, if you neglect your website and fail to maintain it regularly (give it some fresh oil to
continue the car analogy!), it will eventually break down and stop working, or worse it will get hacked.

Here’s a short checklist to help you to properly maintain your WordPress website. Doing this will take you less than an hour and if you do it once a month your website should run smoothly. Best to do this in order too – in case something goes wrong!

  1. Change your passwords regularly. WordPress allows you to do this really easily in the ‘Users’ section of the left hand tools bar  – it even helps you to generate a crazy passwords too (or you can use this). Passwords should have CAPS, lowercase, numb3rs symbol$ and it should be long (about 12 – 14 characters).
  2. Before you do anything else, take a backup – your developer should have added a plugin to make it easy for you to run backups of your site. We use UpdraftPlus for this because it makes it really easy for you to restore your site should anything go wrong in steps 3 to 5. It’s a good idea to run your backup once a month (or more if your site changes regularly). External backups are best – you can set this up via email, Dropbox and lots of other options. You can also set up backups to run automatically too. Once complete, download the backup log.
  3. Next update your plugins. If any new versions of the plugins your site uses are available you will see a little symbol like this updates at the very top on the left hand side of your screen. Click on it to see the updates required. Update them one by one by selecting the plugins and clicking on the update plugins button. After each update go to your website and check that everything works as it should. Sometimes plugin updates aren’t compatible with other plugins, your theme or with new versions of WordPress, and they might knock things out. In the event that this happens then you can restore the site from your last backup.
  4. Update your version of WordPress – this often happens automatically but if not, then do it manually by clicking to update WordPress in your updates screen.
  5.  Update your theme – but be extra careful with this one. Ask your developer first if they customized the theme. If they have then updating the theme might knock out any customization that has been done to your site.

And you are done! Hopefully we’ve outlined how you can easily update and maintain your WordPress site but if this seems too technical for you, contact your web developer or give us a shout – we’d be happy to help.