Is it just me, or are you also sick of the way that businesses try and sell to you based on fear and lack rather than focusing on ethics and value?
It has definitely been something I have rallied against since I became self-employed way back in 2003, raising a middle finger to the corporate ickiness I hated being a part of.
Still wondering what I mean? Here are some just some examples that I have come across:
Let me be your Mentor
Being offered a place on an ‘exclusive’ mentorship programme, only to find out that it’s actually a sales funnel for a network marketing gig and they expect you to sign up with them first!
I’ve got the Answer
Seeing an offer for a super-secret solution to something you know isn’t super secret and anyone can learn, or knowing there are different options which are all just as valid.
Connecting with someone via social media and then finding out you’ve been added to their email list without giving express permission.
Once in a Lifetime…
The offer that is advertised as a one time only deal, selling to us through the fear of missing out and only to be repeated again next week, next month or next year.
How do these make you feel? I know they really piss me off!
“Psychological tactics are designed to create false demand by feeding the fear that there will not be enough. This fear has us trapped in a cycle of consumption that is uninspired, unethical, and supremely harmful to the planet and its inhabitants.” – the ethical move
So, when I started Web Goddess in 2014, I knew that I needed to build my business around my authenticity and ethics and only sell in a way that I felt comfortable selling.
And that’s when I found the ethical move – an organisation devoted to changing the way we sell. Their original idea was to ask people to pledge that they would stop charging ‘charm prices’ – you know, the £297 price tags when we all know it’s basically £300! And because that kind of thing really pisses me off, I pledged my support!
Now, the ethical move have increased their pledges against the outdated sales and marketing tactics we are bombarded with every day including countdowns that have no meaning, false scarcity (FOMO) and bait and switch techniques – and I am thrilled to re-pledge my support.
“Together, we are making the ethical move to create a new marketing standard based on transparency, trust, and honesty.” – the ethical move
So why is this important for your business?
Well for me, authenticity is EVERYTHING when it comes to creating business relationships with people – and if you start on the wrong foot then it’s pretty difficult to undo that initial mis-step!
Clients remember how you make them feel – and if you make them feel used, tricked or scammed then they are not sticking around for very long.
The alternative to following these ‘tried and tested’ sales and marketing techniques is to create a new, HONEST way of doing business – and I’m all for that. Putting people first and selling with integrity is in alignment with who I am – and I hope it resonates with you too.
I’ll leave you with these final words from the ethical move team:
“Small businesses are the largest growing sector of our global economy; how we operate will inform policy. There are a lot of us, we are courageous and adaptable — which makes us uniquely qualified to change the status quo.” – the ethical move
This online graphic design platform is my favourite tool of all! You can sign up for free to create any type of graphic you can think of – from social media to posters to ebooks – Canva lets you do it all.
And, if you need a little more (like extra stock images, premium fonts or a brand kit) then you can upgrade to Canva Pro at any time.
I create all of my graphics (including the infographic for this post) using Canva and use them for my website, social media, business cards and even presentations.
With all of these tools, all that remains to be done is to learn how to use them!
Set aside some time and choose ONE to work on first. Give it some time and energy (and have a PLAN) and see how you can improve your online reach without spending a penny.
And, if you need help, pop along to one of my Digital Workshops to help you get started!
Note: this post contains an affiliate link to Canva Pro and I may receive a commission if you sign up through the link. However, as with everything I recommend, I do so because I use it and bloody love it!
It is so easy to get caught up in branding and sleek design when creating a website – and a business for that matter – but without the right content on your site it really won’t matter how professional it looks.
That’s not to say that bad design is OK either, because the way it looks will catch the attention of potential customers. However, if they are going to stay on your site, there really has to be something of value to keep them interested and convince them that you are the person or company they want to work with. And only content can do that.
SEARCH ENGINES LOVES CONTENT
Or to be more precise, search engines love relevant and freshly updated content. Did you know that according to a Netcraft January 2018 Web Server Survey there are over 1.8 billion websites online? But of these, only a very small proportion are actually active or updated regularly.
The easiest way of keeping your own site active is to write a blog and add posts regularly. Each new post becomes a new gateway to your website and gives search engines relevant topics and text to crawl. This will ultimately help your site rank higher in searches and give you a platform to show your expertise in the area you are trying to get business in.
And if you have a clear idea of your target audience then this task becomes infinitely simpler to achieve, but if you still struggle for ideas on what to post, check out my list of 50 Awesome Blog Ideas – see you can even blog about blogging!
OVERSHARING IS GOOD
Some marketing gurus will insist that hiding details from visitors and only offering them answers once they click and sign up to your email list is the way to go. However, if you’ve got an overflowing inbox and little time to read through five emails a day telling you why you need to buy from someone, then employing this tactic won’t win you any new clients.
I’m all for oversharing on my website and giving as many details about my services as possible – including prices. Why? Because if people see how much I charge upfront, they can make a decision there and then if they think my services are worth it to them. And sharing ‘secrets’ about web design via my blog may empower some readers to build their websites themselves but they are not my ideal clients anyway and I am thrilled that they want to learn a new skill and go it alone.
GRAPHICS AND VIDEO
Content isn’t just words – your images and videos are content too. So branding and keeping your visual content relevant is also important. It also helps break up long pieces of text so that readers don’t feel overwhelmed with long blog posts or pages on your website.
I’m a big fan of Canva and use it to create all of my images (including the one below) but whatever image software you use, try to make the images your own and steer clear of stock images wherever possible.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
All that content you create in the form of blog posts and tips about your own industry can and should be shared via social media. You are creating a library of specialist information when you write a blog and sharing it with as wide an audience as possible is what social media is there for. So, share that post you’ve just written across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and get your message out there.
Oh, and don’t forget to share blog posts more than once. Not everyone will see your post the first time and if the content is evergreen there is nothing stopping you sharing it time and time again across your social media channels.
So, what are you going to do to make your content stand out and keep your website active?
Oh, and this isn’t a guide to which blogging platform to use. There are so many of them out there – from WordPress to eBlogger to Medium or even one that’s included with your template website. Here’s a great list of the Top 10 platforms for 2018 if you need help choosing. Once you’re all set up on the tech side, then read the practical soft-skills guide below to getting over that initial paralysis and putting your words out there into the digi-verse!
Step 1 – Decide You Can
I’m not being flippant here – this is simply a reminder that you can do this! Take a deep breath and remember that you have just as much right to share your opinion as anyone else. In fact, you may just be the voice that the world is waiting for. Unless you start, you’ll never know! Once you’ve overcome this initial obstacle the rest of the process actually becomes much easier.
Step 2 – Write Everything Down
I take a notebook with me everywhere I go and jot down interesting thoughts, conversations and questions all the time. You could use your phone or tablet too if you prefer. You’ll be surprised just how many thoughts you have during the day that can be transformed into blog posts with very little work. Inspiration usually hits when you’re not at your desk so don’t sit there waiting for it.
Step 3 – Start Writing
Make time to write a blog post based on your notes. Start with one post and build from there.
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go” – E.L. Doctorow
Don’t concern yourself too much with how many words you’ve written as it can put you off if you think you’ve got too few. Those articles telling you that the ‘ideal’ blog post contains 1,200 words are not helpful here. Any length is better than none and sometimes a quick short post can say it all. Like this post by my friend Liz Abram. It’s under 200 words but wonderfully written and gained good traction for her on social media.
Step 4 – Create Structure
Every blog post needs editing. Writing everything in one long paragraph isn’t going to inspire readers to stick around. Think of breaking your post down into sections using sub-headings (like I’m doing here). Short digestible chunks are what you’re aiming for. Use the built-in Heading styles in your builder to differentiate between levels and use bullet points or numbering if appropriate.
Step 5 – Add Links
Linking to other posts you’ve written and to external websites helps boost the SEO performance of your blog post. It also helps show your readers that you have researched your topic and can point them in the right direction if you’re not covering something they should also know. At least one internal link (your site) and one external link (another site) is a good start.
Step 6 – Add Images
Images break up your text and bring more interest to your post – as long as they are relevant. I recommend using your own images where possible but if you use the work of others always credit the original source either in a caption or by linking to the original source. I use Canva to create my own images (like this one) and recommend Pixabay for royalty-free images if you really need to go there.
Step 7 – Publish It!
I know people who have hundreds of draft posts ready to go but don’t have the courage to press ‘Publish’. Remember that your writing will improve and change over time. You are writing from your current perspective so be brave and let the world see it. It’s actually good to look back at earlier posts and see just how much your style has changed over the months and years.
Step 8 – Share It
Let people know it’s there. Share your blog post on social media. The image you use for your post will be really important here as this will encourage people to find out more and actually click through to the post. If your post contains evergreen content (content that doesn’t go out of date) make sure you share it more than once. Add it to your social media calendar to share again in the future. There is no use writing new content daily when you will be building a library of content to repost.
So, that’s it! My step-by-step guide to taking that first step to having a blog. Consistency really is key so I encourage you to set yourself a goal of regular writing – be that once a month or once a day – and try to stick with it.
P.S. – If you’d like to grab a copy of my ‘Evolution of a Blog Post’ printable, then sign up for my monthly newsletter below. It’s the quickest way to stay informed of new posts and every so often you can also win some 1:1 digital time with me…
Unless you’ve been living in a bunker, you’re probably aware of blogging but may not know why it is a great idea to write your own blog for your website.
Blogging is basically just the practice of regularly sharing written information on your website that you think your clients, or prospective clients, would find useful. It allows you to use your own voice and lets people know that you really do know what you are talking about – super important if they want to use your products or services!
The benefits of blogging for your business are numerous, but my top 5 reasons are:
#1. It brings people to your website
Yay! We all want more people visiting our site and blogging is a great way to get them there. If you are constantly giving them new reasons to visit by publishing engaging new content then they will return and that’s got to be good news.
#2. It helps people trust you
You become the ‘go to’ person for your topic. It is possible to give people enough information to be of interest without giving them all of the information you would give them if you were to have them as a client. Likewise, it is important for your current clients to know that they can come to you for advice after the initial purchase of their product or service. By having a blog you can answer lots of FAQs in one place or give advice without having to answer individual emails again and again. It becomes a sort of knowledgebase for your business.
#3. It can lead to more sales
Now this is the important part isn’t it! We all want to bring in more business and gain new clients and blogging is a great way to do this as per #1 and #2 above! People buy from people so knowing that you know your stuff and are happy to share it with the world for free makes people feel that they are getting more than just the basic package when they buy from you. Make sure you put a call to action at the bottom of each blog post though…
#4. It gives you content to use on social media
Do you use social media? Are you always looking for things to write about or share? Well, having your own stock of blog posts building up allows you to share the information you already have time and time again. You can share your posts on social media more than once and link to old posts when you receive a query or something jogs your memory about it. You should also have a bit of a plan for when you will share these and how often.
#5. It keeps your website current
This is so important for your ranking on search engines. Can you imagine just how many hundreds of thousands of websites there are out there that haven’t been updated in AGES! I saw one the other day that said ‘copyright 2006’ and it looked like it hadn’t been touched since then either! You want your website to look up-to-date so that when prospective clients find you they can see that you care enough to add and modify your site often.
So, now that’s sorted, all you have to do is figure out what to blog about… I’m sure you’ll think of something but you can also check out my 50 Blog Ideas post to help you out!!
I love to write and love to talk too, so never really run out of blog ideas and things to write about. But I often get asked by those new to sharing their stuff on the web “what should I blog about?”, “I have nothing to say”…
Well, here’s a list of 50 ideas for your blog – maybe one or two of them will inspire you to put your fingers to the keys and share your unique view with the world:
#1 HOW TO – pick something you know how to do and explain how to do it – pictures help with this one too.
#2 MAKE A VIDEO – known as a vlog, this can be a welcome change from text, text and more text. I must admit that I have not done this yet, but it is on my list for this month!!
#3 SHARE A DOWNLOAD – a short post to a download or printable – everyone loves getting something for free!
#4 BACKGROUND – tell your readers a bit about yourself and why you do what you do. Prove you’re a human just like them.
#5 PROBLEM SOLVER – solve a problem for someone. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, just something that you already know and want to help people with. Think about the questions your clients often ask and turn those into a blog post.
#6 BREAKTHROUGH – share a breakthrough you’ve had with your readers. It gives them a sense of hope that if you can do it, so can they.
#7 A DAY IN THE LIFE – it’s often the day to day stuff that your readers are most interested in, so take some photos and blog about your daily routine. The amazing lady behind Snapdragon has changed her focus to ‘behind the scenes’ and it’s definitely far more enticing than the normal sales patter from everyone else… I love her stuff anyway, but sharing how her business runs is why I now actively read her newsletters!
#8 QUESTION – ask your readers a question. It could be anything. How they deal with a problem, where they have stayed on holiday, what they think of Vegemite (horrible, horrible stuff, even though I’m Australian I can’t stand it). It makes your readers feel that they are a part of your business and that you care about what they think.
#9 BLOGGER FEATURE – do you love other blogs? Write a post about a blog you’ve been reading and share their link too. Contact them to let them know and you may get even more traffic.
#10 LIST – anything will do – a list of your favourite productivity tools, your favourite essential oils, your favourite dog breeds – whatever fits your blog.
#11 REVIEW – a product, book, film, person. Be brave. Put your views online and let others know what you think.
#12 TOP TIPS – a staple of the blogging world, adding your top tips on a topic is an easy blog option.
#13 GUEST BLOGGER – invite someone in a collaborative industry to write a blog post for you on a topic that is of interest to your readers. It gives them a backlink too so it never hurts to ask!
#14 A-Z – an alphabetical list for your business, sector or specialty, whatever that may be – the A-Z of Chocolate, or the A-Z of Advertising.
#15 MAKEOVER – everyone loves a before and after (me included) so make sure you have your camera ready while everything’s still crappy looking and don’t be afraid to share your makeover triumph with the world! It can even be a makeover of your desk from messy to clean!
#16 INSPIRATION – Who inspires you? Share your own opinions on why they do and how they have inspired you.
#17 CASE STUDY – What have you done in your business? Who have you helped? Write a post sharing how your business has made their life better.
#18 RUN A CONTEST – well, we all love to win something don’t we??? Run a competition on your blog to engage your clients.
#19 TRADE SECRETS – share something that you do that makes your business amazing. It doesn’t have to be your family’s secret recipe, just an insight into how you do your job. Again, we think everyone knows this stuff, but they don’t because they are too busy doing what they do best!
#20 PHOTO POST – easy peasy lemon squeezy! Share a photo…
#21 POEM – Ah, we are all poets at heart… even if your poems are rude and obnoxious! Get them out there or share some funny ones from your industry.
#22 TBT – write a ‘Throw Back Thursday’ post sharing something about yourself when you were younger. Always good for a laugh as well as a great way to show you’re human! Here’s a pic of me to show I was young once too… Two years old and already obsessed with getting my message out!
#23 MYTH BUSTING – one of my favourites! Choose a common misconception and bust it right open. Go on, you know you want to!! Like a recent post I wrote to bust 5 SEO Myths.
#24 RUN A GIVEAWAY – a little different than a contest, this one allows people to enter just by sharing, liking or commenting and is great to link to your social media channels for extra punch.
#25 REBLOG – share something you’ve written before – there’s nothing wrong with sharing your skills again as visitors aren’t likely to scroll through your entire blogroll to find something.
#26 COMEDY – share something funny- whether it’s something that’s happened to you or just a joke or image about your industry. You don’t have to be serious all the time…
#27 UPSETS – show you are human. Turn a struggle in your business into a blog post that shows how you learned from your situation and overcame it.
#28 UPDATE – share an update or solution to an old blog post. Is there something you were moaning about in the past that you’ve now solved? Let everyone know. Again, you assume they all know this but all too often they don’t!
#29 FEELINGS – this type of post can be hard, but giving your readers permission to know that everything is NOT plain sailing no matter where you are in your business journey is really important – and it even has a place on a blog by a web designer!
#30 QUOTES – share a quote from someone famous, either in text or image format (I use Canva for all of my images coz they are ace – and FREE). Here’s an example:
#31 MELTDOWN MOMENT – just as you would share your successes, share your meltdown moments too. You are fallible, you do make mistakes and your readers will thank you for your honesty.
#32 ‘WHY’ POST – share why you do what you do. This is often overlooked, again because we think that everyone else knows this shit too. Well, I can tell you that they don’t. It’s your responsibility to tell them why you are where you are today…
#33 OFF THE WALL – post something completely random. Go on – I dare you! Like my new favourite time-wasting website PhotoFunia, that I used to create this:
#34 BUILD YOUR LIST – write a post reminding readers that if they join your email list they will get something – FOR FREE!!! Oh how we love free stuff, even if we never read it or use it….
#35 POPULAR POSTS – yes, once you have been blogging for a while (under 6 months if you do it every week) you can post a blog about your most popular post. Simples.
#36 BLOG ABOUT BLOGS – like this one?! Well, yes… Blog about blogging, why not?!
#37 PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE – I have heard so many times recently that ‘People buy People’ and it is so true. So even if you are in a MLM business you can make a difference. Just like my Neal’s Yard Consultant, Harriet. She is part of an enormous network marketing company and yet I buy from her because she not only uses the products she sells, but can identify the benefits for her clients and truly understands the MLM model. So much so that she sold 5 of their biggest earners in one small networking meeting last December because we all loved her story about how much it had helped her. Go Harriet!!!
#38 WHY YOU BLOG – this should be easy by now… Why do you blog? Why do you want to share your stuff/shit with the world??? For me it.s because I just have too much stored in my head and it’s a way to get it out…
#39 TUMBLEWEED – if you blog every week, leave one out… Whoaaaaa… Was it scary for you? Was it scary for you readers??? Blog about that…
#40 DOWN MEMORY LANE – a little like the #22 TBT post, but featuring something from your industry that people will remember. Like when we all stored information on floppy disks! You can then make comparisons showing how far we’ve come since the ‘good old days’. Back in 1984 a 3½ inch floppy disk stored a massive 880 KB to use on my Amiga!
#41 PETS – if you have one, they make great blog content. Take some pictures of them helping you at work, or write a ‘day in the life of…’ post. Cuteness overload will bring more visitors to your blog too.
#43 STEP BY STEP – Similar to tips, but broken down into a step by step post, share exactly how you would do a task, like my 5 Steps to Improve Your SEO post.
#44 FAQs – do you get asked the same thing over and over again? Dedicate a blog post to your most frequently asked questions.
#45 INTERVIEW – ask someone inspiring some questions and use their answers as your blog post. You could interview them about a certain topic related to your industry or how they became successful in their own field.
#46 HACKS – give time saving tips or a specific job hack for your industry. There are entire blogs devoted to this in the DIY arena, like IKEA Hackers who showcase clever ideas and hacks for IKEA furniture.
#47 CHALLENGES – share a challenge with your readers. Maybe you’re having a social media blackout or not eating meat for a month. Share your progress and challenge your readers to join you.
#48 PRODUCT FOCUS – if you sell physical items, blog about the advantages or features of a specific product. It shows you know what you’re selling and may ultimately lead to more sales.
#49 BIRTHDAYS – celebrate your blog/business/own birthday with a blog post. Include a cake picture or some balloons to make it cheerful!
#50 TRY SOMETHING NEW – whether you’re trying sushi for the first time or going overseas to somewhere you’ve never been, share your experiences of trying something new.
So folks – that’s my list! There are countless other ideas I am sure, but I hope these keep you going for a while…