Ghost Blogging

ghost bloggingSounds a little creepy. Maybe a little shady? It’s a fairly old practice. “Everyone” does it… supposedly. I’ve been asked to do it recently so it’s been on my mind. I’d like to shed a little light on it and give some reasons why I won’t do it.

First and foremost, I won’t write as someone else simply because it’s not honest. Period.

Second, as a small business owner, what is the purpose for your blog? Are you trying to help clients? Establish your credibility?  Connect with others?

Hiring someone else to write as you won’t accomplish any of the above. It could accomplish some of it but in the long run you will be hurt when people find out that it’s not you writing the articles. You will lose all credibility and sense of relationship or community that was built.

Finally, please don’t confuse this with companies who have employees writing for their blog. If the employees name is on the article it’s not a problem.  Give credit where credit is due.

Now I’m completely changing the subject…  Just wanted to let you know that my website is up and running!  Feel free to check it out:  Sandra Kay Design

Have a great week!  -Sandi

Just Pin It!

pinLast week I finally joined Pinterest. You’d think I’d be a bit more in the loop on this sort of thing but I have postponed my membership simply because of a lack of time and a fear of addiction. I know it can be a hole to fall into – I’ve heard the tragic stories of friends’ addictions and inabilities to climb out. Tragic indeed… for them.

Small businesses however may look at it from a different angle with an appreciation for the Pinterest addictions of the masses. A picture is worth a thousand words.  If you can promote your business with pictures, you may want to check it out.  Just don’t fall in.  🙂   And be sure to follow me: SandrKayDesign

For some practical ways to visually show your business to the masses check out this article by Kelly Lester:  5 Ways to Create Highly Shareable Pinterest Pictures for Your Business

Maybe you already use Pinterest to visually show your business to the world. If so, what do you think? Has your experience been a good one? I’d love to hear about it!

Sandi

Social Media Strategy

As a small business, do you have a social media strategy or are your efforts haphazard at best? Too often the latter is the answer which means your efforts are quite ineffective. In order to be effective we need to know why we are there (on Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.) and we need to know the unique needs and interests of our audience. Speaking of audience, do you know who your audience is? Who are you speaking to and why?

Way too often social media is used just to get leads. Sorry but that just is NOT what it’s about. It’s about connection and building relationships and it can actually be FUN! The sooner we can wrap our brains around this, the better off we will be. Embrace it. I look at social media as an avenue to connect with my friends,  learn from others (professionals in my field),  and help others (friends and clients).

When it comes to strategy, think about the chain reaction that occurs when the above is your foundation: Sharing, connecting, and discussing leads to… building your credibility which leads to… a spark of interest in your brand which leads to… a community… and finally, new customers or clients.

So, what do you think?  Do you have a strategy?  How’s it working for you?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

-Sandi

I’m Baaaaack!

bad quarterIt was one of those quarters. I had a full college load. I took on the Social Media Examiner Summit. I went through a 4 week workshop on pricing and packages. I found out my dad has cancer. I had to find an internship. I created a Learning Contract. Life moved at warp speed. It wasn’t fun. It was miserable. No, the photo is not of me but it’s how I felt.

But alas, a new quarter has begun. Spring has sprung. I love my internship. I love my Learning Contract. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I’m happy to be back.

What Do You Have On Your Website’s Home Page?

website client or customerDuring the month of February I’m attending Social Media Examiner’s Small Biz Success Summit.  It’s only the second day and I’m loving it.  We’ve already heard from some great speakers and I’m looking forward to going more in-depth on the finer points of social media marketing.  A couple of points were brought up today by Rich Brooks that I’d like to mention here.

First is the question of what is on your website’s home page.  So many websites treat their “home” page as an “about” page with information on the company, boasting how many years they’ve been in business, etc.  This is a problem because potential clients or customers generally want to know first of all:  what’s in it for them? They want to know what you are going to do for them. They want to know how you are going to make their life better.  Tell them right away on your home page or you will lose them.

The other point was that of your personal or staff photo. Do you have one on your site? It helps potential clients or customers to have a more personal connection to you and your business. Depending on your business type, this may or may not be important. In general, it’s important for the small business.

I know, we all have some horrible photos. That’s why you have a professional photographer take your photo or a staff photo. It’s worth it – they can do miracles.  🙂

What Is Your Brand?

brandingDo you know what your brand is?  Is it clear to you and your customers or clients? Or is it a bit fuzzy like the question mark?

It may help to first think of some popular brands that you are familiar with.  Think about your experience when you come in contact with that brand. Is it reliable, fast, caring, creative, inspiring…

Now think about yourself or your business and ask these questions:

  • How do others perceive you?
  • How do you want people to feel?
  • What do you have to offer?

Finally, how does that look in your branding and is it the same across all of your marketing?  Bold bright colors, pastels, clean, cluttered, simple, complex… Fill in the blank. All of this is important to think about before creating or overhauling your website and social media presence. 

Here is a link to a short 6 minute interview between Social Media Examiner and Mari Smith on personal brand that may be helpful to you:

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-your-personal-social-media-brand/

Design, Function, & Marketing – Which Is More Important?

social media marketingIn the last week I read a statement by someone and was also asked a difficult question, both of which got my wheels turning.

First the question: I was asked if I had to choose between web design and marketing, which would I choose?  I couldn’t answer the question.  I couldn’t choose.  Not only do I enjoy both, I believe the two go hand in hand.

As my illustration above shows, social media marketing points to your website.  Sure, you can choose to have your website on facebook but what happens when facebook changes once again or the masses decide to leave facebook for the next shiny object?  Your website apart from all of the social media is your one constant that won’t change unless you decide to change it.

The design of your website is important.  It’s your storefront; it presents your brand; it’s uniquely you or your business.  This brings me to the statement I read which said in a nutshell: design isn’t so important, function is.  Once again, I believe that both are important.  They go hand in hand.  In general, one without the other will fail.  Note, I said “in general”.  Yes, there are some exceptions to every rule.

All of this is the foundation of my business.  My tag line is “web design with peace of mind”.  Peace of mind comes in knowing that not only do you have a great looking website but that it’s functional and search engines will be able to find it.  Peace of mind also comes with a social media marketing strategy that will help your clients and customers find your website / business.

I know I’ve skimmed over some very important areas here. In future posts I will cover some of these areas more in-depth. Which specific area would you like to know more about?

How To Get The Best Results From Your Web Designer

web designerCommunication is key when it comes to getting the website of your dreams. Before contacting a designer, there are some things you can do to help the process. Think through some of these points first.

  • Content: what do you want, who will write it, and is it ready?
  • Colors: what do you like and dislike?
  • Do you have a logo? Do you want one?
  • Style: look around for some examples of what you like/dislike.
  • Branding: what is your image or what do you want it to be? Does it appeal to your target market? Is it you?

Thinking through these elements before contacting your designer will help the process greatly. Communicating them is the next step! While some of this may seem like a no brainer… It’s easier said than done.

Happy New Year

planning

As I look ahead to a new year and starting a business I can’t help but think about my planning or lack thereof.  Planning, organizing, and lists all come fairly naturally to me but I find that the busier I become, the easier it is to drop planning.  That’s when things start falling apart.

Years ago I read the book: The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.  While I may not agree with everything in the book, I love the idea of spending 30 minutes each week to plan out the week ahead and that’s not just activities. It includes planning in all areas of life.

  • spiritual
  • relationships – family and friends
  • ministry
  • community
  • business

Weekly planning is something I need to get back to.  To be proactive and prioritize the week ahead can make a big difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.  

How do you plan and manage your time? Please share! I’d love to hear your ideas.

Search Engine Optimization

Imagine a world phone book. Ok, I know I’m dating myself here. If you don’t know what a phone book is, google it.   🙂    Anyway, you can imagine this phone book to be at least a mile thick.

Now imagine you asked the phone book makers to list your business in the world book. You are so excited to have your business available to the world! However, you failed to realize that the phone book makers neglected to list your business in the appropriate category and this fine book is not in alphabetical order. How in the world will anyone find your business?! They won’t.

While this may seem absurd, it happens all the time with websites. Your website may be the coolest site out there, but it’s pointless if a search engine can’t find it.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself or  your web designer:

  • What are your keywords?
  • Is your meta description clear and simple?
  • Do you even have a meta description?
  • Do other sites link to yours?

These questions are just a start. There is a lot that can be done to help your website shine in the jungle of the world-wide web.

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