Blogging for Small Business – Results

Blogging for Small Business - Business Woman Writing a Blog

Blogging for Small Business - Business Woman Writing a Blog
I recently conducted a short questionnaire asking female small business owners about blogging for small business. I wanted to know if female business owners are blogging regularly, what their challenges to blogging regularly are, as well as their general thoughts and feelings on outsourcing blogging tasks.

Most of the women who responded to the survey are solopreneurs and are running their business alone.  Personal branding is often key to their marketing strategy.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what female business owners told me as part of the Blogging for Small Business questionnaire: 

Q: What are your main challenges when blogging for business? 

There was a clear winner with the answer to this question!  Nearly everyone who responded said lack of planning and focus.

Interestingly, I got the same answer from women who already blog regularly as from those who don’t blog for small business.  This shows that even those business women who seem to have got their blogging act together still feel that their planning & focus could be improved on.

As you might expect, the next most popular answer was finding the time. (That’s one of my main challenges!) So, it seems that a theme is emerging as these challenges are all related to being organised and planning your time productively. As with most things in business, even a rough plan of action will save you heaps of time.

Get help with getting organised – download my free Blog Calendar & Image Information Template

Q: How long do you spend on blogging for business each month?

Most of you said 1-3 hours a month but those of you who blog for business regularly as part of your marketing mix, spend up to 6-10 hours.

The time stated is just writing time. It doesn’t include outsourcing images or sharing blogs on social media. Add this one and you are looking at spending any where in the region of 4-10 hours a month just on blog writing and management.

It doesn’t sound like much but it all depends on how many hours you work per month. Are there better ways you could spend this time that would help you generate income for your business? Try a cost/benefit analysis to see if you’d be better off outsourcing blogging for small business.

Q: Would you consider outsourcing blog writing management? 

Those who said they would consider outsourcing blogging for business said their two biggest considerations for choosing an outsourced service would be price as well as finding someone who ‘gets’ their brand voice.

This is so important – finding someone who understands your brand voice is key. The ability to nail what your business is about, what your audience want to hear and how it should be written is a key skill for a freelance blog writer. And it is a skill to be able to tweak your writing style – it’s not something everyone can do.

Which brings me onto the next consideration – price.  Wanting a skilled copywriter but being concerned about price is a contradiction.  I understand that we all need to watch our marketing budget but if you want someone who is skilled enough to understand your brand voice and can adjust their writing style to it, then you’ve got a massive asset to your business! This doesn’t (and shouldn’t) come ‘cheap’.

Conversely for these who wouldn’t consider outsourcing they felt that as the expert behind their business/personal brand they really should be writing their own blogs. This is great if you have the ability to do so. But remember blog writing isn’t just about being able to write well. You also need to consider writing for SEO,  sourcing images and sharing on social media and blogger networks.  Writing can often be the quick part – it’s redrafting, editing and doing all the above tasks which suck up the time when blogging for business.

Q: Which blogging subjects would you like to learn more about?

I asked which blogging subjects you’d like to learn more about so that I can write about them for you. Nearly everybody said they’d like to learn more about writing for SEO.  It’s on my list ladies! In the meantime, (In Blue Peter tradition) here’s one I made earlier. Read: 5 Ways to Make Your Blog SEO-Friendly 

The other main things you want to learn more about is planning & organisation along with time-saving tips and shortcuts that will save you time when blogging.

Big thanks to you all and the winner is…

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. The answers have been so useful to me to find out what your blogging for small business challenges are, so now I can go away and work out how to help you address them!

There was a prize draw for all participants and the prize is a £10 Amazon voucher. The winner is… Hollie Ellis from Hollie Ellis Designs! Well done to Hollie and thanks to all who took part.


Do you need help with Blogging for Small Business? Then check out my range of packages that will save you a ton of time and stress so you can get on with running your business.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Blogging for Business Survey – Female Small Business Owners

Blogging for Business Survey - Women in Business

Blogging for Business Survey - Women in BusinessFemale Small Business Owners – can you help me?

I’d love to know more about your challenges when blogging for business so that I can help you address them.

Do you lack the time, money or knowledge to blog for business regularly?

Would you consider outsourcing blog management and what would be the key factors in making that decision?

To say ‘thank you’ for your time, I’ll enter you in a free prize draw to win a £10 Amazon Gift Card. Treat yourself to a new inspirational business book or curl up and relax with some fiction – the choice is yours! (Survey closes 19th February 2016)

Blogging for Business Survey


 

Blogging the Easy Way

-I've got a few blog ideas, but find it hard writing a full blog post

 

Blogging The Easy Way

The package that takes the strain out of blogging for business

Claim back hours of much-needed time

Free up brain space to work on growing your business

Get expert help with copywriting and SEO

Enjoy the feeling of being super-organised!

Find out more

 

Where to Find Free Images for Your Blog

where to source free images for your blog

where to source free images for your blogBlogging is a great way to promote your business and if you do-it-yourself it’s a marketing strategy that’s completely free.

However, what you save in monetary terms can be easily negated by the amount of time you spend getting that blog written, looking pretty, ensuring it’s SEO friendly and then finally, sharing with the world.

There are lots of tricks of the trade to help you save both time and money when blogging for business. One is to have a bank of image resources you can go to when you need to source the perfect picture to illustrate your blog. Even better if this bank is made up of free image resources!

Which resource you use most will depend on the style of your blog, who your market is and just what kind of vibe/look you want to show your audience.

In this article, I’ll look at 5 free image resource options although there are many more options out there. You may find some resources easier to use than others, some may match your brand’s look better than others – they’ll be some time to spend finding the right image resource for you (or a mixture of resources that suit) but when you do,  you’ll find image sourcing much simpler, quicker and cost effective!

A word of caution

Before we look at the resources, just a quick word of warning. It’s always a good idea to read the terms & conditions of use on each website & on each picture you download before publishing any free images.  If you don’t abide by the rules, you could be making an expensive mistake that could cause you problems later on. Read Blogger Beware: You can get sued for using photos you don’t own on your blog. 

The basic information you need to check is:

  1. Conditions of usage of the website
  2. Copyright info/credit information on individual photos

Once you’re clear on this information you shouldn’t fall foul of any copyright laws, but it always pays to be vigilant! (Keep reading,  I’ll be offering you a free download that will help you to keep track of the photos you use and where you sourced them).

5 free image resources for your blog

There are lots of places to find free photos online. Most offering free images tend to come under the ‘creative commons’ licence, which means that images downloaded from these sites can be used & shared without having to worry about copyright or paying a fee.

Double-check each image you download as some DO require an accreditation/copyright line for commercial use and others don’t.

The first three image resources listed here offer stock photography free of charge using the Creative Commons license:

1. Pixabay

www.pixabay.com provides a huge database of free images that don’t require any copyright information at all as pictures are released using a Creative Commons CCO.

You do need to register and create an account in order to download images. There is a wide selection of stock photography and illustrations to choose from.

2. Free Digitial Photos 

Another massive library of free photos.  Free Digital Photos offer smaller, low resolution images (that work well on web pages) for free, although a photo credit is required. If you need a bigger image or don’t want to feature a photo credit then you can pay for individual pictures at a reasonable price.

You can get an email sent to you with each download confirming the copyright information you need to display.

Registration is not required but if you do register, it will save details of photos you’ve downloaded. Useful if you need the details again in the future.

3. Freerange Stock Photos

Ideally, you should include a accreditation to any images downloaded via Freerange Stock Photos and link the image back to their website.  You’ll also need to register before you can download anything.


The next 2 resources listed don’t use generic stock photos and tend to offer higher quality, more design-led images.
However, unless you pay for the PRO accounts you won’t have the whole library at your fingertips whenever you need it.  So these sites aren’t as useful if you need an image quickly, but you can use them to build up an extensive image library (containing some stunning photos) over an extended period time.

4. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock photo is a great website for building up your own image library. Sign up and each month you’ll be emailed a pack of photos. The theme varies from subjects such as working from home, energy & serenity, streets of London etc. Just download from the email each month and save into your own personal library.

5. Magdeleine

A beautiful collection of hand-picked photos. You can download one high-res photo each day, check the info on the photos to see if you need to feature copyright details. (If you use an image from Magdeleine, make sure that you edit the image and compress it for use on a website. Uploading a high-res image to your website could take up valuable bandwidth and slow your site down.)

This is just a small selection of the hundreds of sites and resources that are out there.  You may end up trying a few to find out which ones are best for you and your business.

If you’d like a longer list of resources check this article 20 Sites with Free Images for Your Blog or Social Media Posts


 

FREE TEMPLATE DOWNLOAD

Keeping track of where blog images are sourced

It’s important to keep a record of where you got your blog image from as well as any copyright information. This process will ensure you check correct usage rights, but it will also make your life much easier if a year down the line, a photographer questions your use of their images and demands payment. If you can prove you downloaded it from a free resource and followed the rules, then crisis should be diverted.

I’ve created this handy Blog Calendar and Image Information template to make this easy for you. Download it now (free of charge, no email required)   – all you need to do is click on the button.

Download Blog Calendar and Image Information Template

 


-I've got a few blog ideas, but find it hard writing a full blog post

Sound familiar? If you’re not Blogging for Business you’re missing a chance to promote your business and build your audience.

Imagine just handing someone your draft blogs, then getting them back edited and SEO-friendly, published with an image, posted on social media AND included in a lovely content bank with 5 alternative descriptions ready to recycle/copy/paste on social media in the future.

How much time would that save you and would could you do with that time?  Find out more at Blogging the Easy Way

Four Ways to Simplify Social Media

Social Media Make Simple

Social Media Make SimpleHaving a social media presence for your business is a great way to get your brand out there. It’s low cost, gives people a change to get to know you and gives you a chance to entice them into your sales funnel.

However, it can take up a whole heap of time if you let it.

But never fear! With a bit of forward planning, it’s easy to simplify social media. There are also services you can use which are designed to save you time and make content gathering and scheduling much easier.

So follow these 4 tips, get organised then sit back and relax! OK maybe not relax, but free up time to get on with other jobs whilst your social media marketing keeps working.

1. Create a Content Bank

Everyone needs a social media content bank – if you don’t already have one you must start one! It will save you masses of time and the hassle of constantly thinking about what you should be posting next.

A content bank is basically an excel file filled with posts that are ready to be copied and scheduled to social media.

Ideally, a content bank will have various sheets for:

a) Blog posts: Enter the blog post title and the URL (shortened URLs using bit.ly or goo.gl work best) of each blog post you publish. You should then think of  3 or 4 alternative titles and/or descriptions for the same blog post and write those down too.

b) Tips & examples of your expertise: create a list of tips and useful info that helps your audience to solve their problems and make their lives easier. You can pull these tips from your website content, blogs, ebooks – any content you already have out there.

(Read 4 Ways to Create a Stream of Content from One Blog Post)

c) Quotes:  – get together a list of quotes relating to your business or audience. They can be inspiring, motivational, thought-provoking, educational or maybe just entertaining! Quotes provide a quick, easy way to catch your audiences attention and are also highly shareable.

For more information on social media content banks read: Making Great Social Media Content Easy & How to Compile a Social Media Content Bank

2. Schedule posts in advance

Use software like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule up your contents days, weeks or months in advance. That way, you’ll still feature on social media even if you’re away from your desk.

If you use this approach, you should bear in mind that a pure stream of automated posts can look soulless. Even worse is not replying to people who engage with you. Schedule in advance by all means, but you have to check-in to your accounts regularly to reply and comment to keep things personal.

The beauty of Hootsuite is that it makes it easy to split your accounts and followers into lists so you can keep up with everything at a glance. As you can also pre-schedule replies and RT to go out later in the day, you could check in once, respond to your followers then spread your responses out so that it looks as if you are present and engaged.

3. Use content sites like Post Planner

I love using Post Planner as it saves so much time. It provides links to great content including memes, viral photos, status ideas and articles. You can also use hashtags, Twitter handles and Facebook pages to help you search for content by area of interest.

You can schedule up to 500 posts on Twitter and Facebook with the LOVE package. Unfortunately, there isn’t a free option but the package is only $7 per month (approx £4.50 per month) which is a positive bargain due to the sheer volume of content that’s available to you.

Mix and match content from Post Planner along with your own content that you’ve saved in your content bank, and you’ll be providing a great mix of news, views and interesting content for your readers.

4. Outsource the day to day stuff

I save time by letting my VA deal with some of the day-to-day jobs that whilst essential, suck up lots of time:

Here’s some of the social media management tasks my VA assists with:

  • Engaging with new followers: Welcoming new Twitter followers, then adding them to relevant lists so that I can keep an eye on them via Hootsuite.
  • Building follower numbers:  I identify the type of people I want to follow/follow me back then my VA helps me research people, find them and follow them
  • List management: helping me keep control of Twitter lists by adding new people, un-following accounts and creating/researching new lists
  • Group posting: Occasionally, I’ll have an offer or blog that I want to share more widely. My VA posts the link in my various Facebook, Linked In and Google + groups for me. All I need to do is go back to check responses.
  • Bulk scheduling:  She helps to collate my content bank, sort into various files and get them bulk scheduled
  • Content bank research: looking for new quotes by subject (i.e blogging, websites, motivation etc) and organising them into the content bank.

Depending on your level of expertise and time/budget you have available, you may decide to outsource the small jobs, outsource content creation or outsource as much as you can!

There are major benefits to outsourcing and it’s essential if you want your business to grow.

So, there you have it – four ways to simplify social media. Try them out you’ll be on the way to getting organised, saving time and feeling like a social media ninja!

I’d love to know how you get on with implementing these methods. Leave a comment below or come on over to Twitter or Facebook.


Prefer to outsource social media content creation & management? Check out my Social Media Services and see how I can help you save time, stress and reach your online marketing goals.

Schedule your call now

 

 

 

Back to School Offer – Get Free Social Media Content!

Get on Top of Your Blog and Social Media Content - Women Small Business Owners

Get on Top of Your Blog and Social Media Content - Women Small Business OwnersHow much time have you spent working on your business this Summer? If you’re anything like me, then not enough!

It’s not surprising – it’s hard to find time when the kids are off school and you need to juggle childcare and business.  We prioritise servicing customers and clients so working on our own business is often the first thing to slide.

Even if you don’t have kids you may still feel ‘behind’ as you return from your holiday and/or recover from the round of summer social activities.

Get back on track with my Back to School offer

Whilst time off is lovely and often required to help you to recharge your batteries, it does mean we come back to a long ‘to do’ list as we catch up and try to get back into some kind of routine. My Back to School offer to help you take back control. Leave your blog posts in professional hands and get some lovely free social media content!

I’m offering all new Blogging the Easy Way customers a FREE mini bespoke social media content bank . I’ll create 25 engaging, informative posts especially for your target market. Save £75 and several hours of work!

Hand me your blog drafts or notes and I’ll return them to you fully edited (including adding an image) and SEO-friendly. I’ll schedule each blog on your social media channels once live

On top of that, I’ll add 5 bonus posts to your content bank for each blog I edit and publish.

Sounds good – how can I redeem this fab offer?

  • Buy your chosen Blogging the Easy Way package from 5th -12th September
  •  I’ll get in touch with you to arrange a consultation call. We’ll discuss your blogging and social media goals and needs. I’ll also answer any questions you may have about this service.
  • Blogs will be drafted and delivered according to the chosen package time frame.
  • Your bespoke mini content bank will be delivered within 5-10 working days of publishing your first blog.

Blogging the Easy Way

Blogging the Easy Way is available in 3 different packages to suit your business needs:

Monthly Package = £100

Provide 4 draft blogs in one batch and I'll get them processed for the whole month.
Quarterly Package = £255

Pay for 3 months up front and save 15%

You can provide 4 blogs monthly or 12 drafts in one batch and get super organised!

Can I get a refund and are there any other terms I should know about?

Yes you can get a refund. Here’s how it works:

1.  Before/after consultation call – if  you don’t feel that this is the service for you before or after we talk (and before work has commenced) I will refund your money before work begins.

2. Once work begins – I will edit and return your first draft for approval before beginning work on the rest. If you are unsatisfied with the first blog sent to you, you can cancel the service and receive a full refund.

3. You have 30 days to redeem this offer and deliver your blog drafts. If you are unable to provide them in the allotted time-frame and keep me informed of this, I will refund your payment.

4. If I don’t hear from you within 30 days and you wish to cancel after this time, I will refund 50% of your payment.

5. I will deliver your mini bespoke content bank within 5-10 days of publishing your first blog.

6. Read more about Blogging the Easy Way and the terms for the package.

4 Ways to Create a Stream of Content from One Blog Post

4 Ways to Create More Content from Your Blog Posts

4 Ways to Create More Content from Your Blog PostsIf you’re writing blogs, blasting them out once on each on your social media channels then moving on to the next one you are wasting precious time and content!

Writing blogs is time consuming, but you can make sure you make the most of the time you invest. How?

There are several ways to pull tips & quotes out of each and every blog post you write to help you get fresh content for your social media feeds. You can also ‘recycle’ your blog posts with fresh titles and descriptions to help encourage more click-through and readers.

I’m going to use my recent blog Female Business Owners – 4 Reasons Why You Aren’t Blogging as an example to talk you through it.

How to squeeze more content out of every blog post

1. Reuse and recycle blogs using various descriptions

Remember that the life of a post can vary from channel to channel so it’s OK to post the same blog more than once. According to Buffer the life cycle of a post is:

  • Twitter – 18mins
  • Facebook – 90 mins

So unless someone is following your accounts with a magnifying glass, (which is unlikely) you can afford to reuse and recycle a blog post. It will help to bring more readers to each post and will maximize the time you’ve spent writing it.

Alternative Blog Titles/Descriptions

The title of my example post is Female Business Owners – 4 Reasons Why You Aren’t Blogging. But rather than always posting a link with this title,  I’ll create some alternatives too. By coming at it from different angles and using different hashtags  you’ll make it easier for more people to find your blog and open up your readership.

Here’s five alternative descriptions to tempt readers in: 

1. Why aren’t you blogging for business? Lack of time, money, knowledge or direction?

2. #Solopreneurs – planning on getting round to blogging one day? Here’s 4 reasons you’re stalling…

3. Female #Microbusiness Owners – are you finding blogging for business a challenge? You are not alone!

4. Blogging for Business – Why a lack of time and knowledge leads to lack of clarity and focus #SmallBusiness

5. Still haven’t devised your blogging strategy? Then you’re probably experiencing one of these 4 blocks #MumsinBiz

Notice how I’ve mixed up hashtags. My ideal clients are busy women running a small micro-business who want to free up time and get more from their online marketing. So, I use a range of hashtags to increase my chances of an ideal client finding the post.

If you are posting on Facebook or Linked In, just remove the hashtags but you can keep the term in your post to help with search.

2. Create useful tips for your audience

Tips are a great way to show your expertise, increase followers and encourage sharing. Try to pull as many tips as you can from each blog post. Here’s some examples of tips I’ve pulled from my post:

1. #BloggingforBusiness helps you to showcase your expertise and provide content for social media

2. Regular Blogging will help to create a community around your small business

3. Blogging for Business connects you to potential customers, cheerleaders and influencers #startup #womeninbusiness

4. Get focused! Get a clear blogging strategy so you know who you want to reach #bloggingtips

Do this with each blog post you write and add them to your content bank, giving you a lovely bank of great tips to share anytime.

3. Questions for your audience

Try to open up discussion and encourage feedback & engagement by posting questions for your fans and followers. Add some hashtags if you can as this will help engagement.

Here’s some examples of questions pulled from the same blog: 

1. Mums in Business – know that you SHOULD be blogging but can’t get into a routine? What’s stopping you?

2. Making time to work on your business blogs is hard when plates are spinning and time is short. Anyone else experience this?

3. Is lack of time, money, direction or knowledge your main block to blogging regularly?

This also has the added bonus of acting like informal market research – the answers can be pretty useful as they’ll give an insight into what your customers need and what their problems are

4. Turn quotes in images and memes

Images play an important part in social media marketing so make sure you use them! Now that you have created lots of lovely content using the methods described above you can use some of it to create some images.

Canva is great for creating graphic in a jiffy. There are lots of templates ready to go, or you can create your own template then just use it as a base to add new text too.

Here’s 2 images I created in less than 10 minutes using Canva.

1. Lack of time 2. Lack of knowledge 3. Lack of Money 4. Lack of Direction

Blogging for Business connects you to potential customers, cheerleaders and influencers. Have a clear strategy to make sure that you reach them!

I can use these images to use as stand-alone posts or I can add a link to my blog post. Notice that I’ve included my website address on each image so if it’s shared without tagging in my account, at least people will still know where to find me!

So, there you go – 4 ways to squeeze more content out of each blog post. Try to set aside 20-30 minutes when you finish each post to pull out quotes, tips and alternative blog descriptions. This will save you masses of time in the future and will help you to build a content bank to be proud of!

I’d love to hear your questions and comments, so do leave a reply or hop on over and say ‘hello’ on Twitter or Facebook.

PHOTO CREDIT: Image courtesy of chanpipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Already written lots of blogs and other content (such as ebooks, downloads and podcasts) but short on time to pluck out the best bits for social media?

You could get your very own Bespoke Content Bank of 50 engaging, informative posts that are targeted to your audience. All you need to do is copy and paste them or schedule them up in advance. Now how much time and effort would that save you? Find out more…


 

Why Your Attitude to Outsourcing is Holding Your Business Back!

Your top 5 answers were: Social media – 45% Strategy & Planning – 45% Blogging – 36% SEO – 36% Everything!! – 27% 2. Why do you find these areas to be a problem? Lack of knowledge/expertise - 54% Lack of time – 50% Lack of budget – 40% Lack of direction – 40% `

Thank you to all the female micro entrepreneurs who took the time to fill in my survey about your online marketing needs and outsourcing regular tasks.

So, without further ado (and in the style of Family Fortunes), here’s what the survey said…

Problem Areas

1. Which online marketing tasks cause you the most problems?

Your top 5 answers were:  Social media – 45% Strategy & Planning – 45% Blogging – 36% SEO – 36% Everything!! – 27% 2. Why do you find these areas to be a problem?  Lack of knowledge/expertise - 54% Lack of time – 50% Lack of budget – 40% Lack of direction – 40% `

(* Multiple choice questions – respondents could choose more than 1 answer)

I wasn’t surprised to see social media up there as one of the top problem areas. It’s a notorious time sucker and it’s easy to waste time if you don’t have a plan.  Which channel/s should you use, what should you post, where will you find followers, who should you connect with? There are so many elements to consider – no wonder if causes problems!

Strategy & Planning is a biggie too.  It’s essential as it helps you clarify what you want to achieve and how you are going to work towards obtaining it. But if you’re new to online marketing it can be bewildering. You need to familiarise yourself with marketing concepts, decide which area to concentrate on  (i.e blogging, social media or SEO) and work out where to find your target market online.

This is borne out by 54% of you feeling you don’t have enough knowledge or expertise to get to grips with online marketing. We have to learn so much when we start a business but doing so can take us away from what we are best at. Don’t fall into the trap of being a jack of all trades but a master of none!

Finding time to work on online marketing was also a problem for 50% of you. I know the feeling! There’s never enough time when you’re running a business and always a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm.  To avoid overwhelm I try to prioritise the important stuff and outsource anything that I can.

Attitudes to outsourcing

3. Have you ever outsourced your online marketing tasks?   Yes – 22%  No – 78%  4. The Top 5 Barriers to Outsourcing  Too expensive – 60% Never outsourced before and not sure where to start – 45% Finding someone who understands my business – 35% I like the idea just haven’t got round it it – 25% Losing control – how I can trust someone with MY business!! – 20% 5. Main benefits of outsourcing  Of the 22% who had outsourced tasks, they cited the following benefits of doing so:  50% said that it saved lots of stress that would have been caused by lack of time and/or expertise to do the job 25% said the main benefit was freeing up time to get on with running their business. (25% said ‘other benefit’ but didn’t specify what that benefit to their business was.)  6. What would help you to overcome your barriers to outsourcing?  Trial period – 60% Flexible service which is easy to cancel if not for me or business is slow –  55% A special offer – 35% Personal recommendation – 30% No obligation conference call – 30%

Only a small proportion of you have already tried outsourcing but those of you have taken the plunge feel that it has saved you a lot of stress and also freed up time. Something we all need!

Female Micro entpreuneurs - outsourcing online marketingWhy worrying about cost actually costs you money!

Your biggest reservation about outsourcing is the cost. I thought the same thing until about six months ago but am now converted and I LOVE it. I wish I’d outsourced sooner. The catalyst was being fed up of being constantly weighed down with busy work – the type of work I should have been passing to somebody in a junior position or in another department, (like you do when you’re employed and working in an office).

Busy work cluttered my brain and meant I could never find time to work ON my business. So, I took tentative steps and found a virtual assistant and slowly starting passing work to her (for both clients and myself – all the admin and time-sucking fiddly jobs).  It feels great to just get that work off my desk and know it’s being dealt with by a capable person. The result has been a clearer mind, being more organised and finding a lot more time to work on my business.

And guess what? I’VE INCREASED MY INCOME!  By outsourcing some of my client work, I’ve earned income on it without doing the actual work myself.  I’ve also freed up time to work on my website, do more planning and marketing. In the last couple of months I’ve picked up 2 new regular clients and earned ten times more than the outsourcing has cost me. Result!

Why did you start your business?

To gain freedom and to be my own boss – 67% To pursue my passion – 22%

There was a clear result on this one! The majority of female micro-entrepreneurs start their business to gain freedom and be their own boss.

So ask yourself, is it possible to find freedom and build a thriving business when you do everything? Especially when so many of you don’t feel you have the knowledge or time to do justice to your online marketing.  

It’s a contradiction – you will never achieve it unless you start outsourcing and trusting other people with your business.  Have you ever heard of a successful business woman who did it all completely alone? No, neither have I (and there is a lesson in that). 

Thanks once again to everyone who shared their thoughts. What do you think about these results? Illuminating, surprising or just what you expected?

I'd love some expert help! Tell me more...

 

 

Female Business Owners: 4 Reasons Why You Aren’t Blogging!

Blogging Blocks for Business - Online Blogging Support for Female Microenterprise owners

Blogging Blocks for Business - Online Blogging Support for Female Microenterprise ownersBlogging should be an essential part of the the online marketing mix for any business. Regular blogging will help you to showcase your expertise whilst providing a steady stream of content to post on social media.

It can also help you to create a community around your business.  It’s a fab way to connect with potential customers and influencers, as well as cheerleaders and brand advocates. All of which will help you to boost your business growth and reach your sales & marketing goals.

We all know we should be blogging but it can be hard to get into a regular routine with it.  Let’s face it, it’s a big commitment to sit down and write regularly – let alone all the other things you need to do (e.g picture research and SEO)  to get your blog out into the world.

We know why we should be writing blogs but many female micro-business owners still aren’t blogging for their business regularly.  What is stopping microbiz owners from taking advantage of this fabulous marketing tool?

I conducted a survey about the online marketing needs of female micro-business owners.  You told me about your biggest online marketing problem areas.  The early results showed that a whopping 57% of you say blogging is one of your major problem areas.

Why aren’t female business owners blogging?

1. Lack of time

42% of you don’t have enough time to get it all done. This one sounds familiar – it’s my major barrier to blogging regularly. I have an advantage as I know how to write blogs and publicise them. But I still have lots of time barriers – as I’m sure most women running a micro-business can identify with!

Client work always takes priority in my schedule (including writing and editing their blogs – oh, the irony!).  Then there’s family responsibilities, doing your accounts, business planning, checking social media, running a home and just that general feeling of there not being enough hours in the day.

You can see how blogging gets put on the back burner – doing it justice takes commitment and focus. Which can be hard to provide when a million plates are spinning and time is short.

2.  Lack of knowledge

35% of you feel that you don’t have enough knowledge to write your blogs. When you start your own business you need to oversee and manage everything – including jobs & tasks that you have no prior experience of doing.  Running a business can be like undertaking a personal development course as you need to learn so many new things!

Even if you enjoy writing and fancy the idea of blogging, there so much more to it. How do you make your blog SEO-friendly, where will you find images,  how to create a title people will want to click on, etc.?

You’ve got so much to learn and no time to do it. So, you just leave tackling blogging for a bit longer while you concentrate on other areas of your business.

3. Lack of money

Writing blogs is free – it’s a great marketing tool for bootstrappers and anyone on a low budget. So, how can lack of money cause a problem?

Writing blogs may be free but it does take time.  And it may take you away from the essential jobs you need to do to keep your business ticking over – such as making new sales, creating new products and meeting contacts.  So, taking the time to blog could actually lose you revenue in the short-term as it takes you away from running your core business.

If you’re not feeling very confident in your blog-writing skills you may decide that you should outsource the job to a professional. But many micro-businesses are still growing and don’t have big budgets so you’re reluctant to commit a budget to blogging activities.

And do you really want to spend money on something you could do for free? You’ll get round to it one day – won’t you?

4. Lack of direction – am I doing the right things?

If blogging is relatively new to you, it can be hard to get momentum going. You can think of subjects for a few blogs but then you mind goes blank. You’ve got a vague grasp of what you should be doing but you’re not confident that you’ve got it right.

This strongly relates to the first 2 points. When you have lack of time and/or knowledge it can be hard to get clarity and focus. So you amble along, posting blogs occasionally and hoping for the best. You keep meaning to create a blogging strategy but it never happens. You don’t know if what you done already is working and not sure how to find out. Sound familiar?

So, how should you get over these stumbling blocks to blogging regularly? I’ll be addressing these questions in my next blog so do look out for it.

Do you identify with these results? If so, you’re not alone! Many female micro-business owners find regular blogging a challenge.  What’s your personal challenge? Please tell me in the comments below…


Want to get expert help with your blogs and slash the amount of time you spend creating them? Then check out my  Blogging the Easy Way package – just pass me your blog drafts and I’ll do the rest!

Try the Bulk Buy package and you could get 12 weeks of blogs professionally edited and ready for publication. Imagine feeling that organised! Find out more about Blogging the Easy Way

 

 

Image courtesy of punsayaporn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Female Micro-Business Owners…

outsourcing online marketing questionaire

Tell me your thoughts about online marketing.

What do you need help with, what are the barriers to outsourcing and what are you interested in?

outsourcing online marketing questionaire

Share your feedback with me and save up to £71.00 on my Blogging the Easy Way service

Female micro-business owners are a busy bunch of people. We have a seemingly never-ending ‘to do’ list as we are responsible for running every single part of our business. This can be challenging, frustrating & stressful.

I provide online marketing support to women just like you. I’m developing my products and services and would like to know about your online marketing headaches, thoughts on outsourcing and what sort of content interests you.

A sweetener to say ‘thank you’

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so here’s a little incentive to encourage you to take part and to say thanks.

I’m offering a 10% discount on my Blogging the Easy Way  service to everyone who completes the survey below.  Save up to £71 and get 12 weeks worth of blogs sorted! 

The package is real time-saver.  Hand over your rough blog draft, then I’ll edit, tidy up, add a lovely image and make it SEO-friendly. Once approved by you, I’ll schedule it up and get it out to the world.  

The survey should takes less than 2 minutes to complete. Thank you!

 

Five Ways to Make Your Blog SEO-friendly

5 Tips To Make Your Blog SEO-friendly

5 Tips To Make Your Blog SEO-friendlyBlogging is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Blogging regularly will help Google & other search engines to find your site, index more of your pages and increase your chances of making it to page 1 of search results.

Writing a regular blog will give you content to share with your network on social media and making your blog SEO-friendly will also help it to stand out in news feeds and catch the eye of potential readers.

But if you’re new to blogging, it can be hard to know where to start. Follow this basic advice to get you going and to develop good habits for following best blog-writing practice.

5 tips to make your blog SEO-friendly:

1. Blog Title

Your blog title will be more effective if it includes your keywords or phrases. It will help the search engines and potential customers find you and make it clear what the content of your blog is about.

I’ll use a blog I wrote for www.smartbags.co.uk as an example. Smartbags produce made-to-order ecobags. The introduction of a single-use carrier bag charge in Scotland provided a sales & marketing opportunity for their business. They wanted to show up in search results when retailers searched for information on the subject.

I created a blog called ‘Single-use Carrier Bag Charge Coming to Scotland Soon’.  The blog appeared on page 1 soon after publishing. It was key to rank highly in the search results a few months before the charge launched as Smartbags have a 2-3 month lead time and they needed to be visible early so they could generate orders.

The blog helped Smartbags get found by Scottish retailers and they saw a rise in inquiries.  Once the bag charge launch date got closer there were a lot more news and posts from other sources and the blog moved down the rankings a little, but it was at the top of page 1 when it was most needed.

As an extra bonus, because the title includes the right keywords and is a really useful article for Scottish retailers, it got picked up by the Scottish Grocer and they quoted it in their blog post on making the best of the bag charge. Result!

Choosing Keywords

If you’re not sure what your keywords should be, think about your customer. What are they searching for? How can your blog help them? Here’s a great article from HubSpot about ‘How to do Keyword Research’

2. Blog URL

Reinforce the keywords and phrases you’ve included in your page title by adding them into the blog’s URL too. It’s easy to forget this step as often a URL is auto-generated when you start drafting your blog, so you must remember to go back and change it before you publish!

Continuing from the Smartbags example above – here’s a screenshot showing the URL and the page title. Notice that they are repeated to improve keyword density.

Make Your Blog SEO-friendly

 3. Images

If you’re uploading images to your blog without editing the images data, then you need to change that immediately! All images should be optimized to reinforce your keywords and ensure that the search engines know what your images are about.

  • Alt Text/Tag:  This is the data the Search Engines use for indexing images so it’s important to provide this data.  Make sure you reinforce your keywords and the title of your blog in the Alt Text.
  • Image Name/Title: This is not needed for Google, but it’s useful for your visitors. It’s still worth getting some keywords in there too to reinforce what the article is about and should Google decide to start indexing this data in the future.
  • File Name: Before you upload your blog images, make sure the file name includes your keywords. If your image comes up in an image search, it will look much better in the results if the file name matches your keywords/phrases, rather than have a random file name like IMG12345.jpg.

4. Headers

It’s important to structure your blog in such a way that is easy for the Search Engines AND your visitors to read.

Google uses information found under the Heading 1, Heading 2 etc. sections to find out what your blog is about and rank the information in order of it’s importance. That way, they can return a relevant results page to their users.

This tactic also makes your blog easy for people to read in real-life. It gives your blog a clear structure, makes it easier to skim-read for the key points and also make it’s easier on the eye (and therefore to read on screen).

For an example of how this works, let’s look at how I’ve structured this blog:

  • Header 1: The Header 1 is ‘5 tips to make your blog SEO-friendly.’ This reinforces the title & page URL and is the main topic of the blog
  • Header 2: Each of the numbered tips are formatted as a Header 2 (i.e – Blog Title, Blog URL, Images, Headers and Internal Links). Both Google and your readers can then easily see what the 5 tips are about. No need to wade through the text for this information, it can be seen clearly with a quick scroll down the page.  It reinforces what the important points of the blog are to both Google and your readers.
  • Header 3-6: I haven’t used any other headers in this blog, but you can continue up to Header 6 if you wish. That would depend on the length of the blog and the subject matter.

By ordering your blogs in this way you make it easier for Google to index them, improve how they appear in the search results, thereby increasing click-through rates.

 5. Internal Links

Where possible, try to link to other pages on your website. If your blog relates to another blog post on your site, link them. If you are trying to sell a service, link to that service page.

The purpose of this is to keep visitors on your site for longer. It’s also a way to show Google that you are authority on that particular subject and have more than one blog/page on that subject.

It’s such a simple step but worth doing. If you have no other blog posts or pages on that subject do some lateral thinking!

This is my first blog post about blogging, so I don’t have any others to link too. But I can link to my services page for my retainer service, Blogging The Easy Way and my Blogging Blast Package. That way, Google can see I have other pages about blogging and I also get the chance to let my blog readers know about my services.

So, there you have it – 5 ways to help make your blog more SEO-friendly and to help potential readers & customers to find you.  Get into the habit of following these tips and you should start to see results from your organic visits. 

If you enjoyed this post, please share the love! 

Need help with blogging for your business? Check out my Blogging the Easy Way package to help you save time & hassle and get your business blog running like clockwork.

 

 

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net