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Three SEO Tips for Small Business Owners

by Andrew | Wed October 10, 2012

Recently a client asked me how to improve their website’s search ranking in Google. This being a question that many business owners and clients are asking, I thought it best to share my answers below. SEO is a big deal. It’s not enough to simply launch a website and hope that visitors come. There are a bunch of ways to generate additional traffic to your website, but the following three methods are top of my list.

Do a little research and get credible websites to link to yours.

This is vital, because Google in part determines the credibility of your website based on who is linking to you. There are a variety of strategies out there are far as “earning” links, but in my opinion the best way is for your team members to contribute guest articles or posts on relevant industry blogs.

Action Items:

1) Who is writing important stuff about your industry? Ask yourself what you read to stay on top of the latest trends. Many of these outlets offer opportunities to contribute guest posts. In other cases, you could earn a link by providing a relevant quote for a story to a news outlet.

2) Get a competitive analysis and find out which credible sites are linking to your competitors. In many cases, these websites are looking for additional companies or experts in your industry. Blueberry Ln. happens to provide these in the form of a comprehensive report.

Brainstorm ideas and create a blog.

What have you learned on your way to becoming an expert in your field? What is a shortcut that is going to save a potential client from hardship or annoyance? I call these helpful tips “little goods.” Providing tips or insights via your blog shows that you care, and that you value the time of your reader.

Creating a blog is a good 1-2 punch with getting credible websites to link to you, too. In my experience, someone is 100x more likely to link to an interesting blog post than your newest product offering. The trick is to marry the two and write in a way that garners respect but also keeps things light and fun.

Action Items:

1) Come up with a list of 5 “little goods” and start outlining and writing.

2) If you don’t already have a blog, Blueberry Ln. is here to help. We create new blogs for clients every month and can help guide you through getting started.

Don’t just create a social media profile, plan and use it creatively and professionally.

Social media is unfortunately a buzzword that turns me off. Whenever I hear Twitter this, Facebook that, I think “here we go again…I’m going to get an earful about how important it is to have a __________ account.” Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not important to have an account, it’s important to use it to engage others.

Similar to researching and thinking about your expertise as a business owner in the above action items, your “little goods” can translate well to social media, too. There are concrete, valuable things about posting and tweeting your companies “wins” or links to your website, but social media is a 2-way conversation.

Action Items:

1) Seek out conversations involving questions about your industry. For example, if you’re an insurance agent, what is the difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance? If you’ve already created a blog post that answers this question and then notice someone on Facebook is asking, this creates a perfect opportunity to not only direct them to your website/blog, but also to follow up and ask if they had any other questions that you can answer.

2) Invite questions — hold an informal Q&A on Facebook or Twitter. You can help answer some good questions and simultaneously build the trust and credibility as an expert who is willing to listen and respond.

I hope this is helpful to you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to inquire about hiring us to help with your SEO or website needs. We’re here to help.

Hire Us To Integrate Your WordPress Contact Form with Mailchimp

by Andrew | Fri May 25, 2012

I’ve mentioned having an “Eureka!” moment on this blog before, and I can’t think of a better term to describe what it feels like to successfully integrate Mailchimp with a website contact form. Blueberry Ln. is now proud to offer the ability to automatically add a person to the mailing list of your choice when someone contacts your company, requests information, or otherwise communicates via a web form. This is especially easy if your website is built with WordPress.

Mailchimp is great and inexpensive for small to medium-sized businesses. We’ve been recommending it to all of our clients that aren’t already set up with another mailing list system or software. We use it for our mailing list, too.

So that’s that. If you’d like to learn more or hire us to help accomplish this for your business, please get in touch!

Have an excellent and safe holiday weekend!

With a Simple Idea, Passion and New Media, “Walls” Don’t Exist

by Andrew | Wed April 25, 2012

A few years ago, I helped operate a popular Cubs podcast called Cubscast. If you’re a Cubs fan and an early adopter of technology, maybe you heard of it. More than likely, though, this is news to you. We were on the cutting edge of podcasting, having started in 2005, and all told over 650 episodes of the show were recorded/produced over a stretch that lasted 6 baseball seasons. At its peak in 2010, we had over 25K listeners on a monthly basis. It was a nice run, but I’m not bringing it up to toot my own horn. Podcasting was and is part of something termed (for lack of a better term) “new media,” and we at Blueberry Ln. are blown away by how far a simple idea can get down the tracks.

Cubscast, for example, began when a few Cub fan friends that lived in various places around the country decided to hop online 3 times a week and commiserate. We never thought anyone would actually listen. One of my friends had the grand idea of trying to get actor and well-known Cubs fan Joe Mantegna to appear on the show, and he actually did. Due to this it seemed like we had an audience from about Day 1, Hour 1. A generous article in the Chicago Tribune didn’t hurt, either.

Cubs fans around the country were in serious need of a community like ours, as well as regular and on-demand updates on the team without the false dramatics of sports talk radio. Over the next few years, we enjoyed meeting many of our favorite Cubs players, and were invited to a variety of press and team functions. It was a thrill to be a part of. Many of the “walls” I had assumed existed, didn’t. Anyone could have done what we did with Cubscast. It took some initiative and hard work like anything does, but at the core we were just a few Cubs fans having a good time and figuring it out as we went along.

The model that is proven by Cubscast, and by a thousand other cases, is one where passionate people stumble upon a need that they’re specially-equipped to meet.

Therein lies the question.

What are you passionate about? What’s something you really enjoy doing? Consider how you can share your passion with others. Take it from a guy that never expected to meet Ernie Banks or Fergie Jenkins, if you can harness that passion and create something, you’ll enjoy it whether anyone pays attention or not.