Steps for Success in Online Marketing for WordPress

This is a guest post written by Olga Ione. If you’d like to write a guest post please contact me.

Marketing online is the only way that companies today are going to be able to compete. Most people are online daily, and you need to be able to reach those people who would be your prospective customers and clients. When you have a good strategy, you will be able to do just that. The following steps are going to get you started in the right direction with your marketing.

Creating the Plan

The first step is to start writing down your marketing plan that you will be able to follow. You will need to know your goals and objectives, and you have to know who your ideal customer is going to be. Only when you know what the customer wants and expects will you be able to market to them successfully. You should have a plan that will cover many different aspects of online marketing, such as blogging, working with social media, and even the PPC ads. You will also want to make sure that you are spending special attention to search engine optimization.

Developing the Perfect Site

Having a high quality website is going to be essential for your business. One of the fastest, simplest, and most cost effective methods of getting a great site is with the WordPress platform. WordPress themes come in many different styles, and you will find that many of them are going to be very easy to customize. When you do customize your themes, you will be able to make them look and work just the way you need.

You want to have a site that offers a professional appearance as well as easy navigation. The site should also be search engine friendly and easy to update. You also have to consider the mobile market. Make sure that the theme you use is mobile friendly, or that you have a developer who will be able to ensure that your site looks great in all of the mobile devices on the market today.

Converting Traffic to Leads

Once you start to generate more traffic, you have to be able to turn those visitors into actual customers. You will need to have a call to action on your site that shows them why they need the product or service that you are offering. You will also need to make sure that you are engaging the customer and that you treat the customer well in all interactions. Once you have customers and leads, you have to make sure that you nurture your relationship with them. Provide them with special offers and start a smart email marketing campaign that targets them without trying to oversell and enter the realm of the annoying.

Consider Outsourcing

Something that you might want to do, as well, is to think about outsourcing some of your marketing needs. If you are trying to come up with off page content for your site, then it could be a good idea to hire some outside help. You could always work with someone for writing content for your site and for other sites, and have other freelancers work to help with marketing and social media. If you do not have the employees to take care of all of these different aspects regularly, then you might find that outsourcing is a good option.

Once you have your plan in place, you will want to give it a bit of time to see how well it works. When you start measuring your success. Which areas worked as well as you had hoped, and which need improvement? Did the PPC ads come through, or was blogging the real winner for you? Knowing these things will make tweaking your online marketing easier.

About author

Olga Ionel is a creative writer at ThemeFuse.com – a top provider of WordPress themes. She is passionate about studying online marketing industry and sharing informative tips.

Client Spotlight: The Writer’s Clinic

Jean Gogolin runs the The Writer’s Clinic, a WordPress powered site that runs on the Headway theme framework.

The Writer's Clinic

The website and blog are called “The Writer’s Clinic” and it’s designed for advanced writers – particularly those who write about science. I’m in the process of changing the subtitle, as soon as I figure out what a better one would be, and several of the site’s pages. I want to emphasize advanced writing skills in general, not just science writing.

I’ve been a professional writer for – wow – about 40 years, as a newspaper and magazine writer, corporate communications staffer, executive-level speech writer and freelancer. I spent most of my corporate career with high tech companies, including DEC, Lotus, Northrop, IBM and EMC Corp.

I’ve had bylined articles in The Boston Globe and USA Today and ghostwritten op/ed pieces for The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.

But now I specialize in science and discovery. Why? Because science is too important for science writing to be the province of scientists alone.

I write about science like a combination of journalist and short story writer using all the techniques that bring the best fiction to life.

I also work with clients who want a coach or collaborator for their own writing. I listen hard, ask lots of questions, help them think through their objectives, and then work with them to write the piece.

I love what I do — and I’d be happy to do it for you.

So if you need someone to help you with your writings, take a look at The Writer’s Clinic.

Client Spotlight: Addiction Focus

Addictions Focus is a website for Addictions UK who provide a home-based addiction treatment programme that offers a valid alternative for addicts whose circumstances don’t allow for residential treatment, or who are concerned about anonymity. They’re a social enterprise organisation, which is similar to a non-profit.

Addictions UK have developed a treatment programme which offers immediate help to anyone with an addiction or dependency problem. The unique one-to-one programme is tailored to the individual, offers complete anonymity and an immediate start. Addictions UK seeks to offer treatment which is effective, affordable and confidential.

Addiction problems related to the Internet is a huge and growing problem. Simon Stephens, Director of Casework for Addictions UK says:

We’re often asked what makes Addictions UK different to other treatment programmes.

Most of all the biggest difference is the flexibility that we can offer you. We don’t ask you to stay in a residential treatment centre for months on end.

Instead, we encourage you to be part of everyday society, but we do ask that you can spend at least half an hour with us over the telephone, or perhaps through a computer, to work on a therapeutic programme of recovery.

While for many people residential treatment can be very beneficial, we often find that when clients come away from their rehab, that they are faced with the problems with no support to get them get through their daily lives.

We like to work with you on a daily basis, with helplines, and with daily talk sessions, that allow you to cope with the day’s problems, as they come up.

OK, everybody asks how much does this cost. One of the unique advantages of Addictions UK, is the low costs involved….

You can read more on their website and why not check them out and “Like” them on Facebook?

De-cluttering Your Business

If you’ve ever been exposed to any sort of life coaching, then you’ll know that de-cluttering is the order of the day for people that want to make more time for themselves, achieve their ambitions and get enough space to relax. However, how often do we apply the principles of de-cluttering to our work lives? Running a blogging business is a time-consuming job, and the platform we work on, keeping up with our online community and generally keeping ahead of our things to do list can all give rise to a large amount of clutter.

When I talk about clutter in a business sense, I’m not thinking so much of physical mess (although that’s a part of it), as the various things that seem to drag on and on – the jobs that never get quite finished, the colleagues you are forever trying to keep up communications with, the comments that don’t ever get responded to, and the constant feeling that every day you are fighting to stay ahead of what needs to be done. These kinds of feelings leave us stressed and unproductive, floundering about in a sea of confusion while other people seem to manage to run their blogging businesses neatly, to a tight schedule.
Cleaning
If you’re one of those people who are struggling to keep on top of everything, follow these tips to de-clutter your business and get to a happy place in the blogosphere.

Tackle the physical mess first

If you work from home with an online business, it’s easy to get immersed in your job from morning to night, leaving your environment messy and disorganized. It’s important to keep your work space clear – even if that space happens to be in a corner of your kitchen or on the sofa in the living room. A space which is full of toys, empty mugs, laundry or papers is not going to help you when you need to run a tight ship. At the end of every work day, as you shut down your laptop or PC for the evening, make sure you spend a few minutes clearing up the mess ready for the next morning’s work. You’ll become more efficient and feel much more relaxed when you find your space is completely geared towards concentrating on your business.

Write a list of things which sap your time

Every day at work, I notice I have different categories of job to do. Some are fundamental – such as answering blog posts, speaking with customers or providing support for blogs. Others, such as wading through my e-mails, getting sidetracked by colleagues or checking up on the latest blogs for my competitors are not so critical and yet seem to take up the most time. I write a list every morning and prioritize what needs to be done, so I can tackle the big stuff first. It’s only if I have time that I can then move on to the other things that aren’t as important for my business. Keeping track of what you need to do each day doesn’t just leave you more organized – it also lets you review which aspects of your daily job you can reduce, outsource or get help with to up your productivity and declutter your task list.

Refer back to your strategy

If you find yourself getting sidetracked by an overwhelming amount of work, try revisiting your strategy for business to make sure that everything you do is always working towards achieving your aims as a blogging entrepreneur. If your activities each day don’t help you to achieve your goals (financially or otherwise), then it could be a good way of going through your activities and establishing if you are on the right track. It’s amazing how many activities you can get rid of, once you sit down and analyze whether they are working towards you achieving business success or not!

Client Spotlight: I Am Not Making This Up

Erla Zwingle writes about her life in Venice, Italy on her blog “I am Not Making This Up“. It’s been running since April 2009 and there are hundreds of articles on everything you could want to know about Venice, good and bad!

My blog is about what I call “real Venice” — not the postcard, touristic, guidebook viewpoint of the famous city (though I’ve also written a guidebook) but the everyday life of what is an amazing, surprising, frustrating small town.
I Am Not Making This Up

I focus on two primary aspects: What it’s like for me to live here, things I do, people I know, etc, and what’s like for the few remaining Venetians who live here. It’s a struggle for everybody but there are many compensations.

In other words, the blog is my response to the question people often ask me: “What’s it like to live in Venice?” Often followed by “I really envy you,” “It must be amazing,” “I wish I could live here,” and so on. To which I apply a blast of reality, for better or worse.

I have two main types of readers: People who have been to Venice, sometimes many times, and who want to know the city better, and those who haven’t been to Venice but would like to imagine they have. In any case, my reader is someone who has some context — either through lots of travel, or interest in history, or interest in curious places and things — for the viewpoint I give on the city.

I have been fascinated, since the first time I came here as a tourist in 1985, by the world “behind the curtain,” so to speak. Everyone who comes here inevitably remarks that the city seems like a stage set, but I prefer the life backstage.

I wasn’t able to satisfy this curiosity as a tourist, but things changed when I came here as a journalist in 1994 on assignment for National Geographic to write about exactly the city that I wanted to know (“Venice: More than a Dream,” National Geographic, February 1995). Unexpectedly, I fell in love and married a Venetian and have been here ever since.

I started writing the blog because I got fed up with the endlessly repetitive stereotypes and outright misinformation that is written about the city. It’s unbelievable how many wrong ideas people who don’t live here manage to accumulate about Venice and how few ways they have to correct those ideas (assuming they care).
I Am Not Making This Up
My blog is my way to address that imbalance between truth and myth. It’s pretty much a personal crusade, though I suppose if somebody wants to imagine a mythical Venice that exists only in fantasy, there’s nothing wrong with that. What I am combatting are the published statements which range from moderately incorrect to completely fabricated.

I named my blog “iamnotmakingthisup” to reinforce the fact that whatever I write is verifiably true, because many, many things that happen here seem impossible, though true, and many things which are written about the city are also impossible and untrue.

I am an American, a professional journalist and have written for publication for more than 30 years; among my best articles are the 20 or so stories I’ve written for National Geographic magazine (where I also spent four years as a full-time editor).

Because my work has taken me to so many different places I’m sometimes characterized as a travel writer, but that isn’t quite right. My few attempts to write for travel magazines have been disasters (I suppose because I’m not inclined to tell people how to travel, where to stay, or what to eat).

What I do is write about subjects that require me to be in some foreign place that happens to be the location of some other event or problem, but not as a place to go to on vacation. Though if you feel like going to Lagos, Nigeria on vacation, go right ahead.

Being a complete imbecile where computers are concerned, undertaking the blog was a big step forward into unknown territory, and you (and Andrew) have been my life-savers. Your intelligence, knowledge, kindness, and patience have kept me going in assorted difficult moments and I have come to depend on you both for quick answers and good sense.

I can’t say we’ve worked together on anything in particular, I’ve just thrown you urgent questions which you have answered with fantastic skill.

Thanks Erla! If you want to be featured in a client spotlight, please simply contact me.

The Top Tips For Finding Blogging Happiness

It’s tough, being a blogger. It’s hard because we have to commit to publishing a certain amount of material each week, keep ahead of key trends, and have faith that what we are doing is really helping us to enhance our business success and generate more revenue by supporting our customers. If you’re currently in a blogging rut, follow these tips to help you get back to blogging happiness and keep your online marketing strategy on track.
monkey smile

  • Choose subjects to blog about that you feel passionate about and you’ll find easy to write about with knowledge and enthusiasm
  • Build blogging in to your daily routine, in the same way as you brush your teeth each day or load the dishwasher – this makes it easier to stick to regular posts
  • Invite people to comment on your posts regularly, so you know you’re on the right track with what you are writing about
  • Keep up to date with all your feedback, answering comments and thanking people for responding to your posts
  • If you ever feel disheartened about your blogging prowess, look back to the metrics from when you first started out and compare them with your current results
  • Ask people you like and respect to guest blog to ease the burden of ongoing blog publishing, and introduce new perspectives and topics to your site
  • Tweet your posts so more people can access what you have written and your message gets circulated for more comments, and new readers
  • Try out new styles of communicating through your blog, like podcasting and video blogging (vlogging)
  • Revamp your site for a quick fix of freshness, having fun with choosing new themes and layouts
  • Consider outsourcing some of your writing from time to time if other pressures are getting in the way of your blog writing responsibilities
  • Check out new technologies – plugins and widgets – designed to make your blogging life easier and enhance your metrics and benchmarking
  • Gain access to a great image resource site so you can experiment with different types of graphics – I use http://sxc.hu or http://www.morguefile.com for royalty-free images
  • Consider blogging a series – twelve posts all geared towards a single help topic, which you could then go on to produce as a product such as an e-book or download giveaway
  • Learn new angles to blog about by researching your industry online, reading up on the latest developments, and sparking off a wealth of new ideas to write about
  • Take time out. Everyone needs a break sometimes, so manage your postings, publish them in draft and stick them on a timer so you can go on vacation, have a long weekend or settle down to catch up on all that television you’ve been missing because of work!

Client Spotlight: Find Things To Do In Quirky San Francisco

Randy Schroeder is a long time client of mine who runs a few websites, including Quirky San Francisco.

Quirky San Francisco

My purpose is to help people find things to do in San Francisco that are not the same old thing. There’s so much to do here, other than Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz.

It’s so odd to go to those tourist areas and see hoards of people buying cheap souvenirs they’re just forget about 5 minutes after they get home. They miss the best things this area has to offer and I like helping to point them out.

Randy has a couple of great eBooks too. A free one called “Best 10 FREE Things to do in San Francisco” is available by signing up for his newsletter on the right hand side of his site.

His other eBook is for sale, called Bike The Golden Gate, it’s a unique step-by-step bicycle adventure that guides you from downtown San Francisco, along the bay, across the Golden Gate Bridge, down into Sausalito and a relaxing ferry ride back to San Francisco.

Quirky San Francisco has lots of posts about things to do in SF, whether for free or paid and places for great photo opportunities. His resources list even includes a music playlist to enjoy on your trip!

He also has nice things to say about me:

Joel has been the one person I can count on to keep my site working correctly. He’s amazing – responsible, easy to work with, responsive, fast, smart and affordable. What more could I ask for?

Thanks Randy! If you live or are planning a trip to San Francisco, be sure to check out Quirky San Francisco.

Going The Extra Mile – How To Give Your Readers Outstanding Customer Service

I love it when I see or receive an example of awesome customer service, just as much as I really dislike being on the receiving end of bad customer service. Today, I was lucky enough to come across a great example of someone willing to go the extra mile just to make their customer happy.

A shopping trip to the mall was going as expected, when I came across a guy offering free shoe shine trials. I had a bit of free time so I thought I’d give it a go. Now, I’m normally very skeptical about free trials and I’m always looking for the catch, but this guy shined my shoes brilliantly, made great conversation during the time I was in the chair, and to cap it off he gave me a $10 voucher for his shoe and sneaker store in the mall to use whenever I next needed a new pair of shoes.
Shopping mall
Within fifteen minutes he had secured a new customer, and boosted his business, while I came out of it feeling great about our transaction. Bringing together a great service, a great personality and a great offer, he demonstrated just how simple it is to attract new custom, no matter what trade you are operating in.

That got me thinking about how we can offer great service to our customers online. Here are some top tips.

Under promise and over deliver

This is a classic way of ensuring clients comes back to you again and again. Clients are always really impressed when they get a better than expected response. If you put a time limit on when you will respond back to them, can you regularly beat that by 50%?

Ask questions and listen to the answers

Often the most difficult, but certainly the most beneficial, question you can ask your customers is ‘How can we improve our product/service to you?’ The fear is all the negative things that they might say… and I mean MIGHT say. In reality, customers love to feel that their opinion is valued. If you get feedback good or bad, listen and act on it, they will make going the extra mile easy for you because they’ll tell you how!

Thank your clients for their business

The most grateful act you can do is to personally thank your clients for the business they have placed with you. Whether that is through a web order, a postal order or a face-to-face order, the best thing you can do is to sincerely say ‘Thank You’. A card, an email, a letter all give a personal touch that leave your customers feeling like they are valued and – guess what… they’ll come back to you again and again.

Reward your customers for their loyalty

Loyal customers are the most precious thing in the world. I read somewhere once that it is six times more expensive to get new customers than it is to keep your existing clients. If you give great service and great value for money, then your clients will keep coming back. Another great strategy for ensuring they keep coming back is to reward their loyalty. A voucher each quarter, money off next time they shop with you, a free gift when they purchase in a certain period of time are all great ideas. What would be suitable for your business?

Going the extra mile with your customers means you will create a customer base that will stay with you and not go elsewhere. Valuing your customers is an essential step to maintaining and developing your business.

The Art of Good Writing

Do you enjoy writing for your blog, or does the thought of opening your laptop to craft yet another article fill you with dread? Like any other aspect of running an online business, your writing needs to be of a great standard to make sure you bring your customers what they need and support them to find the information they are looking for when they visit your site. All that is well and good, but how do you make sure your writing is of a great standard? And if you don’t like writing much, what can you do to ensure that what you actually do right hits the mark when people come to your blog?

Good writing is not as difficult as many people think. By following a few simple rules, you can sharpen up the quality of your writing, and probably begin to be a lot happier with what you produce along the way. Check out these tips for good writing on your blog.
Pen and paper

Stick to what you know

The best bloggers out there write with an easy style that makes it obvious they know what they are on about. This is a great trait for good blog writing, as people naturally listen to experts in every field of industry. If you write your articles about things which are naturally interesting to you, that you feel super-confident about, this confidence and interest will shine through in your blog and kindle enthusiasm in your readers. Some of the most interesting posts I have ever read are written from the heart, by people who absolutely love their subject. Stick to what you know on your blog, and this confidence will keep your readers on the page until the very last word.

Keep it professional

Have you ever visited a blog only to find a number of things on it that switch you off? The basics like good grammar, a lack of typos and other errors are much more important than you may think at first. Would you trust someone who had errors on their blog? Or would you think, actually if this guy can’t be bothered to read through what he has written, I wonder what he’s like to do business with? Similarly, your business blog is not meant to showcase any radical personal opinions or draw attention to contentious stuff that you wouldn’t discuss with your customers. Unless you have a deliberately contentious blog, and you publish content which is designed to be inflammatory as your job. In which case, go for it!

Keep it relatively short

No-one wants to read ‘War and Peace’ on your blog unless you are offering a free download of ‘War and Peace’ on your blog. People tend to lose interest if you have page after page of text, no matter how great your writing is. Keep things quite short (under 1,000 words per article) unless you want your readers to drift off and go somewhere else for their information!
Keep it fresh and current

I know you know this. Keep your blog content relevant, lively and current to make your readers happy and give them what they need. Link in to things which they want to know, share your experiences where you can, and publish articles that answer their needs, staying fresh and interesting. Tap in to current affairs, or mention things which are happening in your industry right now to make your blog post as relevant as it can be. That reminds me, have you been following ‘America’s Got The X Factor Idol’ recently?

Client Spotlight: Saving Money with More With Less Today

Lori started her frugal blog called More With Less Today in January 2009 to help fill the void of the “empty-nest”. I’ll let Lori take up the story:

I have always been a bargain shopper, a coupon user, and hated to pay full price for anything. Back in the day was everyone was living large, my friends used to mock me and call me a cheapskate. Now they ask me for advice!
More With Less Today
I had so many sources to share but did not have any technical knowledge at all. I began following Yaro Starak’s site www.entreprenuers-journey.com to try and learn how to put a blog together. I quickly learned that I didn’t know enough to succeed and I just wanted to blog. I didn’t really care about how to set up a blog.

I emailed Yaro and asked him to refer me to someone who could help me and he put me in touch with Joel. That was almost 3 years ago and I still use Joel almost monthly. He has patiently helped me with with revisions and redesigns to my site as I learn more about what works and what I want my site to look like.

That leaves me free to grow my site and I now have over 50,000 new readers each month. I just added two categories that I am excited to share with my readers. The first is a grocery coupon database where you can type in the brand name of a product, for example “Yoplait” and be directed to all the Yoplait coupons available today. The database will tell you where to find them if they are in a Sunday newspaper supplement or magazine, or if they are printable, you can print them right from my blog.

The second category is called “Today’s Good Deed” which highlights easy and inexpensive ways to bless and help others with our surplus and also features companies doing good things so we can support them with our dollars. For example, with Yoplait, you can enter codes from pink container lids and 10 cents from every lid code will go directly to Breast Cancer Research.

I hope you will stop by for a visit. I want to help busy people save more money on the things they need so that they have more money for the people they love!

Thank you Joel for your continued support. I could not have done this without you!

I wouldn’t be here without clients like you too Lori! Thanks for sharing your story. Lori’s site has great money saving tips and constantly updated coupons, so take a look.