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“So, You’re A Lawyer Right? Can I Ask You A Quick Question?”: 5 techniques to deal with friends, family and acquaintances trying to solicit free legal advice

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Having computer problems? Call your friend  who’s in IT. Car won’t start? Invite your  buddy who owns an auto repair shop over for  a drink and get him or her to have a look at it.  Going through a divorce? Surely it couldn’t  hurt to ask your lawyer friend for a bit of free  advice.

To a lot of people, all of those situations are  the same. They can’t understand why you, as  a lawyer, are not comfortable giving advice,  and they don’t know that you are bound by  professional restrictions (and also, hey, you  like to get paid for the work you do: you  deserve to earn a living, just like everyone  else). Refusing can cause resentment, and get  you known as another snobby stuck up  lawyer. Declining can have the potential to  make for a few awkward dinner parties.
Here are five strategies that you can use with  your friends, family, acquaintances and people who have you have just met to deflect.

1. Tell them, “That’s not my area of expertise”

Many people suffer under a misconception that as a lawyer, you have knowledge about all areas of law. Asking a divorce lawyer about how to evict a tenant is no different than asking an ear, nose and throat doctor about unusual heart palpitations: sure, you might be able to speak to it a bit from years of study, but you are in no way an expert. If it is a friend or family member asking for your assistance, you might feel pressure to help. Unfortunately, as you’re probably well aware, even a bit of casual advice offered at a dinner party, if they act on it, could lead you into a malpractice lawsuit. Instead, be straightforward and tell them that it’s not an area of law that you have any knowledge in, and you could very easily give them bad advice.

2. Explain that any advice you give could put you on the wrong side of the Code of Conduct

The Canadian Bar Association Code of Professional Conduct, says “The lawyer should not undertake to advise an unrepresented person but should urge such a person to obtain independent legal advice and, if the unrepresented person does not do so, the lawyer must take care to see that such person is not proceeding under the impression that the lawyer is protecting such person’s interests.”
When giving someone advice, it is very easy to slip into a lawyer-client relationship inadvertently. If the person takes your advice and loses a case, they could come after you for incompetency, and you could find yourself being sued for malpractice. Take the time to explain that you have a professional code of ethics that you are bound by, and can’t cross those boundaries. Asking them politely to understand your situation should do the trick.

3. Refer them to someone else

You don’t need to shut someone down when they come to you for advice. Instead, refer them to another lawyer in the business that might be able to help them. It may feel like you’re blowing them off, but in fact you are helping them: by giving them a name of a lawyer you know to be good at what they do, you are ensuring that they will get good legal service. You are also helping a fellow in the profession, and (hopefully) might have the favour returned to you some day. Just make it clear that they won’t offer their services for free.

4. Offer to take them on as a (paying) client

If someone you know needs legal advice in the area you specialize in, why not offer to help? It’s not like you are completely forbidden to help friends, family or acquaintances with legal services…but it pays to be cautious, and of course, it pays to be paid. If you are approached by someone you know for legal advice, suggest that you take them on in a professional capacity as a client. By forming a lawyer-client relationship outside of your social connections and making sure you conduct due diligence to ensure there is no conflict of interest, you will not only protect yourself from malpractice, but will draw professional boundaries. That way, the expectation on both sides is that this is outside of your friendship or other connections, and that you will both act accordingly.

5. Suggest they look into Legal Aid or Unbound Legal Services

As nice as it is to think the best of everyone, as a lawyer you will get people who are hoping to dodge some hefty legal fees by getting some free advice from you. If you’ve tried referring them another lawyer or even offered to take them on as a client, and they’ve made it clear that they just can’t afford to pay (or have awkwardly shuffled around the idea of fees), suggest that they look into legal aid or unbound legal services, depending on their situation. For any situation that would not be covered by legal aid, unbound legal services could be a solution for someone on a budget. Instead of paying a lawyer for the whole process, the person in question could ask a lawyer to only assist with a specific service, and pay accordingly.
It always is a good idea to be cautious when giving out your advice for free. At best, you have given away something you otherwise would have been paid for. At worst, you can get a reputation for being someone who gives bad advice, or even find yourself on the wrong side of a malpractice suit. At least by saying no, you may end up with a reputation as someone that people can’t pester for free advice.


On the go while on the job? Eight Top Tips to Turn Your Car Into A Mobile Office

You know how it is. You’re too busy to be stuck behind a computer all day, but also too busy to be out of touch for long. That’s the problem; the solution is to turn your car or truck into a mobile office, and we’ve scoured the web looking for the tools that can help you do it quickly, efficiently, and without costing you a fortune.

1) A computer and accessories you can fit in a bag

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Whether you prefer a tablet or a laptop, make sure that it is light and easy to carry. If you pick a tablet, a good idea is to choose one with an attachable keyboard so you aren’t struggling with a touchscreen to format documents and e-mails when you can type a lot faster. A wireless mouse is also light, portable, and depending on your situation, can make the time you’re spending working on the go much more efficient, especially if you are used to a desktop.

2) Add Applicable Business Apps

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Load your tablet or your smartphone up with useful business and finance apps like Mint, Piggybank, mileage trackers, Google Maps, and your shop software, whether Jobber, Mhelpdesk, or whatever else you use to keep tabs on your jobs and your team. Use it in those dead times while you’re waiting for someone to show for a meeting, to jot down notes on a job you’re prospecting, or even (depending on the software you use) to accept a customer’s digital signature on a change order. The variety of free apps is staggering, and if the ones you need cost a little, you can still submit them as a tax deductible.

3) Stay connected

 

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It’s not really being “mobile”, if you are jumping from coffee shop to coffee shop looking for Wi-Fi. For when you just can’t find a Wi-Fi hot spot, invest in an internet stick. An internet stick is a USB that you plug in to your laptop or tablet that gives you that instant connection. Like your internet at home, you pay for a monthly plan, so we suggest only using it for when you need it.

4) Pack yourself a Cooler/Heater/Thermos

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Are you on the road most of the day? A good food and beverage storage solution can keep you free of junk and fast foods, keeping your blood sugar level and your productivity high all day. Drive through options are high in fat and sugars and low in nutrition, not to mention costing more than making your own meals to pack and bring with you.

5) Speak to an Accountant

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If you do a significant amount of business in your vehicle, talk to your accountant or insurance consultant about the ramifications for your taxes. You might be pleasantly surprised at what they say.

6) Pivoting Desk/Work Surface

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These are available with “no drill” mounts so they fit in any vehicle and make a much more comfortable work surface for your tablet or laptop. Ergonomics are important, the more important the more work you do in a constrained environment, so it pays in the long run to make sure your work surface actually works for you. These are available at various price points from a myriad of online suppliers.

7) Car Caddy

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A car caddy is a big hold-all bag with compartments for your laptop, tablet, cords, books, papers, pens, snacks, and more. This more than pays for itself every time you use it, as you can pop all your expensive doodads into it, pick it up with one hand, and stash it securely in the trunk instead of scrambling to secure a hundred separate items in a dozen different pockets., or just leaving everything in frustration only to return to a smashed window.

8) Bluetooth

 

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It allows you to call (legally) while driving, search the internet, get directions while on the go and even compose emails. Not only does a Bluetooth headset stop you from having to pull over to make a call (or be pulled over for making a call) but it will also result in a higher quality call reception than just sticking your phone on speaker. They’re a little pricy, but they’re worth it.

Given the hours you put in on the road, you might as well make them as comfortable, and productive as possible. Drive safe!


How to be CASL Compliant: It’s not as difficult (or as scary) as you think!

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We work with a lot of small  businesses, and we know  that  there is a lot of  unnecessary  worry going  around about  CASL (the  Canadian Anti Spam  Law).  So we did some    investigation, consulted  our  legal team, and called  up senior  policy advisers  for your peace  of mind. By  following these 5  simple  rules for compliance,  you  can go on sending  commercial e-mail  messages  stress-free!

1) Give your recipients a choice: Unsubscribe Button

Many commercial messages already have this, and if you do, you’re ahead of the game! Basically, you just have to make sure that if someone getting your commercial correspondence doesn’t want to any more, there is an easy way for them to unsubscribe. It’s as easy as putting an unsubscribe button or hyperlink at the bottom of your e-mail. Just make sure that once a person has unsubscribed from you that you do not contact them again.
An unsubscribe button actually benefits your business; someone who unsubscribes from your messages is someone who would ignore them in any case. This way, you can make sure your messages are going to people who will be more likely to take the time to read them.
Of course, you can just make sure that your content is so attention grabbing and engaging that no one will want to unsubscribe!

2) Be straight-up honest: tell them who you are and how to reach you

On each message that you send out, you must provide your name, business address, and your means of contact. Far from being a negative thing, giving your name, address, and a way for people to reach you helps increase the likelihood that people will be willing to pick up the phone and call, turning them into a potential lead. Also, seeing a physical address also lends your business authenticity.
Also, be sure that you are using honest e-mail subject lines and that the email messages aren’t deceptive. As well as being CASL compliant, it’s a good business rule. People who have an idea about what they are opening are more likely to have a positive reaction and be receptive.

3) Consent, Consent, Consent

You would never send an e-mail or text about your business to someone you don’t even know, would you? That’s just bad business practice. Think of CASL’s rules of consent as an extension of that. Basically, you need someone’s implicit or explicit permission to send them messages. Explicit consent is very clear and straightforward: someone says that you have their consent to send them commercial electronic messages. There are all kinds of ways you can get explicit consent: an opt-in checkbox, a sign up form for your newsletter on your site, signing up for an e-mail list at a tradeshow, them giving you their business card, or even oral permission all count, as long as you keep it on your record,. When you have explicit consent, you can send clients messages whenever, at any time, and you only have to stop if they unsubscribe.

4) Keep a Record

Just to be on the safe side, keep a record of everyone that you have consent from. Keep a list of everyone that you have consent from, the date that you got it, and the proof that you have it.

By sticking to these tips, you’ll not only make sure that you’re CASL compliant, but that you’re actually making your customers happy as well.

 

 

Just a note, this is not a legal document. If you want to learn more about CASL, you can reach out to a lawyer or Industry Canada.


Accounting 2.0: Five new ways for you to connect with your clients

Accountant at work The accounting landscape has changed. Laptops,  smartphones and tablets have made it easy to send  invoices, prepare taxes, or do other work on the go. Cloud  computing means that you can have all of your work with  you wherever you are, without having to carry a USB or a  SD Card.

You’ve updated the way you do accounting… now it’s time  to change the way you find and connect with your clients.

 At Rogers OutRank, we’ve helped over 600 accounting  businesses in Canada with digital marketing and lead  generation –helping small and medium- sized businesses  get and keep more customers is kind of our specialty. Here  are five of the strategies that we use that you can  implement to attract, convert and retain your clients.

1. Work on your website

We can’t stress enough the importance of having a good website for your accounting firm. Did you know that 89% of customers consult the internet when considering purchasing a product or service? You want to ensure that people searching the web for an accountant find you, and when they do, your website convinces them to send you an e-mail or pick up the phone and give your business a call. Think of it like your resume: a potential client is considering choosing you for their accounting needs, and you have to prove to them that not only can your firm provide the services that they need, but you’re the best accounting firm for the job.

So what makes a “good” website? The first priority is making sure that your landing page (what people see when they click on a link to your site in a search engine) answers the five Ws and one H: Who you are, What services you offer, Where are you located, When your business hours are, Why they should contact you, and How they can reach you. Keep it brief but informative. Other tabs on your website can offer details on your services, rates, and other information that you want your customers to know. Your landing page should hook the interest of potential clients with quick, easy to find information, and then if it isn’t enough to convince them to contact you, the other content is there for support.

You also want to make sure you can be found. Building your SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) so that you will show up on the front page when people search for accountants in their area on search engines is crucial. Things like utilizing keywords, tags and titles are a good start. If you want to know more about what SEO is and how it works, you can read about it here.

2. Forget ads in the local newspaper…try advertising with search engines instead

Why is advertising online so superior to advertising in your local paper? Three words: Return On Investment (ROI). When you advertise with a newspaper, a billboard, a television station or the radio, you are paying a set (and normally pretty hefty) fee. The thing about this kind of advertising is that all kinds of people are going to see or hear it– and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Think about it. Out of all the people who your ad reaches, how many do you think are at that moment looking for an accountant? Instead of you spending money on advertising in the hopes that someone who sees your ad might need an accountant, why not make it easier for the people actually looking for accountants in your area to find you?

Not only are ads more likely to lead to business online, but you end up paying less for each prospect. Online search engines use a payment system called “Pay Per Click”, which means you only pay each time someone clicks on your ad and is taken to your webpage. Who is likely to click on your ad? Someone who is looking for an accountant.

With advertising that’s not only cheaper but also more direct, advertising on Google, Bing, or Yahoo is the way to go.

3. Get Social (Media)

There is no shortage of articles advising small and medium-sized businesses to take advantage of social media. The question is: what social media? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram…the amount of social media applications out there are seemingly endless. As beneficial as social media can be for a business, it can also be very time-consuming, and the more accounts you have, the more time it takes and the more difficult they are to maintain.
Instead of signing up for anything and everything, pick a few accounts (we suggest Facebook and LinkedIn) and really focus on keeping them updated and building your brand. By posting pictures, commenting, and sharing relevant posts, you add authenticity to your brand. Social media is a good way to attract new clientele, reassure the people who may be doing an online search to find more about your business, and build retention with your current clients.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from small and medium-sized businesses is that social media management takes time. We suggest using a content manager so that you can update several sites at once.

4. Boost your reputation with reviews

Online reviews are the digital age’s word of mouth, and ignoring them or taking a passive approach is not only missing a huge opportunity for business growth, but can actually be detrimental to your business. 79% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as word of mouth. Instead of just letting reviews online happen, take charge. Look online to see what customers are saying about you, and where. Ask clients who have just had a good experience with you to review your business online. Include their testimonials on your website. By taking reviews into your own hands, you can directly affect your brand’s online reputation. Don’t tell people how great your business is – show them with reviews.

5. Retain those clients and keep them up to date with some thoughtful e-mails

As you know, it is much more difficult to attract a new client then it is to bring a past client back in for repeat business. Maintain the relationship and rapport that you have built through working together previously by sending your clients e-mails. They can be anything from thanking them for their business, asking them for a review, or even reminding them that tax season is coming up again. Yes, sending these e-mails takes time, but they are a great investment. To speed up the process, consider using e-mail templates, or better yet, find an e-mail marketing tool that does most of the work for you.

We understand that any time you take to do marketing and business development is time away from your current clients and the paying work that is the backbone of your business. However, if you ignore business development, you risk your client pipeline drying up. Establishing these five digital marketing techniques will help save you time and money, and make sure that you are constantly attracting new clients and maintaining current ones.


Introducing Rogers OutRank Reviews!

5-StarsOur goal at OutRank by Rogers is to help small business owners like you succeed in their digital marketing efforts. We already help people find you online by advertising your business on search engines and by optimizing your website—now we’re excited to announce that we are taking things a step further.

As experts in digital marketing, we have fielded a lot of questions from our customers about digital marketing tools. Figuring that every business owner could benefit from our know-how, we decided to launch Rogers OutRank Reviews, where we’ll be sharing our knowledge and insight gained through years of working in local digital marketing, and offering our insights on popular online marketing tools.

Please note, we have absolutely no stake in any of these organizations, and any opinions we offer are our own. We want to help small businesses build their understanding of the local digital marketing arena, with software and program services that might potentially be useful to your small business.

Praise, complaints, recommendations and more; you can find them all on Rogers OutRank Reviews.

Let us help you get digital media savvy. Check out www.rogersoutrankreviews.com.


Why Patience can be the Best Policy: Online Marketing for SMBs

 

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 Owning your own business is a world away from being a salaried  employee. Your income is tied very closely to your work, and any  financial decisions you make could build or break your business. It’s  understandable that you want any investment you make into your  business to be profitable — after all, it’s your money you’re investing.

 That’s why so many small and medium-sized business owners who are  putting money into online marketing are concerned when they aren’t  seeing an immediate increase in customers and leads, often getting    frustrated in the first few days of launching their campaigns online.

Online marketing is the best way for small and medium-sized businesses to find, target, and attract potential clients in a cost-effective way, but there is a catch: it does take some time to see the results you’re looking for. Here, we’ll shed some light on why that is, why it’s definitely worth the wait, and what you can do to boost your leads in the short-term also.

1. Organic Rankings: why it takes time to show up in search engine results

The “organic” section of search engines is the “natural” search results list, where search engines churn out the most relevant and the highest quality results to search terms. Unlike the ads section, appearing in the organic section is free. However, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo do not pick the order of the websites at random. Search engines use algorithms to comb through the internet, and use qualifiers to determine which websites are the most relevant and the highest quality. They then take that information to determine what order they will list websites in the organic section.

There are only ten organic spots on the first page of any search engine. Why is this important? 99% of people who use a search engine never visit the second page. When people in your area search for the services your business offers, you want to be in one of those ten spots.

Here’s the thing: there is no fast lane to the top of the organic section; there is no trick to getting to the first page. Search engines are too smart to fall for tricks and ploys. There are best practices you can follow to optimize your website so search engines will consider you more relevant and rank you higher (to read our article on search engine optimization best practices, click here) but ultimately, it can take anywhere from three to six months for you to see results. Think of organic rankings like planting a seed. You can’t expect it to sprout overnight. It takes time and patience.

2. Why is Organic Ranking worth my time if it’s going to take so long?

Appearing at the top of the organic section does take time, but it is well worth your patience and dedication. As time goes on, the traffic from your organic listing will begin to gain traction, and, like a snowball rolling down a hill; will continue to grow.

3. What action can I take while my Organic Ranking is growing?

The best online marketing strategy for SMBs is to do a combination of sponsored and organic advertising. Investing in sponsored advertising will have you on the first page faster (while there are 10 spots for organic listings, there are 11 for paid ads), and ensure that you’re seen with the relevant search results. Sponsored results take 1-7 days (not months) to get results, so you can slowly begin to receive new customers while you wait for your website to climb up the organic ladder.

Don’t have time to build your website for search engine optimization or create and monitor ads? We can do it all for you.

 


Why is it so hard to get your website ranked? (And what can I do about it?)

“Don’t be evil” is Google’s famous motto. Easy for them to say. When you’re staring at your website statistics in the hours of darkness, it can seem like you’ve been singled out by the search engine giant for an eternity of obscurity. It feels personal. That’s where Outrank by Rogers comes in.

With handy articles like this easy-to-understand SEO Guide, we are here to demystify the process of getting ranked on search engines, and to help you get the most out of your marketing efforts. Work as smart as you do hard, and you will succeed at getting a rank that reflects that.

The first thing you need to do is find yourself, and by that we don’t mean throw in the towel and head for an ashram: search for your site online. Regularly. Check where you are on each of the major search engines monthly at the very least. That’s: Google, Yahoo/Bing, the anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo, and (if you’re up for an intellectual challenge and have an audience of experts) Wolfram Alpha.

There’s only so much you can do by yourself; at a certain point, you’re going to need a little help from your friends. Partnering with OutRank to help you do this might be the only step you’ll need to take, otherwise this comes in the form of incoming links, links from other places on the internet to your website. Search engines have busy lives and don’t want to sit there reading every blog in the world to see if it’s interesting; they’ve outsourced the job to the whole world, and the way the world tells them a site is valuable and important is by linking to it. It’s like, when you walk down the street, nobody points at you. When the Queen walks down the street, she gets pointed at a million times. Links are permanent pointers to your site, and the more you have coming in, the more important you look to search engines. And what’s the best way to get incoming links? Give links.

Social shares also count as incoming links, although a tweet by Joe Schmoe is not quite as powerful as a direct link from The Wallstreet Journal. Still, Joe might get a job there, so be nice and thank him!

If you want people to share your stuff on Facebook, share stuff from other people to Facebook. Tweet your competition (it’ll confuse them). Don’t link to Wikipedia; Wikipedia is never going to notice. Link to websites and blogs that are run by individuals or responsive corporations (do they reply to comments? If so, it’s a good sign) and sooner or later their webmaster will see the link and follow it to your site. If they like what they see, they might link to something on your site that’s exceptional.

Google might seem like the schoolyard bully that decides if your website is cool or not, but by putting in a bit of elbow grease (or partnering with an established online marketing company like OutRank), you’ll see that bully for the misunderstood kid he really is.


Web Analytics: What Are They Anyway, and What Can They Do For My Business?

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You’ve got your business website up and running and maybe you’re even running Google AdWords, but how do you know if all of the money and time you are putting into your digital media is paying off? How are you supposed to know if any of this is actually bringing customers to your business? The answer: Web Analytics.

We’re going to break down the what, the why, and the how of analytics, and why they are crucial to online marketing for your business.

1. What are web analytics?

Web analytics monitor and measure the success of your online marketing. Analytics tools work to collect and interpret data on how people interact with your website, social media and your ads.  They’re a handy tool to help you understand, build, and retain your audience—and your customers.

2. What can web analytics track?

Web analytics tools break down information for you so that you can know at any given time:

  • How many people are coming to your website
  • What areas these people live in
  • How these people are finding you online
  • What search words people are using that lead them to your page
  • How people are interacting with your page
  • How long people are staying on your page
  • Which ad campaigns people are clicking on that are leading them to you

 3. Why are these things important to me and my business?

You would never plant a flower and then expect it to grow and flourish without ever checking in on it. The same goes for your digital marketing.  Knowing exactly how well your website and ads are performing means that you can see exactly what is and isn’t working and change things accordingly.  Instead of just throwing your time and money into online marketing and hoping for the best, you can proactively make changes to improve user experience that will hopefully result in more business.

4. How often should I be checking my analytics?

How successful do you want your digital marketing campaigns to be? The closer you keep tabs on your web analytics, the earlier you will know if something on your site or in your ads isn’t doing as well as it should be. The sooner you know that, the faster you can make the necessary changes and minimize impact. A good rule of thumb is to check at least once a day or every other day, so that you are keeping up with what’s happening with your marketing. When you launch a new ad campaign, or make big changes to your online presence, check in at least a couple times a day to keep tabs on the impact that the changes have made.

5. How do I fit checking my analytics into my day?

Figure out a schedule where you can take a few minutes to glance over your analytics, and stick to it.  A lot of analytics offer dashboards that you can glance through quickly to update you on everything you need.

6. Is there a way to tell if all of these people clicking on my website are turning into customers?

Depending on who your online marketing service provider is, the answer is maybe. OutRank by Rogers takes web analytics a step further by telling you how many of those clicks actually turn into leads and phone calls for your business. Not only that, but we also give you the option of recording all phone calls that come through your campaign, providing you with ultimate clarity and reporting. Check out how we do it here.

 

 


How To Turn Your Online Traffic Into Offline Customers

 

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So, you’ve got your business website, but you just can’t figure out how to get all of these people who find you online to become offline customers. If this sounds familiar, this is the article for you.

Have you ever turned to Google, Bing, or Yahoo when searching for products , or services? You’re not alone; 89% of consumers rely on search engines to help them make decisions on where they’ll spend their money. The internet is filled with prospective clients, and as a small- or medium-business owner, you want to make sure that those clients find you. More importantly, you want to make sure that those very people finding you online turn into customers offline. So how do you make that happen? Here are four of our top tips for honing your digital marketing in a way that will make sure you aren’t wasting your time.

1)  Spruce Up Your Website

Making your website look attractive is one thing, but if your goal is new customers, there are certain characteristics it must have.  Ensure your site is clean, uncluttered, and easy to navigate. Your home page should display the essentials: who you are, where you are located, what you do, and how to contact you. Other tabs should provide content like your services, rates, and other information that you want your customers to know. Your landing page should hook people, and the other content should keep them on your site.

2) Make the Front Page

Did you know almost 92% of people who use a search engine never visit the second page? If you want your customers to find your business online, you have to make sure your business makes the front page of search results. Think of it like a newspaper: the most relevant articles are above the fold and the further down you go the less relevant the stories are going to be. So how do you make sure that you are not only on the front page, but beating your competition in the search listings?

  • Boost your SEO so you top the organic listings: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a group of strategies you can use that will hopefully result in search engines ranking you higher in search results. Using the right keywords, as well as writing tags and titles on your website that will show on searches and get customers to click on them is a good start. Want to know more about SEO? Read our blog post here.
  • Get in the Ads: Like many things in life, the prime advertising spots in search engines like Google are for sale, to the highest and most relevant bidder. It might seem pointless to invest in advertising when you can show up on search engines for free, but 64.5 % of clicks on high commercial intent advertisements come from paid searches. These paid ads show up right at the top of the page and on the right. With the top three spots in any search engine taking an average of 41.1% of the total clicks, paid advertising is definitely worth the investment. The best part? It will help potential customers find you before they find your competition.

3) Localize

It doesn’t do you much good if you run a business in Toronto serving locals only and your website is getting views from people in Alberta. Although attracting people to your website is a positive thing, you want to make sure the people who are coming to your website could actually become a customer. Target your digital marketing to people who live in the area where your business services. Be very clear what regions you service, and promote that through your ads and on your website. That way, the people who are checking out your business are people that can actually use your business.

4) Make Sure Your Site is Mobile/Browser/Tablet Friendly

Does your website run on an Acer tablet? How about an iPhone? A Samsung Galaxy? People want information right away, and that means they’re probably reaching for the device that’s at their fingertips. More and more, potential customers are using their phones or their tablets to search for businesses online, and you want to make sure that your website can reach any customer no matter what device they use. You can use an online mobile emulator like Mobile Design Emulator, Screenfly, or mobiReady to check your website’s functionality across a variety of mobile devices.

Worried that you don’t have the time to dedicate to digital marketing when you’ve got your business to run? We don’t blame you; marketing takes a lot of time and energy. Fortunately, we have the tools to handle everything, at a cost that makes sense for your business. Check out how we can take care of your digital marketing so you can focus on your business.  Learn more— here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Worth of Your Words: Does Your Website Need a Blog?

doyouneeda blog

You’ll have to make a ton of important decisions when you’re building your first website. One of those important decisions is whether or not to attach a blog. If you’ve done any research into websites, you’ve probably noticed that many successful websites already have blogs. There are many good reasons for that, and it’s important to understand them if you want to compete for business online.

The short answer is that a blog is almost always worth the effort if it reaches your target audience. In this post we’ll explain the basics of blogging, the benefits of having a blog, and how to start yours.

The Truth Behind Why People Blog

If you’re not familiar with the term: blog is short for “web log”. Blogs have been around for many years and in the “olden days” people used them – more or less – as online journals. Only in the last several years have businesses realized the benefits of blogging.

Businesses took to blogging mainly because Google decided that fresh and original content made for good search results, and instituted a number of changes to google.ca and google.com to reflect this. Google is the primary search engine used by most of the world, so businesses try very hard to do what Google wants them to do in order for their websites to show up at the top of search results.

Two Google updates in particular (named Panda and Penguin)  encouraged the growth of blogs. Panda set new criteria for quality content, and decimated what Google considered “low-quality” websites. Penguin punished “over-optimization” and invalidated a lot of the SEO tricks that people relied on to game Google’s system for deciding what results ranked at the top of their search pages.

You might be thinking that the content on your web pages is high quality and should be good enough. But product descriptions do not often provide enough rankable content for most websites, and Google values content that is fresh and new over content that has remained unchanged for a long time. Since blogs are so easy to update, many businesses started adding blogs to successfully rank higher. Blogs now serve an important part of many business plans from the smallest of businesses to the largest.

The Benefits of Having a Blog

Beyond boosting your search rankings, there are other benefits to having a blog. A blog can…

  • Help you educate your customers on what you want them to understand

  • Give your website some character and personality

  • Provide a place for customers to communicate with you publicly, through comments.

If your site becomes popular, you can also sell advertising space on your blog to other companies that want their ads in front of your readers. This could mean a nice, passive income stream for you.

Starting Your Blog

Starting a blog is very easy and costs little or nothing at all, other than your time. We recommend starting with WordPress – (the most popular blogging platform), where you can quickly set up a blog and start publishing content.

But what to write? There are no hard rules about what qualifies as an acceptable submission. We try to publish posts on topics we think our customers, and our prospects, want to learn about. This brings readers to our site and gives them something of value. Blogs give you an opportunity to express your personality: you can discuss relevant personal experiences, or you can focus on professional topics. As long as you keep your desired audience top of mind, you’ll succeed.

Tell us what you think: Are you blogging? What do you write about?