Thursday, August 18, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I have hinted at upcoming changes for a while now. This time I’ll give you the full story !
When I started my business a bit over a year ago, I planned to be your traditional Virtual Assistant offering various administrative tasks for small business owners. But over the last 15 months I have learned so much about Internet Marketing, Social Media, Websites and Virtual Events, that “Admin Solutions” seemed not to be the right company name any more. To keep it simple, brand aligned and because I love the word I decided to shorten the company name to “Simplicity”. The tag line changes to “Simple Small Business Solutions”. Because that is my goal: to offer simple solutions to small businesses. Be it administrative support, Social Media, Internet Marketing or Virtual Events; all my services are meant to help YOU, small business owner.
When visiting you will find that my blog is now hosted under the same roof. So goodbye www.simplicityadmins.blogspot.com, hello www.simplicityadmins.ch/blog ! If you were receiving my blog posts by e-mail or were signed up by RSS, I invite you to fill in your e-mail again below to continue to receive my updates or click here to get my posts via RSS.
I have also created a FREE Resources page, where you will find some valuable information for small business owners about website traffic, online visibility, social media etc. I will continue to update this page on a regular basis.
When you visit for the first time I invite you to read my Welcome Message, and, if you have a minute, submit your feedback about the site. What you like, what you don’t like, what you’re missing etc. Thank you in advance !
Thank you for reading and being part of this exciting journey called “Entrepreneurship” !
I look forward to our future exchanges
Simplicity – Simple Small Business Solutions
Thursday, July 28, 2011
In a week I will launch my new website. Ever since I decided to switch websites (about a year ago) other Small Business owners have asked me: Sarah, I need a new website. What do you recommend ? First I thought I wasn’t qualified to answer, since I’m definitely not a web designer, but now, after building my own site (with some precious help), I will answer the following: if you want an easy to manage, cost effective, social media share-able website, I recommend you get a Wordpress.org site for your small business.
Let me share some reasons that brought me to this conclusion:
- WordPress is free
- WordPress is very commonly used. This means that you will find:
- more design templates (Themes) – both free and paid– available for WordPress than for other systems
- more extensions (called Plugins) which allow you to do almost anything (for example make posts share-able on Social Media, create contact forms, manage posts in multiple languages etc. etc. )
- more information, help files and how-to videos
- WordPress is easy to use, even for non-technical users. This is probably the main reason why I recommend you get a Wordpress site. Because as a small business owner you might not want to pay your webmaster every time you have to update a page. Wordpress’ interface is simple and easy to use and you can update your site without any HTML knowledge.
- WordPress is a very powerful Content Management System (CMS).
- Parent and Child Pages and Posts
- Categories and Page Templates
- Multiple Users and different User levels (Roles)
- Advanced Menu editing system
- WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Visual and HTML Editors
- Plugins and Themes (templates)
- XML import and export
- multilingual website management through plugins
- Wordpress is Search Engine Optimization friendly. As a small business I am sure you are aware that your website is only valuable, if it gets enough traffic. In order to get traffic, it has to show up in search engines. “All in one SEO” is a great plugin for Wordpress which will help you optimize your website for your keywords and increase your chances to be found on Google and other engines.
- Google loves Wordpress. Since Wordpress sites are so easy to optimize, they are ranked highly on Google search results.
- Wordpress is evolving. Wordpress doesn’t stand still (compared to other CMS I’ve seen). It keeps evolving, programmers keep creating new features to keep up with trends in internet technology.
What is your opinion? Love it or hate it? Does your site run on Wordpress ? Please share in the comments below. Finally, if you would like to discuss a site project, contact me today, I’d be happy to answer your questions.
Friday, July 22, 2011
If you are part of the growing percentage of entrepreneurs who are writing regular blog posts – congratulations ! You are doing the right thing. Content is king, and a blog is the most important traffic source of any website.
But… (yes, there is a but) are your blog posts sharable on Social Media ?
It’s nice to write blog posts for your existing audience, but what is really cool about blog posts is the viral effect they can have. In order to ma
ke them viral though, you need to make sure that people will want to share them AND offer them easy ways to do so. For successful sharing I have put together a quick list of tips.
- It starts with a title that grabs your reader’s attention
- It contains an image that’s related to the text
- It’s easy on the eye, several paragraphs, not one big clump of text
- It’s written in a language your audience understands, not full of acronyms and industry related terms
- It ends with a question are encouragement to leave a comment
- It may include a call to action such as a sign-up form for a free info product
- Automatically feed your blog posts to your Facebook page (for example via Networked Blogs)
- Automatically feed your blog posts to your Linkedin profile (via the Wordpress plugin on LinkedIn or Bloglink)
- Add social share icons to each of your blog posts or use Wordpress plugins such as Get Social
- Send a ping via pingomatic to different search engines that your blog has been updated
As I’m writing this post I realize that my own blog does not even fulfill all of the above criteria. Shame on me ! But wait, that’s why I'm getting rid of it :-) In 2 weeks I will announce my brand new website/blog. So check back here again soon.
What are you doing to make your posts shareable ?
A blog is one way to create traffic to your website. Want to learn about other ways ?
Download my free e-book called “21 Proven Ways to Improve Your Website Traffic”. Just fill in your name and e-mail below:
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Would you rather pay less and get bad service or pay a bit more and get excellent service ?
As some of you know I went on a short trip to New York last week. My husband and I flew from Toronto, Canada (where we left our kids with their grandparents). We took a small Canadian airline called Porter Airlines.
And let me tell you, I was really impressed with their service: complimentary Starbucks coffee, snacks, soda and wi-fi in the waiting lounge, free premium snacks on the plane and a free shuttle bus to downtown. And of course really friendly staff.
Yes, we did pay a bit more, but if I compare it with a recent trip from Geneva to Egypt with Easyjet, I would say that it was worth the extra money. It was a much more pleasant experience, all included in one price. For the non-Europeans, Easyjet is a low-cost airline that serves many airports within Europe. Their business strategy is the opposite: low flight prices but then you have to pay everything extra: drinks, food, baggage, speedy service. Oh and the worst part: you get no seat number. So it’s always a big fight.*
This got me thinking and I have come to the following conclusion: to stand apart from all the other small businesses, you will be more successful offering great service at a slightly higher price. In the long run this will get people talking about their experience in a positive way and encourage them to recommend your services to their friends.
So YES, I think good service is worth the extra money.
What is your opinion ? Share below…
* Don’t get me wrong. I will still be taking Easy Jet flights from time to time. But if I had the choice of paying a bit more and take Porter instead, I would definitely choose the latter.
Friday, July 8, 2011
What are LinkedIn Company pages ?
According to LinkedIn, “Company Pages are a company’s profile of record on LinkedIn and a powerful way to speak to millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations and trusted testimonials. It’s like a LinkedIn profile for a company.
For LinkedIn members, Company Pages are a great way to research companies you’re interested in, follow them to stay updated, see what kind of people work there, and even review the products and services you use.
For companies, Company Pages present an opportunity to reveal the human side of your company. Provide a peek at the individuals behind your brand and highlight how members use your products. Your Company Page offers tools to bring your brand to life.”
How do I set up a LinkedIn Company page ?
It’s pretty straight forward to set up your own company page. Just follow the tips and guidelines below and you will have your own in no time.
Start by clicking HERE to create your new page.
How do I customize my LinkedIn Company page ?
A Company page consists of 4 different tabs:
- The Overview tab
- The Products and Service tab
- The Analytics tab
- The Careers tab
Let’s have a look at them one by one.
Overview tabCompany Name
In this tab you provide LinkedIn members with a rich, network-aware snapshot of your company.
Make sure the company name listing matches the name you use in your profile. For example if you use LLC or Inc. on your personal profile, your company site must be the same.
LinkedIn wants to know who will administer your company profile. You have two choices: either all employees with a valid email address registered to your domain or designated users only.
Logos can be uploaded as a standard logo as well as a square logo that will be used for network updates.
In the company description section, you have the opportunity to describe who you are and what you do.
Include keywords that describe what you do in this section. You have 256 total characters to describe specialties.
Twitter and Company Blog RSS Feed
Reference your blogposts and Twitter feeds so you can provide a more comprehensive snapshot of your company to members
Indicate whether you would like news about your company shared with visiting members
Products and Services Tab
In this tab you will showcase your best products and services and spotlight product recommendations.
Edit default landing page
First thing to do when optimizing this tab, is to edit your default landing page. Here you will provide content regarding your products and services to your default audience segment.
Create additional audience segments
You can create up to 4 different audience segments. When visiting members’ profiles indicate that they belong to a particular segment that you have defined, a customized version of your content will be served up. In the event that a member profile does not correspond to one of the audience segments that you’ve defined, content defined under your “default” tab will be served up.
You can define your audience based on 4 criteria: Function, Industry, Seniority, and Geography.
Listing all your products and services, describing them
In this tab you will list all your products and services. You can upload pictures, link those to specific urls on your website and if you have one, even feature a short video, by inserting the youtube url. There is also a 2000 character space to describe each one of your products/services and a section where you can list the major benefits or features in bullet points.
Download LinkedIn’s guide to set up your Products and Services tab
In this tab you can gain insights about company followers with data visible only to Company Page administrators
In case your company is hiring, this is a great place to post your open job. You will get lots of visibility for very little money.
Download LinkedIn’s guide to set up your Careers tab
So what do you think ? There is still space for improvement from LinkedIn’s side, but in my opinion if you have invested time to improve your profile, you should go all the way and also create a page for your company.
What are your thoughts ? Share below in the comment section…
Friday, July 1, 2011
In case you came to read this post because you’re actually worried that everybody is stealing your content: sorry to let you know that the title is meant in a sarcastic way. But don’t leave just yet, let me explain …
Unless you’re in the research field, let’s face it, you probably share content that people could already find through some other source on the web. But, if you are willing to share your knowledge, they will learn from YOU and see YOU as an expert in the field.
But how do I make money if I share all my content on my blog ?
First of all, you will not share ALL your content. You will give your audience “pink spoons” or samples of your knowledge, showing them how to do it but then wanting more. Second of all, there are two groups in your audience: those who can’t afford your services and do it themselves, and those who are too busy to do it themselves and will pay you to do it for them.
The first group (those who CAN’T afford you)
is not your ideal client anyway, because they won’t “show you the money”. But they see you as a valuable information source and respects you as an expert in your field. They feel grateful that you are sharing your knowledge with them for free, and when they get a chance, will return the favor and refer your business to friends (who CAN afford to pay you).
The second group (those who CAN afford your services),
well, they are your ideal client. They have come across your information and know what you are capable of. However they are too busy making money, that they don’t have time to follow all your great instructions. So they contact you to work with them.
There is a third group, those who want to exchange services.
Instead of paying you, they offer you their service and expertise in exchange. In theory I think exchanging services is a nice idea: I do you a favor, you do me a favor. In practice and business life though, let me tell you: it never works ! Unless there is a dollar sign (or any other currency) attached to a contract, people just don’t have the same commitment. This doesn’t mean I don’t do favors for people I know, but if a new potential client suggests an “Exchange of services agreement” I will stay away from it.
So, what is your opinion ? Share or don’t share ? Come share your opinion on Simplicity’s Facebook Page or leave a comment below.