WordPress powers as much as 40% of the world’s internet sites, and that says a lot about its influence. There is no doubt that the WordPress website development platform is a favorite of many bloggers and entrepreneurs. Can you believe it that companies as large as Forbes, Business Insider, and Time use WordPress to run their sites?
So, if you are an aspiring blogger, it is an exciting venture to think that when you use WordPress, you are sharing the same platform with those large enterprises, as well. It says a lot about the power and possibilities of WordPress, and it indeed is one of the most trusted website platforms currently available in the market.
If you are starting with your website setup, you will quickly realize that there are two kinds of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. What is the difference between the two, and is there any reason for you to choose one over the other?
It can be confusing since both sites carry the same brand. You must know the advantages and disadvantages before signing up for your account since going with one over the other makes a big difference on your website’s future.
But, first off, how do you know which one is the better for your business? To answer this question, you must look within your enterprise and identify your short and long-term goals so you get an idea of what you must sign up with.
Ask yourself the following, so you get a better assessment of which WordPress platform to use:
1. What are my short and long-term goals?
To begin with, ask yourself as to what you want to use WordPress for. Are you just finding a way to hone your writing skills? Are you only finding a way to publish your previous journal articles?
If your goal is to transform your blog into an extension of your journal, then WordPress.com works just fine. It is because WordPress.com does not give you permission to put affiliate links on your website. Therefore, you cannot sign up for advertising options with other companies. Your monetary compensation is minimal unless you already are a successful writer, gamer, or entrepreneur.
However, if your goal is to monetize your blog, WordPress.org is the way to go. You will have the freedom to customize your blog, put on marketing banners, affiliate links, and integrate plug-ins like Mail Chimp and SEO tools. You can also input as many codes as you want, without being limited by the restrictions of the WordPress.com platform.
2. What is my budget?
If you are limited by your budget, WordPress.com certainly costs a lot less than WordPress.org. You can start with this platform; then, when you are ready to take your blogging to the next level, you can change to WordPress.org.
You shouldn’t worry about data transfer though because WordPress.com can be easily exported to WordPress.org. There is an “export” feature that lets you transfer data in just one click.
For WordPress.com, all you have to pay for is your domain, private hosting, and personalized email, which all-in-all does not exceed $50. However, for WordPress.org, you have to pay for your server and all the other tools that will get you started. It is not cheap, so you must be ready for all the expenses especially if you are not entirely adept at building and running a website. If you are a novice, you must consider hiring a professional website designer.
There is a massive difference between the strengths of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Consider your options and make it a point to be consistent with your goals so you would know which platform to choose.
Online marketing does not have to be expensive. First of all, the internet has made it more affordable for everyone to market their business. Before, only big companies can afford to advertise. Due to the leveling field of the internet, today, even small businesses can afford to purchase advertisement slots online.
But truth to be told, many online marketing strategies are expensive when you look at it from a long-term perspective. There are many things to consider when choosing the best advertising option for you; however, it can be difficult to sift through the wide array of choices online.
There are red flags that you should be cautious about when choosing the best advertising tool for your business. You must be ready to sift through the real and bogus online marketing tactics that may either increase or undermine your success. Being affordable does not have to have bad quality, in much the same way as being expensive is expected to offer the best service. The price should not dictate how you expect each marketing service’s quality, and the most efficient way to decide which set of strategies is best for you is through trial and error.
Before you delve into online marketing tactics, understand that it is time-consuming to do and takes a lot of effort and patience. You cannot expect to apply the marketing strategies and then have impressive results straight away. You must wait patiently and proactively keep on updating your marketing tactics. That is the beauty with SEO. Although it does not have to cost much, smartly doing it is the most cost-effective strategy to do it.
What are the affordable online marketing techniques that you should know about? There are a lot of available options available, but there are only a few which are considered useful. Here are the most efficient ones:
1. Using social media to boost your brand’s popularity
Social media has quickly moved from being just a way to connect with friends, to now one of the favorite channels of both businesses and consumers to reach out to each other. The top social media sites include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Tumblr. If you can push through with putting on creative and memorable ways to market your brand, then for sure you will expect people to take notice of you. But you can’t do your marketing sporadically. You must be proactive in seeking marketing opportunities for your company, so make the most of these free tools available online.
Many small to large enterprises now use social media to boost their ratings. They also now use social media as a customer service support outlet where they can connect with current and potential clients. Social media can do wonders for your brand, so make the most of this free marketing tool.
2. Optimizing your website for mobile use
Having a mobile-friendly website has once been an option; however, these days, it is mandatory for you to customize a site just for mobile use. It is because more people are now using their phones instead of their desktops to check websites. If you choose not to have a mobile-friendly option, you are undermining your success because you are shooing people away as soon as they see a hard-to-navigate website. And no one wants to view a desktop-ready site on a smartphone. It can be difficult to read and confusing to use.
These tips may sound basic, but you will be surprised to find that many entrepreneurs overlook them thinking that they are not important. Having well-updated social media channels and a sleek mobile site are crucial elements to helping your business succeed. You may want to look into them and put in all the effort to improve on these two factors.
Hootsuite was first introduced back in 2008 as a platform to make it easier to manage social media. With the rise of many social media channels such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube, Hootsuite allows you to control all your pages with just one account. Other accounts that can also be controlled are MailChimp, Marketo, Reddit, and Storify.
Hootsuite has become widely popular because of its ease of use especially for businesses that manage many social media sites. Social media has definitely defied misconceptions on its efficacy. As of today, the platform has over 15 million users in different countries around the world.
Why is it the best option for you to use Hootsuite when managing your social media pages? Here are the reasons why:
1. Hootsuite works like a one-stop shop
With just one platform, you can manage different social media sites and post, edit, and schedule your publications. It is very easy to use and doesn’t have to take a highly technical person to be able to understand it. If you need to publish one same post across all social media channels, you can just go to Hootsuite and control everything from that one site. If you also need to edit that one post, you can easily do it through Hootsuite and have it published on all sites. And if you need to schedule posts for different days, you can also do it on just this one platform.
The platform has access to many sites including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, MailChimp, Marketo, Mixi, Reddit, Storify, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube among others. Mind you, there are over 100 apps that you can access with Hootsuite!
2. Hootsuite has a Streams feature
The Streams feature allows users gets to have the same level of control on the features of each social media site. For example, a Facebook Stream lets a user have control over the timeline, posts, and messages. So, on just one platform, a lot can be done and navigated on social media sites.
This feature proves useful when you have to juggle different site functionalities. For example, when you have to interact with guests’ comments and messages as much as you have to update your site, you can do all that with Hootsuite. Also, when you have different marketing approaches on your different sites, then the Streams feature is helpful in keeping your uniqueness for every channel.
3. Hootsuite is affordable
Hootsuite starts at $9.99 a month for one user, so if you are a small business owner, you can save a lot of time and effort in having to move through different accounts just to manage your social media channels. It is affordable, yes, but if you add in too many users, your monthly bill can go up to as much as $100 a month. So, before giving access to other users, you should give some thought as to the need of adding in so many users. Usually, you only need one to two social media managers who can do the publishing and editing for you.
Hootsuite is a social media manager platform that gives you control over your social media channels all under one roof. At $9.99 a month per user, it’s not bad for the time and energy that you can save with the convenience the platform provides. It continues to garner great reviews. You can consider using it for the first month and see if it works for your business.
Social media marketing is now the most efficient and cost-effective way to advertise, that is why there is no wonder it is now being used by so many people all around the world. Many small, medium and large companies use social media to market their brands further, and it has proven useful in many ways.
It is easy to enter social media marketing because it has made it way cheaper even for startups to advertise their brands. Before, it was only the “big guys” who could afford to get into advertising. Social media has eased out the competition among companies, no matter what size you are.
But there are many misconceptions on social media marketing that people should be wary about. If you can break against these misconceptions, you can be sure to find the right type and strategy for your social media marketing.
Here are the common misconceptions about social media marketing:
- Social media marketing produces sure-fire results in advertising your brand
Sure, it is easy to publish your business page. However, there are many things that you should consider to make your page worth everyone’s while. You don’t only have to plan for the right content. You also have to keep an eye on what’s relevant and how you can make your services and products relevant. You may have the best goods and services, but if you don’t market them well, consumers will not know about how great you are as a company.
How easy it is to put up your social media account is a big counter to how difficult it is to sustain it. It is easy to be a forgotten brand in the online world, and so you have to strategize well on how you’re going to set yourself apart from the rest.
So yes, putting up social media accounts can be as easy as 1-2-3, but there are many tools you have to use to make your marketing scheme work.
- Social media marketing is all about garnering likes
The number of likes may have been the scheme before as to how you become popular on social media, but these sites have now become smarter sieving through fake likes and shares. Many third-party companies have now made it easier to pay people to like your pages, but fortunately, social media sites are constantly updating their algorithms on how to check for bogus accounts.
So, to be relevant on social media, you don’t only have to have likes, but also shares, comments, and views. All these are not easy to pay for, and nothing beats building your real clientele. If you choose to pay for your likes, you also will not have an idea of how your business is growing. You will not have an idea if your marketing strategies are working, because you are fooling yourself into having others believe that you are succeeding when in fact, you are only breaking inside.
You have paid for your likes, fooled others into believing you are getting bigger, fooling yourself as to the real state of your business, and in the end, you lose money. Too much for you on the losing end, right? So, aim for organic likes, views, comments, and shares. Do not rely on quick-fix “solutions” because these will only cause more problems for you and your brand.
When you’re a starting business, it is easy to get over-excited and to jump into trends that promise great results fast. But you don’t have to join the bandwagon just because everyone is doing it.
As a small business, you have to be cautious every step of the way, especially when your budget is not that stretchable. You need to make sure that everything you are doing is calculated, steering away from risks that can be costly to your brand and finances.
What are the most common mistakes small companies are making when launching online? And how can they avoid these pitfalls?
Here are some of the biggest mistakes and their solutions:
- Leaving all the technical work to your staff
It is beneficial for any company to delegate tasks that other people are better at accomplishing. But if you are launching online and you don’t even know basic HTML codes and what SEO does, you should rethink why you are moving your business online in the first place. It will be weird to say you are a “digital entrepreneur” when you are not even the slightest adept at anything technical.
So, before launching online, it is best if you learn, enroll in classes, and get an experience with running an e-commerce website, and with doing online marketing. You may have the best products and services, but if you don’t have a consistent marketing campaign, then you are not giving justice to your company.
It is okay to trust and delegate tasks, only if you already know this ins and outs of tasks you are giving away for your staff to do. You will not only be blind-sighted with how you are going to grow the company; you will also lose your integrity as a business owner.
- Publishing anything under the sun
Having a blog on your e-commerce website is a great addition to your marketing campaign. However, if your posts are far in between, not coherent, and inconsistent, then you may want to plan out a publishing scheme for your site. You should not only focus on having an article published once a week. More than anything, you should concentrate on producing relevant content that your current and potential customers will be happy to read and share with friends.
The best thing you can do is first to know the goal that you want to achieve with your blog section. Once you’ve laid out your goal, you can write down the specifics of how you want to achieve this aim. Make sure that all your future posts are geared toward achieving that goal.
- Forgetting about social media
Social media is what drives your business online because it is seen as the most transparent way by which people can give reviews and insights about your company. If a happy customer drops you a good review and you forget to thank him/her, that will be rude for it shows that you do not care about your after-sales. Ignoring questions placed on comment boxes is also a big no-no because it shows you don’t have the kind of customer service that people can reach to should they need anything.
Do not belittle the power of social media. It is the most affordable and most effective form of online marketing that you can do so make sure you get the most out of it.
These are some of the common mistakes that small entrepreneurs make when launching their business online. These errors can be avoided, so if you find yourself doing any of these, do not waste time and solve the problem right away. You can also ask for assistance from SEO professionals who can guide you throughout the process.
Today social media presence for brands as well as individuals has definitely become too important to ignore. When people come across your Twitter profile, the number of your followers often gives them the first impression they can use to judge you. They get an idea how important you may be. But you need to be active on Twitter and your efforts to engage users that you target must be consistent over time. That helps to increase your following. Like most people, you may not have enough time to do that. So that’s precisely the reason you may want to consider getting the help of some Twitter bots. Twitter allows it as long as you are not going to be spamming anyone. They have some terms and conditions you must accept when creating your bots. Only the creativity of the programmer can limit what a bot can do to increase your engagement and followers. They are often used to perform on behalf of the user the following tasks:
- Sending out scheduled tweets
- Retweeting based on target keywords
- Liking tweets including target keywords
- Following Twitter accounts with specified number of followers and level of activity
Bots can handle most of the things you manually do to stay active on Twitter so that you don’t have to spend an entire day running your account. Software doesn’t tire working for you and can maintain your Twitter activity around the clock. Of course bots lack the human judgment you can make when engaging users in certain ways, so they are only limited for use if certain criteria are met. But if something requires the attention of a real human, the bot could be programmed to respond. It indicates when such an attention can be expected. For instance, if someone is trying to inquire something when you are not online. The bot could tell the user when you are going to be online. So bots are not supposed to fully take over your Twitter account. Your followers only expect to be dealing with a real human user. So you can’t assume automated responses or such interactions can work for you throughout. The bots should only complement your own Twitter activity and make it easier for you to grow following.
The engagement factor
Engagement on Twitter is definitely important but a huge following makes it even more relevant. So Twitter bots have become useful tools not just for increasing number of followers. They also improve the engagement required to maintain the following and achieve desired goals. In the just concluded US elections, experts have pointed out the fact that both republicans and democrats heavily used bots. That’s for their campaigns on Twitter. The bots mostly running fake accounts were used to spread political propaganda and fake news on a massive scale to influence voters. But bots are just programs and only do what they are programmed to do. They could as well be used to help in campaigns for a lot of good causes. So you can make use of bots to achieve your goals. Whether you want to drive engagement and gain more followers on Twitter, for personal branding or business interests.
Driving traffic from Twitter to your website is a great ranking factor heading into 2017. Traffic really is king In SEO. If you have traffic, you will get backlinks (assuming your content is good). People will share your content if it is crafted properly for engagement. If you do not have a social media management team, maybe your SEO agency or team can help you create a plan for sharing content and driving traffic.
The number of followers matters
Most Twitter users often have just seconds to make their judgment on whether to follow you or not. And it’s likely that they might even ignore other important factors. But the number of your followers is a factor potential followers never ignore. Who is seriously considering following anyone with only about 50 followers? Less following for an account could give the impression that it’s a fake one or the user is probably inactive. Even bots themselves are programmed to ignore following such users. They are increasingly being programmed to take into account a variety of factors based on the info they can access from Twitter profiles. That’s what improves the quality of followers a Twitter bot can get for your own account. Poorly programmed software can however contribute to a huge fake following as it happens sometimes. It’s alleged that some celebrities like Lady Gaga and even Obama have as high as 70% of fake followers. Even if you didn’t know them, their millions of followers will make you believe they are influential people. A real user is likely to follow them based on the number of followers they have alone.
How to build following
To build serious following on Twitter successfully, you must at least consistently do the following:
- Follow people
- Like tweets
- Join conversations via hashtags
- Time when to share content
If you expect to be followed, you definitely have to follow other people. But you have to follow the right people to increase their chances of them following back. So you have to consider or the factors you think could win you the right followers. You definitely want followers that are likely to be interested in the content you share. Matching your interests with those of followers is important. On Twitter you should not just be looking for any exposure because what’s important is targeted exposure. You may want to target people within your industry. A great tip is to follow the followers of influencers that already follow you. Such people are more likely to follow back. They see the influencer already follows you and assume you may also be an influencer yourself. But the influencer’s whose followers you steal that way should be within your industry or share similar interests with you. Manually doing all those things will definitely consume a lot of time that you may not afford. But tools like Tweepi and Manage Flitter are pieces of software that could come in handy. They automate the processes including unfollowing people that don’t follow back.
Liking or what used to be known as favoriting tweets may not be as effective as following for purposes of getting followers. But liking may get you followers without having to inflate your following number. Remember Twitter limits how many people you can follow at a given time. An auto-liking script tool like Twiffox makes it easier to like tweets based on keywords or topics selected.
Joining conversations on hashtags
Companies may host conversations or industry related chats. They offer great opportunities to interact and target your messages. This is important if you want a big company or an influencer to take notice of your Twitter activity and probably follow you. If they do it’s likely that some of their followers will follow you too. Instead of doing everything manually, a Twitter bot could identify such opportunities. It may do so based on keywords or hashtags, and automatically send out the right content.
Great and well timed content helps to keep followers and to attract more. Tools like Tweriod and Buffer are great for building your sharing schedule than you could do it manually. With Tweriod you see the time period your followers are most active, and then with Buffer you set your tweets to be sent at the period of highest activity.
The benefits of using software piece like a Twitter bot to target people in your industry or your client’s industry can’t be ignored. Such automation versus liking and retweeting manually clearly shows the right balance must be struck. You can make use of the bots without violating the terms and conditions Twitter sets out for apps. Get the right tools to target and increase engagement that wins you relevant followers. Twitter is a content marketing platform. And you should treat it as such.
Stephen Twomey is an Entrepreneur and the Founder of MasterMindSEO. When he is not saving his client’s sanity, he is often found lifting things up and putting them down. He loves spending time with his wife and three young sons.