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Business Blogging can Help in the Long Term

If you have never thought about blogging for your business, then you are probably not aware of the fact that you are doing yourself a huge injustice and making life harder than it has to be. Instead, by just producing a blog on a semi-regular basis it does mean that you are going to be able to benefit from a number of different things that will boost your business in the long term.

For example, people are unaware that business blogging is actually an extremely useful tool for boosting credibility of your business and that is something that can push you ahead of some of your competitors. Furthermore, it allows you to actually engage to a certain extent with the people that visit your website and this engagement can encourage them to then get in touch with you and decide  that they do indeed wish to interact.

However, there is a potential problem that we need to address for those individuals that are considering blogging because do it wrong and you will only make life harder.
Here are some mistakes to avoid:

1. Writing to nobody in particular.

The first thing that you must do is to make sure that you are actually writing to an audience and that you have an idea who is going to be reading it before you go ahead with the writing. What are going to be your demographics? What kind of points are you needing to put across with your posts? What do your readers expect to see? Understanding all of this is going to be key to you creating a post that actually has value to it or else there is no point in writing anything at all.

2. Avoiding stale topics.

Another key problem is when you write about a topic that is actually stale in nature. This is a major problem because you are going to find it difficult to then engage with the audience as you have to capture their attention early on or they will simply navigate away and will have the completely wrong impression of your entire business just because of the topics that you have been blogging on.

3. Not giving them something of value.

Each blog post has to have some kind of value to people that are reading it as you have to make sure that by the end of it they feel that it was worth them spending their time checking out your post. In addition, that is going to make them feel as if they have to come back to see what else you have been blogging on and from that you are going to then be more likely to see them making some kind of contact with you in the future.

4. Writing too much.

For this, we have to look at the structure of your blog post because even that is going to play an important role in how your blog posts are perceived by the public. The last thing that you want is for your post to just be a block of text without it being structured correctly. It is also worth considering using lists, bullet points, or even images and video clips to spice things up and to make the entire thing that bit more interesting. Writing too much will mean that your post comes across as being difficult to read and, at times, even boring and that is one thing that you should avoid at all costs.

5. Giving nothing to share.

This ties in yet again with the idea of there having to be a point in your post because it is essential that you give people something that they would then like to share, or discuss in some way, with other people. This does not have to mean that they directly talk about your post, but rather it brings about an interest in something that you have written about that then opens up a discussion. The best part of this is that it does then often mean that the people they are talking to will ask about what was said and where they read it leading to you being able to increase the number of readers you have and do so virally.

Now, we are being honest here in saying that not everybody is going to become an absolute whiz at being a blogger on their business website, but do you want to know something that is extremely important? It is important that you have at least tried with a blog as that is better than nothing existing at all. Also, you should never just start a blog and then have large gaps between posts as that shows that you are not that concerned about it and this can reflect poorly on your entire business.

A business blog is going to reflect well on your company and that has to be the main aim of every company owner as blogging can be a key part of your marketing. Spend time getting it correct and see how it will benefit you in the long term.

Introducing Webfoot Guardian

A new and exciting development at Webfoot is our new managed hosting and security plan now being offered called Guardian. As just one of the many Webfoot Dynamic Solutions we offer our customers, Guardian has been specifically developed to battle against the ever growing threats posed by hackers and malicious code injections to sites that are not regularly monitored or updated. The Guardian managed hosting and security plan ensures that your website coding is up to date, secure and safe from compromising situations. Rest assured that using Guardian is a critical step in the right direction for your business and securing your online resources.

Guardian, includes all of the following services:

•             Monthly hosting on our dedicated secure servers

•             Monthly maintenance and security checks of the site

•             Automatic software updates and patches as they are released

•             Weekly backup of site files and your complete website

•             Webfoot will clean and restore your site at no charge, in the event of a successful attack

•             Rapid response to any downtime or issues with the site caused by an external threat

 

The Guardian service plan is available for yearly or monthly billing via credit card or ACH auto pay so that it’s easy to manage and budget for your business. I look forward to working with you and developing your web resources to benefit your business needs.

Do You Need To Keep Up With Google Updates? Of Course!

There is so much more to having a website than just getting it designed and hosted. There is also SEO to think about although the vast majority of website owners end up hiring a company to do this kind of work on their behalf.
SEO is of course the way in which your website is made more visible to the search engines when people use certain keywords or phrases to ultimately find what your site is all about. It involves various methods and techniques that boost your presence online by the way of using keywords, social media signals, quality backlinks that help to make your site seem an authority on your chosen industry and much more.

However, there is a slight problem.

SEO is ever changing and this is something that the website owner needs to be aware of or else their site can go from the first page of a search result to absolute obscurity and the amount of organic traffic that you get drops accordingly.

So, What Happens?

Those nice people at Google are always looking at ways to create what they deem to be the perfect search, so they bring out updates to something called their algorithm. This is basically the way in which their systems determine the best results for certain keywords and by refining the search it is hoped that the person doing the search is going to be impressed by the results that they see.

In the past Google made changes to help eliminate sites that used rather underhand tactics as part of their SEO strategy as this helped to really boost websites that could only be described as being spam sites. It used to be the case that you carried out a search and the results at the top, which most people click on, were just full of links or adverts that made the website owner a lot of money and gave no real value to the individual that carried out the search.

The problem is that Google identify an issue and make changes, but they tend to be rather sweeping changes that means any website that has used certain tactics, even on a small scale, can be caught up in it all. What then happens is that every website is sent crashing down the results pages or, in some cases, Google puts the website into an online equivalent of a penalty box and they stay there until some time in the future which is entirely at their discretion.

As an example of what we mean here, it used to be the case that backlinks were King and it all came down to the number of links you had no matter the quality. That led to some websites buying links from link farms that were of poor quality, but they still counted.

These links were popular with websites that wanted to eventually be able to spam you or to hit you with all of those adverts, but they were also used by some genuine websites to give their SEO a bit of a boost, but on a smaller scale. Google then came along with a major change to the algorithm and changed how they viewed backlinks. They still saw them as being valuable, but it was more about the quality of the link rather than quantity.

Suddenly, and we really mean suddenly, websites that were ranking on the first page for some time vanished from view. People saw all of their hard work fall to pages where nobody ever looks and all at a whim because Google changed how they wanted the search to work.

The Problem Continues.

But you see, the problem is that Google are always making slight changes to the search. For example, in the middle of April 2015 they brought out something that has been given the moniker “Mobilegeddon” where the focus was on mobile search and websites being mobile friendly.

With this update, if your website does not provide a wonderful experience for mobile users, then your site is almost vanishing from mobile searches and when you consider how many people use smartphones or tablets that is quite serious.

What To Do?

These changes to the algorithm reflect how people change the way in which they access the Internet or how they search for terms. If you own a website it is important that you are aware, or at least use a company that is aware, of these changes in advance as Google does send out notification of what is to come so that changes can be made.

Failure to do so will result in lost traffic and lost revenue, which is crazy when you consider how easy it is to avoid this happening in the first place.

Keeping on top of the changes to the algorithm should, by rights, be automatic as you need to constantly be doing checks with SEO for your website to make sure that you are ranking as high as you could be for your budget. Changes by Google should not be feared, but embraced although ignore them at your peril because getting back to your original position may be harder than you think.

Is Your Online Payment System Secure?

More and more companies are looking at receiving payments online, but with this comes its own sets of issues that really do need to be addressed at the earliest opportunity.

It used to be the case that people were largely terrified of buying something online as they were convinced that their payment details would be exposed and their bank accounts emptied. Nowadays, people are still wary, but there is a better understanding of how the entire process works and indeed people are better educated on what to look out for, and who to buy from.

However, that does not mean that you as a business can rest easy. Instead, due to the potential risk of payment details being exposed it is actually now more important than ever before that you understand the role that your security plays and the daily challenges that you could very well face.

The Risk That Is Out There.

The risk of your accounts being hacked still exist no matter the size of your company. If you thought that these kinds of things only happened to the likes of Sony, then think again because the people behind these attacks do not really care about that. They actually prefer the thrill of causing disruption of any kind and of course any payment details that they can obtain are going to be useful no matter how few there may be.

You only have to do a search online to see the kinds of websites that have been exposed to hackers to understand the problem and dangers that you face. Completely non-descript websites have seen their home page being defaced just so the hackers can claim another victory in whatever quest they are on. We are talking about simple blogs to small company websites right up to the major players such as Sony and everything in between

So, and sorry to say this, you are not exempt from this kind of attack and you need to take steps to secure your information especially if you are taking payments online.

Payments Are Attractive.

Credit card details are worth money on the dark web. That means any customer that you have coming through your payment system is also worth money, but there is another downside to your business.

Can you actually begin to imagine what it would do to your reputation if your payment system was found to not be secure and the details of your clients had been exposed? In all honesty, this could spell the end of your entire business especially if you use online payments as your source of income.

How could people trust you ever again if it is known that other people had their details stolen thanks to loopholes in your security being exploited just because you felt that you were too small for hackers to even be aware you exist? The short answer is that they could never trust you and who could blame them.

Your Best Way Forward.

This post is not intended to paint a bleak picture or to scare you. Instead, it is being used to highlight the importance of making sure that your payment system is indeed secure. The crazy part is that it is actually a lot easier than you think and it does not have to cost you a fortune in the process although this is clearly going to be money well spent since it could completely secure your business.

What your business needs is a complete Internet security overhaul and regular checks as well as updates to make sure that your system is secure and protected from all of the different threats that emerge on what feels like a daily basis. There are constant new exploits, new techniques being used, and of course it means that the security side of things also has to constantly change and adapt.

All of this translates into your business really needing the services of a company that not only understands the threats, but how to combat them before they even begin. You need a company that can look at your current setup and assess if it is good enough to withstand attacks and that any payment details that you collect are indeed secure.

This examination of your security has to be done on a regular basis due to the evolving nature of this threat and you need to remember that it is all for the sake of your customers. They want to see that padlock on the payment section that shows them it is secure to actually be true. They do not want to go through your website, pay you money for whatever it is that you offer, and then find out that they have been exposed to who knows what threat. In seconds your entire business can be threatened and the chances of recovery are slim.

Do yourself a favor and get your security checked out now before it is too late. You might think it is secure as you have not had any problems as of yet, but there is always the chance that this could change and you do not want to be caught sleeping because by then it will already be too late.

Can A Blog Make A Difference For Your Business?

Does a blog actually make a difference for your business? This in itself is an interesting question and to answer it we need to look at the potential role it can play for your company and how that can then be turned into a useful tool that can link you with your current customers and potential future clients. Are you one of those people that feel that a blog, which is basically an online diary, is only limited to John Doe? Well, in all honesty you could not be more wrong if you tried.
Instead, you need to think more carefully about the role of the blog as there is more to it than just voicing your opinion about a certain subject. Yes, it is a vehicle for you to put across ideas and to discuss various things, but it also gives people the opportunity to actually learn more about you as an individual or you as a business.

Take this blog for example. So far we have covered a number of different topics that we hope have been interesting to you and perhaps you have found a lot of the information to be useful in some way or educated you in a topic that you did not know much about. Now look at the role that has been played here and the relationship that has been created between blog and yourself.

This blog has been designed to educate and to discuss various aspects of web design, social media, Internet marketing and anything else connected to our areas of expertise. You as the reader picks up information as to the importance of various things not only for your website, but your business and it allows you to work out if it is something that is beneficial to you.

The idea is to generate some discussion even just within the reader and to make them think about what it means to them and what they should then do to enact upon the information that they have just read. Was it purely entertainment? Even those kinds of posts can be beneficial if you read between the lines. Was it on a specific point that can be applied in any way to your business? Is it dealing with something that you have thought about or should think about for your business? A blog post is more than just reading an article in a newspaper as there is always a lot of thought goes into it in order to make sure that it does actually deliver on something for the reader, so it is never just the inane ramblings of an individual, well, at least when you are dealing with a business blog.

From the business point of view

Now look at it from the perspective of your business if you were running your own blog. This gives you the opportunity to put across your opinions, although they should never be controversial, ideas, and thoughts on pretty much anything, within reason of course. It allows you to discuss new products, new marketing ideas, industry related news that you feel may be interesting to your customers, or to even just answer questions that you may have been asked.

The main thing is that it gives you some space outwith your website to discuss things in a controlled and structured manner that may very well lead to new customers or clients deciding to use your services and surely that can only be a good thing? However, you should never see your blog as purely being a sales tool as that is wrong. Instead, it is your chance to show your customers and clients that you are a company that is active, is aware of what is going on, and one that actually interacts with people rather than appearing to be distant.

A blog helps from a marketing and SEO perspective

Finally, we should also mention that blogs can be useful from an SEO perspective and linking to other blogs, if it is hosted on its own away from your website, can be a wonderful way of getting quality backlinks that are loved by the search engines. Of course, this is something that your web designer or SEO specialist can deal with, but search engines love to use what are seen as being authority sites and blogs are currently the flavor of the month in that respect. In other words, having a blog can lead to an increase in organic traffic to your website. If more people are reading your blog and checking out what you have to offer, then it can easily lead to an increase in your turnover and surely that is something that no business can do without?

What we are basically saying here is that a blog is not just for personal use, but it can be an extremely useful tool for any business. It gives a better link between business and customer and is appreciated by clients as they can see that it is not all about selling, but also about discussing industry news that may indeed be useful to them.

A blog gives an interesting platform for both sides to discuss various topics and considering all it takes is some time to write an interesting piece, then is there anything to lose by not having one?

 

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