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Are Newsletters REALLY That Important?

A - ZNewsletters remain the tried and true method for building the “know, like, and trust” factor that can make or break your business.

They are REALLY that important to your business.

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Here’s why:

1.  Your newsletter allows you to stay in touch with your site visitors even after they’ve left your site. By using an OPT-IN form on your site, you can capture their names and email addresses to begin the process of nurturing relationship with your market.  This is key to the success of your business. I have heard Fabienne Fredrickson say that you need a MINIMUM of 1000 people on your newsletter list before you can launch a product and make a good profit from it, so you have your work cut out for you.

2.  Your customers want to get to know you whether you sell a $2 widget, or a $3000 coaching program. Very few people will purchase from someone they don’t know, like, and trust. To build trust, you have to build and nurture a relationship with your market over time, bit-by-bit.  Writing a newsletter helps you to build that trust. It’s your way of letting them know that you can help them with their problem, and as they get to know you they will become more willing to make a purchase from you.

Build a list of people who want your newsletter:

1.  First you’ll need to enlist the help of an auto-responder service. There are some free ones that you could use to get started if money is a problem, but I highly recommend AWEBER.  They are the best option for an inexpensive service. They do it all when it comes to managing your list, and they make it easy to send out your newsletters and
e-courses.

2. After you’ve gotten your auto-responder service going, your next step is to create a really awesome “gift” in exchange for your reader signing up for your newsletter. For example, you could give away a free course, a free consultation, or a sample of your products. Just make it valuable because this is a spammy world and your reader is still willing to give you their contact information.  That is huge.

3.  Set up an opt-in form in the sidebar of your site, or create a landing page specifically for your Opt-In form. This is great for being able to add some bullet points to clearly explain to your reader what you will be sending out and how often. Add a “Call to Action” above your Opt-In form and then publish your page. Use your social media sites to advertise the link to your page and watch things start to happen.

Relationship Building

Your goal is to build a relationship with your readers. Be your best so they know that they are in for a treat when they get an email from you. Make it interesting, informative and useful. This is what builds relationships. Help them with your information. Make them laugh. Help them be their best.

Many writers spend lots of time on their headline, but if you are offering your best, your headline will come second to the “from” field.  When your emails are awesome then they will get opened — they’ll open your email just because they know it is from you.

Consistently Give

You’ll have to determine what is right for you AND your readers in terms of the frequency that you’ll send out the newsletter, but once you have that figured out, stick to your schedule — people like to know what to expect. I have signed up onto lists where I received information every day. I’ve also been on lists where I received a newsletter on the first day of each month. If you send them too often, your readers may consider them spam, but if you send them out less than once a month, your readers may forget about you.

So, yes, having a great newsletter can increase your business exponentially. Don’t be that business owner who thinks they don’t have to build relationships with their customers. Start where you are and build over time.

I am an affiliate for AWEBER and will receive a commission if you choose to purchase their service. I only recommend products and services that I have tried and think are awesome!

brought to you by the savvyva

 

9 of My Favorite WordPress Plugins

Basic WordPress Plugins for All WP Users

Basic WordPress Plugins for All WP Users

Where would we be without plugins for WordPress?  They expand our sites and enable us to do some very impressive stuff.

Over the years I have tried a lot of plugins — many did not measure up and were less than impressive, but some have proven to be helpful little winners in my book.

As an aside, when you are thinking of installing a plugin, make sure that you get it from a trusted source such as http://wordpress.org/plugins  They tend to purge plugins that don’t measure up, have scripts in them that intend injury to your site, and are no longer supported.

(But even at the WordPress home base, it is prudent to check the stats of the plugin you intend to use to see if it has been updated recently. If it has not been updated in the last two months or so, do not install it. Plugins (and WordPress sites themselves for that matter) that don’t get updated are at a very high risk of being hacked. While you are at it, check the feedback– if it gets good feedback and has been updated recently, you are pretty safe installing it.)

Here are 9 of my favorite WordPress plugins:

Contact Form 7 plugin

Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. Put a little code onto your “Contact” page and it will take care of the rest.

FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin

Redirects all feeds to a Feedburner feed (so your visitors can subscribe to your blog posts via RSS). It’s all done behind the scenes and anonymously. Feedburner is still responsible for a lot of traffic to my site.

Google Analytics for WordPress plugin

This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics features to your site. Get your Google Analytics code, paste it into the field and let google do its thing.

Google Analytics Dashboard plugin

While Google is doing its thing, you can view the analytics right in the dashboard of your site with the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin.

Google XML Sitemaps plugin

This plugin generates a sitemap sitemap of your WordPress site which is supported by Ask.com, Google, Bing, MSN Search and YAHOO.

Page Links To plugin

This great little plugin allows you to link to an external URL of your choosing. For example, I created a page called ‘Free Videos’ that, in turn, created a the same link on the nav bar, but redirects people to my YouTube Channel. Just think of the uses for your own site.

Insights plugin

Insights allows you to quickly search and insert information (links, images, videos, maps, news..) into your blog posts from either out on the net or from within your own site (awesome for a little interlinking SEO). Automatically gives attribution for the images, videos, news etc to keep you out of hot water.

Simple Image Widget plugin

If you are at all like me, you struggle with getting a picture onto your sidebar. With this plugin you never have to struggle again. Install it, add the code for the pic and voila!

Editorial  Calendar plugin

Keeps my writing on track like nothing else can. I am able to see at a glance as to what is coming up, what I still need to do, and what has already been posted. Drag and drop your scheduled posts if you need to change the order. Basically I’m organized, I’m on time, and I’m happy.

You’ll find them all at no charge here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/

Tips For Creating Powerful Headlines

Men and a woman reading headlines posted in street-corner window of Brockton Enterprise newspaper office on Christmas Eve, Brockton, Mass. (LOC)

You have a mere 3 – 10 seconds to capture a prospect’s attention and the most powerful tool you have to capture and keep their attention is your headline (or title of your post, sales page, or article).

There are several keys to writing a compelling and selling headline. Here are a few tips to help you.

1.  Tap into Your Reader’s Emotions

According to psychologists, buying decisions are based on emotion. So get emotional! Create your headlines so they include a strong emotional benefit (to what you are selling), and you will have written a compelling headline.

Examples:

“You will get amazing results with just a few minutes effort each day”  (easy, simple, effortless).

“Men will flock to you once you lose those last few pounds. Here’s how”  (attractive, sexy, respected, proud)

“Are you ready to attract the man of your dreams?” (in control of destiny, attractive, hopeful)

“Buy this and you will never spend another Saturday night alone again”  (sense of belonging, in control of their own destiny, attractive)

“If this face cream doesn’t take 20 years off your face in just 7 days, I will refund your money immediately” (confident, pampered, safe, hopeful)

OK so these examples are a little over the top, but you get the gist. You have to tap into emotions to get a response from your viewer. If they do not ‘feel’ your message, they won’t take the next step which is to continue reading.

2. Make it Active

Use active language – language that shows movement and that commands attention.

For example,Conquer Your Cravings With This Simple Step”, is an active headline because ‘conquer’ is an active and emotionally powerful word.  Readers get the benefit of feeling powerful and in control, and it commands action.

3. Let Your Reader Know They’re Important

‘YOU’ is a powerful word. Make your readers feel as though your are speaking directly to them. They want to know that you are interested in helping them solve their problems or issues, and/or that you can help them achieve their desires.

Use “You” in your headline.  People want to know what’s in it for them. For example, the difference between “Stop Your Cravings” and “Conquer Your Cravings” is night and day. Conquer suggests that you will never be bothered by your problem again. It is conquered, once and for all. It’s a powerful, action-oriented word, and it creates a compelling reason to continue reading (and make the purchase).

  • Make a promise –   You will get amazing results
  • Make it newsworthy –   Buy this and you will never spend another Saturday night alone again
  • Ask a question –   Are you ready to attract the man of your dreams?

Do you have a formula that has worked really well for you? Tell us what you did by leaving a comment below.

Get Website Traffic Fast! 5 Quick Tips

KeyIf you are running an online business, you already know that getting traffic to your site is the single most important key to it all. Right?

In fact, you spend time writing amazing content, you have great products and/or services to offer, and you’re a great person and business owner — basically you’ve got it all. Except traffic.  And yet the more traffic, the more serious visitors; the more serious your visitors, the better your sales and profits will be.

So what exactly does an online business have to do to get noticed among the millions of other sites — some doing/selling exactly what you are doing/selling? It’s not easy, but with repeated efforts you can and will get noticed.

First, I am assuming that you have a niche (narrowed down what you sell, or what you offer for services), and you know how to determine your keywords, and your regularly conduct keyword research so you know what is popular. If not, you need to. Why? Because this is what will help your business get found online. For more information on keywords and keyword research, this is a great article
https://www.seo.com/blog/top-keyword-research-tools-exposed

Here are 5 ways to get traffic to your site, quickly

1. Use your keywords

  • in your titles. Your title is where you place your primary keyword or keyword phrase.
  • in your first two or three sentences of all pages and posts.  These sentences should describe your business/offering/service in 90 characters or less.
  • to populate any fields that are available for SEO in your theme (usually under your post/page)
  • and create a traffic and SEO strategy

2. Add content to your site as often as you can, but preferably every day

Content gets you traffic, plain and simple.  Google loves fresh content and actively searches for it so they can index it into that great encyclopedia in cyberspace. Give search engines a reason to visit, not to mention your own returning visitors. People love to read content from those they like and trust, so give it to them.

3. Place links to your other content whenever you can (called interlinking)

Google bots like to follow links. If you have related content on another page, place a link to it within the content you are currently working on. The bots will follow your link to the page your are linking to so that they can index that content as well. Win-win.

4. Get incoming links to your site

Google also likes websites that have incoming links. It shows the site’s popularity, and increases the search engines’ perception of how valuable your site is.  And you know what they say about being popular. The search engines are kind of snobbish that way too.

Keep in mind that search engines give more ranking to links from sites that are popular and credible, and relevant to your site’s content.

What are links? 

A direct link looks like this: www.yourwebsite.com

A text link is, as mentioned above, embedded in the text. Readers can click on the link and are redirected to another page on your site

Encouragement might be required so try the following: 

  • Adding lots of fresh, relevant content
  • Submit articles about your niche to article directories 
  • Being active on Social networking sites.

5. Be Social!

As mentioned in tip #4, now more than ever before, internet marketing is about building a community. Whether you offer a forum on your website or you participate in social networking sites, social networking is a valuable traffic generating tactic. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools for generating links and traffic to your site – create a profile and then post comments and ideas that generate conversation.

Outline your plan, set your goals, and then take the necessary action.

Who is Your Target Market?

target-market-20847307

Determine who your target market is. It’s your first step to creating a wildly successful internet business.

 

Why? Because you can predict your financial future by how closely you are connected with your target market.

Not sure what a target market is?  Basically it a group of people who are most likely to buy from you. It’s that simple. This group is comprised of those who want and need your product or service. They wait for your next product, and they rave about you and your services.  They are your biggest fans and they like your stuff.

You need to determine who your target market is otherwise you will be trying to be all things to all people What you have to do instead is to specialize and in turn you’ll narrow all the shoppers in the world to just a few loyal customers and/or clients.

How do we find them?

It starts with doing some research. This is not as daunting as it sounds, so don’t be discouraged. The greatest benefit you’ll get from doing this research is that you’ll be very clear as to what you have to offer and to whom.

Where do we start?

With your product or service in mind, describe the person who would most likely want or need your products. Use as much detail as you can.  Would it be a single mom? A retired woman? A teen? A single man? A woman with a family? An online business owner? An offline business owner? A writer?

Give the following some thought:

  • Is your target customer male or female?
  • What does she do for a living
  • What is her income? Depending on your price point, this could eliminate people
  • What age group is she in? (Age groups may or may not be pertinent)
  • Where does she  live? Geography could be a limiting factor
  • What matters most to her?
  • Who would hire you to perform the services you offer?

Other Considerations:

If you offer online business courses, then retired people probably won’t be your target market.

If you are a handy person who cleans windows, then retired people might be the exact people you are looking for. But something to consider is whether your market can support another window cleaner. Is your target market already saturated with competitors? Do they even get their windows cleaned, or is their income low and they have to clean them themselves.

Your market has to be just the right size–small enough for you to be a major player and large enough to make good money.

It also has to be a market with a problem that needs to be solved. Those are the people who are most likely to spend money.

Family and friends are probably a great resource in the brainstorming process. Ask who they think would purchase your product.

Where to Look for Business Ideas

Google Trends is the best source for up-to-the-minute information on what is trendingThey can help you identify new target markets. You may be able  to jump into an opportunity where you become a major player before others hop on the bandwagon.

Another great place to look is Amazon Magazines. Chances are that if there’s enough of a market for a magazine, then there’s enough of a market to make money online.  http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Magazines/zgbs/magazines

eBay Pulse is another great place to look. Again, you’re looking for markets where you can become a major player.

How to Research a Market

You’ve come up with some ideas for a business. What’s the next step?  You’ve probably guessed that you’ll be doing some more research, but this step is to see if your idea is viable.

The first step is to check the volume of traffic to make sure there’s enough to make you a living. Google Keyword Tool is the best place to check this out.

Once you’ve made sure that there is lots of traffic to your basic business keywords and that you can make enough money for it viable, you will then get to know the market and the market’s spending habits.  You can start by clicking here

Now you’ll want to know how your competitors are doing? Are they selling high ticket items, or are they scraping by with advertising? Are AdWords bids high or low? This will all help you determine how much money is being spent.

Google has the best survey program out there. Like I say, if you want to know something, just ask. Google Insights

So you’ve brainstormed and researched a few niche markets, identified those that show some promise, and narrowed down the winners, all that’s left to do is take action and make it happen.

3 WordPress Security Plugins

The following are examples of security plugins with fairly high ratings. I am giving Wordfence a trial run right now after using WPSecure for some time, as I went over to wordpress.org to get some data on WPSecure and this message was posted on the plugin’s info page:

This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

I’m glad that I checked on it. It probably hasn’t been protecting my site for some time.  But this is why I use Bluehost for hosting my sites.

1.  Wordfence Security

As of this date, this is one of the top rated security plugins.

  • Version 5.3.3
  • Updated 2014-11-20
  • Downloads 3,962,003
  • Average Rating  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Wordfence Security is either free for the basic security (which is enough for most people) or you can purchase a premium version. This security plugin includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, and malicious URL scanning.

Wordfence starts by checking if your site is already infected. We do a deep server-side scan of your source code comparing it to the Official WordPress repository for core, themes and plugins. Then Wordfence secures your site and makes it up to 50 times faster. Wordfence Security is 100% free.

To learn more about Wordfence, click this link:  http://docs.wordfence.com/en/Wordfence_Official_Documentation

2.  BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security is designed to be a fast, simple and one click security plugin to add .htaccess website security protection for your WordPress website

Compatible up to: 4.1
Last Updated: 2014-11-19
Downloads: 1,374,100
Average rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  • One-click security protection
  • Automatic .htaccess file updating on upgrade installation
  • htaccess file backup and restore
  • Built-in File Editing, File Downloading and File Uploading
  • Custom Code feature permanently saves and writes your personal custom .htaccess code
  • Backup and Restore customized / modified .htaccess files
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 3.  WordPress Antivirus

Compatible up to: 4.0.1
Last Updated: 2014-11-27
Downloads: 688,960
Average rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Useful plugin that will scan your theme templates for malicious injections. Automatically. Every day. For more blog security.

WordPress Antivirus scans WordPress themes for WordPress permalink backdoor malware. Also, this plugin scans all theme files for malware injections and vulnerability. This plugin scans files daily and can notify your via email.

  • Virus alert in the admin bar
  • Cleaning up after plugin removal
  • Translations into many languages
  • Daily scan with email notifications
  • Database tables and theme templates checks
  • WordPress 3.x ready: both visually and technically
  • White list solution: Mark suspected cases as “no virus”
  • Manual check of template files with alerts on suspected cases

These are just a sample of what’s out there in terms of security plugins.

As always, do your due diligence when installing any plugin. Check the ratings, the feedback, the number of downloads, and the developers.

What are you using to protect your site?  Leave a comment and let us know.

 

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How Secure is Your WordPress Site?

imagesI’m writing this post on the heels of the recent WordPress critical security update. If you missed the announcement, then I am speaking to you in particular.

This recent update was due to a WordPress security breech that could result in your site being compromised in serious ways.

You can read about the update here WordPress.org update announcement, but come back and finish reading this post. It contains vital information that you need to keep your site free from bots, hackers, and other entities that could seriously hurt your business.

Keeping Your Site Safe Requires Your Vigilance.

Here’s how:

WordPress Updates

Update your WordPress site as soon as you hear about the update. Once there’s a WordPress update/announcement, you’ll see it on the dashboard of your site.  You’ll also see an alert beside the dashboard link over to the left.  Go there and follow the very simple instructions.

Plugins and Themes

Your plugins and themes (templates) must be kept up to date. They actually add code to your site that hackers can exploit if your plugins and themes are not regularly maintained. Again, you’ll see the information your need on your dashboard and the very simple instructions.

Change Your Passwords

Changing the password on your site needs to be a regular part of your site maintenance.

  • To change the password, look to the top right area of your site where it says “Howdy,  your name”, and hover there.
  • In the drop down menu you’ll see the Profile link. Click that link and you’ll be taken to your profile page.
  • About half way down you’ll find a section where you can enter, and then confirm, your new password.

Backup Your Site Regularly

You can install a plugin that will back your site up, but if you’re hosted with a reputable company, there should be an option whereby your site is backed up automatically.  There are times when your site is too large for the automatic backup, but there should be an option where you can go into your hosting and back your account up. When you back your site up, your files and databases are stored so that if there is an attack you can restore your site.

Here’s a checklist of actions to take on your WordPress site to ensure that your site and/or business cannot be hacked.

  • Update to latest WordPress version

Here’s a vid to show you how:

 

  • Install security plugins on your WordPress site
  • Perform all plugin updates
    • Delete and uninstall old or unused plugins
  • Change your passwords regularly
    • Use a different password for each site you own
    • Use random passwords that would be very difficult to guess
    • Do not share your WordPress passwords, but if you do share it, change it immediately after use.
  • Set up separate permissions for each user on your site.
  • Back up your site files on an automated and regular schedule
    • Store your backups in more than one place
  • Use only secure internet connections
  • Never download anything you’re not sure about
    • Do not download plugins that you’ve not researched, and by that I mean research the developer/authors. If it is offered at WordPress.org, you are fairly safe. If it’s offered on a private site, do your due diligence in researching the background of the plugin/developers. There are perfectly legitimate developers out there who create awesome plugins and there are lots of sketchy developers too — you just need to know which they are.
  • Purchase reliable and recognized web hosting

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Overwhelmed and need assistance?  Click here to contact me

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