Posts Tagged ‘blog’

To read more go to: Business Newsletter May 2012

VMS-Washington May 2012 Business Newsletter

 

Valued Merchant Services offers a free cost analysis to compare your current provider to us. In addition, anyone that sends us business our way will get $50.00 when sign the client signs. We also challenge you to beat our rates, if we can’t we will pay you $250.00 Cash. Has your current processor told you about the Durbin Amendment and how it can save you money on your processing rates and fees?

Due to the overwhelming replies and inquiries VMS-Washington wants to help your business out by giving you rock bottom rates for your processing.  We also can help your business by giving you great rates for unsecured business loans with an 90% approval rate for start-ups and existing businesses.  Call or email us if you want to know more.

Michael Roberts

VMS-Washignton
www.vms-washington.com
washignton@valuedmerchants.com
(800) 531.8575 ext. 697

Check out our previous Business Newsletters:

VMS-Washington April 2012 Business Newsletter

VMS-Washington March Newsletter has launched

Check out our February 2012 Newsletter

To read more go to: Business Newsletter April 2012

VMS-Washington April 2012 Business Newsletter

The latest social media site to join the ranks of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is Pinterest. Haven’t heard of it? You will. With over 10 million users, it is quickly rivaling Google+ and YouTube for traffic.

For those of you who don’t know about Pinterest, it is a visual site that allows you to post or PIN pictures to your wall, or a wall of your choosing. It might seem more like a B2C site and it has been historically a strong site for people selling jewelry, crafts, or major retailers highlighting new products.

But lately, it has gotten some traction as a traffic generator for business marketers too. Here are a couple of considerations for including Pinterest in your social media marketing efforts.

  1. Pinterest is a visual medium, so think about the visuals you already have in your content library. These could be cool pics, images from the covers of your white papers or ebooks, visuals from your blog posts with links back to those posts, even pictures from behind the scenes at your company. All these could capture traffic from Pinterest and drive visitors back to your site.
  2. Expand your definition of visuals and you can include data and charts too. Graphs, charts, even illustrations communicate complex thoughts in a single picture. This type of content is perfect for Pinterest.
  3. Take photos of happy customers and PIN them as well. This gives everyone a warm and fuzzy feeling about your firm and helps potential prospects feel more familiar with your company and therefore more comfortable reaching out to you.
  4. Use dedicated landing pages associated with your pins so that you can track traffic from Pinterest and measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
  5. Comment on other people’s pins. This will give you some additional exposure and when people see your comments they might eventually find your site, your blog and your content.
  6. Promote your Pinterest content through other, more popular, social sites. Create a Tweet or a Facebook post that links to your Pinterest page. Pinterest is hot, so these extended networks might be interested in seeing what someone else is doing on a newer social site.

Check out our Pinterest page to see how we are using it to drive leads. Feel free to follow us and see our latest Pins! If you need help creating an ROI for your social media programs, we can help

Thank you,

Michael Roberts

The old saying “If you build it, they will come” does NOT apply to your Web site; you’ve got to do more than simply publish it and one of the best things is to increase your position on the search engine results page. 


A beautifully designed website is great for a company’s image. However, the same website with no traffic is bad for business. Read these five easy non-technical SEO strategies to improve your websites visibility and traffic.

Step One – Google Local Business Listing
It is no secret; Google is king of the search engines. This is why the majority of your SEO efforts should be focused on having your website indexed by Google. It is not likely that your small local business will be able to compete with large national companies, their keywords and SEO efforts. However, it appears Google has realized this and has accommodated the small local business owner by creating free Google Local Business Listings. Many times if a Google user searches for a particular business niche and types in a city, the Google Local Listings will appear before all other listings.

Also, new technology (mainly smart phones) allows for Internet users’ geographical location to be automatically updated and provided to the search engine. With automatic location updates, Google Local Listings are very important for relevant searches (the best example could be the use of the service for a local restaurant or store). Because of this, it is important that all small businesses claim and optimize their Google Local Business Listing. Claiming and updating the information can be very beneficial from a business standpoint by attracting new customers and improving online presence.

Claiming a Google Local Listing is simple, free and quick. All you have to do is sign up for a Google account and claim your business. Once signed in you will be able to optimize your account by entering in your services/products, updating your location, providing contact information, uploading images/video, and adding other relevant business information. After your updates are complete you will be sent a PIN and need to enter it in order for the listing to be seen by Google users.

*Be sure to read the Google user agreement and follow all of the conditions in the agreement. Failure to do so could result in the removal of your Google Local Business Listing.

Step Two – Begin Blogging on your Website

Blogging is a very important aspect of SEO. Today’s search engines love new, fresh content and a blog is the best and easiest way to generate fresh content on your website. Many of the pages on your website are most likely static and change infrequently. This alone can keep your site from appearing in search engines. A blog serves several purposes for your business and website.

Foremost, a blog is a great way to interact with your current and future customers. It allows your company the opportunity to discuss important news and information quickly, easily, and affordably. A blog also allows your company to be seen as an authority in your industry – resulting in increased customer trust and respect. Blogging allows your business to showcase it’s strengths by putting the company’s expertise into words. A blog can also make your company larger through sharing and linking. Every new reader that shares your article could potentially assist you in gaining new customers!

Each blog entry should focus on one topic and should attack one keyword or phrase. The title should contain the keyword or phrase and encourage reading, filled with useful, relevant information. These are just a few great ways to use your business blog as an SEO tool for your website.

*A business blog should be considered even if you are not interested in SEO.

Step Three – Social Bookmarking for Traffic

Once you have completed steps one and two, it is time to start driving traffic to your website using free social bookmarking tools. There are a number of social bookmarking websites,DiggDeliciousStumbleUponReddit, and many more; each is a great way of introducing Internet users and search engines to your website and content. Every time a new blog entry is written, it should immediately be bookmarked on the social bookmarking website of your choice (or all of them). Bookmarking each new blog entry helps increase links to your website and provides an easy way for interested readers/customers to find your website and content. By bookmarking the pages and new content of your website, you are helping search engines quickly locate your website and index new information. If your bookmarks receive additional attention from other users, of the bookmarking website, search engines will notice this and give your site much more attention.

The effects of social bookmarking can last many months, but it is best practice to continually and consistently update your website content with new blog entries and same day bookmarking.

http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-bookmarking-websites is a great list of the 20 most popular social bookmarking websites.

Step Four – Utilize Twitter Effectively

If you are serious about SEO and creating a strong online presence for your business, you should sign up for Twitter. Twitter is a free service that allows users to follow other users and share information. Twitter is great for business! Twitter allows small businesses to easily and freely connect and communicate with new customers. In addition, it is a great business networking tool that can help small businesses interact and connect with other successful companies.

Do NOT use Twitter to continually spam other users with links to your website. Doing this will accomplish nothing, except for zero followers and zero benefits from the service. Instead, use Twitter as a way to meet new people and share relevant information in your industry. Once you have created a decent following (60 followers), you can begin tweeting links to new blog entries and information on your website. Search engines will follow the links and quickly index your website. Should your tweet be retweeted by another Twitter user, search engines will give even more attention to your Twitter account and website. These are just a few of the great uses Twitter provides small businesses.

Step 5 – Get Links through Directories

Inbound links are very important for SEO. Inbound links are other websites linking to your website. Inbound links can be difficult to obtain, but the easiest way is by submitting your website to directories. Not all directories are created equal; links from unrelated websites could have zero SEO influence and serve no purpose (for instance, it makes no sense for a plumbing company to submit their website to a massage therapist directory). Each industry tends to have established niche directories with relevant information and good link quality. So, do some research and locate directories that relate to your industry and submit your website. Many of these directories are free but some charge a listing fee.

Every company interested in SEO also needs to submit their website to the DMOZ Open Directory. The directory is free and very important for SEO.

*Before submitting your website to DMOZ, be sure to read the user agreement and do not violate any of the conditions.

That’s all!

There you have it – five easy non-technical SEO steps for small business owners. It is very important to note that these are just a few techniques to increase search engine visibility and increase website traffic. However, using these strategies on a poorly designed website with bad navigation, bad code, bad title tags, bad keywords, and other negative attributes will not provide the same results as would be seen on a website designed for SEO, which focuses on easy navigation and search engine accessibility.

Why hasn’t your processor mentioned the Durbin Amendment?Learn how to lower your card acceptance cost: www.vms-washington.com and ask about the Durbin Amendment that was passed on October 2011 and how it will help you lower your rates. 

Have you conversed on Facebook, tweeted your favorite articles, and checked into Foursquare yet today? What about pinned an image on Pinterest, bought or sold stock on Empire Avenue, and done whatever it is people are doing on Google+ nowadays? I won’t even ask about the number of blogs you’ve read or mobile apps you’ve used. Just thinking about these tasks can cause some to become overwhelmed—they experience “social media overload.”

New social networks and tools are introduced every day, which means new challenges and questions for marketing professionals, social media strategists, and average people looking to brand themselves online. Which platforms should I use? When should I use them? There are only 24 hours in a day, how do I find the time to manage all my networks?!

I’ll admit, there’ve been times I felt like I was stretched pretty thin trying to keep up with various obligatory social tasks. Thankfully, I no longer feel that way (most of the time). Here are a few of the steps I took that really helped manage the social media overload.

1. Prioritize

Which tasks are the most essential? Determining your priorities is crucial in managing your time online. When you are faced with a giant list of tasks that need to be done, invest your time and energy first where it will make the most impact, and later return to do tasks that aren’t as much of a priority. For me, responding to Facebook and blog comments ranks above tweeting my favorite articles, so I do those first.

2. Filter

If you always have hundreds of unread blog stories in your feed reader or you skip over a certain user’s updates on a routine basis, it’s time to get picky. There is such a thing as subscribing to too many things. After all, what is the point of following or subscribing to people if you never ever read what they are saying? I’ve cut down on the number of blogs I subscribe to, and it has helped a lot. There’s also something cathartic about trimming those lists, have fun!

3. Aggregate

Applications like TweetDeck and HootSuite can do many things to help you save time and feel less overwhelmed. It is easy to save searches for terms, see direct messages and mentions from Twitter at a glance, and collect information from multiple platforms so you can read it in one place. Signing up for one of these tools (I recommend HootSuite) will save you time in the long run.

4. Automate

We all have lives, right? This means we aren’t online all the time. Using a tool to schedule your updates means you can plan what to say and let the tool publish it for you at a specified time. HootSuite, TweetDeck and Buffer are all great scheduling applications to use.

5. Relax

If you have to take a break from the Internet for a few days to interact with real humans (which I promise won’t kill you), know that it will still be there when you get back. On the Internet, everything is archived. If you feel like catching up after being gone for a while, all it takes is visiting a few RSS feeds or scrolling down some Timelines. Then, jump back in right where you left off.

Part of the fun of social media can be trying different things and sorting through the chaos to find something you truly enjoy. If that chaos ever gets to be too much to handle, I hope these tips will help with your case of “social media overload.”

Have you ever felt like you were spreading yourself too thin with social media? If you have other ways of managing overload let me know in the comments below.

Why hasn’t your processor mentioned the Durbin Amendment?Learn how to lower your card acceptance cost: www.vms-washington.com and ask about the Durbin Amendment that was passed on October 2011 and how it will help you lower your rates.