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LinkedIn for business

Linkedin for Business

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Social Media, Solopreneur Ideas

In 2005 I was in corporate America, working at a computer analyzing data. It wasn’t exciting work but I loved my colleagues and the corporate culture. A co-worker kept sending me a request to join him on a new website – at least new to me – called LinkedIn. After talking to other colleagues, we all decided to create accounts. It was until 2010 when I was laid off that I began to see the power of LinkedIn for business and career.

When I got laid off, we were given a to do list that included updating our LinkedIn profiles and developing a personal brand online.

Long story short, I didn’t find a new job.

I found a new career as a freelance writer and I’ve used LinkedIn for business development.

LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.

Know your target market.

LinkedIn is a great social media platform if …. You’re seeking to connect with other professionals. For me, that’s easy. I am connecting with small to medium size businesses who have a need for content.

Tips for Using LinkedIn for Business

  1. Is this the right social media site for you or your business?
  2. Complete your profile to 100%. **Include a photo — you’re 14 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn with a photo.
  3. Ask for recommendations
  4. Give recommendations
  5. Post updates (statuses)
  6. Comment and share the updates from others in your network
  7. Connect with 500+ people
  8. Keep updating your profile
  9. Target companies or people with whom you want to work
  10. Connect with the right people, not just anyone.

You do all of these things to stay in front of your connections so when they need someone with your expertise, they call you and not your competitor.

Those are the basics about using LinkedIn for business. Now let’s dig in.

At the end of last year my social media was a bit stale. I wasn’t getting results so I decided with switch things up. I found an article on Co-Schedule about The Best Times to Post on Social Media. I scheduled my social media posts according to their plan.

For one month I tracked my progress and the results surprised me.

  • Connections increased by 10
  • Followers increased by 13
  • 3 new leads for clients

Honestly, these were better results than I had anticipated!

(Read more about My Experiment on the Best Times to Post on Social Media.)

Since then I’ve kept on this schedule and continue to see results. I landed my biggest blogging client to date. Here’s what’s interesting — We weren’t even connected on LinkedIn at the time he contacted me! He has a premium account so he can see everyone on LinkedIn. I only have a basic account.

What happens when you’re posting, liking, commenting, and sharing on LinkedIn is that you’re seen by not only your network of 500+ people, you’re seen by the networks of others whose content you’re liking and sharing.

If you’re looking to grow your business using LinkedIn…

  • Consistent effort
  • Relevant content
  • Don’t be selfish especially when it comes to giving recommendations and sharing other people’s content.

For a limited time, I am offering a 30 minute LinkedIn Review for $49 includes recording of our call. Get started by clicking the schedule button on this page. 

What You Need to Know for Your Small Business Website (Guest)

Written by P Collins on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Solopreneur Ideas

When you’re about to launch your first website, it’s hard to know what you really need and what’s just an unnecessary expense.

There are a lot of platforms, both free and paid, that allow you to build a blog with the push of a button, such as Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, Blogger, and many others. Those can be useful if your site is for a hobby. But if you’re launching a real business, you’ll want to self-host your website. Self-hosting means your website is totally under your control.

Self-hosting sounds technical and confusing, but it’s actually really easy.

All you need to get started is a domain name and hosting. You can purchase those pretty reasonably at SiteGround, InMotion or GoDaddy.

Your domain name is the web address of your site, like bloggingbadass.com or gotprint.net. Hosting is the space you’re renting on the internet that hosts your web files. When you’re just starting out, the basic package is perfectly acceptable. You can upgrade at any time. If you’re not happy with your provider, you can switch to another, so don’t feel like you are stuck with this choice for life.

Inevitably, once you decide to launch a website, you’ll be offered all kinds of additional products. What are all those extra choices? What do you need and what’s just an upsell by the hosting company?

Here are some common items hosting companies will try to upsell:

Domain privacy

When you register a domain, your name, address, email address and phone number are automatically published for the world to see. It’s required by law that the hosting companies collect this information. But many people don’t realize that this information becomes public in an international database called the WhoIs database. If you’re a big company with a physical location, like a grocery store chain or a school, this might not matter to you but if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you may not want all your contact information out there. If that’s the case, you can protect yourself from spam and scams with private domain registration.

Business registration

Some domain registrars and hosting companies want to see you a type of premium domain registration or business registration. This adds very little value to your website and is not worth the price. Don’t bother signing up for it.

Site Lock or malware scanner service

Depending in the price and features, this could be helpful to you. Security is important: No one wants their site hacked! If you don’t want to handle it yourself, ask your hosting company what they offer. The most important question is: Do they merely scan, or will they actually clean your site and put everything back the way it was if you’ve been infected? If you don’t like their answer or prices, I highly recommend installing Sucuri on your new site.

Backup systems

Speaking of security, having a backup system is imperative. If you’re using WordPress to build your website, look into UpdraftPlus or BackupBuddy, two of my favorite backup plugins. If you want your host to handle it, be sure to ask them:

– How often do they back up your site?
– How many backups do they keep?
– Where are the backups stored?
– If something happens, will they help you restore your site, otherwise are you on your own?

At the very least, everyone with a website should download screenshots and copies of the photos and text that appears on their site. I go through my sites about twice a year and make sure I have manual copies of everything. Just in case.

SSL certificate

An SSL certificate is used to secure any website that transmits personal information. They are indicated by a green symbol or padlock by the domain name in your browser. Banks, retail stores, hospitals, schools, and many other companies that deal with sensitive data use SSL certificates. Some hosts provide SSL certificates for free. If so, take advantage. They are nice to have. If you’re taking payments on your site using PayPal or Stripe (or another payment gateway), they already have SSL built in. If you’re not certain if you need one, you can always purchase one down the road. You can typically buy them in 1-year, 2-year, 5-year, or 10-year terms.

Dedicated Servers and Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

If you’re a beginner, don’t let an enthusiastic salesperson talk you into purchasing one of these. If you’ve outgrown your economy or basic plan, just move up to the next level that provides the adequate amount of space and bandwidth. A VPS is a monster of a system that requires an extremely tech-savvy individual to manage and is most likely way more than you need. Not everyone needs to have a fully dedicated web server. In fact, most people don’t. The majority of websites start out on shared hosting. That means you and 25 other people like you share a server machine in a giant building that’s connected to the internet. A VPS is a virtual server that is dedicated to you only. Hence the hefty price tag. Down the road, if you’re ready for a dedicated server or VPS, you may want to hire someone to assist you in managing it.

Domain email

Domain email is custom email setup with your domain name. For example, if I owned whitehouse.gov, I could set up the email address perri@whitehouse.gov or anne@whitehouse.gov. Most domain registrars and hosting companies offer this service. You can choose whoever you want to set up your custom domain email. I’m a huge fan of Google. It’s like Gmail for your company email. A domain email will amp up the professional appearance of your business and is usually worth the price, which can range from $50/year to $100/year, depending on what service you use.

Number One Piece of Advice for Your Website

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. One thing to keep in mind is that the web is very flexible. If you want to change your domain name to something else, you can do that. Don’t like the look of your site? Learn how to install a new theme or hire a web developer to do it for you. Want to switch hosting companies? No problem. Everything is changeable, so don’t be afraid to take the leap and crush it online.

Perri Collins, Collins Digital Media

Perri Collins, Collins Digital Media

Perri Collins is the Magical Unicorn of Creativity at Collins Digital Media. She specialized in web development, online digital marketing and social media. She started building websites in 1999 and has continued to help small business owners and individuals take their first steps on the web. She has worked with organizations both large and small, from Arizona State University to freelance writers, restaurant owners, TV news anchors, healthcare professionals, bloggers and comedians.

How to Blog When You Have No Time to Write

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Solopreneur Ideas

We each have 24 hours in the day but I have days that feel a lot shorter. I make excuses for not focusing on my own writing projects but it boils down to how I manage my time. To blog when you have no time to write means thinking ahead about what, when, and how you want to organize your content.

Before quitting the idea of creating blog posts for your brand, consider these:

  1. How to Blog When You Have No Time to WriteGet into a Routine. My blogger pal Robbi Hess has been telling me, for way longer than I care to admit, to block time for my own writing. It wasn’t until recently that I made it a priority. Each morning I start my day by writing a blog post for one of my websites. Just that simple act focuses and inspires me to write.
  2. Plan Ahead. Spend time creating a list of blog post ideas that includes links to related articles, notes of what you’d like to include in the post, and a focused theme or category. I am not an outliner but I know bloggers who outline posts as they get ideas, filling in the blanks when they have time to finish. I tend to outline in my head and then start writing. There’s no right way to blog so find what works for you and do that.
  3. 80/20 Rule. 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. There’s a large amount of activity that you can delete because it’s not helping your business. If you’re going to coffee meetings with people who aren’t colleagues, masterminds, or prospects, cut those meetings from the schedule. This creates time for blogging.
  4. Create in Batches. Be ahead so you can take time off to spend with family and friends or focus on other business activities like networking or business development. Write a few posts and schedule them to go live over a longer period of time. I recommend four posts a month for most businesses. Write two posts a week for two weeks and a month of blogging is done!
  5. Set Reasonable Goals. I don’t know about you but I am an overachiever that struggles when it comes to goal setting. Take this blog challenge as an example. When it started my goal was 12 blog posts in six days but I soon realized that I only had time for one post. Instead of feeling like a failure, I reset my goal to 12 blog posts in 12 days. This is the fifth of those posts. The lesson? Set reasonable goals for blogging and track results. You might be surprised at what you can achieve.
  6. Hire a Professional Blogger. If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of creating content or have ideas and no time to write, it’s time to hire a professional blogger.

Sometimes 24 hours isn’t enough time to get everything done. That’s where I can help. As a professional blogger, I work with my clients to create content that speaks to their target audience. Contact me via email at anne@annemcauley.com or call 480-206-6452.

For more blogging tips, join the Blogging Badass Facebook Group.

What NOT to do as a Professional Blogger

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Solopreneur Ideas

When I decided to become a professional blogger, I did it with my ass on fire and really had no idea what it meant to be a professional blogger or social media manager.

All I knew was that I had been laid off from corporate America and wanted to pursue my dream of being a writer. A dream, 14 weeks of severance, crash courses in blogging, social media, and networking, and I was ready (ish) to go.

Over the years I’ve offered a variety of writing services to my clients. The projects didn’t always turn out the way I wanted but I learned along the way.

Here’s what NOT to do as a professional blogger:

  1. Listen to the naysayers. I would have started a side gig before leaving corporate America if I had ignored a certain person at my corporate job. She told me I couldn’t make money blogging and I believed her. I never thought to do my own research or give it a try. I could’ve at least had a running start on a full-time business.
  2. Start without a plan. I know what you’re thinking — that I didn’t have a plan and I am okay. Yes, it’s okay but there are days when I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to get a j-o-b and start a side gig before jumping in full-time.
  3. Fail to have a strategy. I’ve spent A LOT of time spinning my wheels, doing what other people said I should be doing, and never had my own strategy. Whether it’s short or long term, you’ve got to plan where you’re taking your business. Once I did that, I was able to focus my efforts on social media and marketing, making the most of the time I spend on my business and on client work.
  4. Let clients dictate your pricing and packages. I thought it would be more sale-able to let clients tell me what they needed and then I could put a price on it. Boy was I wrong! Here’s the secret: clients don’t always know what they want. I ended up down a rabbit hole of projects and clients I didn’t want. Once I defined my pricing and packages, I was able to say, “Here is how I can help you and the cost.” It’s easier to tell someone that they didn’t fit what I offer and refer them to someone else rather than taking on work I didn’t really want to do.
  5. Assume people will do what they say. Last year I made the mistake of assuming a company was going to refer a certain amount of business to me so I didn’t fill my pipeline with leads. When they didn’t come through, I was left without the income and without any leads to fill the gap. Ouch. Lesson learned.
  6. Be afraid of change. If there is one thing I’ve learned as a professional blogger, it’s that change happens and you just have to ride the wave. When I started my business, I was a social media manager for most of my clients and blogged for a few. I discovered that blogging is a higher margin and, more importantly, I enjoy it more so that’s where my business is focused now. It was an interesting shift but well worth it in the end.

Even without a plan to start my life as a blogger, I’ve been able to learn, grow, and change along the way. Are you interested in becoming a blogger? Do you want to start a blog on your business website? Schedule a Getting Started Session today by calling 480-206-6452 or email anne@annemcauley.com.

5 Signs it’s Time to Redesign Your Website

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Solopreneur Ideas

Time to Redesign Your Website

The Old Website

If you’re like a lot of business owners, you created a website when you started your business and haven’t changed it much since that time. I can relate. The McAuley Freelance Writing (MFW) website was originally a blog-only site that was (slightly) updated over four years. Those first versions were created without real focus on who my target client is and the story I wanted to tell.

I started asking colleagues what they thought of my now-old website and they gave honest feedback.

  • What do you DO?
  • How can you help my business?
  • Who is your target client?

It became clear the design was outdated, the content needed to be updated, and a clear message needed to be articulated. It was time for a website redesign.

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Here are five signs it’s time to redesign your website:

Event Marketing Ideas for Entrepreneurs

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Solopreneur Ideas

Event marketing is an art form. To effectively promote an event, whether an in-person or online event, takes creativity and planning. If you’re not willing to invest time and resources, you won’t see the payoff in leads generation, increased brand awareness, or other ways that you’re measuring event success.

event marketingBegin by having a clear vision of the purpose of the event. Identify your audience so you can market specifically to them. Hosting a business expo isn’t as specific as hosting a small business expo targeting local small business owners seeking to grow their business through marketing. In the former, you could have a variety of speaker topics and vendor industries. In the latter, the expo has a specific target for speaker topics and vendor industries. You’re attracting a specific audience to your event.

Let’s Talk!

480.206.6452

info@mcauleyfreelancewriting.com