Pocket a Cool App for Busy People

What gets the thumbs up for busy professionals? Pocket!
What gets the thumbs up for busy professionals? Pocket!

Looking for a way to be productive and keep on top of your reading? Consider the app called Pocket.

Pocket allows you to save to read later any article or web page. By saving something of interest to your own Pocket account, you can read it on your phone, on your tablet, or on your desktop. You don’t even have to be online to be able to read the content!

To get started visit www.GetPocket.com. Chrome makes it easy to add a GetPocket app that sits in your browser top menu. IE makes it a little more difficult but follow these instructions and add it to your Favorites Bar. In this case you right click the orange button and then save to Favorites and then in the open list Favorites bar.

You can sort your links, delete them, and favorite them. You can add articles, videos, links whatever you want. Visit Google Play or the Apple Store to get the free smartphone app that expands it use tremendously.

For me, this is a fabulous tool as it takes everything that I want to read later and allows me to be more productive on the go. So often I find cool things or articles I want to read later to blog about and I have been saving them in Outlook for Saturday reading. But I have to be sitting at my computer to re-read them. Now, I can sign into GetPocket.com and read my articles sitting at the dentist waiting on kids or when I have a free moment out and about.

Get more productive with your waiting, down-time, or sitting time by using Pocket to keep you in the know on the go!


The End of Manipulating Google Places

Google Partner Badge
McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

Very quietly Google has changed Google Places to remove the ability to manipulate a listing for organic performance and rebranded this property now as Google My Business. This action has very quietly slipped under the radar, but the changes are big for businesses.

First, Google sent out notices to all Google+ Local businesses that duplicate listings of the same business would not be allowed. Google immediately disabled access to all Google+ Local pages (also known as Google Maps pages and Google Places accounts) to email addresses that were not recognized by Google as clearly being the account owner by email, or having the business phone number or carrying the registered address. This effectively locked out all third party account managers.

Google then advised all account access users that the main account owner – not even the originator of the account, would have to allow access to any users from the parent account. Additionally that any approved users would then have to manage the account for two full weeks before transfer of the account could be done.

By making the linking and transfer process so complicated Google has effectively locked our all parties except the one account owner. Of additional important note is that Google has been removing one by one the items a business owner could actually change on their account. Over time, Google has removed the ability to add keywords and to craft a message that helped the business place locally.

Google even removed the ability for a monthly promotion as well as comments from the page owner. With this most recent update Google has now forced all Places pages now into the format of a Google My Business Page. No longer is the look and feel different of a Places page from a postable Google+ Business page but identical and one that you can now post to with a third party app like HootSuite.

If you already had a Google+ Business page Google has now made things even more difficult by creating a new page you’ll have to update called a Google My Business page.


Budget Tight? Where Can You Cut Back without Hurting Your Web Visibility?

Sometimes It Is All about the Money
Sometimes It Is All about the Money

The month of July has been tough for a number of businesses and August is not looking too hot either. Your company President is asking all departments to start trimming. Where can you trim without seriously affecting online visibility?

1. Take a careful look at social media. You may be able to move from three updates a day to two or from two to one.

2. Look at where your customers are. If you are paying to post to LinkedIn but have never gotten a customer from LinkedIn, use HootSuite to auto feed your blog posts to LinkedIn and drop daily status updates there. How about Google+ can you drop your frequency back?

3. Consider trimming your AdWords pay per click budget back 10%. You may not suffer significantly from this action but don’t just do it automatically. If AdWords has really been a strong lead driver for you, it may be more beneficial to boost your budget there instead of cutting.

4. Consider asking your blog post supplier to move from three days a week to two or from two to one. I do not recommend less than one day a week posting as there are simply too many benefits you receive from great blog content, but it may be time to review your spend in this area.

Although not every business will want to cut back when times are tough you have options to help trim the budget by taking a careful look at what has been working to drive leads and what can simply be trimmed in service level for the time being to trim costs until things turn around financially.


When Does Your Website Need Professional Help?

What gets the thumbs up from search engines?
What gets the thumbs up from search engines?

Here are several indicators that you need serious professional help:

1. Your daily website visits are under 10 a day.

2. When you search for your website under your business name or domain name, you don’t even appear on Google.com.

3. You’ve been blogging for a year but your inbound link numbers are still under 500.

4. Your bounce rate is in the 90 to 80% level.

5. You feel like you have great content but your phone is not ringing.

You’ve got a visibility problem! Although you may be doing many of the right things, you may not be doing them well, doing them consistently, or doing them with a cohesive strategy. That’s when having a second pair of eyes to review your website, your social media activity, and your content can be of value.

I’ve just finished a review just like this for a client this past week and routinely help clients to understand where they’ve gone wrong, what they need to continue doing, and what they need to do more consistently.

You can get concrete help for these difficult visibility issues. Find out how we can help you and the types of visibility review services we provide.


e-Newsletter Subscriber How To – Build and Nurture

Once you’ve decided that an e-newsletter is an avenue you want to pursue, you’ll find that to start building your subscriber list you just have to start by asking customers for their emails.

Consider having your pest control techs ask for emails at service appointments so that as you get the new appointment reminder software you are thinking of using they’ll be ready. In the meantime, use these new emails as the seed starters for your budding subscriber list.

Consider having your office staff save all copies of your website contact form for entry into an Excel spreadsheet which you will load once a month of prospects or website contacts into your e-newsletter subscriber management account.

Don’t forget to put a subscriber form on your website and blog.

Building Your Subscriber List is Not Hard
Building Your Subscriber List is Not Hard

It is easy to start to build your list and you’ll find that you can grow one fairly quickly. One note to the wise, it is very important before you start these endeavors that you update your website’s privacy policy to state that if someone contacts you via email that you will aid their name to your e-newsletter list and that they can easily unsubscribe.

How do you nurture your subscriber list once you have one? Cater your content to your audience. Watch your bounce rate, link clicks, and analytics of what seems to be popular with your readers. Ask for future topics and solicit advice from existing clients about what they like or don’t like about your e-newsletter.

Many clients think that they should do a weekly newsletter, but readers will typically prefer only a monthly frequency. Too many e-newsletters will rack up a bill with your subscription service and start the bleed off of subscribers as they start to block you as a spammer. It is better to send less frequently than more frequently. The only exception may be if you are an e-commerce store and are sending out deals and coupon codes. Then weekly or bi-weekly may be best for you.

For more information on how you can use e-newsletters here’s a great article that shares some additional insights for review.


Are You Missing the Boat By Not Having an E-Newsletter

Are You Missing the Boat? Yes!
Are You Missing the Boat? Yes!

Are you missing the boat? You sure are! I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard, “I love your newsletter, it has value to me, and now that I need X, I thought to call you first.”

If you are not creating great content that is shareable in an e-newsletter format, not only are you missing potential sales, but you may be missing ways to create loyalty with your current client base. When you create loyalty with your current base, you protect your business from “poaching”, build advocates for your own services, enhance referral actions, and protect your business from price shopping.

Doing an e-newsletter is easy, especially if you are blogging at least twice a week. We recommend to our blogging clients that they use the best blog post (or two) as the content for their monthly e-newsletter. I’ve found that typically the person who reads your blog is not the person who subscribes to your e-newsletter. If you feel that using blog posts may be too redundant for your audience, enlarge the blog post or add additional content value to it for the e-newsletter version.

With so many options for prefab e-newsletter templates you don’t need to have a custom one built necessarily, but some of our clients like one that reinforces their own brand.

Once your subscriber list size is about 100 or so you are ready to start working on creating and publishing your e-newsletter. Check back on Thursday for more tips on doing your e-newsletter and how to get subscribers.