Category Archives: Small Business Marketing

Good Content = Good SEO

If you read a lot of SEO blogs, or even some copywriting blogs, you will see tons of posts about how great content should be your top priority for your website, if you want your website to rank well. This post is basically just going to beat it into your brains!

Why Good Content is Important to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Don’t Be Too Wordy!

Too Wordy ContentYou know how it feels when you’re sitting there at a table with someone who totally dominates the conversation and talks for like 30 minutes non-stop? Well, don’t be that guy! You want to get your point across quickly, and effectively.
Use bulleted lists for displaying your services. Use short, descriptive sentences to talk about what you do. You shouldn’t need more than just a few paragraphs per page of content. If you need to say more, maybe you should consider creating a separate page to go into further detail about that topic? Which takes us into the next bit of advice…

Pages Should Be Topic Specific

What do you mean, dude? I mean that when you want a page to rank well for “Banana Flavored Popcorn”, make sure the page talks about Banana Flavored Popcorn. It should contain the main keywords of the topic about 3 or 4 times, preferably towards the top of your content. Just don’t make it sound all weird by throwing too many of the keywords around. You’ll just end up creating a bad user experience, and that is what we MUST avoid! Also make sure that the keywords are contained in your URL and Title. If your website doesn’t allow you to manage this information, then you need to fix that. Yeah, we can help if you need it.

Images Support Content

You should have some images within your posts and pages.
Content management systems make it easy to add images to your posts. Some of them (ahem, WordPress) even make it easy to edit, resize, crop, the image before you post it to the page. You can also add the necessary meta data to the image, like the ALT tag. Just be sure to also make sure that the filename of the image is similar to the topic of the page on which it will reside.

Check out a recent article on Forbes.com about design and content.

Yes, Small Businesses Can Do This!

Make Time for Content WritingAs a company that works with a lot of small businesses on website design as well as on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we run into the same problem quite often. Our clients don’t usually have someone within their staff that has the time, or ability to create content on a regular basis. They also feel that they can’t afford to pay for someone to help them create their content. But, this if you want to do it right, you need to find a way. This doesn’t have to be a $1,000/month project. It can be more affordable than you think.

You know yourself the best. Maybe you should be the one that writes the content? “But I don’t have the time!” You can make the time. Start with setting aside 1 hour each week to start writing content for your site. Make up a list of things that clients ask about. Make up a list of things that you know are of interest to your clients. If you don’t know, ask them! Use your lists as a base for what you want to write about. You can do this. It’s like getting up earlier in the morning and going to the gym. Once you get into the routine, you will start to reap the benefits of getting it done!

Don’t Just Hire a Writer

Businesses also make the mistake of falling for the sales pitches of companies that will create content for you. Often times, this content STINKS! They don’t know your business. They don’t know your customers. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They just want to make money.

You should talk to someone who is going to want to ask the right questions and create content that will help you. They should ask a lot about what you do, and who you serve, and why you do it. Maybe these are some things that you can have ready ahead of time? Talk to us first. Even if we don’t end up working together, we can get you set on the right path.

Create a Content Calendar

Content CalendarDo yourself a huge favor and create a content calendar. You can use a spreadsheet, a paper calendar, or even use your calendar on your computer (preferred) to set the dates and times as well as topics that you will post to your site. This will help to outline what you’re going to write about, and when. It will also remind you to do it! That is why we use our Google Apps calendar and set up reminders to tell us when we need to write something. Sure, things come up, but then you can move your calendar event to another time that works better for you. Give this a try. I think that you’ll find it to be a big help. Plan to post 2 new posts each week. See how you do.

Don’t believe me, here’s more advice on Content Calendars.

Heard Enough?

Please Share This PostOK, out of fear of becoming too wordy within this post, I will end it now. There’s a lot more that we can discuss, like how to find good topics, keyword research, etc. But we can do that another time. Just remember: CONTENT IS IMPORTANT! Very important!

Do you have questions or comments? Leave them below! Do you agree? Then please share this post with friends, family and your enemies using the buttons on the right below our latest tweets. Or, you can use the handy little buttons right below this message!

If you have questions about how to accomplish this on your website, please contact us. This is why we do what we do! We want to help your business succeed, and we have the resources ready to make it happen!

Call us: 412.467.6568

Using Twitter for Small Business Crisis Management

Recently, Twitter has been the bearer of bad world news.  It can also be the bearer of bad news for your business.

McBurgerKing

More often, people are turning to social media to vent their displeasure towards products, businesses, and people (#JustinBieberSlams).  It’s important to remember that transparency is key when running a successful crisis management campaign online.  Does everyone recall the February Burger King hack?  If you don’t, you may also be shocked to learn that Michael Jackson died.  Anyway, it’s old news, but we can learn from that hack.

Lesson 1: Be Transparent

Let people know what is happening as it is happening.  Show them that you’re doing what you can to manage the situation.  Diverging from the BK example for a moment, take a look at an article from the WSJ talking about entrepreneurs and Twitter.  One businessman’s webpage was hacked. Mr. Vaynerchuk, who owns New-York based Cork’d LLC, shot a video explaining the problem, linked it on his Twitter account, and also replied or DMed it to each person who tweeted or DMed him about the site.  He didn’t run away from the problem; rather, he explained it and updated his followers as to what is going on.  If you do anything, at least be transparent.

Lesson 2: Work Quickly

BuzzFeed shows that after an hour and some change, the BK account was suspended.  Some say this wasn’t fast enough.  Granted, an hour is an eternity for a company as gigantic as BK, but in reality, that’s pretty good considering it happened on a “national holiday”.  To put it into perspective, Cork’d didn’t get back to running until 8 hours later.  Make sure you’re thorough yet put the fire out as quickly as possible.  A fast response to the problem, shows that you care.  This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway..a quick reaction also quells the spread of who sees the mistake.

Lesson 3: Apologize

Both BK and Mr. Vaynerchuk apologized for what happened.  Be sincere, but if you can, laugh at yourself a bit.  At the very least, don’t take yourself too seriously.  If you pretend to be perfect, no one is going to buy it, especially when handling a catastrophe.

Lastly, don’t just use social media when something bad happens.  Shel Israel, author of “Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods” says to WSJ,

If you just go to Twitter when you have a crisis, you will have no followers and no credibility. […] The key to using Twitter effectively is to build trust with people who are relevant to your business.

So don’t shoot the messenger; put them to work instead.

Why Small Business Websites Fail

Why Small Business Websites FailWhy do most small business websites fail?

Well, first, what do I mean by “fail”?

Here are some ways that a site can fail:

  1. People can’t find your website when they search for the company’s services
  2. The site makes it difficult for the user to find what they are looking for
  3. The site does not adequately reflect the values and style of the company
  4. There are errors and mistakes on the site that make the user leave, or make search engines penalize the site

There are lots of other reason, but these are VERY common ones that can be easily avoided. The problem is that people don’t know what to do, how to do it, and who to trust to do it.

When you build a website, there a lots of things to keep in mind:

  1. User Experience & Design
  2. Search Engine Accessibility
  3. Content Organization
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  5. Mobile responsiveness
  6. Content Management
  7. and lots more!

The trouble is that the typical small business owner is too busy to learn how to do all of this themselves. The other problem is that it often costs way too much to hire someone to do it. Well, not necessarily. It depends on where you look. That’s where theBrewRoom steps in. We strive to keep our costs low, so that we can pass on the savings to the customer by keeping our prices and rates low. We offer a full spectrum of small business website design and development services, with a major focus on search engine optimization.

If you need some help with your website, or if you need a whole new site: give us a call or send us a message today. We would love to hear from you!

Website Design & Development Help

Optimize Images for WordPress

Cloudinary Image Hosting Plugin

Do you have a WordPress website that has a good amount of images on it? If so, there’s a good chance that it takes a little bit longer to load than you would prefer. Web page load speed is an important SEO factor! If that’s the case, there is a Free WordPress Plugin available for Image Hosting. This plugin comes from Cloudinary and is called “Cloudinary – Image management and manipulation in the cloud + CDN“.

They have paid accounts, but the free account is plenty of power for most people:

Free Cloud Image Hosting

theBrewRoom is going to test out the service and update this post with feedback. If you’re already using it, do you have any feedback that our readers might find to be interesting? If so, please leave a message below!

 

In the meantime, here is a good review of the Plugin from WPMU.org.

 

Why You Need Cloud Storage

I decided to write this brief post to explain why you need to have personal cloud storage. I recently heard from a client that lost ALL of the data on her hard drive because the hard drive failed. She lost everything that she had on the computer.

What is the Cloud?

The “cloud” is basically referring to storing data, applications, hosting out on the internet. Rather than storing a file on your computer, you store it on the “cloud”, which is just a fancy way of saying “a computer somewhere out on the internet”. The good thing about that, is that most cloud storage companies have reliable backup procedures in place. This would be complicated and costly for you to set up yourself. There are even applications that run on the cloud. Google Docs is a good example of this. You don’t need to buy and install Microsoft Office on your computer. Rather, you can create, edit, share all of the same types of documents out on the cloud… and not tie up hard drive space. Oh, and you won’t lose it if your hard drive crashes.

Why do I need Cloud storage?

Here are a couple of compelling reasons:

  1. There are FREE options out there
  2. You can’t afford to lose important files

I use Dropbox for saving and syncing all of my important business documents. I save files on my one computer, then Dropbox does the work of saving it to the web (cloud), and also syncing it to the other computers on which I have Dropbox installed.

Dropbox comes with 2GB of FREE storage. You can earn more free storage by referring your friends, family or co-workers to Dropbox. They will allow you to get all the way up to 18GB of total storage, for FREE! If you need more space, and don’t want to bully your friends into using Dropbox, you can pay for more space. Check Dropbox Plans for the latest rates.

I even share files with clients via Dropbox. You can easily create a folder, place files in it, then share that folder with your client. That way, both you and your client have access to the latest and greatest version of the documents that you’re sharing. This is a good way to share layout files, contracts, etc.

Even if you don’t have important business documents on your computer that you need to back up, you might have some pictures, or other personal documents (resume) that needs to be backed up. Dropbox makes this easy, and you don’t even have to worry/think about it.

So, as you can see, there’s really no reason to lose the important files that you have on your computer. You can easily and cheaply back-up your files and data to the cloud using a service such as Dropbox. There are other services out there, but Dropbox if one that we have come to like a lot at theBrewRoom. We hope that you try them out, so that you don’t lose those files that you want to keep safe.

Resources for Small Businesses

There are really a lot of resources out there that you can turn to for advice, guidance and support when it comes to starting or running a small business.

We have found SCORE to be one of the most valuable ones out there. Have you checked them out yet? If not, I would take a few moments to see what the offer. You can even get in touch with someone locally that will meet you and help you answer some of your questions, or maybe just point you in some directions.

Here’s a cool item that we found today on their website:

eBusiness Now Template Gallery | SCORE

Lots of good stuff on there. Let us know what you think.

Why theBrewRoom?

theBrewRoomWhat’s with the name of this site you ask?

I bet that you thought that we were going to say that we like beer, so that’s why we named it theBrewRoom.  Well, while that may be true, that’s not exactly what we were thinking.

Well, we want to find ways and brew up ideas to help you.  It’s really as simple as that. We love the businesses in Pittsburgh and Buffalo and we want them to succeed!
Whether it’s helping you update a website, create a new website, extend your online presence, or an overall online strategy, helping improve your search engine ranking, we are here to help.

Check out the services section for more information on what we offer.

If you think that we could be of assistance, or if you just have questions, feel free to contact us.

Thanks for stopping by.