Build Your Brand: Blogging, SEO, SocialMedia & Relationships
- 2.5 hours on-demand video
- 2 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- Get more traffic to your website
- Become a thought leader in your niche
- "Be everywhere" on social media (without the effort)
- Get links, social shares and notice from others in your industry
- a WordPress website
Learn the secrets that enable me to get over a thousand visitors everyday to my website.
And learn how to market your business and website with a blog, onsite optimization, social media and relationships.
A website is essential – not only to every business – but to everyone in today’s economy.
In order to create a successful web presence it's becoming increasingly important to "be everywhere". I can explain how to achieve this efficiently and without wasting time.
My name's Rob Cubbon I've been running an online business for over 7 years.
I will explain:
- Website optimisation for the search engines
- How to be active on social networks without spending too much time on them
- And, lastly, but by no means least, how to foster meaningful relationships with people in your niche – an often overlooked web marketing essential
This course will show you exactly how to do this with easy step-by-step instructions.
I'm going to show you how to make the most of your WordPress blog. So there will be practical examples of:
- how to set up and use Google Analytics
- how to create an XML Sitemap and register it with Google Webmaster Tools
- how to get on to Google maps
- how to add social media share buttons
- how to make sure your WordPress website works quickly which is a really important SEO concern
- the theory behind blogging and how to make sure it's constantly updated with great articles that are relevant to your niche
- how to optimise your website for Google and the other search engines
- how to do proper keyword research for your website so you target search terms that will be easy and profitable to rank for
- how to create individual blog posts that Google and your visitors will like and that ensures the maximum traffic possible.
Social media can be a huge drain on your time and resources. I can show you how to set up and use the most important social media outlets effectively and efficiently: I will show you how :
- to set up and use Twitter
- all about Facebook Marketing
- how to use LinkedIn and YouTube
- and, how to maintain brand consistency and regular posting throughout all these channels with the minimum of effort.
Finally I'll show you how to set up and maintain professional relationships with thought leaders and others in your niche which will make you an authority as well as supplying you with much needed links to your site.
Marketing your business on the web today needn't be as confusing as it sometimes seems. I can show you how to do it properly and how to enjoy it.
Communicating with your audience has never been more fun :)
- Business owners
- Beginner bloggers
Only creating great content and putting it out so that the maximum number of people are aware of it and your brand.
There are a few SEO, tweaks and "must-do's" for your WordPress site. You should be involved in a few of the major social networks but learn ways to post regularly in a way that is not time consuming. You should engender relationships with others in your niche which will serve you in many ways in the future.
Please have a look at the free PDF e-book with this lecture.
With the email address, don’t just give out your email address or even present it in the
var username = "rob";
var hostname = "robcubbon.com";
var linktext = username + "@" + hostname;
document.write("<a href=" + "mail" + "to:" + username + "@" + hostname + "?subject=Enquiry" + ">" + linktext + "</a>")
Replace “rob” and “robcubbon.com” above with your email name and domain.
For the phone number use this code:
<a href="tel:+447762383426">+44 (0)7762 383 426</a>
And that will be a clickable, dialable number when viewed on a mobile device.
Sign up to get on to Google Maps here at Google Places for Business
With wonderful high speed broadband we now get impatient if a page takes time to load, and sites that leave us starring at a blank screen for more than a second will have the back button hit on them faster than you can say “snail”.
Google has made page loading times an increasingly important ranking factor recently.
So, if you have a slow site no one's going to hang around to consume your content and no one's going to find you on Google either. Put simply, page loading times are of paramount importance.
The need for speed is something we'll always be thinking about as website owners. But I thought I'd write about a few of the biggest wins I've had over the years in the endless struggle against slowness. Watch the video above which gives you a practical demonstration of the advice below, and then … tell me what you think!
Check your site with Google PageSpeed
Google PageSpeed is a suite of tools that can help you optimise the performance of your website. I use the Chrome extension (extensions for other browsers are also available).
Select a page of your website, open Developer Tools (Cmd-Opt-I; Ctrl-Shift-I), and click ANALYZE and the PageSpeed tool will give you a score out of 100 and make suggestions about how to improve loading times.
If you're not sure how to implement any of the suggestions – particularly the maximum and medium priority ones – then contact your host and see if they can help you.
However, the score may well improve after you implement the following…
Load a caching and/or minify plugin
One of the best things you can do to speed up a WordPress site is to load a caching plugin.
These caching plugins store a special cached version of your site and present it to visitors immediately without performing a number of database queries as is normally the way a website would be served.
These plugins need to be configured correctly and, again, you should consult your host on the best plugin to use as well as the correct configuration. Two of the best caching plugins for WordPress are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache.
Another important point to remember with caching plugins is that the special cached version of the site may not be the most up-to-date and, especially when you make small development tweaks, it may be necessary to delete the cache to ensure the development tweak is affected.
I've also seen great results from WP Minify. Please see the video for more information on these.
Cut down on the amount of plugins you have
Make sure you don't have loads of plugins activated. 15 should be the absolute maximum.
- Deactivate unnecessary plugins
- Delete deactivated plugins
- Check on the WordPress Plugin Directory. Are you using plugins that haven't been updated recently or have a poor rating.
A great way to check to see if you have any “problem plugins” loaded is with the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin. It's another plugin, I'm afraid! But all you have to do is activate it, run a scan and it'll quickly show you which plugins are slowing down your site the most. (After that you can deactivate it and delete it, if you wish.)
Also, you can change the order that your plugins are loaded and/or selectively disable plugins by any post type or URL with the Plugin Organizer plugin. A plugin to organize plugins – love it!
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) stores your site's files in various locations around the world and it will serve your content via your host from the nearest server to your visitor. So visitors from Europe will receive content from Europe; visitors from Asia will receive content from there, etc.
I would recommend MaxCDN. CDNs need to be configured in tandem with your caching plugin. MaxCDN (affiliate link) will give you adequate directions on how to do this with W3 Total Cache and SuperCache.
Use a good host
Sometimes you can make all the tweaks you like to your WordPress installation but, if your host stinks, these tweaks won't do you any good.
This site is on a great UK host I recommend called Vidahost (affiliate link). And there are some great, recommended VPS hosts and some great shared hosting companies.
Obviously dedicated hosts will be generally faster than VPSs, which should be faster than shared hosts. However, this is not always the case. You can be pleasantly surprised with a good shared host although that may be down to luck as you've been put on a relatively empty server. If you're serious about blogging then go for a VPS or dedicated.
Optimize your database
As part of general WordPress good housekeeping, you should optimize your database every month or so, especially if your site has been going for a few years and has loads of posts and comments.
You can use plugins like WP-DB Manager to delete unneeded post revisions, unapproved and spam comments, etc., and repair your database with one click.
Use a good theme
There may be some badly written themes out there. You are much better off using one of the well-reviewed premium themes out there. I always recommend Genesis because it's superbly coded and well-optimized.
But there are loads of other good themes out there. And you can't go wrong with any of the default WordPress themes, like the amazing and responsiveTwenty Twelve.
Optimize your images
The images on your site are likely to be the files with the biggest sizes of all. So it makes sense to optimize them as much as possible. Photos like the ones above should be saved as well-optimized JPGs. Use PNG-8 and GIF for flat color web graphics. And only use PNG-24 when you absolutely have to – when something has to be particularly well cut-out, usually.
When optimizing JPGs, I usually put the quality at around 40-55% depending on the image.
And, always make the image size the same as the size it's displayed on the page. Never cram a larger image into a smaller size on the page – that's just wasteful!
Use image sprites
An image sprite is a collection of images put together on a single image. What's the point of creating a single image sprite? A web page may have many small images, for example social media icons. All those images generate multiple server requests and all have to be downloaded individually whereas an image sprite is only requested and downloaded once thus speeding up the page load time.
On my site, look at the top left hand corner, you'll see a row of images which are icons of the various social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) If you hover over any of them they go from black and white to color. Neat, eh? To create this, please see my post on creating social media profile buttons – HTML and CSS.
Above is the image sprite used for the profile buttons.
And above is another one I've made for another site. If you want to use any of these, get in touch. I have the HTML and CSS.
Keep an eye on your HTML
Another great way to “keep an eye on your site” is to make sure a particular page's HTML validates. Go to the W3C Markup Validation service and check a blog post or your home page.
If the page is littered with HTML errors then it might be time to pick a new theme. See if you can see where the errors are coming from – it may be you are using a poorly coded plugin and there maybe a better one you could choose.
A few HTML errors may not slow you down but bad HTML, in the very worst of cases, could cause your site to stick or hang on some browsers.
Use post excerpts on your archive pages
This is a blogging, SEO, usability and speed related piece of advice!
An archive page is either your blog's traditional home page with the last 10 posts displayed, or a category page, an author page, even a search results page. A page which lists multiple posts.
It is best to have this page display only extracts of the posts rather than the full post with all the images, movies or anything else it may contain.
This seems like pretty basic advice for any savvy blogger but I'm constantly surprised by the amount of times I see full posts on archive pages.
Every theme handles this differently. For some themes you may have to edit the theme's PHP files to show excerpts on the archive pages. On the Genesis theme framework, under Theme Settings > Content Archives, I choose “Display post excerpts”.
You can do it
No matter if your site is one month, one year or one decade old, you'll always be trying to get your page loading times down.
I hope you will find one or more of the above suggestions helpful. If you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comments. Let's talk!
Google has a speed tracking service tacked onto Google Analytics you can set it up here for your site. This enables you to see how long it take for different pages to load for different users. You can segment by browser type, country and all the other usual categories you get with Analytics. More about Google Analytics site loading tracking here by Matt Fox.
- Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin
- Subscribe to Comment reloaded.
- Related Posts Plugin
- Back up WP DB Manager
Read this quote from Google’s Matt Cutts:
“Even if you do brain-dead stupid things and shoot yourself in the foot, but have good content, we still want to return it.”
Google is going to try to return the relevant content so that you don’t even have to think about SEO. Bare that in mind when talking to SEO companies.
Basic WordPress SEO best practices
Straight out of the box, here’s are a few “must do’s”
- Put keywords in your permalinks or enable “pretty permalinks” in Settings > Permalinks select Custom Structure and type:
- Choose a quality theme. Or rather don’t choose an old, crap theme. The default Twenty Ten or Twenty Eleven are just fine. I use Genesis (affiliate link), generally speaking premium themes are slightly better but they are by no means essential.
- Create Categories to group your blog posts and write meaningful descriptions of them in Posts > Categories
- Choose whether your site’s address will have a www or non-www. Why can’t Google work this one out themselves? Matt Cutts still says this is necessary. It’s 99% not likely to matter but if both www and non-www work in the address bar of the browser you’ll need to force one on to the other with .htaccess.
- Use an SEO plugin or your theme’s SEO controls to sort out your titles. The best SEO plugin is Yoast’s WordPress SEO. Page titles can be
%%title%% – %%sitename%%and post titles are usually
%%title%%. Although it really doesn’t matter that much. You can also set titles and meta descriptions individually with this plugin – more on that later.
- Create a Google XML Sitemap. This won’t help with rankings but it might help with getting indexed quickly
- Create a robots.txt. It should say “User-agent: * Sitemap: http://your-site.com/sitemap.xml” if you created your sitemap with the above plugin.
- Register your site with Google Webmaster Tools (register sitemap), Yahoo! Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools (if you can’t be bothered, just do Google Webmaster Tools).
So, if you’re just setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org blog I strongly suggest you do the above.
On-page WordPress SEO best practices
Going forward, while you’re regularly writing awesome content, you’re going to have to employ some on-page SEO best practices.
- Put keywords in your blog post titles. So, “Electric Guitar Playing Styles”: good; “Tra-la-la-la-la, look how I handle my axe!”: bad.
- Add subheadings. Words in between
tags carry more importance than
tags, so split your post up with subheadings. It also looks better and helps the reader scan the article. Make sure the subheads are natural!
- Add images. Makes sure images have good filenames (eg.
banana.jpg) and descriptive alt text (eg.
alt="partially pealed banana on table").
- Word count/Density/Stuffing. Write at least 600 words on each blog post and include your keywords in the text naturally – don’t stuff them in. Write for humans, not for search engines.
- Link internally to your own pages when relevant.
- Don’t forget to link out to authority sites as well.
If you do the above, regularly write great content and engage in social media, link and relationship building, that is all you need to know about WordPress SEO.
The Google keyword tool
When it comes to SEO, the first thing you need to do is keyword research. This is an absolutely essential stage in the early lifecycle of an online business. And it is something you'll come back to again and again.
Don't just guess what people are looking for – research it! Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to tell you how many people make certain searches every month.
This tool can help you analyse the demand for your products or services. Also, this tool can tell you the exact words your potential customers are using to search for businesses like yours.
So, in the example of the video, let's say I'm a web designer in London, I should see how many searches are being made every month for those exact words.
As you can see from the image below, the exact words “web designer london” are searched for 880 times every month in Google. I'm always amazed by how accurate these results are! You can guarantee that there will be around 880 people searching for “web designer London” this March, this April, this May… etc.
How do I know how accurate this is? Because, if you hit the top spot you can guarantee about 30%-60% of that traffic, and when that happens the same amount of traffic comes in every month – almost as regularly as clockwork! (Of course, not if it's a seasonal search term like “halloween costumes”.)
So, now that you understand exactly how powerful this tool is, there are some Google Keyword Tool tips:
- Always use [Exact] Match Type, not Broad (annoyingly the default) nor “Phrase”
- Choose the country you're interested in for the Local Monthly Searches, otherwise just look at Global Monthly Searches
- Look for the “low hanging fruit”, monthly visitors in between 250 and 1250 (or ideally between 500 and 1000) because they have a decent search volume and are unlikely to have high competition
- Whilst looking at the suggestions for other keywords, you can order them by number of searches by clicking on the top of the search columns
Now that you, hopefully, have a few keyword ideas to target, it's time to checkout the competition.Keyword competitor analysis
The first thing you need to do, if you haven't already, is to download the SEOquake add-on for Firefox. I would add here that I personally don't use it on my main browser. This is because it does slow browsing down while it gets all the juicy information. After installing it go Tools > SEOquake > Preferences > and cut down the number of Parameters it shows – this'll speed things up.
Look for the first parameter – the Google PageRank. If you're looking down the top ten Google results and you see a load of PageRanks of 2′s, 1′s and 0′s, then bingo! You've got a keyphrase you can target!
Please be aware that Google PageRank isn't the be-all-and-end-all measurement of the importance of pages. Try to look at other parameters such as how many links competitors' sites have going into them. And, some results will be there because their on-page SEO is better for that particular search. This isn't an exact science, but it'll give you a good start when analysing your main competitors online.
You are looking for two things: first, a decent number of monthly searches with the Google Keyword Tool, and second, nice easy competition.
If you have found a few keyphrases you'd like to target you can move onto the next stage.On page SEO
If you want your home page to get to the top of Google for “web designer London” then you have to optimize that page for the words “web designer London”.
You can do this by adding the phrase to the heading, title, first paragraph and body text of the page. More about on-page optimization in WordPress here.Build links to the page with the keywords in the anchor text
Of course, we all know the value of getting links to our site. But when targeting certain keyphrases, it's necessary to get some of those links pointing to you with the keywords in the anchor text. Like this (where “web designer London” is our targeted keyphrase):
<a href="http://robcubbon.com">web designer London</a>
But, don't over do this! Don't get hundreds of links pointing to your site with the same anchor text as that looks unnatural. Mix up the wording of the anchor text and be sure to include links with anchor text “click here” and “find out more about”. Include links with the domain as the anchor text. Link to the internal pages not just the home page. With new sites be especially careful not to “over-optimize” both the on-page and off-page SEO.
The above has been re-written to accommodate the changes made in April 24th to Google's algorithm, call “Penguin”. This advice still holds out but avoid building too many links and make them look “natural” in terms of anchor text.
How to get links? Well, there's a big topic! Here's an article with some WordPress and SEO Tips to Get Links and Google Traffic.Blogging, Relationships and Content Marketing
Obviously I can't cover all the good practices needed in content creation and link building in this one post. I would always advise anyone with a website to start a WordPress blog as it is good marketing for your brand. Set upWordPress with SEO in mind. Make you sure write your blog posts in an SEO-friendly manner.
Form relationships with other bloggers in your niche. Help them promote their posts and they will help you promote yours.
All this blogging activity together with the above targeting strategy will pull in massive long tail search traffic connected to your target keywords.
I should mention at this point that good content will get you good links and good search engine rankings. It's the ultimate technique that pretty much trumps all of the above!You can do it!
Do you have a set of keywords you target for your home page? If you don't, head over to the Google Keyword Tool to find some low hanging fruit!
Are you aware of your competition? If not, get the SEOquake add-on and check out the competition on a search term that describes your business. Can you beat 'em? If so optimize the page and build some links to it. It's surprisingly easy – just a few good links can make a lot of difference. But don't over-egg the pudding. Find out more about how to get great clients for your business in my e-book.
Twitter is an extremely powerful social networking tool if used correctly. Here you'll see how to set up a Twitter account – you can have as many as you want.
Make up a great blurb for your company with only 140 characters.
Create a background image with your logo and website details in so it's visible on the left hand side. Change the colors of the links to be compatible with your website.
Twitter Header size: 1500px (width) X 421px (height) – upload a landscape image for the header.
Twitter Profile size: 400 x 400 – decide on whether to show a real face or a logo here (real faces work better!)
Facebook, with a billion users, is an extremely popular social network (understatement there).
You're not meant to create more than one profile but you can create different pages – just click "Create New" – (which used to be called Facebook Fan Pages).
How to make a Facebook Cover Photo for $10
Facebook Profile photo size: 180 x 180 pixels
Set up a Google profile
You must do this if you haven't already. If you have a Gmail account or have used any other Google services you probably already have one.
Once you have your Google profile set up it's important that you upload a clear headshot for your profile image. You must also create an informative About page which should include a link to the home page of websites where you author articles. Your should also set up a +1 page and make sure the tab appears on your Google profile. Here's my Google profile.
Add a link to your site on your Google+ profile
You have to link your Google Plus profile back to your site. Go to your Profile > About and hit Edit Profile. Now you can click on the Other Profiles right hand sidebar and edit the sites you own or contribute to. You must do this step.
You can become a YouTube video star! I would advise absolutely everyone (yes I mean everyone!) to set up their own YouTube channel. It only takes a few minutes and recording video has never been easier.
One of the many benefits of video is that it creates a stronger connection between you and your customers. I show my face on my videos (that took a lot of courage, I can tell you!) and I've already noticed more people reaching out to me as a result.
And, subscribe to my YouTube channel already!
So once you've set up your YouTube channel here's how to customize it's look:
- Head over to youtube.com/onechannel, scroll to the bottom and click “Get Started” (you can switch back later if you don't like the new channel layout, but I wouldn't if I were you!)
- Create your “channel art” (the huge banner across the top), an image 2120 pixels by 1192 pixels. Save as a JPG. Remember only the middle fifth of the image is viewable on the desktop version.
- Record or set a video for your channel trailer. Go ahead and view mine, I'd love to know what you think.
So, with all of the above, this is how my channel now looks:
Download New YouTube Channel Art
As you can see from the above video, although the size of the channel art is 2120 pixels by 1192 pixels, you can only view a horizontal strip of maybe 320 pixels high.
If you click on the image below you can download a PSD to help you design your YouTube channel art.
This downloadable PSD is of the correct size (2120 pixels by 1192 pixels) and has the viewable area (for the desktop view) marked out in layers.
Once this is uploaded you can see how the different crops work on different devices.
Add your channel trailer
Recording a new channel trailer is perhaps more important now as it plays automatically as soon as someone (a non-subscriber) arrives on your channel page. Try to get round to this as soon as possible. Don't make it very long. 2-3 minutes at most.
LinkedIn is a professional social networking site and has just surpassed 200 million users.
Nearly 60% of LinkedIn users hold executive-level or consultant positions therefore it has the highest percentage of decision-makers than any other social network. LinkedIn is growing at roughly one million new members every week, the equivalent of one joining every second.
As with all social media you should use the white hat approach and attempt to interact, engage and help the people rather than blatantly advertising your services or asking for work. Your goal with LinkedIn should be to establish yourself in your industry or niche. Make connections with customers and colleagues that you already have a relationship with and build from there.
One of the best ways of doing this is with LinkedIn Groups.
There are over 870,000 groups on LinkedIn whose membership varies from 1 to 377,000. The majority of groups are business related, although there are currently 128,000 groups for both academic and corporate alumni.
One of my favourite groups on LinkedIn is the WordPress group. They are a lively and knowledgable crowd and have answered and commented on every question I’ve put.
Every sort of job you can do or application you use will be represented by LinkedIn Groups. I have joined groups for Illustrator users, Photoshop users, Mac users as well as some general design and marketing groups.
And hook up with friends and colleagues and don’t forget to connect with me on LinkedIn!
Other LinkedIn ideas
We are only really scratching the surface of what you can do at LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn as a one stop shop for growing an audience and getting business. Here are some more fantastic things you can do on LinkedIn including optimising for SEO, adding video and running surveys.
- Run a survey to find out exactly what leading professionals are thinking with LinkedIn Polls
- Set up a company profile on LinkedIn
- Optimise your LinkedIn profile for search engines by customising the URL
- Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job by Guy Kawasaki
- Add video to your profile
Let me know
Are you on LinkedIn? What is your experience there? Do you have any other tips on how to best use LinkedIn?