• The Five Pages Every Small Business Website Must Have – A guest post by Paula Hickey

    Paula Hickey is a Tech Virtual Assistant with a focus on WordPress assistance and website design. She works behind the scenes with busy Mom bloggers and coaches so that they can focus on growing their businesses. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Rex, and their dog, Buffy and cat, Smokey. You can find her at http://www.paulasextonhickey.com/

    It can be overwhelming trying to decide what pages your business website needs. You know that you need a homepage but what else? This is why I want to share with you the five pages every small business website must-have. Over time you may want to add more pages but these five will give your website a solid foundation to build on.

    The Five Pages Every Small Business Website Must Have

    About Page

    Next to your homepage, the about page is often the most visited page on a business website. Think about it, your visitors want to get to know who they’ll be working with.

    Keep in mind your about page isn’t really about you, it’s about your potential client and what you can do for them. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. This book will be a huge help in ensuring that your copy is client-focused.

    Potential clients aren’t the only ones looking at your about page. Google also looks at your about page. This is part of their EAT rating system that they have their researchers look at on each website. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

    Give Google What It’s Looking for On Your About Page:

    First, share any relevant experience that relates to your business offerings. Do you have a degree or certificate? Have you taken any online courses? Be sure to include that info on your about page. (Don’t worry you don’t have to have a degree to rank well with Google but if you do have one it’s good to list it.)

    Something else to mention is how many years of experience you have in your field or with certain programs. For example, if you offer blog management as a service, you can include how many years you’ve been working with WordPress.

    Include features or interviews you’ve had on any high-profile or popular podcasts, magazines, or blog posts. Or if you’ve written pieces that were featured in a publication or website, include links to those too. This is a good way to show your Authoritativeness. One of the most popular ways to showcase this is with an “As Seen In” section that links to relevant pieces.

    By including these mentions, you will show Google that other people in your field recognize you as a leader who knows what they’re talking about.

    The best way to show trustworthiness is with testimonials. This shows Google that you’re a trusted resource in your field.

    If you’re just starting out, you may not have a lot of these yet, and that’s okay. Keep them in mind and start working toward getting them. Make a list of places you want to guest post or podcasts you want to be on and start pitching them. As you gain clients, make it a regular habit to ask for testimonials that you can include on your website.

    Include a Call to Action

    Where do you want your visitor to go next? Whether it’s to your service page or to sign up for your email list include a call to action to that on your about page.



    Service Page

    This page is all about selling your potential clients on your services. Be sure to mention who you work with and when writing your copy, speak to your ideal customer.  You’ll need to list your services in a detailed and organized way.

    Include a little about the process of working with you too. What happens once they schedule their discovery call with you? Break this down for your visitors so they know what to expect.

    Include a couple of testimonials on this page as well. And don’t forget a call to action which will most likely be to book an appointment with you.

    A Blog

    It’s no secret that search engines love fresh content. One of the best ways to create consistent fresh content for your website is with a blog. A blog is also one of the best ways to showcase your expertise to your clients/customers and search engines.

    Having a blog also allows you to use the SEO strategy of topic clustering.

    Take Lori, for example, she offers Pinterest management services for her clients. So that is one topic she can write about and try to rank for. But by using topic clusters, which are subtopics of her main topic, she has the opportunity to rank for thousands of keywords instead of just one.

    Lori does a great job of this as you can see her website has a ton of information about Pinterest. And again this also reinforces that she is a Pinterest expert.

    Contact Page

    Make it as easy as possible for potential clients to contact you. Be sure to include a contact form and your email address on this page. You can also include other ways to contact you including your social media accounts if you like.

    My favorite element to include on the contact page is a “Schedule Your Call” button. This really makes it simple for clients to book an appointment with you. 

    Pro Tip: have this button before your contact form so that if someone wants to book an appointment they will see the button before they see the form. This can cut down on a lot of back and forth about a good time to schedule an appointment. 

    The Five Pages Every Small Business Website Must Have

    Legal Policies Page

    There are at least four sections you need to have on this page, or you can have separate pages for each of these if you feel like one page would be too long. Here’s what you need:

    • Terms and Conditions
    • Disclosure
    • Privacy Policy
    • Cookie Policy

    Let’s look at each a little more closely:

    Terms and Conditions

    This section is basically the “rules” of your website. You’ll want to mention that the content of your website is copyrighted to you and how that content can be used. For example, if you’re a craft blogger, do you allow people to repost your crafts or images of your crafts? If not be sure to mention that.

    A few basic things to mention besides copyright:

    • That the information on your website is for informational purposes only
    • Include a Comment Policy
    • Include a Refund and Payment policy
    • That you’re not responsible for the content of third-party websites you link to
    • A way for visitors to contact you if they have questions

    Disclosure

    This is where you disclose if you’re an affiliate or if you work with sponsors. You’ll need to include that you may make money off of the products or services you recommend on your website. Pro tip: any page or post that includes affiliate links or sponsorships will need a disclosure too. 

    Privacy Policy

    A privacy policy lets your visitors know how you collect their information and what you do with that information. Two ways you’re most likely collecting information from visitors is in your blog comment section and through your email list sign up forms. You may also be taking payments from clients and customers so you’re collecting that information as well.

    You’ll need to list what programs you use to collect the information, what you do with the information, and link to those program’s privacy policies as well.

    If you’re a WordPress user, WordPress has a helpful Privacy Policy template you can use to get started. Go to Settings > Privacy to find it.

    Cookie Policy

    If you’re using Google Analytics or you have ads of any kind on your website you’ll need a cookie policy. List each program that you use that uses cookies and then link to their cookie policies too.

    Your Cookie and Privacy Policy Pages ensure that you are GDPR compliant.

    A legal page can be daunting to think about creating but it’s worth it to protect yourself and your business.

    If you need help, many places sell templates you can use to make the creation of your legal page easier. Remember to do your research before purchasing so you know you’re buying from a reputable source.

    That’s it! These are the five pages every small business website must-have. Just remember you don’t have to get them perfect on the first try. Done is better than perfect and you can always come back and refine your messaging and copy over time. But now you have a framework to get started and that’s the most important step.

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  • The ultimate list of home office supplies

    Working from home comes with quite a few challenges, one of them being how to “set up” a home office. If you’re like me, you have a hard time staying focused and on-task, especially if you have little ones at home, and you long for a space of your own.

    I am a year deep into my business, and I have learned quite a bit along the way. I have my desk/work area in a corner of my (small) living room, so you can see the dilemma I have of creating a “home office” for myself. I want to share with you the things I have purchased to help create my workspace and make it an ideal place to get my work done.

    The best part of it all is that you can get most of these items on Amazon, which is what I did. After all, who wants to drag two toddlers to the store while you’re deciding what to get? Amiright? #onlineshoppingitis

    As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

    the ultimate list of home office supplies

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    my workspace
    My current set-up in the corner of my living room

    Big scale home office supplies

    These are some of the bigger-ticket items that I needed to start my virtual assistant/blogging business. I didn’t purchase all of these things at once, and definitely not all in the beginning. I started with a desktop (already had it) and a printer, and as I started making money with my business, everything else came shortly after. 

    1. Desk

    The most important thing you’ll need is a desk, your own space to work. I really wanted a desk that could be functional for everything I needed to do. I needed it to house a computer and printer, and also have space to write/do activities.

    2. Office chair

    Every good desk needs a comfortable office chair! Unless you opt for a standing desk (they are trending right now!) a great chair will definitely help when working long hours at your computer. You’ll want something with back support, and possibly armrests.

    3. Printer/scanner/copier

    I like to create printables, as well as, have hard copies of (certain) things. I needed a good printer to do just that. I opted to get a wireless Bluetooth printer because I work from my phone a lot and sometimes need to print something straight away. This all in one machine is great for printing, scanning, and copying. Oh, and don’t forget the ink!

    4. Wall calendar/planner

    I love organization and need to be able to have a calendar to keep track of everything. The product that best fit my needs was a dry-erase wall calendar/bulletin board combo. I also opted to get a Happy Planner so that I can take my calendar on the go!

    5. File cabinet

    This can be entirely optional, however, I like to be sure that I have everything organized and in a safe place. Running a business is a professional job, and since I have my client’s personal information at my fingertips, I like to be sure it is kept in a safe place.

    6. Surge protector/power strip

    This is an important thing to have because you’ll have quite a few things to plug in at once. This also protects your computer/laptop if the power should ever go out.

    7. If needed: a laptop or computer

    I already had a desktop and a laptop, so I didn’t need to purchase one when I started my business. However, if you need to get one, here are a few great options!

    8. Anti-virus (optional, but highly suggested)

    When doing any kind of business, it’s important to make sure your computer is protected. That way, your work is safe, as well as your client’s information. I use (and always have used) McAfee anti-virus.

    9. Microsoft Office (optional)

    I use a Windows computer, so of course I have Microsoft Office. I combine it with using Google docs and other services. I use Publisher the most, as it is a great program to create worksheets and guides.

    the ultimate list of home office supplies

    “Smaller-scale” office supplies

    Office supplies

    ""
    ” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Smaller-scale supplies 

    These are some of the “smaller” home office supplies that I use at some point in my business (a lot of them daily):

    • POST-ITS!!
    • Mouse pad
    • Paperclips
    • Desk organizers (various sizes/uses)
    • Magazine holders
    • Manila folders
    • Hanging file folders
    • Notepads/composition books
    • Pens/pencils
    • Binders
    • Printer paper
    • Correction tape
    • Stapler/staples
    • Scissors
    • Tape
    • Arm rest
    • Calculator
    • Highlighters
    • Thumb tacks
    • Page protectors

    The best part of these supplies is that you can find most of them during back to school sales. I usually get a few of each thing at that time because it is offered at a cheaper price. (Of course, don’t forget about Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday sales!)

    Fun stuff

    I have always felt that if you love the environment you’re in, you are definitely more productive. A great way to do this is to decorate your area! Listed below are some of the things I have at my desk/office area to make it a warm and inviting environment:

    Optional but useful items

    These items aren’t essential to running a business, however, they are what I use in MY business for efficiency and organization.

    home office supplies

    Optional items I don’t use

    These are some home office items that are available for certain business niches, however, I have not purchased or used any of them in my business.

    • Cell phone stand
    • Microphone
    • Pegboard
    • Whiteboard/chalkboard
    • Lightbox
    • Camera/photography equipment

    Business tools

    A whole ‘nother area of running your own business consists of software, hardware, and business tools. Read this post to learn more about some of the tools you may need to run a smooth business.

    Related posts

    Final thoughts

    This is just a small list of things you can get to make a comfortable (and functional) home office for yourself. The best part of it all is that you can make it match and coordinate to your liking!

    Leave me a comment below of the treasures you’ve found! And let me know if you’re as OBSESSED with Amazon as I am 🙂

  • Top 5 reasons businesses aren’t marketing on Pinterest – and why they should be.

    When people hear the words ‘social media marketing’ they don’t usually think of Pinterest first.  But, to tell you the truth, Pinterest is marketing’s best-kept secret!

    What Pinterest is:

    • A visual search engine
    • An organic-traffic driver
    • An excellent place to get ideas, tips, advice
    • A place to make money
    • A great place to advertise your business
    • A long-term marketing ‘investment’

    What Pinterest isn’t:

    • A social media platform
    • A quick-fix 
    • A marketing solution for every business (but can be for most!)

    (Learn more about the above on this blog post, How Pinterest can build your business on autopilot.)

    social media marketing

    Pinterest is a long-term marketing strategy, of which people don’t like to wait to see results for. When you are waiting for a new client or a new order, it’s understandable that you’d like the business sooner rather than later.

    In all honesty, you can utilize Facebook and Instagram (even Twitter!) to get the quick results you crave, and then set Pinterest up to “run” in the background!

    Pinterest is an excellent way to have your products and services always available for people to see (and search for).

    Of course, there are many people (businesses) that aren’t on Pinterest yet, and for various reasons. I took a poll in one of my favorite Facebook business groups on why people weren’t utilizing Pinterest for their business. Shared below are the 5 most common responses, and my take on them. 

    top 5 reasons businesses don't use pinterest

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    Reason number one: Don’t know how/no experience/don’t understand it/don’t know where to start

    Pinterest can truly be confusing, especially if you don’t understand how to use it as a business. 23 (out of about 70) people gave this as their reason for not marketing their business on Pinterest. 

    Although this is a very common reason for not being on Pinterest, it doesn’t have to stop you from utilizing a great marketing network.

    My solution: research! Read up about Pinterest, learn why it works, why it’s beneficial, and why it can help you keep your business alive. There are many avenues to learning about Pinterest.

    When I first started my journey, I consumed every bit of information I could find on the subject (and most of it came from Pinterest itself!) There is no magic wand or spell that can make you automatically learn, you have to work at it (like everything else).

    I have TONS of FREE Pinterest information on my blog (i.e. how to start your business account, what views mean, SEO, and more!), Instagram account, and Facebook Page.  If you need a little more help, I also offer a paid Pinterest course (payment plan available), and monthly Pinterest management.

    You don’t have to miss out on a great, under-utilized marketing platform just because you don’t understand it. Options are available at your fingertips!

    Reason number two: Not sure how it’ll help my business/what do I connect it to?

    The second-popular reason (as stated by 15 people) as to why people don’t utilize Pinterest for their business is that they don’t know HOW it can help them. 3 of those people expressed that they’ve only used Pinterest personally, and never even knew they could use it for marketing their business!

    So, what makes Pinterest different from other marketing platforms? (source)

    • Over 300 million people are on Pinterest every month
    • People come to Pinterest to get inspired and try new things
    • It is an under-utilized platform for marketing
    • It is not a social media platform – so you can market WITHOUT worrying about engagement
    • Pinterest can drive engagement on your pins for 120 days or more
    Half-Life for Posts on Different Social Media Platforms

    Pinterest has proven to be my biggest source of referral traffic for my business thus far!

    referral traffic from google analytics
    Referral traffic from July 19-August 19

    It is a great way to get organic traffic (traffic that is referred from a source that isn’t paid) just from SEO/keywords. Since you already SEO your blog posts, doing the same for your Pinterest profile and pins are the same thing. (Read more about Pinterest SEO.)

    A Pinterest business account also provides analytics, which is a great way to measure your success.

    My solution: Chat with a Pinterest expert and learn exactly how Pinterest can help you specifically. Most have free consults (I do!) and you’ll have a better idea of how Pinterest can work for you. Pinterest may not work for every business out there, but you’ll never know unless you talk with someone and get a better idea of the platform. 

    **Things to remember: Pinterest is NOT social media (no engagement necessary to “work”), nor is it a quick-fix. It takes time to flourish (but so does your business). Let it grow alongside your business, and in no time you’ll see AMAZING results.

    common reasons businesses aren't on pinterest

    Reason number three: I have no time/it’s time-consuming/it’s tedious & a hassle/overwhelming

    Running a business is no easy task! Between your daily tasks, client work, blogging, marketing, and MORE it’s easy to feel like you can’t add another thing to your plate!

    As a business owner myself, I am right in that boat with you. I feel this way about Instagram. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the innerworkings of it, but I still post each day like I know what I’m doing lol. For me, I wanted to specialize in Pinterest, so it was my main concern.

    My solution: Outsource! The quickest way to utilize another platform (that’ll be beneficial for you) is to hand it over to an expert. Now, I know what you’re saying, ‘Lori, I just started my business, not only do I NOT have time to learn another platform, I don’t have the money to give away, either.’

    I hear ya! Some free or low-cost options:

    • If you’re in a business-related Facebook group, (if it is allowed) offer to barter services with someone. (Trade a service/product you offer with someone who offers a product/service you want)
    • If someone is just starting out and building a portfolio, they may be offering hugely-discounted services in exchange for testimonials
    • Be on the lookout for sales and discounts! (I like to give BOGO free months of my bigger packages!)

    There are awesome ways to get ahead in your business, you just need to know where to look! Some great Facebook groups I’m in where you can find people who offer the above are Virtual Assistant Savvies, Boss-Moms, and Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs.

    Reason number four: No blog/stopped blogging

    It amazes me that people think that Pinterest is JUST for bloggers! But Pinterest is and can be for everyone!

    You can create a pin that can be directed to any (legit) URL. So if you are wanting traffic to a certain area, this is the way to do it.

    Just a few places you can lead pins to:

    • Facebook Group/business page
    • Instagram, Twitter, any social media account
    • Lead pages/opt-ins/freebies
    • Products/services
    • Newsletter/email list
    • Website
    • Blog
    • eCommerce store (Etsy/Shopify, etc.)
    • Sales funnels

    Whether you blog or not, it shouldn’t stop you from utilizing Pinterest for anything! It is a great way to lead people exactly where you want them to go! 

    My suggestion: if you use Pinterest personally, think about how and why you use it. The person/people behind the pins are just like you-entrepreneurs, business owners, bloggers, etc. Look closely at the pin you’re about to click on, the picture, headline, and where it goes. Think about why you’re saving it for later. 

    As you click and save pins, you are giving the author the same things you are looking for-traffic and business. 

    top 5 reasons businesses aren't marketing on pinterest

    Reason number five: I don’t see results/I don’t see the value/it’s not worth it

    This response is one that hurts me quite a bit. 

    Yes, Pinterest is a bit difficult to understand. Yes, it takes a LONG TIME (at least 3 months or more) to see/reap the results from. Yes, it may just be too frustrating to keep up with.

    When businesses inquire about my Pinterest services, one of the first things I tell them that it is not a quick-fix solution for their business. So if they’re looking for immediate gratification, they definitely won’t see it. 

    But, if they are looking for long-term results and steady traffic (without doing much!) then they are in the right place!

    My advice? Things take time to become great! Some of the greatest words of wisdom I’ve heard (and I’m sure you’ve also heard) are: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Fine wine gets better with age. (Some cheeses too.) Slow and steady wins the race. Quality over quantity. Good things come to those who wait.

    You wouldn’t want a half-ass business, so why do you expect your marketing to be? Think about it this way-if you start your Pinterest from the day you start your business, they can grow together and get to where it needs to be in just a few short months! 

    What I see often is that people “start their own business” at a time where they need fast-cash, and not at a time where they can nurture it and build it from the ground up. So, of course, Pinterest will never be an option because Pinterest doesn’t payout by the end of the day.

    Final thoughts

    As you can see, Pinterest is definitely my favorite place to advertise my business/blog. I get so much use out of it, and not only for business purposes. 

    Pinterest has proven itself to me over and over again. And the best part is that you can measure the results, too.

    If you’re not on Pinterest yet, do you fall into any of these categories? Or do you have another reason? Share below!

  • July 2019 Income Report

    The purpose of me sharing my income reports with you all is not to brag, but to keep me accountable and informed of my business. I also like to give encouragement to new bloggers and show that you can make money with a blog.

    I will be the first to say that May, June, and parts of July of this year I put in minimal effort on my blog. I was in the process of moving and decorating a home (my very first one!) so I put my business on the backburner. (This is why you didn’t see an income report for May & June.)

    I really need to start getting MORE serious about my blog and creating a solid plan. I have a plan that I loosely follow each week, however, if I don’t “feel” like doing something, I [sometimes] allow myself to quit.

    I am going to get 100% honest, real, and raw in this post. I think it’ll serve as my wakeup call as well as resonate with at least ONE person out there.

    Related posts: Jan/Feb Income report March income report April income report

    july 2019 va and blogging income report

    My background

    In my previous income reports, I didn’t go into the fine details of my personal life. However, as I am writing this post, I realize that some background may help explain my “style”.

    I suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Which was made worse after having my daughter. Since her Autism diagnosis, you can imagine that I am a wreck. My anxiety has manifested many a situation where my mind can only focus on anything BUT my work.

    This is my dilemma – I am losing focus on what’s important.

    My move

    When I moved into my new house at the end of May, I took about 2 weeks “off” from my business to take care of the matters at hand. It was the best decision I made, and I actually felt “free” for a bit. 

    However, in doing so it made it really hard to pick back up to the point I was at in my business. I had lost my momentum. It is now August and I still haven’t picked it back up again, and I honestly don’t really know how. 

    Working from home

    Running your own business is very complex, especially if you don’t know exactly what you should be doing. It is easy to get discouraged if you don’t see results right away – which is what’s been happening to me since my slow down. 

    My business had a few “great” runs in the beginning, but after taking time off, it’s been rocky ever since. So instead of working harder (which I know I can), I let my anxiety tell me that what I’m doing isn’t good enough so I should quit because I’m wasting my time. 

    This thing is, I am DAMN good at what I do! I just lack the motivation and confidence. It is my hope that in sharing my story, I can hold myself accountable. It is also my hope that sharing my story can help someone who may be feeling the same way I do – and can motivate them as well!

    So how did I do in July?

    Obviously, I’m not sugar-coating anything. I didn’t make thousands with my blog/VA business. Heck, I didn’t even break $100 or even $10! But, as you can see, the profits you make can definitely coincide with the effort you put into the work. As with any job.

    I did a few new things to try and boost my business in the last 2 months, so I am grateful for that start! I believe that with more nurturing and marketing myself, I can definitely crush and surpass my goals.

    So here is my July 2019 income report from my blogging and Virtual Assistant business.

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    Expenses

    My expenses vary each month, and for July this is what occurred:

    Tailwind $14.98

    SendOwl $9

    PayPal fees: $1.59

    Etsy fees: $1.29

    Pinterest ads: $5.83

    Office supplies: $16

    Business courses: $10

    DropBox: $11.99

    Total expenses for July: $61.68

    Income

    As with any business, incoming income can vary each month. This is what I received in July:

    The ultimate social media marketing eBook: $24 [digital product income]

    Journal You: $2 [affiliate income]

    Etsy sale: $12.99 [passive income]

    Fomo ads: $5.31 [ad revenue]

    Total income for July: $44.30

    Profit for July: -$17.38

    As you can see, I didn’t make any profit for July, and actually ended up in the negative. 

    What worked this month

    I finally released the guide that I have been drafting for a few weeks! I got a really good response at the launch, so I hope that it’ll only get better as I keep marketing it. (It is a social media marketing guide.)

    the ultimate social media guide

    The revenue I made from Fomo ads has been the highest since I started with them (March).

    Revising my current Pinterest strategy.

    What didn’t work this month

    I participated in less Facebook share threads. 

    I didn’t join any new affiliate programs, even though I had planned to.

    I was lazy and didn’t market my business as much as I should have.

    July Stats

    These numbers are my social media numbers, email subscribers, and blog subscribers. 

    Note: At the end of each month, I clean out my email list and unsubscribe those who weren’t active.

    • Email subscribers: Mailerlite 197 compared to 95 in April (thanks mostly to my content calendar opt-in and in part to my SMART goals opt-in)
    • Blog subscribers: 3, compared to 1 in April
    • Pinterest: 191k monthly views, 4.4k engaged, 2,388 followers (from May-July my Pinterest rose to 275k, dropped to 125k, and is now slowly picking back up.)
    • Facebook biz page: 198 likes compared to 147 likes in April
    • Instagram: 1,553 vs 1,524 in April (dipped to 1400 in June/July due to hiatus
    • Twitter: 431 vs 426 in April 
    • Website: 1.2k users/1.5k sessions compared to 1.5k users in April

    I’m not as active on Twitter as I like to be, and probably won’t be. My main focus is Pinterest, then Facebook & Instagram. (Although they could probably use more love.)

    Also, I am comparing everything to April’s numbers, because April was the last time I produced an income report.

    july blogging income report

    August goals

    I hope to really step it up this month. My daughter will be starting school and I’m hoping to have fewer distractions during the day and able to get more done. 

    With that being said, I think I will be making small goals, and go from there. By the end of August I hope to have:

    • 250 email subscribers (just added a new opt-in at the beginning of the month so cross my fingers that it’s popular!)
    • 5 blog subscribers
    • 250k Pinterest monthly viewers, with over 50% link clicks
    • 220 Facebook page likes
    • 1650 Instagram followers
    • I will be taking a break from Twitter
    • 2,000 pageviews on my website

    I also aspire to have 2 management clients and continue with my one blog post a week. I have also started opening my blog up to guest posts so hopefully that’ll help!

    pinterest link clicks
    Pin link clicks for July – 48%

    Final thoughts

    Mid-May through July turned out to be pretty hectic in my personal and work life. I let my business slide, and although I enjoyed the break, it made me a little complacent. 

    Now that it’s a new month, I feel motivated to take my business to a new level. I’m not sure what that will look like, but stay tuned for August’s income report to find out!

  • 10 social media and admin tasks I can take off your hands today

    Consistency is key. Content is king. Social media and admin tasks are never-ending.

    I know you’ve heard the first two phrases before, however, the third one couldn’t be any truer. But how can you be consistent with social media if you’re busy with every other aspect of your business? 

    This is where a VA (virtual assistant) or Social Media Manager can come in handy. (Sometimes they are the same person!) The way social media works is by being consistent. People like to know that you care about them and are present on the platform, rather than just showing up to sell them something.

    While my main focus is on Pinterest strategies and management, I am also a general Virtual Assistant. Keep reading to learn 10 social media and admin tasks I can take off your hands today.

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    10 social media and admin tasks I can take off your hands today

    1. Set up your Pinterest profile & optimize it and/or manage your account on a monthly basis

    Social media is like a storefront for everything you offer. It is almost always the first thing people look at when they come across your business. It is where you show your brand and personality to the world. This is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT marketing tool!

    Part of my Pinterest expertise is offering services to small businesses. When creating a [Pinterest] business profile I make sure it is optimized with relevant keywords so that it shows up in searches. 

    As for monthly management, I create strategies based upon the business and profile performance to grow the Pinterest account and create organic traffic to your business.

    2. Audit your Pinterest account

    A great way to see if your Pinterest account is performing up to its standards, or if it needs to be updated, is to have your account audited! 

    With this audit, I will review your account and create a report of suggestions to optimize it for maximum exposure.

    3. Social media content calendar

    Ask anyone who uses social media as part of marketing their business, what the downside to it is. I guarantee most of them will say content planning. Having a plan helps us to be efficient, and quite honestly, it makes us look more professional because everything is thought out. (Instead of being thrown together at the last minute.) Download my free content calendar here.

    content calendar for social media

    4. Social media graphics

    What is a social media content calendar without graphics to go with it? Get graphics sized correctly for the social media account you need it for! Graphics can be made for Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and with your brand’s colors/fonts/logo, etc. 

    twitter sized graphic
    Twitter graphic
    sample facebook/instagram graphic
    FB/IG graphic (square)
    how pinterest can build your business on autopilot
    Pinterest pin

    5. Hashtag research for Instagram or Pinterest

    Hashtags are an important way to get seen in searches. For Instagram, they keep posts together in a searchable (and followable) category. Every post with that hashtag is lumped together. For Pinterest, it works in the same way, except the pins with the hashtag show up in chronological order. 

    6. Follow accounts in your niche and engage

    Social media can take up a huge chunk of your day. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who can find [legit] accounts to follow in your niche and to engage with them?

    Engaging with your followers on a [minimum of a] daily basis is crucial to keeping your account active and will ultimately help it to grow. Not many people have time to sit and engage and skip it altogether. Once in a while is ok, but to not interact for a long period of time can actually hurt your reach.

    *Please note that this does not include content creation or posting. This is strictly engaging and following.

    10 social media and admin tasks I can take off your hands today

    7. Research blog post topics

    Sometimes your well runs dry and writer’s block hits. It happens to all of us. I like to keep a list of “backup” blog posts I can write when I run out of ideas or need to put something out quickly. I can do this for you, too!

    [Of course, it’s ok to take a break, too!]

    8. Personalized analytics report for Pinterest

    Have trouble interpreting or understanding your Pinterest analytics? I can go into your Pinterest backend and create a report for you that will contain information about your account (best pins, impressions, click-throughs, etc.) If you have Tailwind I can also get you information about your best and worst boards, too! (All of these services will require login access.)

    Don’t get left in the dark about your Pinterest account! Get the information that can help you boost your business and more. 

    9. Proofread blog posts

    Sometimes it helps to have an extra eye when it comes to your writing. When you sit and craft a post for hours, the next thing you want to do isn’t read it all over again. By letting someone else read over your work, you are able to catch something that may not have been seen otherwise.

    10. Create a flyer/opt-in/freebie

    Not good at creating promotional materials, or do you just not have the time to? I can help with that! You provide the info, and I’ll create a document for it. Freebies and opt-ins are great ways to grow your email lists. 

    Final thoughts

    I know firsthand that running a business alone can have its frustrations. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to complete everything on your to-do list. It is especially frustrating when you have a vision and don’t have the extra help to make it a reality.

    Not seeing something here that you need done? Feel free to contact me and see if it is something I can provide! Or, comment below something that you wish you could outsource in your business.

    *To get any of these services, feel free to send me an email at plannerwishesbylori@gmail.com or contact me on any of my social media sites.

    Gain access to my vault of freebies and resources here.

    Read related articles on my blog here.

  • Are you making these 9 Pinterest mistakes? (Fix them for a free Pinterest boost!)

    By now I’m sure you’ve heard (somewhere) that Pinterest is an EXCELLENT platform for driving organic traffic. And the best thing about it is that it is NOT a social media platform, but a visual search engine.

    To be honest, Pinterest for business is a tough nut to crack. But once you do, it will ultimately be one of the greatest [free] marketing tools you have for your business. 

    Get the most out of Pinterest for your business by making sure you’re not making these “mistakes”. Bonus: I tell you how you can fix them!

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    top 9 pinterest mistakes made the most

    Pinterest mistake number 1 – not having a business profile

    If you are conducting any kind of business on Pinterest (marketing your business, selling your products, etc.) you MUST have a business profile.

    Business profiles have quite a few benefits. One being analytics (stats on how well your account is doing, and what changes you need to make); as well as, the ability to create ads. 

    Not to fret – a business profile is easy to set up and FREE! Head to this blog post to learn how to set one up, or to convert to one from a personal profile.

    Other things you can do to your profile: claim your website, verify your account, set up rich pins.

    Pinterest mistake number 2 – not using SEO or keywords 

    Because Pinterest is a visual search engine and not a social media platform, it “works” by way of SEO (search engine optimization), which is basically “keywords”. Using the right keywords in your profile, description, and pins will definitely get you to the top of the search results on Pinterest.

    SEO is the “secret sauce” that gets you seen and ranked when it comes to using specific keywords. Learn more about SEO/keywording on this post.

    Pinterest mistake number 3 – low-quality pins

    When you browse Pinterest for pleasure, think about what makes you stop on a pin and click on it.

    Is it appealing? Eye-catching? Has your favorite color? Has a headline that makes you extremely curious?

    Now take that same concept and apply it to YOUR pins. Are they branded to your business? It is appealing? Does your headline match what is behind the pin? This is important because if you want someone to click on your pin and learn more about what you have to offer, you need to give them a reason to. 

    Tip: utilize graphic creation programs like Canva or PicMonkey.

    One of my first pins, for my very first blog post.. very plain, not attractive, just…yuck!

    Another pin for the same post, created at a later time. Which one would you be likely to click on?

    Pinterest mistake number 4 – your boards aren’t properly named or utilized

    I see this all the time, and I used to make this mistake as well. People name their food boards “yummmmmmmy in my tummy” or fashion board “strut that stuff”, etc. While these are great names for your boards on your personal page, this won’t help you on your business page. People don’t usually search for “yummy” meals using 7 M’s. 

    When creating boards on Pinterest (for business purposes) it is best to name them using keywords that people would use to search for them – and be specific. For a meals board, you can use, “Keto meals”, “meals for busy moms”, “meal prep”, etc. 

    Also, be sure to write a well-keyworded description, as well as choose a category for your board.

    Another problem with boards is having boards that have nothing to do with your niche. While it’s ok to use one Pinterest account for both personal and business, it will actually hurt your reach if you have non-niche boards on your profile. The solution? Make your personal boards secret! That way you can still have them, but no one will see them. 

    are you making these 9 pinterest mistakes?

    Pinterest mistake number 5 – you don’t have a strategy

    If you are just randomly pinning random pins to your profile, then it won’t help you draw people to your pins. 

    Here are a few things you can do:

    • Pin your pins to relevant boards (niche-specific boards first, general topic boards later)
    • Join niche-specific group boards, and repin from there
    • Go over your analytics and see what is working for you and what isn’t.
    • BE CONSISTENT! It is extremely important for the momentum of your profile to be consistent with your pinning.

    Tip: Grab some of my best pinning strategies in my Pinterest course!

    Pinterest mistake number 6 – you don’t create new content or boards

    Pinterest LOVES new and fresh content and rewards those who create them. Even if you aren’t releasing a new blog post or product every day/week, you can still put out new pins!

    Every week you should take your most popular pins/posts and create a new pin for them. You can also do this with your opt-ins, leading pages, ebooks, etc. This gives you more pins to share, and also “shows” Pinterest you are putting out new content.

    Other ways to create new content can be to create new boards (be sure to keyword them correctly!). Look at what people have been searching for in your niche and create a board around that topic. 

    social media marketing hacks guide

    Pinterest mistake number 7 – not using a scheduler/not manual pinning enough

    First – not using a scheduler. A scheduler is an awesome tool that helps you to pin to Pinterest automatically for you. Usually, it is at optimized times when your audience is on the most. This means that you can pin to Pinterest and make money while you sleep

    I use Tailwind to schedule and post for me. Tailwind is an approved partner of Pinterest and provides an optimized schedule for you, on top of EXTRA (and more thorough!) analytics about your Pinterest profile! Learn more about Tailwind and why I love it on this post

    Second – relying ONLY on schedulers, and NOT manually pinning enough. As with any platform, Pinterest “knows” when there isn’t a human presence around for a long period of time. As I mentioned above, Tailwind is an approved partner, so Pinterest “knows” Tailwind. But, they also prefer that Tailwind only be a “supplement” to human interaction, AKA manual pinning.

    By being present on Pinterest, you are telling Pinterest that you care what others see, and they will “reward” you accordingly. You don’t have to sit and manually pin for hours; instead, take about 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to manually pin about 10 pins – a mixture of yours and others.

    Tip: utilize Tailwind Tribes!

    9 mistakes people make when using pinterest for business

    Pinterest mistake number 8 – not checking your analytics

    Knowing your analytics is important! It can tell you what pins are popular and converting; what strategies are working for you; what group boards are benefitting you, etc.

    By checking your stats frequently (biweekly works best for me), you are able to know the ins and outs of your profile. A lot of people strive for the “monthly viewers” number because it is front and center on your profile. In actuality, the number you SHOULD be keeping track of is the number of click-throughs you get on each pin. Your monthly viewers will go up and down frequently (that is the ebb and flow of Pinterest) but your click-throughs will tell you how much traffic you are getting to your website (the goal of Pinterest).

    This post will explain more about the difference between the vanity metric and important metrics.

    Tip: perform a Pinterest audit every 5-6 months to see how well your profile is doing! Read this post to learn more. 

    Pinterest mistake number 9 – not taking my Pinterest course!

    Hahah ok maybe this isn’t a TRUE mistake, but by going through my course you will be able to set-up, optimize, and manage your Pinterest account monthly with ease!

    My Pinterest course is affordable and very in-demand! Score your spot today for one low price. (Payment plans available, too.)

    top 9 mistakes people make on pinterest

    Final thoughts

    When you use it efficiently, Pinterest can be the biggest driver of organic traffic for you. It is an excellent marketing platform and has the potential to make you money (even without a blog!). 

    If you have made these “mistakes” and fixed them using my suggestions above, let me know in the comments how it worked out for you!

  • 16 Time Management tips for work-at-home moms

    As a work-from-home mom with a special needs child, you can imagine that time management is extremely important to me. 

    I didn’t always work from home, but I always wanted to have my own business. When I had my daughter and found that I needed to stay home and care for her, I knew it was the perfect opportunity. 

    I’ll be the first to admit it has been a STRUGGLE balancing a business (of which I didn’t know exactly how to run legally at first), motherhood, and home duties. Plus, self-care. I was a single mom with no money (I was living with my sister and in exchange babysat my niece while she worked) and stressed about our future.

    Because of that, I needed to find a solution and make everything work with the 24 hours I was given each day. I knew time management is what I needed to get things done. And while I may not have ALL my sh*t together right now, I’m in a good flow and wanted to share my personal experience with other moms who may need some ideas. 

    Read now or pin for later!

    16 time management tips for new mompreneurs

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it may not cost you anything extra, if you make a purchase through any of my links, I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own. Thank you in advance for trusting me! Read more here.

    Learning time management doesn’t have to be a tough task. By doing so you’ll feel more organized and able to accomplish more things.

    Here are some of the things I do to manage my time while working from home with two 3-years-olds, one of which is special needs. 

    pinterest for the people course

    Time management tasks for my home and business

    >Set some goals

    One way to kick things off is to figure out exactly what you want to do, and when you want it done by. The best way to do this is to set some SMART goals. Setting goals allow you to get your business and life going on the right track to success. Take my FREE SMART goals workshop!

    >Brain dump

    Take everything you want/have to do, and “dump” them on a piece of paper (or notebook, post-it, scrap paper). Don’t worry about putting them in any order, just write them as they come to you. 

    mind map brain dump

    >Prioritize

    Put the tasks in order of which they are due or need to be completed. This will allow you to see what task is most urgent.

    >Planners or block schedule

    I created a block schedule so that I can “assign” my tasks to certain days and times. This gives me a nice, neat schedule to follow. I then use my Happy Planner for my appointments and daily to-do list.

    When I use a block schedule I “block” off times in my day to do my tasks. Tasks include: planning my day, client work, my promos, cooking/meal prep, etc.

    sample block schedule

    >Batching

    For my business, I assign a certain task for each day of the week, so that I have my work spread out evenly. (Instead of trying to do everything in one day.) This is called batching.

    sample task list

    Batching allows you to get things done in an efficient manner.

    >Track tasks

    Ever wonder how much you do in a day even when it feels like you did “nothing”? I use a productivity tracker in my bullet journal to keep track of the things I completed in my day. You can create a similar system on paper, or in Excel. (Check out the Boosted Journal for instructions on how to create this system.)

    >Content calendars

    As a Social Media Manager, I have to plan the content I post, the blog posts to write, etc. I keep track of this by creating content calendars. (Get a FREE content calendar with sample prompts.)

    >Automate!

    You can schedule just almost anything. As a SMM, I schedule out my posts, pins, and emails so that I will always have content out. (Please note that even though you automate your tasks, you should still be present at some point.) Check out this blog post to learn which schedulers I use and love.

    I take care of my family’s finances, so I signed up for automatic bill pay. This way I don’t have to worry about paying my bills on time because they pay themselves. I just make sure to check my books at the end of every week and make sure all the bills are taken care of.

    >Meal plan and prep

    Save time by planning your family’s meals and prepping them ahead of time. You can make freezer meals and pop them in for dinner. A great planner (plus over 1,000+ recipes) I use is the Healthy Meal Planner from Ultimate Bundles. It has been a LIFESAVER!

    healthy meal planning bundle

    >Disconnect

    Plan for days off and also an end to your workday. You need to take time to relax your mind and spend time with your family. 

    >Stop multitasking!

     Every time you attempt to multi-task, your focus and productivity go down and you will get fewer things done. (Even if you’re working on multiple projects at once.)

    >Stay off social media

    Stopping to check your social media at various times of the day will distract you. Before you know it, an hour (or more!) has passed and nothing got done.

    However, if social media is your JOB (like I’m a Social Media Manager/VA) then you should definitely set blocks of time for the work you’re doing.

    how to run a business when you have children at home

    >Stats & analytics

    As a SMM, it is important that we monitor and keep track of analytics for our clients and ourselves. While it may be enticing to check stats every day (or every hour like I used to, eek!) it is important that you don’t get caught up in the numbers more than the strategies to get there. By checking them once every 1-2 weeks, or even monthly, it will save you a lot of time and energy and you’ll still end up with the same results. (You should be waiting at least a month’s cycle for a new strategy to be implemented and analyzed anyways.)

    >Utilize nap time!

    When you are trying to run a business from home with littles around, you will definitely need to utilize nap time! Most importantly, get your babies on a schedule and you’ll always have a rough timeframe of when naptime will be every day.

    Of course, as a tired momma myself, sometimes I utilize nap time for my own self-care. (Ain’t no shame in my game! The most important thing we can do is take care of ourselves and preventing burnout!) I usually get 2ish quiet hours, so I choose from taking a nap, lounging, take a break from the screen (computer, phone), call my grandma (we talk daily), read a book, bullet journal, meditate, anything that doesn’t have to do with my business. 

    start your own VA business

    >Wake up early(-ier)

    For new moms, I know you are up most (if not all) of your nights, so waking up early or earlier may not be an option. However, if you find yourself up before your little, embrace that time and use it to do a small task (plan your day, meditate, read) to get refreshed and ready for the day!

    For moms of older kids (who get up later), this is a great time to start your day and tackle some projects or assignments you have! Or even meal prep for the day. Once you get in the swing of things, you will find that you take care of A LOT of things before your family gets up to start the day!

    >Plan for a “sick day”

    Sometimes you just can’t help it-you or the kids get sick. You should always have a plan or system in place that can allow you to take a day or two off and your business won’t hurt nor will you have to worry. 

    >Consider help

    If all else fails and you find that you still need more hours in your day, consider getting a personal assistant or nanny.

    time management for busy moms

    Final thoughts

    I know firsthand that motherhood can be a mix of emotions and the unknown. As much as you want to plan your days down to the seconds, it may not be possible with children. Staying organized is something that I love to do, so I plan my day to be flexible as well as productive. 

    I hope some of these time management tips can help you successfully manage your workday when you have littles in the home. (And even if you don’t!) Time management is important in a business and even life! 

    If you have created a time management plan for your day, would you be willing to share it with me? Send me a comment below and tell me how you survive a workday with your littles!

    Posts you might like:

    How to invest in your business for less than $100

    23 ways to stay motivated & productive when business is slow

    How to keep up with your virtual business when “life” happens

    SMART goal setting for your business

  • What is a Social Media Manager, and Do I Really Need One?

    Building and running a business from the ground up takes a lot of work. Especially if you don’t have any formal training or are just “winging” it. There are many components that are included when marketing a business, and social media is definitely one of the BIGGEST drivers of traffic today.

    Don’t have time to sit and be on social media all day? While it is nice to be on Facebook checking the latest haps, or on Twitter reading Cardi B’s latest tweet, doing all those things won’t help drive traffic to your site or blog. You have to admit, once you hop on your social media, you get lost down the rabbit hole. Then, before you know it, 4 hours have passed and you didn’t mention your business or the sale you’re having, ONCE. And now you’ve wasted a day of prime views.

    Read now or pin for later!

    what is a social media manager

    This post may contain affiliate links, and while it doesn’t cost anything extra, if you make a purchase through my link I may make a small commission. All opinions are my own, and I thank you in advance for trusting them!

    pinterest for the people pinterest business course

    What is a social media manager?

    To save some time in their workday, most business owners choose to outsource their social media management to people called Social Media Managers. Basically, this person takes care of your social media (be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LikedIn, Pinterest, etc.) needs such as creating content, posting, interacting and engaging, monitoring analytics, etc. For some, analytics alone is a daunting task so outsourcing their account is the best solution for them.

    Some Social Media Managers (SMM) have specialties, where their main focus is one social media platform. (Mine is Pinterest!) This is great if you are just starting out, have a small budget, and want to see how you do in terms of utilizing one platform at a time. Other social media managers are well-rounded and know a little bit of every platform, and usually take on the role of managing them all at the same time. This is great if you have multiple streams of social media and various audiences, and want to keep on top of all of them.

     

    what is a social media manager, and do you need one for your business?

laptop with phone on a desk

    Why social media?

    In this day and age, social media is a HUGE component for marketing your business. There are many people on various platforms, looking for the next “cool” brand, or newest fashion trend, or yummy recipe for their family dinner. And where do we turn to find this information? The internet/social media, of course.

    Think about it-when you need a recipe for that glazed ham for Easter dinner, where do you look for it? When you need a simple craft activity for your children, where do you go? When you want to know what outfit is trending this season, what app do you click on?

    I realize that not EVERYONE is on social media, nor do they utilize it everyday. This is where you come in and do your research-where does your target audience frequent? Are they mostly on Instagram or do they meet every Sunday for coffee at McDonald’s? That’s how you can figure out what step to take in the way of marketing.

    SMART goals email workshop

     

    What is the cost of a Social Media Manager?

    One of the biggest questions after deciding which route to go in terms of social media management is, “how much will this set me back?” Of course, as a business that may be tight on funds (or hey, even an established business) your main concern is paying for someone (you may or may not know) who can do this (and trust that they can do this correctly). After all, you’re on social media yourself, so how hard can it be?

    There are quite a few components that go into social media management, and while I’m not saying you can’t learn it yourself (and save money), it also takes dedication and CONSISTENCY. While you are building ALL parts of your business, a Social Media Manager is FOCUSED on the task of social media and social media alone. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

    Each Social Media Manager is different and charges differently. Some go by hours of work, some provide monthly packages. I am a Social Media Manager that specializes in Pinterest strategies AND management, so my packages are more comprehensive. 

    I do recommend that when you are researching a SMM, look for a few things-what their packages include, the length of time they manage (some require a 2-3 month retainer), their reviews/testimonies, price options, payment plans, bartering/trading services (doing a service in exchange for your product), how long they’ve been in business, etc. Researching and getting price quotes is important to ensuring your success, and not wasting anyone’s time.

    what is a social media manager

     

    Where do I find Social Media Managers?

    Most SMMs can be found on-you guessed it-social media. Running a quick search on Facebook or searching a hashtag on Instagram can bring you a slew of results (which may be very overwhelming!). There are many groups and pages on Facebook dedicated for this (try searching “virtual assistant” or “VA job board”, etc.).

    You can also ask around! A friend might know someone. Or, ask in the groups you’re already in. A great Social Media Manager will definitely have a loyal following who will be happy to recommend them to others.

    Serious service providers will create some types of business page/ad to market themselves. I created a Facebook business page for my services, as I feel that most people of my clients will come from Facebook first. They could also be on various social media platforms. Some may even have a website.

    You can use any of the social media websites to find various social media managers (or virtual assistants!) for your needs. Remember, each person is different, so do your research!

     

    Related articles:

  • SEO tips to optimize Pinterest

    SEO. Everyone knows you need it, and that it’ll help your reach A LOT, but no one knows what it is or how to “do” it. Well, I’m here to save the day! Everything I’m about to share with you is the methods I use to come up with the keywords I need for maximum exposure. Once you get the “hang” of it, keywords will come to you easier as you do them frequently.

    Read now or pin for later

    SEO tips for bloggers; tips on how to get organic traffic

    So, what is SEO?

    SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In short, you are using keywords to increase your visibility and in turn, driving ORGANIC traffic to your blog/website/store. SEO can come from the wording you use to links to even hashtags! Sometimes all SEO takes is the way you’ve structured and set-up your website and pages.

    Why do I need SEO?

    We’ve learned that SEO comprises of keywords to help you increase your organic traffic. But why is that important, and what does it mean for you exactly?

    In this day in age, we seem to Google EVERYTHING. From how-tos to recipes, advice, etc. When you search for something using a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), you get a list of results. Ever wonder how they get there? SEO!

    Your SEO works like a secret formula to search engines, which “tells” them this is what your picture/post/site/business is all about. In turn, your search engine recognizes that the searched keywords “match” what you have to offer.

    How does SEO work?

    I bet you’re now wondering how to get toward the top of those search results. Right? While I don’t know the exact method search engines use to pull results, I do know some ways to help you get to your “dream ranking”. (Please note that this does not guarantee that you will appear at the top of the search engine’s search results. These methods are trial and error, and what works for someone may not work for you.)

    1. Use SPECIFIC keywords.

    Get as close to your subject as possible. For example: Writing a blog post about cookies? Instead of just using “cookies”, use “chocolate chip cookies”, “gluten-free cookies”, “eggless cookies”, etc.

    2. Use more than one keyword to help narrow down irrelevant “competition”

    You don’t just have to say, “gluten-free cookies”, but include everything you can describing the cookie.

    Gluten-free, dairy-free, eggless cookie recipe for those who have allergies

    See what I did there? Many people have food allergies, but who wants to give up cookies? By adding the different components this cookie contains, you are catering to a more specific audience. Which, in turn, lessens the search return and allowing you to rank up.

    3. Combine broad and niche-specific keywords

    Lastly, use a combination of broad and specific keywords, so that you are found in multiple searches, widening your audience. This may not include a rank in the top 5 results (unless you are in a unique niche), however, you may just be the recipe someone is dying to try.

    SEO for newbies

    SEO hacks

    Having a hard time thinking about what keywords to use?  Here are some tricks I’ve learned along the way:

    1.Think like a consumer

    What words would you use to describe this

    2. Ask a friend

    Show your product/article to your friend/family and ask them what words they’d use to search for something like this.

    3. Use Pinterest!

    Ever notice that when you search for something on Pinterest, there are a bunch of colorful tiles under the search bar? These are the popular terms people use to search for things! This gives you a more specific idea of how people on Pinterest are looking for what you have to offer. Add some of these in your descriptions or even throughout the article (if they fit in with what you are talking about), and you’re good to go!

    Pro tip:  these keyword tiles can also provide inspiration for your next blog post! Heck, turn it into a series. Be sure to write some down for future uses. Keywords to change from time to time so be sure to check back later (if you’ve saved some for future uses).

    SMART goals email workshop

    SEO for Pinterest

    Chances are you’re here learning about SEO so that you can optimize your Pinterest for business account and drive traffic to your site/blog. Here are 5 quick ways you can optimize your profile TODAY.

    1.BUSINESS ACCOUNT

    Is your account a business account?  Converting to a business account allows you to see your analytics and view if your profile and pins are performing well.

    2. USERNAME

    Your username should be the same (or very similar) to your other social media profiles, so it is easy to find you across multiple platforms.

    3. BUSINESS NAME

    This is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT by way of SEO-here is a shot to use niche-specific KEYWORDS so that you appear in searches. General business names go like this:

    Your name | Your business name or your title/specialty | Keywords describing your business

    *Note that you can use anything to separate your words.

    For example: Lori | Pinterest Manager & Strategist | Pinterest for Business

    Pro tip: If you enter your business name on a desktop, they only allow 30 characters. If you do it from your phone, you get up to 65.

    *update as of April 30, 2019: It appears that Pinterest no longer allows you to change your business name if it’s already set. This may change in the beginning. If you are just starting a Pinterest account, choose your business name wisely.*

    4. BOARDS

    Boards are another great place to put keywords, which help your SEO. Be sure that your board titles are straight to the point, and not “cutesy”.

    For the descriptions, be sure to add keywords, however, you should make it “flow” like a real sentence. Pinterest frowns upon keyword stuffing. 

    Yes: The pins on this board show you how to maximize your Instagram reach, as well as, tips, tricks, and strategies to bring traffic to your account.

    No: Instagram tips, Instagram tricks, Instagram strategies, Instagram info, all about Instagram.

    5. PINS

    Your pin descriptions should follow the same format as board descriptions. Use important keywords, and also up to 4 hashtags. Be sure to check that the link you use isn’t broken!

    Pro tip: apply for rich pins so that your pins are seen as “verified” information, which makes viewers WANT to click on them. Find out how to do that here.

    Learn how to verify your Pinterest business account here.

    Pro tip 2: match your pin description to the board description for maximum SEO! (Doesn’t need to be word-for-word; you get the idea.)

    SEO racking your brain?

    SEO can be tricky and hard to figure out if you’re just starting to learn about it. There are many avenues to choose from, and you don’t know what will truly work for you unless you try a few of them out and monitor your results.

     

     

    All SEO’d out? Sometimes people just don’t get the hang of it or don’t want to deal with it altogether. And that’s OK! There are many VA’s (virtual assistants) or SMMs (social media managers) out there whom you can outsource this to.

    There are also many (free) courses, YouTube videos, and information out there for the taking!

    Pinterest SEO for beginners; learn how to get organic traffic

    Other articles you might be interested in:

    What is a Social Media Manager, and why do I need one?

    Why Pinterest?

    Learn how to create (or convert to) a Pinterest business account.

    Need a Pinterest manager? Visit the services tab to snag a spot for the upcoming month!

  • The best business tools & apps for new entrepreneurs

    Building and running a business from scratch (with no prior experience) can be stressful. Especially if you don’t know which business tools and resources to use when there are so many out there.

    I wanted to share with you the business tools I have found to work really well for me, as a true beginner in the business world.

    Everything included on this list can be bought online and used the same day. As a bonus, I have added a list of my cash-back/shopping apps, which PAID ME to shop for Christmas gifts for my immediate family of 10!

    Read now or pin for later.

    the social media manager's toolkit

    **This post contains affiliate links. This means that upon purchase of a product that is made through the link I may get an affiliate commission. (Which doesn’t cost you anything extra.) See my full disclosure here. **

    Business tools I use regularly

    Tailwind scheduling app

    Tailwind is the perfect tool to schedule your Pinterest pins and Instagram posts. It allows you to post during the times where your viewers are online the most-so you will never miss a receptive audience! Best of all, you can still post while you sleep, maximizing your reach and potential traffic.

    Tailwind also includes Tribes, which are akin to group boards, but with wider reaches. You get five tribes with your membership, or you can buy boosts to be able to join more. Tribes are AWESOME and net me a reach of over 1 million collectively. (I have 10, and created 2 of my own.)

    Tailwind is only $15 a month, and is well worth it, in my (and many other’s!) opinions. Join using my affiliate link and you will receive a free trial, plus your first month free.

    Bluehost Website hosting

    If you’re looking for a website host, Bluehost is excellent for those just starting out. Get plans as low as $3.95/month, and receive a free domain for the first year with purchase. You also get a free SSL certificate, 1-click WordPress install, and 24/7 support. I have used Bluehost from the beginning of my blogging journey and I am quite satisfied with it currently. As of now, I will be staying with them when my first year it up. Sign up here

    Planoly  – IG scheduler/feed creator 

    My FAVORITE Instagram planning and scheduling tool! I can use the drag-and-drop feature to plan out my feed and make it look exactly how I want it to. I can also save sets of hashtags to reuse, as well as schedule stories. Currently Planoly only auto-posts [single not multi] posts, and does not auto-post stories (on the free plan). Try Planoly for free here.

    LastPass password vault

    Never lose a password again! Set one master password and LastPass will do the rest. Feel secure with having all your passwords in one place. Perfect for sharing your passwords when you outsource, too. Sign up here

    FreshBooks Cloud Accounting

    Freshbooks is the best cloud-based small business accounting software. Send invoices, track time, manage receipts, expenses, and accept credit cards. It is really simple to use and I enjoy it! Get your free 30-day trial.

    SmarterQueue scheduler

    I use SmarterQueue to schedule my Twitter posts and I LOVE how it recycles evergreen content! I can basically add everything I want to add, set it and forget it! (Well, until I need to add new content each week.) Get your free trial. 

    Lady Boss Studio – Social Media templates

    Get stunning social media graphic templates and build a brand that gets you known! Lass Boss Studio helps take the pain out of building a brand from scratch. Use my affiliate link to score gorgeous templates. 

    Bluchic – WordPress themes

    If you’re looking for a cute, one of a kind theme for WordPress, then look no further than Bluchic! Their feminine WordPress designs are THE cutest EVER and I love them ALL! No, really, I do. I can’t decide which one to use when I redesign my website. They just launched their newest designs for serviced-based business owners, called ChicServe. I’ll definitely be getting the social media manager theme! Whichever you decide, send a vote my way too. Grab a template (or two!) here

    Journal YOU – a course on Bullet Journaling 

    Take an exceptional bullet journaling course from one of the most popular people in the business! Life by Whitney breaks down basic spreads and shows you to create them. Her course is fun and easy and provides sooo much knowledge on the process, plus free printables weekly. Sign up for her class here

     

    the best business tools and apps for new entrepreneurs

    BONUS: Cash-back apps

    Ibotta (for groceries/online shopping)

    Better than a coupon, Ibotta pays you real cash money whenever, wherever you shop. Submit your grocery and store receipts, Even shop online! Get a $10 new member credit by using my link

    ebates

    Ebates (for online shopping)

    Find coupons and earn cash back at over 2500 stores when you shop at Ebates! Save with online rebates, deals, promo codes, and discounts. I even got cash back from Bluehost by purchasing through Ebates! Sign up here.

    Fetch Rewards (for groceries)

    Turn your grocery receipts into rewards! Fetch Rewards is a quick and easy way to earn rewards on all your grocery receipts. Similar to Ibotta. I use both to get cash back on my groceries. Download the app and use my referral code: NV6MD.

    Checkout 51 (for groceries)

    Same as the above apps, but more/different varieties! Use this link to sign up and start saving today!

    the entrepreneur's toolbox

    And there you have it! My FAVORITE business tools and apps for my Pinterest management business.

    As a [new] small business owner, I found myself lost with what the best business tools are and what could get me to where I needed to be-and fast. I also needed something easy to understand, as I was “building” my business AFTER obtaining my first client! Yes, it was a little backward at the time, but I wouldn’t have made it through without these tools/apps. 

    Leave a comment below and tell me which one(s) you’re going to try and why! I would love to know. 

    stock photos for your business