Blog writing is a real skill. Not only do you have to be creative and clear, but you also need to bear in mind the purpose of your blog. Namely, to get your website found by search engines. This Search Engine Optimisation or SEO checklist contains some simple but effective tricks for helping your posts appeal to Google and its rivals. The higher you rank for your chosen search terms, the more people are likely to visit your site.
If you are a small business looking to boost your organic reach, this list is invaluable. It can help you hone the way you write your blogs so that you give search engines the best possible chance of ranking you highly and grabbing the attention of people looking for information about your niche. It can also expand the range of keywords that you rank for, giving you an even better chance of gaining views.
Why is an SEO Checklist Important?
Making the first page of Google is so important for gaining organic search traffic. These are the users who find your site whilst searching for a term to do with your sector, which is why this should be a key element of your marketing strategy. These are people who are interested in what you have to sell or offer. But they rarely stray far from the first page of search results.
SEO giant Moz surveyed 1,400 online searchers to find out about their habits. They reported that
In order to stand a chance with these users, your blog SEO needs to be on point, and that is why the SEO checklist is key. By making sure you include these elements in your blog, you give yourself the best chance of bringing in decent traffic from search.
8 SEO Checklist Items to Get Your Blog Found
1. Have You Found Your Keyword?
Your keyword is a word or phrase that you want to rank for. To choose the right keyword for your post, you should look at a tool such as Ubersuggest to find out search volumes for your sector. Type in terms relating to the topic of your blog and you can find a range of related keywords and how many people look online for that keyword every month.
The trick is to be ambitious, but realistic. There is no point optimising your blog for a term that only ten people a month are bothered about, but choosing a keyphrase with huge competition will be nearly impossible to rank for. For example, you could possibly rank well for the term “Norwegian noseflute music played by a man called Gerald”, but it won’t bring in any traffic. And you will get nowhere near page one for the massively popular keyword “music”. However, optimising for “Norwegian music” seems like a realistic and achievable aim.
2. Have You Included Your Keyword Enough Times?
Once you have your keyword, you need to insert it naturally into the text so that search engines know what the blog is about. You should have the keyword in the title, the blog address, in the first paragraph of the post, in at least one subheading and a couple of times in the body of the post
There was a time when people used to ‘keyword stuff’, and try and repeat the phrase as many times as possible to boost their ranking. However, the search engines got wise to this and factored that into their results. They need to prioritise results that actually inform searchers, not those that have no substance and which are spammy. This means you have to strike a balance between using your keyword enough to be noticed but not too much to raise a red flag.
3. Does Your Blog Inform, Entertain or Add Value to the Reader?
One of the SEO blog elements that search engines look for is how long a user spends on a site they find through search. If they immediately hit the ‘Back’ button, it suggests your post did not help and, if that happens a lot, it can negatively affect your ranking.
If a blog contains interesting information, is entertaining or answers the searcher’s query, they will spend longer on the page, which sends a message to the search engine that this is a good value result. You should make sure your post offers value and grabs their attention right away.
4. Does Your Post Contain Internal Links?
This is another key point for the SEO checklist. Internal links, those that point to somewhere else on your site, can help you look great to search engines. They track the overall session time of users and the number of pages they visit. The longer they spend on your site and the more pages they visit, the more they can be confident that your site is filled with engaging content. This can help boost your rankings.
5. Does Your Post Contain External Links?
These are links to other sites. This is a good habit to get into because, the more people who do it, the more links there are for search engines to follow to find new and interesting content.
However, you are not just doing it for the greater good. As SEO firm Yoast says, if you can back up a point you make by citing a trusted source, that makes your blog more authoritative and might help it rank better. In addition, if you link to a trusted source, you can then follow up and ask them if they would be interested in sharing your article or citing some of your work in the future with a backlink that helps improve your SEO
6. Have You Contacted Industry Leaders?
Following on from the last point, once you post your blog, make sure you contact thought leaders in your niche and ask them to read it. If they like it, you could ask if they will link to it from their site. The more high quality backlinks you get, the more it impresses search engines.
It is worth pointing out that search engines do not like “link for link” swaps. They should be organic and fit naturally into the text, rather than being crowbarred in to try and play the system.
7. Does it Include an Image?
You should have at least one image on your blog post and that should contain your keyword in its alt tag. This is something you can add on all the major blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Squarespace. It simply means that the image has a chance of cropping up in a search for that term, offering more chances to gain users onto your site.
8. Have You Added a Meta Description?
The meta description is usually what appears under the blog title on the search pages of Google and other engines. It should contain your keyword to help search engines understand what it is about and it should be enticing and engaging enough to encourage searchers to want to click that particular result. Without a specified meta description, the search engine might pick any old passage from the article to display and it might not be as tempting to users as one that you write yourself.
Want Help With Your SEO Checklist?
There is a lot to keep in mind when you write a business blog. This makes it a much more nuanced task than merely scribbling down a few thoughts. To truly make the most of this section of your website, your blog SEO needs to be at full strength, which is why we offer blog and content writing as part of our outsourcing service, using the skills and expertise of our experienced professional content team.
And if you find the SEO checklist helpful and want more great templates and tips for small businesses, check out our free resources portal right now. It will make your content, social media, website and more shine!
One of the key areas of your digital marketing strategy should be your blog. For small businesses, this is a great way of going up against the bigger firms who have larger budgets. A well-written, carefully targeted and SEO-focused blog post can bring in traffic organically, keep people on your site and turn them into customers. But you need someone for the job who knows what they are doing. This is why you should use virtual assistants. With an expert content writer on hand, they can lighten the load when it comes to your blogging helping you become consistent and found.
With a virtual assistant blogger, you only pay for the articles they create. You don’t have to bring in a full-time content specialist, especially if you don’t need a large amount of writing produced every month. You get all the benefits of a professional content writer, but with added convenience. Here’s how to utilise a virtual assistant to help your business grow online.
What Can a VA Content Writer Do?
VA content writers are bloggers and static web copy specialists who you can hire on a one-off basis or as part of a retainer package to provide articles for your website. Whereas your main web content on the informational pages may stay the same or just need minor tweaks every so often, the blog is the place for a stream of fresh content to keep the search engines happy and increase your chances of being seen by new users.
How to Use a VA for Blogging
These are the main ways that a virtual assistant blogger will help your business grow online:
1. Improve Your SEO
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation. This is the art of making a website appealing to Google, Bing and the other search engines so that it ranks higher up and maximises views. A large part of this is to do with the words that you use and how you use them.
Not only will a VA content writer be able to bolster your SEO for your main targeted keywords, but they will also be able to create blogs that help you rank for related terms. This provides more opportunities for users who are interested in your niche to find you by making sure you show up in more of their searches. By ranking for as many keywords as possible within your industry, you stand the best chance of new customers finding your site when they are looking to spend.
2. Provide Fresh Content
Creating fresh content has two main benefits. Firstly, search engines love websites that are being updated and providing new information. This shows that it is a developing project and has not been left to rot with outdated details still on display. Search engines want to find the most relevant results for their users because, if they don’t, they will lose them to an engine that better serves their needs.
The other benefit is new articles and blogs give current customers a reason to return to your website. If they buy into your brand or love your articles about matters that speak to them, they will keep coming back to find out what you have to say next. If you have them on your website, you have the chance to convert them into a customer.
3. Become the Authority
You do not have to be the biggest fish in the pond to be the authority. You just have to be the smartest. Getting VA content writers to produce a series of blogs that exactly target your customers’ pain points and provide them with the solutions they need is the way to be the authority on your subject.
The more people come to your site and find the best answers out there, the more likely they are to return and spend money with you. It also helps more people find you, as concise and clear answers to problems are often highlighted in the results on search engines like Google. This catches the attention of the searcher and gives you the edge over the other results.
4. Save Time Researching
Even though you live and breathe your industry, a good blog needs decent research. As a business owner, you simply do not have the time to put in the hours to look at the most effective keywords, the latest SEO advice, the finer details of the big developments in your sector and all the other elements that make up an effective blog.
A virtual assistant blogger takes on all this work in order to produce the best possible piece that will work wonders on your website.
5. Language Skills
Another reason to outsource to content writers is that they have developed the language skills required to create powerful and persuasive blogs that also hit all of the necessary SEO points. Being a blog writer is not just about knowing the subject, being able to write brilliantly and being a salesperson; it is all three and much more besides.
Being able to outsource this service brings all these many benefits, but without the long term commitment.
Ready to Work with an Expert VA Content Writer?
Blogging for business is one of the many services we offer at Supportal because we understand how vital it is in marketing a business. The many benefits of having a regularly updated blog, with careful research, optimised language and targeted calls to action can help you beat the competition in your niche.
To help you with your online content, we have put together a Resources Portal full of free downloads to make your life much easier. And if you want to talk about providing blogs for your website, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Social media is such a great way to get your product in front of customers’ eyes, but there is so much more to it than simply signing up for a Facebook page or Twitter account. If you want to market your business effectively you need to be able to create compelling, attractive and effective content on a regular basis and when the most eyes are likely to see it. And for that, you need to know the 20 best social media tools for those who mean business.
Keep reading to find out which apps and tools you need to boost your social media marketing to the next level. There is an audience out there waiting to be entertained and informed and it could be your business that does that. However, you need to know how to do it in the most efficient manner possible. That is where these tools come in:
The 20 Best Social Media Tools
1. Adobe Photoshop Mix
Everyone knows about the power of Adobe’s desktop Photoshop and Photoshop Elements programs. However, they can take a bit of getting used to when creating social media images. A great mobile alternative is Adobe Photoshop Mix, which is an intuitive and effective photo editing app for your smartphone. It’s free and you can layer images and text on top of other images to create stunning designs.
If graphic design really isn’t your thing, Canva is your saviour. It starts with a free plan but is worth opting for the paid option to get hold of more stock images, templates for all manner of different types of social posts, the ability to resize images for the various networks and a whole load more too.
Very simply, this app removes the background from your images, allowing you to really jazz up product photos, team pictures or whatever you want to add to a funky background.
When someone has a good idea, others soon imitate. Snapchat’s posts were aped by Instagram for their Stories feature, which has now been followed up with Twitter’s Fleets. If you want to make beautiful images for all of these platforms, Unfold offers templates for creating stunning collages that fit onto them perfectly.
One of the most difficult parts of creating social media content is finding royalty-free images. There are more than three million of them on Pexels, so you should easily find something to fit your post.
Best Social Media Tools For Scheduling
Starting with a free plan that allows you to attach three social channels, Buffer is a simple way to schedule social media posts. You can create a schedule based on the times that your followers are most likely to be online and share the same content in different ways to suit the various networks.
Loomly is known for its simple but effective interface as well as its easy-to-follow calendar workflows for collaborators. It can even create draft posts from RSS feeds to help you share relevant information with your followers.
For posting solely to Twitter, Tweetdeck is an excellent free service. You can manage multiple accounts and create columns to follow hashtags and keywords as well as your mentions and Direct Messages.
Although Later allows you to post to a number of networks, it focuses mainly on Instagram. If Instagram marketing is your priority, this tool manages your grid as well as your stories and you can create a media library with tags and notes that help you search out that perfect image when you need it. You can also add a first comment on a post to stick your hashtags in, as well as being able to manage general comments in the app.
Feedly can categorise blogs that you follow into different themes so that you can easily share and schedule them on your social media channels, all through this single app.
Video Tools for Social Media
Whilst social media is based on visuals, sometimes you need to share audio such as clips from podcasts and the like. Headliner allows you to create slideshows and images with moving waveforms to display your audio. You can add subtitles too for that “sound off” audience.
This tool finds the best bits of your footage to help you display it in the most striking way. It edits your clips with transitions and effects too, all from your smartphone or tablet.
If you have an Apple device, iMovie is a free but extremely powerful program for editing videos to share on social media. You can add backgrounds, themes, voiceovers and more, all whilst you are on the go.
14. Adobe Premiere Clip
If iMovie is Apple’s version of its desktop editing software, Adobe Premiere Clip is a mobile version of its well-known software for use on all platforms. It can even create its own videos from your footage.
One of the problems of sharing video on social media is that all the networks have different requirements for dimensions. Thankfully, Wave.video can take care of that for you. This makes sure your video looks as good as possible across your social media.
Social Media Content Generation
If you want to know the type of content that is trending in any particular niche, Buzzsumo is the place to go. It can give you the heads up on the best type of content to share and analyzes your social performance to help you finetune your content strategy.
17. Google Trends
Whatever type of content you are trying to create, looking at Google Trends helps you plan posts that strike a chord. It tells you what people are searching for online, which translates into the type of content they want to see on social media too.
18. Days of the Year
One great way to generate content is to look at the national days and observances coming up. Days of the Year will help you plan what will trend and so you can jump on it in advance and schedule posts to coincide with National Organising Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day and so on.
19. Instagram’s Search Facility
In the Instagram app, there is one of the most powerful social media tools you can find. Search for hashtags relating to your niche and find a list of similar suggestions that you can add to your posts to boost your reach. Hashtags are how new people find you and the key is right there in the app!
20. Hashtag Expert
For more hashtag help, try Hashtag Expert. You enter a term relevant to your business and the app throws up a collection of related terms. You can copy them all in one go and paste them onto your posts to help grow your profile. Simple!
More Help With Social Media Marketing
Now you know the best social media tools for businesses, you can up your social game. You can also get access to even more helpful tools at our Resources Portal. It features design templates, cheat sheets and more items to help you level up your online presence. Hit the link to sign up for free access to this invaluable collection.
As you grow your small business or start-up, you have to make big decisions. There comes a point where the demands of the job mean you must hand over some of your tasks to someone else. But do you hire a member of staff or do you outsource it to a virtual assistant in London, this is the big question? In uncertain times, outsourcing to a VA makes a lot of sense. There are fewer overheads and much less commitment. At Supportal, our team have many years of combined experience. We don’t just want you to delegate, we want you to delegate effectively, which is why we encourage you to get your priorities right before you start working with a VA to get the best results.
In this article, you can find out how to sort your priorities so you know which VA services will make your life easier. The plan is to make your business run more efficiently and effectively, without you having to destroy your work/life balance to succeed. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to do this right.
What is Outsourcing and Why Does it Matter?
Outsourcing means taking on external help to complete tasks. These might be dull admin jobs that take up your time and do not fill you with passion. Alternatively, they could be vital tasks that are simply not in your skillset.
Rather than tie yourself up with payroll, providing equipment, paying for sick days and holidays, investing in larger office space and so on, outsourcing to a virtual assistant in London ensures that you only pay for what you use and you are not paying to keep someone busy after they complete their tasks within their contracted time.
How to Prioritise Before Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant in London
1. Consider How Much Work You Will Take On
To know exactly how a virtual assistant will help you, you need to think about the amount of work you will take on in the forthcoming year. This is a moment where you really need to think about how much you can do alone. Has the list you have presented yourself with overwhelmed you just by looking at it? It can be difficult to launch a working relationship with a VA when you are already swamped. You may struggle to find the time to delegate and review work, which is why planning ahead means everything. By looking ahead, you can spend more time talking to potential VAs to find out which you feel you can work with most easily.
The beauty of working with a VA is that you can start by outsourcing a small amount of work and then increase it as your business grows. By thinking about your growth strategy now, you can also ask the right questions of the VAs you talk to, about how they can scale their service to meet your increasing needs.
2. Analyse Your Skillset
In an ideal world, you would have an expert to take care of each area of your business. Unfortunately, small business finances do not work like that. When you look at the work you have coming up, be honest with yourself about how much is safely within your wheelhouse. For example, if you are comfortable with marketing your business, outsourcing that would be less of a priority than finding a remote web designer might be.
Compare the areas in which you feel most comfortable. Put those tasks that you are least proficient in at the top of the priority list and those that you can easily complete at the bottom.
3. Consider How Long Tasks Take
Now you have your list of jobs ordered by your abilities, there is another factor to consider. Time. There are only so many hours in a day so, if it turns out that you are most skilled at the most time-consuming tasks you will find that you will face a different sort of problem. You will run out of time and burn yourself out.
You can use this information to refine your priorities.
- Tasks that are outside of your skillset AND which take up the most time go to the top of the list, followed by…
- Those tasks you are not comfortable with but only take a little time
- This is followed by tasks you can complete but which take a lot of time
- Finally, tasks you are comfortable with and which are only brief
4. Search for VAs Who Can Fit Your Priorities
Armed with this information, you will have a much better idea of what you need from a virtual assistant. For example, you can find a VA that offers a full Instagram marketing program if that is high up on your list.
When you talk to potential VAs, be specific about your needs, this helps you approach the right kind of VAs but also helps them to create the perfect package for your business and give you the results you seek.
Need a Virtual Assistant in London?
Book a free consultation today to talk about your priorities and how we can help. We boast a team of industry professionals across a full range of business services, ready to take the weight off your shoulders and help you drive your business forwards.
Knowing your priorities helps you get the best value from your virtual assistant in London. For more tips on working with external professionals, take a look at our free guide to outsourcing to a VA.
Social media brings so many opportunities to market your business, build your brand and talk directly to your customers. However, in order to build your follower base and produce enough good quality content to engage and entice new customers in, you need to dedicate time to the task. As time is always in limited supply for small business owners and entrepreneurs, it is a good idea to take on a social media virtual assistant.
In this post, we will explain what a virtual assistant for social media does, how that helps you to boost your business and what sort of tasks you can expect to outsource as part of your virtual assistant social media package.
What is a Social Media Virtual Assistant?
A social media virtual assistant is a remote worker who takes on all the tasks you would expect of a social media manager. They can create your social accounts from scratch if needed, plan and create your content (including social media ad campaigns), schedule it on your networks and interact with followers.
You outsource these social media virtual assistant services to this freelancer and allow them to fulfil your social marketing strategy with as much or as little input from you as needed. They ensure you maintain a consistent presence online and that you become an attractive prospect for your target audience to follow and engage with.
The VA can do everything from competitor research and strategic commenting on posts to leading complex promotional campaigns and undertaking in-depth analysis of your social media performance.
Why is a Social Media Virtual Assistant Important?
One of the main benefits of a social media virtual assistant is the experience they bring to your team in terms of knowing what to post, when to post it and where to post it. You may dabble in personal social media use, but a dedicated social media VA has immersed themselves in understanding the quirks and characteristics of all of the networks. This is invaluable in capturing the right audience and keeping them happy.
In its article about strengthening the online presence of the UK’s small and medium sized businesses, Experian states: “The trick for SMEs, is to focus on the channels, including social media, best suited to your customer. For B2B customers, that could mean prioritising LinkedIn or Twitter for example, while for others, it could mean exploring newer platforms like TikTok.”
Anyone who is not a dedicated social media expert would struggle to produce consistently high quality and engaging content across all three of those different networks.
Consistency is also key when it comes to how often you post. You could try and produce enough individually tailored content for all your networks on your own, but it can easily consume far more time than you have when you run a business. Outsourcing to a VA increases your efficiency, as well as ensuring the standard of the posts remains high.
You can also reduce your costs when you outsource to a VA. You don’t need to train them in their job as they are already an expert at managing social accounts. In addition, they work remotely so you don’t have to supply them with a desk, computer and all the other equipment that payroll staff need. Finally, you only pay them for the work they do. Full-time staff get paid regardless of the time spent at work. For freelancers, they only invoice you for the time spent on your project.
Examples of Media Virtual Assistant Services
As well as the broad services such as ‘creating content’ and ‘running Facebook ads’, here are some examples of social media virtual assistant services that will benefit your business.
Creating an Instagram Theme
Instagram is a visual medium and that means everything needs to look on point. Not just your individual posts, but also your grid too. Many successful Instagram accounts employ a theme that captures the eye when interested users visit your profile. These include a checkerboard approach, where you alternate between two types of post (sometimes this means two different main colours for the images). If you keep this up, the visual effect can be very powerful and a VA can put this into action for you.
Social Media Engagement
Producing great posts is certainly a key part of the virtual assistant social media package, but the best brands also take time to engage users too. Replying to comments, questions and even jokes helps show the brand as human and in touch with its customers. Obviously, this takes up too much time for the business owner to attempt, but it is worth outsourcing to a VA who can capture your brand voice.
Ensuring You Provide a Great Mix of Content
If you were to post the same kind of content all the time, it would quickly become boring. One of the important social media virtual assistant services is making sure your profiles remain fresh. There are a host of different kinds of social media posts that you can employ to encourage interaction and click-throughs, and your VA will be able to put them all into play.
Hire a Social Media Virtual Assistant
To conclude, there are so many tasks that a social media virtual assistant can take off your hands that will both make your life easier and provide a real boost for your business in terms of utilising social media to its maximum potential.
If you want to know more, make sure you read our free guide to outsourcing to a virtual assistant. It includes details on what you can outsource, how to spot a good VA, how to work together effectively and how much it will cost you. Read the guide today.