What is CSS?

WordPress websites are built using Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS as they are more commonly known.

CSS was invented by lazy (bless their brilliant geeky hearts) coders who didn’t want to keep typing the same boring pieces of code over and over. Instead, they write the code once and have it cascade throughout the site.

CSS has many great benefits including:

  • Complete control over the look of your website
  • Site-wide changes by just editing one-sheet
  • Separation of the design and the content of your site

The main benefit when it comes to using CSS on your website is that it allows you to keep its content separate from its structure. This makes for higher content weighting, which helps your site increase its relevance to the search engines.

If you have built your site using a drag-n-drop builder, and it’s not showing up in the search engines this might be why.

Google and the other search engines love CSS because they don’t have to go through everything on your site to access your content…which is the part they most interested in.

If you have an old, out-of-date website that needs updating with the latest technology give me a call. 

Interruption Vs Permission Marketing

Interruption_MarketingThe average person is inundated with over 2,000 marketing interruptions per day!
How are YOU communicating with your customers?

Are you blindly pushing your marketing messages to the masses with old fashioned techniques hoping they resonate with your target audience? Or are you embracing permission marketing (i.e. Inbound Marketing) methods and creating interesting content that your customers want to see?
Here’s a breakdown of the two different marketing strategies:

Interruption Marketing

VS

Permission Marketing

Interrupting someone’s day in order to push product or services on them

 

Earning people’s interest naturally, without interrupting them

Communication is one-way

 

Communication is two-way

The marketer’s focus is on
making the sale NOW

 

The marketer’s focus is on VALUE
through entertaining or educating

< 10% of clicks on the web

 

90%+ clicks on the web

Powered by budget & repetition

 

Powered by creativity & effort

 

PROS:

 

PROS:

Gives quick results

 

Builds long-term relationships with customers

Easy to measure results (i.e. quick boost in sales)

 

Your messages are wanted and anticipated

CONS:

 

CONS:

Expensive $

 

Takes more time ∞

Low ROI

 

High ROI over the lifetime of a customer

Incites ANXIETY :(

 

Builds Trust :)

 

Examples:

 

Examples:

 Telemarketing Calls

 

Blogging and website content

Direct Mail Campaigns

 

Public Speaking

Unsolicited Email Marketing

 

Opt-in Email Marketing

TV & Radio Ads

 

Word-of-mouth & viral marketing

Pre-roll ads that play before video content

 

Video Content

Interstitial & transitional online ads that interrupt or delay the user’s selected content

 

Supporting and or sponsoring

events & Meetups

Throwaway Press Releases

 

Organic Press & Public Relations

Spam

 

Authoring Books and eBooks

 

Why You Need to Analyze and Track Your Competition

Competitor Analysis Report Fort WorthAre your competitors more successful that you?

How are they perceived by potential customers? Have you searched them on Twitter or read what is being said about them on Facebook? Are they conducting contests? Do they offer web-only discounts? Should they be? Should YOU??

Or perhaps you are looking for a fresh new idea. One of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing is to look at what your competitors are doing and try to improve upon their offerings. Doing will help you identify gaps in the marketplace.

Plus, through the act of observing your competitors you gain a wealth of information that will benefit your business and strengthen your position in the market.

By conducting regular competitor analysis you can compare and contrast the performance of your website and product offerings to the performance of your competitors, thereby helping you determine your strengths and weaknesses.

Not only can Strategic Online Solutions build an effective online competitor report for your business, but we’ll also help you interpret it and identify strategic online solutions designed to grow your business.

Your Competitor Report will include:

  • Identification of your top competitors
  • Analysis of your competitor’s web presence, search engine presence (including keywords!)
  • Analysis of your competitor’s social media activities and their effectiveness
  • Executive Summary with suggestions that can immediately be implemented
  • Telephone consultation to review findings and brainstorm response strategies

How to Recycle Your Email Newsletter Content

Your monthly email marketing message is filled with interesting insights, articles, and valuable offers for your clients and potential clients and you want to make sure it is read by as many people as possible! Here are three great tips to “recycle” that message:

First, utilize Social Media sites – The tool I use for email marketing, automatically pushes your content out to Twitter and Facebook. Plus, LinkedIn can be configured to display your Twitter feed. This way all three of the major social media sites receive your content automatically.

Second, repurpose our content for the web – Most email newsletters have multiple messages, for example, an article, an announcement, and a discount offer. These can be split into individual posts and added to your website or blog. WordPress blog sites make this very easy. Since the content is already written, re-purposing is as simple as cutting and pasting.

Third, maximize for Search Engines – Repurposing email newsletter content to a website not only provides more value to your site visitors but is an important internet marketing strategy when it comes to search engine ranking. The Google “spiders” are hungry critters that love fresh, relevant content fed to them on a regular basis. Google “crawls” individual articles treating them as pages that may rank high for specific searches. The more you write, the more likely you are to have higher rankings and ultimately get noticed by potential clients.

Is Social Media Marketing worth it?

Content_DevelopmentA potential client recently asked me to help him understand how social media could help him accomplish his organization’s PR and advertising efforts. His global organization is extremely “industrial” in nature and not the typical, local, small-to-mid-sized business that I am used to assisting…and frankly responding to his request forced me to think differently about social media outlets, but in a very positive way.  Here is a portion of my response to him:

There are three major social media sites, and dozens of minor social media sites, in use today. The three major sites are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

  • Facebook is a social networking website. It is primarily social (as opposed to professional) in nature although they do offer “pages” for professional organizations and “pay per click” style advertising that is highly targeted and relatively inexpensive. >500 million active users worldwide.
  • Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service used to send and receive text-based posts of up to 140 characters. >175 million registered users worldwide
  • LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site mainly used for professional networking. >80 million users worldwide

Collectively this represents over 700 million “eyeballs” or opportunities to connect with potential and current suppliers, customers, government agents, and the public at large. Did I mention membership for these three sites is FREE?

In terms of public relations, maintaining a presence on social media sites is an extremely effective and cost-efficient form of PR and advertising.  In order for social media marketing to be beneficial organizations need clearly defined messages and goals. These messages and goals, in turn, define an organization’s social media strategy. (more…)

How to start a business in Texas

How to start a business in TexasDo you want to start a business in Texas but you aren’t sure where to start? Here are the 10 steps (in sequential order) I took to start my business way back in 2008.

Should I incorporate my business? While incorporating isn’t required, it does help minimize your personal risk and has other benefits. I recommend meeting with an attorney, and also an accountant, to determine which legal entity is best for you and your unique business.

10 Steps to Start a Business

  1. File for an LLC, preferably through an attorney. (2 – 7 days)
  2. Find out which of your services are taxable by calling the Texas State Comptroller’s office at 800-252-5555. TIP: Take good notes, get the name and email of the person you talked with, then email him/her a summary of your conversation, and ask them for a confirmation…in writing. (1 hour)
  3. Apply for an EIN with the IRS. File online at www.irs.gov/businesses Or you can call 800-829-4933 to file by phone (1 hour)
  4. Get your NAICS code; look up online here: http://www.naics.com/ (1/2 hour)
  5. Apply for a Sales Tax Permit: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxpermit/ (1 hour)
  6. File for a DBA (Assumed Name) with the Tarrant County Clerk office. Tip: You can download the form online, but you must pay in person and sign the form in person. (1 hour)
  7. Set up a business bank account. (1 hour)
  8. Set up an accounting system, preferably with the advice of an accountant. I use Quickbooks Online software. (2 hours)
  9. Schedule dates on your calendar to pay your quarterly state and federal taxes. (1/2 hour)
  10. Conduct business, have fun, and make a lot of money