Twenty Five Business Tips From Experts in the United States

Experts Sharing Business Tips

Top 25 Small Business Tips from Leading Industry Experts in the U.S.A.

Could you use a handful of helpful small business tips to grow your company?

I’m sure you can, and what better way to help small business owners like you then to share some of my favorite tips from our country’s top industry experts in their respective fields.

Below you will find a personal collection of some of my favorite golden nuggets from the country’s brightest minds in the areas of start-ups, small business, corporate finance, credit, internet marketing, social media marketing, blogging, working online, selling online, branding, and much more.

Now, without further ado, here they are:

1. Lisa Barone of outspokenmedia.com. “If you want people to talk about you, you got to listen to something nine-time Grammy-winner Bonnie Raitt told us way back in 1991. People want to talk and you gotta give ’em something to talk about.”

2. Chris Brogan of chrisbrogan.com. “I continue to believe that affiliate marketing is the best possible method of extending your salesforce on the web. I think that finding passionate people with applicable communities and audiences and then enabling their ability to profit from selling a product they support into their community is the gold standard of marketing on the web.”

3. Tim Berry of timberry.bplans.com. “Remember that your business plan should be only as big as what you need to run your business. While everybody should have planning to help run a business, not everyone needs to develop a complete formal business plan suitable for submitting to a potential investor, or bank, or venture contest.”

4. Jim Blasingame of smallbusinessadvocate.com. “We sometimes get so wrapped up in our business that we risk losing our grip on the things that really matter: health, happiness and those who love us. Life is short! Enjoy every sandwich!”

5. Anita Campbell of smallbiztrends.com. “When competition is tough as it is today, you have to have more arrows in your quiver. What’s the answer? Today it’s 2 things. Search is one. I would add social media as the other. If you don’t at least know the basics of SEO and social media, you’ll have a harder time growing your website and your business.”

6. Marco Carbajo of businesscreditblogger.com. “Avoid putting your personal credit and personal assets at risk and start establishing business credit under your corporate entity. By doing so you will have the ability to obtain 10 to 100 times greater credit capacity.”

7. Brian Clark of copyblogger.com. “People want compelling content, so compelling content is your advertising. And using the right words in the right persuasive way determines not only how well your site converts visitors into sales, but also how much traffic you get and how well you rank in search engines.”

8. Gerri Detweiler of ultimatecredit.com. “If you actually do own a business, keeping your business and personal purchases separate can be crucial for tax purposes.”

9. Melinda Emerson of succeedasyourownboss.com. “You must do something every day to tell the world you are open for business. Even if you just make one sales call a day, send out one helpful tweet a day, write one article to promote your expertise, or send one follow-up email a day.”

10. Tim Ferris of fourhourworkweek.com. “One of the most valuable exercises an entrepreneur can perform is to take a step back, not looking at what’s popular, not consider what everyone is doing or what people are expected to do, and really ask what rules you need to set for your own business, from a process standpoint and a cash flow standpoint, so that it can be successful.”

11. Seth Godin of sethgodin.com. “You have to go where the other guys can’t. Take advantage of what you have so you can beat the competition with what they don’t.”

12. Brian Halligan of hubspot.com. “Change the mode of your web site from a one-way sales message to a collaborative, living, breathing hub for your marketplace.”

13. John Jantsch of johnjantsch.com. “Craft a strategy that compels customers and partners to voluntarily participate in your marketing, to create positive buzz about your products and services to friends, neighbors, and colleagues.”

14. Guy Kawasaki of guykawasaki.com. “Don’t wait to develop the perfect product or service. Good enough is good enough. There will be plenty of time for refinement later. It’s not how great you start; it’s how great you end up.”

15. Diane Kennedy of usataxaid.com. “Each product and product line must stand on its own merit. There is no room for dogs in a company that is bootstrapping.”

16. Rieva Lesonsky of smallbizlady.com. “Whether your business is just starting out, or whether you’re a seasoned veteran, marketing is a must. And during an economic downturn, marketing matters more than ever. Smart marketing can give you the edge you need to succeed in any economy.”

17. Joel Libava of thefranchiseking.com. “The entire business world is learning that transparency is really the way to do business. Not many industries will be able to escape this fact in the near future.”

18. Mike Michalowicz of thetoiletpaperentrepreneur.com. “Success is not determined by your background or your cash on hand. It is exclusively dictated by your beliefs. If you truly, emphatically believe you will succeed, you will. If you don’t, you won’t.”

19. Barry Moltz of barrymoltz.com. “Investors put their money in people not a business. The better team you have, the more money you will be able to attract. Get people on your team that have industry expertise and that have been there before. Investors want track records.”

20. Darren Rowse of problogger.net. “Aim to be unique, remarkable, compelling, and most of all, useful, and your blog will have success long after many other bloggers have all given up.”

21. David Meerman Scott of davidmeermanscott.com. “On the web you are what you publish.”

22. Brian Solis of briansolis.com. “Create a space in the online ecosystem that truly represents your business and cultivates your customers’ loyalty and trust.”

23. Steve Strauss of mrallbiz.com. “Often untapped sources of funding are your own suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors. These are large businesses that want your business and may be willing to lend you some money or inventory, provided they believe in your vision and plan.”

24. John Warrillow of builttosell.com. “So how do you know if you have a scalable business? Here are the three criteria: Teachable, valuable and repeatable – that’s your valuation trifecta.”

25. Ken Yancey of score.org. “Test your marketing message on a mentor, adviser, coach or someone who you believe represents your customer base. Ask them specific questions about whether or not the message gets across.”

One last tip worth mentioning even though it’s so simple yet so powerful is from none other than Pete Cashmore of mashable.com which is “Do what you love.”

So there you have it: 25 of my favorite small business tips from our country’s leading industry experts, all sharing their invaluable insights on how you can succeed in business today.

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Top 10 Don’ts for SEO Copywriting.

internet copywriting

Following in the footsteps of Rand Fishkin and Guy Kawasaki, I decided to come up with my own list of don’ts.

There is no shortage of don’ts when it comes to SEO copywriting. It seems this niche got off to a rough start many years ago when early comers somehow misconstrued the core principles of the trade. Allow me to elaborate on how not to write SEO copy.

1. Don’t shove as many keyphrases into the copy as humanly possible.

It’s not about the sheer volume of search terms you include. Yes, Google and other engines should be able to follow what the page is about. Yes, engines are looking to match a searcher’s query with search engine optimized content on your web pages, but which pages land at the top is decided through a series of calculations far more complex than any simple ratio. When you overload copy with keyphrases you sacrifice quality and user experience.

2. Don’t lose site of balance.

If SEO copywriting isn’t about the percentage of keywords within the copy, then what is it about? Balance. You have two audiences with SEO copywriting: the search engines and your site visitors. But surprisingly, the balance doesn’t come with serving both masters well. The balance comes in how much you cater to the engines. You see, your site visitors always come first.

However, if you write with too little focus on the engines, you won’t see good rankings. If you put too much focus on the engines, you’ll start to lose your target audience. Balance… always balance.

3. Don’t let someone else choose the keywords.

If keyword research isn’t a service you offer, an SEO firm, keyword specialist or some other professional that your client hires will have to conduct the research. Don’t just accept keyphrases these folks toss your way. Ask to see the entire list with recommendations as to which terms would be best strategically. Then you, as the professional writer, can decide which will also work best within the copy.

4. Don’t sacrifice flow for numbers.

This is a follow-up to number three and is a major issue with bad SEO copywriting. SEOs or clients sometimes insist on using hacked-up search phrases that simply don’t work in a normal sentence. An example? “Candies samples free.” Many copywriters will just grin and bear it, sacrificing quality and flow for the sake of competitive values or other numbers. The result is often some obnoxious sentence like, “If you’re looking for candies samples free, you’ve come to the right place!” Forcing a phrase into the copy at all costs never turns out well.

internet-copywriting5. Don’t use keyphrases that don’t apply to the page.

If you operate a site about wedding receptions, don’t try to force a search term about wedding dresses into the copy just because it pulls a lot of traffic. (A) Unless you sell, alter or design wedding dresses, it won’t be applicable. (B) Even if you manage to get the page ranked well for the phrase [wedding dresses], once the visitor clicks to your site and realizes you have nothing to do with wedding dresses, they will leave. It’s a waste of time and effort and it creates a poor user experience.

6. Don’t use misspellings and correct spellings on the same page.

I fully understand that the misspellings of keyphrases can be valuable search terms. However, to mix correct spellings and misspellings within the same page of copy looks like you’ve got a bunch of typos in the content. It’s just not professional. Some writers will go for the old, “We rent limousines (sometimes spelled limosenes) for the most affordable prices in town.” I don’t care for that approach. It’s just not natural. Would you ever see brochure or newspaper copy that reads that way? I think not.

7. Don’t use keyphrases the exact same way every time.

This is how we end up with horrible SEO copy that sounds like a 4th grader wrote it. (See #4.) There are lots of ways to use keywords in copy, not just one. In order to sound natural, you have to get creative with your keyphrase use. One way is to break up phrases using punctuation. Since search engines don’t pay attention to basic punctuation marks, you can easily write something using the search term [real estate Hawaii] that reads like this: “Currently there is an impressive selection of available real estate. Hawaii listings can be…” See? “Real estate” is at the end of the first sentence and “Hawaii” is at the beginning of the second sentence. The engines ignore the period so there’s no problem.

8. Don’t use all types of search phrases for every situation.

There are many ways in which this “don’t” applies. One quick example is that of an ecommerce site. It wouldn’t be advisable to use specific, long-tail keyphrases on the home page of your site. They are much too specific in most cases and are better suited for individual product pages. Broader terms are typically best for an ecommerce home page. If you don’t understand the best applications for the various types of keywords, you’re likely to have lackluster results.

9. Don’t neglect ALT tags/image attributes.

These tags are the ones associated with images on your pages and they carry a good deal of weight especially if the image is used as a link. The ALT text counts the same as anchor text in a text-based link. Depending on a few different factors, ALT text may be a good place for those misspellings mentioned in #6.

10. Don’t forget the chain of protocol.

There’s a method to the SEO copywriting madness. The idea is not to get as many different keyphrases onto a page as possible. Just the opposite, in fact. Rather than having 12 different search terms used only one time each, you need to use two to four keyphrases (depending on the length of your copy) per page. The title, META tags, ALT tags, other coding elements and on-page copy need to support each other as far as keyphrase use goes. Your goal is to let the engines know that you have original, relevant content about a narrow topic.

Unless you have an exceptional number of back links built up, just mentioning [dark chocolate], [chocolate strawberries], [chocolate chip cookies], [chocolate cake], [chocolate desserts], [organic chocolate] and [chocolate cheesecake] once each on a web page isn’t likely to do a lot of good. Instead, pick two or three terms which are closely related and use them several times each along with mentioning them in your tags.

When you avoid making common mistakes, you’ll find your SEO copywriting flows much better, is more natural-sounding and ranks higher, too.

 

 

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