Could not have said it better myself…

Is SEO worth it?

What a stunning article.

Hats off to WordPress for continuing to provide exceptional content and information.

Deciding whether — or how much — to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) is a decision that plagues many small-business owners and bloggers alike. On one hand, showing up at the top of a search engine results page is a good goal to have. On the other hand, SEO is an inexact science that requires a lot of resources. At the end of the day, is SEO worth it?

Read on …

Six Tips to Maximize Your SEO Return on Investment.

Thank you!

affection appreciation decoration design
Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

Website Building

Want your own website but can’t afford one and don’t know how to build one?

I have been working on websites and related platforms (social media, SEO etc.) for the past 12 years. I built my first website using the “Site Build It!” platform and my intrigue with building websites began, and grew over the years.
Since then many platforms have made a name for themselves as more and more people lean towards building their own websites. This then, without learning to code. These web builders use drag and drop features and Wisiwyg editors. Web Builders like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Wix. Bloom online website building services
In addition, many web hosting companies have built their own platforms that mimic some of these I have mentioned but lack the resources and options that the others do, although they can be perfect for a Blog or a Start-up Company.  While they all run in much the same way as content management systems, my preferred one is WordPress.  Mostly due to its ease of use and their huge global community, plugins and themes.

I have personally built more than 20 WordPress websites. Learning on the go.

Most of them on the FREE plan. Great for people who never had a website before (starting out) and for those wishing to add a separate Blog site to their existing complex site that doesn’t offer blogging. Free WordPress.com is limited in what one can do with it, but has surprisingly many great features that other providers do not offer for free. What’s more is that once you are ready to move to the next level, the upgrade options are endless. On this route your end result website can well become EVERYTHING you have ever wished for in a website without breaking your bank.

Experience is key in the online world since (almost) everything is open to us and things change and morph so much most people cannot get their head around it all when they first start out trying to understand web building.

Bloom Online website building servicesMy experience is available to you in whatever manner you require.  Be it: Consulting and Collaborating with you,  Teaching / Guiding you how to do it (one-on-one), Building-for-You and then Training you how to continue by yourself. As a one-woman-biz, with many diverse and useful skills, I can be most useful to you.

Need a new website, or wish to add a Blog site to your existing site? Or maybe you started a site and need help completing it. Whatever your need, and level of understanding….

Contact me now so we can discuss your needs and requirements and I can work out a free quote for you.

Having a website that does what you want it to do is more possible than ever before.

That someone you can trust to help you with it could be right in front of you!

Why Blog for your Business??

The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing

Business blogging is a marketing tactic that uses blogging to get your business more online visibility. A business blog is a marketing channel that helps support business growth, where you can share timely and relevant information with your customers, and easily link it to your other marketing channels (like FaceBook, Twitter, MailChimp etc.) It’s your direct, dynamic communication channel, to enhance your website and online presence.

Main reasons why you should use blogging as a marketing tactic.

1) It helps drive traffic to your website.

Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search.

2) Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media.

Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.

3) Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going.

Instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channels.

4) It helps convert that traffic into leads.

Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads, by setting up “Call to action” or “Contact us now” requests etc..

5) You can tell your brand’s story.

A blog is a great place to offer more insight into your company, philosophy, employees, and ideas. Tell your customers why you’re in business and how you can help them.

6) Blogs are cost-effective marketing investments.

Every post you publish is a long-term asset that helps build brand awareness and promote your expertise, products and services.

And many more reasons…..

Do you need assistance with your Blog?

Set up an appointment and we can discuss YOUR blogging marketing needs, or simply Contact me now.

Back to work

Okay, so the holidays are a distant memory, the lean month of January (for many of us) has come to an end, what is left now – and it excites me tremendously – is the onset of production and productivity.  Now we can get “back to work”.

“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”– Calvin Coolidge

Dictionary.com explains the word “work” as follows:

noun
1. exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.
2. productive or operative activity.
3. employment, as in some form of industry, especially as a means of earning one’s livelihood.
4. one’s place of employment:
5. something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking:
6. materials, things, etc., on which one is working or is to work.
7. the result of exertion, labor, or activity; a deed or performance.Bloom online website servicesIf the word “work” conjures up images of drudgery and/or stress for you then you will NOT be optimistic and looking-forward-to-it.  It is a known fact that 80% of people do not like their work. That also means that you are unlikely to spend much time with people that DO like their work. However, if you want to love your work, then you need to learn from people that do.  I believe that sometimes we need to change our surroundings ; more often than not, we need to change our inner-world. My personal philosophy is simply this: Be good, or great, at what I do, every little thing I do, and then I (will) LOVE it.!    i.e. Work so that you love it.!

Moreover, everything that has ever been accomplished was at first termed “impossible”, until somebody did it.!

February is sometimes termed “the month of LOVE” … only because on the 14th it is Valentine’s day. But for me it is a month I love because December and January are done and I can really get stuck into working: being productive, being effective, creating great work, earning money, feeling useful, learning new things, developing and improving my skills, taking on challenges and overcoming them, and most of all: to produce work that please my clients. I love my work.!

Thank goodness it’s February. Yay!

Happy Work Everyone.!

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.  Vince Lombardi

PS: Read this for a bit of humour and hard truth on a tough subject: Myths about doing what you love for work.

Website Editing done while you are on Holiday

Many companies close for a few weeks or days over the up-coming holiday season.  This may be the best time of year to arrange for updates and/or edits to your website if your company will be closed.

SO often crucial updates and much needed edits to websites are not being done because one does not want to loose any business due to website down-time.

Why not arrange your website down-time to the exact period when your business is not operating over the holiday?

When your doors re-open after your much needed leave, your website will be online and refreshed with new content, new photos, or simply better after crucial updates, back-ups and/or some serious optimization (SEO) practices applied.

Contact Liliane now at Bloom Online to arrange a quote.

Makes Blooming good business sense!

contact Bloom Online Liliane

Using WordPress to Build a Web or Blog Site

Many people are turning to Free platforms to build their Blog or Website.

I have used quite a few different website builders and while I am not in the business of “naming and shaming” the not-so-good ones, I am a big fan of WordPress. Bloom online website services and more

Their Free Hosting platform is great and offers many features that sets one off to an excellent start. Depending on what the website is used for, this may be all you need.

It is only when certain features, like custom domain names, or email accounts, or shopping basket (etc) are needed that one would decide to either host locally, or upgrade with WP for a paid plan.

Assuming you are choosing the FREE template set-up for your blog or website, and you consider yourself reasonably computer savvy…. you may still find yourself a little overwhelmed with the task.

What do you do then?

Call, mail or message me.!

I have been using WP since 2008. I provide thorough one-on-one training and set-up assistance on using and building with WP.  Together we can build your website’s structure – with pages and posts – possible in under two hours. I will teach you, step by step, how to customize a suitable template, add content (posts and pages), link to your social media, upload photos and videos, and how to choose relevant keywords for search engines to find. Bloom online website services and more

We work at your pace, and where you feel comfortable. Nothing could be easier.

What’s more is I am available every day by mail or phone to offer free assistance or advice.

Contact me today and let’s get you BLOOMing Online.

Bloom online website services and more

To Blog or Not to Blog

Why Blogging for Business is a Great way to enhance the Customer’s Experience:

A website is a great online ‘business card’ where everything about your business and service can be available for visitors to get to know. As most websites are static, the information doesn’t change, and that does not encourage repeat visits to the site.

    1. With a Blog on your website one can provide fresh new content and information that keeps visitors coming back to your site,
    2. Blogging on a frequent basis is a relatively easy, inexpensive way to enhance your inbound marketing efforts, drive traffic to your site, and attract more perspective customers,
    3. Visitors can interact with you via the Blog by commenting, sharing, or following your blog. A visitor that is interacting is an invested visitor and a more likely customer,
    4. Blogging allows you to connect with your site visitors. This can be accomplished by asking your readers questions at the end of your posts to get the conversation going or by simply allowing comments and feedback. By reviewing and responding to readers’ comments, you can create a rapport with your audience, build trust, and gain valuable insight into what your customers are looking for,
    5. Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search. It is also one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface,
    6. Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet,
    7. Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going  – you’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channel, It also helps establish your online ‘authority’. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes,
    8. And more….

Bloom online website services
I look forward to working with you on your new Blog site.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.

Liliane @ Bloom online

SEO once-off

As it is becoming more and more important for one’s website to not only be found in Google (and other search engines), but also to be well-placed in Google’s search engine results (ranking), website owners are turning to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists, to ensure their sites are indexed in Google’s vast database of websites.

Where to start?

The first, even vital, part of website optimization is to ensure that appropriate search phrases (keywords) are placed correctly in the website, along with other important structuring of the website’s code (HTML).

SEO Once is a one-time set of economical Search Engine Optimization activities, performed on your behalf by experienced web engineers, aimed at ensuring your website meets the recommended requirements for Google / Search Engine Compliance – generally refers to the adherence to coding practices in relation to the use of HTML or XHTML or PHP with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define the web page; as well as Best Practice Optimizations (SEO).

For example, a compliant website contains:

  • properly-structured keywords: well placed in title tags, alt tags, descriptions, and, and, relevant to the page and the company’s business, supported by meaningful, interesting, relevant content, all aimed at ensuring the correct keywords are indexed by Google (and other search engines) so that your site can be found in search results (SERP’s), according to the keywords you have chosen;
  • title’s and descriptions of the correct length and containing one or two main keywords each;
  • Alt and Title tags added to links and images (often overlooked at webdesign phase),
  • a sitemap file – (Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling / indexing);
  • Style sheets;
  • a robot.txt file
  • and many more ….

Activities and changes to the website to ensure that the correct keywords are present and indexed include:on-page-SEO-bloom-online

  • Research of proposed keywords and their variants, based on their current popularity and competitiveness.
  • Authoring of each page* to ensure a proper title tag that also contains keywords. The title tag is used in displaying your site in Google search engine page results (SERP).
  • Authoring of each page* to ensure a proper description tag that also contains keywords.  The description tag can be used to display a snippet of information about your site in Google serp.
  • Removal of keyword tags (they are NOT used by Google any more and just provide information to your competitors).
  • Authoring page content* to include and reinforce the presence of desired keywords.  The correct use of the , <H>, <Strong>, <Alt> and image/<a> and title attributes, with emphasis on the Home page.
Activities and changes to the website to enable Google to locate your website and generate visitor and view statistics:
  • Creation and submission of a sitemap to Google;
  • Linking to and registering the site on Google Analytics.
  • Registering the site on Google Search Console (prev. known as Webmaster Tools);
  • Making suggestions for additional improvements…

For starters the client has to define a list of 5-10 main keywords/phrases, plus an additional list of secondary keywords/phrases, that we can use as a starting point for the keyword analysis and research mentioned above.

We also need FTP access to the site where it is being hosted, in order to effect the necessary changes. If the website has been built using WordPress, Joomla, or any such platforms, there will be a CMS panel log-in (Customer Managed). These platforms greatly reduce one’s ability to make good SEO changes and often the only way to make those SEO changes is to upgrade the platform (costs money) and/or download add-on packages. None of which are fully integrated with all SEO Best Practices.

The sooner your site is correctly optimised, the sooner you can start to get the benefits of being properly compatible with Google and other Search Engines. The you build on your website’s credibility, popularity and authority (with content, news, social media links, outbound links, inbound or back-links, etc.

Other SEO specialists charge anything between R3’000 to R 6 500.00 and more, for not even all of the aforementioned SEO activities. With me you are getting a great deal of work done at a very affordable price. Contact me for a free no-obligation quote.

But, don’t take my word for it, by all means, do your own research on the topic and be sure to check the fine print.

Thank you!

Ranking and SEO

[Due to the depth of information required to fully understand this complex subject, I have added resources for your personal research in links below.]

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.

Optimization can take many forms. It’s everything from making sure the title tags and meta descriptions are both informative and the right length to pointing internal links at pages you’re proud of.

An SEO process will typically include tasks like:

  1. Making sure that the most effective and valid keywords are present on your website (in title tags, description tags, in the content, in links, image descriptions, etc.) and thus get indexed by Google (and other search engines), based on their stipulated guidelines, in order to receive traffic that is directly related to your keywords and thus also directly related to your business / services offered via your website.
    Keywords like “welcome”, “contact us”, “products”, “telephone number”, “address”, “business”…. etc. often end up being the popular keywords indexed for a website by Google and these words do NOTHING for the company or business or services that are on offer. This happens when those words are the most common ones used in headings, page titles, tags etc. etc. – the very criteria that Google use to index keywords.
    Changes are made to those headings, titles and all tags etc. to instead include relevant-to-your-business-or-services-keywords as the most common, and thus create the possibility for relevant search engine traffic to your web site. We may recommend adding new paragraphs of text if the original text did not include enough of the relevant keywords.
  2. Adding links to and from relevant authoritative websites;
  3. Registering the website with Google’s Search Console (prev. Webmaster Tools) and Google Analytics;
  4. Removing critical programming errors (if any);
  5. Creating a sitemap file for Google to access;
  6. etc.

SEO can and does also prepare your website for effective advertising campaigns – i.e. builds a solid foundation.

On the other hand, Ranking – position on the Search Query Results page – is not static. It changes dynamically and constantly. While it is calculated by the search engines’ robots (the term used to describe the computer programme / script or algorithm) that crawls the web that feeds on predictable web statistics, it is by no means predictable in it’s results. There are simply too many web sites out there and so many new pages or posts being created every second of every day for the statistics to remain the same for very long.

According to Google (and other search engines) the algorithm looks at your query and uses over 200 signals to decide which of the millions of pages and content are the most relevant answers for that query. Google finesses its ranking algorithms with over 500 improvements per year. Examples of these signals include: The freshness of content on a website; synonyms of your search keywords; quality of the content on the site; the amount of words and the words themselves; the URL and title of webpage; the number of other websites linking a site and the authority of those links; social media linking and recommendations by the people or sites you’re connected to; and whether the best result is a webpage, and image, a video, news article, personal social result, etc.  [See Google’s explanation “How search works” in graphic form]

Hence, ranking (on search result pages) is not something one can predict or force or guarantee. It is achieved – over time – on well managed authoritative websites.

However, with an effective advertising campaign one can expect to rise up in RANKING on search results pages. Ideally a site wants to be featured on the first page of the search query results, and hopefully 1st in line. With careful planning this can be done. Without this, ranking results cannot be guaranteed.

One can spend as little as R50 per day or as much as R100’000 per month on Ad Campaigns, to ensure Ranking tops on Search Queries.

Only with proper Search Engine Optimisation is it sensible to address the subject of your web site and its Ranking.

I hope that I have clarified that sufficiently for you?

For your additional research:

If, you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask via the comment box at the bottom of the post.

Thank you!

Liliane

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.  [Wikipedia]

i.e. the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic to a website.

Optimising a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site via social media to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

SEO is a step in the RANKING process. If a website has not been properly optimised, then they cannot even think about improving their website’s ranking. There are many that offer SEO products and processes, but before you choose a SEO expert to optimise your website, make sure you know exactly what it means.

The success of any SEO website project depends on:

  • having many good “content rich pages” on a website;  and  The “content” of your site consists of all the words, pictures or photos, videos, and links. There should be more words than images. Content should be original, informative and interesting;
  • having at least 5 quality incoming and outgoing links to and from the website;
  • continually linking and sharing to social media (one a week is tops, but one a month will also be effective.!);
  • relevant keywords used in title and descriptive tags, and/or underlined words, lists, image text, bold text, link text, and headings.
  • having no coding errors or penalties.

Due to the number of websites from competing industries and services on the World Wide Web – we are talking millions, and at lest 1’000’s in SA alone –  it is virtually impossible to guarantee which website will get the best viewing from search queries.  This is an “art and a science” that changes, as competition changes and as Google (and other search engines) refine and redefine their search criteria.

Without a doubt, SEO gives any website the best foundation in the complex science of ranking, and a fair chance at being found by the very keywords Google has indexed in the process.

SEO is both a once-off optimisation process to cover the basic on-the-page technical as well as content stuff, and an ongoing enhancement process with some on-the-page stuff but mostly off-the-page stuff.

The ONCE-OFF on-page & technical stuff:

  • ensuring that the most effective and valid keywords are present on your website so that they can be indexed by Google, based on their stipulated guidelines, in order to receive traffic that is directly related to your keywords and thus also directly related to your business / services offered via your website.
    Many websites are indexed with non-relevant keywords. For example:   keywords like “welcome”, “contact us”, “products”,  “telephone number”, “address”, “business”…. etc. often end up being the popular keywords indexed for a website by Google, because the web owner / designer did not know better. These words do NOTHING for the company or business or services that are on offer. It happens when those words are the most common ones used in headings, page titles, tags, alt tags, image names (the criteria that Google use to index keywords);
  • adding new paragraphs of text, or even add new pages of text (content) if the original text did not include enough of the relevant keywords;
  • modifying title tags, description tags, alt tags, image text and tags, URL, Headings, lists, bold, underline and link texts – to be search engine compliant and to contain one or more relevant keywords;
  • an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted to ensure that all pages are found;
  • registering the website with Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics;
  • adding quality incoming and outgoing links to and from the website;
  • adding social media links or buttons on your website;

The ONGOING on and off-page stuff:

  • technical on-the-page optimisation is recommended for all new content you add to your site ;
  • continually adding relevant news or articles and images to prevent your website from becoming stale and keeping regular visitors interested;
  • adjust to changes that Google make to their indexing processes (when required);
  • continually building trust with customers/clients / site visitors through interacting with on-line social media, and/or blog pages, and/or news feeds;
  • keeping with trends, like following supply and demand and advertising and sharing those with visitors to your website;
  • keeping links to and from your website relevant and current (to avoid broken or bad links).

Here is a fabulous chart explaining these facets….

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

SEO Optimisation, can and does prepare your website – i.e. build a good foundation –  for effective advertising campaigns. With an effective advertising campaign one can guarantee a huge improvement RANKING in Google searches, and with careful planning one can have one’s website feature on the first page of a search query. But that’s another step ahead of what we are doing here.

With proper Search Engine Optimisation done, it is then possible to address Ranking – web-page positioning on Google search. But understand that no-one can guarantee a website a no.1 position. No-one.!

SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors.  Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website’s placement, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. According to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day.

It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic.

If you like you can read “Google Basics”. In that article, Google explain how they look for content, and how they index keywords based on the content. You can then move on to more articles on Google Webmaster about SEO.  Click here to read Google Basics.

Should you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to add it to a “comment” box below, or go to the “contact” page.

Thank you.!
Liliane

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