by Latrice Cole
We all know it’s necessary for growth professionally or personally, but let’s be honest, it can be dreadful, intimidating, and downright awkward. What do you wear? Do you suck it up and wear the four-inch heels? How do you sell yourself? Do you humble-brag about your degree, or do you grit your teeth and smile until the very end? The most awkward part of networking is striking up the initial conversation with a complete stranger. But what if you didn’t have to? With just a dash of fashion-savvy, you can skip the stress-inducing walk-up and the whole boring introduction speech with this simple trick I teach all my clients: Wear an ice-breaking accessory that’s a stellar conversation starter. Below is a list of accessories that will get people approaching you now – and long after the event.
1. Scarves –Try wearing a unique vintage scarf or a scarf that you bought while on vacation with a great story behind it. This will allow you to share the story while taking the pressure off you. There are several ways to wear your scarf. Close to your face is best (around your neck), but if you’re not comfortable with that tie it on your handbag, but remember the key is for people to notice it. So, if you are going to tie it to your bag, make sure you can showcase it.
2. Pop of color with your shoe or handbag – Wearing a classic or neutral outfit to a networking event is a great way to look polished and professional (think Little Black Dresses, pantsuit/pants, and blouse combo). However, show a little personality by adding a great pair of shoes or bag in a print or color that pops (like burnt orange or red). You will surely gain compliments that can ease into a conversation.
3. Jewelry – One of my favorite ways to top off an outfit. Try wearing a stand out heirloom, like a ring or brooch or handmade earrings that boosts your confidence. Last October, I attended a fashion networking event, and I wore handmade earrings. They were a hit! People started conversations with me based on my earrings. It broke the ice, allowed me to engage with others, and exchange contact information.
4. Eyeglasses – Those who wear them use it out of necessity, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Use your necessity as an advantage by stepping up your eyewear game with an interesting shape, color, bedazzle, or print, according to your personality. I wear glasses and depending on the type of event, I may switch my frames to make a statement. Glasses draw attention to your face making it easy for people to make eye contact with you.
If you don’t wear glasses you can always flip the script and admire someone else’s to get the conversation going.
The post How to Connect at a Networking Event (Without Saying A Word) appeared first on She Owns It.
6 Ways To Incorporate SEO While Building A Business in 2020
There’s no quick fix, or “one and done” solution when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). You have to be prepared to play the long game to see the full advantages of SEO when developing a site — and it’s worth it to see your site rank highly on search engine result pages.
That said, there are some methods that will give you a quick boost. Shift more attention to the most significant ranking factors and tactics that will give your site the ability to rise to the top of the search results this year.
Choose a Responsive Design
User experience is a big deal these days. Google loves to serve its users the best results possible. If your website isn’t easy to use on a mobile device, you’re going to suffer a setback in ranking. Think about it, have you ever landed on a site where you had to zoom in to read the text and scroll side-to-side to read all of the content? This was most likely the desktop version of a website. It was made for larger screens and doesn’t reformat to fit on different screen sizes.
Responsive sites will resize images and reorganize the blocks of content according to the size of the screen. If you want to test whether a website is responsive, open up a web page on a desktop or laptop. From the full screen, shrink the window by clicking and dragging, and you’ll see the sidebars move, the navigation and header will take on new positions and the content and images will line up differently.
Mobile search volume accounts for more than half of the total searches made online (see chart below). A responsive, mobile friendly site is no longer an option, but a necessity, when it comes to providing an enjoyable user experience.
Create Keyword Clusters
Making a list of keywords that your ideal audience would use to find the content you’re offering will also boost your SEO ranking. Plug each keyword into a keyword tool to generate additional ideas. Assess the best options for keywords to include in your content strategy by grouping them into pools based on search intent. You’ll notice that many of those keyword options will be subtopics large enough to write an entire blog post about, in which you can provide more detailed content optimized for a related keyword.
For example, if you own a home improvement business, a central page on your site would be kitchen renovation. And because there are so many choices to make when renovating a kitchen, you could then go into depth and create a new page for every option, from counter tops and backsplash tile to faucets and refrigerators. When you’re planning your content, structure the website to feature central pages that are optimized for the most central, competitive keywords and most important aspects of your business.
Publish articles on the related subtopics in full detail in order to provide as much information on those major keyword topics, to show your expertise in your field, and to demonstrate authority within the content of your site. Google looks for this as partial evidence of your status as an expert in your niche.
Google also loves when there is a distinct organizational structure. By linking the subtopic posts to your major product pages, you signal what pages are most important to your site by creating a keyword cluster.
Optimize Your Content
On-page optimization enhances the likelihood of your page being ranked for your target keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing and place your keywords strategically. For instance, use your target keywords in the front end of your titles, and keep your titles under 60 characters or they will get cut off in the search display.
Place your keyword in your URL. The most effective URLs are those that are under 5 words and summarize the title or content on the page. Keywords should also be included in the meta description. Using your keyword in the beginning of the meta description will improve the click-through rate for users. As will placing your keyword within the first 100 words in the first paragraph of your content, and using keywords and keyword synonyms in the subtitles.
Use structured data markup whenever possible. If you can provide a rich snippet, you may get a boost in the position your site is displayed.
Make Your Pages Quick and Nimble
With a heavy emphasis on user experience, page speed can make a huge difference in how your site performs. If you’re an ecommerce site, it becomes extremely important because every second your page takes to load will cost your business money from lower conversions.
mPulse Mobile Case Study on Page Speed Vs Conversion Rates, Image source: https://digitalducats.com/page-speed/
Test your mobile page speed here. You can improve your site speed by reducing image file sizes, using plugins, and using a content delivery network to give your website additional page speed.
- To reduce the size of your images use Kraken or Smush.
- W3 Cache is one of the most popular WordPress plugins that increase page speed, but you can decide for yourself by choosing one from this list.
- Choose a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to reduce your pages load time from a list of options here.
Get Other Sites to Link to You
Establishing credibility and authority is a necessity to be competitive in search results. Backlinks are a powerful way to prove that your content is credible and authoritative because essentially it is being endorsed by the websites that link to you. But stay away from paid links, or any link scheme used to manipulate ranking in an underhanded way. Unnatural linking will lead to penalties and should be avoided altogether.
One approved method of link building is to become a guest author. There are guest posting sites in every niche and having knowledge about your business is all you need to create an article that can be submitted to a site for publication. It may take a few weeks to get a response, and you may need a few submissions before receiving acceptance. Get into a routine for guest posting to build backlinks as fast as possible.
Ask People to Share Your Content
A social network is a priceless asset for expanding your audience and getting more traffic to your website. Build your network by being active on the social media site that has the most impact on your business.
Install social sharing icons on your site and include a call to action to get the most shares. A retweet study revealed that content with share icons received 4 times as many retweets with the phrase “Please RT”.
Although there is a lot to put together to achieve a first page result, it’s a long-term game plan. Start building your website with SEO in mind to give your site the best chance at the top positions in search results.
In this ‘new normal’ it’s not more time, but THIS, that’s the holy grail of life and business
Has anyone else secretly worried that they accidentally manifested a worldwide pandemic? Because the top 3 things in my future vision journaling for about a year now have been:
- My husband works at home (so I don’t have to do all the childcare)
- I run my business in just a few short hours a day
- We spend lots of time together as a family
“Not like this!” I journal frantically on day 1 of lockdown. It feels like those awful wish reversals you get in fairytales where your wishes are indeed granted, but only in the most ironic and terrible ways.
Abracadabra! The world’s now in peril, your kids rarely leave your side, your husband’s going to work from home (but only emerge to look in the fridge), oh and here’s your new work day: AKA the crack of dawn, and “crikey, it’s midnight!” Enjoy!
On day 2 of lockdown I realise I do not have the patience of Mary Poppins and that our teachers are indeed underpaid; perhaps my children are going to have to settle for ‘The School of Life’ for a few weeks (or even months?!).
On day 3, I have a mini meltdown in the shower and sob into the soap dish over the future of the world, my business and my children (who are apparently now destined to be educated by a mentally unstable mother who doesn’t even know what a number bond is).
But on day 4, something miraculous happens: I feel better!
Months and years of mindset work and gratitude finally kick in, and I emerge from that dark place of fear, mourning and worry we all seem to have been tipped into, and realise that:
Yes, we’ve been forced to slow down, and yes, we’ve been forced to create space, and yes, it’s happened in the most horrible way; but even with all the extra scariness and worry and uncertainty; without the rush of the old world and the necessity to live our lives around someone else’s timetable, I can finally see the truth in that saying that, with change, comes opportunity.
We can either use this time to freeze and bemoan all the plans and dreams that will now have to be postponed or forgotten; or we can stop focusing on all that we’ve lost, and redirect our attention to all that we’ve gained.
I hate to say this, but for me and anyone else with children and/ or a job that can be done from home, more time isn’t necessarily one of those things we’re gaining – so don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you’re suddenly going to be able to write your book or launch that new membership program…
But actually, after a few more days in our ‘new normal’, I realise that although my days are definitely longer and fuller and involve far more parenting and far less actual working than ever before; it has also meant that I’ve had to pare back everything to the pure essentials, and there’s no doubt about it, this forced simplicity has created something I now suspect is more precious than that holy grail of more time: it’s given me back my headspace.
Because without the rush that bookends my days; the school runs and the work trips, the homework, the social events, the clubs, appointments, obligations, and all the other mental acrobatics that go into running a 21st Century life, I realise that it’s not lack of time that’s been stopping me from doing all the things I want to do, like write my book, or tap into my business vision, have more self care, or be more present with my kids (time is just an illusion, after all).
No, the thing that’s really been holding me back, is a lack of room in my mind to see things clearly, a lack of space to daydream, and a train of thought that’s constantly being stopped and diverted.
Maybe it wasn’t the new skeleton schedule, or personal development seminar, or more help around the house that I needed to help me achieve those dreams. Maybe what I really needed all along was a pattern interrupt; something that would slow me right down. And suddenly here we have it; the mother of all pattern interrupts; not really holding us back so much as reining us in, so we can slow down and see the opportunities already here.
So 2020 isn’t exactly panning out how I’d planned it – I’m sure you know how that feels – and while I know there’ll still be moments of frustration, fear and sadness for all of us, I’ve decided to take what the universe has given me (more family time and more togetherness), embrace the change, go with the flow, trust, and look for the opportunities that were here all along.
And you know what? Maybe that’s how slowing down to speed up really works; because in the little under 2 weeks since this all began, that book that’s been sitting outlined in my google docs for months has already been turned into a mini ebook ready for my VA to make pretty in Canva (and the extended version is on its way); and that membership I’ve had all the content for but no ‘time’ or energy to launch – it’s going live later this month so I can serve more people who need what I’ve got.
Yes, the road ahead is uncertain right now, but I’m beginning to trust that I’ve got all the tools I need within me to weather the storm (or at least Amazon Prime, probably does). So now’s the time to stay out of fear and stay in momentum; to show up and serve with no other agenda than serving; to be scared without being scary (as Brene Brown very aptly said); and to look for the opportunities that were already there.
And hopefully, when this is all over, l may still not know what a number bond is, but at least I’ll be ready to rise with the tide. Will you rise with me?
Words by Cate Butler Ross.
Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS
by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
There are trends that are occurring in social media that business owners can take advantage of to help them grow their businesses. As changes take place on platforms, it may benefit business owners to stay current on the changes so that you don’t use outdated practices that no longer work on social networking sites.
Growth of Tik Tok
This site has gained popularity as a social networking site for business owners. Tik Tok is a social networking site that has become very popular with Generation Z.
Individuals who are micro-influencers have gained popularity on this social networking video app. Influencers are aware that using the site to promote video can benefit small businesses because it’s not geared towards traditional sales. The lack of hard sales on the site is popular with users. By connecting with followers through good video content, it will help small businesses expand and provide opportunities to sell products. It’s expected that one of the social media trends for 2020 will include the expansion of Tik Tok to allow platform users to shop online like other social networking channels.
Increase in social shopping
Entrepreneurs can benefit from using social shopping on their company sites because of the growth of e-commerce. During the past decade, social networking sites have contributed to the growth of e-commerce. It’s now the norm for social shopping to occur on social networking channels. Customers enjoy connecting with brands and building relationships with them on social networking sites. Consumers enjoy having access to brands without leaving platforms to purchase products and services. Entrepreneurs can look to expand social shopping on their social channels.
The rise of small business owners as influencers
Small businesses can benefit from the increase in popularity that they have experienced as influencers. Users on various social platforms desire to connect with small businesses rather than huge companies. The ability to connect with an audience on a small-scale is something that small business owners can take advantage of because they have a unique following.
The use of social media to develop consumer confidence
Small business owners can benefit from using their social platforms to develop a relationship with followers that are based on trust. Followers can develop relationships based on the quality of content that is promoted that informs followers about the value that a business brings into the market. By having real conversations with followers and connecting on a human level, companies establish relationships on a much richer level because of the connection that is made by showing the company as a place where real people work.
Use of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a powerful social platform because the site is geared toward business professionals. Business owners can reach decision-makers on LinkedIn to grow their businesses. If a company has products and services to sell and its budget is limited, being active on the platform can help generate sales and gain the attention of decision-makers.
Fewer boundaries between personal and professional lives
Social media trends include witnessing fewer boundaries between the professional and personal lives of business owners. Small business owners can grow their online audience by interacting with followers and showing them aspects of the personal and professional lives. Sharing unique content that shows followers portions of the daily lives allows followers to connect with business owners on a genuine level.
An increase in the number of brief posts
Businesses are posting new content that is online for a short amount of time, and this will continue to increase in 2020. These posts occur on sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tikk Tok. The time-limited posts are primarily videos and allow businesses to share content that may be more personal and allows business owners to share special offers of their products and services.
Increase focus on customer interaction
Brands are working to focus more on customer responses in 2020. By responding to customer service issues that arise, businesses can learn what is necessary to meet the needs of their customers. Small businesses can gain attention from their followers by working to connect with followers and meeting the needs they address about the products and services they desire to purchase.
Expansion of the use of storytelling
Companies have increased their use of storytelling on social media sites using different types of media such as video and written content. By sharing what a company represents, it allows businesses to reach followers and potential customers. Business owners can engage with their audience telling stories on different social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Increase in video content
There is an increase expected in the amount of video content that brands produce in 2020 on social networking sites. Small businesses can increase their number of customers and followers by producing content that is appealing to followers. Business owners can determine which platforms work best for their followers and provide content that is based on what works best for their audience.
More social messenger apps
Small business owners can benefit from using social messenger apps to connect with their customers. The top messenger apps are used primarily by millennials. The top messenger apps include the following.
There are over 2 billion messages sent on Messenger each month from businesses. The app is on over 1.2 billion phones. The potential exists for greater customer experiences to occur because of the growth of the social messaging service. Messaging apps that were developed using artificial intelligence have improved customer engagement. It’s expected that the customer experience will continue to improve because of the unique way that companies can improve the artificial intelligence they use to have more unique engagement with customers using social messaging services.
The use of messenger apps outranks the top social networking sites which include the following.
Small business owners can work to expand their businesses by using social networking sites and social messaging services. By working to create personalized experiences with customers and potential customers, businesses can expand and provide their customers with good experiences. Having an awareness of what their customers desire will help small businesses grow and effectively market to customers of all ages.
The post Social Media Trends to Watch in 2020 by @DONNAAMOS appeared first on She Owns It.
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