7 Recommended WordPress Plugins

7 Recommended WordPress Plugins

7 Recommended WordPress Plugins

(This post includes affiliate links. No worries, no obligations. Just letting you know that if you click through and purchase, we receive a small compensation from it.)

If you are building a website on WordPress, there are several plugins that I recommend to clients that assist with ease, safety, and speed of their website. I’ve included the top 7 recommended WordPress plugins that I usually recommend to clients. These are all tried and true by me, so I stand by these plugins!

Akismet Anti-Spam.

You want to keep your website and the blog part of your site clear of spam. Akismet is great to filter out spam comments, especially when you have a pretty active blog.

Divi Theme/Page Builder.

I highly recommend Divi by Elegant Themes (affiliate link) for many reasons. While this is a premium paid for plugin, Divi is great whether you are an experienced web designer or going the DIY route. We use Divi for most of our web design projects and it’s very intuitive to use. Another reason I recommend Divi is that if you are going the DIY route, Divi has a lot of page templates that are great to use when you’re in a creative rut.

Imagify.

As discussed earlier, site speed is crucial to the success of your website. Imagify is great for optimizing your images to get your site running faster and up to speed.

Wordfence Security.

Security is so important! Wordfence is great for blocking hackers. While no system is fully immune to hackers (especially really good ones), this will alert you should anyone try to hack your site. It will also block suspicious IP addresses from viewing your website.

WooCommerce.

If you’ve got a product to sell, WooCommerce is your best friend! There are many add-ons to WooCommerce to seriously optimize your website. It connects with many payment gateways and can help you get your online store up and running for free. There’s a learning curve to using WooCommerce but they provide many tutorials on their website for help!

WP Rocket.

While this is a premium paid plugin, this will give you browser caching and more. In my experience WP Rocket has helped speed up my site and reduce the bounce rate of my users.

Yoast SEO.

Yoast is a powerful SEO tool that you can use to make sure your content and site is SEO friendly. You plug in your ideal keywords and it scans your web page to let you know if it’s optimized or not.

What if I am in need of course/membership recommendations?

Selling a course or membership? Send me an e-mail and I can give you a list of recommended plugins to set that up! Membership and course-based websites are a whole different ball game to set up!

In the end, do your research and make sure that the plugins you install are good for your site. Remember that too many plugins can slow your site down, so only download what is necessary!

As always, feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

Stay awesome Superheroes!

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5 Things to Include on Your Homepage

5 Things to Include on Your Homepage

5 Things to Include on your Homepage

Your website is where your business calls HOME. Your homepage is the first thing that users see when they click to your website. There are a number of crucial things that you should have on your homepage to encourage users to learn as much as they can about your business in one shot.

I’ve written out this short guide to help you learn the 5 things that should be included on your homepage at all times.

1. Introduction about you and/or business.

You want your user to know about you and what your business is about. A simple 100 word introduction is usually enough. Don’t forget to include your business name, tagline and a little bit about what you offer. Your user should know right from the start what kind of business they are browsing through.

2. Your top 3 or 4 Products and/or Services

You want to make it easy for your user to know what you have to offer. Small breakdowns of your services or a layout highlighting your top four products is most helpful! Your user can see if they want to learn more and continue browsing on your website.

3. An opt-in form.

E-mail is not dead! You want a way to collect e-mails right from your homepage. You wat to lead them in with an incentive such as a coupon code upon signup, a freebie or what have you. There are a couple of ways to do this:

  • A popup. While annoying at times, this is the highest converting method of collecting e-mails.
  • Inline optin. This means a signup form that is in the body of your page rather than a popup.
  • A button that leads to a popup. You can have at the top of your homepage “sign up for X.” and when your user clicks the button, it opens a subscription popup.

4. Testimonial or Review

You can instill confidence in your product or service by including a testimonial on your homepage. You can pull from your Facebook reviews or testimonials that your clients/buyers give you.

5. Contact Information

Whether you place your e-mail address or a contact form on your website, including a way to contact you is so important. This can be a direct contact form at the bottom of your home page or a button that links to a contact page. You’ll be surprised at how many questions people have!

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10 Tips for Making Compelling Facebook Ads

10 Tips for Making Compelling Facebook Ads

10 Tips for Making Compelling Facebook Ads

10 Tips for Making Compelling Facebook Ads

By Anissa Cosby and Rianna Neal

Facebook for business is all the rage right now. The internet has opened a floodgate of possibilities for business, and Facebook has brought these possibilities into the living rooms of every work from home mom and digital nomad. Facebook Ads are the next big step. As more people join the Facebook Business phenomenon and start advertising more and more, the bar is being raised to make better content and better ads.

Here are 10 Tips for Making Compelling Facebook Ads from us to you!

Tip #1: Be Clear on Your Intent

Before you even begin the ad, be very clear on your intent for the ad. Why are you wanting to run an ad or boost that post? What do you want people to do when they see the ad? How will you measure the success of the ad, realistically? Use the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting method for preparing your ad. This is incredibly important so that 2 weeks and $20 later you will be able to say exactly how successful your ad was and why. This can even be as simple as, “I want to boost this ad for $5 to increase the reach of my brand.”

Tip #2: Select Your Objective

Okay, now you can go to your computer! Boosting a post is still a slightly different thing than creating an ad. Boosting a post will just create more reach to get engagement or messages to your page. However, if you use ads manager, there are several different objectives you can choose from that will help drive your compelling Facebook ads forward.

Keeping your intent in mind, which objective will best suit you?

Keep in mind 90% of sales happen after 12 touches, so starting with Brand Awareness and Engagement are good objectives to grow people’s awareness and interest of your business of Facebook.

Link Click ads are good at driving traffic to your website, but they are more expensive ($5 per day minimum vs. $1 min for all others) and you want to make sure people know what to do when they get to your website in a matter of seconds. Finally, conversion ads are the big money maker when it comes to selling on your website with Facebook ads. Set up your Pixel ASAP to start getting data for this now so you are ready to use it later.

Tip #3: Selecting Your Audience

These suggestions apply for both boosted posts and Facebook ads, although there are less options with the boosted post. When you are first getting started, select a broad audience knowing you will use data from the results to narrow your audience.

Choose 5-10 states or cities where you currently do business or have a warm audience. If you are a brick and mortar, use a 50-mile radius of your location, or places you can ship to/work with. Next, choose an age range of 30 years or less. Choose Gender and Language if it is appropriate to your product or service.
Next, Select 10-20 keywords. Demographics, behavior, and interest are the three categories of keywords and they are exactly what they sound like. Use this area as a search bar to find what keywords are available or browse what is available to get some ideas.
Stretch your thinking with this. What other things might your audience have in common? For example, you may be selling pancake recipes, but you know your audience needs to buy things like blueberries and flour. These would be good keywords to select.

Tip #4:  Selecting Your Budget

Now let’s talk money. How do you set a budget? For boosted posts, the budget is pretty straightforward, but ads require a bit more strategy.

Most ads are $1 per day with the exception of link clicks which are $5 per day. It takes the software 72 hours to properly optimize your audience, so let it run for AT LEAST a week, but no more than 30-60 days for one ad.
With these minimums in mind, type in several numbers to see the estimate reach and results of the ad. $20 can really go a long way. If you have no idea where to start, do $50 for promoting a big event or product, or $100-$200 a month of a combination of ads to help boost the growth of your business on Facebook.

The #1 thing I recommend is using a lifetime budget with a set end date, this way you have set parameters on your money before you even begin.

Tip #5: You need a compelling headline.

All good graphics and ads start with a compelling headline. Before starting any design work, think about what text you’d like on your graphic. It should be simple and attention-grabbing. Leave the heavy copy for the ad itself. Facebook does not like images with more than 20% of text taking up the image. Keep this in mind when creating your graphic. The recommendation is to keep it short and sweet, about 5-10 words but no more than that. When you have a headline in mind, it’ll be easier to create your imagery around it.

Examples:

  • Learn 5 Ways to Speed Up your Slow Website
  • Focus On What You Do Best and Delegate the Rest
  • Bespoke OOAK Jewelry You’ll Adore

Tip #6: Make sure the graphic isn’t too busy.

When creating compelling Facebook ads, you want to make sure your graphic isn’t too busy. You want your audience to engage and react to your ad. You don’t want to place text over a busy image or in a spot that can’t be read. For example, if you want to use a city skyline in your graphic, place your text above the skyline not in it. Unless you plan to use a solid colored overlay, it’s generally not a good idea. Also, if your graphic is hard to read or understand, your audience is less likely to click through as they’ll lose interest in your ad.

Bad Examples:

 

The font is not bold enough and can’t be read over the image. The image is too dark and has too many bracelets in one picture. This can make it hard to view what is being sold and the emotion you are trying to convey. Plus, nowhere does it have the business name on it!

 

Good Examples

In this example, there is too much text. Facebook would flag this as having too much text and will warn you that it won’t perform well.
In this image, we clearly see the product and what is being highlighted for sale. It is also on a clean white background which makes the product stand out more!
This graphic has just the right amount of image to text ratio. It has key important copy but it doesn’t overwhelm the graphic.
Another keynote is to make sure you are using the right image dimensions for the ad that you are using.

Tip #7:  Always, ALWAYS include your branding.

A common mistake that most business owners make is failure to include their branding or business name on their advertisements. As a business owner, you are working hard to build your brand awareness. You’re likely to have your audience more in tune with you the more familiar they get with your brand. You don’t have to include your logo on every single graphic, especially if the graphic is a different palette or theme, but you should always include your business name or website in the footer of the graphic.

Tip #8: Colors matter!

Color psychology is a thing, don’t ya know? If there is a specific emotion or reaction that you wish to convey, it’s important to use the colors associated with it. For example, if you wish to convey excitement, then your primary color should be yellow. All of these play an important part of converting your ads.

Tip #9: Use legible fonts.

Believe it or not, another factor that plays into ad conversion are the fonts that are used in the graphics. While script fonts are beautiful, sometimes they don’t read as well as they should. You have to account for all the screen types that your ad will be shown on. If you plan to use scripts, make sure they’re big and legible, not in all caps and in a darker color. One way to see if your graphic is legible is to zoom out. As you zoom out, you can start to picture it in different aspects.

Tip #10: Test and Check Test and Check Test and Check

Once you have the ad up and running, the most important thing to do to make the ad successful is to test and check. Test a few different images then check back every couple of days to see which are performing the best, and pause the others. Set a time on your calendar every week to check in on your ads, test a few different age groups and see which is performing well. However, between these times, leave it be! It can be tempting to check and tweak the ad every hour, but leave it be to do its thing. Every time you make a change, it takes a while for it to be approved at which point the ad is not being shown to your audience.

Wrap Up…..

However many changes Facebook makes or algorithm updates that occur, follow these steps to get the best results from your ads. Check the data on your ad and see how many people have responded to the ad in what demographics. (See the “Breakdown” tab in ads manager).

Good images will help you tremendously. There are a lot of terrible ads out there, take the updates and competition and motivation to do better!

Happy Advertising!

Meet the Authors!

Anissa Cosby

Anissa Cosby

Founder, Graphic & Web Designer, The Virtual Sidekick

Anissa… is more than your ordinary Sidekick. A geek of her own, Anissa is the Founder of The Virtual Sidekick, where they serve as your creative right hand, bringing your vision to life and helping Superheroes save the day, one creative step at a time.

Learn More Today!

Rianna Neal

Rianna Neal

Founder, Pancake Digital Solutions

Rianna… is a self-proclaimed data nerd with a love of strong coffee and her two mutts. Rianna is the Founder of Pancake Digital Solutions, a company founded on the belief that anyone can learn anything… Currently teaching Facebook Ads and Social Media for Business.

Start Learning today!

10 Tips for Making Compelling Facebook Ads

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Why Social Media Graphics are Important

Why Social Media Graphics are Important

Why Social Media Graphics Are Important - Blog Header

If you are on social media to promote your business, then you need branded social media graphics. Branded social media graphics aren’t just useful for people who have products. They are important for everyone, from people who have blogs to people in any service-based industry. Really any type of business can benefit from branded graphics. A lot of the business owners that I’ve come across don’t realize how they can utilize social media graphics to really expand their businesses. Many don’t notice how much graphics, specially branded graphics, can really help their social media game explode.

Use Stock Photos

So many business owners use memes or images that they just pluck right off of Google and plop right into a post on Facebook or on Twitter. They don’t realize that it’s actually illegal to just pull images off of Google or any similar search engine because those images can be subject to copyright. If you’re not looking into it enough, then you can really get yourself into a bad situation by pulling those copyrighted images off of search engines.

One easy way to avoid this is to utilize stock photos. There are a couple of free stock photo sites that I use and can suggest like Unsplash and Pexels. Free stock photos are often prettier than what you can find on Google, plus you don’t have to worry about copyright.

Let’s say you are a Virtual Assistant and you want to do a post that’s specifically about time management. You would find a suitable stock photo, and then add your website and business name to it. That brands it so that if that photo were to go somewhere else or to even go viral, people will know where it came from.

Here are some great stock photo sites I recommend:

You’ve worked hard to build your brand.

Have you ever come across a graphic that really resonated with you? Maybe the quote that’s on there is really good. Or maybe they are talking about a hot topic that really is helpful. It gets everywhere, and you notice that they have their website or their business name on there. If you’re interested in learning more, you know where to find them or who to look for. You want people to be coming back to find you from your graphics.

Think about a branded social media graphic versus a meme. That meme doesn’t necessarily have any graphics that relate to you or your topic, it doesn’t have any branding, and it will probably just get lost on the internet. This is why it is important to have your own branded social media graphics so that they can be directly connected to you and your brand. They help your business stand out in ways that your competitors may not even be thinking about.

As you change social media platforms, your audience changes.

Another thing that you want to consider when creating branded graphics – every social media platform has different methods of reach, different audiences, and different requirements. All social media platforms are not “one size fits all.” Your reach on Facebook is going to be different from who you reach on Instagram or even on Pinterest.

An image attached to a post on Facebook is going to go further than just a post by itself. Your copy could be very well written, but you might not get as far of a reach if you don’t attach an image to it, or if you use a random image from the internet without your branding on it. Facebook also has an image-to-text ratio meaning that the images that you post should not be more than 5% text.

Instagram likes beautiful, clean feeds with a lot of white space. If you’re posting quotes, you want to do them on a solid background. Or, better yet, use enough stock photos or product photos in between to break up all the quotes. You need to catch people while they are looking, and images are a great way to catch people. Remember that these should all be branded with your website or company name.

Pinterest is not a social media site!

On the other hand, Pinterest is not really a social media site, but more of a search engine. About 95% of people use Pinterest to search for things. Think about when you go to Pinterest. What is it that you see that really grabs your attention? Those really visually graphic posts! Good graphics accompanying your pins will help your business stand out. Dynamic images will drive people to click through to your website.

When it comes to getting your business name out there, it is important to be posting graphics or quotes or even just tips that really go with your business. They should be things that your potential customers are going to be looking for. Be sure that these things all have nice branded graphics to go along with them. What if something you post becomes hot and goes viral? You want to make sure that people can find you so that you can build that customer relationship.

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Tips for Increasing Website SEO – Part 2

Tips for Increasing Website SEO – Part 2

Tips for Increasing Website SEO Part 2

Part Two of my SEO Series starts now! In this blog post I chat about the importance of knowing your target market and leave you with some great tools to use to improve your SEO ranking.

Know your Target Market!

The biggest part of SEO is knowing your target market and how to speak to them. The more you know them, the more you know how to write to them as if you’re speaking directly to them on your website. Look at 1 or 2 people you really want to talk to – your ideal people. Know them by name and get to know who they really are. When you create your website content or write your blog posts or even talk on a video, speak directly to them. By knowing your ideal client and target market, you will get an idea of what they are going to be searching for on Google or Bing.

Some Important Tools

Adding a Map

Another tip that will help with SEO is adding a Google map. If you don’t have that map, then Google can’t locate where your business is so it can’t help you find local people. When you add in the map, it lets Google know that you’re a business in addition to your website. And that map on your website will show up in Search.

Google Search Console

Another thing that helps is Google Search Console. You register your website through there so that it indexes your website on Google Search. This helps to increase your organic search. When your site is registered as a business with Google Search Console, Google will index your site, meaning Google is reviewing your site for any keywords. It will then it put it up against all the other websites that may have the same keywords. It will start to show favor of your site in Search because it’s registered. You also want to do that with Bing through the Bing Webmaster Tools.

Google Analytics

The next thing that will help when it comes to SEO is setting up Google Analytics. Now I know the word “analytics” can sound scary, but if you think your Facebook Page Insights are great, just wait until you see Google Analytics! You will see so much more than you would realize and it will help you utilize that information. Google Analytics will help you see where your traffic is coming from, and how to connect all the dots.

With Google Analytics, you can set goals, like wanting 100 views by a certain date, and it will help you formulate what to do to achieve them. It will let you know which keywords are working and which ones are not. If you’re doing Facebook Marketing or any kind of marketing in general, Google Analytics can let you know if those marketing tactics are working. This can help with your SEO because you’re linking and show you’re serious, and Google favors you in this way.

You can also connect Google Analytics to Etsy. If you’re on Etsy and you want to know your additional traffic other than the User Insights that they already provide, you can link your Google Analytics through your Shop Settings.

Google My Business

Another tip is using Google My Business. This is getting you really set up on Google. You can do it on Bing, and you will want to do it on Yelp too. This way people can go to Google and rate you, rather than just leaving a comment on Facebook. People will be able to see your ratings and reviews when they are searching. This is important because when people are saying that they’ve worked with you, other people will see that and it will show you are a reputable business. You can also set this up on Bing Places for Business and Biz on Yelp.

Use Backlinks to Increase SEO

Another quick tip for enhancing your SEO is Backlinks. Those are the things that you have on Facebook that say “Shop Now” and you add in your web link or your Etsy link. If you collaborate with someone and they put your website link on their website, that’s considered a Backlink. Put your website on your Etsy page, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook. You want to have really good Backlinks from reputable sites so that they know “okay, this site is for real because of where it’s being linked to outside of its website.” Backlinks are a really easy way to help with SEO.

Along with Backlinks, you want to share on Facebook. Share your blog posts. Share your products or Etsy page. The activity on your Facebook page will help with SEO because it will see that the page isn’t just sitting there. There are many businesses that don’t have a website yet, but you can still share and link across the different social media platforms.

Other types of links can be useful too. Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about productivity and you mention a planner that you use, insert a link to that planner. Google likes to see that you are not just wanting people to come into your site but that you are referring people out to other places as well.

In Conclusion…

As you can see, there are many different ways of using SEO to get found. Once you start utilizing SEO to the most of what you can get out of it, you will see a lot of growth come to your website. It takes a lot of work in the beginning, and it takes a lot of work to keep up with. Algorithms change. We know that with Facebook. We know that with Instagram. It’s the same thing with Google and Etsy. The search algorithm changes. You can keep up with it yourself, or you can hire somebody to keep your SEO fresh every month, but make sure you do it because SEO is crucial!

Wasn’t that a lot to read? If you’d rather watch this in video format, you can view my live video on SEO below.

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