LinkTree Instagram: 5 Reasons You Should NOT Use It!

LinkTree for Instagram

Are you using LinkTree for your Instagram profile? If you are, please stop. In this article I am going to explain why LinkTree for Instagram is 1) losing you leads, 2) tarnishing your brand and 3) just plain bad marketing.

What is Linktree?

Linktree is a third party app that people use to basically get around the “one link” rule for Instagram bios. It is a Linktree Instagram landing page where you can add multiple links to it and then add that one Linktree landing page link to your Instagram profile.

Here’s 5 reasons why I don’t like it:

 

1. You have ZERO control

You’re depending on an external third party app. If it breaks (which it has), then you have a broken link on your bio and there’s nothing you can do about it. Most people don’t even realize when the app is down or broken. Meanwhile, you’re losing potential leads, clients and cash. LinkTree Instagram links can also be banned and/or marked as spam by Instagram at any time without any notice.

2. Sacrifices your branding

The free version only has only a few color schemes and it will likely not be congruent with your brand so you are not creating a cohesive brand experience. Even the paid version you are still working within their themes.

This is especially important to consider for a personal brand because it doesn’t give you the option to add photos or a bio at the bottom so that people can get to know you more. You need your personality to shine from the first interaction. Without that, there’s no differentiation and you’ll be commoditizing yourself.

3. No analytics

Linktree does not give you an easy/free way to track your analytics and figure out if your links are even converting. Even the paid version’s analytics are super limited. Plus, all of the data belongs to THEM. This means no data for your retargeting ads. 😭

4. Bad user experience and poor conversion

I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve clicked on a user’s Linktree link from their profile, it feels confusing and I usually just exit out. All of the buttons look identical, the text on the button is small and annoying to read and there are no engaging visuals, etc. This is just not how we consume information and certainly not how we convert!

65% of humans are visual learners and our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

Brands that create custom visual content have a 7x higher conversion rate.

There are hundreds of studies by marketers, psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists which prove that visual content is the present and the future. Not only does visual content attract more eyes and encourage engagement, but it also skyrockets engagement and conversion. Linktree does not provide this option so you are missing out on capturing and converting a huge percentage of your leads!

5. Hurts your SEO

Every time someone clicks the link in your Instagram bio, it is an opportunity to boost your own website ranking. However, because you are using Linktree and not your own domain, you are giving away the ranking to them instead. LAME.

“Okay Ashley, I get it. I’ll stop using Linktree.”

Sheesh, about time! THANK YOU! So happy you get it now. Okay, so now let’s talk about what to do instead of using the Linktree Instagram 3rd party app that does you, your business and your brand no justice…

INSTEAD: Use Your Website!

Listen, there is absolutely NO REASON why the home page of your website should not be doing the job!! If your website is not set up with the top things you want people to see/experience and doesn’t fully capture your brand essence, then FIXING THAT ASAP needs to be your priority.

Here’s why: you’re not only missing out on the Instagram leads but you’re also missing out on the leads that come from google when people search you or your brand name– especially if you are a personal brand.

Get your website optimized correctly and you’ll be killing two birds with one stone! No need for a third party service that doesn’t do the job right anyway.

Your website home page should be doing the following:

  • Capture your unique brand essence
  • Have engaging visuals
  • Promote what you want others to see, purchase, be a part of, etc.
  • Be well organized and structured in a way that takes the user on a journey
  • Have powerful CTAs (Calls-To-Action)
  • Be set up with the proper SEO framework
  • Look professional and give you credibility
  • Have strong messaging and copy
  • Set up with analytics so you can track performance
  • Be mobile optimized! This is different than responsive. Your website should have a totally different layout on mobile than it does on desktop.

To get the full low-down on what your website should be doing and exactly how it should be doing it, read this article on my top website tips and how to get more leads from your website.

website tips - how to get more leads

Hope you enjoyed this article! Please feel free to leave a comment or question below! 🙂

Love you!

Can Men and Women be Friends? YES and Here’s How

The question of “can men and women be friends” definitely stirs up a lot of conversation and opinion. It is also a bit of a controversial topic, which is partly why I’m writing about it. I just loooove talking about stuff that other people won’t talk about. 🙂 Hehe.

So can men and women be friends? YES. Absolutely. It is 100% possible and I am living proof of that.

My best friend Val is a very heterosexual male and we have an awesome, platonic friendship. I am blessed to have him in my life and I appreciate our friendship more than he probably realizes! He’s shown me what is possible. I’ve had my ups and downs with him and we’ve had moments of crying, laughing, and growing together.

For a long time, I had a lot of insecurities about having relationships with men because of some fears that I had. Leaning into my fears and being confident and true to myself really helped me overcome and create the awesome platonic male relationships I have today.  It’s really important for you to understand that this is possible for you too.

BE GROUNDED IN YOUR INTENTIONS

I know this is a touchy subject for some but there are a lot of ladies that can relate to this. I used to always be afraid of being misunderstood and that men would get the wrong impression of my intentions.  That they would think I was hitting on them, especially when I was single.

My second fear was that their intentions weren’t pure and that they had a hidden agenda with me. Where they really being my friend or did they want something more? Were they doing business with me because they believed in my skills and abilities… or just to get in my pants? This was a genuine concern for me for a very long time and it had me really uncomfortable about approaching men.

Here’s the important thing to get: the only person you can control is YOU. So be sure you are grounded in your truth and your intention.

It’s only weird if you make it weird

When you’re talking to somebody, take the time to evaluate what’s going on in your head. Are you thinking “Oh my god, I’m worried that they’re gonna think I am hitting on them? Or what if they’re hitting on me? What if they have a hidden agenda?”

If you’re thinking those thoughts, it will actually radiate toward the other person and they will feel your energy and feel uncomfortable. Your thoughts create feeling and the way you feel will give off a certain energy.

Even thinking “can men and women be friends?” and questioning the possibility can ruin your confidence and give off a weird vibe.

Be mindful of your thoughts and choose them wisely. What is your intention in talking with this man (or woman)? The more grounded and clear you are about your intention, the more clear and grounded your energy will be.

Remember: we can only control what we think, not what other’s think. Step one is getting your energy and mindset right before engaging in these conversations.

COMMUNICATE WITH A SMILE

We established that it’s only weird if you make it weird, right?

If you feel something is still off even after you’ve grounded yourself, then it’s time for you to speak up and own your voice. And you can do this with a SMILE on your face. You don’t need to be in a somber, sour, uncomfortable mood to communicate your intentions and boundaries.

Be confident in telling him how you feel because no one knows your thoughts and feelings better than you. For example:

“Hey, I just want to be clear about my intention in our relationship. You are incredible and I am so grateful to be able to do business with you. I want to create an amazing business relationship with you AND I want to make sure that there’s nothing else on your side. If there is, I would really appreciate if you can communicate it now so we can be on the same page. If we’re not on the same page, then I’m sorry but we will need to part ways.”

If the other person is not the same page as you and doesn’t have the same intention, then let him go.

LET HIM KNOW OR LET HIM GO.

If one person communicates that they’re out of alignment, perfect! You got your answer, move on. Let it go and find another one. Keep your mind in a place of abundance. It’s not the number of friendships that matter but the quality of the relationship.

As long you’re doing those two things: 1) being true to your intentions and 2) communicating them when you need to, then the rest is just for you to let go of what isn’t in alignment. Don’t be attached to having a relationship with someone if it doesn’t show up to be in alignment with what your intentions are.

Men and women can be friends as they respect each other’s boundaries and are aligned in their intentions with one another. I personally believe that gender should not be a limitation in building a strong, platonic relationship with the people you love and value.

What do you think? Can men and women be friends? This is a very interesting topic and I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

Above-The-Fold Content That Converts For Your Website

Powerful Above-The-Fold Example

If you want to create above-the-fold content that converts more eyes on your website into paying clients, customers and deals… then keep reading.

It can be easy for people not to pay attention to the “above-the-fold” strategy much because most of the clicks happen as users scroll down the page. It is crucial that you don’t discredit the importance of powerful above-the-fold content for your website. There are two major reasons why it is so important:

  1. It is the user’s first impression. You cannot get another shot at this!
  2. People make snap judgements.
  3. Making it easy for the white hot leads to convert.

CREATING A SOLID FIRST IMPRESSION

It is important to impress a positive, powerful brand experience into the user’s mind as soon as they land on your site. Google confirmed that it takes 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for a user to form a first opinion about a website that determines whether they stay or go. And guess what? Those 50 milliseconds are being spent on the above-the-fold of your website!

Your above-the-fold content should include these 4 key components to build a solid first impression:

  1. Powerful design
  2. High speed and functionality
  3. Strategic positioning and messaging
  4. Clear CTA

CAPTURE YOUR BRAND ESSENCE THROUGH YOUR DESIGN

I like to think of design a little differently. I see design as the way to visually capture your brand’s unique essence. The look and feel of your website is what sets the tone and mood of your site. The colors, the fonts… all of it contribute to a certain “feel” and essence.

Did you know that 93% cite design as the sole reason they do not trust certain websites? If your website has an unprofessional or poor looking design, you are tarnishing your company’s credibility. It’s that simple. Design is important!

MAKE SURE IT’S FAST & FUNCTIONAL

Let’s admit it, we easily lose patience on sites that take forever to load… and by forever, I mean 3 seconds or more. Yup! 40% of users will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. We have shorter attention spans than a goldfish! The sad part is, most websites take upwards of 5 or 6 seconds to load. Additionally, about 88% of users are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience so it is crucial to make sure that your site is functioning properly, loading fast and looks visually engaging.

MESSAGING MATTERS

What is the very first word or phrase in your above-the-fold content that people see when they land on your website? You better make sure it has nothing to do with you. If you have your title (what you do) as the top message on your website, you’ve lost them.

Hear me when I say this: IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!

When a user lands on your site, it is important that you speak directly to them. Make sure your copy and messaging are speaking to your target audience. It’s about converting them right? So make it about them! It is crucial that you speak into their pain points and/or the possibility you see for them.

An average of 65% of people that feel an emotional connection to a brand say it is because “they care about people like me.” Establish a strong personal and emotional connection with users who land on your site by creating messaging that speaks specifically to them. 

You can see an example of a site that does this well if you watch the video above.

CLEAR CALL-TO-ACTION (CTA)

While yes it is true that the CTA buttons on the above-the-fold do not get as much clicks as the one’s below the fold, however do not make it hard for someone to convert who is hot ‘n’ ready to become a paying client or customer! That’s like someone right in front of you writing you out a check, handing it over…and there is no one to take it! Get it?

Personalized CTAs perform 202% better than basic CTAs. Create calls to action that are relevant to what the user is getting when they click that button. And for the love of Pete, stop use “submit” buttons. People are actually less likely to click on generic buttons like this because it causes confusion and doesn’t feel “safe” because they don’t know exactly what they are getting.

At the end of the day, the goal of the above-the-fold is this: entice the interested and convert the already-sold. 

If you would like to download the free checklist I have that goes over the rest of the building blocks of a successful website (not just the above-the-fold content), here’s where I talk about my best website tips and how to get more leads from your website. I also created a downloadable website checklist that you can use to make sure your site checks off all of the critical pieces it should have.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it was valuable for you! If it was, please be sure and leave a comment below to let me know what you got out of it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below as well!

Meditation Techniques for Beginners

I’m going to share my BEST meditation techniques for beginners that will have you feeling much more excited and inspired to meditate every single day. I know meditation has developed a certain ‘rep’ that may leave you feeling uninspired to meditate. So, before we dive in, let’s first quickly go over the health benefits of meditation…

Quick Benefits of Meditation:

  • Boosts your health and happiness
  • Reduces stress and anxiety levels
  • Promotes emotional well-being
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Lengthens attention span
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves concentration and focus

Key Principles You Must GET

Now that you know why you should do it, here’s some really important things you MUST KNOW before we get into the specific meditation techniques for beginners.

  1. Let go of what it “should” look like. Stop SHOULDING on yourself!

    There is no right or wrong way to meditate. What works for someone else may not work for you.

    Let go of what it should look like. This will free you up immediately. Know that you will be creating your own unique practice and focus on enjoyment instead of “perfection” and “doing it right”.

  2. Be patient.

    Know that this is your practice… and it takes practice. Each time you meditate, you are creating your practice. It is crucial that you be patient and enjoy the process of creating your meditation practice.

    If you don’t already meditate or you’re not quite grasping meditation now, just like anything else in life, it takes time! It will take your commitment, dedication and consistency. Show up every day to your practice and it will show up for you.

    One of my favorite examples of this is in Julia Roberts’ Eat, Pray, Love movie.

    Remember the scene where she was in India and she kept slapping her face because of the flies and getting all distracted? These things happen! And it’s okay! The important part is that she stayed committed and continued to practice until she got it down.

    When you get distracted and find that your mind is wandering at all directions, it’s okay. Don’t get frustrated. Just smile to yourself and laugh it off. Embrace it. It’s part of the practice and part of finding your way.

  3. Be gentle with yourself and DON’T JUDGE

    I used to get really frustrated with myself when I tried meditating. The thing is… this frustration comes from judgement. I was judging myself for meditating “wrong”.

    There is NO right or wrong way to meditate!

    Don’t judge your process! Be with it and be with yourself fully and completely. Focus on the moment and being present. Let go of judgement and be gentle with yourself along the way.

    I started off meditating only for two minutes. Anything longer than that can feel like a long time when you’re brand new to meditation. I used a timer with a meditative sounding bell that would go off when the two minutes was up. This worked for me in the beginning and you’re welcome to try this technique out. 🙂

  4. Test different methods

I get asked a lot whether it’s best to follow a guided meditation or your own.

You might not like my answer for this, but it really depends. Everyone is different. Test different methods and see what works for you and what has you feeling most present, mindful, and in your body.

I actually don’t do guided meditations in the morning. I do my own because I want to just be with myself and have my moment without someone talking in my ear. I want to be mindful and present in my own body so for me, guided meditations take me away from that. The only time I do guided meditations is if I cannot sleep… it actually really helps!

Test different methods and see what works for you. The best part of meditation is that you can mold your own practice!

So what are my meditation techniques for beginners? What does it look like and what do I do that helps me? Well, if you’re an analyzer like me… these tips may really help you because they worked for me!

MY MEDITATION TECHNIQUES FOR BEGINNERS

FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING

Yes, I know this sounds a bit cliche’ but it truly works. If I find that I’m having trouble focusing on my thoughts, I really focus on my breath and my breathing.

I know you may have heard of this before but while I’m focusing on my breath and my breathing, I’m also focusing on my bodily sensations. I focus on each body part (my finger tips, my hands, my feet, my shoulders, etc.) and really feel what each part of my body feels like. It is a really cool feeling. Think about the last time that you sat and really felt every little fragment of your body. We rarely ever do this!

I focus on these sensations in my body because it grounds me and gets me present in my body. This mindfulness and being-ness brings me peace and creates stillness. Even just doing this is powerful on its own and is already a beautiful practice.

VISUALIZE

Once I get in the present, I start visualizing and focus my thoughts on one specific thing until I get to the point of experiencing it fully.

I usually like to visualize my ideal future, like an event or something in my life that I want to manifest. Then I’ll start feeling all the feelings as if what I wanted was being made manifest in that very moment.

For example if I’m on stage, I would be experiencing what that would feel like in my body– the rush of energy, excitement, and invigorating feelings I would feel. This is actually a really powerful way to manifest what you want in your life because you’re getting your body in the state of receiving it.

FOCUS ON YOUR THIRD EYE

Okay this one may sound a bit weird but if I’m having some trouble focusing, I’ll direct my focus to my third eye. Your third eye is said to be located around the middle of your forehead, slightly above the middle of your eyebrows.

I will try to “look through” my third eye to activate it. For some reason, I find that it quiets my mind and it sends a bit of a tingling sensation through my eyes and my head. I also like to visualize through my third eye. So basically what that means is I will focus on activating my third eye, while visualizing and experiencing something I want in my body.

I CHALLENGE YOU!

I challenge you to meditate every single day for thirty days. You can start off slow and build your way up. Here’s my challenge:

  • Week 1 = 2-3 minutes per day
  • Week 2 = 4-5 minutes per day
  • Week 3 = 6-7 minutes per day
  • Week 4 = 10 minutes per day

Set a timer and test out different meditation techniques. Remember to stay committed and be patient with yourself. Find your own practice of what works for you. That is the beauty of meditation.

So that’s it! Those are my top meditation techniques for beginners. I hope you enjoyed or at least got something out of it! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or just want to add to the conversation.

Building a Personal Brand: 9 MUSTS!

Building a personal brand is on definitely on the rise. More and more people are stepping into the light. Companies are realizing the importance of having a face in the forefront for their audience to connect and build a relationship with.

First off, what exactly IS a personal brand?

Your personal brand is the foundation of who you are. It is your unique individual essence and your reputation. It is what people feel when they interact with or think of you.

The explosion of influencers and influencer marketing was really the first widely visible result of the landscape shift from business-to-person to person-to-person; the shift from business brands to personal brands. We have been getting bombarded by nonstop adverts and communications from so many companies for so many years that we’ve become numb to them. Our filters are higher than ever before. We are trusting less and expecting more.

When there is a face, a real person behind a product or service, we have a higher propensity to trust the product or service.

This idea of building a personal brand and stepping out into the forefront is exciting for some and a bit daunting for others. So whichever side you sit on right now, I have put together some fundamental MUSTS when creating a personal brand.

#1. MARRY YOURSELF

I know this might sound weird…maybe even scary. A marriage is a long-term commitment, right? You must treat your personal brand the same way. Don’t be a personal brand just to be a personal brand! This is a real commitment here.

I’ll put it simply: play the long game. Prioritize your brand over sales. Trust me, sales will follow suit. Long-term branding always beats short term sales in the end.

Long term branding always beats short term sales in the end. Click To Tweet

So many people mess up right here at step one. I’m going to give you a few classic examples of the ways people do this:

  • Sacrificing core values for short term gain. I did this once and I got out pretty quickly within 2-3 months because I knew it was out of alignment. The cash was super tempting but I knew my values were more important. If I had stayed longer, I know more people would have found out and my reputation (my brand) would have been tarnished.
  • Partnering with the wrong people. I’ve also done this! Huge learning lesson for me. A partnership is also like a marriage! You must, must make sure that whoever you partner with is in alignment with your core values and who you are before entering.  You know that saying, “you are who you hang around”? Well, yeah. It’s true. Associate and surround yourself with the right people.
  • Not seeking counsel when sh*^ gets tough. My dad used to always say that a marriage is two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. You are imperfect. I am imperfect. We all are. You cannot give up on yourself when the imperfections arise or when things get tough. Rather, this is the opportune best time to invest in yourself! I’ve had a mentors and coaches for as long as I can remember because I know the value in it. Invest in yourself!! You are worthy of the support and the investment.

#2. PICK ONE THING!

I used to be a jack shmuck of all trades. I thought being good at and doing everything was the way to go. The thing is, it’s NOT. You end up doing 20% here, 20% there, 10% here and GIVING 100% NOWHERE.

Instead, the key is to pick ONE thing to own and become an expert in. I love when I see people pick super niche stuff and just dominate that niche. Ahhh, that brings me so much joy.

It’s also just less confusing for others and your audience when you pick one thing. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you watch The Paradox of Choice with Barry Schwartz and you’ll see what I mean.

#3. BE AUTHENTIC & VULNERABLE

People can sniff out fake-ness and inauthenticity so quick these days! We’re getting smarter and smarter. You just can’t fool people anymore.

Plus, why would you want to? Being fake is freakin’ exhausting!

Here’s a hint: if you’re feeling exhausted all of the time then you’re either being fake or inauthentic or you’re out-of-alignment somewhere in your life.

Vulnerability creates deep connection. When you are transparent and raw, it’s refreshing and people love it. After all, you’re not a robot. When you let people in to see the imperfect, human parts of you they can relate and connect with you on a human-to-human level.

When you stay surface, you attract surface. And why would you just want to scratch the surface of your business anyway? Let people in. Go deep. Watch your results deepen and behold the trust and connection that unfolds.

#4. BE CONSISTENT.

Consistency compounds. Now that you are being your authentic self and creating deep connection and bonds with your audience, you mustn’t let them down! Be consistent with your content production and with how you show up. Keep your promises. Be there and be your word.

Consistency also keeps you top of mind. It keeps you relevant in your space and it lets people know they can count on you. That’s why I said consistency compounds. I’ll say it again: consistency compounds!

Do I need to say it again? Or maybe you do…

CONSISTENCY COMPOUNDS. #BeConsistent #Branding101 Click To Tweet

#5. CREATE CURRENCY CONTENT

Creating currency content is crucial in building a personal brand. In a world with an abundance of content, you can’t get away with just creating content anymore. You must create currency content.

So what is currency content?

Currency content is high-worth, high-value content. It is straight up MONEY.

Time is money. Consuming content takes time. Your content must actually be worth the attention and time it takes to consume it. Period.

We’re playing the value game now. Your focus gets to be on what value YOU can add to the conversation. Value, value, value! Focus on creating massive amounts of value.

Your gauging question should always be: would people pay for this information?

#6. SHARE YOUR PERSONALITY

As I stated in the very beginning of this article, your personal brand is your personal essence. It really is your personality. No one else has your personality– it’s what makes you unique.

Share your personality! Let your audience and your clients/customers get to know you and WHO YOU ARE. Give them the full 360 view.

Most people don’t do this because they are scared of judgement. Well, I hate to break it to ya but judgement is inevitable and it means nothing other than what you make it mean. People judge. People hate. People love. People cry. People smile. That’s their prerogative and their business, not yours. You just focus on doing you.

This actually leads me nicely into my next point…

#7. HAVE THICK SKIN

If you are building a personal brand then you are going to be stepping into the spotlight. The more you step into the spotlight, the more you are subjecting yourself to all kinds of eyes, feedback and yes… judgement!! You CANNOT, I repeat CANNOT, let what others think of you affect you. You’ve got to let it drip down your back like water and keep moving forward. Be a maniac on a mission and absolutely relentless in pursuit of your vision.

One of my favorite things is actually transforming the hate I get into purpose-driven content. For me, it reinforces my purpose even further (because I choose it to do so). I actually get a lot of inspiration from my haters, it’s great! 🙂

And look, everyone has haters. The biggest and most powerful leaders in this world have haters. The bigger you are, the more haters you will have! That’s just how it works. Tony Robbins and Ellen Degeneres have a millions of haters! Trying to please everyone is a fruitless and meaningless endeavor because it’s just NOT POSSIBLE.

Let the amount of haters you have be an indicator of your growth and your success. The more you have, the bigger you are.

Let the amount of haters you have be an indicator of your growth and your success. The more you have, the bigger you are. #lovethehaters Click To Tweet

#8. EMBRACE EVOLVEMENT

One of the most common concerns I hear about being a personal brand is over committing long-term to a particular direction or line of work. The question arises, “what if this isn’t what I want to do forever?”. And here’s my reply to that:

Who said you had to?

This is the beauty of being a personal brand! Your brand is YOU. Not what you do. You can pivot and reinvent as many times as you like, as long as you remain true to who you are along the way.

As long as you are always being your authentic self, your brand evolves with you.

Takes the edge off a bit, doesn’t it? You aren’t stuck! You’re actually more free than ever. 🙂

#9. COLLABORATE STRATEGICALLY

You’ll often hear me say that collaborations are the quickest way to grow your personal influence, your reach and your ability to be more seen and heard.

Here are the different ways you can collaborate:

  • Paid collaborations: you are either paying or being paid to be featured or feature another person or brand.
  • Trades or exchanges: you give something of value in exchange for something of value (i.e., you share someone’s content on your YouTube channel and in return, they share your content on their IG).

If there is someone you want to collaborate with, lead with providing value. The first question to ask yourself is: how can I give to this person? Focus on giving value first.

To summarize, here are the 9 MUST HAVES to building a personal brand:

  1. MARRY YOURSELF. Building a personal brand is a long game.
  2. PICK ONE THING and be an expert at it.
  3. BE AUTHENTIC & VULNERABLE. It’s super attractive.
  4. BE CONSISTENT because consistency compounds!
  5. CREATE CURRENCY CONTENT that people would pay for because it is so valuable.
  6. SHARE YOUR PERSONALITY to create a strong brand essence.
  7. HAVE THICK SKIN. Accept that judgement will happen and it means nothing more than what you make it mean.
  8. EMBRACE EVOLVEMENT. As long as you remain authentic, your brand pivots and evolves with you.
  9. COLLABORATE STRATEGICALLY and always focus on cultivating relationships by adding value.

Let me know if you enjoyed the article by commenting below! Feel free to ask any Q’s or add to the conversation with any thoughts, ideas or input you have. Let’s keep the dialogue flowing! I love nerding out about this stuff, guys. 🙂

How to Write Meta Descriptions: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

how-to-write-meta-descriptions

How to Write Meta Descriptions: The Easy Way

The best way to think about how to write meta descriptions is a one to two sentence value proposition to get users to click on your website or webpage amongst the list of search results. So, yes– having a powerful meta description is very important. So what exactly is a meta description?

A meta description is an html tag which consists of a snippet of text (up to around 155 characters) that summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show meta descriptions underneath the page titles in search results.

If you’re more of a visual learner, here is a video where I take you through it step by step:

TIP #1: Use The WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin

The best way to create a meta description is to use the WordPress plugin called Yoast. They make it super simple for you so that you don’t have to worry about the html. All you do is enter the text and Yoast does the rest for you. However for those of you who are wondering what the html tag for meta descriptions is, it looks something like this:

<meta name=”description” content=”Your text goes here.”/>

But again, you won’t have to worry about that among some other things if you are using the Yoast SEO plugin. Here is screenshot showing how to write meta descriptions using the Yoast SEO snippet editor plugin:

Yoast SEO Screenshot

Write Meta Descriptions Strategically

So now that you understand how the Yoast SEO plugin works, let’s focus on how to write meta descriptions in a way that gets users to actually click through to your website.

In order to get the highest CTR (click-through-rate) possible, your meta description must be relevant and enticing.

  • RELEVANT: It must be about the search term or keyword that the user is searching for. It should contain the exact keyword that you are targeting. If you are not sure about how to select keywords or what that even means, check out my article on How to Choose Keywords for SEO that will take you through the step-by-step process.
  • ENTICING: It must do a good job at capturing the attention of the user as they scroll through the list of results and be compelling enough that they click it. Your meta description should also be actionable and invite the user to the page with some kind of call to action (i.e., Find out more!, Get it Now!, etc.).

BTW– a high click-through-rate is not just important because of the obvious reason that you will get more traffic to your site. It is also part of what Google uses in its ranking algorithm to measure the value of your page. The more clicks you get, the more Google considers your page to be a good result and the higher up your page will rank. This is why optimizing your meta description is important.

This brings me to another very important point: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use click-bait!! As I stated above, your meta description most be relevant and match your content. Google is so much smarter than ever before. They will find out if your meta description is tricking users into clicking and may even penalize your site for this.

On top of that, misleading descriptions will likely increase your bounce rate (the rate of users coming on to your site and leaving as soon as they get there). This is something Google uses in its algorithm. A high bounce rate will devalue your page and decrease your ranking.

Final Tip: Create UNIQUE meta descriptions

Do not use the same meta description for every page on your site. That’s a big no-no. Each page should have it’s own unique meta description that matches the unique content. And while you can totally use competitors meta descriptions as inspiration (especially if they are ranked high), DO NOT copy them word for word.

Here is an example of a good meta description:

Meta Description Example

The keyword here is “how to write meta descriptions”, which is mentioned exactly word-for-word in the meta description. There is a clear benefit (increased ranking and traffic). There is also a nice call-to-action (check out this easy step-by-step guide).

To summarize what we’ve discussed, here are the key tips we covered on how to write meta descriptions:

  • Get the Yoast SEO Plugin if you have a WordPress site
  • Keep your meta descriptions at around ~155 characters (keep it between 150-160)
  • Include your exact match keyword inside of your meta description
  • Make sure your meta description is…
    • RELEVANT to the content in your article.
    • ENTICING and engaging so that it gets noticed among the other search options.
    • ACTIONABLE with a call-to-action within the text.
    • UNIQUE and specialized for the content of each page on your site and is not cookie-cutter or direct copy from a competitor’s meta description.
  • DO NOT mislead users with meta descriptions that are just click-bait. Google will know better and you could be penalized.

 

Write SEO Articles That Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website

SEO Articles

How to Write SEO Articles That Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website 🔥

This article is for you if you want to know more about how to write SEO articles that are powerful and rank well. Writing for SEO is definitely a craft and a science, but it’s really not as difficult as you might think. If you are an SEO beginner and don’t know where to start with creating powerful SEO content and writing your keyword targeted article, keep reading.

I’ve also created a video above taking you through the steps if you are more of a visual learner. And just like all of my other blog posts, there will be a cliff-notes-style summary at the bottom of this article. BTW- this is an SEO article…that talks about how to write SEO articles. Hehe. Just thought I’d point that out. 😉

Okay, so let’s get right into it.

Use WordPress

I highly, highly recommend using WordPress not just for your website but also for actually writing your content. Also, make sure that you install the Yoast SEO Plugin to make your SEO article writing like a million times easier. It literally will have check off lists for you and tell you how you are doing as you are writing the article. Yeah. Pretty cool.

Choose ONE Keyword

Pick one keyword as the topic for your entire article. You are going to focus all of your content around the keyword you choose. If you aren’t quite sure which keyword to choose, check out my blog post on How to Choose Keywords for SEO that will guide you through that process.

Create Your Title

Your title is very important. You’ll want to make sure it does two things:

  1. It is interesting and captivating. Not dull or boring. Think about what would really grab your attention. Be creative with your title and make it enticing.
  2. Make sure that your exact keyword (literally exactly word-for-word) is in the front-end of your title.

Create AWESOME Content

You’ll want to make sure that your SEO articles have a minimum of 750 words, but that’s not all. Now more than ever it is so important to make sure you content is super valuable. Google is also looking for the use of images and other media formats like videos, gifs, etc. A good rule of thumb is at least 3-4 images per blog post if you don’t have other media formats.

You also want to make sure that your content is engaging and super easy to consume. What do I mean by this? Absolutely no long, boring bulks of text!! Make good use of bulleted and numbered lists and break up your paragraphs of text so there are a maximum of 3-4 sentences per paragraph.

Use Your Keyword Multiple Times Throughout Your Content

Be sure to mention your EXACT keyword word-for-word several times throughout your article. The Yoast SEO plugin tool measures this for you in what they call “keyword density”. A good rule of thumb is that you want your exact keyword mentioned at least 4 times throughout your SEO articles.  Make sure it feels organic and not forced. Keyword stuffing does not work!!

VERY IMPORTANT: You also want to make sure that your exact keyword is in the first 2-3 sentences of your SEO articles as well as in your meta description.

Here is a blog post I wrote on How to Write a Meta Description if you haven’t a clue how to do that or would like some guidance. It’s pretty simple.

Edit Your URL String

WordPress calls this a “permalink”. You’ll want to edit this to have your exact keyword in it. You can include the other words in your title as well, just make sure that your keyword is in the front. Also, instead of spaces you’ll be putting dashes in between each word. For example, if your keyword is “how to write seo articles ” it would be “/how-to-write-seo-articles”. Capitalization doesn’t matter.

Include Internal Links

Don’t be scared off by the term. All “internal links” means is that you are sprinkling links to other pages or articles within your site throughout your SEO articles. That’s why they are called internal links… because they are links inside of your own website (aka other pages or posts within your site). Whereas external links are when you link to sites or pages on external sites outside of your own.

You’ll see that I’ve done that here in this article. I’ve linked out to other blog posts I’ve written that are related to this topic.

Now here’s the trick: make sure the words that you hyperlink are the words that you targeted in the article you are linking to.

The rule of thumb is at least 3-4 internal links per article.

If you are still confused by internal links then please watch my video above where I explain it in a bit more detail.

Summarize At The End

Always include a concise, summarized bullet pointed or numbered summary of your content at the end of your SEO articles. The reason for this is because it gets users to scroll to the bottom of your post, which Google likes. Google basically measures to see how quickly people leave your page and how far they scroll down. It signifies high value content. So having a summary is a little trick to getting users to scroll down through your entire post. 😉

Check the Yoast SEO Plugin

Once you are done writing, you can check how you did by running through Yoast’s check list. You’ll also want to make sure you fill in the relevant details, namely the focus keyword you are targeting and your meta description. Yoast will then do it’s thing and let you know how effective your article is. As long as you are in the green, you should be good to go. 🙂

Here’s the recap…

  1. Use WordPress.
  2. Choose a solid keyword (see my post on How to Choose Keywords for SEO).
  3. Create an awesome title that includes your exact keyword in the front-end.
  4. Write a minimum of 750 words.
  5. Make sure your exact keyword is mentioned at least 4 times throughout your article.
  6. Make sure your exact keyword is in the first 2-3 sentences of your article.
  7. Include lots of images and preferably other media formats (video, gif, etc). Rule of thumb: at least 3 per article.
  8. Structure your content in an engaging way. No long paragraphs (max 3-4 sentences) and use bullet points and numbered lists.
  9. Always include a brief bullet-pointed summary at the end of your article.
  10. Make sure your url string has your exact keyword in the front end of it.
  11. Include at least 3 internal links per article.
  12. Check how you did using the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin.

 

How to Find Keywords for SEO

keywords for seo

How to Find Keywords for SEO – THE RIGHT WAY (For Beginners)

If you want to know how to find keywords for SEO the right way so that you can drive targeted traffic to your website or blog, you’re in the right place. Also, I’m writing this for the SEO beginner! This is going to be an easy step by step article that will show you exactly how to go about finding the right keywords using Google Keyword Planner (which is a totally free tool).

I’ve also created a video demoing how I find and choose keywords using Google Keyword Planner so that you can get sort of a hands-on feel to how it works.

I will have also included a bullet pointed summary at the end of this article so you can easily grab and copy/paste somewhere to refer to as you embark on your keyword-finding journey. 🙂

Brainstorming Keyword Ideas

Think Like Your Ideal Customer

When you are selecting your keywords, you really want to think like your ideal customer. Pretend you are your ideal client and put yourself in their shoes. What would they be searching for? What questions would they have? What would they be interested in learning about? What are they looking for?

Create a Free Google Adwords Account

Once you jot down a few ideas, you can start using the Google Keyword Planner tool to do your keyword research and analysis. You will need to sign up for a Google Adwords account (which is free) in order to use their keyword tool.

Use the Google Keyword Planner Tool

Once you’ve created an account and your in the main dashboard overview, click on the “tools” option in the top menu. From there, click on “Keyword Planner” under the “Planning” section of that drop-down menu. It will then take you to a page where you have two options: “Find new keywords” or “Get search volume and forecasts”. Don’t click on either of those. Below those options you will see a link that says, “Open previous Keyword Planner” –click that.

From there you’ll click the first option, “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.  The field you will be typing in is the “Your product or service” one. This is where you enter the topic ideas you came up with during your brainstorm session of putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer or client. Instead of typing all of them here, I would just keep it simple and search for one at a time. Click the “get ideas” button and you’ll get a page full of results.

How to Find Keywords for SEO Using Google Keyword Planner

Now, what do you do with these results? There are 2 main columns to pay attention to: 1) Avg. monthly searches and 2) Competition. If you are a relatively new site or less established site with little to no authority, you’ll want to make sure you go for keywords with less than 1K per month in average monthly searches and low competition.

Here’s a tip: customize your search by adding a keyword filter of “Low” competition so there is less results for you to sort through.

You will notice that at the top of the results there is the keyword you entered and then below that is a table with a list of other ideas that Google came up with based on the keyword you entered. You can also sort by relevance by clicking the “Keyword (by relevance)” table heading. This way you get results closest to what you typed in.

Ideally what you are looking for is LOW competition and 100-1K average searches per month if you are a lesser established or new website/blog. What you’ll find is that long-tail keywords are the way to go. BTW, “long-tail keywords” just mean longer, more detailed keywords (i.e., “seo keywords” VS “how to find keywords for SEO”).

Once you’ve selected the keyword that fits these parameters and that you like most, you are ready to write your SEO article! Congrats! Not so bad, right?

A Quick Word About More Advanced Techniques…

There are some more advanced things you can do like researching your competition and seeing what keywords they are ranking for using a paid keyword analysis tool called SEM Rush (which I really like using). But honestly, when you’re just starting out it’s really not that necessary.  What matters most is that you picked a solid keyword (which I just showed you how to do), you create a powerful SEO article around that keyword, and you have some quality backlinks. Backlinks are simply when another website links out to your site. It can be another site mentioning your content on their site or even a social media post sharing the link to your SEO keyword article.

The most important piece is the content you create around the keyword; the SEO article. Focus on delivering massive VALUE. I recently did a post on how to write SEO articles that will help you with step-by-step how to create powerful content to help you get your site ranked for the keyword you are targeting.

How to find keywords for SEO step-by-step summary:

  1. Put yourself in the mind of your ideal client or customer. What would they likely be searching for? This will give you some initial keyword ideas.
  2. Create a Google Adwords account (it’s free).
  3. Navigate to the Google Keyword Planner tool.
  4. Click the “Open previous Keyword Planner” link.
  5. Click the “Search for new keywords…” option.
  6. Type in your keyword idea(s) into the “Your product or service” field and click “Get Ideas”.
  7. Sort by keyword relevance and customize your search to include the keyword filter of “low” competition.
  8. Choose the keyword you like best from your options of those with 100-1K average monthly searches and low competition.
  9. Write your SEO content around the keyword you chose (see my How to Write SEO Articles article for details on this).

And viola! That is it! Now you know how to find keywords for SEO the right way. I hope you found this helpful. Please comment below if you found this article useful or if you have any questions. Thanks!

 

Website Tips – How to Get More Leads From Your Website

website tips - how to get more leads

9 Website Tips to Get More Leads From Your Website

So, you want to learn some amazing website tips to get more leads from your website? You’re in the right place and the right frame of mind. This is something every smart entrepreneur, brand, influencer or business should be thinking about right now. Today, we live in a completely digital landscape. Everything, and I mean literally EVERYTHING, is online.  It is more important now than ever before to be thinking about and investing in your web presence.

Your website is the backbone of your business. What is the first thing that potential clients or customers do when they hear about you, meet you or experience you in some way? They Google you. What do you hope pops up first in the google results? Your website. What do you hope happens once they land on your website? They turn into a paying client, customer or deal. BOOM. That’s how you get more leads from your website.

In this article, I am going to go over the top most important and most effective 9 website tips you can implement right now so that you can get more leads from your website and turn your site into a conversion machine! I’m super excited… are you?! Okay, great. Let’s get into it then.

Powerful Above-The-Fold Example

1. Create a Powerful Above-The-Fold

This seems like such an obvious one to me but apparently it’s not because I’ve seen so many sites lately that are just killing themselves with a horribly optimized above-the-fold. Now, what do I mean by “above-the-fold”? This is the first section of your site that a user sees on their device (desktop computer, laptop, iphone or ipad) before they start scrolling. It is absolutely critical that you make this part of your website super optimized for three things:

A) Powerful positioning statement.

I cannot stress the importance of this element enough. This is your value proposition. It clearly and succinctly says who you are, what you provide and who you provide it for. And for the love of goodness, please please make sure it is benefit-driven. People don’t care what you do… they care about what they GET. Get it? 🙂

If you want to learn more about how to craft a powerful positioning statement, check out this helpful Forbes article on 4 Steps To Building A Compelling Value Proposition.

B) Your brand’s essence.

Okay, so what do I mean by essence? Well, first of all I just love this word because it doesn’t just sound amazing, it also really captures what I mean by this second point. Your brand’s essence is your brand experience. It is what you want users to feel and experience as soon as they land on your site. It is a representation of the character of your brand (or YOUR character if the brand is you).

I see a lot of brands and influencers missing this on their sites and it’s really sad because this is what creates rapport, credibility and connection with your audience. For instance, if you are a professional and you run a professional business but your website looks like something a high school student made… their experience of you will likely be that you are an amateur, not a professional. In the same way, imagine if a key characteristic of your brand is playful and fun but when a user goes to your site it feels rigid, boring and dull.

#FACT: 93% of users cite design as a reason they do not trust certain websites.

C) Your conversion goal.

A pretty website does nothing if it is not optimized for your conversion goal! And yes, this is super important to have clear as broad daylight above-the-fold on your website. The best place to put this is usually right next to your positioning statement.

Your conversion goal is what you want users to do when they land on your site. This is the journey or the funnel you want to take them through. and it usually takes the form of a button. Make this pop-out visibly in the center of the screen above-the-fold. The absolute maximum number of conversion goals you want on your above-the-fold is two.

2. Include Social Proof

This is not a point to gloss over. This is one of the most important website tips I can give you to cultivate credibility and get more leads from your website. There are lots of ways to create social proof on your website.

  • Written testimonials
  • Video testimonials
  • Photos of customers with your product
  • Screenshots of social comments
  • Reviews

These days I highly encourage my clients to use video testimonials on their sites. Everything is moving toward video and video content is becoming rapidly more valuable than written. It also creates an extra layer of trust and credibility because videos are less likely to be “fake” or “forged” and users know that they require more effort for customers to create.

Example of Optimized Mobile Site

3. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Optimized

Notice how I did not say responsive. Yes, you want your site to be fully responsive –which just means it automatically adjusts its layout for different devices and screen sizes. This is old news. If your site isn’t responsive then honey, you got some waking up to do. This is a “duh” moment!

#FACT: More than 50% of global web traffic is global.

It’s no longer enough for a site to be responsive. The way a user consumes information on desktop or even iPad is very different than mobile. Mobile users are scrollers with short attention spans. You want to make sure to design and adjust your content and layout so that it is native to the way users consume information and take action on mobile.

#FACT: 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.

4. Create Compelling Content

Your copy and visuals are key in converting a lead as they scroll through your site. Every single page of your site should be enrolling them into why they need to work with you, register for your event, sign up for your service, etc. Notice how I say enrolling and not selling. People’s filters on when they are being “sold” are so high now. They are constantly being sold to. The last thing you want is to sound like a used car salesman on your website.

Be authentic, create value and make your content about the customer! A big mistake I see is someone going on and on about why they are so great and neglecting the person who matters most here: the customer. Save your list of accolades and bragging for the about page. If a user wants to know about you, they know where to click.

The goal is to enroll them into your vision for what is possible for them by working with you. Evoke them into taking action!

5. Multiple Opportunities to Convert

I see many sites missing this. When my team and I design sites, we always provide an opportunity for the user to convert at almost every scroll. Now what does that mean exactly? It means once a conversion button is no longer visible, we make sure there is another one that is strategically placed in front of them again. You want to give them an opportunity to convert at almost every screen scroll.

On top of that, you should be strategically testing the call-to-action on these buttons. For example, a boring “Submit”  button is much less enticing than “GET ACCESS NOW”.

6. Keep It Simple, Silly

Remove the extra fluff! Get to the point and get to it fast or else you are going to lose people! This can be in regards to your copy and messaging or certain components within your website. For example, if you have a long input form with a bunch of fields, remove the ones you don’t absolutely need. Usually First Name, Email and Message are enough. The less work you make a user have to do, the more likely they will do it.

7. Create a Video

Not everyone enjoys reading. Photos and visuals are definitely great and you want to have them on your site. But as they say… if a photo is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth millions!

Your video should be short and to the point. Again, remove the fluff. You will lose people seconds into your video if you are rambling and not getting straight into the point. You’ll definitely want to include your positioning statement or value proposition, keep the video under 3 minutes in length, and address a few of the most common objections before they buy from you so they feel seen, heard and understood. Also, make sure that your video is in a logical order so you don’t confuse  or lose people!

8. Make Sure Your Site is Multiple Pages

I do not recommend one-page sites. Part of my background is in SEO, so one-pagers make me cringe (unless they are landing pages). You want your site to have at least around 8-10 pages. This includes your home, about, contact and other fundamental pages, but also some value-driven blog posts or articles. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to help you pick a keyword to target in your article so that your website can start showing up for certain keyword searches. I do this for all of my clients and it is very important.

I plan on writing a post about how to write SEO articles that will increase your site visibility and lead generation. Stay tuned! 🙂

9. Increase Your Site Speed

This is super critical and highly overlooked! In this hyper, super fast-paced, ADD world it is super important that your website is not taking a freakin’ light-year to load. On top of that, Google has indicated that site speed is one of the signals used in their algorithm to rank sites and pages.

#FACT: 40% of users leave sites that take more than 3 seconds to load.

My favorite free tool to check site speed is the Pingdom Website Speed Test.

Here are some basic things you can do to reduce your site load time:

  • Remove any installed plugins that you do not use
  • Enable file compression
  • Optimize images (make sure your images are no larger than they need to be)
  • Remove/reduce redirects (when one page redirects to another page)
  • Minimize or avoid the use of render-blocking JavaScript completely
  • Use browser caching
  • Check your server response time and your hosting to ensure it is equipped for the amount of traffic you’re getting

Whether you can implement all nine tactics now or even just three or four of them, you should see some vast improvements in your on-site conversion. If you have any questions or concerns, please comment below. Otherwise, I really hope you found this post useful!

To summarize everything from above, here are the 9 website tips to get more leads from your website:

 

  1. Create a powerful above-the-fold that captures your brand essence, has your positioning statement, and is optimized for your conversion goal with a call-to-action button.
  2. Display social proof in the form of testimonials, photos, screenshots or reviews.
  3. Make sure your site is mobile-optimized.
  4. Create compelling content in the form of written copy and visuals, video, etc.
  5. Give the user multiple opportunities to convert by placing CTA’s (Calls-To-Action) strategically throughout your site.
  6. Keep it simple, get to the point and remove the extra fluff!
  7. Film a 3-min video to build connection and put it front and center on your site.
  8. Make sure your site has multiple pages (no single-page sites).
  9. Increase your site speed.

There you have it! Now, let’s get to work. It’s time to implement these website  tips so you can get more leads from your website. 🙂