Everything I know about SEO – And how I Got to Page #1 for ‘wordpress developer sydney’

Recently I’ve been making a bunch of calls to a number of companies in the waterproofing niche and it always astounds me how big companies with impressive websites can still get SEO fundamentals so wrong.

Not only are businesses breaking SEO rules that would literally take 30 minutes to fix – if even that – but even SEO companies who charges clients thousands of dollars can make big mistakes.

What I wanted to do was show how I got to the top of a very competitive keyword.

Now before I start I wanted to make a couple of things clear.

Firstly – WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) and is built from the ground up to be SEO friendly. There are more WordPress developers than any other type of web developer. And on top of that – Sydney is the most populous city in Australia. This is not an easy keyword to obtain – but to give you some more of an idea about just how much this keyword is worth – the Google AdWords bid for ONE click on an ad for ‘wordpress developer sydney’ is valued over $50!

Now if you are reading this and feeling that your keyword is as competitive or less competitive than I hope this article will be of assistance to you as I break down how I got this hyper competitive keyword.

The Basics

The first thing I did – and I call these the basics. They’re very straightforward to implement on your website is the following:

Title Tag and Heading Tag

As you can see on my site the keyword ‘wordpress developer sydney’ is clearly in the title – and when you go on the site you will see it’s in the slider as well as the heading underneath the slider. There is no doubt in Google’s mind what this site is about.

What is interesting though is that I am also on the first page for the keyword ‘wordpress consultant sydney’ even though I don’t have this keyword ANYWHERE on my site – I’ll get to my theory as to why this is soon.

Google My Business, Citations and Footer

Google is going to trust businesses that have a physical location and evidence of a physical location. In my case you can see I have a Google My Business page with a (verified address) and I stretch this out further.

Firstly – if you have a business address make sure to include it in the footer of your website – not only for clients to check – but also for Google. It’s also a good match with your Google My Business.

Sometimes I have clients who don’t want to put down their addresses because they live in a residential area – firstly Google doesn’t care what area you live in – only that you have a physical address (which Google verifies with a postage envelope with a code). However if you absolutely cannot have your real address advertised online here’s a tip – get a virtual business address in a CBD area for 1 month and just use it for Google My Business verification – easy!

High Authority Inbound Links

This is where the kettle really meets the road.

If you were to just do the above items you would be ahead of 80%+ of your competitors. However high authority inbound links is what is really going to set you miles ahead of anyone.

The question is – where do you get these high authority inbound links?

This is a very contentious area of SEO – now if you look at one side you will hear that you should get inbound links from natural sources (PR, online blogs) – and while that can work for some indusries let’s be real – what is your typical tradie/plumber going to do to create PR? Sure – you could dress up as a hammer and go on the street and invite some newspapers and hope that works – I know I’m too scared to do something like that.

What I have found very effective however is ownership of high authority assets. The idea works like this – you purchase (or get in contact with someone) – who owns a high authority website and get them to link to you.

You vary up the link text and THAT’S IT. Your site is at the top – and you can rinse and repeat this with other inner pages and even other niches linking to the same front page on your site.

Now here is what I did – I purchased a bunch of expired domains with high authority links (think – an online magazine based in Utah for example that was quite large for 3 years but then got shut down – even though the domain is up for sale and the site doesn’t exist do you think every link that pointed to that site is gone)? And do you think once that domain is brought back from the dead that Google can see what is going on?

This is what has worked for me – and is working for many other people.

It’s really that simple! The only challenge is getting those high authority inbound links – and I can help you get those from either my network or other networks – you will see a result in 2 weeks guaranteed!

So you can be raking in the clients to your business within 2 weeks – and I can even get you some rankings that will get clients enquiring and calling you (high quality purchase intent clients) as a trial to show you just what is possible.

Simply fill in the form below if you are interested (and mention this article):

Final Thoughts – Mobile and Fast Sites

Everything above would be straightforward if not for the whole “getting a quality site built” (hint hint: I’m a WordPress developer :) – but there are two things you’ll definately need to keep an eye on.

The first is mobile compatibility – this is easy to achieve by simply finding a website template/framework that is mobile compatible – for example Enfold is one that I use for many clients that is very customisable and is battle tested: https://themeforest.net/item/enfold-responsive-multipurpose-theme/4519990

In fact it’s the same one I used for this site – don’t get too hung up on which framework to use – believe me – for 90% of businesses no client is going to find you and say “Well everything looks good, the offer is good but I’m not going to leave an enquiry or engage because I don’t like the background color” – it’s not nearly as important as other factors like the content (and Enfold looks great anyway).

And finally – have a fast site. Not only does Google decide your organic results based on how fast your site loads – but studies have been done that show that a 2 second delay in website load times leads to a 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor.

One mistake I made when I started my business was going with GoDaddy (you may have seen their ads on TV recently) – BIG mistake. Their server response time was at some points up to 7 seconds – and most of the time hovered at 1 second. My recommendation if you are going to do hosting is to use SiteGround – and I can host your site for you for free as part of my packages – I use SiteGround’s servers and the response time is always at .2 seconds.

Summary

My hope is that this article stirred up something in you – however taking action is what separates those that achieve results from those that don’t. Get in contact with me using the form above and I will make a time to speak to you to see how I can put you in a position to get the purchase intent visitors leaving you inquiries on your site.

And if you have any general enquiries about SEO or this article put them over and I would be glad to assist any way I can.

Good luck!

Getting Out of Your Own Way – How a Developer’s Staging Site Can Completely Destroy Your Google Rankings

When people think about SEO – and I put myself in this category – they think of the smartest ways to get to the top of the search engines. How they can outrank and beat their competitors for those tough keywords. They imagine this complex web of ranking alchemy that select search engine companies use to get clients to the top of search results.

The truth that is closer to home however – is that many times it’s just a case of getting out of your own way.

The idea that search engine marketers are people who have figured out some secret sauce is only half true. Read on to see how getting out of your own way is sometimes more than 50% of the challenge.

Google actually has a guide on how to optimise your site for their search engines – and its own software which is very easy to install – that tells you what issues it’s detecting on your site.

Yes – Google actually tells you how to rank higher in search engines.

The combination of a web developer that understands how to not only create an appealing website – but also how to get it indexed and ranked – is a rare combination. And I have not seen a clearer example of an excellent web developer combined with a complete dearth of SEO knowledge than what I witnessed in the last couple of days.

A client’s site whom I had not had contact with for a while had gone down and its brand keyword search was not coming up.

Upon researching in Google Console I had discovered that even though the site was coming up on clientwebsite.com.au – what was happening was the WP dashboard was redirecting to a staging site (which is a site that developers use to test code prior to pushing it live). The staging site had created an automatic sitemap which was submitted to Google – and this was the site that was coming up in search results – about the 4th one down.

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This video shows how a sitemap was submitted from the staging site – leading to the wrong URL’s being indexed – which led to a whole pleothora of problems for site indexability.

I had resubmitted the site URL in Google Search Console and it is now coming up – however this shows you how important it is to – at the very elast – get out of your own way when it comes to optimising your site online.

If you want to learn more about using Google Search click here for Google’s official guide.

Also if you would like me to setup your Google Search and tell you what errors are coming up with your site simply drop me a line and I can do this for free (limited time offer).

All the best – and remember – sometimes it’s not about competing – it’s just about getting out of our own way!

Launching my first funnel – 5 Nuggets That I Took Away

If you’re not all ready aware from all the advertisements throughout my website – I have written and launched an eBook called ‘How to Not Get Ripped Off By Your Web Developer’.
This was a big accomplishment for me for the following reasons:
  • I had created for the first time in my life – a ‘product’ based on my creative output
  • I launched this product
  • I advertised this product
 Now to be clear this ‘product’ – I gave out for free. I didn’t charge people for the eBook – the idea was that people would download the eBook and say – “Wow, I don’t want to get ripped off by my web developer – and since Kosta is so adamant about showing me how to not get ripped off I think I can trust this guy.”
The biggest barrier – in my belief – for most businesses launching their own product and advertising is fear.
Fear was the biggest barrier for me anyway. I had been developing websites using WordPress for 6 years – I knew how to create funnels, how to write, how to do everything that would be required to launch this eBook – the only thing stopping me was the fear of putting something out there. I remember writing ideas for the eBook and literally getting a panic attack.
Anyway now that I’ve launched the eBook I wanted to give my take-away of what I learned.
Keep in mind – for the record I got about 120 downloads on the eBook – and I could probably get more if I pursued my strategy. However rather than saying what I did – I wanted to explain the mistakes I made along the way to finally getting people to download my eBook –  since that’s more interesting right?
  1. Listening to Random People
 
The first mistake I made is listening to the advice of random people. Now when I say advice I mean people that would comment on my eBook on Facebook pages to which I posted it to. Basically people would give me feedback on the eBook – and the biggest feedback that I got was that the eBook cover was not “professional” or was “too controversial”. Now for the record the eBook cover was this:
The guy pointing the gun at the reader is a bit intense – a bit in your face sure – but when I found the photo I thought it was tongue in cheek funny and attention grabbing so selected it. Boy was I unprepared for the vitroil that random haters flung at me. I wish I still had the screenshots of people that would comment on the Facebook page.
I was called “unprofessional” (what a stupid word by the way, like it takes effort to be professional – a.k.a boring).
There were also other developers that got very offended that I was ‘tainting’ the web development profession by insuniating that web developers were rip offs (ignoring the fact that I was a web developer myself).
Every time someone commented on my post it received more engagement and attention – and thus led to more downloads.
Now here’s the thing – I actually had two alternate eBook covers. My graphic designer had created the eBook cover shown above and also the one below:
An alternate ebook cover that my designer made that was more ‘appropriate’

An alternate ebook cover that my designer made that was more ‘appropriate’

So anyway I decided not to use the eBook cover above but just out of interest I asked people on Facebook if they felt the eBook cover above was more ‘appropriate’ to which people on the Facebook group responded with a resounding YES. Anyway I thought my gun slinging eBook cover was way better – so I decided to run a split test using Google Analytics. And guess what? My awesome cover with the dude with the gun pointing at the reader completely smashed the ‘appropriate’ cover with the hacker guy.
What does this mean? To me it indicated that people are so obsessed with being “professional” and pushing it on to others – and while to some level it’s important to be “professional” if what you mean by that is that you respond to enquiries quickly, you deliver a high level of service, and you deliver value to your clients then yes, it’s important to be professional.
But if what you mean by being professional is being boring and not having a personality – then that is you operating on a level of fear. You’re not being professional because you hold yourself to a higher standard, your ‘professional’ attitude is more a polite self-rationalisation for your fear of not being yourself and honest.
Of course everyone is different and every company is different – that eBook cover may not work for a lot of industries and companies depending on how they present themselves – but it worked for me and at the stage that I’m at – my biggest concern is conversion level – so if something increases the conversion level I’m going to go with that.

2. Making sure your email sequence spits out at the right order

Mailchimp is the email application I use - I highly recommend it.

Mailchimp is the email application I use – I highly recommend it.

 After people have downloaded my eBook – the idea was to send 5 emails over a period of 5 weeks with extra content related to the content of the eBook along with a call to action to get in contact with me. The entire eBook funnel was really a lead generation strategy.
The email sequence was setup with Mailchimp however I had screwed up the sequence. While I don’t want to get into the technical details of why it happened – suffice to say that the 5 emails I had planned were not sent out correctly – at first only the first auto repsonder email was sent and not the others – and then later the emails were not sent out at the correct times.
The problem was however – that once I got about 50 subscribers, I couldn’t just re-activate the other emails in the sequence – because the 50 subscribers had all ready been on my list for longer than the time the second email should have been sent out once I activated it.
The whole thing caused problems and was probably one of the lead reasons that I didn’t get any concrete leads.
So the one thing I recommend for those that are setting up a funnel with an email sequence (every funnel should have an email sequence) is to test that the emails are being sent out at the correct times.
If you have an email sequence that is meant to go for 5 weeks – with 5 emails being sent a week for example – you can test the email sequence by scheduling the emaisl over 5 days. If the emails come through for 5 days then you know the system you have setup is correct and you can simply extend it to 5 weeks.
Remember – I’m a tech head and I still had issues figuring out the email sequence for Mailchimp even after consulting with them on chat so make sure you are doing it all correctly!
3. Work within the confines of your funnel system

Thrive Leads is the WordPress plugin I used to create my landing page as well as the pop ups you may have seen around the website. Once again highly recommended – a highly favoured alternative is ClickFunnels.

This one would have saved me a lot of headaches. To create my funnel I used Thrive Leads – and specifically the ‘Thrive Content Builder’ plugin which allows you to create your landing pages in real time.
One of the modules in Thrive Content Builder is the opt-in form creator – where you can create an opt-in form (read: a field with your email address and a sign up button).
Thrive Content Builder also allows you to connect your opt-in form to an email marketing software – and I chose Mailchimp as my email marketing software. Everything was going well until I wanted to do 2 unique things which I thought would be cool, and these were:
1) Create an additional field in the opt-in form that allowed the user to enter their website URL
2) Remove the requirement for users that opt-in to verify their email address with a confirmation email – and instead to instantly receive a download to their eBook (I just thought this would be quicker for people to receive the eBook)
To achieve these two things took me a lot of hair pulling – especially the first point.
While I won’t get into the technicalities of everything – let’s just say I fumbeld around with trying to get point 1 working for over a week – and it actually made me give up on the project since I couldn’t achieve this one thing; I had written my eBook, created the cover, formatted it, created the copy for the landing page – but damn if I couldn’t have my additional text field then screw everything!
The reality was that I was using the additional field as an excuse not to launch the eBook because I was afraid of the reception from people and being judged. After all it was my photo on the landing page – and the content that I wrote was me – if someone rejected the eBook and said it sucked they were basically saying I sucked – or that’s how I saw it.
But suffice to say the Thrive Content Builder software really made it easy for you to have 1 field (just your email) or 2 fields (email and name) when creating the sign up form (when linked to Mailchimp) – but additional fields simply didn’t seem to work. In fact I remember registering and connecting at least 2-3 other email providers to get my desired result.
The amount of time I spent on the issue was crazy for the small incremental benefit that I would have received had I succeeded – an additional text field. At the end of the day if someone signed up for the eBook their website would be in the email in many cases anyway.
The one thing I learned from this experience is that any software that you purchase is going to have certain limitations somewhere – and you are much better off just working within the system instead of trying to twist the software to make the landing page look like you had imagined.
Work with what you’re given and launch! If something doesn’t work do the next best thing!
4. Commit to your list
 
Best image I could find for 'mailing list'

Best image I could find for ‘mailing list’

This is a mistake I made which was more a result of laziness and lack of planning. Basically once I started advertising my eBook and my list started to grow I left the list alone. As per point 2, a lot of the emails that I had planned in my sequence were not sent out in the right order – in many cases users only got the first email and not the 2nd.
After I had built up a list of 120 sign ups I felt good about myself and felt the job was done. I patted myself on the back for writing the eBook, launching the eBook along with a cool landing page and making “everything work” as it were.
However I didn’t continue my system and most importantly – I didn’t work the list.
If you are going to create a landing page or just any way to build your list then make sure you commit to a program where you keep your list informed and stay top of mind for them. Perhaps I could have made myself a commitment that if the list got to a certain size I would make the efforto to email out some insightful information to that list every week or so.
Any time you are creating a list building strategy you should also include in that the time taken to email the list.
Basically I left the list alone and left a lot of money on the table.
5. Break the rules and say sorry
 
A closed mouth doesn't get heard - especially online

A closed mouth doesn’t get heard – especially online

Finally – and this is one I’m proud of – this relates to advertising yourself.
My plan originally was to advertise the eBook on Facebook Ads (which I did do eventually but didn’t get as much success) – however my business advisor advised me to post the eBook to a bunch of business groups which I did and I had much better success.
The thing with posting to various social media groups is that you run the risk of spamming and pissing people off.
This is a very thin line – there’s nothing that annoys me more than blatant spamming and it ruins the atmosphere of a group – but at the same time my belief is that if I were to go into a group and just honestly let them know what I’m working on and what I did in my own voice it’s not really spamming.
After all if there is a group of business owners on a Facebook Group every business owner has a product to sell – if for example a roof tiler created an eBook – 5 ways to tell your roof tiles are in need of a replacement – I may not download the eBook but I wouldn’t be upset either as the roof tiler made the effort to create a valuable piece of content. It’s also useful because were the author to post it on the Facebook group if I had any interest in the content I could also quickly reach out to him and ask any questions.
While I posted in a number of Facebook Groups I did receive a caution from the owner of a Facebook Marketing group about my spamming and I stopped it. However I had another guy in my PM’s who was in the group warning me about getting kicked out of the group for spamming.
The point I’m trying to make is it’s better to share what you’ve done on a group and then say sorry if you’re cautioned against spamming then be concerned about the official “rules” – reviewing them and making sure you’re not breaking them. At the end of the day all these social media groups need new members and they’re not going to kick you out if you’re sharing real content with an authentic voice.
Many times with certain large forums – despite posting content that was considered ‘advertising’ – all that happened was the post that I created was deleted and I was allowed to stay a member of the group.
But hey – by the time I got the caution from the FB Marketing group admin I had all ready gotten a bunch of subscribers to my eBook.
If you’re in sales you have to sometimes do things that not everyone is going to be happy with – including the admins. If you’re told not to do something by an admin then it’s fair game to listen and agree not to – and ask for an apology.
NOTE: I am not advocating spamming the hell out of Facebook Groups with crap spam. I’m just saying to share what you’ve created and if you’re cautioned and informed that your post is considered then simply don’t do it again.
That’s all for my 5 tips. Hope that these give you something to think about and motivate you to launch your own list building campaign!

Stop Competitors and Mean People Destroying Your Reputation – How I Removed My First (F*A*K*E) Negative Google Review

Recently I had setup my Google Local page and was excited – I had set the address to be in the centre of Sydney – which I believe would help my local search results.

However right after the first client had left a very positive review something happened.

Not to get into specifics but let’s say I had a spat with a certain person who I believed was upset and wanted to get me back. And this person went on Google and left a negative review for my business.

It’s interesting how vulnerable we all are as business owners – as far as our reputation goes.

Lucky for me though the negative Google review that was left was complete bulls#$t – in the sense that it was verifyable false.

Unlike other businesses that serve the public such as a coffee shop for example – all my clients are businesses and so it is much harder for someone to just come out and say I did a bad job – since they would then have to say what I did wrong and I could then place a dispute with Google that their review is bogus. Whereas if someone just says the coffee shop staff was rude you can’t really dispute that.

Anyway right after the first client had left a positive review – this 1 star review was left:

negative_google_review

 

Firstly – there are a number of things with that Google review that are sketchy – and when a Google review is left for your business – when the reviewer is saying things that are verifyable true it’s a good indicator that the review was left for nefarious purposes (such as by a competitor).

To quickly break down this bogus review here are just a few inaccuracies and outright lies:
There is no public file on me at the … – their dispute handling process is done internally and any mediated decisions are not released to the public
The client cited as being ‘fake’ is actually very real – and I have evidence of the website I built for this client as well as the invoices I have sent
The account which left the negative Google review is an anomyous business account – incidentally they had another negative review left for another business leading me to think that maybe this account was just created to leave negative Google reviews (or it’s just a very terrible/negative person)
Oh and I’m not a ‘fly by night’ operation as evidenced by the Wayback Machine which will tell you my business and website have been around in various iterations for 5+ years

Anyway below I will outline what I did to have the Google review removed – I’ll also note some things I could have done to speed up the removal.

Remember your reputation is everything and one negative word could make a high profile client look the other way – so reputation management is big. Here I’m basically laying out the blueprint on how to keep yourself sqeaky clean from the ill motives of competitors.

The steps are actually really simple:

Step 1: Reply Politely and Clarify

The first thing you need to do is to make it clear to anyone reading your side of the story. In my case I realised there was no point in trying to reason with the person that left the review – since their intention was to damage my reputation.

Instead my reply – which is now gone (since Google has removed the negative review) was somewhere along the following lines:

The review left above was not left by a customer but rather a disgruntled competitor and contains verifyable untrue statements. The domain age of my website is 5+ years and I am far from a fly by night operation – the client the review is referring to exists and I would be happy to provide evidence to anyone that enquired. Further there is no public file on me at the Department of Fair Trading.

My hope in leaving this reply was that while I was waiting for Google to remove the negative review – anyone who would stumble across my business page would get both sides of the story.

As the owner of the Google Business Page you can reply to reviews.

However if the negative review was left by a genuinely disgruntled customer my advice would be to engage the customer in seeing how you can make it right – even if you feel the customer is in the wrong. It would be a lot cheaper to give the customer a discount or a partial refund in exchange for the negative review being removed rather than have the reputation of your business come down.

Step 2: Call Google (and how to call Google)

So how exactly do you contact Google and ask them to remove a Google review? There’s no ‘Contact Us’ button at the bottom of Google.com. However most businesses have no idea that they can actually call Google and talk to them about their website.

So here is a step by step tutorial on how to call Google:

  1. Login to your Google My Business Account (if you have a local business page then by defination you would have a Google My Business account which you can login to here: https://www.google.com.au/business/
  2. Select the business page which has received a negative review (if you are just running the one business just select that page) – you can see an example of me selecting my local business location below:
    select-google-page
  3. Click the 3 horizontal lines in the top left hand corner of your My Business page for your local business and click ‘Contact Support’
    contact-google-support
  4. Scroll down in the popup window that comes up on the right and click on ‘Phone’
    contact-phone
  5. Enter your ‘Contact Name’, ‘Email address’ and ‘phone number’
    contact-google-enter-details
  6. Finally click on Send
  7. Wait for Google to call you! (usually about 5-10 seconds)

How cool is that?

And now when the person answers simply explain to them your request to remove your Google review.

Bonus Step: Follow Up with Evidence by Email

Here is what you must understand about Google’s resolution process.

Let’s say you call Google and you speak to Cindy who tells you that she will review this issue and resolve it for you.

You get off the phone (and this happened to me) – and you wait for Cindy to get back to you.

You’ll wait 3 days and hear nothing so you call back to Google to speak to Ryan – who checks the issue – puts you on hold for 15 minutes only to return to tell you that since Cindy is looking after this there is nothing you can do.

In order to make the issue go quicker make sure you have Cindy’s contact email address and follow up with evidence if the review is not true.

Note: Google My Business support don’t have direct email addresses however if you get the person you’re speaking with to send you an email you can then interact with them by replying to that email.

In my case I could have emailed them a confirmation from the Department of Fair Trading that they have no file on me for example.

The more information you can give Google – at the very least – will remind the person about the issue and will get them more reasons to remove the negative review.

Finally – The Good News

When it’s all said and done you will eventually get an email that the negative Google review has been removed. You can see what this email looks like below:

google-review-removed

Hope that helps and good luck!

Who’s Writing Your Copy? Why a Beautiful Website Won’t Save An Alphabet Soup

Depending on your perception of the value and skill required to write good content for your website – you may be surprised to learn that the content creation of your website will usually cost a lot more than the actual design part of your website.

Yet what’s ironic is that many of my clients don’t even consider their content needs when building a website.

Sure – they know they’ll need to write out some content – but in many cases it’s more of an after thought.

Here’s the thing – there can be many examples I can point to where a poorly designed website with excellent copy – which included a hot offer, a time limit etc. – which made the owner of the website a lot of money.

However I don’t think I can find a single example of a well designed website with crappy copy (badly targeted offer, boring content, failure to list benefits) that made the website owner any money.

So the big question for this article is – who’s writing your copy?

Note: copy just refers to the words on a page – however copy is specifically referencing the words that will sell your product/offer rather than generic words like for example your contact information or About Us page.

While I would recommend – if you have the option – to engage with a high end copywriter I realise that for many people reading this that is simply not an option. The reason is that GOOD copywriters are expensive – like really expensive.

Luckily when you work with me you’ll get to work with a web developer that has an understanding of what makes a website sell – as far as content goes. While I love coding – I also understand the traditional word.

This is very important – a lot of people engage web developers/copywriters overseas who not only don’t understand the local dialect and cultural slang of Australia – but even worse may speak broken English in general.

So I’ve decided to do something different in this blog post – I wanted to show you a technique that a copywriter taught me that I have used for pretty much every single piece of copy I write. It is so simple – and can be remembered with 3 letters (PAS) – and I will include an example of an ad for my own services which has converted like crazy.

By learning this simple technique you’ll be ahead of 98% of business owners – and you can start writing original copy instead of just copying other businesses.

The Secret Recipe of Highlyg Converting Copy – the PAS Method

PAS stands for ‘Problem’, ‘Agitation’ and ‘Solution’ and your copy must include those elements in that order.

I’m going to include an overview of each step – or letter – and then show you how I incorporated those elements in my own ad:

Problem

This is where you identify the problem the client is having – and it’s the place where you identify and show the client you understand what they are going through.

Depending on the format that you structure your ad – you can begin this with a story -or if it’s more of a billboard or an image ad you can just include a bulletpoint or headline.

A mistake a lot of companies make is leaving out the problem – so for example a company could make an ad like so:

Our beds have NASA technology foam!

And while that’s great it’s not linked to the problem the person is having, so a way to change the above line to incorporate a problem could be as follows:

Want to keep your back after 40?
Our beds have NASA technology foam!

Note: I’m no expert in beds as you can see but I’m just showing the concept.

This is a very simple example and in most cases your copy will have much more content but stating the problem is a critical part of your copy.

Agitation

The agitation part is where you really step up to being a master word smith with the ability to control your client’s emotions and lead them down the path of getting excited to part with their cash for your service.

You see when a client has a problem – in many cases it’s an emotional issue which is forcing them to find solutions.

We are emotional creatures and this is the most important thing to understand when writing copy.

So since I’ll be using an example from my own ad further down this blog post I’ll use an example in this section.

People want a website because they want people to find out about their product/service online right? And perhaps even order that service online and make an enquiry.

That’s a pretty logical statement – and if you have started a business or are operating one – it would be logical for you to create a website to be found right?

However did you know that if you set your website up incorrectly it could lead to your website not being found in Google – and even worse it could lead to your website being penalised and banned from Google outright?

Do you see what I did there? Suddenly – if you are a business owner – your chest tightened up – the idea of having your website banned from Google – or not being found causes anxiety. The embarassment of not having your website display – the thought of losing all that money from customers who can’t find you.

This is the agitation part of my copy – and I could go further – I could talk about how your competitors are currently getting the most high margin clients – and how 90% of people in your market will go to Google to find what they are looking for – and how if you are not on Google you don’t even exist.

This is not going to make you do business with me or order a website – but it will make the pain of making the wrong decision very real – and it will get you primed as a potential customer to hear what I have to say next – as the information is very relevant to you.

Does that make sense?

Can you take your own product and after listing the problems it solves – agitate those problems further to create a real emotional connection for your prospect – the person reading your copy?

This may seem un natural at first and you want to be conscious of who you are targeting but believe me – EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT/SERVICE offering uses agitation to some degree – there is no target market or target customer that is ‘too sophisticated’ for this technique.

Solution

This is where you offer the client a solution that will solve all their problems – the trick is to offer a solution that addressses all the pain points you have raised so far in your copy.

For example taking the copy for my own service that I have mentioned before – regarding not being found or being banned from Google – my solution could (and does) include the following:

  • ‘SEO Optimized website FREE’

Now the client can rest assured that part of his website package will include an SEO optimised website.

I could also include a testimonial that will subtly communicate that I have the knowledge and the practical experience that they can trust me with making their website Google friendly such as the following:

‘”Within 2 weeks of working with Kosta over 1,500 of our products were indexed by Google. This caused a traffic increase of 74%. also our newsletter subscriber count has jumped by 340%. We just wish we would have found Kosta sooner than wasting thousands with our previous SEO company.” – Harrison Logan, DragonImage’

So you can see how you can address the Solution in various ways – through testimonials, images and videos!

So there it is, that’s the PAS method – you don’t have to write the greatest piece of copy ever to make your offer sell – however if you can look at the copy that you write and point to the Problem, Agitation and Solution section you are ahead of 98% of business owners.

This stuff is powerful – make no mistake about it.

What I have given you above is a very useful tool to throw in your arsernal.

My advice is whoever you choose to write your copy – yourself, someone in your business – a copywriter or even me – make sure they understand the elements of successful selling through the written word.

How to P#ss Off Google With Your Mobile Incompatible Site – And 5 Ways to Fix It

As of 21st April, 2015 having your website mobile friendly officially became a ranking factor for Google. This means that a website that is mobile friendly will now show up higher in Google search results than a website that is not mobile friendly (all other things being equal).

In this blog post I will show you how to check if your website is Google mobile friendly using the Google mobile test tool and what options are available for you to make it mobile friendly – along with client examples where possible for each option.

Is my site mobile friendly? Let Google tell you

Even without using a specialised tool it should be fairly obvious to you if your website is mobile friendly or not as you can simply check what it looks like on your smartphone.

However it is also useful to check the [link]Google Mobile test tool[/link] to see if Google sees your website as mobile friendly – remember that Google doesn’t have a team of people checking every website individually to see if it’s mobile compatible – instead it uses an algorithm to find this out.

In some cases – a website may look mobile compatible to you and everyone else – however for some reason Google may not see it as mobile friendly – leading you to be penalised in the rankings.

The Google mobile test tool doesn’t give you any specific information other than a green box confirming that your website/page is mobile friendly.

Note: Google mobile test tool tests only the URL that you provide it – it is possible for example that your front page is mobile friendly while an inner page is not mobile compatible. My suggestion is just to click around the links on your website using a smartphone and see if any pages are not mobile compatible.

In most cases I find that if the front page is mobile friendly the rest of the website will be too – this is due to the way that 99% of websites are built with a common header/footer.

Help! My site is not mobile friendly… what are my options?

Below I will list a number of options for what you can do if your website is not mobile friendly – as well as the time estimate for how long this will take to implement that option – this will give you an idea of not only what options you have available but give you an idea which ones are more/less expensive.

Note that the time estimate is based on how long I estimate it would take if I was doing the work and is current as of the 3rd March, 2016.

The options include automatic mobile conversion, WP Touch Plugin (for WordPress sites), remaking the website, creating a separate mobile site and custom coding.

Automatic mobile conversion

There are online tools that will automatically convert your website to be mobile friendly at the click of a button.

Please note that this does not always come out perfect – and sometimes the automatic conversion will make your website look like a dog’s breakfast – however it is worth a shot to enter your website into these tools and see how the mobile site turns out – if the mobile site generated by these tools looks acceptable to you – then you can get a developer to redirect mobile users to the converted website.

Some of these tools are free – all though I suggest paying their small yearly fee so you do not get advertisements on your mobile sites.

http://www.mobilizetoday.com/ ($10p/m)

http://bmobilized.com/ ($11p/m)

http://www.ginwiz.com/ (starting from $30p/m)

All of these tools have a preview option so you can see what your mobile optimised website will look if it is converted using these tools. My suggestion is to pick the tool which converts your website the best.

Estimated Time: 2-4 hours

WPTouch Plugin

On the off chance that your website is powered by WordPress and is not mobile friendly then the WPTouch extension is a good option to check out. The plugin is free however the paid version gives you additional themes.

From memory – when I was installing this plugin on a client’s website – brookermarine.com.au – I found that I needed to go with the premium option since it contained a mobile template that did what I needed it to do.

For the record – while technically the WPTouch is advertised as a 1 click solution – be prepared to make some slight adjustments in the code to make sure it works correctly. The good news is that WP Touch can advise you through their support area on what code changes you would need to make.

Remember – you need to have your website all ready running on WordPress to take advantage of this extension.

Estimated Time: 3-8 hours

Remake the website

If your website is not mobile compatible and doesn’t look great on a desktop either than remaking the entire website may be an option. While this may sound like a hefty investment you would be surprised at how cost effective it can be.

For example – if your website currently has good content but bad design then you all ready have the hardest part of creating a website handled.

You can browse around and find a WordPress template in [link to WordPresss themes]ThemeForest[/link] – most templates you will find are all ready mobile friendly – and get a developer to move your content over to that new template and install it on your server.

Estimated Time: 8 hours – 25 hours

Custom coding

This is a half way option however it can be a good solution if the automatic mobile conversion option doesn’t work out and your website looks horrible in the automatic mobile conversion tool previews – your website is not built in WordPress and you are on a budget and don’t want to create a brand new mobile site or install a new theme.

The custom coding option involves adding some standardised code through various sections of the website which make them snap to the width of a mobile screen.

In certain cases I have been able to make a client’s websites usable and mobile friendly in less than 6 hours through custom coding – it may not have all the bells and whistles of a complete theme revamp however your clients will appreciate the ease of use of your new site – and you will get Google brownie points, all for a smaller investment than redoing your entire theme.

In most cases this option is a launching pad for clients to move to a new website redesign.

Estimated Time: 4 hours – 8 hours

Separate mobile site

This is an outdated practice however for the sake of having a complete list of your options I’ve included it here. To save your time feel free to skip reading this option – but read ahead if you’re curious or are just a fan of implementing bad solutions ;).

Creating a separate mobile site basically means finding a mobile template and installing it on your server – and redirecting smartphone users to that template.

This means that if you have to change some content on your website – you will need to change it on both your main website and your mobile site – which can sometimes be a bother.

My belief is that if you are wiling to invest into creating a separate mobile site you may as well either switch to a new template which will give you the same outcome and also make your main site look good.

Estimated Time: 8 hours


 

While it may seem like there are many options when converting your site for mobile – the options are narrowed down once you answer the question of whether you are currently running WordPress and what your budget is.

If your budget is smaller use the custom coding option. If your budget is bigger use the ‘Remake website’ option.

Finally remember that as of 21st April, 2015 having a mobile website is a must. With Google confirming that more people use their search engines on mobiles than desktops and Google rewarding mobile friendly sites (and penalizing non mobile compatible sites) – you owe not only your clients/users but yourself a favor by converting your website to mobile using one of the options above.

What is a CMS? And Why Not Having One For Your Website will Spell Your Doom

CMS stands for ‘content management system’. A CMS allows you to make changes to any part of your website without needing to learn a programming language. Pretty neat right?

There are many different CMS flavors (providers) out there – the most popular one being WordPress – the CMS used by yours truly which powers 25% of the internet.

With a CMS you can save money by being able to make changes yourself and not needing to pay your web developer every time you need to make said changes – and you also gain control over your website – since you are not dependent on an external party to update your site; which means if your developer is not responsive it won’t stop you from keeping your website up to date.

When choosing a web developer you should know not only whether they will provide CMS functionality for your website – but also how much training they will provide – since there is no point to have a CMS if it’s too complicated to use.

Also – be careful when web development companies offer to set you up with a website using a CMS they have built internally. This will create many problems for you including limited online support community, limited plugins/extensions, a very small developer community, and being locked into their business model with no means of escape. For example what happens if you want to switch to a new developer and you are still using another company’s CMS? Let me tell you a client of mine wanted me to make some changes to his website however when I went to check the CMS I realised it was a proprietary CMS system developed by a Sydney based web development company – in order to help the client I would have to learn the CMS system from the ground up – which would cost the client a lot more – and this would be the case for any web developer he hired.

Also – be careful if your developer is going to set you up with a CMS that you have never heard of before. For example there is a ‘Wordpress alternative’ called Camaleon CMS – if your developer sets you up on this you will have a bunch of problems even if the CMS itself is good – for example finding another developer who is knowledgeable in Camaleon will be very difficult – also if you need to find a specific plugin or integration with another software you will most likely have challenges since there is such a small number of plugins and integrations for that CMS (integration means cool stuff that the CMS can do).

Remember – you want a CMS that has the most support and the most active developer community. There are extensions being written by the WordPress developer community every day – and many of these extensions are available for free or a small price – if you were to engage a developer to build one of these from scratch it would cost you thousands of dollars – so you can imagine how having a CMS with a big developer community can save you a lot of money in the long run!

So let’s summarise what we learned and keep these notes in mind:
  • The web developer should provide a CMS (content management system) for the website they create for you
  • The CMS should be a popular CMS that has a thriving online community – don’t use some niche unknown CMS that no one has heard of
  • Make sure you have budgeted the time/money for training once the CMS launches
In summary – make sure that the person developing your website will provide you with a simple way to make changes to their website. If they don’t – you’ll need to pay them every time you want to make a change. Also my recommendation is to use WordPress for your CMS needs – it’s the most popular and if you ever need to change developers (or if your developer becomes unreachable) then you will not have to look long for a well priced WordPress developer to help you.

How (Not) To Pick the Wrong Website Host – And (Not) Lose Your Sanity in the Proccess

Most people new to making a website are not educated in just how important it is to pick the right website host for your business.

If you pick the wrong website host (and I will tell you the WORST website host further down this post) – you stand to lose not only hundreds of dollars due to poor customer service but also – in extreme cases – may have your website entirely deleted with no warning (and yes this has happened to a client of mine).

Read more

5 Tips You Can Do Right Now For SEO

SEO can be very confusing – and that confusion leads to business owners taking NO action when it comes to improving their website rankings. Many SEO companies like to make SEO as complicated as possible – however what if you had an a, b, c and d checklist that you could follow to be found by Google? What if everything was as straightforward as following a recipe? If you’ve been putting off taking action on your website after reading this straightforward guide you will have no excuse!

The guide contains 5 steps (and a bonus 6th step if you’re feeling super motivated) – feel free to do one item per day if you like – if you have any questions let me know at kosta [at] headstudios.com.au.

Remember – in business taking action is more important then waiting to have all the facts – and it’s double as true in SEO – you don’t need to know EVERYTHING about SEO and Google Rankings to get started – but you do need to get started. This guide will put you ahead of 90% of your competition. So, not much more to say – let’s start with No. 1:

#1 Google Places

If you have a physical business (business at a physical location) – or even if you have a service type business that services an area – Google Places is absolutely essential. Google rolled out Google places in [year Google rolled it out] and as always – if you want to be at the top of Google’s search results – you have to play by their rules – and the cornerstone feature is Google Places.

Part of the reason – I think – why Google rolled out Google Places is that it allowed the user to stay in Google without navigating out. So if a user wants to find their local hairdresser they can use Google Places and stay within the Google ecosystem without navigating out of Google into your website – this means more ad revenue for Google. However let’s get away from why Google did this – at the end of the day for you – it doesn’t matter if users come to your website or not, if they pick up the phone and make that call that’s all that matters – and if you can make that happen more often then all power to you.

In order to setup a Google Places Account for your business you’ll need a Google account (I sure hope you have one all ready). Then all you’ll need to do is go here:

https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=oz&passive=1209600&continue=https://plus.google.com/u/0/dashboard?skipPagesList%3D1%26ppsrc%3DGPDA2%26gpsrc%3Dgplp0&ltmpl=gmb

google_places_example

Once you sign up simply click on your business type (Storefront/Services Area or Brand) and then you’ll need to fill in a form similar to the one below:

google_places_add_business

In order for Google to verify that you are a real business and to avoid spam they will send you a physical letter which will contain a verification code. Once you receive this letter log back into Google and follow the prompts to enter the verification code. Then your Google Places is up and running! Done. Besides waiting for the letter the process is fairly straightforward.

#2 SEO Yoast Plugin

You can find the SEO Yoast plugin here – https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/. SEO Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress so because of that it should be installed as standard with your WordPress website.

Simply installing the SEO Yoast plugin will not improve your ratings – but it will give you a large number of tools at your disposal.

wordpress_seo_guide

The option above is for a blog I published earlier. The SEO Yoast toolbar appears underneath your ‘Edit Posts’ section in WordPress and shows you how your blgo post will look like in Google search results and let you know if there are any issues that need to be addressed.

Going over all of SEO Yoast’s features is beyond the scope of this blog – but you can check out their website here for some useful tutorials and articles.

#3 Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools

googlewmt

Google Webmaster Tools is like being able to peer under the hood of the Google algorithm and see exactly how it relates to your website.

You can sign up for Google Webmaster Tools here:
https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=sitemaps&passive=1209600&continue=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fwebmasters%2Ftools%2F&followup=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fwebmasters%2Ftools%2F

After you do you’ll need to upload a small file to your webserver to prove that you are the owner of your website – and after that you are ready to go.

So what is so special about Google Webmaster Tools? Well how about these 3 bits of data – and this is just the beginning. Have you ever wanted to:

  • See which keywords your website is showing for
  • Find out keywords your website shows for but no one clicks on (why is that?)
  • See the performance of your keywords over time (going back years and years – what went wrong.. what went right?)

Oh, and once you have Google Webmaster tools you can

#4 Create and submit a sitemap

seo-sitemap

This has helped some of my customers increase their traffic by 75% – and it takes less than an hour. Basically what you are doing is saying to Google “Hey, this is all the pages on my website – make sure you have all these in your directory.”

Google can sometimes find the pages for your website on its own – however if you have 500 pages on your website and Google has only indexed 50, a simple sitemap submission can make you show up on a lot more relevant search results – along with your competitors (instead of not being there at all).

SEO Yoast will help you create a site map.

#5 Install Google Analytics

You can sign up for Google Analytics here:

http://www.google.com.au/analytics/

After you do you’ll need to add some code to the bottom of every page on your website. If you are running WordPress you can do this without any programming knowledge by downloading a plugin (SEO Yoast has this option by default)

google-analytics

Once you install Google Analytics you’ll be able to see the following information right off the bat:

  • How many visitors come to your website
  • Where they come from (e.g. organic keywords, linked from other websites, email campaigns, typed straight into browser)
  • The locations of your visitors (if you are a national company you can see how many customers come from NSW/VIC etc.

Lots of these reports are useful but from an SEO perspective here is where Google Analytics shines, you can:

See which keywords are most popular for your website and which keywords generate the best results

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have 2 keywords for a pet shop website – ‘dog grooming tips’ and ‘dog grooming pricing sydney’ which are generating 100 visits and 10 visits a week respectively.

Dog grooming tips – 100 visitors
Dog grooming pricing sydney – 10 visitors

In Google Analytics you can setup how many of these visitors end up filling out your lead form. So if 1/100 visitors going from ‘dog grooming tips’ fill out your enquiry form but 1/10 visitors from dog grooming pricing sydney fill out your enquiry form – then it’s smarter to go after and work on increasing your rankings for ‘dog grooming pricing sydney’ right? This is a simple example but it’s very useful – in using Google Analytics – to see which keywords are generating the most results.

Bonus Tip #6: Get Some Backlinks

backlinks

Backlinks are a big deal for Google – they tell it what websites are linking to you and help Google make a decision as to how important your website is compared to your competitors (if your website has more links pointing back to it then your competitors – you will be shown higher int he search results and will get more clicks).

Of course, you can spend months asking various websites to link to you or you can do a quick back linking campaign that won’t hurt your pocket and will get you on the right path. Since many of your competitors would have done NOTHING when it comes to buying backlinks, doing this simple process will put you miles ahead of a vast majority of your competition. Ready.

Go to fiverr.com and type in ‘backlinks’ into the Search box and search.

You’ll find a bunch of results – make sure to go for safe links that won’t hurt your reputation or are from bad sites.

Here is an example of a top rated seller you can trust:

https://www.fiverr.com/ozzieuk/create-10-pandapenguin-and-hummingbird-safe-backlinks-from-pr9-authority-sites?sec_context=recommendation&context_referrer=search&sec_context_type=search.natural&context_alg=nodes&context=advanced_search&context_type=rating&funnel=2015010306502583915446840&pos=2

Starting at only $5, if you can spend about $40-$50 with this guy you’ll be way ahead of your competition. But make sure you optmise the page that you want the backlinks to come through to using SEO Yoast!

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Hopefully that gives you an idea of where to start with if you’re a beginner to SEO services. If you have any questions send me an email to kosta [at] headstudios.com.au.

How to Stop Wasting Your Time – 5 Tips on Hiring and Keeping a Good PA

Hiring a personal assistant (PA) can save time and cut out all the boring
mundane tasks from your workload. However htere’s a porblem – you are dealing with someone who is not only halfway around the world, but who has a different culture
and doesn’t even speak English as a first language. Add the technology problems that many
people naturally face and you can find yourself working twice as hard, with twice the stress to ensure your PA is actually helping you!

Howevere, there’s a way to save hours of your time every week, without going through the stress. In fact I’ve personally used personal assistants for years, and I’ve outlined 5 tips below to help you avoid the pitfalls and frustrations I’ve encountered. So if you’re ready to have that extra 4-20 hours a week to yourself to focus on the important things that you should be focusing on – then read on!

Note: I will refer to PA as data entry person throughout this blog – they are basically the same thing – since most times your
PA will be doing boring data entry work!

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

The biggest mistake people make when hiring a PA is assigning ALL the work to that PA. For example, let’s say you have 5 major tasks that need completing every week and take 2 hours each.

Task 1 – 2 hours
Task 2 – 2 hours
Task 3 – 2 hours
Task 4 – 2 hours
Task 5 – 2 hours

Every taks will take you 30 minutes to train.

Task 1 – 30 minutes training
Task 2 – 30 minutes training
..
Task 5 – 30 minutes training
Total: 2.5 hours training

Now imagine your PA suddenly gets sick/gets another job/stops doing PA work or any number of things (remember, many PA’s are work from home mothers). Suddnely your 5 tasks are no longer getting done!

What’s worse is that you now have to spend ANOTHER 2.5 hours training another PA to do your tasks! Pretty soon you’re spending more time training someone how to do a task then it would take you to do the tasks yourself!

The solution would be to assign 5 tasks to 5 different PA’s. Then, if one PA is slow with doing a task, suddenly becomes unavailable or any other number of issues that could come up, it doesn’t stop the work from the other 4 tasks, and you can easily assign the task to another PA.

Remember – if you have a PA that does EVERYTHING – they can end up owning you!

Write down your instructions!

This is important if you have to find a new PA or if the PA is making mistakes. The best thing to do is to write down the instructions live as you give them over Skype.

Have them in a step by step format e.g.

1. Instructions for step 1
2. Instructions for step 2
3. Instructions for step 3
3a. Sub step 1 for step 3
3b. Sub step 2 for step 3
4. Instructions for step 4

Also, once you write down the instructions make sure they are located in a respository where the PA can easily access them in the future. DropBox is a good choice.

Don’t sweat the small stuff (esp. if you’re a small fish in a big pond)

Be prepared for the fact that your PA may show up late for a meeting. Especially if you are looking for someone to do only 2 – 4 hours of work per week – you need to be flexible. Don’t be too demanding.

Remember – if you are showing up for a job interview you want to be there on time – but if you get the job that is your income guaranteed. With a PA, you are only giving them enough work for a half a day a week, and even then they are never assured how long that work will go on for.

The most important thing is that the work is not sloppy – other than that, if the PA doesn’t show up for a planned meeting, just be preppared for it and don’t stress too  much.

Accept a learning curve – you may have to break some eggs

Recently I put an ad up for a data entry person – guess how many people applied within 48 hours?

Ninety six applicants!

The truth is – you will never find yourself in a shortage of data entry/PA personell. So why do I mention this? Because when you begin working with data entry people you may find that you don’t gel with some – and others simply give you a headache. This may be your fault or theirs – but at the end of the day don’t stress – if it’s not working out with a data entry person – just get another one!

Don’t get too attached to data entry/PA personell and accept that you may have to go through a couple when you start out – no biggie.

Get The Right Tools

I’ve mentioned some tools in the blog but let me go over these again:

Skype

You can download Skype here (or here for Mac). This should be your go to program. It allows you to not only chat to your PA’s, but also have voice conversations and most importantly – share your screen to give instructions.

DropBox

You can sign up for DropBox here if you haven’t. Not only can you upload and share files using DropBox (just right click on a file in your DropBox folder after you have it installed and click on ‘Share DropBox link’) – but you can also take screenshots and have these screenshots automatically added to your DropBox. This is super useful if a data entry person is confused about something and you want to quickly send a screenshot through Skype.

Basecamp

This one is not too important if you are getting data entry people to do straightforward tasks – however if you need more than one person involved (besides you) in giving feedback to the data entry person on their work Basecamp can do wonders.

You can sign up for a free Basic account [link]here[/here]. Basecamp has a great feature called ‘Group Discussions’. You can write out instructions and email them to both the data entry person and any other stakeholders in the project in one simple click, then whenever anyone replies (be it the data entry person or the stakeholder) it will automtically be added to the discussion and all parties notified. No more sending emails back and forth :).

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Hope that has been a help.. and look at the date – Happpy New Year!