What About Blog?
If you are a small to medium sized business owner, you may have a blog included in your current website. Everyone says blogging is great for my business and will drive traffic to my site! How does this work? What am I supposed to do? Writing a blog can appear to be complicated when you’re not sure exactly your supposed to be doing and what results you are looking to achieve. How much content needs to be there? What should it look like? How often should I blog?
Creating An SEO-Friendly Blog
Wait a minute! What is SEO? Simply put it’s an acronym for search engine optimization and is the process used to get natural or organic traffic from search engines like Google, Bing!, Yahoo and others. Terrific “editorial” content encourages people to click on your stories, in turn proving to the search engines that your content is engaging and authoritative. While some are good at throwing words on a page and ideas flow naturally, others need some guideline to help us wade through what seem to be complicated writing techniques. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s look at some tips to create that blog post.
1. Think about what you’re going to write!
Is there a purpose to your text? Is there a question you want to ask your readers to think about? How do you want your readers to respond? Should there be a specific call to action for what you are going to write about? Best practice is to write these questions down and answer them before sitting down to write, those answers will help you focus your content on your questions.
2. Create a consistent structure for every post.
- Determine how you will format the introduction to your topic. Will it be a headline or possibly a short paragraph that previews the upcoming article, maybe even a slideshow of photos with captions? You are the industry expert, and it’s up to you to understand what type of content your users will engage with best.
- The body or main content of the blog should stay on topic and focused. If you need to change focus start a new paragraph. For instance, I like to try and keep paragraphs to no more than 150-200 words.
- Summarize your important ideas and create a strong call to action asking your reader to perform a particular behavior after reading.
- Are you going to use photos? How many? What will they be?
Now that you’ve determined the structure, the fun starts! Get to writing!
Make sure when using paragraphs that your thoughts make sense and are complete. There’s no need to start a new line for the sake of vanity (making the page look nice), and new paragraphs should have a reason. Sticking to your paragraph’s topic or main idea will keep your writing flowing, and the reader should be able to grasp your main idea in one sentence. Need more sentences? Create additional paragraphs to explain further details in your content.
Headings have multiple uses but are critical in structuring your page. They make content easy to read and help with that dreaded SEO we spoke about earlier. These allow the search engines to grasp your main topics and serve results accordingly. Readers can also use headings and sub-headings to quickly scan your post looking for the sections that are most relevant to them. Make an attempt to sprinkle your keywords into some not all of those headings to boost SEO for those search terms.
5. Use transition words
Use of these types of words will help a reader quickly understand the main idea of your content. Here are some examples:
- You’re writing about the three main reasons someone should choose your product/service; In the first place, secondly, and finally
- Give your reader a clear signal of your expertise or superior product with terms like; definitely, surely, indeed
- Make a clear conclusion using; in summary, therefore, in closing
These transition words are important to giving your content structure and readers a clear, concise direction.
6. Get a proof-reader
Before publishing ask for some feedback from a trusted resource. Do they understand the main idea? Can they help you correct grammar errors, typos, and sentence formatting?
7. Just how long should my article be?
The general recommendation for article length is a minimum of 300 words. While there may always be bits of information that take a little more or a little less, the general rule I like to use is somewhere around 750-1200 words. Not too long and not too short. Longer content allows for the use of multiple keywords, where shorter content allows the post to be more focused on a single search term. My rule of thumb is to mention the keyword or search term 4-6 times per 300 words.
8. Using links
You’re website already sets you apart as an authority in your industry, be sure to link to that historical content within your blog posts. Linking within your site to older relevant content adds authority to your newly published content on the same subject. Be sure to use this to your advantage, as readers may be interested in learning more. In this situation, I like to use product pages in my call to action so the reader can find more information about what I have written.
Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it! If you’re posting multiple times a day, shorter content around that 300-word mark may be more appropriate as not to overwhelm your readers. I like a 2-3 time per week posting schedule that allows for some time to research new ideas and spend an appropriate amount of time writing and researching new content. Try to find a few categories and stick to those when you’re writing; it’s hard to be an expert on everything!
10. Use writing tools to become a better writer
No one can know everything about writing and hit the bullseye every time, that is why it’s important to find tools that work for you regarding ease of use and affordability. The two tools that I am extremely fond of are Yoast for SEO and Grammarly for correcting misspellings, incomplete sentences and proper word usage ( a personal proofreader). Both tools offer a free and paid version and are worth a test drive.
In closing, this formula should provide you a great head start to creating SEO friendly blog posts each and every time. Blogging may seem like a lot of work, although it gets easier and faster every time you create a new blog post. Great content is where it’s at and leads to more readers, social media likes, and shares. No matter what approach you choose be sure you are creating EPIC content for your audience and the SEO friendliness will soon become second nature.
If you need help with your web presence we have the tools and resources to help!
MasterCard’s new 2-Series Card Deadline June 30, 2017
The new 2-Series BIN (bank identification number) is going to be circulating shortly. When the new cards are released the old card beginning with the 5-digit will be joined by cards beginning with the 2-digit. Be sure to start educating anyone handling payments that these cards beginning with “2” are in fact valid MasterCard account numbers.
MasterCard Sees A Rise In Pre-Paid Accounts
MasterCard sees a rise in prepaid cards, which is why they need more capacity for account numbers. They have sent out “mystery shoppers” to see how many merchants will be ready to accept these new cards. The current assumption is that it is way early to draw any conclusions. Visa, Amex, and Discover are facing similar challenges, but they are handling them differently.
The writing is on the wall that it is important to keep payment terminals and software updated as the major brands continue an explosive growth cycle. Many terminals like VeriFone’s VX510 may technically be capable of handling an update, but acquirers are no longer providing software updates, making them “end of life”. As a result, your terminal may not work with these new cards.
Will A Software Update Be Enough?
Your acquirer will bear most of the burden. However, you might need to upgrade your terminal or software or face the possibility of losing sales. Hopefully, your business has updated its equipment to handle EMV transactions already. This particular update does not ensure that the new cards will work with your terminal or point of sale system. The scope of this and other pending changes are challenging to the entire industry as the effects on business owners and their processing equipment remain unknown.
With all the changes taking place in the payment space, terminals typically have a lifespan of five to seven years. This lifecycle is significantly less than previous generations which, in some cases, would last up to ten years. Looking forward, as technology continues to evolve, so will your payment types. No more are the “basic terminals” sufficient, and methods of accepting those new forms of payments will evolve.
Hopefully, all your system needs is a simple software update to accept these new cards. This is just another reason to have a good working relationship with your processor. Processors are great resources to keep you on top of the ever-changing payment industry.
If you would like more information about processing payments or would like a FREE in-depth comparison, please contact us by calling 1.866.207.3298.
SWFL Human Trafficking Presents The Second Annual Taste of Freedom
Date: April 8th, 2017
Location: Scanlon Lexus of Fort Myers
4200 S. Tamiami Trail
Fort Myers, Fl.
Event details can be found at: www.swfl-humantrafficking.org/events
A food lover’s dream with an expanding number of restaurants intent on creating delicious offerings at the second annual Taste of Freedom masquerade ball to benefit the Southwest Florida Human Trafficking coalition. The event is to be held at Scanlon Lexus of Fort Myers, 4200 S. Tamiami Trail in Fort Myers. The masquerade and food event will also offer the opportunity to win a two-year lease on a gorgeous new 2017 Lexus courtesy of Scanlon Lexus of Ft. Myers.
This year’s sponsor location is once again Scanlon Lexus of Fort Myers who will also offer up a 24 month lease of a 2017 Lexus NX200t or IS350 to the purchaser of the lucky raffle ticket. Raffle tickets are available for purchase at the event or online for $50 each or three for $100
Taste of Freedom Unmask and Empower is to create and celebrate awareness, which is instrumental in achieving a slave-free Southwest Florida.Florida is ranked third nationally as a destination for human trafficking, with Southwest Florida ranked first in the state. Heightening awareness of these mind-blowing statistics while bringing the community together for a night filled with food and fun will help make a difference and create broader awareness of the human trafficking issue in Southwest Florida and nationally.
All proceeds raised through the Taste of Freedom event will benefit the Southwest Florida Regional Human Trafficking Coalition.
In our new series from Card Systems, we will be offering up short ideas and marketing tips to help you grow your business and stay ahead of the competition. The first offering in this series will show you where to create some images that can be branded with your personal logo and where to find some royalty free images for use in print and online applications like websites, blogs, or social media headers.
Here are a couple of really cool websites we’ve used to create a few great graphics for business.
Really easy, and only a few minutes to create. One of the websites is absolutely free, the other has a charge.
Hi-Res download, awesome! Give them a try and see what you can create for your business.
www.PlaceIt.net – Cool mockups or www.SmartMockUps.com – Free mockups
Card Systems, spends a small fortune on graphics over the course of a year. In the old days “Free Graphics” were near useless… seems that has all changed and the Free Graphics available now are quite good and the library of resources has grown massively. But, be careful to ensure they are free.
You should search the web and look at the available resources, you could save big bucks without much effort.
Unsplash.com (free images)
pexels.com (free images)
PicMonkey.com (free images)
startupstockphotos.com (free images)
Pixabay.com (free images)
SurfaceStudio.com (free images)
Woohoo… have fun guys!
Additional Marketing Tips
Are you currently collecting customer email addresses? It can be as simple as asking if a customer wants to have a receipt emailed to them when using one of our point of sale systems to manage your business.
Let us know how we can help you and your business whether with our web services offerings or by setting you up with an online gateway to take payments through your website.
Let us know how we can help!
Email or call 866.207.3298 today!
Have you ever considered offering your own in-house financing, like the big box stores? This would help you increase sales and win over new customers. Maybe you’re already using one of the Prime lender groups that seem to be rejecting more applications than approving. Does each loan inquiry made mean a “hard hit” on the consumer’s credit score?
At Card System we can remedy all those components. CSI offers businesses the opportunity to increase those sales and services with an unsecured loan and provide more approved loans. In a perfect world we could all be Prime lending contenders, let’s face it in today’s economy, more and more people are falling under the near-prime and sub-prime categories. People today are facing unforeseeable circumstances like divorce, death, emergency medical care, automobile breakdowns and Air Conditioning/Heating emergencies, just to name a few.
With this program there is No Setup Fee, No Minimums and No Monthly Usage Fees. We use initial soft pulls on credit to determine likelihood of the loan, “NO” hard hit on a credit score until the deal is done. Does it get any better than that?
Here are just a few quick tips to determine if you qualify:
- Been in business for I year
- Numerous High tickets of $1000.00 or more
- $500,000.00 in annual sales
- Proper Licensing
- Good Reviews
- Proper Certification
- No Personal Business Credit Run
You can offer your clients the ability to receive 6 months, 12 months up to 24 months same as Cash. Term loans can start as low as I year and go up to 5 years.
The Benefits to You:
- Integrate financing into your Website, turn browsers into BUYERS
- No Hardware No Downloads, just internet access
- 100% paperless Application
- Easily access Platform from any device
- 100% Payment Card Industry Compliant
- Loan Funding within 48 hours
- Extremely Competitive Discount Rates
- Personalized paperwork makes it look like your financing
One Application, One Process, One Streamlined Platform Integrated to Multiple Lenders, ONE SOLUTION!
Ask yourself, “Is this something my completion is doing?”
Call today for your free analysis or find more information by visiting us here: In-house financing
Is your smartphone becoming an all in one solution?
A colleague and I were having a discussion the other day about our love/hate relationship we have with our SMART Phones. I’m sure we have all experienced those feelings at some point or another in the SMART Phone realm. We also touched on all the things we could think of that it has replaced.
• Watch, Timer, Stopwatch, Alarm Clock
• Home Phone, Skype (Face Time)
• Appointment Books
• Radio, Stereo, Cassettes, DVD’s
• Camera, Video Recorder, Photo Album
• Personal Computer
• Mailing a Letter, Sending a Party Invitation
• Maps, Compass
• Flash Light
• Dictionary, Thesaurus
This probably isn’t even close to all the things it’s replaced, add your ideas……………………..
As for SMART Point of Sale Systems here’s what these solutions CAN Do.
• Save on Costly Software Solutions
• No Need for a Time Clock, Secure Clock In and Out eliminates Payroll Overages, Upload to Payroll
• Track Inventory Instantly
• Identify TOP sales producers and shifts
• Geographically locate your outside sales/service team
• Gather Email and other Information for Marketing to your Customer, Identify Regulars
• Take Online Food Orders, Text when an order is ready for Pick Up
• Provide designated Discounts and LOYALTY
• And so much more……………………..
What this all comes down to is providing Better Service, Moving More Merchandise, Making More Money and Creating a More Positive Customer Experience.
There you have it a SMART MERCHANT!