Hey so today we are talking to Jasmine Adams-Monks as well as chatting about all things small business, we are going to talk about some of the Challenges and achievements Jasmine has faced while building her business which include creating her first online course, The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Hiring A Virtual Assistant.
In this show we talk about
How outsourcing can help small businesses achieve success and can be particularly useful for bloggers
What where and when outsourcing makes sense for small business owners
How to leverage technology in growing your blog business
Hey so today we are talking to Silvia Del Corso from PinkSEO about all things SEO for bloggers!
Ultimate SEO advice for bloggers
09:00 - CODING AND TECH
15:30 - CONTENT / KEYWORDS / USER EXPERIENCE
40:00 - BACKLINKS
45:00 - TAGS & CATAGORIES
49:00 - SEO OPTIMIZATION TIME FRAME TO SEE RESULTS
52:00 - PAGE SPEED AND ITS IMPORTANCE
CONNECT WITH SILVIA WEBSITE
Hey, so today I'm joined by Emma Cossey and we are talking all things the life of a freelancer. All of Emma's links will be available in the show notes. We're going to be chatting about Emma's experience as a blogger and a freelancer as well as learning about the journey, challenges and successes Emma has faced which include moving past imposter syndrome and navigating through the roller coaster that is self employment.
Hello, thanks very much for having on. So I'm Emma. I run the Freelance Lifestyle which a blog and a podcast all about freelancing. I'm also a mum to a little boy and I live with my husband and my son in Bracknell which outside Reading. I've been blogging now for over ten years now and I've done all sorts of different ones from professional blogging to running my own ones. I am a fake blogging geek.
Amazing. You must really love it to want to blog for other people as well as your self.
Yeah, I was really lucky actually early on. One of my first ever freelance gigs was working for Parent Dish way before I had children of my own. So I got to blog for them on all things parenting which was definitely throwing me in at the deep end. Then I also worked for Echo Media who ran Catwalk Queen and Chihuahua and some of the first big fashion blogs in the U.K. and the Catwalk Queen I think was the first one that ever got a seat at fashion, at London Fashion Week and things like that. So it's been really fun. I've done some really fun kind of blogging over the years. Yeah, it's been great.
So what made you want to go into then writing your own? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did you write blogs for other people first and then kind of slowly transition to doing your own or have you always done your own alongside that? How's that look?
Yeah, the latter. I've always kind of done a mix, so I started landing these jobs because I was doing a little bit of blogging on my own. I loved the challenge of blogging for other people and learning about new things as well, but I've always run my own blog along the side. I kind of started off with one of these cheesy, I think it was called Cocktails and Cupcakes initially which I think every single blog at that time was started as and then Random Warblings of a Blogger, I think was another one. Then I started the Freelance Lifestyle about eight years ago I think.
So you've given me a great opportunity to talk about like one of my most favorite sides of blogging which is the business side. Tell me how you, how you viewed the blogs that you started for yourself alongside the blogs that you were doing. So you're happy to be paid as a freelancer for other people to write great articles but how did that go with you in your own mind when it came to doing your blog?
Oh it's hard. I think it's hard because sometimes when you're getting paid for these articles they become your focus. They become your priority and it can leave you with very little creative juice at the end of the day to write your own stuff, but it's also very important to all off your own blog content as well because I think it's kind of ... I'm trying to think what it kinds of compares to. I find the more you write the more you enjoy it.
So you have to still make your own writing a priority. I think it helps at the time I was on Twitter a lot more as well which just gave constant inspiration for new topics.
How did you feel when it came to asking for money or finding a way to create money within the blogs you were doing for yourself or did it go on for quite a while where you were happy to kind of hobby blog, I suppose, or accept that your blogs weren't making the money that you were making from your freelancing for other blogs?
Good question. Okay, I do a lot actually with that. A lot of things I write about is a lot of the emotions that come around money. I think women in particular really struggle to ask for money and I find this so often with freelancers that they either struggle to ask for money or more than the absolute minimum amount. I definitely found that initially where I was quite comfortable charging at the time very small amounts but blogging for other clients. I felt very uncomfortable doing it initially with my own and it kind of ...
I think because initially I started the blog because I wanted it to be a resource for freelancers and new freelancers that wasn't cluttered with business lingo so I felt like it would be disingenuous to charge people for that. Then I realized that I was providing a lot of free content and that I found more in depth content for you, coaching and courses like that and sponsor posts and things like that and that it was, it's okay to ask for people to support you when you're providing them with lots of other free content as well.
Absolutely. I think this about the most come across thing and this isn't just in blogging. This is all over the board with people that go into a new business. Actually I did a Live about this tonight. I was talking about the thing that stops people getting what they want from their blog or from their business and nine times out of ten it's just the fact that they're not actually owning it as a business. They haven't every sat back and gone, "Oh, this is an actual business so how should I put together a business plan and decide what I want to achieve with it?" Like, none of that process happens. They just dive in at the deep end because either maybe they've left a job and they were on maternity leave and they want something to do or they've been through something.
Like you say, you were really passionate about equipping freelancers with the resources that they needed and you were so passionate about it that you felt like it was just, I don't know, like flowing from you anyway and you didn't need paying for it. Whereas your day job you're like, "Yeah, I'll write you an invoice for that that blog." It's getting that balance and I see it all the time. Tell me about how you grew then, once you've kind of, I suppose it's a case of acknowledgement, acceptance, isn't it, and kind of allowing it to change into a fully fledged business. So how did that grow for you? I know that when we were chatting before you said about being an introvert. How is this whole process, 'cause that's quite a big, not obstacle really, but it's a big part of your journey that you've sort of come through with all of this.
Yeah, absolutely. I think, yeah, definitely being an introvert I'm definitely on the ... I think this is where people view it as introversion and extroversion and that I'm quite chatty and quite happy talking to people but I hit a point where I'm like, "Oh, I'm done now. I'm done."
Gotta lay down in a dark room somewhere.
Yeah, exactly, but blogging allows you to reach a wide berth of people without being that energy drain on you sometimes. So actually it's fantastic for introverts in that way. You can get your message out there without being so emotionally and energy drained from it. I've completely forgotten what was the question was. I've gone off on a tangent now.
It's fine, no, well it was a long question because I suppose it's a big part of your journey. It's kind of that part where you've gone, "Right, I'm not charging or I'm not making the money in my blog that's actually getting all of this traction, all these people are loving it but I'm not making any money. How is that? I'm billing X, Y, Z, $100, $200, whatever it is for her blog post. Why aren't I making that in my own business?" And kind of that light bulb going off to then actually not just accepting that and starting to make a move on that but then growing it to a point where it's then your sole, your main business sort of thing. How is that for you?
It was very organic. I can't say I sat down and wrote out a plan. That's not really ... I've very goal set now but at the time I was not really someone that sat down and made a plan out because that seemed too terrifying. It was very organic in terms of I would start to get people who would be introduced to me on my blog and people who were just getting started and I realized that I was sharing all of these tips that we bulked then into a course. And that was the first thing I did. I created a course and I charged ten pounds for that course for 30 days of going freelance.
I think that's where it started and then it kind of snowballed from there that I took inspiration from other things. I ran a Facebook group and I often find myself doing conversations or Lives or anything that would snowball into content or something that I could sell. I think in that way it was less scary because it just bit by bit and inspired by what people were already asking me for which made it a lot less scary because you already know that there's demand for it.
I think one of the things that really changed for me a couple three years ago was I went to see Denise Stafford Thomas. Actually, it was at four years ago, so I was pregnant at the time and I remember being really uncomfortable. She did a show in London and she did a talk on women and men, how they sell. Have you seen it?
Yeah, and that changed how I saw it completely because I realized I needed to detach myself emotionally sometimes from the sale and stop seeing everything as a personal reflection as me and more about how I can help people. And sometimes you can ask for money for that and it's okay to do that. It's okay for people to have to pay you to help them.
The first part of that is acknowledging that that is even a problem.
Absolutely, and you don't realize you're doing it until you realize ... and I think you'll say when you're a creative, assignment guilt wrapped in it.
And you don't want to do any of the business stuff. I think I'm one of the only creatives in the history of the world that loves doing that, that loves the business side which is why I've gone to where I've gone in what I do, because I've come from the business background, but there isn't many because nobody that's creative really wants to be bogged down with that. I find if I'm not shooting enough and doing more business-y stuff I find in myself that I'm not right. I'm not on balance, you know what I mean? The creative is really important but for a lot of people the creative is everything. It's very hard then to do the other stuff.
Because I think then the more creative you are and the more attached you are to the creative element, that builds again on that guilt of feeling guilty about even trying to charge for anything that you're offering. How dare you enjoy what you do and charge for it?
Absolutely. I like, I love the way that you just worded that with the attach to the creative element. I feel like that is very, very true and I feel like that's why a lot of people do and in all different sorts of businesses, as well. I think when you put yourself, like you've done your freelance business and you've been writing blog posts for other people and you've not had that emotional attachment to that like you had as soon as you went into doing sometime which solely under your name but more with your name being out there. You're kind of behind the scenes when you're writing for other people, aren't you?
Yeah, and I think actually if I was launching a blog now I think I would have found it a lot more intimidating because you go on Instagram and there's kind of the perfect bloggers, you know? The ones that are like super tan, drink green smoothies every day.
Or at least take pictures of themselves drinking the green fluid.
We don't know if it's actually drunk every day.
No, no, but I think that was ... Back in the day, that makes me feel very old, but I think then it was never about how you were seen. It was about the content and it was quite freeing that actually. It was like we were just a bunch of nerds blogging. I can see why it can be intimidating now but equally I think there's so many interesting issues around blogging that are still out there and available to be creative and monetize them. Yeah, so.
No, absolutely. I completely agree with you. I feel that one of my biggest bug bearers is that word niche and not the word itself and not the concept behind it but the way that I feel 99.9% of people interpret it or have been educated to think of what that means. I think it scares people. It makes them think they've got to go and find a corner somewhere and that's their corner and they can't move out of it. I'm like, "No, that's not, that's not real." What a niche is, is that individual person that you are serving, that you start off serving.'
So for you, you're serving freelancers that want to charge more or whatever it is that they want to do, move out of their agency job and just go and do it theirself. It's a specific person you're speaking to with a specific problem. There's your niche. It's not whether you tell them about your emotional struggles or whether you tell them about your tech stuff that's gonna help them. That is all relevant to that one person. That really is what to me a niche is and I want to spread the word about that a lot more because I feel like that causes a lot of problems for people.
Actually I had an interesting conversation with a client this morning about niches. I often have people come in to me who want to find their niche, but I actually don't, but yes I did force it initially. I think you need to experiment and I think you will find your niche. I don't think you should decide on your niche before it comes to you naturally. Does that make sense?
I think if they forced themselves into a niche that they don't enjoy, it's like choosing your GCSE subject and you go with what you feel like you should do and actually it's better to follow what you're actually passionate about.
This is it. In 2019 being a blogger is about you. It's about the person, the story. It doesn't even have to be about a specific person. It's more the story that you're trying to tell, the experience you're sharing and the experience that you're creating for someone. That is what is going to show you who is vibing on that. I mean, obviously you're talking about something quite specific like freelancing. You're gonna attract a lot of freelancers in theory or people that want to be freelancers, aren't you? If you're coming from a more generalized point of view and you want to kind of step into that fashion world maybe I still feel like we all have our own unique shining beacon that when we stand up and own our businesses it attacks the people that love us and some of the people that don't love us because they, you get a mixture don't you? Mainly it attracts the people that love us and that our story helps and want to hear it.
I feel like that's an organic thing that happens but I do feel like it at the start, getting clear on what it is about you and what story you're going to share and what message it is. That is quite important, I feel, to sit down and nail down. What I've heard from what you've said is that you have done all this. I don't think you'd realized that you'd done all these things but you had.
You'd had the light bulbs, you'd had the breaking down of what you were going to do and the light bulb around, oh, well this happened. And I figured out that I could bundle that together and that was really helpful to people and they were then going to pay me for it and that was my first thing that I then starting charging for. That is how, if you kind of know what you want to not achieve but who you want to reach out to, I suppose or what difference you want to make. That's how then that organic momentum happens.
Yeah, it does. You're completely spot on.
Tell me about, I know you're really great at apps and tolls and all this tech stuff that I, oh it drives me insane. I like to find an app or a program, like I'm obsessed with this Asana. I like to find things and then stick to 'em like glue. I don't like to evolve. I don't like to evolve my tech. I hate it when there's an update on something. I'm like, "Oh, no. I don't want an update. I've got to learn something." I literally hate it but tell me about the things that you recommend that you love using that have made your life really easy.
I'm like you, I love Asana. I also have a soft spot for Trello.
Yes, I like Trello, obviously visually. I love laying everything out. Asana keeps me so focused and organized in a task related way. I just, them together are just great. I don't want them to change. I don't want them to change.
No, they're brilliant.
I use, I've got to be quite careful now because there's one in the room so I might turn it on, but we've got Alexis in a lot of the rooms in our house, which I'm sure are secretly spying on us, but they're brilliant for to-do lists. Always, if I've got an idea and I'm in the bedroom I'll just add it as a note or a reminder. That's really, really useful for that kind of thing and you can do recordings in there and stuff like that. I use that a lot.
I use Dubsado which is more for the business side. That does invoicing, calls tolls for your clients if you want it. I haven't used that yet. It will do things like contracts, proposals, so if you are blogging and you want to send a proposal to a potential brand and things like that, it can do all of that for you. You use all the templates, workflows that will automate it all for you. So I really like Dubsado. I just started using that in the last-
It's a really good one for keeping track of stuff I think.
And you can see it down as the work flow goes or whatever, you can see where you need to act on stuff and it keeps it in one place.
Yeah. It's brilliant. So I love that. I'm trying to think what else. Anything that allows me to use me gifs more. I am a terrible giffer. I use it all the time.
Yeah, so am I.
I taught my mom and sisters to do it so now we have a WhatsApp that's about 90% gifs. But yeah, those are kind of the key ones I would say I use. Another one is, I'm a terrible app whore in that I will just jump from app to app to app. I'm just constantly trying new apps but those are probably the ones that stick around for me the most.
Tell me about your podcast.
The podcast the Freelancer's Tea Break. It's designed to be three to five minutes, although we occasionally have a longer one so it's perfect for listing to whilst you're waiting for the kettle to boil and it's just quick tips and tricks for freelancers. This month is all about marketing. Last month we talked all about pitching, so a different one each week. January was all about goal setting and things like that. There's a theme each month and then weekly podcasts that are short and sweet so nice and easy to listen to. I'm a big fan of just giving people straight to the point tips and so that's kind of what the podcast is. It's available on pretty much all the platforms.
Amazing. So it's the Freelancer's Tea Break.
Yeah, that's the one, yeah.
Oh so, we should check it all. What prompted you to get in and do a podcast for yourself?
I looked at this the other day. I've been podcasting for eight years on and off. So that means there's been a lot of big gaps. Yeah, I kind of, I remember listing to podcasts at university, and I'm 33 now. So I must have been listening for 12, 13 years at least. I remember listening to some Ricky Gervais one and the radio ones, Scott Mills when he was first on there, And He Said That. So I've always been a very big podcast fan. Yeah, eight years ago I decided to start my own and I was kind of was very flip-floppy about it, but the last six months I've been taking it a lot more seriously. I've already got the whole year planned out content wise.
Yeah, I love, I love podcasts. I think they're the best way of conveying content now. I love blog posts as well but especially as a busy mum, I mean you probably find that sometimes that it's, if you're on the go you sometimes listen to a podcast in the car or while you're cleaning or while you're catching up with work or e-mails or anything like that. It's the fastest way to absorb some information and I love it.
Yes, absolutely. I love that you can just ... It's so easy to just listen to. You can't always look, can you, but podcasts really are a great accessible way, especially when there's something quite quickly. I find that I'm using it more and more to search for something specific.
Yeah, I do the same now. It's almost like I used to use Pinterest as my new Google but now podcasts are my Google really now.
They're much more popular I think. There's such a huge selection of stuff out there now. I think in the last two or three years they have really exploded.
Yeah, they have. I think there's some amazing ones out there. I listen to one called Adults Do Disney, which sounds like porn but it's not. There's a couple that go around to all the Disney parks and they record their journeys. They give their insider tips and information. It's such a relaxing listen. It sounds like it shouldn't be but when you're not going with your own children it's very relaxing.
Yes, yeah I can imagine. And I've noticed a lot more bloggers and floggers converting over to doing a podcast show as well. It seems to be a bit of a Phenomena.
I can never say that either. Phenomena.
I know, I'm terrible. Phenomena that is taking over. Tell me about the more unusual ways that you can generate an income from your blog. Obviously you can have a podcast show that you can what, place ads in eventually? I think either doing that or it's more of a getting you out there tool. It's more of a marketing tool than a sales tool, a podcast. What other sort of income streams have you figured out in your ten years of blogging?
Oh, some of the ways I do it. So some of the more quirky ways are things like offering advertising space in your news letters. Newsletters now, in the last year, I've noticed there's a real shift and they're kind of going back to how traditional newsletters used to be of a real collection of lots of different bits and information. There's some really good ones out there so I kind of aimed to have mine as an update rather than just like an e-mail. That allows me to then have space for advertising, so that's one way to do it.
I offer courses and I have a membership and I re-trained as a coach three years ago so I now have coaching, but it all ties in around the subject of what I've got up on my blog. It all works really nicely around that. I've been asked to do workshops based on the content and I'm going to be doing a talks reports with This Week about it. That's of course with the university. What else? There's loads of different ways, but like you say, it's kind of, the blog and podcast I feel are like marketing your skills and your knowledge and then everything else kind of comes off that. I've got a Facebook group as well and off the back of that, because it's been quite a successful Facebook group relatively, varying like what it's about. I'm now being asked to do tutorials or training on Facebook groups for other people as well or manage their Facebook groups for them.
There are so many different ways around your blog to do it. I think you don't have to do it the way everyone else is doing it as well. You can think of new ways that you could earn a little bit of extra money without following the crowd. Patrons still are a growing area for bloggers and I think that's something a lot of people could into a lot more.
Okay, that's gonna give people some ideas. I feel like what happens is people get a bit stagnant on the thought that they've got to a certain amount of viewers to be able to get some ads on their blog or they've got to rely on affiliate links and figure out a way to drive just massive amounts of traffic, but actually you have got some amazing ... I've said this on the podcast several times before. You have got some amazing skills as a blogger. As an entrepreneur we all have to do it all at the start. Every job we have to figure out how to do them all so you develop some amazing, amazing skills that you can then transform in different ways.
Yeah, and use them to staircase your blog income to where you want to ultimately go. So the world's your oyster. It's limitless, that's what I always say.
Yeah, I and I think actually one thing that a lot of people gets to you is share onto LinkedIn and I've found now sharing my blog posts to LinkedIn leads to more work than any other network I've tried. That's people coming to you and pitching for you how to, what that would be. Those e-mails which wants to write for you to bring content to you and things like that. It's actual potential things that you can get from that.
I feel like everyone wants to do drive themselves insane in social platforms but they don't want to ... I feel some of us have platforms that we love for ourselves and then the thought of selling on them it's like a whole other block, isn't it? So why not just remove that by saying, "Okay, that's my platform. That's where I go to just get away and watch videos of slime and [crosstalk 00:27:04] shaved or whatever. That's where I go for that. This is where I'm going to concentrate on really getting my blog profile up and go where over somewhere that is different and you're just learning it to help your blog. I feel like you don't have to be everywhere and everything for everyone. I feel like just choose somewhere and be consistent and stick to it and show up there for your blog. That's pretty much all there is to it. You don't need to drive yourself insane with it.
No, no. I agree completely.
It's so tempting though isn't it, because I think there's a lot of pressure. This goes back to what you were saying about bloggers now and the way they're kind of interpreted. It's interesting to me because of, I supposed I was going my nan, it is my nan. I spoke to her the other day about it. I can't remember what I was saying. It was something about a podcast I was recording and she said something about bloggers. I could just tell that her interpretation of the blogger isn't really what a blogger is. It's kind of a newspaper's definition of a blogger. That was very interesting to me and I thought I really need to do a bit of research on what lots of different people's interpretation of that word and that job is 'cause it's quite interesting, isn't it?
Yeah, I notice a lot from you and our common content pages are often blogged.
Yeah, isn't Face Book the one that gave them that tie? One of the platforms gave them that tie to them, or YouTube. Somewhere gave them a title and they've just stuck with it.
I think it's also, I think, there's a really interesting difference and this is a generalization. I know it's not everybody but I think there's a big difference between the over 30 bloggers and the under 30 bloggers.
I mean it could be a kind of content energies thing.
Particular audiences they're talking to I feel.
Yeah, and obviously there's whole sectors in there. The parent bloggers and the career bloggers, the ones that like to keep up on their industry and things like that. I think there's less lifestyle bloggers in the over 30's unless they're in that kind of section like a parent blogger or things like that.
Less kind of Instagram bloggers you mean?
Yeah, yeah, exactly, but then I guess you've got a lot of the Instagram influences who are ... There's that whole group of mum influences on Instagram who are very popular and they originated from having their blog but a lot of them have moved away from their blogging and continue to Instagram. I think that's another thing. I think Instagram has replaced blogging for some people.
That's a more sensible choice.
No us there, is there?
It's not just that it's that you're relying on one place which is proved in the last week that you know, completely unreliable. I'm not saying that there are websites there that it keeps your sites always going to be reliable either but if you have everything in a place that belongs to you and you hold the keys to everything, you can't ... You know, if you ... I did a podcast about this the other day, actually, about becoming an Instagram and blogger because I think it's a great idea and it's an amazing marketing tool for your blog and it can be the forefront of your blog, like your showroom for your blog, in my opinion.
But your blog always needs to be backed up as being a blog because that is yours and no account bans or hacking or whatever can take that away from you, especially when you're relying on it as your business. So yeah, utilize Instagram as a sales tool but your blog always needs to have a blog web presence. That's in my opinion. Any business does. You can't just have a business that is Instagram stories. You can't just have a business that is Facebook stories because if that goes down all your eggs are in that basket and that's all of your income gone.
Yeah and I think actually there's something really nice about having your own private blog where you're not constantly seeing the next person on the feed, whatever they've posting and comparing. That's your personal space and I think it makes you more true to yourself perhaps.
Yeah, absolutely. Well and it's again, it's just more instead of treating your blog or your influence in business as a business, a proper fully fledged, money making, problem solving business. That's really what undercuts it there, isn't it?
I think this has been an amazing show. I've loved speaking to you. Is there anything else that you'd like to share, Emma?
No, I've really enjoyed it. I love talking about blogging and freelancing, how it's all changed. It's been really interesting. Thank you very much.
Thank you again. Thanks so much for joining us, Emma. You can connect with Emma over at FreelanceLifestyle.co.uk.
CONNECT WITH EMMA WEBSITE
Hey so today we are talking to JoDee Martin who has years of experience in building blog businesses!
We are going to talk about some of the Challenges and achievements JoDee has faced while building her business which include Balancing time- house/kids/work and Living each day with Joy.
Connect with JoDee WEBSITE
Hey, so today we're talking to Beth Riegger, we're going to talk about some of the challenges and achievements that Beth has faced while building her business, which include being alone, fit and isolated, which is a challenge a lot of entrepreneurs face on a daily basis.
Tell us a bit about you Beth.
Well I am from the Midwest in the United States. I have to say United States because you're in the United States. Born and raised in the Midwest, so I'm a northern girl. I currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I'm a proud descendant of Norwegians, so I always like to put that in there. I've been in sales and marketing for about 30 plus years, and I've been building websites and doing digital marketing for the last 12.
Amazing. Well obviously working with lots and lots of bloggers we're always talking about search engines. We're always talking about websites, the best place to host and stuff, so we've got loads of questions to go through today.
I think the best one to start with is what is SEO?
That's a loaded question. Stands for search engine optimization and it's kind of like anything, if you talk to 15 different accountants they're going to have 15 different opinions on how you should do things. It's really, truly an art and just because one person does it one way doesn't mean that they're wrong or they're doing it badly, sometimes they are, but most of the time you're talking to different people and they've got different techniques and different ways to make you show up on the internet.
Tell me why should business owners, why should bloggers really care about that?
Well the internet obviously has changed over the few years it's been around, social media has become more and more part of our daily lives. I don't know, do you remember that movie with Kevin Costner called "The Field of Dreams"?
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Where they built the stadium, they built the baseball diamond and it was the if you build it they will come, if you build it they will come, and the people came, and they were there and they watched them play baseball, and I'm getting Goosebumps even talking about the movie and I haven't even seen it in the theatres. But the days of the field of dreams for websites and blogs are over. If you don't tell people where you are they will never find you, so you can't just stick your post in the ground and say, "I'm here." You actually have to do a lot of work to show up and make sure that the right people find you.
What would you recommend working on?
Well the first thing that I would do is I would submit your website to the search engines to Bing, even Bing, they're still around, and Yahoo, they're still around too.
Is Ask Jeeves still around or not? I haven't used that for years. Is that still there?
I haven't really looked, but if you Google it there's all sorts of guides around there on how to submit your website to the search engines. You should definitely have a Google Analytics account, which is free, and you should definitely have the Google Console. Then that's where you can submit your site map to Google and various other search engines. But when I'm working with people and I'm giving them advice on how to do things I want to take a step back and just say, "Do what you can." Don't try and do all of the things and get stressed out and say, "Well Beth told me I had to list my website on Bing and I don't even know what Bing is anymore." Just do what you can. You started your blog, you started your business to do what you love and not necessarily all of these technical details. I just want to encourage people to try and do these things and reach out to the experts, and reach out to your tribe and ask them for help when you need it. I guess if you can't figure it out you can always contact a professional like me who can do it for you, but it's really easy to get overwhelmed with all of this stuff, so just take it easy and take a breath.
What parts would you say are most crucial for outsourcing? Someone's like, "Oh my goodness, I know I can do this. I can do this bit, but I'm just so overwhelmed here." What parts are the most commonly outsourced or the bits that you would say to people, "Just outsource it as soon as you can, just outsource it because it's going to fill you up."
That comment, the fill you up part, that's the biggest thing about being an entrepreneur is you want to do the things that fill your cup and the things that drag you down or the things that empty your cup are the things that you want to outsource quickly. But sometimes we have more time than money, so we have to do all the things. But when that balance starts to tip where you do have a little bit more money, look at what you've got on your plate and how you feel your business should be run, and the things that you feel need to be done in your business and the ones that don't give you joy, those are the things that you should outsource first.
Today is quite a good day to do this interview because Moz has just launched this new domain authority way that they're ranking the domain authorities of websites and I have been a ripple of fear and panic spread through world and to me, my answer, and I did put it out on my social media channels earlier, and I am going to record a whole podcast on this shortly, is cool your boots guys. Your domain authority does not define you. I'm sure Beth's go a bit more of a technical look on it than I have. But produce killer, relevant content, and your DA, and all of those statistics, all of that stuff, that will take care of itself. But what advice have you got around this Beth, what can you ... A few people in my communities were saying they've had a big drop in their domain authority, it's gone from I think Mikey said has gone from 18 to 9. Some of them are just rapidly increased, they've gone from 20 to in the 40s. What is domain authority? Why should bloggers care about it or not care about it as such? Help demystify this for them.
I think the biggest thing is the internet is always going to change, it's always going to change. Just when you thought you had that algorithm figured out they're going to change it. Just when you've finally got the right audience on Facebook, Facebook changes their game. It's keeping up on these things and making sure that you're aware of them is good. But if your blog only has 500 hits a month, okay that's great, you probably don't need to be worrying about domain authority quite yet. Domain authority is kind of the long range game plan for search engine optimization, making sure that you've got quality links and you know where you are and where you're moving, but it's kind of like playing the stock market. They say in your retirement funds that you should be going for the long game so don't look at those 10% hits as closely as the overall you started with 10,000 and now you have 100,000. Those are the more important things.
There's always going to be these little blips that happen and you need to pay attention to them, and you need to be educated at least enough to know if the person you're working with is working on the right strategy. I came across a client just last week that is working with an SEO professional who is using tactics that were around in the early 90s. We're almost to 2020, so things have changed quite a bit and they're still doing those things. Unfortunately, although those things are not wrong, they're not current and they're not going to help move the needle for that client. It's making sure that you're staying on top of it, you're not sweating the small stuff, that if you can make a change you can, if you can follow these outlines ... They're never going to give us all of the answers, they're going to hide some stuff on us. You have to do what you can with what you got.
Absolutely. I completely agree, you're never going to have it all. I think that's why it's so important to keep up a level of consistency around everything you do so that you're not defined by these changes.
You're not working so hard to one specific thing, you're just being consistent in all areas and covering all your bases as best you can.
And not put all of your eggs in one basket.
A holistic marketing plan, like I said, you don't need to do all of the things, you don't need to be on every social media platform, but to not put all of your efforts into SEO and put all of your efforts into just Facebook or just Instagram. It's having your stuff everywhere and being consistent is the most important thing.
Well let's take that back to basics. Say you opened a shop in the high street, you opened Green Grocers. People don't do Green Grocers anymore, but we're opening one, and you have to advertise it. Yes, you've got that foot traffic walking by, so you've got people walking by and they're going to tell other people you're there, but you would also have several other avenues of letting people know that you are physically there. If there was no internet you'd be advertising in the newspaper, you'd be leaflet dropping nearby, housing estate, you'd probably partner with a bakery or partner with a [inaudible 00:11:18]. There's loads of ways that you can bring people into your business without relying solely on one method. We've never done that in business, ever, so why just because we've got the internet and it feels like I'm just going to chuck all my eggs into the Instagram basket, why, why would we?
That's really funny because I feel like a lot of people do that with their advertising and their marketing now. They've got this gigantic following on Instagram. I'm like have you ever tried to find a phone number for Instagram or Facebook? There isn't one, so if they shut you down, guess what? You're done, devastating. You've got this marketing engine that's just chugging along and it's working great, and you do one little thing or one person reports you as being bad and there's no talking about it, you're just done.
Absolutely. I know a lot of, because I shoot with a lot of influences on Instagram, I know they have backup accounts, but the amount of times that I've worked with them and then the next time I go to work with them they're like, "Oh my goodness, my account got shut down, then my backup one hasn't got the right people and it was nowhere near the same."
It just literally throws them into a whole other place, which is why I always say, and you will love me for saying this, please always put your blog on a website somewhere and have Instagram as a way to generate people in but don't solely blog on Instagram. It's a a great place to ... I wrote a ripe gem today, I feel like trademarking it, it was so good, it was like let people into your head with your written content, your blog content, let them into your head, answer your questions, and let them into your heart on the social media, on your stories and stuff. Share you stories-
Oh I love that.
I love it. I know, I love it, I wrote it down. I was like, "That is really great." I was really pleased with it, but I think that's so right.
I named my business keys to success. My tagline for several years has been "Providing you with the keys to your online success". I say you need to own your own stuff. If you are only marketing on Instagram you don't own Instagram, you don't own that. To push them to your blog, and to push them to an email list, you've got more ownership if you do that.
It's just that backup plan. I don't know. I think for longevity and sustainability you've got to be thinking that long-term. I feel like that's quite tricky for some people, they jump into a blog, "Oh you know someone said to me I'm really great at styling outfits so I've started to just style my look every single day on Instagram." Before you know it, the snowball effect has happened. They've got the swipe up feature come in, they're selling through affiliate links left, right, and centre, they're getting modelling stuff, and all this stuff, and they haven't gone through the process of creating the foundations to that business. Then it comes to a point where they're like, "Oh I'm really working hard. I'm having to work a lot of hours. I want to scale this business now or I want to earn the same money but do less work," but they can't because there's no flexibility in the business that's been created around them. Does that make sense?
Right, yeah. It does, for sure.
Let's talk a little bit about photography, obviously my favourite topic on the earth. I am asked all the time around how many images should be used on a blog post. It's another one of my great answers that doesn't really answer anything technical, it just says, "Hey, just use what tells the story, use common sense." Tell the story in images the same as you are in words. But is there a technical answer to that? What would be your opinion on it?
There is no opinion on it. Like you said, it's just as many images as it takes to tell the story, but even more, the biggest mistake I see people making is just Googling for an image and taking that image off of the internet.
You're like no, don't do it.
Don't do it people, please don't do it. Some of those thing are okay to do, but for the love of all that is holy, we are all trying to make a living, just buy a Ding Dong picture for a $1 or use your own pictures, or use-
You could be in so much trouble though aren't you? If you get found out to be doing that, there's websites, where obviously as a photographer I know, there's websites set up now that basically people an eye on people's work. Photographers upload stuff there and the website just tells if anybody's using it. It's not like you can really get away with that now and I think technology's only going to progress much, much quicker. I reckon by the end of next year there will be nobody able to do this because they're so hot on the licensing.
It's true. There's so many fantastic places where you can find free stuff. There's tons of great apps that you can use to make your own stuff. There's, well of course, Adobe's Lightroom, but there's Photofy, PhotoGrid, Overture, Ripple, Boomerang, Legend. There's 1,000s of apps that you can use, just create your own stuff.
There really is. There's an abundance of ways now to create your own stuff, and especially if you are an Instagram blogger primarily and you're using that platform a lot to share stories and share snapshots behind the scenes, you can take the images and repurpose them, spend a bit more time on them, edit them, put them into a quote cart, slot them into the back of a boat where they don't need to be amazing, amazing images, but they're relevant to you and your brand.
I think that we lose that, we lose making it really relevant to us personally and to our brand because we do have this influx of really good stock photography, really good quality stock photography and it's very tempting just to go hey I'm going to use that, I'm going to use that, oh I'm going to grab that because that's going to work really well. And yes, they do work well and sometimes you do need a picture of Santorini, you haven't been but you need a picture of it for whatever reference reason. It's great to grab it as a stock image. But I do believe in really making images personal to you because that's what makes people look at them and engage with you.
Yeah, yep. I agree.
Also, I think a really great way for anybody that's really tempted to go on Google and go, "Oh, I need to Google this, I'm just going to put that image on." You can go to Pinterest, create a Pinterest board, use a ton more images and then embed it in your blog post. That's much better. You're not taking anybody's images, you're just showcasing a Pinterest board, everybody gets the links a much better option.
Oh my gosh, genius. That is such an amazing way to do that without breaking any laws, that's amazing. I love it.
Yes, well I think we just have to be a bit creative about the way we use images. The other thing that I get come up a lot is obviously website speed and other things. summit that everybody's talking, and talking, and talking about, optimizing your images for websites. Is there a rule of thumb around this. Obviously as a photographer there's a way that I do it when I give files so that they're not massive because they are-
... massive when they're high res, aren't they?
... web optimization where Is there a way that guys can do that for themselves?
Well I'm a Photoshop user and let's just take an image that we got off of Unsplash, for example. The image that you get from Unsplash is going to be 5,000 pixels by 10,000 pixels. I'm just using random numbers. Then it's going to be 10 megabits. When you put it on your blog and you just want a little tiny two by two picture, that thing is gigantic and it's going to slow your website down to a snail's pace. I always put it into Photoshop.
There’re several other applications that you can use, some online, some offline, but I put it into there and I crop it to its size, but then in Photoshop there's a file save, or export save for web legacy. I tell people that's like changing it from you weighing 300 pounds, the 10 megabytes, down to 10 pounds, so it will be in kilobytes. As long as you're in KBs, kilobytes, you're good, you're golden. But also, you don't need something that's 5,000 pixels wide, so you change it. If I wanted it to go across the whole top of the page I'd make it 1,200 pixels wide by 400 or 500 tall. You're going to have to play around with it and make sure that it skews correctly, and it looks nice, and the parts that you want to see are going to be in there, but I definitely encourage people for the love of all that is holy please make that thing weigh less.
Absolutely. I don't think we realize, and especially if you are updating photos regularly. If you're writing a blog post and you've got a file of go-to images, the thinking about optimizing them can just be at the back of your mind, so you can quite easily just upload stuff that you know is there, not really thought about the size of it. Then before you know it you've got a really hefty, hefty site. This actually happened to me on mine with my podcast covers. I've got several different sizes of it because when you upload it to iTunes you have to have I think it's 800 by 800, or it might even be bigger than that. It's quite big, but you have to upload. I realized that some of them had got the big ones, it's like, "Oh, now I need to go back and change it," but it's so easy to do, isn't it?
It really is. There's another program, I'm Googling it right now because I'm like, "I got to remember the name of that program." You can throw things into Canva and resize,
... compresses in there doesn't it?
It does and then there's also Pixlr, P-I-X-L-R .com. It's basically Photoshop for free-
... online. It's Pixlr, P-I-X-L-R .com.
Oh that's awesome, we'll have to check it out because I didn't know that existed. I know you can resize in Lightroom and I like the fact that you can batch export then when you resize in there. I just don't use it very often anymore, unless I've got a big catalogue, I've done a big shoot and I've got a couple of 1,000 images or whatever, I'll put more into Lightroom first and cull them from there. I like to just ... I don't know, Photoshop is my go-to really for resizing.
Yeah, Photoshop's my go-to as well. My husband just laughs at me because I've just recently learned Photoshop, I'm not a photographer, I'm not a graphic designer, so all this stuff is new to me. He's been dealing with it for 30 years with his job in printing and I'm like, "How do you do this?" He's like, "Why are you asking me this? Go find it out for yourself, go take a class."
Yes, this is it. It's just not in a software isn't it, or a program, but it can be tricky because they all have their different quirks and different ways of doing stuff, different shortcuts.
I have to remind myself that I'm not a graphic designer, so if people are pushing me and asking me for things that are not necessarily web related I need to check myself and make sure that I'm not doing those things, saying, "Well I can figure that out," because I do have that tendency to just say, "Well I love learning and I love all things technology and application, so I'll just figure that out." No, that's my job. I need to stay in my box. It's okay to learn new things, but if they're asking me to be their graphic designer that's not what I do.
You know you can do it quickly as well, like if they need something it's tempting just to go, "Okay, I can just quickly do that," because I know I can just do it rather than waiting for them to commission the graphic designer and the go back and forth. I know it can make the process seem quicker, but I can completely appreciate what you're saying. When you're creative in your online you do have to learn a lot of ... and even as a blogger you have to learn a hell of a lot of different skills to get your blog off the ground. I wrote about this a while ago and the list was just about as long as my leg the amount of things we have to learn. It is tempting just to jump in and go, "Well I can kind of do it better, I could quickly do that for you."
Well there's also if you're a blogger and you're on WordPress there's a plug-in called Smush, WP for WordPress Smush, S-M-U-S-H. It's not really the best way to upload and then resize your images but if you happen to have a lot of images and you don't want to go back and resize them all. It is a good plug-in, there's a free version and of course a premium version, a paid version, and both of them work fantastically.
Tell me about your journey Beth because you've been in business for a really long time. Like I say, you've come from a couple of different areas, how has that looked for you? I know you've had to overcome this isolation, which we all feel because it is very lonely, even with social media, all these platforms, all these people connecting with you, well it's people talking and doing things. It's still a very lonely experience being an entrepreneur. Tell me how you've coped with that and how you manage it.
There's lots of layers to that onion. The biggest thing that I can say is I would encourage people to get out of the house at least once a week, whether it's for business reasons or personal reasons, such as having coffee with your friends or having a drink with friends, on a date with your husband, or wife, or significant other, or going to a regular networking event. That has really helped me overcome the isolation that I have felt and also to find friends that are on the same journey as you and in the same world as you. Okay, Jade and I don't even live on the same continent, but you know what, we can have a virtual cup of coffee, we can hop on a Zoom and talk about what's happening in our worlds, maybe with some of the challenges that we have, and just have some good conversations. We don't have to leave, but it's really good to get out of the house every once and a while.
Yes, it is, it really is. You don't realize it is until you do it. Some days for me it's walking the dogs, walking the dogs just blows away the cobwebs of being here. I'm so used to being on the ground during shoots that it's gone very seasonal for me. I plan it like that purposefully, but I do a lot of my shoot stuff now late spring, summer, early autumn, and then I don't really shoot so much late autumn or winter, or not for clients anyway. It's like a long time to be on my one compared to being on shoots or having people around me all the time. I understand what you mean, it really makes a difference just stepping out the door and just stepping out of your bubble that you create for yourself.
The other thing that I tried was co-working office spaces have become all the rage in the United States. You pay $100 a month or some nominal fee and you can go to this place 2 or 3 times a week. The more often you go the more you pay, but there's people around you. For me, I'm incredibly outgoing, clearly, we hardly know each other and we have lots of stuff to talk about. Everybody there was there to work and not necessarily socialize. It's not that I just wanted to sit there and talk somebody's ear off for an hour and a half, but I wanted to get a funny text and laugh about it and somebody next to me say, "Oh, what are you laughing at," and that didn't really happen.
I actually happened upon through networking a good friend, who's now a good friend, his name is Jason. He and I actually rented an office space together in an official office building. We go to work every day. We don't necessarily have to go to work but I enjoy having somebody sitting next to me, sitting across the desk in front of me. It's really helped a lot in the being by myself kind of thing. It's really great to have somebody who is in the same realm as you to say how do you think this looks on this website. Oh, yeah, I would maybe move that here or move that there, or make this bigger, emphasise this text a little bit more. That's just happened over the last couple of months and I'm really, really enjoying it.
That's lovely that you can balance that feedback or feature. I have a feeling your school report card looked like mine and it was like, "Jade chats to everybody. Jade's too chatty and we have to keep moving her to the single desk and she's distracting others." I'm like, "Hey, I'm a podcast host now, who's the joke on really?"
Is there anything else you want to share Beth? I feel like we've had a really good show.
We have. This has been just so great to talk to you. I hope I've left everybody a little bit better than when we started, and they got some knowledge. It's been a lot of fun.
Amazing. Thank you so much for joining us Beth.
Thanks for having me Jade.
You can connect with Beth over at k2smarketing.com
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