City Ranked Media will host a free WordPress training event on December 16, 2016 starting at 1:00 pm. This training will focus on basics of using WordPress, the WordPress dashboard, publishing new content to the web, as well as simple SEO tactics you can use to increase the visibility of your websites pages and posts. The class will be taught by Duane Baumgartner, Founder of City Ranked Media.
Refreshments will be provided.
December 16, 2016 starting at 1:00 pm
City Ranked Media, Inc
500 West 8th Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
What we will cover in the WordPress Training
Free WordPress class to cover the following topics:
Working in the WordPress Dashboard
Understanding WordPress and how it works
Adding new Pages and Posts
Working with the Media Uploader and Media Library
Basic SEO tips and techniques for blog posts and pages
Understanding WordPress menus
Basic requirements for attending this class
A functional already published WordPress website
Working admin level credentials to log into your website
Laptop with wifi capability
Interested in attending this class?
Please fill out the form below and we’ll confirm your spot. Space is limited to the first 10 people. Preference will be given to customers of City Ranked Media.
Promoting and Updating Your Small Business Website
I get it as a small business owner, you’re busy. There’s a million things to worry about, and if you’re like me, most of the things that suck up your time have nothing to do with why you started your business in the first place. Small business owners are pulled in several directions everyday, and rarely do they get what they planned done during the normal work day. I, myself am writing this on a Friday evening between dinner and kids showers because I myself didn’t get this done during my normal workday.
Remember you started your business because you are passionate – and – YOU ARE DIFFERENT
I’ve been helping small business owners advertise themselves for almost 15 years, and with only a few exceptions of the thousands of business owners I’ve met, all of them have something that makes them different from who they perceive as their competitors. Typically when I would ask these business owners what made them different, I’d get the same canned answers: we provide the best service, we provide quality work, we provide the best guarantee…and on and on from there. It wasn’t until we were able to really dig in deep with these clients did they actually really think about what made them different, and sometimes it takes someone from the outside to point it out.
I’ll give you an example. I met with a plumbing contractor that had been in business for many, many years. It’s probably a third generation business, one of the oldest plumbing companies in their market. I asked the owner what made their business different from other plumbing companies their size in the area, and got the same old canned answers, the same I’ve heard many times before: they’re the best at what they do, they guarantee their work, they’ve been in business for years, etc.
It was only after much questioning about their services and what they offer was I really able to help the business owner understand what made them different, why someone should choose them over their competition, and for this business owner, the realization of what they offer compared to almost any other plumbing company has most certainly set them apart when it comes to their digital marketing, and here’s what really makes them different:
They only employ licensed Journeyman Plumbers
All of their plumbers are Union
They provide flat rate pricing on all service plumbing work
They’re heavily involved in the community, and give back to it
To this business owner these simple facts seemed just normal day-to-day business, but when it comes to marketing your business, facts like this are gold mines. Prior to City Ranked Media taking over this clients website, they had been marketing themselves as just the plumbing company that had been around for a long time. They were in essence just another plumbing company, unless for some reason you as a consumer came to their website and really cared that they had been in business long before your parents were born.
Marketing the difference in your business
Every business owner understands what makes their business different, I think that sometimes they just need to be reminded. For first generation businesses I think this is a much easier exercise because you as the business owner know what made you decide you could do better job. For second, third and more generation owners, this sometimes might be a bit tougher. In either case understanding and marketing what you do best can, and will make all the difference in the world.
For businesses – differentiation is everything
With the above business, understanding the above about their business changed everything. Marketing and SEO’ing their website for terms surrounding Journeymen Plumbers, the Union, and other related terms opened them up to General Contractors outside the state looking for these exact qualifications. It also allowed them to command a premium for their services understanding that every plumber on staff was a trained professional. Rankings, phone calls, and as a result, business has increased, big.
So do you know and really understand what makes your business different, and better?
Understanding your passion, and turning it into new business
Once you understand what makes your business different, it’s time to turn that knowledge into new business. You’re an expert in your business, and how your business is done. You’ve refined your trade or skill, many times over years, so you have knowledge on what people want, the questions they have, and most importantly the answers to those questions.
People want to know your knowledge. You get asked the same questions by your customers, so take this opportunity to answer those questions in a informative and helpful way through your website. Don’t try and sell your business at this stage, think about yourself being a resource, and answer these questions. Use phrases that people will search, for example if you’re a Plumber, and you do home plumbing repipes, answer some of your most asked questions regarding this service, i.e.: What’s the difference between PEX piping and Copper piping, and which is best? Make these articles super informative, and make them helpful for the average Joe homeowner.
Don’t sell yourself at this point. Remember you’re targeting people searching for information, not someone searching for a business to help them with their problem. You’re targeting people with questions on the best or correct way to solve their problem(s). Once the visitor understands that, they will then start searching for someone to fill that need. Getting them to your website is 50% of the battle, showing them you’re the best expert for their problem is a short gap to jump from there.
If you can bridge this gap from turning people searching for answers, into people exposed to how your business can help them, you will win some of them over. Now I know what some of you are saying, because I’ve had many of our clients tell me the same thing: why would I tell someone how to do something themselves, or why would I share my knowledge without these people paying for it? The answer is simple, with the advancements in information sharing via the internet, social media, etc., the answers to their questions are already out there, so wouldn’t you want these people to come to your website for these answers? Sure, will some people come to your website for answers and leave? Yes, but some will also engage you for your professional advice and services, these are the people that you’re seeking.
Share your information on social media
If you can do the above, and do it often, you will be successful. It won’t happen overnight, it won’t happen in a month, but if you can religiously add new content, at least twice a month, it’s almost guaranteed (as of the writing of this article) that you’ll be in a much better position than 80% of your competitors.
The exercise I’ve described above is nothing more than blogging. People are searching for the answers you have, it’s up to you to turn those people into customers.
Here at City Ranked Media we primarily work in WordPress and all of our new client websites are built using WordPress, so you might say we’re big fans of the website platform. However in the years we’ve been using WordPress, we’ve seen some pretty big messes with some websites that people have brought us to fix. Pretty big messes that took a lot of time and money to fix, so that being said we thought that we’d write an article on questions to ask, and things to know before deciding to hire someone to build you a website in WordPress. Continue reading
WordPress comes equipped with a built in system for readers to interact with your blog / website by allowing them to “Rate” your blog, or comments on your blog with a 5 star rating system. With this Ratings enabled users can hover over the stars and choose a rating for your content. All ratings are then added up to give a general score for that content.
Accessing the Ratings function in WordPress
One you access the Ratings screen, you will see there are two options to choose from: All Ratings and Reports. In the above example I have chosen All Ratings, which takes you to setup of your WordPress Ratings options. In the top red box area, you are able to control where people are allowed to rate content on your site, as well as where the rating option will appear – above or below the post or comment. For pages you can select above or below the post, with an option to enable or disable ratings.
Posts and Comments Ratings Settings
Under the comments link, as shown above in the red box, there are advanced options to control how the ratings system is shown on comments.
In the above screen, Advanced Setting has been selected which expands the below blue area with options to customize your comments rating system.
Rating type allows you to choose from the “5 Star” or “Nero” rating system. 5 Star allows users to rate comments based upon a scaled system of 1-5 Stars, with one being Poor, to 5 being Excellent. The Nero rating system allows users to simply give comments a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” rating. In the screen to the right, under Preview, you can see what your ratings will look like on your blogs comments.
Under rating type, you will find Rating Style. This area will allow you to further customize by selecting sizes for your ratings. Default is 16px, with options of 20 and 24px. Under rating style you will find Text Layout and Font, this area allows you to customize where withing the comment the rating will appear, as well as text font, text color, size and others.
Under the “Preview” area in the right column, you will find Customize Labels. This area will allow you to customize the text within each field depending on what type of rating system you are using. Customizing these labels enables users to search through top, recently or otherwise rated material on your blog. Under widgets, you can add the Top Rated widget to your sidebar.
Once you have a rating enabled and start to collect some ratings from your readers, you can view your rating reports.
With these reports you can view reports for ratings on your posts, pages, and comments (if you have them enabled). You can also filter ratings by date to see what content is popular in any given time period.
2 reasons to add ratings to your blog and comments
Enabling ratings and reviews on your blog and comments adds an extra layer of activity to your site. Engaging your visitors by allowing them to get involved in the conversation, or even something as simple as a “thumbs up” if they agree with a comment allows them to interact with your site making for a richer end user experience, and hopefully keeping them on your site longer, adding a bookmark or sharing an article.
Using ratings also allows you to search popular content through the reports function by time period. Particular posts or comments that generate “buzz” may give you ideas on future content for your site.