Friday, 28 June 2013

Proskips: an inspirational story for aspiring entrepreneurs!

We’re all addicted to Dragons’ Den. The drama, the intensity, the pure stupidity of some of the ideas. Who can forget the edible greeting cards for pets? Or SuperKneeS – the rollerskates you strap to your knees to help you get from one kneeling job to another. Seriously, you couldn’t make it up!

Every now and again though an idea emerges that blows the Dragons away. They clamour to get involved to the delight of the aspiring entrepreneur. At home we’re all rooting for these ebullient self-starters, on the edge of our seats, hoping they get the money they’re looking for.

An example of one of these successful entrepreneurs is Paul Tinton, of Prowaste who appeared in the sixth series of Dragons’ Den.  He left the den with some £200,000 worth of investment from Deborah Meaden and Duncan Bannatyne. The Dragons admitted that this area of business wasn’t that exciting for them but that a need had been identified in this marketplace. They said they invested in Paul as he understood the issues in terms of the legislation in this area as well as having a viable business model.

Paul has since established subsidiary Proskips with the Dragons’ help. The idea is to provide skip-hire services to customers and businesses working across the UK. They provide any size of skip anywhere in the country and have developed a reliable network of hire partners who all offer competitive prices. A lot of their clients are those looking to move house and we all know how much hassle that can be! However, a skip helps home owners dispose of their stuff safely and ensures it gets recycled.

Although hiring a skip may sound like an easy thing to do, in fact it can be complicated. For example, it’s key to know what you should and shouldn’t put into a skip. Plus of course, you need a licence. Also, what size skip do you need? How do you arrange for the skip to be collected? How long can you keep it for? These are all questions that need to be answered.

In the last 12 months Proskips has had a really strong period of growth and launched a nationwide service for residential skip hire. As their business goes for strength to strength, it's a great inspirational example if you’re a budding entrepreneur. Paul's (and of course the Dragons') tenacity and hard work, helped build the company into today’s success story - which shows that anything can be done if you put your mind to it!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

What is guest posting and why should I be doing it?

Guest posting is a type of blogging -- with a twist. Yeah, we love twists round here. Although this twist isn't actually that exciting (but it is incredibly useful).

Guest posting is simply writing a blog post for somebody else's blog. You come up with an idea that you think would be suitable for the blog you're targeting, and then you submit your idea to that blog's owner. And if they like it, you go ahead and write it for them. You generally don't get paid for guest posts, but that doesn't mean you should dismiss them...
Image from www.freedigitalphotos.net

What are the benefits of guest posting?


The main reason behind guest posting is to attract more traffic to your own website. If you can come up with a top notch blog post idea that would be suitable for somebody else's blog, it's a fantastic way to borrow their audience, essentially.

At the end of the guest post, you can include a byline with a link back to your own website, and if the people who read your guest post found it useful or intriguing, chances are they'll click the link to visit your site. Hence: sharing the audience. For this reason, it's best to target more popular blogs in your niche. Because the more popular the blog, the bigger the audience will be... which means more traffic for your own site.

It's important to find some crossover between your niches. The simplest way of doing this is, of course, to target blogs in the same niche as your own. Because if you come up with a perfectly brilliant guest post idea, but it bears no resemblance to anything you've ever written about on your own blog, it's unlikely that anyone who clicks through to your site will stick around. And that's the whole point, really.

You want that extra traffic that arrives at your site, thanks to your guest post, to convert. Which is unlikely to happen if they arrive and realise that what you've written about in your guest post is unrelated to what you write about on your own blog. Whereas if you write on a similar topic in your guest post, you could find yourself with new readers, new subscribers and, eventually, new customers. Ah, there's the money!

How can you start guest posting?


So how do you go about scoring guest posts in other popular blogs in your niche? Well, for starters, you need to make sure they actually accept guest posts. You're just wasting your time if you come up with an excellent idea for a guest blog, submit it to your chosen blog, only to find out that, oh... they don't accept guest posts and so definitely won't be posting it. If you do find yourself in this situation though, all is not lost. There's no reason you can't take your idea and submit it to another blog that does accept guest posts. 

To actually come up with a solid idea for a guest post, you should investigate your target blog's other content to make sure that:

a) You're not about to submit a guest post on a topic they've already written about, and
b) Your guest post idea fits in with the rest of their site, both in terms of content and style

A good general rule is to make sure your idea would be useful to the target blog's audience. And, more importantly, this is how you should pitch your idea to the blog's owner. In your email pitch, point out the benefits your guest post will have for their audience, and you're onto a winner.

So, ready to get started with guest posting? So you should be. It's an excellent way to grow your blog's audience. Feeling apprehensive? Pah, don't be! Just look at it this way: you're providing valuable content for free -- why wouldn't they accept it? (Er, unless they don't accept guest posts. But we've been over that already.)

We accept guest posts here at Mission Imblogable, contact us if you have something you'd like to blog about and it could be the start of something beautiful!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

WordPress for beginners: how to set up your WordPress blog

When you have a message you want to share with the world, finding a place on the web to type out your thoughts has never been easier. WordPress first debuted its blogging software in 2003, and as of December 2011, it has been downloaded more than 65 million times.

Whether you plan to talk about human resources tactics, like nurse recruitment, health topics, or another subject matter, WordPress can have your blog up and running within minutes.


Share your ideas with the world by creating a WordPress blog.

Step One: Determine if You Want a Free or Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

Budget, time, and web-savviness plays a factor in deciding if WordPress can best suit you. For free, WordPress can host your blog; however, doing so requires leaving “wordpress.com” in your URL, so it looks something like this: “blogname.wordpress.com.”

The free version also gives you less control and flexibility over the look and content of your site, as you must follow WordPress’s policies. Self-hosting the blog – meaning you use the WordPress software but another company to host the files – requires more Internet knowledge and effort to maintain, but also allows you to customize your blog to your own standards.

Step Two: Choose Your Blog and Domain Name

No matter which route you choose, you’ll need a name for your blog. To make it simple for readers to find your blog, make the URL (also known as the domain name) similar or identical to the blog’s name.

If self-hosting, this URL must be purchased through a separate provider; however, those using free hosting on WordPress just need to check to ensure the domain name is available.

Step Three: Install the WordPress Software

This step applies only to self-hosted blogs using the WordPress software. Install the WordPress software on your computer, a process that takes less than five minutes, and enter your hosting information.

For those using free WordPress hosting, you simply need to create an account, and you’ll be taken straight to your dashboard, which is the launching pad for writing your blog entries.


Don’t tear your hair out! WordPress blogs can be written anywhere you have an Internet connection and computer.

Step Four: Choose a Theme

A WordPress theme gives your blog its custom look. WordPress offers its own themes, typically for free, though you risk sharing the same look as another WordPress site. For a slightly more unique look, commercial themes can be purchased, or web designers can be hired to create a custom theme.

Before falling in love with a certain theme, make sure it works for your blog – some themes are only available to self-hosted WordPress blogs.

Step Five: Configure Your Settings

Log into the WordPress dashboard and navigate to the settings section. There, you can determine basic configurations, such as how many blog posts will be available on each page, if comments need to be approved before being visible, and what time zone will appear on each post.
WordPress Dashboard


If you are self-hosting the blog and have coding knowledge, you can also go into the editor setting and make custom edits to change the visual appearance of the blog.

Step Six: Set Up the Home Page

A WordPress blog, whether free or self-hosted, should have a title at the top of the page, a sidebar that includes blog post categories or other information, and a footer. These sidebars, headers, and footers can be easily set up by navigating to the Widget page in the dashboard.

Additionally, set up pages – these are static pages that do not fall off the homepage the way blog posts do. Sample pages topics could include an “about me” page or FAQs.

Step Seven: Start Writing!

Your WordPress blog is now ready to go live. Write your first blog post by clicking on “add new” on the WordPress dashboard. Get typing, add some images, and hit “publish” – your message can now be shared with the Internet.

While it might seem like creating a blog is complicated, WordPress makes the process simple. With your new blog, disseminating information and spreading your thoughts, no matter what the topic, is simple to do.

Kelsey Castle is a freelance writer who maintains two WordPress blogs – one free and one self-hosted. Images in this post courtesy of www.mediashower.com from www.photos.com

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

8 tips for generating more repeat business

It's estimated that the average small business generates 80% of its revenue from just 20% of its customers. Most experts also believe that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to retain an existing one.
What do these two statistics have in common? They both demonstrate that, should you find yourself at the helm of a small business, customer loyalty should be your number one priority.
Here are eight straightforward tips for turning first time buyers into long term customers.

Invest in Frontline Staff Training

The first rule of generating repeat business is that customer service is everything. A disinterested sales assistant mightn’t always put a customer off making their first purchase but you can rest assured that it certainly will put them off making a second or third. Every single member of your front line staff should be trained on how to deal with customers in a professional and attentive fashion.

Provide Excellent After-Sale Support
It’s not uncommon for small business owners to work tirelessly on generating sales only to treat after-sale support as something of an afterthought. While such behaviour can of course lead to handsome sales numbers, it’s never going to be an effective strategy for generating repeat business. If you’re not available to handle a customers post sale enquiries, you can rest assured that you’ll never see that customer again. An effective after-sales support system is therefore very much a necessity.

Keep in Contact with Your Customers

A surprisingly easy way to encourage repeat business is to simply come straight out and ask for it. If you’re not already doing so, you should devise a strategy for collecting your customers contact information in a non-obtrusive fashion. Such information should then be used to keep them informed about your companies latest products and promotions. You might be surprised by just how much repeat business can be generated with a small monthly newsletter.

Use Social Media

Another surprisingly simple way to spark repeat purchases is to encourage your customers to follow you on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Every time a customer subscribes to one of your social media accounts, they are giving you multiple opportunities to tempt them back to your business. The easiest way to build a healthy social media following is to simply offer subscriber exclusive discounts on your companies products/services.

Offer Loyalty Discounts

Speaking of discounts, if you’re serious about generating repeat business, you should also be serious about rewarding it. Even a discount of ten percent off future purchases can mean the difference between a repeat customer and one that you never see again. While the primary attraction of loyalty programs is of course the financial discount, in providing such a discount, you are also demonstrating just how much you value repeat customers.

Invest in Promotional Gifts
Another tried and tested method of boosting repeat business is to invest in promotional gifts. You might be surprised by just how cheaply you can get your hands on a few thousand calendars, magnets or USB drives emblazoned with your companies name. You might also be surprised by just how much repeat business such simple gifts can generate. After all, it’s a lot harder to forget about a business when its logo is staring you in the face every day.

Be Consistent
The funny thing about customer loyalty is that it tends to disappear the moment you start taking it for granted. In other words, it doesn’t matter how many purchases a customer makes, you are always just one mistake away from losing them. Consistency is therefore a vital component of both winning and retaining loyal customers. Sales figures might fluctuate, customer service levels, on the other hand, they should remain constant.

Pay Attention to Your Competitors
Finally, there’s the small matter of your competitors, never underestimate just how much they want to steal your most loyal of customers. It’s vital that you develop a keen understanding of exactly who your competitors are and the exact areas in which they have the potential to outperform your business. If you don’t know about your competitors latest promotions, how can you possibly expect to compete with them?
Getting the existing customers to buy from you again is not very difficult and repeat business can increase your revenues significantly. Have you used any of the methods I have mentioned here to increase your repeat sales? Do you have any tricks that you want to share with me? Please use the comments section to tell me about what you do to make your customers love you even more.
Featured images:

This post is courtesy  of Greg Fisher. His company, Berkeley Sourcing Group, provides services for contract manufacturing in California. An astute businessman, he knows the nuances of customer management extremely well and has shared some of the tips in this article.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Penguin 2.0 and what it means for SEO

The latest version of Penguin – Google's effort to stop spammy websites ranking highly in its search results – was rolled out late last month. The Penguin 2.0 changes are expected to improve the battle against spam and poor quality web content, helping top notch websites (such as Mission Imblogable, ahem) rank more highly.
As with everything Google does, the changes are aimed at helping web users find the best results possible when searching the 'net. (Aw, we loves you Google.) So what does this cute fluffy bird mean for all those SEO efforts?

Penguin 2.0
The eagle eyed penguin scans the web for spam

 

What's affected?

Penguin 2.0 appears to be targeting spammy web link building content more deeply, ferreting it out and sending it spiralling down search engine results pages.  Poor quality articles that have been spun over and over again, losing all semblance of coherence, low quality blog comments and advertorials are expected to take a big hit.
And, of course, Penguin 2.0 will see Google continuing its full frontal attack on blackhat SEO tactics – things like cloaked content, keyword stuffing, and amassing hordes of backlinks from poor quality sites.

What does it mean for SEO?

SEO has traditionally focused on link building, as Google's algorithms used to give credence to sites with more links back to them. Since more and more aggressive link building tactics have been employed, they've refined their indexing and crawling methods so the links to a site need to be from quality sources as well as appearing naturally. The new update will include  “more comprehensive link analysis,” so Google will be keeping an eye on which websites receive backlinks and – more importantly – who those backlinks are from. A single backlink from a relevant authority site is worth more than a hundred backlinks from a low end spammy site, such as a content farm.

Basically, it's good news if your focus is on creating quality content for your website that people will actually want to read. It's not so good if you spend your time rewriting the same article and pasting it all over the web with backlinks to your site.

Content strategy

We expect to see a real boost for businesses that focus on creating a solid brand that's truly geared towards helping its audience. Content strategy is the way forward. Becoming known as an authority in your niche should be one of your main goals; adding fresh content to your site with a blog will certainly help. Authority websites will rank more highly and, similarly, websites that are linked to by said authority sites will also receive a boost.

The man himself, Matt Cutts, said we should all be trying to make “a great site that users love,” with the emphasis on creating content that people want to tell their friends about, bookmark, and share all over the shop. So if you focus on making great content that can actually help people, Google will, in turn, help you. Fuzzy warm feelings all around!

Of course, you've probably noticed, we're ALL about quality content here at Mission Imblogable. ALL. ABOUT. IT.

image from freedigitalphotos.net

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

How to encourage social engagement

Which calls-to-action are you using on your content? Nice piece of data analysis from hubspot which shows that it is worth including words of encouragement to your readers to get them to engage. Maybe not on every post, tweet or page though, but certainly on your best ones. What do you think? Comments always welcome folks!

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