What if I told you there’s a way to do it all with email

17opbxYou? You’re a small business owner or solopreneur. You know you need a website you can update by yourself and that there are advantages to participating in social media but you don’t have time to learn WordPress, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn and a host of other tools. You know you should be doing an electronic newsletter too and maybe Instagram and Pinterest as well but you just don’t have the time.

What if I could show you a way that you could do all of these things simply by sending an email to the correct address. That all you had to do was what you already know how to do: write an email and attach a picture and that that content would be magically transported across the internet and end up in all the right places, building your brand online and generating leads for you. Well? I can and I will if you’ll let me.

Chances are, you’re already sending dozens of emails about your business every day but because you’re not exposing them to Google and Facebook and Twitter, you’re only reaching one person at a time. The difference between a thinker and a thought leader is that while they both have a point of view, the thought leader shows up in search by using these good, fast and cheap tools to build an online reputations that is searchable, findable, knowable, usable, memorable and shareable. Because of all these ibles or ables, they become credible when buyers are evaluating opportunities in the zero moment of truth.

If you want to make a bigger splash on the internet using a tool you already know how to use — email — use the contact form below to get connected. I can help you get found online…

How to focus on the online activities that get results

How to focus on the activities that get results is one of the most important issues facing entrepreneurs today. When you decide to go it alone or with a small group of people, all the things that have been done FOR you now need to be done BY you.

Take my friend Michael Rohrer for example. Michael is a writer and ‘bon vivant’ who has his own blog and frequently writes for the Huffington Post. When Michael writes for HuffPo, issues like platform, hosting, SEO and social media are all covered for him by one of the most effective organizations in the online publishing world. On his own blog, however, he has to make all these decisions for himself. So it is with the entrepreneur and it’s even more difficult when you don’t already have a platform like HuffPo to provide some lift.

Yesterday I listened to this podcast by Pam Moore of Social Zoom Factor and it got me thinking:

The takeaway? Pam said she was too busy ‘doing the work’ to explore Blab and that and I’m thinking deeply today about what she said and how to bring it back to my recurring theme of making things as simple as possible!

Anyone reading this or doing this [blogging] needs to think about this: what is the 20% of my work that will get me 80% of my results. This is not an original thought, it’s called the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule [you can read more about it here]. Every entrepreneur must consider this! Watch this and get inspired before you move on…

Now, understand you can’t be one of these people [a world changing entrepreneur] if you are continually getting caught up in the ‘thick of thin things’. I can’t help you with the 20% that will get you the 80% in your business but I can help you with the 20% that will get you 80% of your results online, especially if your objective is to build an online reputation and get found.

Two things you need to do to get found

If you want to get found, here are the two things you must do on a regular basis:

  1. Regularly publish 1-2,000 word essays on a content management system that is well-designed and fully indexed by Google
  2. Regularly find and share great content that is relevant to your online brand on a social networking site that is fully indexed by Google and linked by Google to your domain

[ctt title=”You can always do more, but in the beginning you must focus on WordPress and Google+ if you want to get found.” tweet=”You can always do more, but in the beginning you must focus on WordPress and Google+ if you want to get found. #dothework” coverup=”I9Av3″]
Now, let’s unpack these two activities and understand what they really mean…

Let’s talk about a content management system that is well-designed and fully indexed by Google

‘Content management system’ means a self-hosted WordPress website with a blog. WordPress currently powers about 23% of the world’s websites and for that reason and for its search engine optimization capabilities, it is the obvious choice. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a WordPress resource on the internet and when you consider WordPress itself is free, hosting is inexpensive and resources are widely available, it meets the ‘good, fast and cheap’ test as well.

Well designed? I frequently say that WordPress is just a database with lipstick and rouge. Technically, it is a MySQL database combined with a set of PHP, HTML and CSS files that make it look more appealing. These sets of files are called themes and you can either use a free one, buy one designed by a professional or hire a custom designer.

If you can afford to work with a talented designer like Rachael Albers of RKA Ink do it. If you need a website before that, let Ryan Rhoten’s site DIY Website Guy guide you; either way pick a WordPress theme that is eye-appealing and responsive — personally, I prefer the themes from Studiopress but anything that is a Genesis child-theme will probably work for you. Make sure it’s also appealing to Google from a technical standpoint. Test the theme with the Google Structured Data Testing Tool and the ‘Mobile Friendly‘ test. Later on, don’t forget to use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to make sure your site loads fast as well! These are just a few of the considerations you need to cover on your own or with a web designer and a search engine optimizer.

Last on this topic? Whatever you decide to do, spend some time in the Google Webmaster Academy to make sure that Google can fully understand your site and content:

Thinking about creating a website? Great! Webmaster Academy has the information and tools to teach you how to create a site and have it found in Google Search.

Who should take Webmaster Academy?
Anyone who’s interested in creating or improving their website can take it. Whether you’re a business increasing your web presence or a photographer putting together an online portfolio, we can help you get started.

Intro to Webmaster Academy – Search Console Help

Whenever I build a site for someone or do an SEO audit, this is the second thing I check. Frequently, I find the site has not been entered into the Google Search Console and when I do that, that traffic might increase 5-10x immediately after I do. If you don’t do this, I know it’s hard to believe but Google may never find your site! There are now almost 200,000 websites launched everyday and no one really gives a damn about all the work you did to get your site online. If you don’t enter your site into the Google search console you have to wait until someone links to your site and the Google bots cross over from an indexed site to your site. Currently Google only indexes about 5% of the internet so if you don’t make sure that your site is indexed by Google your site might never be indexed. Take the time, therefore, to go through the Google Webmaster Academy and learn how to take this critical step. If you don’t you’re just wasting your time if your goal is to get found.

Now let’s talk about a social networking site that is fully indexed by Google and linked by Google to your domain

Currently there is only one and that is your Google Plus page. Google Plus pages are fully indexed by Google for semantic search AND they offer the benefit of being able to link your domain to your page to establish Google Publishership — an added benefit that signals to Google that your website and your Google Plus page are ‘one’ and acting in concert. You also get the benefit of having your page profile picture showing up in search like this which helps set you apart:

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The Google Plus page will also help you get found in private search. My page gets 60x more traffic than my website and I use it to drive people to my site. As you can see here, most of my internet referrals come from Google+:

Social traffic

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You can start your page through the Google My Business program and there are a bazillion resources that will help you get started — Martin Shervington’s Plus Your Business page is a great place to start!

That is my advice

I’m sorry if you were expecting something more, but in my practice I am always trying to break things down to the activities that really matter and if you want to get found, the two tools you need to master are WordPress and your Google+ Page. I’ll be doing a Blab to talk further about this post tomorrow afternoon at 13:00 Central Time in the US [GMT -5] so you can either post your questions below or join me online then [subscription link].

Here’s the blab discussion from Friday 9/11…

Remember…

Things must be made as simple as possible

How to focus your effort to get found in search

How I started

how to get found in search 10 years ago, I was a business development manager for a high tech startup in Green Bay, Wisconsin. No, that’s not an oxymoron. Steve Jobs was born here. We are the Silicon Tundra! But I digress. During those days, I spent fully 50% of my time looking for the journalist that would write the article that would validate our product. When we finally got that article, we sent the link to the collective address books of everyone in the entire company and said in effect “See? We’re real. Someone in a position to know said we are good.” Then came the power of inbound marketing, blogging and social media.

In his groundbreaking book Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky wrote:

We are living in the middle of the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race. More people can communicate more things to more people than has ever been possible in the past, and the size and speed of this increase, from under one million participants to over one billion in a generation, makes the change unprecedented, even considered against the background of previous revolutions in communications tools. The truly dramatic changes in such tools can be counted on the fingers of one hand: the printing press and movable type (considered as one long period of innovation); the telegraph and telephone; recorded content (music, then movies); and finally the harnessing of radio signals (for broadcasting radio and TV). None of these examples was a simple improvement, which is to say a better way of doing what a society already did. Instead, each was a real break with the continuity of the past, because any radical change in our ability to communicate with one another changes society.

Shirky, Clay (2008-02-28). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (p. 106). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Now everyone has the power to change society without asking the permission of a journalist and that is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because we have that power but it’s a curse because to embrace that power, we’ve got to either have or develop all the skills and capabilities of a major news outlet at our disposal. We need to be part IT Department, part Journalist, part SEO, part Marketer and part Salesperson to begin with and that’s a lot of parts and not everyone has them.

So here’s where I come in. For people who are looking to get found I am the part IT Department, part Journalist, part SEO, part Marketer and part Salesperson. My passion is to help thinkers become thought leaders by giving them the thoughts, tools and tactics they need to make a dent on the internet. Sometimes I call myself an internet plumber, but that really minimizes the importance of the work I do. So let me back up the truck and start over.

I focus all my energy on understanding how an individual or small business can leverage the great tools we have at our disposal to create a place that is searchable, findable, knowable, memorable and shareable and because of all these ‘ibles’ I say that a person or a small business might become credible. My superpower, if you will, is helping people understand what that they have a brand and what it is. Many times I’ll ask a client “if you are the answer what is the question”. In other words, what would people type in the search bar that would point to them as a solution. Those questions are the ones that you should continually be answering on the internet, out in public where people can find the answers.

There’s one more ‘curse’ about this new power we have and that’s that now everyone has this power. There are over 2.5 million blog posts that are written every day and every author hopes that their post will show up on the top of Google search engine rankings. Now that you’ve got the power, what can you do to rise above everyone else?

How you could start

Get the thoughts you need

I have been blogging for over 10 years and have helped hundreds of clients get found and the next few paragraphs contain the most important thoughts, tools and tactics I have learned beginning with this: “If you don’t know where you’re going, then it doesn’t matter which way you go” the Cheshire Cat said so a good place to begin is with the end in mind. Can you articulate your passion? Your onlyness? Your ‘why’? If you can’t, bookmark this post until you can. If you can, then I recommend taking it a step further and doing the work to develop your personal brand. Yup. The Brand Called YOU. If that sound’s like a difficult thing, my friend Ryan Rhoten can help you out. He has a very cost-effective online course called The Personal Branding Blueprint you can take here. When you’re confident that you have a handle on that personal brand, then listen to the podcast that Ryan and I did on the Elevation Workflow a few weeks ago. The Elevation Workflow is a ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ process that all effective thought leaders use whether they realize it or not.

Get the tools you need

Here are all the tools you really need to get started. In terms of number of tools and cost, the barrier to entry is quite low. Don’t worry – you can always add more later but you can get all the tools you need for less than $100 per year if you’re smart. I think these are the basics:

  • A self-hosted WordPress website with a snappy theme
  • A Google+ account

Yup. That’s it. Those are all the tools you need. However, remember the words of the great philosopher Eric Clapton who said “It’s in the way that you use it”.

Use self-hosted WordPress

Your self-hosted WordPress site should meet the following criteria:

  • It should be hosted by a firm that knows how to host WordPress like Bluehost or WPEngine
  • It should have a good looking theme from a professional firm like StudioPress that is optimized for search
  • You should install the Yoast SEO Plugin and configure it optimally according to the developer specifications
  • It should be connected to the Google Search Console and configured optimally according to the developer specifications
  • It should be connected to Bing Webmaster Tools just in case

Your WordPress website is the place for posts like this one. A post that contains what is called ‘evergreen content’:

To be evergreen, content must tick one or more of these boxes:

  • Highly ‘Google-able’: should answer common questions that are constantly relevant to searchers
  • Interesting long past its publication date
  • Pull in traffic consistently over months, or years
  • Lacking an expiry date

Blogging Ideas: 49 Evergreen Content Ideas at StudyWeb.com

Use a Google+ Page

The next step is to use the Google Get Your Business Online if you have a storefront or the Google My Business if you’re not to create a Google+ page. The page should be optimized for search according to these recommendations from HubSpot and you should use it for posting content that is more temporary – not evergreen – in nature. Google+ is a great place to curate and comment on other people’s content as well and to find great content that other people are creating or curating as well.

Why Google+ you might say? Isn’t Google+ dead? None of my friends hangout there. First, Google+ is far from dead – according to The Social Media Hat it is the number 3 network behind Facebook and YouTube. In a recent post I wrote on this blog I said:

Here are three reasons why Google+ is STILL fundamental if you want to get found:

  1. Of all social networks, Google+ ranks #3 behind Facebook and YouTube for monthly active visitors.
  2. Of all social networks, Google +1s have the single highest correlation with Google search ranking. Read this.
  3. According to Moz, “after Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor.”

Consider this as well…

Google+ interactions affect Google search rankings more than virtually any other metric. Cultivating a strong Google+ presence helps to drive organic site visits, which convert at a higher rate than outbound-sourced leads. Simply put, Google+ is central to effective social media marketing. Not only does it provide engagement with diverse populations, but it directly affects measurable outcomes beyond engagement, including higher search results ranking. Source: The Link Between Google+ And SEO Demystified – TrackMaven 3+ reasons why I’m STILL bullish on Google+ ~ Todd Lohenry

Don’t forget to EAT right

No, I’m not offering nutrition advice – EAT is what Google is looking for – they are continually refining their algorithm to ferret out expertise, authority and trustworthiness on the internet. The question is whether or not you are the one that will be found when people are looking for an expert. My favorite author on the topic, David Amerland, writes:

“The content you create and then share is part of your digital identity. It helps those who consume it to understand who you are, why you do the things you do and what values you stand for. As a result content is the primary means through which you establish your online identity, create your reputation and generate the all essential sense of trust without which nothing else can take place.” Amerland, David (2015-01-21). SEO Help: 20 Semantic Search Steps that Will Help Your Business Grow (p. 44). New Line Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Once you have figured out who you are and what your personal brand is, the most important thing in the world is to create, curate and collect content that is consistent with that brand so that Google has a clear understanding of what you are communicating and can offer you as a possible solution. Evergreen content belongs on your WordPress website and everything else belongs in Google+ – don’t worry, you can always do more later but these are the only two things that really matter in the beginning.

One last thought. Stop viewing Google as a system that can be tricked into pushing you to the top. The thinkers and the technology behind the Google algorithm are way ahead of you and me. Instead, focus on directing all your energy to communicating clearly and concisely in the manner that Google expects if you want them to promote your content.

“This is a change in mindset that transforms Google from an “adversary” of sorts that had to be managed, coerced, and somehow convinced to rank your website and serve it in search to an ally interested in the same things you are: giving the right answer to those who ask a question through search. As search “disappears” and becomes a ubiquitous service that people use, it becomes all the more critical to be conscious of the need to provide everything about a business or a brand that will help Google “connect all the dots.” Amerland, David (2013-06-27). Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Get Your Company More Traffic, Increase Brand Impact, and Amplify Your Online Presence (Que Biz-Tech) (Kindle Locations 3819-3823). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

I know this is a lot to digest in one sitting, but in one post I’ve shared with you four important takeaways that represent the distilled ‘wisdom’ of over 10 years of practice:

  1. Establish your personal brand
  2. Use an optimized self-hosted WordPress website
  3. Leverage a Google+ Page
  4. Don’t forget EAT!

Focus on these four things and you’ll be doing better than most people who are trying to establish their online reputation. Questions? Feedback? Comment below or connect with me online. Oh, and if you read this and think you still need help, use this contact form to get immediate attention.

The elevation workflow for online reputation building

I  am a fan of podcasts and have been for as long as I remember – listening to podcasts is a great way to get a ‘degree’ from the ‘automobile university’ as Zig Ziglar use to call it. I use a cross platform tool called Pocket Casts to monitor just over 100 thought leaders on a wide variety of topics that are near and dear to my heart. A few months ago, I was listening to a podcast called The BRAND New You Show with host Ryan Rhoten where he interviewed one of my favorite thought leaders, Dorie Clark. Ryan talked about a concept called ‘becoming the Google of your niche’ and when I wanted to ask him more, I went to his Twitter account where I saw this:

2015-08-13_07-41-47

We connected via DM and I pitched Ryan on the idea of doing an episode on the importance of using a content reader like Inoreader for content marketing, but after Ryan looked at my site, he was much more interested in talking about the bigger picture of my ‘Elevation Workflow’ – the workflow I use to help my clients build their online reputation.

The elevation workflow by Todd Lohenry

Click image to enlarge

We agreed to connect and talk twice; first about the strategy behind the workflow and then the tools and tactics I use and how I use them. For your convenience, both episodes follow.

https://soundcloud.com/ryanrhoten/todd-lohenry-online-reputation
 
https://soundcloud.com/ryanrhoten/todd-lohenry-thought

If you have a thought leadership position around personal branding or online reputation building, may I again recommend that you connect with Ryan? He’s the hardest working man in podcasting and the post-production work he does will add incredible value to your brand as it did mine.

How to get incredible insights from your Twitter feed

Getting value from your Twitter feed can be difficult. Regardless of how careful you’ve been to follow only the top thought leaders in your industry, there will be times when even they miss the mark. In some ways, logging into your Twitter account and expecting to find something meaningful or relevant at the top of the feed is a recipe for disappointment — in a way, it’s like sitting by the highway trying to find something meaningful on the bumper stickers of cars as they pass by. There is a good way, however, to harvest incredible insights from your Twitter feed and readers of the blog will not be surprised that it involves Inoreader.

There are two steps involved. The first is to connect your Twitter account and subscribe to your home feed like this…

Todd Lohenry: I can help you get found in Google

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This will give you your entire feed in a place where it’s searchable…

Todd Lohenry: I can help you get found in Google

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The second step is to use the Rules feature to pull whatever you want out of that feed. I use rules to pull out mentions of content marketing, online reputation, seo, etc. The things that are important to me. Then instead of having to wade through the over 4000 tweets that enter my home page every day, I only have to pay attention to the ones that meet your criteria:

Todd Lohenry: I can help you get found in Google

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Here’s the result:

Todd Lohenry: I can help you get found in Google

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This is so easy to do that some of the simplicity may have escaped you. When I find a way to efficiently capture all this information and pull out the things that are really relevant, I’m not only saving myself time and money, but in a way I’m creating my own virtual news service and ‘hiring’ all the people in my Twitter feed as ‘free’ reporters. They are doing the work of finding and sharing great information – I’m capturing it in a tool that delivers great value and incredible insights to me. Another title for this post could be ‘How to get everyone on Twitter to do your work for your for free’. 😀

I hope that in my attempt to make this as simple as possible, I did not miss out on any important points. Please, please, please ask me to clarify! Although this is a simple process, it’s one of the most valuable pieces of information I can share with someone who needs to manage information to build their online reputation.

3+ reasons why I’m STILL bullish on Google+

Despite all the uninformed opinions spreading doom & gloom about Google’s latest failure, when I begin working with a client, we start on Google+. “Why” they say “isn’t Google+ dead?” Au contraire. Here are three reasons why Google+ is STILL fundamental if you want to get found:

  1. Of all social networks, Google+ ranks #3 behind Facebook and YouTube for monthly active visitors. See the infographic at the bottom of this post.
  2. Of all social networks, Google +1s have the single highest correlation with Google search ranking. Read this.
  3. According to Moz, “after Page Authority, a URL’s number of Google +1s is more highly correlated with search rankings than any other factor.”

Consider this as well…

Google+ interactions affect Google search rankings more than virtually any other metric. Cultivating a strong Google+ presence helps to drive organic site visits, which convert at a higher rate than outbound-sourced leads. Simply put, Google+ is central to effective social media marketing. Not only does it provide engagement with diverse populations, but it directly affects measurable outcomes beyond engagement, including higher search results ranking. Source: The Link Between Google+ And SEO Demystified – TrackMaven

When you combine these factors with the workflow efficiencies I outlined last week, it seems pretty clear to me that if you want to get found in search by effectively building your online reputation, Google+ will be a big part of it — in fact, it may just be the most important part.

Thanks to The Social Media Hat for the following infographic…
Social Media Active Users