Tag

Business Start Up

Why blog and who should blog? If you have a business and you don’t regularly blog you are missing out on using a great marketing tool. Even if your business perhaps doesn’t seem the most interesting topic there are always things you can write about. Remember that you are aiming to be useful and provide information/tips/hacks therefore be of service to your reader. If you write something useful that person may come back to your website and down the road may buy your product or service, they may also share your blog post on social media or mention it to a friend! So what are you waiting for get producing great content now and then you will see that blogging really can benefit your business!

Your aim is to drive traffic to your website, where hopefully that person will look at other pages. It raises your profile/this could be you yourself or the brand you have created.  Try to post regularly, this could be once a week or even once a month. You should aim to stick to it as your audience will begin to expect your posts and may loose interest if you are erratic.

How to Blog

So how do you get started? It depends on the website you use for business. You can simply have an area called “News” or ‘Blog” built into your website where you then place the blogs, or you might want to use a blogging platform such as:

Square Space

WordPress

Blogger

I use WordPress and find it to be the most user friendly, I have learnt myself how to update my blog from the back end.

What should you write about?

Think about your industry or niche. If you were new to this area what would you want to know?

You can use google trends to search for what is popular

Look at news websites what’s in the news at the moment are there are stories you could write about?

Have a look at your competitor’s websites, what are they writing about? There is no harm putting your own spin on the topic!

                                                                                                                                    

The structure of your blog

A lot of this is just simple stuff, but it really does make a difference and can be the turning point if someone actually bothers to read your blog or not. So think about the following:

The title – I will come back to this in SEO

Language and style

Grammar and spelling should be spot on. Consider using a plug in like grammerly

The quality of images should be excellent, make them Pinnable and give them a title/description so they are searchable.

Having useful clickable links to other websites

Paragraphs that aren’t too long, consider bullet points and perhaps headings (List style blog posts are very popular).

 

What if you don’t have the time to write blog posts?

You could consider paying a freelancer or agency to do it for you? I offer this service, so if you need help with writing blogs I could do this for you!

Image by Waggle Social

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is a huge topic and one where you will find many experts. There are companies who can look at your website to improve your SEO. But for the purpose of this basic article  few things apply:

Build up an achieve of material this will improve your ranking on search engines – such as Google.

Produce content consistently.

Search engines should be your number one traffic driver if your site is correctly optimised.

Think about your title, you need to be offering an answer to a problem or question that is what the search engines want.

Have a look at where you are ranking on Google at the moment? Where are your competitors if they are higher than you ask yourself why? Do some investigation around their website, what are they doing differently to you?

 

Do an audit on your own website:

Is your site free from broken links? So go onto any links and check they actually work.

Check how your site looks on a mobile device. You should be able to see your website in a mobile friendly way. Remember a lot of people will be viewing your site via their mobile.

How long does it take for your site to load? If it is taking ages, this will put people off and they just won’t bother going any further.

A low bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a site who navigate away after viewing only one page).

Your page title should be under 60 characters, other it will be cut off in the search results.

You could go back over old posts and improve their SEO.

 

Next think about optimising for strong keywords

Perhaps use a plug in such as  Yoast ,  (there is a free version). It has a handy traffic light system to show you where you are going right or wrong. Think carefully about your first paragraph/into and how that will grab the reader’s interest into reading more.

Use a keyword tool which will then produce a selection of long-tailed keywords. Then create your blog post content with that keyword in mind. Use it in the title, subheadings and body of your text. Do it organically and don’t try to cram it in too much as that may go against you in Google. Google wants to reward and feature good helpful genuine content. Ideally 1.5% of the total word count.

Search Google Trends (trends.google.co.uk)  a good way to compare tends.

Get a free Google AdWords account, then you get access to the keyword tool.

The length of your post should be at least 600 words.

Photo by Waggle Social

 

Promoting your blog

This is a big topic and I could talk about this for hours, but essentially it is a process, rinse and repeat every time you write a new blog post. The amount of effort you put in to promoting your blog post really does make a difference. After all, if you have spent the time crafting a really amazing informative post, but then no one reads it then what’s the point!

So let’s start with social media: The main three are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Plus, you also have Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Facebook

We all know how hard it is to get your business out there on Facebook, of course Facebook wants us to pay for boosted and promoted posts, but there are other ways to get your blog post noticed.

Firstly, make sure your profile is updated.

Make sure you are actually following the right people, that maybe your target audience and competitors too. Engage with others, like and comment on posts that way you will get your name out there.

Once you have written your blog post share it on your page, pin it to the top of your page.

If appropriate share in local groups or with others.

Consider starting your own Facebook Group, that way you can create your own community and they are more likely to see your blog post.

Once a month or whenever you can, look at the engagement from your blog post on Facebook analytics, did this type of post do well?

 

Twitter

As soon as your blog post is live tweet about it. Pin it to the top of your tweets

Remember it is perfectly acceptable to tweet about your new blog post multiple times, of course use a variety of images to go with it and different text. Make sure you provide a clickable link,  you could use Bitly Links, which reduces the size of the text.

Use the right hashtags for your industry or niche, that is another way people might find you.

Join in with Twitter chats there are local ones such as: Ealing Hour or Hanwell Hour, or something more national.

Make sure you actually engage with others, that way they are more likely to re-tweet your post.

You could direct message someone if you want to get them to notice you, however not all accounts will accept direct messages.

Don’t forget to @ mention.

Consider overlays by using canva to point out what the blog post is about.

 

Instagram

Post about your new blog post, make sure you explain what it is about, but don’t give too much away as you want people to actually go to your website. Make sure you put a  link to your most recent blog post in your bio.

Tag people who might be interested in your post.

Use the right hashtags and that means trying to find the ones that do not have millions of users, try to use some of the more obscure ones, don’t always use the same ones, do your research.

 

Other ways

Pinterest – great for driving traffic back to your website

Linked In – publish your blog post there.

Get published on other websites like Huffington Post.

Collaborations with other bloggers/businesses which gives a backlink to your website.

Join Facebook Groups where businesses share their blogs.

Create an email list where you can send a newsletter mentioning link to your blog.

Join a linky or start your own – A linky is a post on your blog where you include code that enables other bloggers to link their own blog posts to yours. This creates a virtual party where other creatives connect usually at the same time every week.

Talk to Journalists/PR’s

Run competitions that link to your blog.

Link back to other blogs that might be of interest to your reader.

 

Evaluate

Once your blog post has been out for around 7 days go back and look at the stats, how many people have read it? Do you have any comments, overall how successful has it been? What about social media how many shares, what was the engagement like there?

This will help when writing your next post, you will get to know what is popular with your audience.

Don’t forget if you would like help with writing blogs, I offer this service for a fee. Contact me via email to find out more – hello@theealingmummy.com

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This week, I would like to introduce you to another fantastic Mum, who I have interviewed for my #MumsWhoWorkIt series. Victoria Dos Santos recently set up her personal training business, Mum Who Trains. She is based near Kew Bridge and works from home. She has converted her outdoor space in to her very own fully equipped gym, especially for her clients. She really has got an amazing vibe about her, as I found out recently when I went to train with her!

I’m one of those Mum’s who has never really lost the baby weight I gained six years ago! I’m not a fan of gyms (I can tell you I have joined many, but then not actually attended hundreds of pounds wasted I’m sure!) and have been looking around for a while for a solution to improve my fitness and basically just sort of those wobbly bits. So, when I came across Victoria I was over the moon!  She isn’t in anyway one of those scary fitness types. She is kind, positive and most of all a down to earth mother. She knows how hard it is to find the time to exercise when you have young children, because she is in that place too. So grab yourself a cuppa and find out more about this inspirational lady!

Welcome Victoria and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog! What’s your background and why did you decided to become a personal trainer?

I have always loved sport. My PE teacher believed in me and I knew I wanted to do something within the sports industry. I qualified as a Personal Trainer in my early 20’s. I really enjoyed it, but living in Devon at the time with my parents, there wasn’t a market for it. This being said I packed up my bags and went and did my degree. Became a PE teacher for 10 years and off and on did some personal training. Having my first daughter, made me realise the importance of being healthy and active for her. Only was it when I had Alice my second daughter 8 months ago did I think I could make a business out of personal training. I’m doing this for my daughters, so they know that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible and women are just as strong, actually scrap that stronger than men!

Describe a typical day for you?

I wake up with Alice around 6am. Play with her, do my morning yoga flow which is around 5 minutes thats all to help with my positive well-being. Do the school run, then I see my clients. In between clients, I look after Alice and prep my husbands meals (he’s on my eating plan, so I prepare his food for the day.) My clients fit around the school day, so once finished pick Emilia up, clubs for her or off to the pool if its sunny or back home to chill. But the girls to bed, eat supper and plan the next set of ladies sessions for the following day. Shower, bed and at the moment my guilty pleasure is ‘Love Island.’

What advice would you give to a busy Mum who wants to focus more on her fitness?

Do it, make time for you. We don’t understand how vital we are. If we aren’t happy the home is not happy, so make time for you it is essential.

Do you have any top tips for a healthy diet?

Make it a lifestyle change not diet. I will not use that word. I don’t believe in them. What I believe in is eating well for life. It colourful vibrant food, that makes you smile, keep away from the beige (pasta, bread, cake etc) life will be good to you. Eat a high plant based rich plate with plenty of protein and for me lemon water every morning…because it just makes me smile. ? 

How do you think Motherhood has changed you? 

I don’t think it has changed me. I’ve just become a much better version of me. My children bring out the best parts of me.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given about Motherhood that you would like to share?

Your time will never be your own again, thank you Mum. I will take that to the grave!

Where are your favourite places to go with or without kids in Kew/Brentford/West London?

Anywhere along the river near home. A great walk for me blows the cobwebs away! With the kids- getting out on the bikes down to Richmond Park. We tend to spend sunny days at Chiswick Riverside Club at the pool, it feels like you’re on holiday there. A great food market, Dukes Meadows is my favourite every Sunday 10-2pm. Some seriously good cake there (treat day for me!)

What are your handbag essential?

Oh god don’t judge, I don’t carry a handbag! But if I did; lip balm, nuts, sparkling water and my diary!!

How do you see your business developing over the next couple of years?

I hope I can remain busy, meeting strong, inspiring Mums and spreading the word, that without some time to ourselves we are not the best version of ourselves. 

What advice would you give to other Mums who are considering setting up their own business?

Do it! I don’t have anytime to myself, I rarely sit down, I am constantly thinking of innovative ways to boost my business and help women more. But I could not be more happier!

What is the one thing you wish you had already known when setting up your business?

That there is never enough hours in the day. Juggling my business, kiddie time and husband time is a whole circus act, juggling it all i’ve gone way past that.

Where can potential clients find out more about you?

Instagram – @mumwhotrains

Website (under construction still)

Email Victoria – family2fitness@gmail.com

Are you are a local Mum who has your own business and would like to be featured on my blog? Please do get in touch via email hello@theealingmummy.com

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I created the #MumsWhoWorkIt hashtag because every since I started blogging and completed my Digital Mums training I have met so many amazing Mums who have set up their businesses. They have managed to juggle motherhood with turning their dreams of working for themselves into a a reality. Lisa Karter owner and founder of Clasp London is no different. She too realised that she had the potential to create a business that would fit in around her children and lifestyle. I am so pleased to be able to introduce another talented Ealing Mum to you!

What’s your background and why did you decided to set up Clasp?

I’ve been a West Londoner all my life, but I’ve lived in Ealing for fourteen years. My husband and I bought our house in Northfields when we decided to start a family, and we now have two sons, aged 8 & 5. Before I had kids I worked in the fashion industry for many years – I’ve got a degree in fashion design and was working as a Production Manager for couturier Stewart Parvin when our eldest arrived in 2010. As soon as I became a mum I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to the crazy hours I was working before, so I chose not to return after my maternity leave finished.

Last year when our youngest was in nursery I started to think about a return to work. It was a nerve-wracking prospect after seven years of being at home full-time with the kids! I researched and even applied for some part time roles but just felt that I wanted something more challenging and rewarding than the types of jobs I got offered.

I decided to start my own business and spent some time mulling it over. I knew it had to be something I could feel passionate about, but I was also aware of the risks involved in developing a high cost product, like a clothing line. I’d had some experience with setting up an e-commerce jewellery range in my previous job, so that seemed like a viable option. Clasp was born last September, on the day I waved both sons off to school for the first time.

Describe a typical day for you?

My day starts at 6.30am when I get woken by the kids. I check my emails, then get the boys fed, dressed and off to school by 8.45. I’ll then either head into the co-working office my business is based in (The Workary, above Hanwell library), or into town for a meeting. On a good day I’ll squeeze in a quick run or a yoga class first. I work until 3pm, then it’s back to collect the kids from school. A flurry of after school activities, dinner, homework, a bit of housework, then bath and bedtime for the kids. Occasionally I’ll work in the evening for an hour before settling down in front of the TV with my hubby and a good box set. I do try to give myself some down time in the evenings to unwind from the day.

How do you think Motherhood has changed you?

Well, I’ve certainly got a few more grey hairs! On a more serious note, it’s helped me prioritise – work is important, but family comes before everything. It’s made me more appreciative of the relationships I have in other parts of my life – whether you’re a new mum or setting out in business, having a support network around you is absolutely vital. I’m very grateful for my family and friends.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given about Motherhood that you would like to share?

Everything is a phase! There were nights when I sat up for hours with a wide awake baby and I thought they would never, ever learn to sleep. They did eventually! Children change so quickly and every tricky stage is replaced by another. You learn to roll with it!

Where are your favourite places to go with or without kids in Ealing/West London?

We have annual passes to Kew Gardens which is a great place for families – we’re always discovering new tucked away places we haven’t seen before. Northala Fields is a favorite too. For a night out without kids, I love Tapelia in Northfields – it’s a fab tapas bar with great decor, a lovely ambience and delicious food.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

My claim to fame is that I appeared on Blue Peter in 1990, doing a book review. All I can say is I’m glad it was pre-digital TV – I’ve lost the VHS!

What are your handbag essential?

Tissues, lipstick, hand cream, sunglasses, a pen. I’m a low maintenance kind of girl!

How do you see your business developing over the next couple of years?

I hope to expand the range of products offered – I’d love to launch a range of children’s jewellery, and personalised pieces. I’m currently approaching independent boutiques in the area about stocking the collection, so I hope to be selling across the country in a couple of years.

What is your favorite piece from your range?

Ah, this is tricky! I love the Petite Linked Hoop Stud earrings for every day, plus I alternate between the Feather Duo Pendant Necklace, and the Compass Pendant Necklace. I’m lucky I have one of everything in the range!

What advice would you give to other Mums who are considering setting up their own business?

Absolutely go for it! I honestly thought at one stage I might never have a career again, but I’m so glad I took the plunge. I’ve learnt so much in a really short space of time – it’s stressful sometimes but it’s really re-energised me, and I’m discovering skills I forgot I even had. My 8 year old is really proud of what I’m doing which drives me forward.

What is the one thing you wish you had already know when setting up your business?

That it won’t happen overnight – everything takes longer than you think it will, but that’s ok.

Where can potential customers purchase your jewellery?

You can order online through the website – www.clasp.london

I’m also appearing at various markets and events over the year – details on our Facebook page. The next one is the In Cahoots Night Market at The Green, W7, on Saturday 19th May. There will be lots of other local independent brands, food, drink and entertainment for the whole family, plus the pub is showing the Royal Wedding. I’m in discussion with local gift shops too, so watch this space!

Would you like to win this stunning piece from the Clasp London collection? Head over to my Instagram for a change to win this polished circle pendant necklace in stirling sliver worth £58.00.

Disclaimer – This is collaborative post, however all views and opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the products.

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This week, I would like to introduce you to another Ealing Mum who has developed her own business and brand. Glenda Shawley runs a successful company called the Training Pack, where she provides training and consultancy to help other businesses grow. She has also written an insightful book Founded After Forty. The book gives plenty of help and guidance for a new business start up. This strikes a chord with me, as I am over forty! I believe now is the perfect time for me to start my own business!

Glenda strongly believes in the power of networking and is group leader for the Chiswick and Fulham branches of Fabulous Women and Marvellous Men. She also has been supporting Mums who want to re-train in social media marketing (which is something I am passionate about) and recently has been working with a Digital Mums trainee.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to another Mum who wanted to start her own business? 

Find something that you are both good at and enjoy. That other people will be prepared to pay sensible money for, because it won’t be easy juggling everything.  You’ll need the motivation that comes from happy customers served by a fulfilled business owner.

Which business women do you admire and why? 

Bryony Thomas of Watertight Marketing. She has developed a methodology, written a book and built a business around a marketing methodology that is logical and grounded. Plus she walks the talk.

Where do you see your business going in the next 5 years? 

I want to be known as a chief encourager for people starting and growing a business after the age of 40. I’ll be offering training and consultancy online and offline with a range of options from short online training modules through to a residential business inspiration ‘retreat’.

 

 

Why did you decided to become involved with Digital Mums? 

My brand is all about helping people to run a business on their terms so this fit perfectly. One of my objectives this year was to delegate more and I’ve been struggling to work out what I can delegate. So working with a Digital Mum was a perfect project for me to experiment with whilst also helping someone else out.

How long will you be working with your Digital Mum? 

The programme is about 6 months but we have the option to make it a commercial deal after the programme.

Is she working on your brand The Training Pack or also Fabulous Women too? 

My Digital Mum is working on raising awareness of the Training Pack brand, another Digital Mum is doing the same for Fabulous Women. Both our Mums are in the same peer group,so that they can support each other and benefit from the overlap in the two businesses.

You can follow Glenda on her various on her various social media platforms:

Twitter @Glenda_S

Facebook @TheTrainingPack

Instagram @glendashawley

 

If you or someone you know would like to be featured on my series #MumsWhoWorkIt then please do contact me via my email: hello@theealingmummy.com

 

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This is my first official post as The Ealing Mummy and the first in my series of posts for #MumsWhoWorkIt. My plan is on a weekly basis to interview another Mum who like me has either re-trained or has set up her own business. This week I wanted to tell you about my journey from someone who had only every used social media to share my child’s photos on Facebook, to now a fully qualified Social Media Manager.  I am really excited to have re-branded and combined my original blogs which were Mummy of the Suburbs and Ealing With Kids. I wanted to write this post to firstly explain what I have been doing since September 2016 (as I have been off the blogging radar so to speak) and secondly to let you know what my plans for the future are.

My blogging journey started back in July 2016, so officially I have been blogging for almost a year! I started Mummy Of The Suburbs having absolutely no idea about the blogging world and very little knowledge of social media. The blog did fairly well and I gained a reasonable following and managed to have two articles published on Huffington Post and even got interviewed by local BBC radio. Like many things in life, one thing lead to another and I soon realised that social media was something that really intrigued me.

Digital Mums had popped up in my Facebook feed a number of months previously and I had looked into it, but at the time I didn’t really understand what a Social Media Manager did, so I dismissed it. However once I started to write my blog it became apparent to me how powerful social media was and how by using it in the correct way it could make all the difference to your following. So once again Digital Mums stood out to me and this time it was the right time for me, because now I knew I wanted to learn something new and I took the next step and actually applied for their Social Media Manager course!

The application process involved writing a short piece about how you could “Do The Hustle”. Digital Mums call it their mantra and I think you have to have this special type of self belief to be successful in the world of digital marketing. For my example I wrote about how I set up a small business back in 2015 and how I managed to convince another business to work with me. Sadly that particular business didn’t work out, however I learnt a lot of useful lessons from it. After I had written my piece a member of the Digital Mums team contacted me.  We had a chat over the phone. and talked about why I wanted to do the course and the commitment that was involved. Shortly after this I was accepted on the course and I was over the moon to be started something new!

My course begun in November 2016 and from the start I was introduced to five other Mums who were also doing the same training, they became my support for the next seven months. My peer group didn’t live nearby, but that didn’t matter because we had weekly meetings online and shared messages in a WhatsApp group. The training material was all formatted on an online platform and was a mixture of written lessons, videos and quizzes. Each week we focused on a different topic and we really did start from the basics in social media and as the weeks went on we built on our knowledge.

The idea with the training is that you build a grass roots social media campaign from scratch and that is where Ealing With Kids came from. I knew that I wanted to write about activities with children in the area and I also wanted to support local businesses too, so that is what I focused on. By completing my training with Digital Mums I have learnt so many valuable skills from understanding the basics of setting up all the social media platforms, from creating a campaign and running it on a day to day basis, to developing an understanding of the analytics used in the background to measure success and improve performance. I could go on and on as my learning curve has been steep, but what I really what to convey to you is that is possible to learn to work in a completely new field.

We often hear how it is common to embrake on a new career in your thirties or forties, well I am proof that it does happen. I trained to be a Registered Nurse when I was eighteen and almost twenty years later here I am starting a career in something completely different. It feels refreshing and exciting to have learnt a completely different skill and I have managed to do it at the same time as working part time as a Practice Nurse and of course being a Mum to my five year old Daughter. I have to tell you the truth it has been a real challenge to study, work and be a parent all the same time, but with hard work and determination it can be done!

So back to the present, you may be wondering why I decided to re-brand my blog? Well the reason behind it is that when I was running my grass roots campaign I blogged about local businesses and activities for children in the Ealing area and to my surprise these local posts were much more popular than anything I had written about general parenting on my other blog, therefore I decided that writing about my local area should be my niche.

My goals for the future are to have a successful blog and to start working as a freelance Social Media Manager. I have come a long way in the last eight months and I am looking forward to living a more flexible lifestyle. I will continue with my Nursing role, but I am hoping to take on less hours and focus on my passion for writing and helping other businesses grow their social media following and presence.

If you have any questions about my training with Digital Mums #WorkThatWorks then please do contact me! Or if you would like to be interviewed for my #MumsWhoWorkIt series then please let me know.

Cuddle Fairy
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