Take Breaks to Increase Productivity

increase productivity, get more doneAre you working and working but just can’t seem to focus and get stuff done? You might be considering changing careers or even seeing a doctor, but the solution may be much more simple than that – just take a break. Taking short ten minute breaks throughout the day can help you refocus and reenergize so you’re more productive once you get back to work.

Why Take a Break?

Scientists and psychologists have actually done many studies that show how effective breaks can be. In fact, many large businesses have now started adopting break times into the course of the regular day. Employees are actually paid to sit at their desk and read, research topics they enjoy on the Internet, and do other things that interest them. It’s been shown that allowing these breaks actually increases productivity and employee satisfaction enough to compensate for the lost time plus some.

It’s Break Time!

To get the most good out of your breaks, try making your activities something that will help increase production when you return to work, rather than something that simply distracts you. Some great options include aerobic activity or relaxation exercises. They’ll clear your mind, while producing chemicals in your body that will boost concentration when you get back to work.

If physical exercise isn’t your thing, or you just don’t have the chance to do it at work, there are other things you can do to relax and clear your mind so you can get back to work. Meditation or other breathing exercises only take a few minutes, but can help you feel better mentally and physically. Not only does it help you focus, it can also lower your blood pressure and help reduce the physical signs of stress.

Breaker Beware

The biggest danger in taking breaks is not getting back to work when the break is done. A lot of people will try to skip breaks because they’re afraid they won’t get back to work and the work won’t get done. But when you skip breaks, you can significantly decrease productivity and actually end up getting less work done. The key is setting a time limit to your breaks and sticking to them. If you have trouble, try setting a timer when you take a break, or having someone back you up by making sure you get back to work.

One note about short breaks: If you’ve been pushing too hard and have reached burnout, a ten minute break just isn’t going to be enough. If you are finding yourself feeling sick, tired, and only ever in a negative mood, especially about work, you are probably burnt out by work. In this case, you not only need to incorporate short breaks into your day, you also need to alter your how and when you work and may even need an extended vacation.

Conclusion

Breaks are an easy and effective way to increase your results and become more successful with very little effort.

Five Tips on Becoming a Better Web Content Writer

web content writer. image by Phonsawat on freedigitalphotos.netWhen most people search the Internet, they are in search of information. There is a lot of it out there. As a business owner, you want them to find your website and eventually become a customer. Unfortunately, that can be a little difficult if your web content, well, sucks. Here are five ways that you can enhance your web content writing skills.

What makes you good at what you do? Part of it is natural talent. For a creative medium like writing, it is just plain work if you don’t have some inclination towards doing it well. The other part of the equation is continuing education. To be a good writer, the learning process doesn’t ever stop.

  1. Read other people’s content. You won’t learn what the competition knows if you don’t read their stuff. We aren’t just talking about the really successful content writers but new people as well. Read all sorts of content to see what they do that is different from what you are doing. You could pick up some handy pointers.
  1. Stay current. With online writing, what is accepted practice changes all the time. Get a copy of the AP Stylebook for starters. Whomever you write web content for will want to know that you have kept up with the latest developments. Along the same lines, learn about sentence and paragraph structure. Run-on sentences are not attractive and neither are paragraphs without a main theme.
  1. Keep learning. This is the education piece. To write on a variety of subjects, get familiar with them. If real estate is a hot topic, learn what you can about it so that you can write intelligently. People look for experts in a certain field. Why look for anyone besides the most knowledgeable? Set yourself up to be an expert.
  1. Choose a niche. If you are going to be an expert, you need to have a field. It is hard to concentrate on three or four different areas. Choose one and establish yourself there before moving on to another area. Check out the content already in cyberspace before choosing your niche. An area that is already saturated may not be a good place to start unless you can add something new and unique. It would be great if that niche was little explored by others. You’ll become a pioneer.
  1. Find a writing style. Basically, find your voice. Are you laid back, witty or serious? Every writer has a voice – they just need to explore and develop it. Some writers try to copy another’s style but that’s hard work. Your voice will flow naturally and feel comfortable when you write in it.

Conclusion

These five tips will help you to hone your skills and increase your value online. Which will lead to more website traffic and more sales. Pretty sweet right?

 

Advanced Marketing Tactics That Every Business Owner Should Try

business marketing, online marketingThe old ways of marketing where you place an advertisement, attract consumers and make sales that easily are over. Today, marketing is all about making connections and attracting attention. Here are some advanced marketing tactics that are working right now for many businesses.

Create Responsive Websites

This is almost a beginner’s tip at this point, but just in case you have been around awhile and haven’t made the move, it’s time. It’s way past time. Your website needs to be mobile and it needs to be mobile now. People are using mobile technology more than they are using PCs today to access online information.

Social Media Action

It’s not enough to join social media. Fill out your profiles completely; ensure that they represent your brand in a cohesive manner. Then, take action on social media by sharing your content, other people’s content, and participating in discussions on social media. If all you do is share your own things on social media, no one is going to even notice you. Participation is key.

Go to and Host Online and Live Events

Not only should you participate in online events such as Google On Air Hangouts, other webinars and events, and live events, you should also plan and host them. Having online and live events is a great way to personify yourself to your audience. Until they hear you or see you live, you might just be an avatar on the computer screen. Once you do show yourself, your business will explode.

Become an Author

Authoring a book today is a great way to create a calling card for your business. The barriers to entry are lower than ever, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that being an author of a book within your niche is a great way to market your core business. Write or ghostwrite a book of interest to your audience, edit it well, have a professional cover made, and sell it on Kindle. You can even use a print on demand service if you want to have print versions available for signing at events.

Vary Your Content

It’s important that you use a variety of different forms of content on your blog and/or website. Don’t just use text – use video, podcasts, audio and more to give your audience a lot of ways to consume your content. This varied approach also looks amazing when you post them to your social media feeds.

Conclusion

If you haven’t changed up your marketing methods lately, it’s time to do it Try these advanced marketing tactics starting today, and within 90 days you’ll see a huge difference in your marketing results.

 

 

 

 

How to Pick the Right Freelance Writer for Your Business

freelance writer, image by  Ritesh Nayak on flickrThere are many, many freelance writers out there. Like, a ridiculous amount. With so many different backgrounds, specialties and even prices, it can be difficult to figure out which is the right writer for your business. Here are some tips that will help you pick the best freelance writer for your business.

Get a referral. Don’t know where to start? Get a referral from someone you trust. Ask a trusted colleague or friend who has hired a freelance writer before and find out who they would recommend. Make sure they refer someone who wrote well, but also someone they enjoyed working with. Good work ethics and communication means a lot when it comes to hiring a freelancer.

Look for experience. While everyone does need to start somewhere, experience says a lot. Not only does having experience mean your writer will be able deliver high-quality work, it also means that he or she has the background in working with clients, meeting deadlines and communicating well online.

Look for industry experience. Beyond having general writing experience, you want to find someone who has experience writing in your industry. This is especially important for industries like health, technology or finance, where having knowledge in the subject can help the writer convey concepts better.

Read their samples. It’s one thing for a writer to tell you they have the right experience; it’s another for them to show you. If the writer doesn’t have a website that shows off their writing, ask for samples. Preferably ask for samples pertaining to your industry so that you can see if the writer really knows their stuff when it comes to your business.

Ask for pricing. I’ll be honest. Budget often plays a role in choosing a freelance writer. Pricing for a good writer runs the gamut from affordable to a hundreds of dollars per blog post. In most cases, the higher the pricing, the higher the experience level. But not all cases. You may be able to find that magic mix of someone who you can afford and has the right experience for your business. This is where asking for referrals and checking experience comes in.

Conclusion

For online businesses, a freelance writer can be an invaluable asset. A good writer will not only write you a good blog post, but will know how to craft that post to get you attention online and in social media. But finding a good writer can often be difficult. Start by asking people you know for referrals and check samples, experience and pricing from there.

 

 

Are You Managing Your Time or Is It Managing You?

managing your timeIt’s amazing how much some people manage to get done, while others seem to be stuck in a rut without enough time in the day to accomplish much of anything. But, here’s the secret. Everyone has the same amount of time in every single day. It’s one way in which we are all created equal. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.

Track Your Activities for a Week

To get a real picture of how you spend your time, try tracking everything you do for at least one week. Use a small recorder to record when you start and stop any task, and include the time. Alternatively, just use an old-fashioned pad and paper. Don’t change anything for now; just live your life as you do.

Evaluate

Now look at how you spent your time. Organize each thing that you did into urgent, important, family, fun, and time suckers. Some things that are fun might fall into the category of time sucking and that’s okay, because you can place limits on some things to still allow yourself to have fun without going overboard into time wasting.

Assign All Important Tasks to a “To-Do” List

Everything that is urgent and important should be scheduled. Some urgent and important things will also be family things. Put it all into the schedule. Give it the amount of time you think it will take, adding a few minutes for padding to avoid run over and missed deadlines.

Schedule Fun Time

Don’t forget to put time for fun into your schedule. Fun often goes with family and friends and it is a very important part of your life. The trick is to schedule the right amount of time and the right amount of fun, without intruding on the important and urgent tasks and activities that you also must do.

Spend Time Each Night and Morning in Planning Mode

Take the time each evening to evaluate how your day went, decide what could have been done better, or what needs longer or shorter times to accomplish. If you do this you will get better at creating a plan. Each morning take the time to look over your schedule to remind yourself what is coming up so you don’t forget anything. Never rely on just memory or you will get off track.

Create a Plan of Action for Each Activity

It doesn’t matter if the plan is for family time, for business, or something else – if you create a plan of attack for each item on your to-do list, you’ll accomplish it faster with fewer problems. One of the biggest time wasters is jumping from item to item. Stick to one thing at a time until it’s done and you’ll feel as if you have a lot more time in your day.

Train Others to Respect Your Time

If you have a business, especially if you work from home, you will often find that other people seem to lack respect for your time. The real issue is that you’ve not taught people to respect your time. As Oprah (or maybe it was Dr. Phil) once said, “You teach people how to treat you.” Are you teaching people to respect your time? If not, it’s time to start doing so.

Delegate

Never underestimate the power of delegation for getting more time in your day. A good assistant can almost double your time. So while you can’t actually get more time, remember that everyone has the same 24 hours. You can create a situation where you duplicate yourself by hiring an assistant or outsourcing some mundane tasks such as writing, social media, or even housework or lawn care. There is no such thing as a successful CEO who doesn’t delegate.

Conclusion

Finally, it’s important to always be realistic about what can really be accomplished in any given amount of time. No matter how much you want to be, you’re not superwoman (or man) – you’re just a human who is doing their best to manage the resources they have. If something doesn’t get done today, move it to tomorrow. As you get better at scheduling, you’ll get it down to a science on how long it really takes you to do any particular task and you’ll have fewer days where you don’t succeed.

Benefits of Hiring a Freelance Writer

business writer, hiring a writerThere are a few ways to get your written content. You can write it all yourself, hire an employee or hire a freelance writer. Each option has its own benefits. However, it’s hiring a freelancer that really has its benefits, and I’m not just talking about the benefits regarding your content. Here are five that benefits of hiring a freelance writer to take care of your written content.

#1 Experience. Any good freelancer will have experience. And with so many writers out there, it’s pretty easy to find one that specializes in your industry. A freelance writer can bring the unique combination of industry experience and writing experience to really boost your online content.

#2 Connections. Oh yes, freelancers come with connections. Most that have been at it for years have been around the block. They may very well be able to recommend a web designer, an AdWords specialist, a social media specialist, etc. Even if you don’t need all that, freelancers typically know their way around social media, and if they agree to share your blog on their own profiles, that’s more publicity and promotion for your business.

#3 Affordability. While a freelance writer is going to cost more than writing your content yourself, it’s going to be more cost effective than hiring someone in-house. Hiring an employee usually means supplying a work space, as well as a computer and other office supplies. It may even mean medical benefits and insurance.

#4 Flexibility. Freelancers work from home because it offers them flexibility. But it can work in your favor too. Especially with time zone differences, you could have someone adding posts, editing your website or sending out emails even after your business is technically done for the day.

#5 Outside POV. Sometimes it’s hard to see what others see. And being in a position on the inside can sometimes skew your view of your business. A freelancer can come in and offer a fresh new view, and a new approach, to your content and your marketing.

Conclusion

Written content still has its place for businesses. And one of the best ways for businesses to get that written content is by hiring a freelance writer. A freelance writer offers the experience, connections, affordability, flexibility and fresh point of view that an insider just can’t.

 

Have you hired a writer for your business? Leave a comment and share your experience.

Creating Your USP

unique selling propositionIt’s been proven that having a unique selling proposition is an effective means for advertising a business. Look at any television commercial and you’ll see where USP’s are distinguishing one company from its competitors. An example of an effective USP worked into a slogan is M&Ms where they tout they “melt in your mouth, not in your hands”.

A USP or unique selling proposition, is simply an attempt to show how your business is unique. What makes it stand out from your competition? You might make a promise that the others don’t. Your product may have the benefit of using all natural ingredients that similar products from other companies don’t. Whatever it is, your USP should clearly tell your customers why they should buy your product over your competitor’s products.

Your USP should be a straightforward phrase or sentence. Don’t try to make it a cute or funny. The last thing you want is for a prospective customer to read your USP and be left wondering what you have to offer them. So get straight to the point and make it meaningful and memorable.

When creating your USP, consider the following:

Who are your customers or who do you want as customers? Consider their age, location, interests and so forth. Are they thrifty spenders, do they prefer to do business with local companies, are they of an age where health is more of a concern?

How do you want your customers to see you? What do you want them to think first, when they think of you?

What does your product or business do? Focus on just one or two key things that are highest in demand.

Is there something special, unusual, or significant about the way you do business that your competitors don’t?

All of these things will help you determine how you differ from your competitors.

Conclusion

Creating a USP is one of the most crucial elements of marketing your business so don’t try to create it in one sitting. Instead, make note of your ideas and take time to think about them. Search hard for the real reasons why you are different.

 

 

Advantages of Webcasting

webcast, image by imagerymajestic on freedigitalphotos.netWith social networking being at a high point and increasing steadily, the drive for interactive websites is on the increase.

A lot of people want a website that’s not simply static and they’re looking for interaction when they log onto the net – from Twitter to Facebook to YouTube – we want to connect.

As an online business owner this means that adding a webcast to your online business is a great move.

First, what is a webcast?

In simple terms it’s a video recording placed on the web. Just like a TV offers traditional viewing, a webcast does something similar – but the video is streamed on the internet rather than the TV network.

A webcast can be anything from a video of you explaining how to do something to your viewers, to a two (or more) people interview, to an interactive online class.

The point is that you’re adding an interactive feature to your website and making it easier for visitors to give their feedback and get involved.

There’s a lot of different equipment you can use and a little research will help you find the best. Once you’re set up with your video recording mode you can take things a step further and use a video editing service to add features to your recording which will really make the video stand out. There are many services online and a simple Google search will help you find the right one for you.

Conclusion

Webcasting is a great addition to your website. You’re making it easy for your visitors to interact with you while offering valuable information. This will keep them coming back to your site over and over again.

Twitter as a Traffic-Generating Tool

twitter traffic, image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.netTwitter is still one of the most popular and quick tools available to help focus on strategy and promotion online. With a maximum number of 140 characters, you don’t need to spend a lot of time writing updates about your business or a lengthy blog post.

And you can easily use Twitter to draw people to your blog or website. By planning your tweets ahead of time, as a series of short and well-phrased mini-blog posts, they can assist you in keeping your followers loyal to you.

Here are some other ideas you might try:

* Keep your tweets coming on a consistent basis. Your audience will be happy to know they aren’t missing anything, and will gladly click through to your blog to keep up with your news.

* Tweet only a major point from your blog, such as the title. This will set up a level of intrigue, and those interested in finding out more will head to your website. This is precisely where you want them to go.

* Consider all areas of your business when thinking about your tweet. Such comments as how things work, why you do them and when you offer certain things are just the type of information your followers are looking to hear about.

* Instead of posting statements, you could try asking your followers for their input on what they would like to see on your blog or website. By getting their input it will be easier for you keep your audience happy when you are able to cover the topics they have been waiting for.

* Tweet at least once daily. At least. It’s even better to use a tweet scheduling tool such as TweetDeck, Buffer or Hootsuite and schedule your tweets throughout the day.

Conclusion

Once you get Twitter working for you and your business,make sure that your monitor your traffic using an analytic tool. You can see the comings and goings of your readers from Twitter, and you will be able to see what tactic is working the best for you.

What Makes a Website Link-Worthy?

link to website, image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.netThe days of reciprocal links with irrelevant sites are long gone. Today search engines (ahem … Google we’re talking about you) require that the links to your site and from your site be authorities to be worth anything.

Your Website Needs Useful, Informative, Accurate … Pretty Much Awesome

Don’t put filler content on your website. Every bit of content should be useful, informative and accurate. In addition, it’s important that your audience knows that the content is reliable in terms of well-written and well-researched pieces. It’s also important that you promote every last bit of content that you put on your site. If you’re not proud enough of your content to promote it, why would anyone else be linking to you?

Your Website Should Be Up-to-Date with Technology

Mobile friendly was the buzz word a year or two ago; now the phrase is “responsive design”. A website designed responsively will work well on any device. Nothing is worse than trying to link to a shared article and find out that you cannot comfortably read it on your smartphone or iPad.

Convert all online real-estate to responsive designed sites and you’ll become that much more link-worthy to relevant sites. In addition to responsive design, pay attention to all the technical elements of your site so that your website always stays up to date in terms of what your audience expects technology-wise.

Your Website Should Look the Part

This goes to being up-to-date with technology but also in terms of the design of your site. If you had a successful site in the 90s and you’ve not changed it, it’s way past time to change it. There exists many different formats today for a website. Gone are the typical banner at the time and two side bars. Sites are now much more dynamic in appearance. Thankfully, with software like self-hosted WordPress, you too can have a seriously competitive up-to-date and great-looking website that won’t blind visitors or appear old-fashioned.

Your Website Should Speak Directly to Your Audience

Outside of the look and feel of your website and your content, you need to be sure that everything speaks directly to your own audience. Don’t try to appeal to others just because you want links. Appeal to your audience instead. You should be able to create very detailed personas of your audience. These personas are who you will be creating and curating content for. You want your website to be the one-stop place for anyone who needs information on your niche.

Conclusion

By becoming the most authoritative site that you can for your niche as well as looking the part with an up-to-date website, you’ll certainly become more link-worthy. But, it’s most important to remember that you should always speak directly to your audience in terms of the look and feel of your site, and the content that you put on it. By doing so your website will become very link-worthy in no time.