Author: cormac84

If you don’t keep up with the latest SEO trends, you run the risk of the grass growing beneath your feet.

Penalties aside, there are new developments in SEO all the time and understanding what’s around the corner allows us to prepare, our own and our client sites, for the best.

As an SEO consultant in London, I’m positioned geographically close to a dynamic hub for SEO. However, as you’ll agree the more points of view you hear, the more information you have to formlulate your own view. So, I asked 11 different SEO professionals what they thought may occur in the next 12 months or so in the area of search and this is what they came back with:

Q. What do you think will be the most surprising SEO changes of the next 12 months?

A. ledux

What surprises can SEO bring us this year?

1. It might come from the battle between YouTube and Facebook. As Facebook continues to grow its video platfrom, Google will probably start thinking of some plans to fight it. This might lead to changes in YouTube rankings or videos being more often showed in Google search results. So, that’s something to look out for.

2. Last year Mozilla dropped Google as it’s primarry search engine for US users. Windows recently launched its new browser, which for once is actually quite good, which could mean it might attract more users and even more Bing searches. All these things can add up in making Google less popular and that could mean that our SEO efforts might need to be focused towards two search engines Google and Bing.

A. priyaflorence (Blogging since 2003 for myself and my clients)

I think artificial intelligence (AI) will play a bigger role in Google’s algorithm as the year goes on. Google RankBrain Algorithm, a machine-learning technology that is part of it’s Hummingbird update, will play a bigger role in helping Google sort it’s search results. RankBrain can “see patterns between seemingly unconnected complex searches to understand how they’re actually similar to each other.” Right now, Google says that RankBrain has become the third-most important factor for ranking Web pages. For most consummate SEO professionals, this should not come as a surprise. Rather it will be an indication of where search is moving in the future.

A. irynya25

I guess there is no many cardinal changes we should expect in 2016. But here are some considerations on SEO 2016:

1. Mobile SEO will become more important than desktop SEO.

2. The last time Google put much attention to user experience. I think speed will be one of the most demanding factors affecting your site rankings.

3. It is expected to be a shift to content marketing. Content quality will be paramount in this year.

4. Long-tail keywords will play an important role in the marketing strategy. The last year started with Google Hummingbird and continued with Google RankBrain that helps to sort out the search results.

5. Twitter will right the ship and increase its growth. There are some features that make much greater creative and content potential.

A. Ryan_Michael_McDonald (Digital Marketing Director at Iterate Marketing)

I’m not one for predicting algorithm changes, but the trends I’m foreseeing in 2016 that would’ve sounded crazy in early 2015 are:

  • Long tail is back, and weirder than ever. Voice search is changing search queries. We’re starting to see it in AdWords and Organic queries. Siri, Cortana, Google Now are seeing queries changing to longer, more specific, occasionally conversational queries. Yesterday I saw a query that said, “Okay Google, tell me…” It’s like AskJeeves all over again.
  • The industry is shifting towards Content Marketing. We’ll see SEO and Content Marketing combined in service packaging, and even SEO as a line-item in Content Marketing services. Content is driven by brand, and while it’s optimized for Google, it’s no longer built for it. The days of editorial calendars based purely off of keyword demand are over.
  • The “Knowledge Graph” continues to expand. Structured markup should be applied everywhere possible, especially for local and Ecommerce websites. If you’re no one to Google, you’re no one at all.

A. Lukasz Zelezny (Head of Organic Acquisition)

As most SEO experts and enthusiasts will tell you, every year brings plenty of new elements and changes to the SEO game. Whether I’m dealing with internet marketing, link building, content creation or something completely independent of SEO, the subtle yet constant changes being felt across the web have an effect on it.

With regard to social media, I’m expecting to see a complete reversal in how search engines value and classify social media signals. Up until now, social signals have at best had an indirect effect on SEO. Google and others have already begun to rank hashtags and trending topics from Twitter in SERPs, so I fully expect to see a world where comments, likes, followers and shares begin impacting rankings in a palpable way.

Guest blogging in recent years saw a bit of a downturn, but I’m fully expecting the practice to pick up once again in the coming year. As link building strategies become more sophisticated – in conjunction with an increase in how Google and others view link associations between multiple websites – there is going to be increased demand for this. Despite the initial hype and fear in regards to potentially negative link associations via guest blogging, there seems to be a general consensus that SEO efforts of the vast majority of blogs and websites are not being harmed through such practices.

Additionally, I expect that mobile responsive design will continue to become more necessary in order to perform well in search. While it may not happen within the next 12 months, the sheer amount of competition in search will likely soon lead to non-mobile optimised sites not being ranked at all in search, instead of just being lowly-ranked in most SERPs.

A. jonnyp (About the SEO technical part..)

Contents with videos have been the talking point of 2015 and 2016 is surely going to be the year of videos. Once again, keeping true to Google’s systematic abhorrence for over-optimization, one can’t really go on to add relevant videos arbitrarily in a single post. A single powerful video for each post will do. With multiple videos in a single content you not only have loading time issues to contend with, but Google’s ire as well. There are several on-page professionals who have asked me why videos are surfacing at the forefront of SEO, when we can’t even back them up with keyword optimized alt tags (something that can be done with images). The simple answer to that question would be that– readers are more likely to spend more time on your content if it has an embedded video in it. And, Google gives a lot of importance to a website if users spend more time in it on an average. So, if you had been too busy fixing alt-tags and meta-descriptions all this time then it is time to shift your focus on this lesser explored (but effective) on-page SEO tactic. Who knows whether Google is even planning to roll out an update regarding videos or not? I strongly believe that there is a possibility.

I don’t know whether Google will work on this or not but they should start regulating websites that don’t have a comment section. It kind of dents the entire idea of “digital democracy” whereby we aren’t allowed to put our opinions forward through comments. After all keeping valuable comments in moderation and publishing them with keywords afterwards facilitates SEO as well. There is just another avenue opening up for SEO professionals!

A. Doyan Wilfred (Founder howtogetmoresalesonline.com)

The evolution of the RankBrain algorithm and its effects on website rankings will be interesting to watch. More importantly, it will be interesting to watch rankbrain interacts with influencer marketing and local search.

You know that its now difficult, if not impossible, to rank for highly competitive keywords even when you are using the tried and true tactics like backlink building, skyscraper technique, guest posting, infographic, et al.

Which is why more and more people are resorting to influencer marketing to get their content noticed and shared. Als, you need a solid social media marketing plan.

Overall, I am looking forward to more personalized search results.

A. Ashley Faulkes (Online Marketer)

SEO in the past has always been thought of as a simple result list. And predominantly on desktop search. But as we all know, search engines have been changing as more and more people are using their mobile devices to search (and perhaps their smartwatches in the near future).

However, Search is starting to get even more complex, and has been drastically changing over the last few years. Such things as semantic search have changed the way we view keywords and content, but that is also just the tip of the iceberg!

In 2016, I believe Search will quickly evolve. This will start to surprise people as the search results change from how they used to be. Not only are results more complex and hard to predict/manipulate, but they also contain a wide variety of different information types. For example, Google is adding more and more answer boxes, information from knowledge graph and now, with the hard connection to Twitter, perhaps even more tweets.

Search is becoming a complex beast that will soon be hard to recognise.

A. Casey Markee (President, Media Wyse)

Google makes Structured Data a Ranking Factor: At the recent State of Search Conference, Gary Illyes stated that Structured Data will be big in 2016. He also went on to say that Rich Snippets, Knowledge Panels and Featured Snippets would be a focus point in the new year.

Google will be publishing Guidelines on how to get Featured Snippets, making its embrace that much more important. This could be Google’s way of saying that although we are not using structured data for ranking now…we MAY in the future. Better get on board!

What type of structured data should you focus on? Google seems to love JSON-LD and I predict that will have a huge emergence as the defacto standard in 2016. I recommend you focus on its implementation specifically with your clients over traditional microformats.

A. sumant (Director of Digital Marketing)

The trends have been pretty consistent over the past I would say 4 years. Content marketing is defintely the way to go, but I think the relevancy to searches is going to play a crucial role. For example, if people happen to be searching at a given time (month) about ways to eat healthier, and you have written a piece about incorporating organic vegetables that has been featured on a high authority site- This is good. Meaning that the bio link will go back to your main site, but the original search will let Google’s algorithm that your content is trending, and thus your business site wil feel the effects. I believe that in 2016 the user search is going to determine the popularity of your site.

A. seowaterman (SEO Rock Star)

I feel the most surprising SEO change that will occur in 2016 is that the Google desktop algorithm (and web crawler) and mobile algorithm (and crawler) will become one algorithm. The outcome of this merger will be that mobile-friendliness will become a ranking factor for desktop organic searches. This is likely since Google undoubtedly wants to run one singular search algorithm that can handle results regardless of device. As the future of handheld and wearable devices continue to evolve, Google will not want to create specific algorithms and crawlers for the various devices to come. This will also force web designers and developers to consider mobile first since the mobile-friendliness of a website would then negatively effect the larger visibility of the website within the organic search space.

So you’re looking to build links to your site. Well, if you’ve come this far you probably understand that not all links are created equally.

Look at any good quality link profile and you’ll notice one thing – diversity. The best link profiles have a wide range of links from an array of sources. So, not all guest posts, or all comments or all forum links etc. – a natural profile will be varied.

Editorial Links and Guest Posting

One of the common misconceptions of link building is that because editorial posts are more powerful than other links, a link profile mainly made up of this sort of link is better. However, in practice this isn’t the case.

Google is increasingly aware of link manipulation and a site that is top heavy with one specific link type is going to raise suspicion and won’t win the trust required by the algorithm.

Quality Link Building Services

Any good link building service will know this and inform you of this too. Link building needs to be part of a holistic strategy. Purchasing 15 editorial or guest blog links without care for any form of link diversity will only take you so far when it comes to ranking a site. Sure they are more powerful, but they aren’t natural as an isolated form of link.

If you want an idea of the sort of thing that works in your particular niche or for the keywords you and your website are targeting, then take a look at the top 2-3 link profiles of the sites ranking for that particular keyword.

Different niches often have different sorts of profiles and the ratios of comment links to guest blog links to resource links and other links, often varies greatly. I’m not saying you need to copy the profiles to the zenith as there are other factors than links when it comes to ranking. However taking on board the variety of links and a rough ratio of link types can be very helpful when it comes to your link building efforts and can save you a lot of time.

This means performing a link analysis – something that can be done with the numerous tools out there on the market. Of course, if this is something that you can’t do, we are more than happy to help.

Some great tools we use include

Ahrefs

Majestic

Open Site Explorer

Take a look through them and see what you can uncover about your site or your competitor’s sites.

Link building isn’t a straightforward process and a case of just building links. It’s a case of evaluation, outreach and some savvy.

If you are looking for link building services – we would be more than happy to help.

 

Communication is a life skill in business and in recent times has come online. We recognise the importance of online communication skills and their development in young people – it’s our business after all. So, to entice up and coming marketers, we’ve decided to provide a scholarship yearly to those who can demonstrate grassroots abilities in the online marketing arena.

Those who wish to join the My Online Marketer scholarship program can potentially win a $1000 scholarship. We ask that those interested create and submit a 3-5 minute video discussing the merits of social media as an online marketing device for local businesses. We would like them to showcase their use of social media on a professional/educational level and benefits it espouses.

The winner of the scholarship will receive $1,000 towards higher education.

See terms and conditions.

 

When choosing an SEO consultant in London you might previously know a little about search engine optimisation. However, how do you know you’re getting a king and not a pretender to the throne? There’s many an SEO expert in London, however not all of them may be suited to your particular business. So, here’s some questions you should be asking your potential SEO expert before hiring.

Questions for Choosing an SEO Consultant in London

Here’s a list of questions to ask when deciding on an SEO expert in the capital.

What SEO Experience do they Have?

Ask them how much experience they have had as an SEO expert? This will give you an idea if they have gone through a variety of different changes in SEO and have the in-depth long term understanding of how search engine optimisation works.

Can I see a list of your previous and also current clients?

This will allow you to gauge whether the SEO was satisfactory in their work and whether their achievements are as they claim to be.

Ask how they will improve rankings?

There are over 200 different factors that Google tends to use to measure rankings – some of these are more important than others. It’s good to ask your SEO so you’re clear how they will improve rankings. Ideally, they should perform and audit and then fix on-site issues to ensure your site is as SEO friendly as possible, before performing off site work. This should then include ethical link building, social media and on-site blog work.

Are they Familiar with how to Rank Local Results?

Local SEO is important for a lot of businesses and having a business that has proven it can push a site to the top locally can be a notable benefit. Reality is that due to the importance of local SEO, every local business needs to take it into account. Ensuring you have hired an individual company that can do this is important.

Do they Understand The Big Marketing Picture?

Does the SEO focus on rankings or conversions? The reality is ranking number 1 is no good if you’re not converting traffic into leads. A good SEO consultancy will understand this and be able to help optimise for you.

Ask about Communication Skills

Communication is important for an SEO expert and a good SEO is a problem solver who gets things done and understands how SEO works. They will be able to communicate changes that need to be achieved and need to be able to discuss matters with developers and content creators in a manner that everyone understands. This will also go

How do they Learn?

A good SEO will be someone who keeps up with the ever changing trends in this super-fast industry. It’s a good idea to ask them how they stay ahead of things and know what the future holds. Ask them where did they learn SEO and how do they stay on top of things is a good idea.

These are just a few questions to ask when choosing an SEO consultant in London

 

 

Link building comes in many shapes and forms and as you probably know by now, less is more.

Google killed off the whole notion of building links on a large scale years ago, meaning the idea of thousands of bookmarks or hundreds of article directory links is dead in the water. Even guest posting en-mass isn’t really an option unless you have a chunk of very good quality blogs.

However, as we said less is more.

Link building from authority blogs is the way forward and though on paper may often seem somewhat costly in terms of time and effort, pays back dividends in terms of results in the short and also in the long term.

Benefits of Authority Links

High Authority Link Building ServiceGoogle wants to trust your site in a very similar way to the way people do. Before the web even existed, publicity and trust was created in offline advertising i.e newspapers, magazines, brochures etc. If you were mentioned in the paper, you could say it built trust among an audience. Additionally, if you were mentioned in a trade publication, the same is true.

Buy Authority Links

In essence, the likes of the Huff Post and Buzzfeed are just the modern day equivalent of these the newspapers and magazines of old. Getting a mention in one of these – whether it’s an authority news site or the online equivalent of a trade publication, is worth its weight in gold and will carry a lot of power in the immediate and also going into the future. It’s the sort of online real estate that can really help website or a blog push its way to the top of the search engine results and in turn help dominate rankings.

Getting These Links

Needless to say getting these sort of links on authority sites is the hardest part. The likes of Forbes, or Entrepreneur.com don’t give out links on a willy nilly basis to any old business. It’s all down to the journalism of old really and you need to manage to pique the interest of a journalist to get them to take notice of your site.

This means either doing something interesting or having some form of contact with the journalist. Our link building services provide the latter and we have contact with writers on a number of these authority sites and are able to pitch your site to them and in turn gain their interest, a contextual mention and a link that will drive traffic to your site and help you make those sales. These services can work very well for local SEO link building or national and international campaigns.

High Authority Link Building Service

Needless to say a nice contextual link on a very high authority site will also help you reap SEO benefits too. There’s a lot to be said for having a number of these relevant, high quality links in a backlink profile pointing to a website.

We’re always happy to do the hard work and put in the hard yards when it comes to link building and our SEO link building services are ideal for most sites.

 

Link building is still so important, never mind what some will have you think. Survey after survey shows that link building and the quality and suitability of links is the number one ranking factor in SEO. What’s changed is Google’s ability to determine whether your site has the right links or not. 

Building links for local SEO is somewhat different to building for national sites and in a lot of ways much finesse and attention to detail is required.

When building links for a larger national or international site, there is often more room at play. Creating blog content for large industry blogs, renowned general blogs and international news sites is often the norm.

Local SEO Link Building Services

This local strategy requires a different approach. Unlike larger sites, where powerful links are often the required type, local links need to take the size of the business, geographical area and in the case of the local map pack and directories – the correct NAP details are as important as the link itself.

Google understands increasingly what looks like a natural link and as such it knows that a small mom and pop business is going to naturally be more inclined to come by a link from a small local media outlet or a partially related business blog from the same town than 15 blog comments created via a scatter gun approach on larger international sites.

Natural is the Aim

Needless to say the issue when you think about it is quite obvious. A link in an editorial written by a local journalist about a charity drive looks a lot more natural and that’s the name of the game. Links need to look natural and ideally need to be natural and Google is increasingly able to spot patterns to the contrary.

Our link building service is focused on creating these natural sorts of links for your business and that’s why we’ve been deemed so successful at what we do.

We don’t tend to heed to stock advice that you should rebuild a competitor site’s profile, or that you need to hit up huge authority blogs for the best links. Yes, these things will help but often not to the same degree as a more considered approach.

SEO and seo link building services should not be a one size fits all strategy. They ideally should be bespoke services that fit within a client budget. Each site is unique and its needs are the same. What’s needed for local SEO and small businesses is a lot different than what’s required for national websites and larger.

So, if you’re looking for quality SEO services then get in touch with us – we’d love to help improve your rankings and meet your SEO goals.

 

 

Many businesses out there are basking in the benefits that online marketing has brought them and base their whole marketing strategies around digital marketing. So why would the automotive market not do the same? With technology constantly growing and the online world constantly changing, it is only fitting that the automotive industry joins in on the online game.

The crucial part for car dealers to stake their claim in the online world and get customers to see their name is by staying up to date, staying connected with customers over more than one platform and much more…

  1. Connect across all social media platforms

There are so many social media platforms available to us therefore it is very important that used car dealers make themselves familiar with each platform and join the ones that are relevant to their business and can get them in touch with as many customers as possible. Place calls to action, post competitions and deals from your website on your Twitter and Facebook pages – the aim is to do as much as you can in 140 characters! Here are some tips. 

  1. Update your social media pages

If you think that posting something on your social pages every week is going to get you followers then you are very wrong! However, on the other hand, posting something every 10 seconds of the day will not get you followers either therefore it is important for you to find a middle ground.

Ideally, you want to keep your followers gradually updated throughout the course of the day which may mean that you need to post something on your social media pages every few hours of the day so you are engaging with your followers without being annoying or spammy.

Do not think that if you create a profile for your dealership on every social media platform on the planet your online presence will be boosted because that is wrong and will become very hard and time consuming to manage. Instead, you may want to focus on creating a few profiles to start off with and grow your online presence as your understanding of each platform grows.

  1. Engaging Content – Online Marketing Tips for Used Car Dealers

Quality content is a big must with social media therefore you want to make sure your posts are short and sweet and to the point! Create posts that will make your used car dealership stand out in the automotive industry so your followers will not think that your auto business is lazy or being too salesy.

In order to truly engage your online customers, you need to provide valuable, relevant resources. These can include informative emails, text message coupons, auto maintenance tips, industry news, whitepapers and so on. These resources help to establish your used car dealership marketing as an automotive authority and create ongoing interest in your customers. Also you must ensure that you link back to your website to bring in as much traffic as you can and your website must give your customers a great experience if you want them to stay.

If you are in need of a website re-glam, check out eDealer who specialise in used car dealership websites such as www.edealer.co.uk.

  1. Respond to Online Feedback Promptly

As soon as anything hits the internet it has the potential to go viral and can spread like wildfire so for the sake of your business’s reputation you must ensure that you respond quickly to positive and negative feedback. If a customer posts a comment on your Facebook or Twitter page you must reply in a professional and respectable manner and try to calm the situation because your car dealership’s reputation is on the line.

  1. Gather Feedback Easily through Surveys

It is a great idea for your business to conduct some market research when it comes to analysing your campaign. Create surveys for your customers so they can give you feedback on their experience whilst using your website, your social media campaigns and how engaging your dealership is online etc. Try to make your surveys simple and quick as more people would be willing to fill one out if they know they can get it over and done with in 30 seconds.

  1. Offer Special Marketing Promotions and Competitions

If you want to gain followers quickly then hosting a competition is the quickest and easiest way you can achieve thousands of followers in the matter of a week.

If your dealership is offering customers a little something extra than other used car dealerships then they will be more willing to purchase a car from you. Even if your price is slightly higher than the other dealers, if you are offering out a freebie then your customers would be more willing to buy from you – let’s face it we all love a freebie!

You can easily promote your contests, coupons and auto sales on your website and on your social media pages. Promotions are a great way to draw new and repeat business to your car club dealership.

  1. Create Videos

Videos are some of the most engaging things you can put on your website and social media pages. They are engaging, informative and interesting to your auto customers who would be more willing to watch a short clip about one of your products over reading a whole description about it.

Your auto videos can show so much about your product in a matter of seconds by advertising your newest vehicles or special sales. You can also show so much about your business and you are more likely to see more of an engagement online if you have videos as many people prefer to watch and share videos than read status’s. They can be all about automotive tips and can provide your customers with information they can really use and show their friends.

 

Finding a quality social media manager for your brand is important. Social media matters more now than ever before and it’s only going to be the trend in the future too.

With More channels than ever before and a global active base of over 2.2billion people, the marketplace for social media is huge. Making the most of this potential market is incredibly important and hiring a professional social media person to do so is a necessity to make your brand’s mark. So, what should you look for?

Social Media Management

Social Media ManagementWith dozens of incredibly popular social media sites now in existence, asking your potential social media manager, which they think is best for your brand is important. Some social media is more suitable to some areas than others and ensuring your potential employee understands which are best for a particular brand is a need to know.

Accomplishments for Social Media Management

Asking the social media manager are they accomplished in a social media environment and a social customer service environment and asking them to determine the difference between the two can be a true eye opener.

How to Deal with a Crisis in Social Media

The world of social media management can be one of turmoil and crisis, when things go wrong it can create all sort of potential brand problems. UK marketing recruitment specialist Spotlightrecruitment.com advise that you ask them how they would deal with such a crisis if it were to arise.

Important Social Media Metrics

Ask them how they will determine social media success. There are all sorts of metrics that allow you to showcase what’s important or not, however ask them the ones they think are most important for your brand. This gives you insight into what they determine is important. Here are some good metrics.

Blog and Social

Ask them if they have a blog and if they currently work on social media channels. The best way to determine how suitable they are is often to see the work they’ve completed.

These five different questions or queries should help you and your brand get a better idea of whether someone is up to task or not.

If you want help with your social media, why not get in contact with us.

 

For new bloggers SEO or search engine optimization is like a science. SEO is a process and takes time. There is plenty of information on what to do.

The best SEO information you can learn though is what not to do; things that will get you in trouble. Some of these SEO mistakes can cost you search engine rankings and reduce search traffic.

It is important to understand what these SEO mistakes are so you can stay clear of them. Here is an Infographic with SEO Mistakes to Avoid.

Wrapping it up

Don’t take short cuts or look for quick wins when it comes to SEO. In the long run the ever evolving search engines like Google will find a way to penalize black hat SEO practices. Low cost SEO or link building tactics will eventually get you in hot water, so steer clear of them.

The best advice when it comes to SEO is build link worthy content and promote the content to the best of your ability. Don’t copy content word to word; be patient and consistent with content quality and publishing frequency. Always learn SEO from the pros and not any local self proclaimed expert. Good luck with your SEO ventures.

Print

 

Cent likes blogging related content with a twist. He loves Infographics. He likes innovation and entrepreneurship. To see what crazy idea he is currently working on pop in to his blog YourEscapeFrom9to5.com

Does earning a regular monthly income and a bunch of loyal customers sound good to you?

Let’s make it even better … what if these paying customers could be a great testing ground for your newest service or product ideas?

And better still — what if you had the chance to spend time creating powerful, in-depth content — while getting paid for it over and over again?

Well, this doesn’t need to be a “what if” situation for you …

Your business can have all this with a membership site: a private website, with exclusive content and (usually) the ability for members to interact with one another. They pay you a monthly fee.

I’ve had my own membership site up and runnning for a while, and here’s what I’ve learned from a year and a half of running it, boiled down into five easy-to-use tips:

web design#1: Start before you think you’re ready

For years, I knew that I wanted to run a membership site. I loved the idea of regular monthly income and a dedicated group of writers to work with.

But I kept putting it off.

I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t think I had enough to offer. But I could’ve gotten it going much earlier than I did.

You’ll never be completely ready. Start it anyway.

Try it: If you’re not sure that you have enough to offer, you can:

  • Start off at a ridiculously low fee. Let your charter members know they’ll basically be acting as guinea pigs — and that you’d love their feedback and ideas.
  • Aim for a minimum viable product (MVP) rather than perfection. Your membership site doesn’t need to be the next Teaching Sells.

#2: Learn from membership sites you belong to

Do you belong to any membership sites? I had a great time as a member of the first iteration of Authority — and shamelessly stole their structure, starting off my site with:

  • Monthly seminars (sometimes with guest speakers).
  • Monthly Q&A calls — I discontinued these after a few months as not enough questions were coming in.
  • Member forums.

And, if you belong to a membership site that isn’t working perfectly for you, ask yourself what you would do differently. For me, that meant sending weekly emails to my members, letting them know about anything new and highlighting key forum topics.

Try it: If you’ve never been part of a membership site before, consider joining one for a month or two.

Think about:

  • What’s working well for you in that site? What makes it worth the monthly fee — and how could you replicate this?
  • What doesn’t work for you? If you’re struggling to find time to use the resources, for instance, how could the site owner make that easier?

Bring in other learning experiences here, too; perhaps you had a great course (or a terrible one) during college, and you can use aspects of that to help you with your planning.

#3: Interact and engage with members

Although some membership sites are simply dripped feeds of content, with little or no input from the owner, members will have a much stronger reason to join if they know they’ll have insider access to you.

Depending on your set-up, that could mean:

  • Live seminars or webinars where members can ask questions through chat or over the phone.
  • Forums where you post regularly, providing help and support for your members.
  • A text chat room where you hold “office hours” or similar.
  • A private Facebook group where you chat with members.
  • A contact form that ensures you spot members’ messages quickly in your inbox.

Try it: Even if you’re busy, stay involved with you membership site. It might help to:

  • Set aside time on a regular basis to interact. E.g. you might check forums daily, send out an email weekly, and hold a live webinar every three months.
  • Lead the way with interaction. (This is on my “get better at” list.) If your forums are quiet, start an extra topic or two — members may be shy about breaking the ice.

#4: Run group events and challenges

Maybe you’ve provided tons of great materials — ecourses in bite-sized chunks, pre-recorded seminars, video tutorials — but members just don’t seem to be engaging with them.

Some people enjoy working at their own pace, alone, but many find it easier to stay motivated and on track when they’re going through materials with a group.

You don’t necessarily need to have a big event to get people involved — in fact,simple is probably better. Right now, I’m running a “Summer Challenge” in my membership site (Writers’ Huddle) to help members work toward their writing goals. Each week, I create a super-short video (1 – 2 mins) with a bit of encouragement and their “mini-challenge” for the week.

Try it: There’s a wonderful buzz and energy in working as a group, but this can be tough to foster when members live in different countries and time zones. You could aim to:

  • Have regular events, challenges, group courses, or similar. This might simply mean using existing materials in your membership site and going through them week by week.
  • Make it easy to participate … and fun! I’ve found that offering prizes creates a great incentive for members to get involved.

#5: Give out free places

One of the very best things I did with my membership site was something I was anxious about: I let a handful of people in for free.

That might sound like a stupid idea — after all, that’s money I could be missing out on. But I gave these free places to writers who wouldn’t have been able to join otherwise.

If you have audience members who you’d love to have on board, but who probably won’t be able to afford your fees, consider letting them in for free. They might be people who regularly leave thoughtful comments on your blog, or tweet your posts, or even write about you on their site.

These lovely people are often your greatest fans — and they may well become some of the most committed, helpful members of your site.

Try it:

  • Think whether there’s anyone in your current audience who’d be just perfect for your site — but who might not be able to pay.
  • If offering free places will eat into your margins too much, consider having discounted places for students / under-18s / retirees.

 


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