New Year Marathon Post Countdown

New Year Marathon Post Countdown
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With a New Year only hours away, we decided to take this time to look back on some of our best posts from 2013 and share them with you in case you missed them. Between midnight December 30th and midnight January 1st we’re doing a marathon countdown of Editor’s Picks, every hour on the hour on each of our social networks. As an extra bonus, on New Year’s day we’ll list all 48 posts here for your reading perusal.

There are plenty of gems to be found, from composing effective emails to managing your social marketing to deciding whether you’re paying the right price for your website.

Join us for the next 48 hours as we count down until the new year with some oldies-but-goodies from the previous year. They’re all just as relevant now and they can help you get your 2014 marketing off to a great start.

If you want in, find and follow us on any of these networks. Then be sure to chime in with your thoughts – agree or disagree – and let us know how you’re going to make 2014 the year of your marketing and business success. If you’ve got questions, be sure to ask them! We want to be part of your marketing success in the new year.

Carol Lynn Rivera

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Ralph M. Rivera

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{Web.Search.Social} 

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We wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous new year!

2013 Marathon Post Countdown

In case you missed them online, here’s a collection from across the spectrum.

No. 48 > Steal This Editorial Calendar. Your Blog Will Thank You.

Our editorial calendar was a huge hit when we published it last January. Read more to find out how it can make your life easier and then you can download our NEW updated 2014 version.

No. 47 > Creating A Logo For Your Business Does Not Have To End In Disaster

If you’re ready for a logo design – or even a redesign or rebrand – then this is the article for you.

We’ve got some common scenarios that can derail the design process and leave you disappointed in the end. Better yet, we offer alternatives so you can judge whether you’re on the right track.

No. 46 > How To Write An Email Newsletter (That People Will Read) 

Marketing emails hit our inboxes every day… every minute of every day! With so many things that want our attention and only a limited amount of attention to give, what makes us decide which emails to read and which to trash?

These are some tips for making your marketing emails more readable and avoiding the delete button (or worse, the unsubscribe).

No. 45 > Why The Customer Is Not Always Right And It’s Okay To Say So 

You’ve heard the cliché. Maybe you even abide by it. But should you really be appeasing and placating customers? Or is a good dose of the hard truth sometimes warranted? We think so! Here’s why.

No. 44 > 12 Stupid Simple Ways To Find Content To Share On Your Social Channels

If you’re engaged in social marketing you’re probably doing some curating – that is, finding content from around the web to share with your audience.

It may be photos, videos, clever quotes or news. Whatever you choose, you’ve got to find something worthy of sharing and that can seem like a daunting task.

No worries, we’ve got you covered. Use these tips to make finding good content a snap.

No. 43 > 7 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Unreadable

You may be pouring your heart and soul into your blog posts but have you stopped to consider how effective they are? You could be derailing your own efforts with these common but easily avoidable mistakes. Find out what they are and then STOP!

No. 42 > How To Find And Work With Influencers In Your Niche

In this guest post from influence marketing pro Holly Hamann, you’ll learn how to find influencers that YOU can work with who can use their connections and their influence to help you promote your brand. These are some great pointers because finding an influencer may not be as obvious as it seems. Make sure you’re following these guidelines so you don’t miss opportunities.

No. 41 > Measuring Your Social Media ROI

Social marketing is a great way to open doors and build relationships. But how do you know if it’s working?

Measuring ROI doesn’t have to amount to a complicated formula. There are some pretty basic things you can be looking at to help you gauge your success and you can start right now, no formulas necessary.

Make these a part of your 2014 marketing plan so that you can track your progress and make sure you’re going in the right direction.

No. 40 > The High Cost Of Cheap Hosting

Hosting companies are a dime a dozen – and that can be a problem.

With hosting ranging from free to hundreds or even thousands a month, it may seem like a no-brainer to pick the least expensive option and go. But that can have a seriously negative impact on your business. Here’s why, so you can be better prepared to make decisions about this important and vital service.

No. 39 > 5 Minute Fixes: Improve Your Website Even If You’re Short On Time And Budget

Building a website can be a time- and budget-intensive experience. A redesign just reminds you of how much you never wanted to do it again!

But did you know that you could be making small improvements to your website that will keep your site in good shape without requiring a full-on do-over? Here are some small things you can do with little to no budget and most on your own time as you sip your morning coffee.

Make 2014 the year you stay on top of your website in tiny increments instead of waiting until it needs an expensive overhaul.

No. 38 > 3 Things Your Competitors Love To Hear You Say

The competition will always be there but you don’t have to give them an edge! Watch out for these three mistakes because they just might give your customers a reason to defect.

No. 37 > How To Gain Twitter Followers So You Can Successfully Market Your Business

It’s not strictly about the numbers, but wouldn’t it be great if you could increase those numbers by adding followers who want what you’re offering? Here are some tips for doing just that.

No. 36 > Why You Need To Write For Your Audience, Not The Grammar Police

How did you do in high school English class? All that great stuff you learned… forget it!

Although it’s important to have the basics of good grammar in place, when it comes to writing for marketing you can throw out the hard-and-fast rules and get a little creative.

That might sound counterintuitive but read on to find out why you get to break the rules and how it can be a whole lot better for your business if you do.

No. 35 > Don’t Be Like Hollywood: Follow Exceptional Marketing With An Exceptional Product

Quick, name the WORST movie of 2013… We were particularly disappointed in “After Earth”. And yet the trailers and marketing lead-up were so exciting. So where did Hollywood go wrong? That’s exactly the topic we explore here!

If you’re going to make a promise, be sure to deliver. Read on for a lesson that you can apply to your own business.

No. 34 > The Perils Of SEO: Are You Being Scammed?

SEO is becoming a super-touchy subject now that Google has upended everything we thought we knew and has taken a hard line against questionable techniques.

That means you need to be extra diligent about vetting people who you hire to help you manage your SEO. Then or now, “old days” or new, the fundamentals still apply.

Beware false promises, don’t get hooked on jargon and make sure you’re looking out for your business. These tips will help you.

No. 33 > Who Is The Most Important Person On Your Email Marketing List?

Who do YOU think is the most important person on your list? Take a guess before you read more. The answer may surprise you!

No. 32 > If You Want ‘Quality Content’, Kill Your Babies

We promise this title is not as scary as it sounds and there’s no blood involved. A few tears, maybe, as you pare your beautiful words away down to the core essentials… but if you want strong writing, it’s time to do a little killing.

No. 31 > Using Analytics Beats Marketing On A Hunch Any Day Of The Week

How do you measure the success of your website? Do you rely on anecdotal evidence? How you “think” it’s doing? What other people tell you they think about how it’s doing?

Or are you checking your analytics, looking at the hard numbers and making educated decisions?

Here’s why analytics matter so get on board and make 2014 the year that you watch the numbers!

No. 30 > Don’t Let Your Brand Show Bad Form By Using Bad Forms

When it comes to successful marketing, there are so many details it can be hard to keep track of them all.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered when it comes to your web forms.

You may think it’s sufficient to throw in a name and email field and call it a day but did you know there’s a whole lot more to web forms than just the fields on a page?

Here we’ll give you lots to think about when it comes to building a successful form. None of these tips are difficult to implement and taking a few minutes to think them through can mean the difference between a new customer and a lost opportunity.

No. 29 > Who (Really) Owns Your Website? 

Do you know who owns your website? Are you sure? There are loopholes and fine print galore so make sure you’re educated enough to ask the right questions and get the answers you want.

No. 28 > That Plugin You Love Can Kill Your WordPress Site

WordPress plugins can make our lives infinitely easier by giving us some pretty amazing functionality, often free or for a minimal cost. They can also drag our sites down and cause conflicts and headaches.

Here are some of the troubles they can cause, what you can do when troubles happen, and how to prevent them in the first place.

No. 27 > {Web.Search.Social} Write Better. Stop With All The Crazy Formatting Already.

If you’ve got a WordPress site or similar self-managed site then you’ve got one of those cool toolbars that let you bold, italicize, indent, align, color and otherwise pretty-up your text. All we can say about that is… don’t do it!

It’s tempting to use the tools at your disposal, especially when you’re feeling creative or you want to “design” your page, but all that formatting can actually detract from your design and make it harder for your visitors to read your brilliant words.

Here are some things to put on the “don’t do” list if you really want your page to be effective.

No. 26 > Hitting ‘Em Where It Hurts: The Power Of Pain Point Marketing

Question: how do you REALLY get people to buy what you’re selling?

Answer: hit ‘em where it hurts!

This article is all about finding what makes your prospects suffer and then jumping in to provide the solution to their problem. It’s not always easy but it’s a simple idea and one that every smart business owner should consider.

No. 25 > Social Media Marketing In 30 Minutes A Day

This post made a big splash when we published it and no wonder – there are so many social networks, so many things to do, so much to think about, that it can seem a whole lot easier to jump in with both eyes closed and wait to see what happens.

The good news is that with a teeny bit of planning you can give yourself a small and manageable block of time to do what needs to be done. No mess, no stress. Just successful marketing.

No. 24 > Actionable Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Right Now

Improvements don’t have to be painful and take a lot of time and money. Sometimes the simplest things can make a big difference. Take these tips for example. If you want to bump your email marketing up a notch, take a minute to try a few.

No. 23 > The Health Of Your Business: Whose Job Is It, Anyway?

Have you ever been a customer and met with the aggravating response of some unhelpful employee who answers your question or request with, “That’s not my job?”

As a business owner, if that’s one of your employees, you’ve got a big problem. Any employee that takes a “not my job” attitude is another nail in the coffin of your business.

In a down economy, where competition is fierce and roles can change at the drop of a hat, it’s important that everyone who is part of your business can see past the “job description” to just getting the job done. Here’s our take on that and why it’s so important to build the right kind of culture in your business.

No. 22 > Take Your Writing From Meh To Memorable With These 12 Simple Techniques

Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer (heck, maybe you don’t even like writing) you can still improve your writing skills so that your marketing copy packs some punch.

These are easy-to-follow tips that you can try on your own to see how they impact the power of your marketing content, from blog posts to your “about” page to those boring old brochures.

No. 21 > SEO Mistakes: Are You Choosing The Wrong Keywords? 

Even though SEO has gotten a bad rap lately thanks to all the changes Google is making, the fundamentals still matter. One of those fundamentals is choosing the right keywords.

If you’re off-track with that then it’s time to go back to basics. Here are some tips to help you determine whether your keywords are effective, and how to fix it if they’re not.

No. 20 > 8 Things You Should Know Before Designing Your Logo

Whether you’re ready for a logo or a rebrand, there are ways to get it right and ways to give yourself a total headache. Here are a few questions to ask so you can avoid headaches in pursuit of the perfect logo.

No. 19 > 10 (Too) Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Email marketing doesn’t have to be hard! Sometimes all it takes is knowing the basics. In this article we share some common mistakes that can send your email to the trash along with better ideas for ensuring that your email gets read.

No. 18 > Sidebar Content: What’s Helpful And What’s Not

Sidebars can be especially vexing if you’ve got a WordPress site with about a billion widgets to choose from. Here’s our take on what makes a sidebar useful… or not… and a few things you may want to consider as you build yours.

No. 17 > Want To Be Everywhere Minus The Need For Therapy? Try Integrated Marketing.

Websites… social channels… email lists… So many places to be, so little time to be there.

You may think you have to do gymnastics to have a robust presence online but the truth is that all it takes is some planning and a bit of thinking ahead to how you can maximize results while minimizing effort.

Here’s our take on “being everywhere” and how that can be a whole lot easier than it sounds.

No. 16 > Local Marketing For Small Businesses: Free And Inexpensive Ways To Capitalize On Your Geography

If you do business locally, you’re in luck. There are many ways to make geography work in your favor that don’t require all-nighters or big budgets. Want to know how? Read on!

No. 15 > There Are No Good Social Media Tools. Only Good Social Media Plans. Download Our Free Social Media Content Calendar.

Next to our editorial calendar, this one was one of our biggest winners of 2013.

There’s some great information here about managing your social marketing and a spreadsheet that will help you do it.

Grab the download if you haven’t already and combine it with the editorial calendar to really rock your marketing in 2014.

No. 14 > What To Do When You Feel Like You’ll Never, Never, Never Get Your Marketing Right

This article was part of our Word Carnival series – a monthly group blogging event where business owners get together to muse on a specific topic.

This time we tackled our business nemesis and this article explores the horrors of the “Doubt Demon”. We bet you’ve been there. Read more… we dare you to relate!

No. 13 > Customer Experience Is Everything: A Lesson In Falling In And Out Of Love With A Brand

This one is a personal story of a great experience gone awry. When it comes to building your brand, you can never slack off and expect that just because you were great before that customers will consider you great forever. It still takes work!

No. 12 > Make Your Customers Happy By Giving Them A Western Omelet

Would you guess that all it takes to wreck your relationship with a customer is a single day of failing to meet their needs?

In this story of a restaurant, an omelet and a refusal to compromise, we take a look at how ridiculously easy it is to lose business. If you don’t want this to be you then take the lesson to heart and act every day to make your customers’ experiences the best they can be.

No. 11 > How To Keep Your Marketing Going When Your Business Is At A Low Point

This year was tough for a lot of businesses. On the tail of a weak economy, in the wake of last autumn’s Hurricane Sandy, it was a long road to recovery for many people we know.

We all know there will be down times. The question is what will we do when they happen?

Here are some suggestions for dealing with the tough times and how you can keep your business going until the light shines again.

No. 10 > How To Plan And Manage A Social Marketing Strategy And Still Have Time For Dinner

We like to eat. We bet you do too! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social marketing and don’t know how to add “just one more thing” to your day, read this. It just may save you from (real) social suicide this year as you manage your marketing AND have time for an actual life!

No. 9 > Seven Deadly Web Video Sins

You may have jumped on the video bandwagon but are you making video an effective part of your marketing mix or are you just boring and snoring your viewers? Here are a couple of vital tips for making sure your videos are watchable.

No. 8 > Pop Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Your Social Media Marketing?

Good news: there’s no real score at the end.

Bad news: If you said “C” to any of these questions, it’s time to brush up on your social knowledge!

No. 7 > Are You Paying Too Much For Your Website?

How much is too much when it comes to the cost of your website?

Newsflash: even a single dollar spent for the wrong reason is too much. Here’s a whole new look at how you should be thinking about cost. It could save you big bucks!

No. 6 > How To Use Email As A Better Communication Tool

There’s more to email than just the typical email newsletter. There are internal and client communications, too. And in a world where every word out of your mouth is marketing, it behooves you to pay attention to the seemingly innocuous email communication.

Believe it or not, how you email your customers personally can matter just as much as how you approach your list. Here are some do’s –n– don’ts that can make you look like a business giant… or a blundering fool.

No. 5 > What Happens After Your Website Is Built Is What Matters To Your Business

Hooray, you’ve built a website! It’s a huge accomplishment and you may be tempted to sit back, relax and let the universe take it from here.

Alas, a business owner’s job is never done. There’s plenty to think about even after your website is “done” because the truth is… your website is never really done. Here are some things you might want to think about even after it’s built. And these things can make or break your website success.

No. 4 > Can A Facebook Page Replace A Website?

Facebook has made a bunch of changes recently that will affect how many people see your posts. That makes this article more relevant than ever. If you think that a Facebook page is sufficient for doing business, you might want to read this first.

No. 3 > How To Write Product Descriptions That Sell

You may have fantastic products but if your marketing copy is weak you may very well have a problem selling. Whether you sell or resell, it’s time to take product descriptions seriously. They can literally make or beak your sale. Here are some ways you can punch up those descriptions.

No. 2 > Your Organic Google Rank Sucks. Now Shut Up, Get Over It And Market Your Business. 

Google has made about a bajillion changes in the past year and plenty of businesses are still working to catch up. We’ve whined and lamented and complained, but now it’s just time to do something about it.

Search is not dead. But it’s not the only game in town.

Read more to find out what you can do if you find yourself frustrated by the latest changes or disappointed in your search results. We’ve been there. And we’ve lived and learned!

No. 1 > Marketing Noir: Don’t Trust A Web Developer Blindly.

This article is not only informative but fun. We took a page right out of a hardboiled detective novel and wrote a little fiction of our own to teach a few lessons about trusting who you hire… and hiring someone you trust!

Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera