Tips about using the Internet and social media — especially LinkedIn

How Often Should You Update Your Website?

Being an early user of computers (1973) and having coded my first website in 1998, I’m regularly asked how often a website “should” be updated.

You want your site to look as professional as you and your firm are.
You want your site to look as professional as you and your firm are.
To keep up with current trends or near-current trends, it’s important to write “update website” on your marketing plan every year.  That doesn’t mean you spend $5K to update it!  Instead, look at polishing the text a bit every year and tweak or revamp the look every two years.

Small changes
Sometimes, updates are small.  In 2001, I removed music from my home page that was popular in 1999 but had become annoying.  In 2003, I added a logo created by a pro and removed pop-ups.  I also updated all my marketing collateral (printed materials) to match my website.

Mid-level changes
Mid-size changes might look like adjusting the dimensions of a website to reach across the entire screen, creating a border around the pages, or updating the font.  In 2005, I started reducing text, since the general trend was to say less on each page.

Huge changes
Every 3-5 years (and no more then 5), your site will seem outdated and huge changes will be necessary.  Maybe you’ll find a better hosting service, like I did in 2007, which saved me nearly $500 a year.  That year I also hired graphic artist and web designer, Nancy Owyang, and changed my niche from working with women business owners back to my “career roots” — working with financial professionals. My website got a new look and updated content, too.

 

What determines which changes to make? 
Feedback from clients and colleagues, what you feel might work best for your visitors to self-qualify themselves, and having a yearly marketing budget.

And let’s not forget best practices and current trends.

In 1999, we were told to put subscribe boxes (to our newsletter) on all our pages to provide as many opportunities for visitors to join our e-list as possible.  According to the latest research by LeadPages, this changed as of 2014.  Now, it’s recommended to remove the subscribe boxes from every page of your website and instead provide a subscribe graphic on each page of your site that links to a page that contains the subscribe box.  Why?

Today, with zillions of websites available, people don’t like to be “sold to” right away when they visit a new website.  In fact, they’ll leave a site quickly that tries to hound them to sign up or register for something.  What they want to know immediately is that they’ve reached the right site and to learn if the firm behind the site can help them.  They like to read, THEN subscribe to learn more, knowing that the reason you’re providing free information is to woo them as a potential client.  People no longer want “in the face” selling, and that subscribe box is just that to the masses — you selling you and your services.

A good example of monitoring your site
I put off making my site responsive for three years because it wasn’t a necessary expense.  Responsive websites are easily viewable digitally.  The costs of making a major changes to a website run from 3-6K for a smaller business.

So watching your website’s trends is imperative.  My website traffic reports indicated that the browsers used to view my website didn’t require updating the site.  However, by the end of 2013, I noticed an increase in the number of people viewing my site with smart phones.  That trend is now 1 out of 4 of the 5000+ people who view my sites monthly.  That trend is higher if I look at which browsers people use to visit my LinkedIn profile.

By June of this year my website will be responsive.

 

How to save for your website updates — small and huge

I recommend that advisors budget 2-3 thousand dollars each year to update their site.  In the years you make a handful of changes, roll over the marketing funds to the following year’s budget.  The time will come when you’ll need all those funds to keep your site as professional looking as you and your services are!

(c) 2015 Elevating Your Business.

Like this article?  Read more website and technology tips, including “19 Ways To Make Your Website Trustable and Credible” here

Get tips sent directly in your inbox here: www.CoachMaria.com/

LinkedIn Tip: Save your connections!

You’ve worked hard (or not) to gather your current list of LinkedIn connections. How would you feel if you attempted to log in to your account and found that it had been closed?

Don't let your valuable connections disappear from sight!
Don’t let your valuable business connections disappear from your sight!

True story.

One day, back in 2007, I (tried to) log in to my LinkedIn account and received a message that my account had been shut down. I had no idea just how long it had been closed — or why.

It took me another four days to find a way to contact LI and learn what happened.

Ended up that I had unknowingly violated the LI User Agreement, someone had complained, and my account was closed. What had I done? I’d put the word “Coach” in my name. Yes, in the first name area of my LinkedIn profile, I had written “Coach Maria”.

I had to fix my error and send an email to LI saying that I’d never do it again.

My profile was offline at least 14 days.

Many business owners have had their social networking profiles shut down or banned. Often they aren’t able to get their profiles reinstated (I’ve heard that Facebook is the hardest site to get reinstated).

The worst part of having my profile shut down was the worry of losing my connections (luckily, they were reinstated when I got my profile back). But having this happen once showed me how important it is for ME to control MY connections.

Any social networking site can get hacked or shut down. I do have more stories! So, I no longer take chances with my connections.

A Few Solutions

LinkedIn
Using Outlook’s calendar to remind me, I schedule an export of my contacts (including email addresses and other information) into MS Excel (the option is to download it into a cvs file, but I change the extension upon saving it because it may contain characters that cvs doesn’t recognize). There is also an option to download your connections into Outlook. Here’s the link to get you started: https://www.linkedin.com/people/export-settings

Since recently subscribing to Outlook 365, part of this subscription includes “Downloads”. And the only download in the system right now is Outlook. I recently downloaded my LI files into Outlook and am currently unsure if it updates itself or if I need to update it monthly (stay tuned).

Facebook
My Facebook account contacts are easily uploaded into a yahoo.com email account.  You’ll find the feature to do this on the right side of your email account. Additionally, once your contacts are imported, you’ll be able to email your FaceBook contacts, too. If you know other types of email accounts that have this feature, please share!

Twitter
I haven’t figured a way to export my Twitter connections. If you know a way, won’t you share it with me and my readers?

Technology Solutions for Financial Advisors

With the right technology, independent financial advisors and planners can save money, time, and hours of operational frustrations. You’ll have more time to concentrate on building deeper client relationships, both existing and new.

AllBackOffice delivers client data and reports with information to help you service your clients. The technology is located in a secure area of “the cloud”. The best part is that it’s easy for you and your staff to analyze. The technology solutions they provide include: billing, performance reporting, held away account aggregation, data integration, and client web reporting.

martymoura

Call Marty Morua at 917-833-3994 and learn how AllBackOffice can simplify your operations.  You’ll also find Marty on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/marty-morua/4/223/51a

 

Visit the AllBackoffice website at http://www.allbackoffice.com/

Maria Recommends: JotForm for web-based forms

Do you need to create a professional looking “contact us” form on your website, blog, or Facebook account? Ready to create a survey form? What about a form used to register attendees for your next event?  

Or maybe you need a form for some other reason and don’t have a website at all?

Five or six years ago, I went “form digging” for a resource that would create forms “on the fly”. Before that time, I needed very few forms and either created my own forms or paid a programmer to create them for me.

But since I wanted to design more and different forms, I decided that it was time to find a company who could make the process easier on me an my purse.

Over a six-month time frame, I tried nearly 10 programs and chose Jot Form. Today, many years later, I still use and highly recommend www.JotForm.com And if you’re reading this post on December 24, 2014, Jot Form is holding a 1/2 price sale!

Here are some of JotForm’s features:

  •  Submit 100-1000 a month
  •  Cost from 0-$90 a year (or enjoy the 1/2 price off sale taking place right now!)
  •  Various payment plans: monthly, yearly or every two years
  •  Use the form on their site, or embed it on your website, blog, Facebook page
  • Pick template from the 1000+ form library or design your own
  • 18 languages to choose from
  • Integrates with more than 20 program (Salesforce, PayPal, MailChimp and 17 others)
  • Download files various formats, such a Excel, as CVS, PDf
  • Create forms in your brand’s colors
  • Headquartered in San Francisco, programmers in Turkey

The company is VERY open to suggestions.  You’ll even find the CEO’s email address on their blog.  

CON
No phone number to call with any problems you might experience.  But they do answer their emails on a timely basis.  

(c)2014 Elevating Your Business.com

Gain More Exposure With This Often Missed LinkedIn Feature

Often, when I conduct a search on Bing or Google for a firm, what comes up first is the company’s LinkedIn Profile — or an employee’s. It’s strange, but true. A LinkedIn profile shows up even before the website they spent thousands of dollars to create!

 

 

LinkedIn2

Using LinkedIn

When you use LinkedIn, you’re using it personally. That’s why the User Agreement states that you must upload a personal photo on your profile and when you fill in the profile, it asks for your first and last name.

You have created your summary and experience to include keywords (where you’re located, where the clients you service are located, your specialty, etc.) in your description OR as much as you’re allowed to — considering compliance.

You’ve also joined a few Groups of your peers, business management groups, Groups whose focus is something you’re passionate about, and Groups where your ideal clients “hang out”. You contribute to the Groups you’re a member of and increase your social media presence.

 

But have you set up your Company Profile?

Yes, if YOU have a personal profile on LinkedIn and you own a company, you can create a COMPANY profile. Give your firm an additional opportunity to be found online. And give your team and clients the opportunity to “follow you”, too. Learn more about this opportunity here: http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1561

 

What else to do with your company profile?

— Link to it from your website and visitors may follow you. (There is a call to action button on your company profile.)

— Post updates to your profile and they’ll be sent out to all your followers. (Or you can segment which followers receive an update.)

— Add photos and pertinent information, with keywords in your summaries. (As recommended in the edit area of your company profile.)

View my profile here and follow my company into the future: https://www.linkedin.com/company/elevating-your-business

 

Have questions about using LinkedIn?

If you have questions about using LinkedIn or its features, just ask in the comment area. I’m an early user of LinkedIn, having joined in 2004. And if I can’t answer your question(s), I bet I know someone who can!

 
Are you a financial advisor who is growing a firm?

If so, join me on this special LinkedIn Group: Elevating Your (Financial) Business, where I post practice management and marketing tips and articles for discussion. https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Elevating-Your-Financial-Business-Exclusive-4624383/about