Did you know, one of my favourite things to do is listen and observe. That’s probably a bit surprising to you, particularly if you follow my adventures on Instagram, because I’m quite loud and eccentric! But it’s true. I love listening to the real problems behind why more people aren’t feeling confident with promoting themselves online. Because that’s all SEO really is, in it’s broadest sense. Getting yourself “out there” so you attract more sales.
One of the key reasons why you’re not getting found is because you’re letting overthinking get in the way and you’re just not blogging enough. There are a million reasons why (time, pressure, other things take priority) but I’m not interested in why you can’t, I’m interested in why it’s a Good Idea.
So, this week I launched a challenge in my Facebook group “So Exciting Obviously: SEO for Creative Women” to find out why they think blogging is a good idea and added these reasons to my ever-growing list of 52 reasons why you need to be blogging more.
Have a read, and let me know in the comments if you think of any others!
- It’s free
- It’s great for building your brand
- It gets you noticed
- It builds trust in your readers’ minds
- It makes you stand out from the crowd
- It helps you grow in confidence
- It gives you content to use on social media and newsletters
- It ensures your latest work is always published
- It’s a chance to offer value to your clients
- It shows potential clients more in-depth information about the products you sell
- If the posts are engaging, gives people a reason to return to your website
- It’s a way of sharing helpful advice, tips
- It’s a source of pride in your website – you’re happier for people to look at it
- It’s great for getting found online by a new audience
- By publishing more, you improve and attract more
- It’s a great way to practice writing
- It increases your audience’s confidence in you
- It’s a way for you to express your creativity
- It brings traffic to your website
- It shows off your best work
- It establishes authority in your readers’ minds
- It lets you help others
- It’s a way of sharing examples of your work
- It shows experience in specific areas
- It updates your website with new work
- It lets people know that you’re still here
- It’s a way to communicate your values
- It helps you guide them
- It’s a way of getting to know you, so they can proceed to the next stage of decision making
- It’s a great way to build relationships with others you mention
- It gives others content to share
- It gives your target audience content to share
- You can send specific posts to people who enquire to help them with their questions
- It provides a good reason for sorting the cream of the crop images to update my gallery
- It gives you content for sharing on social media.
- It challenges you, and being challenged is good, it stretches you
- You learn how to do a new thing
- When you monitor traffic coming to your site, it’s motivating
- It allows you to share your thoughts and develop them
- It has a higher reach than your website alone
- It creates new opportunities
- It documents your work and life
- It shows you care
- It sets the tone for what you’re like to work with
- It’s a way to share your expertise and experience
- It helps you stay in touch with your audience
- It keeps your shopfront updated
- It can be fun to share something you’re passionate about
- Readers can relate to you
- It shows off your ideal clients so you attract more of the same
- It gives you a voice
- It reminds your clients you exist
So, what are you waiting for? Write and publish a blog post and share the link in the Facebook group! If you’re looking to get to grips with blogging and need some help, then my SEO workshop on 19th July is perfect for you.
It may or may not surprise you to know (if you watch my InstaStories) that I enjoy a gin of an evening. Whilst having my gin, I have been having a few conversations over Instagram about personal business stories recently and this got me thinking that whilst my About page is all spruced up and sparkling and ta-dahhh, I haven’t actually shared my business story here on my blog. I do love reading other people’s stories, and so I thought it might be fun to share my own almost entirely in GIFs. It’s important for me to inject humour as much as possible into what I do because it’s a crazy world and I think kindness and humour is key.
I have always loved weddings. When I was a little girl I had an alter ego. Her name? Mrs Wedding.
I went to a convent school which I kinda loved actually.
I grew up by the seaside in Devon….
….where I watched Splash a lot indoors on VHS….
I actually won certificates at school for smiling so much. Whilst others got them for doing well in geography or achievement in maths, I got awarded for being so happy.
I learned to code in HTML in 1999 when I was 16 – my dad gave me a page on his business website! The masterpiece was all about Ace Ventura….
I went to university in Bristol and studied business, and left for London and expected this.
But it was more like this…
But as a side job, I worked in rowing PR…as you do. There were quite a few perks…
Oh, and I used to organise a LOT of fancy dress parties.
I got very, very tired and needed a break. It was the recession and I lost my job.
My partner at the time loved India and encouraged me to go…so off I went. I expected this….
and instead got this…
Having space to think about life made me realise….
After six months, I came back to England to live on a houseboat, engaged.
I read about 100+ wedding blogs regularly. I entered all the competitions. I won my wedding photographer in a competition on a blog!
I started interning for the blog, and then, dear reader, I got married.
Meanwhile, because I like to keep busy (LOLZ) I led an international media campaign to save my houseboat community from extinction (side note: they’re still there seven years on)
I qualified as an English teacher so I could work abroad. After travelling for 18 months, I was ready to come back to England
I started to network (read: fangirl) the shiz out of the wedding world. And things started to happen….
The wedding blog where I won my wedding photographer (Darling Lovely Life) offered me a job where I wrote and shared my adventures.
I helped organise a networking event and met Nu Bride who hired me as an assistant researcher. She sent me to John Nassari’s masterclass at the Savoy later that year where I met Laura Babb (who I totally fangirled over and she forgave me) as well as Nicola at Propose PR.
I was then involved as a model in a photoshoot where Fiona Kelly was the photographer Fiona became my first real SEO client. Apparently it was this photo that led her to hire me….
That was 2014. In December that year I finished my last ever temping job and had my first logo and was officially madeleinenoblejones.com.
Having gathered a group of clients, I went off to Goa again for a few months but this time came back single.
Pouring all my energy into the business, I started getting speaking gigs.
(this is actually how much I talk with my arms…)
I had to change my name and therefore updated my brand, fully embracing my love of pink and became Madeleinejones.co and hired two assistants – Bex & Emily, so now we were 3.
I was asked to run 1:1 SEO reviews with attendees at Snap Photography Festival which went down a treat, it was here I was crowned the Queen of SEO by the fantastic Snap community, so much so that I was asked back again for a second year in 2017. (I gush publicly fairly often about the wonder that is Laura Babb but I’m not going to stop now!)
In the winter that year I made the brave decision not to go to Goa and stayed in England.
The gamble paid off and 2017 was the biggest year yet – we completed over 70 client projects and countless internal projects! I travelled all over the country sharing more SEO goodness, Pinterest fun and drank gin with wonderful people.
And so here we are in 2018, where I’ve published the research I had spent much of 2017 working on with (mostly) positive reception and we’ve been busy setting goals for the future. Writing pages of copy for lovely clients, working on some exciting web design projects, working with VIP marketing clients and our SEO packages with the jazzy names of Gin & Slimline / Espresso Martini / Bottle of Red continue to be wonderfully popular. We have lots in store for this year, more of which will be shared soon!
I’m mega excited about where this journey is going.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey thus far. I’d love to know your business story, so send me a link to yours!
Huge thanks to Natalie J Weddings for this image of moi.
Domains, hosting, WordPress – it all gets our knickers in a twist, am I right? I get emailed a lot about where to start with building your own WordPress website, I know it can be quite daunting, so rather than gorging on all the WordPress articles in the world, you can read this one and receive all the information you need to know to set up your own website and get to grips with right here and now.
First up, did you know there are TWO versions of WordPress.
- WordPress.com is the free version that has limited functionality but it’s not good for a professional site.
- WordPress.org where you pay for external hosting and you can make into an all-singing-all-dancing website. Or, you know, one that shows off your photos beautifully and will make your couples want to book!
So, here’s how to start:
Sit down with a cuppa and get your notebook, a pen and your wallet out; you’ll need your card to pay for a couple of things.
Do you own a domain name?
Firstly you need to purchase your domain name.
I like to use Namecheap (although there are a gazillion others out there like 123reg, GoDaddy etc). I like Namecheap because it’s super simple and easy to use, plus they have great live support.
So, to see if your desired domain is available, type your desired domain into the search bar.
If it’s available, there will be a number of options available to purchase it such as .com, .co.uk, and many others. The industry standard for commercial businesses is – .com or .co.uk. There is a debate on whether to choose .com or .co.uk as your main domain name. I would always advocate buying both if they are both available in order to protect your brand.
The domains are cheap to buy per year, but it is a ranking factor (albeit not a major one it would seem any more) if you buy for several years at a time, so if you’ve got the cash upgrade to purchase for 5 years, that is best.
Do you have a host?
Now you’ve chosen a name for your house, you need to find some land, i.e. your own corner of the internet on which your website will sit: your hosting.
I recommend Siteground – I host my web design clients on Siteground and they’re brilliant with customer support. Go for the basic package to begin with as you don’t need anything more. Logging into Siteground you’ll be asked to hook up your domain name with your hosting. They’ll walk you through this but they also have an online tutorial and even better, Namecheap also have live chat now so if you do get stuck you can go back to them and ask for help there.
Now that you have hosting, you need to update your domain provider and add the settings that your hosting provider give you – these are called nameservers. In a new tab, if you’re using Siteground, go to My Account, then Manage Account for the domain you’re working on and then the nameservers are on the left hand side. Go back to your domain provider in the previous tab and find “Manage DNS”. This can be a little tricky the first time you do it, which is why I’m so keen on you choosing providers that have good customer support! This will take up to 24 hours to update and then you’re ready for the next stage.
Now it’s time to install WordPress.org
Assuming you’re using Siteground, go to cPanel and under Installers, select WordPress.
Here’s a full guide on how to install WordPress on Siteground – don’t be scared, it’s really not as complicated as it sounds. Like I say, Siteground are very helpful and will walk you through the process.
You’ll be asked to note down your username and password provided by Siteground for your WordPress install. Make a note of these details and so you’ll be able to access your new website backend via yourwebsite/wp-admin
Do you have a look in mind?
Once WordPress is installed, you need to choose a look. I imagine you may have heard of various themes you can purchase like ProPhoto and more. I would personally start off with something cheaper, ideally free as you’re starting out. I’m a recent convert to Divi by Elegant Themes and now design all client sites on this platform, as they’re a drag and drop builder making it easy to build in blocks and they have great customer support.
When you’re researching themes, be sure that the theme:
- Is fully responsive (not just mobile friendly, actually look for the word ‘responsive’)
- Has great reviews
- Is updated regularly
- Has a good support system
- Has a clean design (you can add more in if you want to, but it can be harder to take away depending on the theme)
- Has a flexible layout
- Has great documentation (because, like Ikea, you may not read the instructions until you’ve tried it once or twice on your own but it’s really great to have them in any case because unlike Ikea they should be useful to you!)
My advice to you is, don’t get too hung up on this part. I know plenty of creatives get stuck on how the theme/template looks, but actually further down the line, when you book a Healthcheck with me then I may suggest you change the layout of the pages to convert your readers to customers better, and I want the best for you and what you do for your website.
Once you’ve bought the theme…
You can download your selected theme, it will be a zip file and you need to install the theme by doing this:
- Log in WordPress admin.
- Select the Appearance panel, then Themes.
- Select Add New.
- Find the theme that you downloaded just now
- Use Upload link in the top links row to upload a zipped copy of the theme.
Next is to choose the pages you need on your website to support your clients to trust you and choose to book you – coming up next week!
For now, let me know if you have any questions in the comments.
P.S. Full disclosure – this post contains affiliate links so I get a little bit of moulah if you make a purchase. I do not, however, endorse products I do not use and trust completely.