Podcasts To Get Me Through My Work Day

The Lively Show with Jess Lively

I found The Lively Show a few months ago, and seriously, it's my absolute favorite. Her tagline: "Add a little extra intention to every day" just spoke to me and honestly, that's how I've felt about every podcast I've listened to on her show. I've learned so much from her and the people she interviews on living, running a business, and being an intentional woman. Whether you're looking for something to help hone in on your self-care, wellness, relationships, money, blogging, and business...she has something for you. Two of my favorites have been the interview with Jessica Turner and her interview with Jen Gotch.

Your Business Is Your Life

Ok, so I am obsessed with everything Rachel Rodgers does (if you aren't on her email list yet, you need to be!) and her podcast with Ariane Trelaun is incredible. They're funny, smart, and provide insight on motherhood, business, and all things in between - and how those things all work together to create a balanced, fulfilling life that you actually WANT to live. Their episode on living intentionally was so eye opening to me (I'm pretty sure I laughed and cried while listening to it). As a mama-to-be and a small business owner, I can totally jive with this power duo.

Make It Happen

Want to listen to a beautiful, intelligent woman speak to you in an adorable British accent about living a creative life? Look no further. Jen Carrington, the host of Make it Happen, is the lady for you. I've really appreciated Season 2 of this as Jen covers what it's live to recover from a creative burnout. Though most of the time I believe "work/life balance" is a total myth, Jen might be the best example of someone actually living that.

Invisible Office Hours

Jason Zook and Paul Jarvis are two of my favorite guys to follow on the internet. They talk about tons of different things that people in the creative industry will find super useful, but personally, I love listening just to make sure I never miss Jason talk about money. I HATE talking about money, but Jason has managed to make it one of my favorite things to think about, talk about, plan about, whatever. (You can hear him and his lady talk about $$ here). Anyways, these guys have conquered the internet and are sharing their insights right here.

The Minimalists

Interested in living a meaningful life with less stuff? Joshua and Ryan have pretty much coined this movement and are here to chat all about it. Their podcast is great, but I'd start with their "Start Here" page if you're really interested in diving into Minimalism. Also, side note, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is totally worth picking up if you haven't already. It helped me come to terms with letting go of things that I don't actually need.

My Must-Have Chrome Extensions

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If you're a creative or small business owner, you likely spent A LOT of time on your computer. And, if you're anything like me, you likely are in Chrome for a good chunk of that time. I love Chrome mostly for its extensions (honestly, I used Safari until I started seeing the benefits of using Chromes extensions.) For me, I love anything that can help keep me productive and save me time- and these apps and extensions have done just that for me.

Grammarly for Chrome (free version)

On top of spending a lot of time just on random websites, I also spent a lot of time in my inbox writing and sending emails. For the most part, these end up being to clients or potential clients- so I want to make sure what I'm writing has correct spelling and grammar usage. This extension allows me to type just as I would normally, but with a much better checker than the built in autocorrect on Mac. Get here.

Full Page Screen Capture

As a web designer, I need to pull graphic versions of entire websites pretty frequently. Whether it's one I'm making and want to send my client a snippet of it in progress, or I'm pulling one already live but want to include as a static image in my portfolio - it's really great to be able to screen grab an entire website instead of just what's above the fold. I use this one.

Pin It Button

I love Pinterest, I'm guessing you love Pinterest (I mean really, who doesn't?) This extension allows me to pin things from all over the web. Super simple, super useful.

Google Keep

Apparently this is one of Googles best-kept secrets because I hadn't heard of it until recently. Basically, its post it notes online, and as soon as I read this post, I was sold on the whole thing.

Pomotodo

If I remember correctly, it was Melyssa who I first heard talk about the Pomodoro technique for productivity,  and it makes perfect sense to me. Focus entirely on ONE task for 25 minutes and then you take a short break. This extension seems to be a little wonky still, but their online application works fine. I'll probably do a little research and try to find a better one in the future, maybe Pomello (it's the Pomodoro technique for Trello users!)

Buffer

I'm terrible at managing my own business social media, even though I'm constantly stressing its importance to my clients. I have an account with Buffer and when I'm using it actively, I love the Buffer extension.

Your Guide to Hiring a SEO Specialist

I was on a call with a potential client yesterday and her first question, which I get often, was“Is this going to be a rip off?” She, like many business owners, had heard all about the SEO boom where everyone was working in SEO, making big promises of first page results on Google, and charging thousands of dollars for it – yet never really producing any results. Sadly, I still see this often, and because of it, I’ve structured my SEO service offerings very different than most SEO companies I’ve seen, and no matter who you’re chatting with about your SEO needs, I’ve created a guide to make the process a little easier and give you a little piece of mind.

RED FLAGS (IE. RUN!)

  • “I can get your page number one on Google/Bing/etc.” 

Okay, so this is the big one! If the person you’re talking to, or their company’s website, claims to be able to rank you at a certain spot in a search engine, hangup the phone (or be polite and say you’re going to look elsewhere). There is no SEO consultant or company, no matter how great they are, that can make a guarantee like that. Search engine rankings change all the time, algorithms change, and what works today, isn’t necessarily going to work tomorrow. There are basic best practices that, for the most part, will always help your search presence, those are things you should invest having optimized, but don’t fall for ranking promises that are impossible to fulfill.

  • Giving you a quote/price before looking at the current state of your website and traffic

Something that has always bothered me with standard SEO companies is that they always seem to have a number that they throw out to a new client, without ever even looking through their website. When I first got into SEO I thought that was how the pricing structure had to be and was totally guilty of throwing out a $5,000 price, only to dive in and see that either a) the site was already pretty well optimized and there were minimal adjustments to make or b) the site was basically trash in regards to SEO best practices and without a totally new website, content strategy, and basically starting from ground-zero, there was no way I could make it better. Obviously in those cases, my random “price” was going to to either be way too high, or way too low, for the amount of work that it would entail. Thus my SEO Audit was born. Now….before I even discuss a possible strategy, timeline, budget, expected results, etc with a potential client, I conduct an SEO audit and keyword research. I have a whole post on them, here, but the short version is that it’s my way to not only understand the current state of my client’s website, traffic, and competition, but also for them to already have information that will give them a return on their investment. The information in my audit is useful in all aspects of their business, and whether they choose to invest anymore in SEO, either with me or an outside company, they have a view of their online business that they can understand and will benefit from. Along with the audit I provide a full list of recommendations and an SEO strategy so they can choose if that’s something that they want to move forward with or not. It seems that the biggest hurdle with companies hiring for SEO is that they don’t know what they are even hiring for- this is my way of clearing this up.

  • “You won’t see any results without running a pay-per-click campaign.” 

Yes, running a pay-per-click campaign is a good addition, in some cases, to SEO efforts and…. yes, they produce quicker results than organic SEO. But, I tend to see this being a scam, for lack of better words, that SEM companies run where they force you to spend, spend, spend on advertising – and when you stop….your site is in the same condition as before. I whole-heartedly believe that PPC campaigns are great and have helped my clients hit their goals, but if you want LASTING, quality, and eventually FREE results, investing in your organic SEO efforts is what it’s going to take.

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • “What does this quote get me?” 

There are tons of aspects of SEO: on-page, off-page, paid, organic, social media strategy, copywriting, content creation, image optimization, technical crawl tests and optimization, etc. The person you’re speaking with should be able to explain exactly what they are going to do to “Optimize for Search Engines” since that’s what SEO stands for, and what you’re paying them to do.

  • “What kind of results should I expect?” 

Ok…so I know I just told you not to listen to people promise to get you somewhere on a search ranking page, but they should be able to tell you what to expect. When I am working with an SEO client this can vary based on what we are working on, but something like “We will resolve all high and medium priority technical errors that could be causing a possible drop in rankings. I will also provide you monthly crawl tests and traffic reports so you have a full overview of the progress we are making.”

  • “If I am not happy with the results, can I terminate the contract?”

If you are not happy with the results, you should know what to expect. If a client of mine is on a monthly retainer, I usually have a minimum time commitment (3 months is my standard) in the very beginning that I ask a client fulfill before terminating (then everything switches to month-to-month). This is because SEO efforts do not typically produce instant results, it’s just how search engines work. This is another reason I conduct an audit first, it provides enough time and information to the client for us to build a trusting relationship before I ask them to jump into a commitment. In the event that a client decides to terminate the contract, they still own all work that has been completed up until that point. I highly suggest making sure that your consultant has the same practice of ownership.

  • “Can you give me some details about the strategy you would recommend?” 

An SEO consultant should be able to give you some information about the strategy they would implement. What we do isn’t top secret and its nothing you couldn’t find on the internet. Chances are if someone doesn’t want to talk about their plan, they don’t have one, and you should be wary. Again, the reason I do an audit first is so I can- in detail- lay out a plan that the client can agree to before we start.

  • “Do you handle development and code changes or would I need to hire one?” 

This is a very important question, because the cost of hiring a web developer should be considered with the SEO quote to get a full picture of the total cost of this endeavor. Many SEO tactics involve web development changes so it’s just good to know up-front what your potential consultant has in mind in reference to these changes. While you’re at it, ask if they’re going to be doing any copywriting or if you’ll need to do your own/hire someone for that too.

Interested in finding an SEO consultatant to help you boost your traffic and increase your revenue? Let's chat!