Search Engine Optimization (SEO), most of us would agree, is vital in ensuring the success of many clients’ WordPress websites.
If nobody finds your client’s site, that client isn’t going to get business from it and they’re not going to be able to justify spending any more on it (i.e. on you) in the future. A bit of SEO can make a big difference to your client’s feelings about the Web, and can bring a lot of money your way from projects as a result of recommendations, or anything else that clients needs.
The problem? SEO takes time: lots of it.
Nevertheless, your clients cannot be expected to know how to optimize their sites alone – not least because effective SEO practice changes with such frequency; mostly at the whim of Google’s algorithmic variance. And it won’t do to allow their sites to become neglected – that wastes their money and won’t bring anything new to you in future.
There are ways to get the best of both worlds, though, by making sure your clients have excellent search engine rankings without the necessary steps being too much of a drain on your time – and what time you do invest will be paid upfront and well worth it in terms of overall client satisfaction and future work coming your way. This article will guide you through a few of the most effective ways to make this compromise work for both you and your clients.
Include SEO From the Beginning
First things first: You need to explain what SEO is and why it’s important for your client.
Another point is that keeping things simple to start off with for clients is probably a good idea. Many will not have heard of SEO before, much less thought about how to use it effectively to improve their business; to this end, using Google as the reference point for what you’re aiming at might be worthwhile – and anything else you can do to avoid confusion or information overload for the client. Make things as simple as possible to begin with and you can introduce more at a later date.
One nice easy task to get the client started with is setting up a business presence on Google if they haven’t already – they can even do this while their site is still being developed. Although not pure SEO, it will improve their Web presence and make their pages look better on Google results.
Setting up a business presence on Google can be favourable for the world’s most popular search engine. It’s simple enough that your client should be able to create one themselves.
Take Advantage of Existing Software
As a WordPress developer, you’ve got the power of plugins at your disposal, which can make lots of things easier. SEO is no exception.
Having explained the importance of SEO, you can offer your client an SEO plugin install and configuration on their project for a small extra cost. There are some very good SEO plugins available free in the repository, such as WordPress SEO by Yoast, which includes a helpful traffic-light-style visual representation of how good SEO is on any given post or page.
You should also use a keyword monitoring tool by adding Google Analytics code or activating the Site Stats module of the Jetpack plugin. These will show the user which keywords are getting them the most success and on which content, enabling them to tailor their future content to cater to these successful areas in a more focused way.
Since you want to give your client a fighting chance with SEO when they first start out, you can offer – again, for a reasonable fee – to have a few of their site’s first pages (e.g. the About page if they will have one) written in an SEO-friendly manner before the site is handed over to them. If you don’t want to be doing this, you can still offer the service but find a freelance writer who’s good at following instructions and has a good grasp of SEO concepts; take a small cut of the fee the client’s paying for the writing.
Offer SEO Training
So far, nothing I’ve suggested will actually be a huge drain on your time – the biggest would be configuring the settings of an SEO plugin, but they’re generally quite good to start with and require only a few minor tweaks. Now, however, let’s consider something that does require more time – but can absolutely be worth it for you and your client if you do it well.
SEO training is something you can have as a separate service, sold independently of your Web projects – although you should advise it for any SEO-conscious client alongside a new website. Using quite a bit of your time as it would do, you can charge a premium rate for it; the justification for clients is that it should overall improve their business’s prospects for the Web if they make the most of their session and go away with knowledge on how to boost their online impact.
What exactly needs to be included in such a training session will depend on a number of factors. Primarily, the client’s current understanding – do they have a vague idea of why keywords might be useful already, or are you going to have to explain that “Google” and “the Internet” are not synonymous? The amount of time available (roughly one hour per session is advisable) and changing SEO trends will also play a part, but the basics probably include:
- Reiterating why SEO is so crucial for their business – getting found by the right people equals more sales.
- The importance of writing content for their site’s blog regularly. Having a blog will give their rankings a boost in some search engines anyway (an advantage of blog-centric WordPress as a CMS platform) and writing regularly allows them to build a following of people who see them as an authority; post regular, interesting social media updates if they have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other websites; over time, create a large amount of SEO-friendly content for people to find in search engines.
- How to write SEO-friendly content, including:
- Using the SEO plugin, if you’ve installed one, to create good browser titles, descriptions and perform useful analysis.
- Coming up with eye-catching titles.
- Writing content of an appropriate length – less than 400 words will generally be considered “thin” content, whereas Google is looking for high-quality, helpful content.
- Weaving in keywords to their content, including linking them and making them bold to improve SEO. In saying this, content should still flow well and be interesting for humans to read it or they’ll just leave and it’ll be pointless.
- Never, ever, ever plagiarizing content – duplicating another site’s content will lead to penalties, not a quick boost.
- Noting again how crucial blogging will be: they need to stick at it, creating a bank of good content, and results will start appearing over time.
Generally, you should try to keep at least the initial sessions as simple as possible – once the client is confused, it’s hard to get back on track without wasting a lot of the session.
Given the ever-changing nature of SEO, you can offer your clients refresher sessions in the future. This way, you keep your clients’ techniques up-to-date, their sites fresh and bringing in business (reflecting well on you as the developer) and keep earning on the sales of the sessions.
You could also consider compiling a booklet for those who have taken the session to refer to (again, this could be sold as an extra if you wish), updating it with new trends. This might also help you keep up if you spend a lot of time doing things other than SEO because you’ll have to dedicate a little time to finding out anything new.
Build a Network of Affiliates
Development isn’t everything in the Web business, but if you’d rather it were, you can make that happen – just make sure your clients don’t miss out on anything important as a result by building a network of affiliates to whom you can outsource various other tasks for them. This does have the advantage of allowing you to have a greater client base as you spend your time only in the one area (development), not in several (SEO, copywriting, and anything else).
If you’re not hot on the idea of giving SEO tutorials then find someone to whom you can refer clients for that training. They’ll still receive the benefits, as will you (active, fresh, successful site to your names) and in fact you could work payment through the agency so you take a small cut.
The same can be the case with freelance writers and SEO copywriters if the client feels that despite SEO training they might not be up to the task, or won’t have enough time. You can negotiate good deals and get the best people for your clients, making your service more valuable and hopefully ensuring your clients stick with you for a long time.
Once you’ve established these ties, you hardly need to invest any more time in them – although you could continue to take a small cut of the fee for setting up the affiliates with the clients. Your clients get good service, your affiliates employment and whilst reaping the benefits of an improved site for your client, you also make a little extra.
The core message here is that you should be making SEO part of your Web development services because it’s important for the client, and for you to retain the client. Making websites more successful is only going to be a good thing for the client and will keep them enthusiastic about the new opportunities you can offer them on the Web. Yet it needn’t be a loss leader: you can make money out of providing and/or recommending SEO services.
Whether you set up the services in-house or do build relationships with affiliates, it will benefit everybody not to ignore SEO and getting business’ websites found in favour of simply pursuing new development jobs (tempting as that can seem). To do the best for your clients, you need these services available in some form – and you can be paid for it, so what could be better?
Facebook needs no introduction. Today it boasts over 1.6 billion monthly active users, and if you haven’t extended your marketing efforts onto the platform yet, it begs the question – what on earth are you waiting for?
Well, the good news is that getting started with marketing on Facebook is honestly not that hard – anyone can create a page and start accumulating a following right away. Doing it right, however, will require you to get acquainted with a multitude of tools in order to maximize the efficacy of your efforts. You’ll need to engage with your followers, track your analytics, manage your ad campaigns, and know exactly which content to publish and when.
Thankfully, given Facebook’s popularity, there are hundreds of such tools available to help you kickstart your marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at our favorite 12 of them.
Agora Pulse is a social media management platform that offers solutions for multiple platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google , Youtube, and, of course, Facebook. The platform provides users with their own social media inboxes to keep track of their incoming interactions, analytics reports, and comprehensive data regarding their followers, among other tools.
- Enables you to handle publishing (including scheduling options) to multiple social media platforms from a single dashboard.
- Automatically filters incoming interactions to platform-specific inboxes.
- Collects new content from all your feeds into a single daily report.
- A notification system enables you to keep track of new interactions as they occur.
- An automatic moderation system provides you with the option of creating custom rules, to keep your social media pages clean.
- Provides you with a tracking system for your Facebook shares and mentions.
- Comprehensive analytics system with reports that can be easily exported to PowerPoint.
- Includes multiple Facebook-only tools such as a quiz application, photo contests, sweepstakes, personality tests, fan voting, and even a coupon app.
Price: Starts at $15 per month | More information
Hootsuite is another multi-platform social media management tool that offers support for pretty much every platform available at the moment. As far as Facebook is concerned, Hootsuite offers solutions for engaging with followers, publishing new content, analytics reports, follower insights, and advertising.
- Quickly respond to social media interactions from a single dashboard, which also enables you to create automated responses.
- Use filters to narrow down interactions from followers located in a specific area, or using a particular language.
- Manage your publishing duties with scheduling tools, targeted content, and the ability to designate specific team leaders who have final approval over everything that gets published onto your social media pages.
- Track engagement thanks to thorough analytics reports, which can be automatically shared among your team.
- Provides you with information regarding the best times to publish new content based on past activity trends.
- Includes support for Facebook ads.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $8.99 per month | More information
Buffer is an easy-to-use platform that enables you to manage all of your pages and accounts from the same place. While it may not feature the functionality of the previous two entries in this round-up, Buffer is an overall much simpler to use platform. It’s a solid tool for small enterprises that would benefit from a comprehensive Facebook marketing tool.
- Enables you to create and schedule your Facebook posts (as well as multiple other media platforms) from its dashboard.
- Includes its own powerful graphics editor which provides you with the necessary tools to make your images stand out.
- Using either its browser extension, iOS, or Android apps, you can automatically add content from across the web to a sharing queue for your social media accounts.
Price: Free, with premium plans starting at $10 per month | More information
Oktopost is yet another social media management platform, albeit one designed explicitly as a business-to-business (B2B) solution. This distinction comes, of course, with a higher price tag, albeit one well worth the price for those businesses looking for an upscale solution.
- Enables you to manage your social media publishing strategy through Oktopost campaigns, featuring categories and extensive analytics.
- Provides you with a detailed editorial calendar.
- Using queues, you can add posts to your existing calendar, and let Oktopost automatically assign them to previously customized time slots for maximized efficiency.
- Includes social acquisition statistics, which track conversions driven by your social media activities.
- The analytics platform tracks which kinds of content perform better for different audiences.
- Comes with a built-in content curation engine, which helps you discover relevant content for your social media accounts.
Price: From $400 per month | More information
Socialbakers Analytics is a company dedicated to providing a thorough analytics solution focused on social media platforms, including Facebook. Using their platform, users can access information regarding the performance of competing brands and pages, and track general industry trends.
- Enables you to compare the performance of your content to your competition, custom groups, or simply measure it against overall industry trends.
- Track how your organic content is faring against its promoted counterparts.
- Provides you with detailed reports, which can be set to be automatically delivered at specified intervals.
- Includes thorough analytics regarding your Facebook advertising campaigns.
Price: From $75 per month | More information
While on the surface DrumUp looks like another social media management platform, in truth this service is mostly focused on automating your content strategy and marketing efforts. Using DrumUp, you can sharply cut down on the time spent managing your Facebook pages, thanks to its curated list of content recommendations, scheduling tools, and mobile apps for updates on the go.
- DrumUp automatically looks through the web in order to find high-quality content relevant to your followers, which is crucial to increasing your following.
- Aside from Facebook, it also offers support for Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
- Provides you with hashtag recommendations for your content, to maximize the number of viewers for your content.
- Includes smart scheduling tools.
- Chrome extension, iOS, and Android apps are available to manage your account from anywhere.
Price: From $19 per month | More information
Post Planner is a service that helps users find the most engaging content for their particular fields, and helps them schedule it for the perfect time – maximizing the number of people that will be exposed to it on Facebook. Its focus on maximizing engagement through simple curation, and its low price point, make it a great choice for small businesses looking for a boost to their Facebook marketing strategy.
- Provides you with curated content tailored to your followers, to maximize viewer engagement on your Facebook page.
- A simple scheduling tool enables you to plan your content strategy months in advance to boost your productivity.
- Includes a recycling feature which, when enabled, will reuse your popular content after a decent period of time.
Price: Starts at $7 per month | More information
Pagemodo is a platform meant to help users create a Facebook social media presence from scratch, and provide them with the necessary tools for growth in the long term. In order to achieve this, they provide you with a simple cover photo and welcome tab design tools, as well as post designers – and that’s without going into their management functions.
- Provides you with the right tools to design a professional-looking Facebook page from scratch, and simultaneously launch your social media marketing efforts.
- Start selling your products right away, thanks to custom tabs and contest creation tools.
- Enables you to provide coupons on your Facebook page.
- Suggested posts feature will help you find engaging content and then schedule it in advance.
Price: From $4.50 per month | More information
LikeAlyzer is a no-frills tool that provides you with an analysis of any Facebook page you want, including analytics information and Facebook statistics. While the main page itself doesn’t look like much, the tool it provides is pretty darn useful for anyone looking to gain a quick insight into their Facebook performance at no cost and in a matter of minutes.
- Generates a report for your Facebook page with a single click.
- Provides you with an overall performance score, as well as the median scores of the competition regarding content publishing rates, and the average number of likes.
- Tells you exactly how many likes your publications have accrued, as well as the rate at which your likes are growing.
- Tracks your engagement statistics.
Price: Free | More information
Qwaya is a Facebook ads manager tool for marketing professionals, which provides them with multiple key functions to manage their work from a single platform. For example, using Qwaya, you can conduct powerful A/B tests by using Facebook’s data to target only the audience you want.
- Powerful A/B testing tool for your ad campaigns.
- Enables you to automate the structure of your ads, so you can handle larger campaigns more easily.
- Provides you with timing information to maximize the return on your ads by running them during the most effective windows.
- Integration with Google Analytics right from your dashboard.
- Add tracking URLs to your ads, such as those provided by Google Analytics, so you can link them to third party tools.
Price: From $149 per month | More information
Driftrock is an ad campaign manager for Facebook, tailored as a B2B solution that has served prestigious customers such as BMW and Coca-Cola. This tool provides you with a customer relationship management platform to increase your Facebook leads, and make sure that your ads are displayed during the best time windows, among other functions.
- Helps you increase your lead conversion rates through a comprehensive customer relationship management system.
- Schedules your ads for peak conversion times.
- Its smart ad creation technology helps you cut down on ad costs, while maximizing their efficacy.
- Enables you to create dynamic ads, which are updated as your stock moves.
Price: Price on request | More information
AdRoll is a marketing platform that works with over 500 ad exchanges in total, including social media giants such as Twitter, Google , and Facebook. Their Facebook services are focused on retargeting tools, reach maximization, and the use of predictive technology to increase conversions.
- Provides you with early access to the newest Facebook ads features.
- Makes sure that your ads are designed with mobile devices in mind to maximize their reach.
- Save money on your campaigns by letting AdRoll bid for you.
- Automatically schedule your ads so they display at the best possible times.
Price: Depends on the size of your campaign | More information