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  • Content Audits: Why They Matter and How To Do One

    Monday, June 19, 2017 by
    Content Audit

    How to Do a Content Audit

    Content marketing requires creating a lot of content. Once you get going, often the impulse is to just keep moving forward with new content indefinitely. Keep producing, keep publishing, and hope for the best. But now and then, it’s important to step back and perform an analysis of what you’ve already done. Every business that does content marketing should commit to doing a content audit at least once every couple of years. While it can be hard to get buy in from your team to set aside the time for a content audit – it can feel like something tedious that keeps you from the more important work of creating – the benefits it brings are too significant to let it slide. Create Your Blog  

    The Benefits of a Content Audit

    A content audit will help you accomplish a number of important goals:
    • Figure out what works.  A content audit helps you identify which pieces of content, topics, and content formats are getting results, so you can invest more of your time and money into creating content that will pay off.
    • Identify the types of content that aren’t really working. Every business doing content marketing is going to end up with content pieces that just don’t hit. A content audit will help you ensure you don’t keep wasting your time on content you know doesn’t appeal to your audience and help you remove clutter from your website.
    • Find opportunities for repurposing. Too many businesses produce all their content from scratch. There’s a good chance you have old content that can be tweaked to fit new formats. You’ll save your team some trouble by identifying these pieces and creating a plan for re-purposing. 
    • Update old content. A blog post from five years ago could be filled with mostly useful information, but also some outdated stuff that makes it look less authoritative. Like re-purposing, updating old content gives you a chance to make better use of what you already have with less effort.
    • Clean up and organize your website. You probably have pages no one visits, either because your audience just wasn’t interested, or they weren’t easy to find. A content audit helps you identify what content you can remove, and how to make the rest of it more accessible.
    By committing time now, a content audit saves you future work so you can craft a path moving forward that will be more successful.  

    5 Steps to Complete a Content Audit

    Doing a content audit well does require some time, but by structuring the process and going in with a plan, you’ll be able to get more out of it.  

    1. First, clarify your goals.

    Before you do anything else, ask yourself what you hope to get out of your content audit. Most content audits will have multiple goals. You may want to improve the SEO on your website, figure out how to increase conversions, or come to better understand how specific personas respond to different types of content – just to name a few possibilities. Whatever your particular priorities may be, it’s useful to take the time to articulate in specific terms what you want to accomplish during your content audit so that you can structure your efforts around achieving what’s most important to you.  

    2. Create a list of all the pieces of content you have.

    Your next step is to list out all the content you have now. This should include every blog post you’ve ever published, any current landing pages, your videos, your podcasts, other site pages, any long-form assets you have, and anything else you’ve ever created as part of your content marketing that's still live on your website. Get it all into a spreadsheet, then start to organize and build out the various fields you want to track as you go. How this spreadsheet should look depends on the goals you lined out before you started, but you should probably include fields or categories for:
    •      All metrics you want to track in relation to each piece of content (e.g., page views, downloads, conversions, email signups, social shares)
    •      The goal for each piece of content (awareness, email signups, clicks to other content, etc.)
    •      The content format
    •      Primary topic covered
    •      The target keyword (if applicable)
    •      The audience or persona it was meant for
    •      Number of links that point back to the content piece
    •      Comments or feedback from your audience
    •      Whether a CTA is included
    Think of everything you could possibly want to check about piece of content and get a field into the spreadsheet for it. If you'd rather plug and play than DIY, Moz and Buffer both have solid content audit templates you can use. how to perform a content audit  

    3. Review the analytics you have for each piece.

    Every tool you have for collecting analytics should be put to use during your content audit. For most businesses, that should include Google Analytics. In some cases it will also include tools like HubSpot, Kissmetrics, and the analytics provided by your main social media channels. Any metric that tells you something about the success of a piece of content – especially any that relate to the goals you established at the beginning of the process – should be included in your analysis and plugged into the spreadsheet you’ve started.  

    4. Make a decision about what to do next with each piece of content.

    You’ll be able to start dividing your content into a few main categories at this point:
    1.      The pieces that perform well now;
    2.      The pieces that aren’t doing great, but have potential; and
    3.      The pieces that aren’t getting any attention or results.
    Let's review what to do with each category in order. For the Content Doing Well: A good performance doesn’t mean you just leave well enough alone. Figure out if there’s a way to make it better. Brainstorm ways to get more out of this content. Promote it more. Figure out ways to re-purpose it by breaking it into smaller pieces, expanding it into a longer piece, or covering the same topic in a new format. See if there are ideas within the content pieces that can be turned into new pieces of content. When you hit on what works, use it as inspiration and keep it up. For the Content with Potential: Perform an analysis to determine what the problem most likely is. In some cases, it could be as simple as a bad title or a little bit of outdated information; in others, it could be a bigger issue like targeting the wrong audience or not providing accurate information. Try to diagnose the issue with each piece in this category so you can determine the best steps to take moving forward to improve it. You may want to make some simple updates to these pieces, rewrite them completely to be meatier, or figure out how to make them more focused on a target keyword. For The Content Not Getting Results: For the last category, you’ll have to make some hard choices. It feels counterintuitive and wasteful to remove content someone worked hard on from your website entirely, but in some cases it’s the best choice. Decide what content can be discarded entirely and put it in the “to be removed” category. Some of the content not getting results could be improved upon with some changes. If you feel that’s possible with some of the pieces in this category, bump them into the “content with potential” category.  

    5. Craft it all into a content strategy with clear deliverables and deadlines.

    Everything you’ve put into your spreadsheet so far will help you with this step. Turn all the information you’ve collected and insights you’ve gleaned into a clear plan. Assign each task you want to take on to someone on your team (the writer, designer, editor, SEO, or content marketer) and start working up a list of realistic deadlines. Get to work on a new, better content strategy based on the wealth of knowledge you’ve just gained. And to hold yourselves to staying on top of things in the years to come, go ahead and put a date on the calendar in a year or two for your next content audit. You’ll never get to the point where a bit of analysis won’t do your content strategy a world of good.   What has been your experience performing a content audit? Share your successes (or mistakes to avoid) in the comments below!
  • 10 Tools Every Food Blogger Needs

    Monday, June 12, 2017 by
    Online Tools Food Bloggers

    The Food Blogger's Online Toolkit

    For people who love to cook and create new recipes, food blogging can sound like an ideal career. You get to share your culinary ideas with the world. You can avoid the high-pressure setting and late hours of a restaurant kitchen. If you're a great cook and a good marketer, you can make a pretty sweet living. The Huffington Post reports that Pinch of Yum, a popular husband-and-wife-run food blog, netted more than $400,000 in 2016. That's up from less than $22 per month in 2011, but everyone has to start somewhere. If you're hankering to start a food blog of your own - as a hobby or a business - here's what you need in your online toolkit. Create Your Blog

    1. You need a goal for your food blog

    Before you post that first kitchen tutorial or even pick a name for your food blog, decide if it will be a hobby or a budding business. Why? Because if you plan to make a business of your blog, you'll need to work on marketing as well as cooking from the start. You'll also need to treat your blog like a job from the outset by sticking to a regular posting schedule, networking with other food bloggers and readers, and reaching out to brands you'd like to work with.  

    2. Decide what makes your food blog unique

    It's hard to find reliable numbers on how many food blogs there are, but “thousands” seems like a conservative estimate. Kitchen Konfidence food bloggerTo stand out, think about why readers should come to your blog. You don't need a 100% unique niche – you're unlikely to create a completely new food, after all – but your blog needs a unique voice and personality to get readers reading. For example, here's how the humble waffle gets a fresh spin from four different popular food bloggers.
    1. At A Simple Pantry, whose theme is “easy gourmet,” Karly Gomez offers an edible-flower and berry-bedecked chocolate waffle recipe that looks fussy and complicated but only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.
    2. Meanwhile, at Kitchen Konfidence, Brandon Matzek combines his constant quest for foodie inspiration with a desire to help readers cook intricate dishes fearlessly. His rhubarb waffles with lemon whipped cream (pictured at right) takes more than an hour to prepare.
    3. Vegetarian blogger Erin Alderson at Naturally Ella offers a recipe for spelt waffles with cinnamon peaches that's simple to make and features an unusual grain.
    4. Nevada Berg at North Wild Kitchen serves waffles with a Nordic flavor in honor of Norway's annual vaffeldagen. Her rye-flour waffle recipe includes hand-harvested blueberries and plenty of butter.
    How do you like to prepare waffles? Even if waffles aren't your thing, thinking about how you make classic recipes your own is a good way to find your unique blogging voice.  

    3. You need a good camera, lighting, and a backdrop

    Food can be surprisingly hard to photograph well. Just ask a certain lifestyle maven and friend of Snoop Dogg. Her social media food pics a few years ago led to headlines like “Martha Stewart takes the worst food photos, ever,” thanks to dreadful lighting, a lack of cropping, and strange angles. Even if you can't buy a digital SLR camera right now, you can still make the most of your smartphone camera, natural light, and appealing backgrounds to make your food photos appetizing.  

    4. Your food blog needs a mouthwatering name (and a URL)

    Choose a name for your blog that (a) isn't already someone else's URL and (b) tells people what's unique about your approach to food. For example, North Wild Kitchen immediately evokes Nordic, fresh cooking. Kitchen Konfidence offers what it says on the label. Once you have a unique name, you'll need to register it as a domain name. Once that's done, you have an address for your new food blog. Learn the details of choosing a domain name for your blog here.  

    5. Your food blog needs a good design

    As with kitchen upgrades, there's no upper limit on the time and money a person could spend designing a site. For most new food bloggers, and even many well-established ones like Kitchen Konfidence, a WordPress platform and theme are ideal. Use WordPress and a free theme that's meant for showing off photos to save setup time and ensure that your blog looks good on computers and mobile devices. Later, when you're raking in the dough, you can upgrade to a paid theme if you like.  

    6. Your food blog needs a reliable, fast web host

    All those food photos take time to load, and web users are an impatient bunch. You need a host for your domain that delivers fast load times and plenty of storage space for your image and text backups. For less than $10 a month, a service like HostGator's WordPress Cloud Hosting can back up your data and serve your delicious posts and photos fast. Recommended WordPress Hosting

    7. Your food blog needs email addresses

    When your blog is hosted by a professional service, you can create email addresses using your blog's domain name. These addresses are more professional-looking than using your personal email, and can help you keep your personal and blog correspondence separate. That's especially important when you're building an email list for your food blog.  

    8. Your food blog needs an email list

    Your blog design should include an email signup form so visitors can subscribe to your posts and your email newsletters, which you can send out through a service like Constant Contact. You can tempt visitors to sign up with a treat like a free e-cookbook, as A Simple Pantry does. “The list” is a must-have if your blog is a business. Your subscriber count, along with your blog traffic, will matter to prospective affiliates, media outlets, and (ahem!) cookbook publishers. Email marketing can also be an effective way to turn subscribers into customers when you have a cool new offer.  

    9. Your blog needs at least one social media account

    You don't need every social media account. If you're pressed for time and want to choose just one, Instagram is a popular platform for food bloggers and foodie fans alike. Put your best photos forward to drive traffic to your blog (and to your email list).  

    10. You need a plan

    If you're running your food blog as a business, take stock every few months to see what you can add to your site. For example, after you've earned some media mentions you may want to collect them in a Press section. You'll definitely want a recipe index and a search box so your readers can find what they're hungry for quickly. You may eventually open a shop and add an e-commerce page—something your web host should be able to help with. And as your audience and storage needs grow, your host should be able to help you scale up to accommodate more traffic and a bigger backed-up archive of images and recipes.   Learn more about the ingredients for blogging success, like Greg Narayan's10 blogging lessons and Kristen Hicks' guide to creating e-books for your business, on the HostGator blog. Bon apetit!
  • 7 Signs You Were Born to Be an Affiliate Marketer

    Monday, June 12, 2017 by
    Should you be Affiliate Marketer

    Should You Get Into Affiliate Marketing?

    Everyone is seeking new ways to make more money, especially online. Some entrepreneurs create unique products, while others provide an in-demand service. But have you ever thought about promoting another business’s product? Through affiliate marketing, you can recommend a company’s products to your network and get paid a commission if someone buys it. This entrepreneurial path isn’t the right fit for every person. It takes a few special skills. “Affiliate marketing isn't hard, but it does require knowledge, planning, and consistent effort to make any significant income,” writes Randy Duermyer, a social media marketing consultant. Think you got what it takes to be an affiliate marketer? Here are seven signs that you were born for this role.  

    1. You’re Disciplined

    Affiliate marketing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. You won’t suddenly earn millions from commissions overnight. Instead, it’s a disciplined craft for people who have unwavering commitment. But what does that mean? When some newbie affiliate marketers don't receive a commission check in their first month, they are ready to give up. They start seeking the next money-making idea. However, successful affiliate marketers possess the discipline to keep selling, even when no commissions arrive. They try to figure out how to sell differently and create a strategy to gain more sales. Lao Tzu quote It's all about building a vision around your goals. Yes, you’re selling products built by another company, but that shouldn't limit you from taking it seriously. With a positive mindset and dedication, you’ll become the next success story in affiliate marketing. And it starts with discipline.  

    2. You’re Persuasive

    This new path you're taking involves sales. So to earn a hefty commission, you must be comfortable with selling products and services to consumers. Some of the best affiliate marketers are infectiously persuasive. They understand how to highlight the product benefits to their audiences and pinpoint how those benefits make a great impact in the person’s life. A high-converting website is part of the affiliate marketer’s toolkit. You know how to attract consumers to your site and spark their interest in learning more about the product. You add copy that engages people and offers solutions to their daily challenges. “Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor, would your [website] copy persuade you to buy this product? Are you engaged with what you’re reading? Do you want to read on and find out more about this product?” states Emily Matthews, affiliate manager at MoreNiche. It’s important not to mistake being persuasive with being an arrogant salesperson. You don’t want to sell people products they don’t need. Instead, you want to be a trusted advisor to your audience by providing helpful information.  

    3. You Build Communities

    Successful entrepreneurs repeat this piece of advice often: your network determines your net worth. This statement rings true when it comes to affiliate marketing. To generate more commissions, you must be willing to build a quality community. To grow that community, you’re willing to network outside your comfort zone. You understand that every person you meet offers value. You also realize that all the members of your community aren’t your customers. For instance, you might connect with Sam, who isn’t interested in your products. However, Sam can get you in touch with Allison, who is a perfect match. Referrals lead to future sales. Sustaining a community is just as important as building one. You need to provide as much value as possible. Creating useful content—blog posts, infographics, and ebooks—is an effective way to help your audience. Take a few tips from Instagram expert Sue B. Zimmerman. She produces practical video content for her Facebook community. The post below received more than 3,000 views!   Affiliate promotion on Facebook Start with who you know and continue to engage people with an authentic attitude. That’s how you build communities and your sales.  

    4. You Stay Organized

    It’s rare for people to associate affiliate marketing with being organized. Exactly what are you organizing? Well, most affiliate marketers don’t just sell one product. To reap the rewards of more revenue, they usually set out to sell two, three, or even five products. This means you’re working with several brands and acquiring multiple affiliate links, login URLs, and payout details. You can easily get disorganized and find yourself overwhelmed by information. To keep your affiliate products and services organized, you might consider creating a spreadsheet. Addi Ganley, blogger and affiliate marketer, says, “Whenever I sign up with a new affiliate program I like to keep track of all the important details for quick reference. I used to constantly login to each individual company when I needed to get my link, or even figure out when I would receive a payment. Now, I just hop into my toolkit and have all the information I need.” If a spreadsheet isn’t your style, try project management tools, like Trello, to maintain accurate records. You’ll save time and won’t stress out. Trello project management for affiliate marketing  

    5. You Enjoy Learning

    According to an independent survey, the affiliate marketing industry in the United States is expected to grow to $6.8 Billion by the year 2020. Senior managers at companies see the value in developing robust affiliate programs to boost their ROI. That’s great news for affiliate marketers. You have an opportunity to make some extra cash on the side or possibly supplement your entire income. To become the best in the field, you must have a passion for learning. You enjoy researching about new products and watching videos to upgrade your sales skills. We already know you’re a learner because you’re reading this blog post. So, if you’re interested in becoming an affiliate marketing or promoting an additional product, sign up for HostGator's affiliate program and start earning money right now. HostGator Affiliate  

    6. You’re Patient

    We live in a very fast-paced society, where we expect everything to happen now. We can get a latte in five minutes and get an order shipped to our homes in under two days. You can’t expect that same quick results in affiliate marketing. For every product you recommend, only a few consumers will actually purchase it. Others may buy, but it could be six or 12 months later. You’ll face a lot of rejection and won’t reap the rewards instantly. “I’ll be the first to admit that affiliate marketing is not for the impatient. You will experience trials, challenges, and you will put forth a lot of fruitless labor. You will have to make sacrifices with your time,” says Craig Junghandel, a web developer, blogger, and internet marketer. Think of affiliate marketing as a long-term strategy to earn more money. The actions you do today will have a positive result tomorrow.  

    7. You’re Honest

    Today’s consumer is very skeptical. They get bombarded with advertising every second of the day. And you can’t blame them. They might have bought defective products in the past, or never received a refund for an awful service. That’s why affiliate marketers must be transparent with their audience. You don’t want to intentionally deceive someone about a product. Be honest and avoid exaggerating about what a product can or cannot do. You also want to be upfront about your commission. On your site, disclose to potential customers that you will receive a payment when they click your affiliate link, as in this example from the EOFire podcast. Affiliate commission link No one wins when you’re not honest. So, strive to build a trustworthy relationship.  

    It’s Time to Sell

    Affiliate marketing isn’t meant for every entrepreneur. The first step is to actually figure out if you have the skill set to take on the challenge. The best affiliate marketers are lifelong learners who research for quality affiliate products. They know how to persuade their communities by highlighting benefits. Affiliate marketers also understand it takes time to build up a solid revenue stream. Were you born to be an affiliate marketer? If so, sign up for HostGator's affiliate program today.
  • How To Become A Professional YouTuber

    Thursday, June 1, 2017 by

    YouTube for a living

    Make a Career on YouTube

    You know a career path is mainstream when Forbes starts ranking its highest-paid members, and that’s what happened to professional YouTube stars in 2015. The news that Swedish videogame vlogger Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie) grossed $12 million last year raised some eyebrows and sparked a fresh wave of interest in making YouTube videos for a living.  

    Understand the Economics of YouTube

    YouTube seems like a platform that lends itself to on-a-shoestring success, but there are expenses for video creators beyond the costs of a camera, microphone, editing software, and computer equipment. YouTube reportedly takes a 45% cut of content creators’ ad revenues; the Patreon donation platform takes a 10% cut of tips left by viewers; and sponsored content can pay well but could cause a drop in subscribers. (Even Kjellberg has spoken publicly about the challenges small creators face on the platform.) It is possible to make money on YouTube, but it requires realistic expectations, hard work, persistence, and a real love for what you’re doing. Here are some things to consider as you’re starting out.  

    Choose a Channel Topic

    Video game, comedy, and beauty vlogs are consistently among the most popular on YouTube. These topics dominated 2015’s list of the world’s most popular YouTubers. If one of these is your field of interest, the good news is that there are huge numbers of viewers interested, too. The downside is there’s plenty of competition for their attention. [bctt tweet="Want to be a professional YouTuber? Top genres include video games, comedy, and beauty vlogs." username="hostgator"] Other topics can do well, too. Lindsey Stirling, uniquely skilled in playing the violin while dancing, was on the Forbes 2015 list. A quirky topic can be a selling point, and there’s often less competition from other vloggers.  

    Select a target audience

    Professional YouTuber Mah-Dry-Bread explains in the video below that income streams vary depending on your audience. Adults are more likely than kids are to use Adblock while watching YouTube, which means creators don’t get ad-network credit for those views. Adults are more likely to use Patreon to donate to YouTubers. Beyond adults-vs-kids, you’ll want to develop your audience-member persona in more detail and pay attention to who your early subscribers are to help focus your content.

    Make lots of videos, then make more

    Veteran YouTubers say that uploading new videos often is the key to gaining new subscribers and keeping existing viewers happy. Olga Kay, a celebrity with channels for videogame play, juggling, fashion and beauty, and her pet dog, turned out a minimum of twenty videos each week in early 2014. Her pace seems to have eased up these days, but Kay still updates regularly. Start with whatever equipment you have. While many YouTubers invest in high-end camera gear, plenty make entertaining and popular videos using only their smartphone cameras. At the request of her teen fans, Brittany Maddox explained how to shoot, edit, voiceover, and upload YouTube videos on an iPhone with low-cost equipment and apps. Her tips include:
    • Get an inexpensive tripod
    • Use the phone’s back camera for better picture quality
    • Buy the iMovie app for editing
    Maddox walks viewers through a quick edit in the video.

    Think about how you’ll earn money

    Mah-Dry-Bread, in his video on YouTubing for pay, cautions new creators to be wary of ad network offers when they first sign up. Once you have 1,000 subscribers, you may start hearing from legitimate ad networks that will place pre-roll or on-screen ads on your videos and pay you a small amount for each ad viewed. He recommends joining a network that allows you to opt out with 30 days’ notice. The more popular your channel becomes, the more likely you are to hear from potential sponsors. Sponsored content can be lucrative, although Gaby Dunn of JustBetweenUs has written that subscribers don’t always like sponsored videos, so try to make sure the sponsor and audience are a good match. [bctt tweet="3 ways to make money on YouTube: Patreon donations, YouTube ad networks, and sponsored content." username="hostgator"] Patreon donations can help YouTubers with older viewers cover their expenses and then some. Mah-Dry-Bread recommends Patreon for all YouTubers as a hedge against unpredictable ad and sponsor income. Some YouTubers also use their channels as a springboard to other revenue streams. Olga Kay sells adorable knee socks, and British YouTube star KSI has extended his brand to clothing and a new rap career.  

    Set up a website to promote your YouTube channel

    Most professional YouTubers also maintain a website where they link to and embed their videos, direct visitors to their channels, link to their Patreon page if they have one, and share new content. Some prime examples include You may not have a book or concert tour to tell viewers about, but your website can promote your consulting services, speaking engagements, your own merchandise, and affiliate products your audience will find relevant. Get your very own website up and running in a matter of minutes with HostGator! Learn more here.  

    Keep at it and have fun

    Building a career on YouTube, like building a career anywhere, takes patience, persistence, and a willingness to learn. UK vlogger Jim Chapman has reminded new YouTubers “this isn’t going to happen overnight.” In the meantime, Chapman told The Independent, “Do it for fun.”
  • How Can You Repurpose Your Online Reviews?

    Wednesday, May 31, 2017 by
    Repurpose Online Reviews

    Get More Value Out of Your Online Reviews

    If you're wondering whether reviews really matter for your small business, the answer is an emphatic yes – especially if your business is new and you're just starting to build a customer base. According to Think with Google, more than half of Millennial shoppers “ignore brands that don't show up in their searches or have poor reviews.” Among consumers of all ages, more than a quarter look for reviews when researching local businesses. Reviews can even affect whether your business performs well in search results. The question is: How can you make the most of your reviews, so customers find and choose your business? You need to know where to find your reviews, where to use them, and how to present them effectively. HostGator Website Builder  

    Find Your Online Reviews

    Reviews are everywhere now, but where your customers leave reviews depends on the type of business you run. The big, general review sites include Yelp, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and the Better Business Bureau. If you run a restaurant, tourist attraction, or lodging, your customers may leave reviews on TripAdvisor and Zomato. Does your business serve homeowners in any way? If so, check your mentions on NextDoor. If you provide professional services, you can request recommendations from clients on LinkedIn. Is your business big enough to start hiring or bring on more employees? Glassdoor is an employee review site that can help savvy businesses recruit and retain talent. Finally, don't overlook thank-you notes and testimonials via email, Twitter, and even old-fashioned postal mail. Keep copies in a “reviews” file so you can find them easily when you're ready to share them.  

    Embed Customer Reviews on your Website

    Prospective customers expect to see reviews for your business before they take it seriously, so make sure you've got your bases covered. Besides managing your business profiles on review sites like Yelp and maintaining a Facebook business page that includes reviews, you can embed some third-party site reviews on your own website. Yelp allows this, and TripAdvisor offers a selection of widgets you can use to include reviews, awards, and other information on your site. You can also find information online for embedding Facebook and Google reviews on your website. Embed Yelp reviews Beyond reviews on third-party platforms, you can ask reviewers and satisfied customers for permission to turn their feedback into testimonials that include their name and a small photo. Testimonials are useful on your website in general, and reviews of specific products can make compelling testimonials for product promotions and on your site's product pages. You can also share individual testimonials over social media and in printed sales material for conferences and other events. Unless you're strictly a solopreneur, it can pay to mine your LinkedIn recommendations and good employee reviews in Glassdoor for your website's “About Us” and “Jobs” pages, as well as during any social media campaigns you do to recruit new hires. Prospective employees, just like prospective customers, seek out reviews before they respond to job postings. In a market that's closing in on full employment, reviews can make or break your hiring efforts.  

    Only Reuse Your Best Online Reviews

    Not all reviews are equally effective, even if they're all glowing recommendations. Here are a few pointers to get the most from your reviews, for whatever channel you're using to share them on.  

    1. Keep customer reviews short

    Most of us have a bad case of tl;dr these days. Estimates of how long the typical site visitor will stay on a page range from seven to 59 seconds, which means you must put the most important elements of the review up front - and cut the rest. (Just make sure you don't change the meaning of the review as you edit, and include a note that it's edited for length.) Later, you can turn super-long but well-written reviews into case studies – a separate type of social-proof marketing.  

    2. Choose reviews that are specific

    A brief review must also be specific to convince prospects to try your business. “Snappy's lawn service is always on time and puts my garden gnomes back in place after mowing” is more insightful than “Snappy's guys are awesome!” If you have a lot of vague but positive reviews, you can respond to the reviewers, thank them for their input, and ask if there was something in particular that stood out about their experience.  

    3. Use relevant reviews

    If you're focused on a particular product line or service, focus on those reviews. It's tempting, when you're starting up, to include any good review you get. But if your reviews are for services you no longer offer or product lines that are only a small part of your business, your customers won't be convinced and may be confused.  

    4. Put names and faces to reviews

    If consumers are interested in reviews, it's only to the extent that they believe those reviews came from real people. If you're embedding reviews from Yelp or another platform, the reviewers' information is included in the widget. If you're using individual reviews on your site, social media, or product pages, be sure to ask for permission to use the reviewer's name, photo, and location or industry. Not sure how to format your testimonials for your website and social media? Search for testimonial examples on Pinterest and prepare to be inspired. Pinterest reviews testimonials examples All of this – managing business profiles, embedding reviews, requesting and formatting testimonials, and choosing the right reviews to display for each situation – can be a lot of work, but it's worth the effort. Invest the time in leveraging this digital word-of-mouth and more customers will find (and choose) your business. The other payoff to review management is more personal. When you have lots of good reviews to sort through, you'll feel great about the work you're doing and the kind of customers your business attracts. That validation of your efforts may not be money in the bank, but it's worth its weight in gold.