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What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s an easy way to stay up to date with the posts from your favourite blogs and websites.  The information is a news feed that is fed directly to you via a reader so you don’t miss a thing.

You will see that many blogs have a distinctive orange icon like this one somewhere on their pages:

Alternatively they might use an icon like this one.  XML refers to the file format that the feed is sent in:

Both icons show that the site has a RSS feed that you can subscribe to.  Some browsers will also show a tiny orange RSS icon in the URL bar, too.

The feed is then sent to your reader which converts it from XML into something you can read.  You might use Feedburner, Google Reader , My Yahoo or one of many other readers available for free.  Most readers give you the option of having the posts sent straight to your inbox or smartphone, too, which might be even more convenient.

The good thing about RSS feeds is that you don’t have to remember to go to your favourite websites anymore because they come to you.   If you need to pay attention to news reports for fire or emergency warnings, or closely watch information related to your business, RSS feeds save you a lot of work.  It sends you the information as it is released.

As a business owner you should make it clear that you offer the RSS feed from your site and make it easy to subscribe to.   People don’t always come to your site intentionally.  When people find you because they are looking for the product or service you offer, you don’t want to lose them when they move on.  In fact, they probably don’t want to lose you either.  The RSS option will help them remember you.

An RSS feed will keep you in touch with the information that is important to you and it makes content easily shareable.  That’s the whole point of syndication, isn’t it?  Make it work for you.

Cheap does not always mean better

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make is focusing on price and not on value.  They do it when working out how much to charge for the goods or services they provide, but also when they are sourcing support for their businesses.

Why is it a mistake? 

Price does not always equate with value and cheap does not mean better.

How often have you heard of people buying articles from overseas only to have to rewrite them, or pay to have someone else do it?  What about the business owners who bought backlinks to their websites so they could boost their page rank, only to be slapped in the recent changes to Google’s algorithms?  They all lost money but more importantly, they lost time and took their businesses’ backwards.

Just because something is cheap it does not mean it’s good for you or that it will do the job you want done.

I have learnt that the only way to grow your business is to invest time, money and energy into it, and take the organic and authentic path forward.

If you are investing in a service or business support, look past the price. 

  • What experience does the supplier have?
  • What other businesses has he or she worked with?
  • What do you get for your money?
  • What time frames can he or she offer?

Recently my client sacked her Personal Assistant and hired me even though my price was higher.  On the surface it looks like a bad business decision but what she found was that I completed the work in less time than it took the PA and I achieved better results.  My client ended up by paying no more than she had paid her PA but had a significantly better outcome which made her money.

Price does not always equate with value.  Look at the results you need to get and find the person who can deliver.  That’s value for you.

Got a contact form on your website? Monitor it!

Do you have a contact form on your website?

On several occasions lately I’ve sent an enquiry via an online contact form and received no response. I would say about 80-90% of my enquiries have gone unanswered! This is a real problem, not only are these businesses missing out on leads, they’re also appearing unreliable and unorganised, and therefore affecting their reputation.

As I work with websites on a daily basis, I understand that this probably isn’t the business ignoring me, but more so a lack of communication when contact form was installed. Most problems occur due to a lack of communication between the website designer and the customer. Did the web developer ask where form enquiries should be sent? Did the client supply the correct information? Were details entered incorrectly?Is there an error with the site?

I guess we’ll never know – but the lesson here is to make sure you have a website developer who knows their stuff, and if there’s something you’re unsure of – ASK! It is very important and will help you avoid these issues.

Got a question about your website and the way it works? Feel free to email me at and I’d be happy to assist!

Facebook Homepage

10 Tips to Optimise Your Facebook Account

We all know that social media is a great tool for business. It has changed the way we communicate and interact with our clients and potential clients. It has revolutionised the business to consumer relationship.

The businesses which gain the best results using social media have a few secrets up their sleeves. In this 5 part series covering Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest, I’m going to let you in on them. I’m going to show you what they do and how they do it.

Each of the five main social media streams has the potential to boost your client base and income dramatically but you may choose to use only one or two. Find the form of social media preferred by your clients and meet them there. Study the tips and put them into practice as you build your social media world.

Top 10 Tips for Facebook

1. Remember that Facebook is social.

People are going to want to know about you and your business. Social media is about chatting with your clients so allocate time for it each day. Be prepared to show more of yourself than you would in traditional business exchanges.

2. Use photos

People love photos and videos. Of everything on your page, they are the most likely to be viewed and shared. Choose photos of your products, events, your business premises, your staff and of the things happening around you.

3. Update your page regularly.

Keep posting interesting and useful content but change the way your page looks, too. Add a new cover image or rotate your tabs so there is something that will catch the eye of even your most regular visitor.

4. Learn about Facebook Edgerank

Facebook uses a scoring system to decide which posts are most interesting and therefore will be most likely to show up in the news feed. The rank is based on three scores – Affinity, Weight and Time Decay. Affinity refers to the relationship between you and the person who shares your content. Weight refers to the importance of the interaction. For example, sharing content with an image is better than a comment alone. Time decay means that the older your post, the lower it will rank. You can check your score at

5. Study your page insights.

You need to measure what is doing well and what isn’t. Insights will help you work out what sort of information your followers want and when is the best time to deliver it. Use that data to plan your posting schedule.

6. Take advantage of scheduled posts.

If you have an item of news you’d like to share but won’t be at your computer at the time, you can now schedule the post from within Facebook. It is more likely to be shared than posts made from third party hosts such as Hootsuite.

7. Use the Highlight and Pin To Top features.

Apart from breaking up your timeline and adding some interest, these tools are excellent for promotions. Pin To Top lets you keep an important post at the top of your page for a week. If you have a new product to launch or an event to promote, this will keep it visible to all your page visitors. Highlight spreads your post across both columns, making it stand out. It is great for making important posts noticeable.

8. Use your app tabs.

These are the little boxes below your cover image. They are handy because each app is allocated its own URL when you create it. That means you can send someone to that specific app on your page. If you have a competition or a new service to promote, you can add the link to your blog, email or any other place and it leads directly to the promotion.

9. Use Facebook lists.

After you have been on Facebook for a while your news feed will be filled with things that you might not have time to read. Minimise the chatter by creating a list for each of the things that interest you. You might have one for family, one for your business topic and one for jokes. A list will curate the information for you so you can find the right posts as you need them. You can also encourage your followers to create a list of their favourite pages and include yours.

10. Vary your content.

It’s ok to add something that isn’t business related, remember. Add a joke or recipe. Add a photo of something you love. Add a music video. These things all add personality to your page and that’s what your followers want – a touch of the real you.


So, you’ve decided to start a business? Part 2

2 weeks ago I posted Part 1 in this 2 part series, So, you’ve decided to start a business? You can read this post here.

Marketing your Business:

Developing a marketing plan for your business that includes an online presence through a website and social media is a must.  Your first steps include:

  • Incorporating your logo and branding throughout both your online and offline presence.  Make it easy for potential clients to find or recognise your business.
  • Get yourself a website.  You don’t need a huge outlay to have a decent website made now that WordPress is so versatile.
  • Create an email address that incorporates your URL.  Using free email services like Gmail or Yahoo make you look less professional.
  • Find out where your clients ‘hang out’ and go there.  That usually means setting up a business page on Facebook or creating a Twitter account.  Social media allows you to interact with potential clients.
  • Start building your list by offering a regular newsletter to clients and interested people. This is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

There are a lot of things that you have to do to set your business up properly.  It is worth doing them well in the beginning because that will start your business off on a sound footing.

It can all seem quite overwhelming when you are first starting out but it is important to get everything right.  Having to change your business name or logo once your business is established is really tough and can cost you the reputation and client base you’ve already built up.  You have to start right back at the beginning again.

I can take the worry out of the process for you and fast track your business start-up.

Ask me how!

So, you’ve decided to start a business? Part 1

Setting up and running a business can be incredibly rewarding but there are some basics that you must take care of so you start off on the right foot.

Initial Administration Steps:

  • Choose a clear business name. It is often the first impression a customer has of your business and should help create an image which accurately reflects your brand and, over time, establishes a strong reputation.
  • Register your business name.  That means that no one else in Australia can use that same name.  Business name registrations are now handled by ASIC.
  • An important point to remember is that registering your business name does not guarantee your rights to the name.  To do this your name or logo must be registered as a trademark through IP Australia.
  • Create a logo.  This will be one of the most recognisable parts of your branding so it’s worth paying a designer to create the logo for you.  Nothing looks as tacky as a clipart logo!
  • Once you have successfully registered your trademark name or logo, you can use this on your letterhead, advertising, business cards, newsletters, emails, invoices or any other communications you have.
  • Buy your domain name (URL) from your preferred provider.
  • If you are operating a business you need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). This identifies you as a real business and allows you to buy a domain name for business and to claim back the good and services tax (GST).
  • If you expect your turnover to be more than $75,000 (or more than $150,000 for a non-profit organisation) then you must register for GST.  Even if your turnover is less than these amounts you can still register for GST so you can claim back the good and services tax.
  • An accounting system is important as it not only makes it easy to record and report your financial transactions but will make it easy for preparing your tax return.  Packages such as QuickBooks or MYOB are just some examples that are relatively easy to learn and are suitable for a small busines, and there are also many cloud options out there as well.
  • Having a customer relationship management system (CRMs) can also be an advantage as it allows you to easily manage and maintain customer information that can include contact details, sales history as well as responses to marketing campaigns that can help to better target future marketing campaigns.   There are many different types of CRMs on the market that are relatively low cost.
  • Finally, and I know it sounds simple, but set up a good filing system for you papers and your emails.  At some stage you are going to have to lay your hands on information quickly.

It can all seem quite overwhelming when you are first starting out but it is important to get everything right.  I can take the worry out of the process for you and fast track your business start-up. Ask me how.

Keep an eye out for So, you’ve decided to start a business Part 2 where I discuss marketing your business.