feature image of The Complete Guide to SEO for Your Awesome Website

When I had to learn SEO, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information and courses. Through the many hours glued to my screen, jotting notes and taking action. I want this article to help shine some light on what you need to know about SEO. 

It should be apparent that a website should be your powerful marketing tool, and it needs to be optimized for search engines if you want to reach your target audience. Most people use the internet to find products and services these days, rather than through more traditional sources like newspapers or magazines. If your site isn’t showing up on page one of Bing, Duck Duck Go, Firefox, or Google’s search results, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers, most likely in the thousands! 

In this blog post, I will discuss SEO-related topics, including what it is and why you need it for your website, how to get started with SEO on your new site, the benefits of having an optimized site, and what On-site and Off-site SEO are and what to focus on first.

  • Why a website needs SEO 
  • How to get started with SEO on your new website
    • Pick a name that is easy to remember and say.
    • Plan out how Your Site will be structured.
    • Create Content Before Launch.
    • Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversion
  • Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversion
  • What is On-Site and Off-Site SEO
  • Investment In SEO 
  • How to stay up-to-date on the latest in SEO trends and techniques

Why a website needs SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) optimizes a site so that it ranks higher in search results. A website’s ranking on Google or other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo relies heavily on factors that can be improved through SEO techniques.

Although some believe Search Engine Optimization does not work for all sites, many users have had their rankings boosted significantly after implementing these guidelines to better optimize their content.

Some people are wary about investing time into researching keywords and coming up with an optimized title/meta description because they think this might only lead to temporary success. The truth is, if you’re doing SEO correctly, your efforts should pay off long-term by way of increased traffic from relevant searches your audience is typing.

Organic search is the primary source of website traffic for most businesses.

If you’re a business owner, you know that time is of the essence. Your site needs to be at the top of page one so your potential customer can find it quickly and easily.

That’s where SEO comes in! It gives your website an edge over other sites by increasing visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).

How to get started with SEO on your new website

Pick a name that is easy to remember and say.

The domain name is the first opportunity to show visitors you’re a credible business. Search engines take this information into account, so your domain name must match what people are typing in when they want to find your site.

For example, if someone searches for “comfortable affordable shoes,” don’t use “shoes online” as the URL. Another thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to choose a domain that contains the name of your business. 

For example, let’s say your business is called Healthy Eaters on Central is your business name. Having the domain “HealthyEatsoncentral.com” is a little too much to type in. However, simply shortening it to “HealthyEats.com” is better because it memorable for your audience to search. 

Plan out how Your Site will be structured.

Keep your website organized and search engine-friendly with a site map. A site map is a list of pages on your website that helps you plan or create a practical and pleasing layout.

Creating a mockup, like a homepage, about page, or blog section, before constructing your website can make life easier for both the bot crawling through and organizing the website. You will know roughly how the website will look and how the pages will function with one another with a mockup.

Check out this blog I have written about creating a website. 

Create Content Before Launch.

Before creating a mockup or after, It’s a great idea to create content for the pages that are not likely to change or be updated regularly. So knowing what keywords you want to target will come in handy with what you will write on your web pages.

This is because keywords in the content you create are the first step in attracting more traffic to your site, making it easier for people who want information on what you offer. They’ll quickly find that information or answers to the questions they need to be answered.

The content has an enormous responsibility for how easily someone can search through it and contain relevant words or phrases. Creating quality content starts with determining anything specific about topics related to this topic: sports terms or industry jargon – before generating any text at all!

Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversion

Local SEO means your digital properties are optimized for the specific area you serve so people can find them easily and quickly, one step closer to making a purchase.

The reason is that your potential customer sees what you have to offer in their own neighborhood or city.

If they live nearby, then there’s no need for them to take the time and energy out of their lives to travel somewhere else just so that they can enjoy what you provide when it could be right around the corner from where they spend most, if not all of their days anyway!

The goal should always be to get as close as possible to being “the only game in town” regarding a particular service or commodity that somebody might want at any given point on time. And doing this by employing local marketing strategies such as SEO will help tremendously along those lines.

What is On-Site and Off-Site SEO

Off-page SEO is a process that begins on the internet and can have an impactful presence in SERPs. This includes making it more likely for others to link or promote your website, which will ultimately improve your perception of quality.

The process of off-page SEO begins with site promotion and link building. This can be accomplished through press releases, guest blogging, article marketing, social media posts, or other relevant methods to the success of your website topic. As more people find out about your website, they will grow in confidence and potentially include you in their own work.

If you are just launching your website, It’s a good idea to focus your attention on On-site SEO before taking on Off-site SEO.

 A great strategy is creating content that others will want to link to.

Investment in SEO

SEO takes time, but the benefits can be exponentially more than what is initially invested.

Most people don’t immediately see a difference when they start SEO marketing because it’s a slow and gradual process that builds up over time as we build relationships with our customers and SERP’s authority organically through content creation on your website.

SEO is a long-term strategy in a never-ending game of chess. Organic growth takes time, and SEO experts know that it’s not something you do overnight.

It can take months for the natural organic process to work, but when done right, your website will be on top, with an increase in traffic and conversions from all angles.

How to stay up-to-date on the latest in SEO trends and techniques

There are many tools out there that offer to keep you up-to-date on the latest SEO trends and techniques.

Some of these include:

  • Google Webmaster Tools or Search Console (specifically for Google)
  • Many publications write about SEO that you can take advantage of, such as Search Engine Journal and Neil Patel.
  • Moz’s Link Explorer, an excellent resource for comparing your site with competitors as well as seeing what keywords they’re ranking highly in search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • Hootsuite – beneficial if you manage multiple social media accounts on behalf of your business because it allows you to schedule updates across all platforms at once!
  • Let’s not forget about Twitter chats (#SEOchat is one), which happen to live where experts in the area provide their insights into questions asked by followers.

You do not have to become an SEO expert, but knowing and pairing the knowledge with your niche market will make you an unstoppable force.


This blog post has offered you a glimpse into the world of SEO, what it is, and why you need it for your website. I have also shared some tips on how to get started with an optimized site. There are so many benefits to having a well-optimized website that I can’t list them all here! But in short, if you want more people visiting your site or buying from you online, then investing time and money in SEO might be just what the doctor ordered. If this sounds like something up your alley (or even down it), subscribe below to stay updated on new posts about digital marketing trends and website strategies!


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post image for 6 Places You're Making a Fatal Website Design Mistake

The Internet is a vast world of information. There are countless websites out there, so it’s natural that we all make mistakes and slip up occasionally. Check out this article about how When it comes to website design, how can you know for sure if your site is on the right track? The answer lies in checking for these six common fatal website design mistakes:

  1. Not having a clear call to action
  2. Not using enough white space
  3. Too many fonts on one page
  4. Poorly placed navigation buttons
  5. Using too much text in your design 
  6. Not making the website responsive for mobile devices

Check out this previous article

Not having a clear call to action.

One of the essential things for any website is a clear call to action. A visitor should know what they are supposed to do when visiting your site, and it’s up to you as the designer or owner of that site to make sure this message comes across loud and clear with a prominent CTA button on any page you want your customer to land on.

But not all calls to action are equal. Most people spend so much time trying to craft the perfect message to promote their product or service, yet they fall short of winning. That is because the call to action needs to tell the reader what to do, and it needs to be motivating enough for the reader to take the action you want them to do. 

A general rule for a call to action is typically five to seven words, but that can vary. A call to action should concisely get the point across and not include unnecessary information such as how you found out about this article or what your opinion on it may be.

Here are five popular calls to action formulas used and are effective:

  1. Order your _______ today!
  2. Get started now!
  3. Start your free ________ now!
  4. Get your free _______ today!
  5. Try it free for ______!

Not using enough white space.

White space is essential to give the user a break from reading and makes it easier for them to skim your content. White space also helps with how readable text is, even when there are not many words per line.

A good rule of thumb is that you should use at least one more inch of white space than you have text on each page or screen.

White space, also known as negative space, can be described as an area on a webpage that has nothing but blank or empty background. White space allows for easier reading and skimming of your content because it gives users’ eyes a break from the constant text.

A trick that can help eliminate or break up large blocks of content is summarizing them and using them as bullet points.

Too many fonts on one page

Using too many fonts on one page can be distracting for the reader, and it is usually an indication that you are using this technique to make your text more interesting.

While there’s nothing wrong with changing font styles every so often, especially in larger chunks of content, too many fonts can be devastating. If you have too many different fonts on a single page or screen, then they may start competing against each other as well as from what people have initially been looking at when they came to your website. This will confuse readers in which case could result in them leaving without taking any action.

The best solution is to use a maximum of two fonts per webpage unless there is a good reason not to do so (such as conveying multiple moods). It would be best to remember that readability and consistency are most important for anyone looking at your website.

Bad website Navigation

Good website navigation is crucial for any site. Whether it’s a simple blog, an e-commerce store, or anything in between, your visitors need to be able to find the information they’re looking for as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here are three quick ways to improve your navigation:

  1. Stay away from generic wording such as “services” and “products.” It is best to use descriptive words that describe the contents of the page. 
  2. Try to limit how many pages you have on the navigation bar. Having too many navigation tabs can overwhelm and distract them from the reason they went to your website in the first place.
  3. As creative and unique as you want to be, sometimes sticking with the nor can yield significant benefits. Sticking to a horizontal nave bar above the page is something that many people expect to see and is often the first place on the screen they look at while visiting. 

Also, when you have large blocks of content on a page without links anywhere nearby, then your visitor will spend time scanning back and forth until they finally find one that jumps out at them. This can lead people to get frustrated with your site because what should only take seconds ends up taking minutes – which means less traffic on your site overall.

Using too much text in your design 

For websites with a lot of text, the content can often be too dense and overwhelming. This is especially true for users on mobile devices who are scrolling through your website with their fingers rather than clicking to jump around. Your audience may not have time to read all that information in one sitting, so they’ll get frustrated when you don’t shorten your text or highlight essential words to help readers find the answers your reader is looking for. Try breaking up some of those long paragraphs into smaller chunks instead of packing it altogether if you want people to read through what’s there!

Not making the website responsive for mobile devices

More and more people are using their mobile devices to browse the web. Statista reported that as many as 54% of all Internet traffic is from a mobile device! 

But not everyone has access to, wants to be on their computer, or is on the go, so they can’t enjoy your site’s design on such a large screen. That means you’ll be excluding half of your audience if you don’t make sure that it looks good for any size device! You should test how your website works on different computers (desktops, laptops) with varying resolutions and monitor sizes; this will help ensure that the content gets delivered correctly no matter what kind of machine someone is viewing with.


A website is an essential part of marketing your business. However, it can be challenging to know if you are on the right track with web design when there are so many websites out there. One way to ensure that your site looks great and functions well is by checking for these six common mistakes. Have you been making any of these website design mistakes? 


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How to Make Your Website SEO-Friendly cover photo

We all know how important it is to make our website SEO-friendly and the only way to do it is by increasing organic search ranking. The days of stuffing keywords and paying for ads are long gone, but that doesn’t mean we stop looking out for ways to improve the search engine ranking of our site. One way is by making sure you have a mobile-friendly design, and another one is by optimizing your WordPress blog posts for organic search engines.

Use keywords in your blog post title.

It’s essential to include a targeted keyword in your blog post title if you are thinking about increasing organic search ranking. By doing this, Google may rank you higher for that term because it is more likely to be relevant and helpful content. Ensure not to stuff keywords or use them unnecessarily, though – the key is using targeted keywords appropriately.

Here is a tip, according to Wordstream, “50% of search queries are four words or longer.”

Search queries or keywords that are four words or longer are called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords tend to be more effective because it shrinks the competition to be on Google’s first page. 

For example:

instead of wanting to make my title for this article “Tips on how to use SEO.”

SEO already has a saturated market full of websites trying to compete for ranking high for SEO.

This is why narrowing it down with long-tail keywords becomes effective. 

“How to Make Your Website SEO-Friendly: Tips for Increasing Organic Search Ranking”

“Make your website SEO-Friendly” and “Increasing Organic Search Ranking” are forms of long-tail keywords that can boost my SEO and decrease competition. 

The easiest way to find forms of long-tail keywords is with the Google search bar. 

image of using google search bar to find keywords
Image of using Google Search to find long-tail keywords.

Although keywords are important, It is much more important to think of the reader first and then think keywords.

Add meta descriptions to each blog post.

Meta descriptions tell Google what your blog post is all about. The descriptions are essential for helping Google stay relevant with what readers are googling. It’s necessary for search engine optimization because this description can show when someone does an internet search, and it also appears as the snippet on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

The meta descriptions should include targeted keywords but don’t overstuff them, or you will risk being penalized by Google.

The general rule for writing meta descriptions is:

  • Don’t focus too much on character count and focus more on describing to the searcher what your article is about. 
  • Draw interest to the person seeing your description. Starting with a question is always a great way to create interest because a question helps lead the reader into wanting to read more. 
    • Ex: “Do you want more traffic? this article will give you insight on how to increase organic search traffic by making your website SEO-friendly.”
  • Use your keywords. I used the two long-tail keywords that I want to rank for in the meta description as shown above. Always use the two long-tail keywords in your description that you also use in your title. 
  • This rule is essential, DO NOT DUPLICATE your meta description. Duplicating descriptions is one of the common reasons why Google penalizes websites. Every meta description should be unique and never the same. 

Include a keyword-rich header tag 

Header tags are for headings and sub-headings.

header tags consist of 

H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6

The most common tags used are H1, H2, and H3. Due to many websites getting in trouble for not being ADA compliant, It’s important to use tags consistently. 

For example, H1 should always be the page title. H2 should be used for page title sub-headings or page headers. H3 are for sub-headings for page headers.

When it comes to SEO, one of the most important things is your metadata. That’s why you need to include keywords and keyword phrases in as many header tags as possible – tags.

Create an XML sitemap for search engines to index your website more efficiently.

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all of the metadata of your page on your website that helps with increasing organic search ranking. This will help search engine crawlers index your site more efficiently, which in turn improves your organic rankings for those keywords and phrases you want to rank higher!

With WordPress, access to your XML site is easy to do. All you need to do add wp-sitemap.xml at the end of your domain. 

ex: mywebsite.com/wp-sitemap.xml

In 2020, WordPress added this feature for version 5.5. 

Make sure you have the correct tags and categories set up on WordPress

If you are new to blogging, there is a lot of information on setting up tags and categories to make your site more search-engine friendly. Google has an excellent resource for this as well!

Don’t forget that good content with proper formatting will rank higher in the SERPs than spammy articles or poorly formatted ones without.

Categories are parent topics for your posts. You can use them to organize the content on your site, like a table of contents in an e-book or magazine. 

Categories help you group all their posts, so it’s easy to find what you’re reading are looking for. Use categories at different levels – main level ones will contain other more specific terms that may apply only under certain circumstances, such as “business,” which has blog entries about work experiences. Sub-categories are for topics related to another topic.


  • Website


  • WordPress
  • SEO
  • Page-builders

Tags are to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as the index words for your site’s content, letting you micro-categorize it at will. Tags can not be hierarchical in any way; they’ll appear with related tags next to them, like on social media sites such as Tumblr and Facebook if users have search options enabled or follow tags that match what is being searched. 

Write posts with content relevant to your site’s topic, not just filler text or spammy links.

according to Google, spammy articles is defined as:

“A rich result may be considered spam if it harms the user experience by highlighting falsified or misleading information. For example, a rich result promoting a travel package as an Event or displaying fabricated Reviews would be considered spam.”

Google has been cracking down on websites with spammed articles, and if you want to avoid being penalized by the search engine giant, make sure your posts are full of quality content. Of course, I doubt this is you. 

But once again, it is essential to highlight the relevance of your content.

For example, an article about a new phone case won’t do well if it has a misleading title. One of the best ways to show relevancy is by including keywords in your title or introduction paragraph and then linking them with related posts for relevant readers.


These WordPress SEO tips should give you a headstart in increasing organic rankings for your website!

If you want to maximize your website’s visibility in search engines, make sure it is mobile-friendly and that you are optimizing WordPress blog posts for organic search. This will not only help with the SEO of your site but also increase traffic. Contact us today to learn more about how we can start improving your website’s exposure on Google!

utilize the internet for your business to start building a digital presence.

I hold small businesses close to my heart. My father, Esteban Ramirez, had a Granite Fabrication and Installation business in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the Great Recession in 2008-09. Back then, there was no way in knowing how the internet would benefit small businesses at the time. Hence, it left a vast number of small businesses to struggle or ultimately close their doors. Today is a different story. We understand how SMBs can utilize the internet, but the big issue is that most business owners underutilize the internet. In this article, I want to illustrate why and how to utilize the internet for your business if you start building your digital presence. 

Personify your brand

A brand is a very widely talked about a word. Every “Marketing Guru” talks about having a brand. Still, the answer they give is either very diluted in meaning or does not make any sense for someone trying to grasp the idea of what a brand is. Here is what Branding means in the most straightforward and purest form,

A brand is the Unique Value of Promise you provide to your customers. It is the unique experience, the unique value that your customers get out of doing business; it’s what separates you from others in the same industry

I bet the question that popped in your head is, “What makes me unique? “What separates me from all the other businesses in my industry?”. 

I would be doing a great disservice to you if I did not help you answer this question. The answer to the question 

“What makes my business unique then?” 


“What separates me from all the other businesses in my industry?”. 

The thing that makes your businesses unique is YOU. There are many businesses just like yours, but there is only one you with a company like yours. 

Personifying your brand is essential. It’s nothing new for businesses to have a face associated with a brand, Shaq and General Insurance, William Shattner and Orbitz, Ryan Reynolds and Mint Mobile. W

What separates Ryan Reynolds from all other cell phone services is his likable personality. He personifies Mint Mobile; Ryan Reynolds puts a face and personality In a way that other cellphone services don’t do. Mint Mobile is one of many phone service carriers in the United States. Ryan Reynolds association with Mint Mobile led to revenue skyrocketing by nearly 50,000%. 

This is why I’m a firm believer that the most significant thing you can do for your business is to be the face of your business. If you need help with branding your website, Here are four ways to help with branding on your website.

Social media is the best way to build a digital presence

Without a doubt, social media has been the most significant thing for small businesses to build a digital presence. Before the internet, A company would have to spend thousands of dollars hiring an ad/marketing agency to help build its brand awareness. Today, it takes $0 and a few minutes to create a social media profile. But the Catch-22 with Social Media is that not all social media is the same. 

According to Sprout Social, as of 2021the current age groups for social media are:

  • Facebook: largest age group are 25-34 (26.3%)
  • Instagram: largest age group are 25-34 (33%)
  • Twitter: Largest age group are 30-49 (44%)
  • LinkedIn: largest age group are 46-55
  • Pinterest: Largest are group is 30-49
  • Tik Tok: Largest age group is 18-24
  • YouTube: Largest age group is 15-25.

Depending on whom you want to target, it depends on what platforms you want to invest your time in. 

Growing your online presence on social media is a must thing to do because you build trustcredibility, and reputation with the people you or your content interacts with. All three are essential to moving a person interested in your business to get them to buy from your company. 

A digital presence requires you to produce content

You can either be a content producer or a content consumer. I bet you can guess which one you should be? Yup, to establish a digital-presence, you need to be a content creator. 

Why is this?

 Because content creation will build trust and awareness, it will also build authority in your industry. So your content needs to have the intent of relieving a customer’s pain/problem when they read or watch it. There are many forms of content you can create. Still, the beautiful thing is you can adapt the content you create for different mediums. 

When picking a medium, you should play to your strengths and the best way to present your content. 

The four main media types are: 

  • blog posts
  • videos
  • podcast
  • newsletters

You don’t have to pick just one to deliver content but pick one to create with and then repurpose it for other mediums. 

For example, you are horrible at speaking on a podcast or recording yourself in a video, but you like or love to write. Then I would say create, write a blog article and post it. If you want to expand to video or podcast, you have a blog post that you can use as a script. 

If you don’t want to write, but you like to speak or record, I would tell you to create a video or podcast, get it transcribed using software like Rev.com or Go Transcript and use the transcription as a blog post on your website.

The content creating doesn’t stop there. You can now use your audio, video, blog posts as excerpts, as social media posts. 

A digital presence helps develop relationships

You’re branding and content creating for social media all lead up to this, developing relationships. When distributing content, your main goal is not to sell anyone anything because people don’t like to be sold. People want to have a relationship. They want to be heard, noticed, and needed. Your content should strike up a conversation, typically asking “what they think of this?” or “what do you do besides this?” At the end of the content that you publish on your social media page. The goal here is to talk to them when they comment. Many businesses do not take this step, and in the end, potential buyers start to think maybe they don’t matter as much as you made them feel. Ignoring commentators, you will lose thousands of dollars, and most importantly, this will result in lost opportunities.  

There you have it; digital presence is essential if you want to survive in this day and age. You will be risking a lot not to begin building awareness around your business. Please do me a favor and share this article if you think it can help someone, or feel free to comment down below. Having conversations is one of my favorite parts of building a community. 

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Q and A for Feb 2021 meet up
Table Of Contents

I’m just curious how you deal with billing and how you deal with the state and federal taxes?

When it comes to the billing, I’ve tried HoneyBook and I’ve tried QuickBooks. To be honest, it’s always kind of been a little overkill, especially to pay for that. Right now, I just basically create the invoice through PayPal. Which a lot of my clients have actually been a lot more comfortable in doing, considering that a lot of them have PayPal accounts, and they choose to pay with PayPal or even Venmo. Primarily, it’s always been PayPal for me, though.
As well as for the accounting, I was grateful enough to actually have an accountant who’s close to the family. She’s been able to manage pretty much all the taxes. The only thing that I’ve actually had to be careful for is to reserve a small part or a certain part of each project that I do. Right now, I just save up– I take 25% of each project and I save it, just in consideration that that’s how much the taxes are going to be. It’s always good practice to start reserving that 25% when you’re ready to fill your taxes in.
I usually do recommend quarterly, not yearly. Quarterly is always so much better just so I can get it over with. I don’t have to worry throughout the entire year to do it. If you want to get started, I’d just recommend try and keep 25% of each project that you do and just put in your savings account and don’t even touch it. Just pretend like it’s not there.

How do you find business, typically?

There’s a couple of ways that you can. I’ve tried direct marketing- direct marketing being cold calling, cold emailing. That works for some people. It didn’t work for me. Frankly, I despise it. I really don’t like calling strange people out of the blue saying, “Hey, do you need this or do you need that?” Most of the time, it was always no. What I’ve learned is instead of trying to find clients to provide your service to, it’s always a better idea to attract people to you.

One of the most important things about freelancing that I’ve learned is your branding is everything. This word gets tossed around a lot but to a simple basis, it’s basically just the value that you promise on giving to the person that has a problem. You’re providing a solution to someone who either has, let’s say, trouble with creating copywriting for, let’s say, an advertisement or for their website, or they’re having trouble gaining leads from earned and paid media to their owned media and it’s just not converting. Your promise is basically to provide that solution to them.

The three different types of media.

When you’re trying to get clients, it’s always a better idea to try and attract people to you. The best way to attract people is by delivering content. Whether it is a blog post, or just starting conversations within social media, finding groups that are within your niche and building relationships with them. There’s a variety of ways.

The ways that I do it today, and that I actually started back in November and I’ve actually noticed a lot of progress in gaining leads for people who have the problem that I have the solution for- in other words, if they need a website that needs to convert people into creating an email list, or they’re trying to get more traction through organic searches- the strategy that I started picking up is what’s been called a 365. Which is you create content 365 days out of the year. Each day you have to deliver some piece of content.

The way that I’ve actually done it is Mondays and Fridays, I reserve those days to create a blog post. Normally, I like to do it in the morning when my mind is fresh and ready to start building or it’s just fresh off from waking up. Mondays and Fridays, I’ll write blog posts. When I’m done with that, I’ll post it on to my website. I’ll go to medium.com, or if it’s tech-related, I’ll send it to to dev.to or dev.com.

Then on Tuesdays, I’ll get parts of the blog posts that I wrote, turn it into quotes or I’ll turn it into just a regular social media post, and I’ll deliver it to either Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Wednesday, it’s I’ll share an article that I read. Whether it’s about marketing, or it’s about web development, or just something that typically interests me.

Thursday, I’ll take another piece of content from a blog article that I wrote, or I’ll just take a quote from a book that I’m reading and I’ll send it into social media. Friday, it’s release the blog post. Saturday, Sunday, I just go on to Twitter or I’ll go onto Facebook into one of the groups to start talking to people. I’ll just either start a conversation, or I’ll join another conversation that I’m interested in or something that I could actually help someone out. I’m in a group where it’s full of WordPress users, but I’ve managed to get actually pretty good leads from the WordPress group. Usually, if someone will have a question and I could answer, I’ll provide them an answer. I’ll try and help them as much as I possibly can.

my content schedule

The most important thing is to actually get you recognized in social media. That’s basically my entire schedule from Monday to Sunday. I’ve started doing this in November, and I’ve actually managed to get a pretty good increase on leads for clients. Right now that’s actually been what’s helping me a lot or that’s what’s actually been working for me.

What about like fiverr.com or what’s the other one?

No, I don’t. I’ve tried it a couple of times. I really don’t like it. It works for some people, It just doesn’t work for me. To me, my time is very valuable and so sending proposals, to me it feels like it turns you into a commodity versus being an actual brand or being part of a business. I’ve gotten one job from Upwork. It was okay. It didn’t pay great. I have clients who are paying me more. I just didn’t really see too much of a promise in it.
It might work for you, if you’d want to give it a try, but to me it didn’t work out for me. I’ve always just ended up using all my energy in creating content, so I could deliver to the various social media networks and then try and network like that.

Do you ever offer websites for- a trade in services? Is that something you ever considered doing? Is that smart? Is it stupid?

I’ve, luckily enough, never did that either. I know that’s helped out some people, but I’ve never actually had a trade or I’ve never actually met someone that wanted to trade. I think I’ve actually offered a few times to trade for something and it didn’t go anywhere.

The only pitfall is that you would do it on a consistent basis, which just be careful because if you offer something that’s very cheap and people will tend to gravitate towards you- I mean, in some ways, it’s good but in other ways, it’s bad. I would just be careful, especially when it’s doing consistent trades like that. The way that I could see is that it’s a good way to build relationships. I know people who are also freelancers who have traded and they’ve managed to build meaningful relationships. I’ve just never been in that situation where I’ve actually needed to trade.

Being an independent means– I mean, it’s probably more expensive for you to operate in some respects. I guess it’s just over time you realize how much things cost and how much time it takes to do things, but how do you price? It’s a hard question for me to ask because I don’t even understand like how do you know what your worth. That’s a ridiculous question to ask. It’s a hard thing for me to understand.

I know where you’re coming from. This by far is actually the most popular question, especially about pricing, that I’ve always run into. The best way that I could actually put it is there’s these two pricing psychologists and what they did is that they went to a garage sale. They purchased, I think it was a bracelet or ring, broken goggles- diving goggles- and they bought them for, I think, $1.50 or $1 a piece.
These are psychologists. They like to try and understand how people’s brains work. They decided to go to eBay and they sold the stuff that they bought for $1. They tried to sell them for $25 or right around that price range and no one bought it. It was there for a week and no one showed any interest in it.

What they did was it was really an experiment. They first posted it just with the description of the item. They wanted to see if anyone would buy it. They took everything down and then they wrote stories pertaining to a personal experience that they had. Like, “This ring was found in the attic of my grandma’s house who passed away, and my mom is cleaning it out and they asked me if I wanted this stuff. I wanted to look for a good home.” Or the broken goggles was they bought it because they wanted to scare a couple of kids down the river, but when they got into the water, all of a sudden, an alligator came out of nowhere, bit the goggles and now it’s damaged. I don’t know what to do with it, so I’m just going to sell it. They sold the broken goggles for like $80, even though they bought it for like $1.
The whole moral of the story is pricing is really an illusion to– It’s an illusion.

Image comparing TB Dress, Nike, and Fendi

The best way to explain it is that you have– The three things that I always pull up are the three shoes. You have a generic TB Dress shoes, which is maybe $50. You got Nikes that are $180, and then you have Fendi sneaker shoes, which are like $1150. There’s no way that you could actually determine the value between those sneakers because you put them on your feet, you wear them outside and you just make sure that they’re comfortable. The only value that you could actually pertain is what you feel like you’re worth.
This is the hardest concept, especially for me in the beginning, because I didn’t exactly know how to price my stuff either. This is why I always tell people to make sure you focus on the solution more than the pricing because people are more willing to buy the solution regardless of what the price is. I started off like $25 an hour building websites. I was getting nowhere fast with $25. Then what I started to do was I started to increase the pricing, but I started to work on more of my branding, my messaging and solution that my service would provide them. I noticed that clients are willing to pay more.

They have no problem with the pricing because it’s more of the solution that I’m actually providing them. It’s the headache that I’m removing. If you’re talking to a business, that business has to be confident enough that they could actually recover the cost of– Let’s say, I build a website for $7,000. That business that wants to talk to you that wants to buy the website for $7,000, they’re confident enough to know that they could actually recover from- maybe like in a month- from that price. Pricing is really entirely up to you and how you feel your worth.

The only thing that I have to tell you to be careful with is making sure that you don’t sound like a commodity versus a service. When you sound like a commodity, people are going to start pricing you to the lowest bottom dollar, like what you see on Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer, which is something that I’ve always had an issue with; sending proposals. Your pricing should always just be what you’re comfortable at charging and then maybe, I don’t know, multiplying it by four times.
Because if you’re not getting a “no” or “That’s a little too high,” then you’re not doing it right. That’s the rule of thumb that I’ve gathered from other freelancers. You don’t ever want to try and lowball yourself.
The other best thing that I can really talk about pricing is [silence] if you have to start from somewhere– Let’s see. If you have to start from somewhere, I would recommend in figuring how much you want to charge per hour and then trying to figure out how much it will cost you- how much time it’ll cost you to do that service.
For example, let’s say if you want to start off with $30, because that’s how much you’re comfortable at charging, or if you just want to immediately just go to $60 an hour and that’s how much you’re comfortable at, then from past experiences, that it would be- it would take me 50 hours to build a website. Then I would charge per hour to that 50 hours and then I would actually add more because you actually have to cover the cost for the meetings. You have to cover the costs for the accounting. You have to cover the cost for the project maintenance thing.
I would just go on to figuring out how much you want to charge an hour. Think about how much you want to- how much it would bill you, or how long it would take you to do the service. Let’s say a five-page website takes you 20 hours. Getting that sum total and then at least just doubling or tripling it. Just start off at that price point. Because like I said, the thing that I don’t like about freelancers and what they do is that a lot of people tend to lowball themselves. They always undervalue themselves.
That’s something that I really want to try and prevent anyone from doing because I was in those shoes. I undervalued myself a lot. It ultimately didn’t get me anywhere. I think that would probably be the best practice, if anyone has to think about the pricing, then I would just recommend doing it in that kind of framework.

I mean, it is, but there’s a huge psychological point of view. When it comes to selling, like I said, where a lot of the fear of being told, “No, that’s too expensive,” or losing a potential client because you’re expensive primarily comes from the fact that the economy used to be really kind of a scarce economy. What that basically means is in this scarce economy, you got to price your services according to how many people provide the same service. Then you got to compete with them for the lowest price. If you’re going to race to the bottom then at zero, you’re not going to make any money.

Right, that makes sense. Pricing is always tough. You’re worth whatever someone’s willing to pay for you and then what you’re willing to accept.

Yes. I mean, it is, but there’s a huge psychological point of view. When it comes to selling, like I said, where a lot of the fear of being told, “No, that’s too expensive,” or losing a potential client because you’re expensive primarily comes from the fact that the economy used to be really kind of a scarce economy. What that basically means is in this scarce economy, you got to price your services according to how many people provide the same service. Then you got to compete with them for the lowest price. If you’re going to race to the bottom then at zero, you’re not going to make any money.

Back in early 1993, we started to really transition into an abundant economy where there’s enough capital where people are actually able to shop around. People, if they decide to- they want to buy the $1,200 sneaker or they want to buy the $50 sneaker, it’s really up to them. To us, or to you, it’s like, “Why would you buy a $1,200 sneaker?” To that person, it’s their solution, it’s their preference.
It’s a hard concept to grasp, especially because you don’t know how much value you bring, but you just kind of got to push it.

You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to know more than the average person because like I said, the whole point is that you’re trying to relieve a pain from someone. If that business has a pain and it could just be bought out with money, then they’re more than willing to pay up.

I’ve sent proposals off. I know a couple of freelancers who I’ve competed with on a personal level. I’ve talked to them on the basis. It was like one of my first project where I decided, “You know what? I’m going to charge this price. If they say no, then that’s it. Then at least I’ve done it.” I think I priced it at like $6,000. I talked to the guy that ended up getting the job. I was talking to him and I told him, I’m like, “How much did you charge? How much did you say that you’re going to do that project for?” Right off the bat, he told me he charges $10,000. I told him- I was like, “I was going to charge this guy $6,000, but you got the job for 10,000,” and I didn’t really understand how that was possible.

Then that’s when he told me, “It’s all about communication. People want to build a relationship with you. They’re not really looking at the price. They just want to figure out if you’re going to have a good relationship with them.”

Guest [ That actually makes sense. When the pandemic kicked in, we actually were running a special for WordPress sites. I think we were only going to charge $300 for a WordPress site. Literally nobody touched us. Another friend here in town that actually specializes just in WordPress sites, he asked me some help to do some back-end for him.
I was like, “How much are you charging?” He’s like, “Anywhere between $7,000 to $2,000.” I’m going, “What the heck,” but that made sense because if you’re looking actually to buy something, you want to buy quality. If someone is lowballing, you’re like, “Well, they really don’t know what they’re doing. They probably are kids working out of someone’s garage instead of actual professionals.” That actually makes perfect sense what you’re saying with that.

Also, I think with the higher prices, we actually started charging- and we’re actually low in the industry- like $90 an hour. That helped out with scope creep with people going, “We want to add these extra features in.” Well, now they actually have to look at the price of actually doing that, so they back off because we go, “Well, we’re going to have to change the contract for that and I have to charge you by hour.” We try to stay away from fixed-price bids but because of scope creep, since we’re charging a higher amount, people literally- they go, “No, we don’t want to buy the extra thing. We’ll put it on the back-burner and go forward with that.” It actually makes perfect sense.
Actually, just out of curiosity, do you use milestone payments when you set up a website? When you first buy, first you put in an X amount of money and then when halfway done, you put in an X amount of money and stuff like that? Joseph, I think you’re on mute.]

I do 60- 50, 30, 20. It’s half down to get started. Then after I move into the development phase– Basically, I have the introduction phase, which we’re talking entirely about the project, I’m trying to understand what it is or what exactly the client needs from me. Then once that’s done, I move into a design phase where I’m trying to map out and design everything according to what the client needs, but also what’s going to help generate the level of traffic that they want. Or do a little bit of trying to figure out what their customers are going to want to see the moment they reach the front page.
That’s basically the entire design phase of the process. Then after that I require 30% of the total price and then I move forward. Then after I launch and I test it and then I get it migrated, then it’s the rest of the 20%.

Are they providing their own graphics and arts?

That depends on the price. If I’m going to need someone to come create the graphics and they’re [client] not going to do it, then it’s extra just because then there’s going to be another contractor who I’m going to talk to and it’s another one that I have to pay. It’s all depending on their budget and their price, and really what they could afford or what they really don’t want to go over.

Do you find that your customers generally want you to be like a one-stop shop?

I usually pitch maintenance packages. They don’t really stray too much into the marketing only because it’s me and I have other clients that I need to help out. What I can do, or what I usually do is if they need to, I’ll create a landing page for them. Then from there, I’ll tell them, “Hey, this is what you got to do if you want to design a piece of work, create content that is relevant to that landing page.”

Let’s say they want to collect email addresses. I’ll create a landing page that’s going to be solely dedicated to gathering or trying to get people to sign up for a newsletter. Then I’ll tell them, “This is what you got to do. You got to create the content that’s relevant to the landing page.” Let’s say it’s underwater basket weaving that they’re trying to promote. Then I’ll tell them, “Anything that has to relate to that, send it through social media, send it to Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever you currently find your potential clients, and then have that link on each post be connected to that landing page.” Then that landing page should act as a way for them to subscribe to a newsletter.

Let’s say it’s just a landing page for underwater basket weaving, then that’s ultimately what I’m there for is to help them create the lead-generating landing page, versus me having to do pretty much the entire marketing. In the very beginning, that’s what I tended to do was to be part of the marketing and part of the web development. It was a mess. I couldn’t do it because it started to get into the lines where the client didn’t know what it is they wanted to promote. They didn’t have clear specific goals to their marketing because in the first place, they didn’t understand marketing.

I do tend to make sure that the clients know, or have some level of a marketing goal that they have in mind. Then that will help me out create just a simple strategy for them to use. For the most part, it’s just maintenance packages that I’ll offer. One package I’ll offer updates. The next package, if they have content, or they need extra landing pages because they have other ideas that they want to promote, then I’ll assign them to that package.

Then I also I have a security package, which I monitor their website to make sure that there’s no hacking attempts or brute-force attacks or anything like that engaging on their website, so then I have that package. I usually try to get people to stay away from being a one-stop-shop. Unless you actually have people who you’re partnered with to do the other aspects that you promised the client to do.

Yes, that makes sense. I’m trying to learn a lot of different things only being a few months out of camp. I knew a few things before, but I feel like I’m just spread thin.

Yes. Focus on what you need to know now. I think you’re going forward. You don’t want to strain to a tutorial hell of– You need to feel like you need to be the top expert in that field in order to start offering the service. Like I said, you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to know more than the average person and just do it and then learn as you go. Don’t try and learn anything that you’re not going to use or that you’re not going to need unless it’s just a pastime thing. I like to experiment with different coding languages just as a hobby. I don’t really look to doing anything with it.

I do tend to try and focus mainly on either the business aspects of what I need to learn or if I feel like there’s something that I need to work on, like let’s say it’s my whole entire system of onboarding, then I’ll try and figure out what other people are doing, what other freelancers are doing and then I’ll try and either mimic it or try to shape it to how it’s going to work for me. Just learn what you need to know and just keep going.

I have a small question. How often are you brought on to a project that already exists versus building something from scratch?

I will say, 40% of the time, it’s already a project that’s already been started but then abandoned. I’ve always tried to either do brand new websites or redesigns. I have on occasion, been dealt hands where someone goes up to me and says, “Hey, you know, this is kind of a project that we started, but something happened to the developer that was using it and I don’t know what’s going on.” Sometimes it could be a headache because I don’t exactly know– I’ll be lucky enough if it was a page builder that they were just using, but sometimes people try and develop their own personal things.
I have to go in and have to try and figure out what actions, [unintelligible 00:47:42] they’ve been using and what exactly have they been trying to do. That happens on rare occasions, but I’ve managed to pull through them. There’s times when you’re going to take on those kinds of projects where it’s just kind of– It’s a headache, but it’s a choice that you can either do right now. That’s why I strongly believe in onboarding clients before doing it.

When you approach a new client, do you have a questionnaire that you have to figure out what they want and fun stuff like that?

No. The way that I like to do it, is I like to make sure that I understand everything it is that they need. When a client reaches out to me, they’re going to be like, “I need this, this, this.” The two things that I require is that I connect with them on either LinkedIn or Facebook, whatever profile they have, just to make sure they’re an actual person. It’s just another way to build a relationship or build a following. The second thing that I do, is I send them a link to a questionnaire that I have and I have them fill out that questionnaire. It’s basically a questionnaire that asks two different things.

It’s a filter to make sure that it’s people who actually want to embark on the project, and it’s to ward off people who are just kind of scope creeping, and they just a general answer of how much something is going to be because nothing is ever clear cut on– Just because you need this, I don’t exactly know the entire– what you didn’t tell me to do. I’ll connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook, and I’ll send them a questionnaire. They fill out the questionnaire, I look it over for about three days just to get a good understanding of what their goals are, what their company’s about, who their audience is to make sure they know that they have an audience, then I’ll look it over.

I’ll grade it. [unintelligible 00:50:14] they’re giving a pass or fail. If it’s a fail, then I will just say, “You know what, I don’t think there’s going to be a project.” I’ve had to refuse projects before, just because I’ve had that general feeling where I don’t know if they’re fully understanding– They don’t fully understand what it is that they need, or I’m not the right person that they’re going to– that I’m going to be able to provide a solution for. If they do pass, I do say, “Okay, let’s arrange a meeting.” I’ll bring up everything that they filled out in the questionnaire. I’ll talk to them about it.
Then this is the chance when I really get to dive deep down into trying to figure out what their main goal is. Then from there we all fill out the proposal and I’ll send it to them. It gets signed and then we kick off the project. That’s pretty much– That’s my system for everything. Every client that I go through has to go through that process. I don’t cut corners because if you could simplify everything, that’s the best thing that you could do. That’s just a system that I created for onboarding clients. Actually, that’s fine with it.

Did you come up with that question, this by yourself, or did you find something online or did you have a mentor that push that way?

No. I joined different communities and one of them was luckily enough, they have a questionnaire that was just a regular question. Then I’ve either improved it, added or I’ve taken away stuff. Just if I needed it, if I needed some things off and I just took them off. It all started out from a framework.

Have you had any success building any kind of passive income or just a revenue stream where you’re not doing all that much, you’re still offering some kind of service to your clients and you can rely on that revenue stream?

So far, it’s always just been the maintenance packages that I try and upsell. Typically, what I do is either set it for a six month thing or it’s a one year. Then from that, it’s just a month to month basis where I just either depending on the package that they buy into, I’m either doing the updates, or I’m updating their plugins or their themes or anything like that. The second package is when I’m actually adding content or building landing pages that they need or that they want to start running promotions on.
Then, the next one is just the security to make sure that there’s no malware or cross site hacks going on or anyone trying to brute force their way in. Maintenance has been the bread and butter lately versus just building an entire website by itself.

What are some of the tools you’re using to be able to find new clients, prospect clients, prospect existing clients, upsell, et cetera, et cetera?

When it’s going to promoting, for a while I was using Zoho, to link to all my social media accounts. Recently, I just ended up switching to Hootsuite. That’s what takes care instead of me going back and forth between different social media platforms. Right now, I think Twitter’s the only one where I would actually have to go in and then add a post for my marketing content. I don’t know, Hootsuite takes care of most of it. For the sales, it’s MailChimp and it’s either just– I’m pretty much trying to automate everything. The way that I have it set up is, if someone emails me because they’re interested in a service, then I’ll automatically shoot out a message with the link to the questionnaire, as well as their actions of following me on LinkedIn or Facebook.

If I could get them to the questionnaire, they fill it out and then it just sends another email, as soon as they’re done that I’ll get back to them within three days, when we could sign up. I use Calendly for them to pick a date of when they want to set up a meeting. They pick a date, and then we set up the meeting. Other than that, everything is just manual from there. I switched to Upclick, which I’ve actually liked Upclick. It’s simple and it’s not as complicated as using something like Asana where it comes up with a ridiculous price tag. Just recently, in December, I ended up switching to Upclick for project management.
That’s what I’m currently using for any kind of project to manage all the projects that I have, as well as the clients.

I have my own personal hobby, artist business that I’ve been branding, would you suggest to keep it separate? I was thinking about maybe putting it on my website, but keep it separate and make maybe a new Facebook business page or a new Instagram page that’s just for the digital media stuff I make. Or what do you suggest like branding?

Yes. I would do it separate. I wouldn’t completely shy away from the other business that you do now, because I think what you should do is separate them, but also show that you’re interested in pottery, even though it’s just drone flying, then maybe you could incorporate something that uses a drone while you’re doing pottery or something like that. Or even just showing that you have interest in certain types of things. It doesn’t specific like– When you start your drone Facebook page, it doesn’t have to be all about drones. Some parts of it could just be like, “Hey, I have this other Facebook page where I’m interested in pottery.”

The way that it helps with your branding is it shows that you’re a person, you’re not just a faceless identity. That’s how people build relationships is when they see the other things that people are interested in. Sometimes when I market or when I send out content throughout social media, sometimes it’s not exactly about web development or it’s not about lead generation or anything like that. It’s just like, “Hey, I just watched this movie. I can’t believe I’m just watching it now. It’s a pretty good movie.” People will actually start a conversation about it. It just shows that you’re an actual person.

That’s the way that branding works today is showing that you have interests, that you could relate to people to different people, and at the same time say, “Hey, this is what I do though. This is my primary purpose.”

How am I going to do that? Do you think it’s important and also to make a separate Instagram page that just is about the drone or the digital media side as well?

Yes, it would fall under the same though. Your page doesn’t specifically have to be about drones. It’s always good to show different interests every now and then. It just freshens up your page and it shows that you’re just not all about business, but you have other things that make you happy as well. It’s not only drone flying. The best thing I like about Instagram, it allows you to keep different– you can have two different profiles and then you can just switch back and forth between them.

That’s the way that I was working for a very long time before I ended up getting a Hootsuite, which is what I was using for social media now.

Your page doesn’t have to be entirely about what it is that you do. Its good to incorporate stuff that interests you. If you find an article that relates to pottery, then you could just post it onto your drone account and say, “Hey, this is interesting because this does remind me of this, this, and I’ve always liked this growing up.”

Do you have a go-to people in different segments?

Yes. I do. That’s another important thing about networking especially as an individual. Like I said in the beginning, I wanted to be the go-to person for everything and that was including the development, the marketing, inbound marketing, and outbound marketing, and everything and it was just way too much for me to handle. Along the way, I meet people who could take on different things that I wouldn’t have to. If I do need content for a website– I’m not a huge fan of writing but I know someone who I always go to and that I can rely on who I just go to them and say, “Hey, I need this kind of content. Let’s work together, let’s collaborate on this.”
I do bring other people if I need to to a project and that’s if clients don’t have any content writers or if they don’t have any graphic designers and it’s out of my scope. I know some things about graphic designing, I just don’t want to get too deep into. If it’s something that does require me to have an expert level at it, then I’ll turn to someone who does know more than I do and then we’ll start working together. Like I said, that’s where the price comes in as well. If there’s any reasons why I need or require someone else outside of my skill set I need to come in, then that’s when usually the price does increase because then I have to take care of someone else as well.

Do you usually charge a percentage on top of that? Say, Mary charges $50 an hour for graphic design. Do you normally put a 20% premium on top of that, make sure you’re getting paid along with her?

Yes. I always try and stay away from hourly but sometimes on occasions where it does require me to have a good rough estimate of how much something is going to be then I do have hourly rates that I usually ask other contractors who have that skill. I ask them how much do they charge. What I’ll usually do is tack on a little bit more just to have a little bit of cushion room to make sure like if there’s any mistakes then at least, we can rebound from that and then it’s not going to eat up within the profits or within the budget.
Like I said, usually, that’s the whole reason why I’ve created a system where they fill up the questionnaires so I could get a bigger understanding of exactly what it is that they need. That’s why I always like to have the questionnaire before I have meetings with a client so that nothing just jumps at me and say, “Oh, well, I didn’t know I was going to need this.” I don’t like things that jump out the last minute.