Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox | Virginia Author

jayne d'alessandro-coxJayne D’Alessandro-Cox is a Virginia author whom I came to know through one of my business colleagues, Philip Day. Ms. D’Alessandro-Cox has written several children’s books and a unique book on the first 31 years of Thomas Jefferson’s life. I can personally attest to her engaging writing style since I have purchased all of them myself! It is a pleasure to feature Jayne as a true entrepreneur in action.

1. Career influences

At this chapter in my life, when people ask me, “…and what do you do?”, I humbly answer, “I am an author”. One question seems to lead to many, but the occasion always reminds me that career paths can be so unexpected in life.

My career influence was my English teacher in my sophomore year of high school. The assignment was to write a Christmas story. As a 16 year old, that was the last thing I wanted to do on Christmas break. As tears dropped on my loose leaf paper, I said a prayer and asked God to help me think of something to write. What happened next changed my life. Within 2 ½ hours, my attitude went from feeling sorry for myself, to excitement, as God had inspired me to write the sweetest Christmas story, in verse, which I titled, A Miracle in Bethlehem. I cannot ever remember writing in verse, but the end result got me a 95% with the following remarks from my teacher, “…with some illustrations, this could be a very nice children’s book!” If it were not for my teacher’s written remark on my paper, I would not have saved it and published it over 35 years later. Unmistakably, my English teacher was my career influence, but God was my inspiration.

2. Biggest Career Success

This has to be my most recent book entitled Thomas Jefferson-From Boy to Man. It is a historical, autobiographical, and biographical account of Thomas Jefferson’s first 31 years of life, written in journal form and supplemented with background text to further inform the reader.  It documents Jefferson’s childhood, adolescence, and journey to manhood.  The reader will get to know our founding father more intimately after reading about his early years.  To understand the man, one needs to learn about the boy. There is no book like this on the market today, and it is, thankfully, getting rave reviews!

3. Recent Lessons Learned

As an author of four books, I’ve had to do numerous book related tasks and projects that were completely out of my comfort zone.  Once my first book came out, I assumed that it would be in every book store nationwide. So not the case! That “may” happen for a celebrity, but certainly not for the “average Joe, or Jayne”!  I’ve since learned how to represent and promote my books through book signings and speaking engagements, and give radio interviews, while actively promoting them over social media.  It helps to have a great web site, thanks to Brian Loebig and Philip Day Communications!  (www.jaynedalessandrocox.com)

4. What Inspires and Motivates

What most inspires and motivates me is my relationship with Christ.  If everyone could only experience how wonderful it is to have an intimate communication with Christ, what an amazing world it would be!  I know my purpose in this world, and I understanding why I was created: to know, love, and serve the Lord. Writing my first three Christian books was to honor and serve Him. When I prayed at my bedroom desk that December night in 1972, it didn’t surprised me that God answered my prayer with such a sweet story.  What did surprise me was how quickly! As a result, children are discovering the joy of knowing Jesus in their lives.  What could be better than that?

5. Share a Leadership Story

As an author, I realize that I am fully in charge of marketing my books. The first promotion year was exhausting, and I thought, “Does every new author have to go through this?”  The answer is “yes”, unless you are a celebrity or hire an agent.  After the first book-signing Christmas season, I decided to invite as many authors as I could fit in a hotel ballroom, advertise, and hold a huge book signing event.  The author’s table fees and sponsor fees covered all the expenses.  It was called Meet the Authors Book Signing Event, and it has become a growing and popular local event.  Although a labor of love, I believe that it gave the opportunity to many new authors who were not as resourceful in promoting their published work. I have found that every new project that I’ve taken on, no matter how difficult or time consuming, could not have been achieved without prayer. God hears our prayers, and if they honor Him, he blesses us with a favorable answer.

6. Your Top Two

  1. I believe that one must have an unwavering determination to accomplish a specific goal…no matter what the goal is or how difficult it is to achieve. Do whatever homework is necessary to learn all you can about the project.  I love the story of The Tortoise and The Hare. Slow and steady wins the race, just never give up!
  2. Also, for me, prayer is essential. I know that I can do nothing without the help of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, nor would I want to.  My prayer for you is that you sit down in a nice comfortable and quiet place, and have a conversation with God. Be open and honest. Tell Him that you would like to know Him, and ask Him to come into your life. Begin the dialogue. Trust me, life is good only when God is in it! God bless you all, Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox

7. About Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox

Jayne is a top rated author and analytical historian living in historic Charlottesville, Virginia.

Follow her everywhere!

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How to Add an Admin to a Google Plus Business Page

google plus admin setupAdding an admin to a Google Plus Business page is an important step in assigning responsibility for management of this social media platform. Google continues to roll out updates, integrations and changes so finding the right place to assign a page manager can sometimes be frustrating. These steps have been updated as of 7/31/2014 so follow them while they last!

  1. Step one: Log into Google!
  2. Click on your name in the links at the top right side of the window
    google page manager
  3. Mouse over the Home button on the top left to expand the Google drop down menu and click on the “Pages” icon.
    google page manager
  4. Select the page you want to manage
    google page manager
  5. Mouse over the “My Business” button on the top left to expand the Google drop down menu and click on the “Setting” icon.
    google page manager
  6. Click on the “managers” button in the top level navigation bar
    google page manager
  7. Click “Add managers” and invite a manager to the page using their email address or their name in Google.
    google page manager
  8. Select a role for them and you’re done!

Google explains there are three types of admins for Google pages; the page owner, manager and communications manager. Each page can only have one owner, but up to 50 managers or communication managers. Only a page owner can give access to a new manager.

google page manager roles

Read more about page managers on Google: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4573962?p=pages_multi_admin&rd=2

Read about how to transfer ownership of a page too!
https://support.google.com/business/answer/3415281?hl=en&ref_topic=4539640

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Free Social Media Icons in PNG format

New icons added to the list!

The Ink Blog

got social iconsSocial media icons are abundant, but every time I design a new website I wind up needing to find a new set or a different size to add to the design. Over the past few years as a web designer I have accumulated a wealth of icons and a recent blog comment on the article, “How to create a professional email signature in Gmail,” motivated me to create a new post to share the wealth!

These icons were developed in PNG format so the edges are transparent and will blend nicely into any website background color. If you need an icon that you don’t see in this list, drop me a note so I can add it to this social media icon directory!

Select the icons you need and save them to your computer or digital device!

Social Media Icons Rounded-Square Theme

16×16 social media icons

stumbleupon  google-plus 

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The Best Job I Ever Had

best job kfcToday, I have been married to my wife, Nicole, for 21 years. Nicole and I have actually known each other for over 28 years thanks to the place we first met; Kentucky Fried Chicken in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I was attending the University of Wisconsin at the time and had a part-time job as an assistant manager at the KFC location on Bobolink Dr. Nicole was still in high school and worked part-time as a cashier. She and her mother lived a short distance from the store.

Nicole was very shy and quiet and was easily the best employee in that store. She was diligent, detail oriented, and not afraid to work long hours. As a second-year surgery resident in 2014 she still works long hours but is not so shy!

Nicole and I worked several other jobs together before getting married including Hardee’s, security services, and an entrepreneurial business, University Painting.

I am sure neither of us could have envisioned the long and winding road we would have together. The entrepreneurial bug that I had in college has come full circle into the development of a full-time web consulting business. Nicole has always had an interest in medicine and is living her dream as a surgeon.

I recently did a Google Street view search of our KFC rendezvous and it seems we have outlasted the original place of our pairing.

I thank God for the best job I ever had since it was there that I met and married the woman of my dreams and the mother of our three children.

Happy anniversary Nicole I love you!

P.s. I still love those original recipe chicken wings! …just in moderation.

 after this day anniversarywww.afterthisday.com

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Twitter SEO

twitter seoTwitter SEO strategies are as simple as they are effective. However, many small businesses still do not take advantage of this key social media platform which can help drive traffic, leads and ultimately new business.

One of the hallmarks of Twitter is its simple and open design. Twitter is considered by many as one of the few remaining authentic social media platforms. Twitter is by default a publicly oriented discourse. By contrast, Facebook personal accounts are private and business Facebook accounts continue to suffer from algorithmic obscurity unless advertising is implemented.

Make sure you are taking advantage of of these key ways to increase your SEO with Twitter.

1. Pick a Twitter handle that closely represents your business or brand name. For example, one of my coaching clients, Ashley Phillips’ brand name is APSoul. Her twitter account is aptly named: www.twitter.com/apsoul. If another person or business has taken the name you wish to use Twitter may grant you the use of the handle if your business name is trademarked. (Thanks to fellow blogger, Blair Pettrey, for that bit o’ wisdom!)

2. Link to your website and include your location. Twitter makes it easy to ensure you include these elements so be sure to use them! Even if you are an international organization, adding a local city and state to your Twitter profile will help optimize your business for local searches and won’t negatively affect international searches.

3. Be descriptive in your profile and use keywords in your industry. Twitter profiles are searchable by keyword so including a few hash-tags and/or keywords that describe your business will help increase your reach.

4. Post regularly about your industry and be sure NOTtwitter-seo-example to begin tweets with someone’s Twitter handle. In the book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary V., he explains that beginning a tweet with an account name will prevent most people from seeing the tweet. When you begin a tweet with an account name, such as @garyvee, Twitter assumes you only want to speak with that one person so it only shows the Tweet to people you BOTH follow. Dirk Hoag’s blog describes the process in great detail!

4. Mention others in your tweets. Mentioning other Twitter users in your posts is the primary way to begin a conversation with someone. At a minimum, it at least lets them know you have them in mind. The ever popular #FF posts, aka: Follow Friday, is a way to tell the world whom you would suggest as a good person to follow. For more details and history of the #FF meme visit Jeff Hester’s informative blog.

Browse my other Social Media Tips or SEO topics and make sure you leave a comment!

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Social Media Explained

As an Internet and Social Media Marketing Strategist I often find myself explaining and defining various social media accounts to Internet newbies and off-the-grid gurus. Here is a quick run down on some of the top social media sites with a tongue-in-cheek description of how they might be perceived.

How would you describe your favorite social site?

social-media-explained

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How to Add a User to a Google Analytics Account

Google Analytics logoadd a person icon

[Information is accurate as of: 6/10/2018]

As a small business, there are several reasons you may want to give someone access to your Google Analytics account.

  • You may hire an SEO specialist to evaluate your website statistics.
  • You might want a staff person to manage your analytics without giving them the login to your Google account.
  • Your web designer needs to copy the Google Analytics tracking code from your account to install it on your website.
  • An advertising company, such as Hanapin Marketing, may need access to set up conversion tracking for ad campaigns.

Follow these simple steps to add a user or an administrator to your Google Analytics account while still maintaining the confidentiality of your Google login information.

  1. Log into Google Analytics using your Google login information: https://analytics.google.com.
  2. Click the wheel labeled “ADMIN” at the bottom of the sidebar menu.

Google Analytics sidebar menu

3. In the section that appears on the left-hand side, click the “User Management” button.

Admin User menu, Google Analytics

 4. On the Account Permissions page that opens, click the blue wheel in the right-hand corner.

blue add users button

  1. A short menu will open. Click “Add new users” at the top.
  2. Add the new person’s email address in the section titled “Add permissions” and select the level of access they need to assist with Google Analytics management. Usually “Edit” level is sufficient.
  3. It is a good idea to check the “Notify new users by email” item so they know they have been given access.
  4. Once complete, click the “ADD” button.

Add permissions

  1. Done!

 

Visit our “How To..” directory of technology articles for more time saving tips!

 

 

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SEO Trends for 2014

seo 2014 trendsSEO Trends in 2014 have made some important shifts since the previous year. Press releases as a way to increase high PR backlinks, have decreased in importance and Google has down ranked links from the major Internet PR sites (See Marketing Prof’s article…). However, the wider distribution of press releases from affiliated news sites is still creating good good linking results for business. In early 2014, Craigslist changed its platform and now disallows external hyperlinks to websites. As a result, the value of Craigslist for generating organic traffic and leads will definitely be negatively affected. (See Bigger Pocket’s Blog…)

In 2014, I believe the focus for SEO will be on quality, customer-focused, content that is leveraged through social sharing and relevant backlinks from high PR-ranked websites.

There will need to be tighter integration of websites to social media, press releases and mobile applications. Optimizing for search engines will be congruent with optimizing web content for target customer groups. If the content you are creating and distributing is highly useful and relevant for your target market, it will likely be favored by the search engines.

2014 SEO Trends

  • Reliance on original content will continue to expand
  • Internet advertising and SEO will be more closely coordinated
  • Online press releases are less important
  • Google Places for Business, Google Authorship and Google Plus Business pages will help maximize SEO efforts on Google.
  • Targeted, top local directory listings will be important for page one Google results
  • Linkedin company pages will continue to increase in relevance and use
  • Craigslist will decrease in importance as a source of top level organic search results
  • Social media advertising will be as important as search engine advertising, but targeting and engaging the right audience will take research and testing.
  • Video content will continue to expand and will become key to business SEO rankings.

2014 SEO Recommendations

  • Use a business blog and publish customer-centric articles at least monthly; twice a month is optimal, weekly even better!
  • Use Internet advertising in coordination with onpage SEO optimization efforts for maximum leads. Google Adwords quality scores are dependent upon a good website landing page experience.
  • Use online press releases sparingly and focus on truly newsworthy content.  PRweb.com, PR.com and PRNewswire remain worthy resources
  • Select the top five to ten local directories where people are finding, or likely to find, your type of business and fully develop and maintain those listings. Search your analytics to see which directories are currently being used by people to find your site.
  • Develop, expand and regularly update your business company page on Linkedin.
  • Test social media marketing possibilities to find which platform results in the best sources of traffic and engagement for your business.
  • Develop a video creation strategy and use YouTube to distribute the content. Embed videos on your website, social media channels, newsletters and other places to maximize distribution.

Review other articles on SEO topics…

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Best Practice for Business Facebook Page Design

Facebook Under ConstructionDesigning a Facebook page for a company, cause, brand or local business should involve as much attention to detail as the corresponding professional website. Too often companies create a Facebook page with little forethought or advanced planning. What’s worse is that some businesses create it and then leave it alone. Aligning the company brand and business strategy with a professional Facebook presence will leverage this important medium for maximum effectiveness.

These best practices are well known to social media marketers who often charge hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month to professionally develop business Facebook pages. Small businesses are wise to learn what elements of social media they can develop themselves and where they can use additional assistance.

  1. Create a Custom URL
    1. This simple task will help brand your Facebook page for easy sharing of your page URL. A Facebook URL such as www.facebook.com/exactlydat is much more memorable than www.facebook.com/pages/ExactlyDatcom/201005983250229
    2. Find out how to change a facebook page address here…
  2. Maximize the use of Graphics and Images
    1. Design a timeline profile image that uses the maximum allowable image dimensions , i.e. 850w x 315h pixels.
      1. Good example: www.facebook.com/loebigink
    2. Choose a thumbnail image that best represents your logo and maximizes the allowable image dimension of 180 x180 pixles. It mus also be recognizable on wall posts when it gets reduced to 32 x32 pixels.
    3. Be selective about the wall tabs you publish and/or allow to be shown. For example, if you don’t have any events, remove that tab. If you only have a few fans, move that tab to the end of the list.
      1. Good example: www.facebook.com/volvorichmond
  3. Add your page URL to the “About” section of your page

    1. Facebook pages that are setup as “company” pages will allow the ‘about’ section of the page description to appear on the front page of the site. As a result, it is a best practice to use this prime real estate as an opportunity to link back to your website. Put the URL at the beginning of the short description so that it will appear on the front page of your Facebook page.
      1. Good examples:
      2. https://www.facebook.com/loebigink
      3. https://www.facebook.com/forcpr
      4. https://www.facebook.com/criminalthinking
  4. Use Free Social Apps
    1. Integrate other important social media into page tabs. YouTube, ConstantContact and other social media sites offer free apps that will integrate their content directly into your Facebook Page.
    2. Good example: www.facebook.com/volvorichmond
  5. Drive Traffic to Your Website
    1. Completely develop the ‘Info” section of your Facebook page with website links, phone numbers, product descriptions, etc.
      1. Good example: https://www.facebook.com/careeressentials?sk=info
    2. When posting photos of products or service related info, make sure the images are also available on your website. One good strategy is to post several sample pics on your Facebook page with a note in the photo description to view more or higher resolution images on your website.
    3. Change the ‘About Us’ section of your page so that is shows your web address. This is the only place on your FB wall that you can provide visitors with a link to your website. For example: “Find out more at: http://www.TheInkBlog.net”
      1. Good example: www.facebook.com/careeressentials
  6. Use Custom Apps
    1. There are a plethora of social media services that provide custom apps that can drive traffic to your inventory of products and encourage visitors to ‘like’ your page. WildfireApps, Constant Contact, MyTab, PageModo and others will provide the technology you need to create social media campaigns, contests, sweepstakes, quizzes and more. Prices, features and usability vary widely between these services so research the ones that will best meet your needs and budget.
  7. Create a Reveal Tab
    1. One of the single most useful page apps is a reveal tab with mandatory ‘likes.’ Visit my blog article on how to setup a reveal tab using the “My Tab” app. A reveal tab with mandatory “likes” is a Facebook page that invites visitors to see additional content by requiring that they “like” the page. This strategy is being used by many organizations to give away coupons, offer free e-books, enter drawings and sweepstakes as well as numerous other uses.
      1. Good example: www.facebook.com/anotherwaydriver?sk=app_14167664298
      2. How to create a reveal tab: https://theinkblog.net/2012/01/22/how-to-create-a-facebook-reveal-page/
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Increase Visibility Using The Top Small Business Directories

business Internet directoriesSmall business owners are always on the lookout for the lowest cost, highest value promotional opportunities on the Internet. Creating or claiming local business directory listings is a great way to expand ones digital footprint.

Many Internet service providers have identified the value of local directories which has spawned a bevy of mass listing services such as Yext.com, CityGrid and others. These services make it easy to claim a large list of directories that may or may not be relevant to a business. The listing provider’s monthly fees tie a business into a relationship with them for life since discontinuing their service will remove your business information from the listing enmasse.  A more time intensive, but lower cost, approach is to claim ones business listings by hand with the top directories relevant for your industry.

The following list of directories are recommended for a wide variety of businesses and industries. Links to the business listing page of the directory will make it easier to begin creating or claiming your business listings.

  1. Google Places for Business (http://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness)
    1. This is often the first and arguably the most important location a local business should list their business. Google Places for Business is key to ensuring you can be found by your customers on Google Maps.
    2. Your first step will be to sign in using an email account associated with Google. If you don’t have one that is connected to Google, you will need to set one up. A Gmail account is an easy choice, but you can also associate a non-Gmail account with Google.
    3. A post card verification process is usually required and will take up to two weeks to process.
      .
  2. Yelp.com (https://biz.yelp.com/claiming)
    1. Yelp has become one of the most popular and important directory and review sites for a business due in part to the rigid system of controlled reviews on the site. Yelp works tirelessly to ensure reviews submitted are by real people and customers through a series of algorithmic controls that filters questionable reviews out of site.
    2. Like most directory sites, you will be guided through a search process to see if your business is already listed. If it is, you will “claim” the listing. If not, you will be able to create a new Yelp listing.
      .
  3. SuperPages.com (https://yellowpages.superpages.com/profiler/login_import.jsp)
    1. Super Pages is the Internet version of the traditional yellow pages phone book. Similar to Google Places, many existing businesses are already listed in the Super Pages directory. If you business is listed you just need to “claim” your business and update the listing.
    2. Free listings include address, phone, website link, embedded Bing map, customer reviews, and the ability for visitors to share the listing via email, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile phone.
    3. Paid listings include a business description, listing categories, specialties, payment options, products/services, hours of operation, large thumbnail image of website, embedded video, etc. Prices are not published, but can reach several hundred dollars a month.
      .
  4. Yahoo Local (http://listings.local.yahoo.com/)
    1. Yahoo Local is an important site to list a business since it is connected to one of the largest search engines on the web. Basic/free listings include phone, address, website, store hours, products and services.
    2. An enhanced/paid listing is $9.95/mo and includes a company logo, tagline, up to 10 photos and a detailed business description.
      .
  5. AngiesList.com (https://business.angieslist.com/Registration/SimpleRegistration.aspx)
    1. Angie’s List is a popular directory and review site of service companies and health care professionals in over 550 categories. Angie’s List customers pay an annual subscription fee to access business listings and reviews from their local area.
    2. Categories include business description, service area, operating hours, services, payment options, 24 hour emergency service designation,
      .
  6. Manta (http://www.manta.com/member/register/?rl=join_free)
    1. Manta claims to be the largest online community dedicated to small business. Owners can list their business in the Manta directory for free and take advantage of networking, articles and numerous small business resources.
    2. Free listings include contact information, website link, business description, 3 business categories, products/services, years in business, state of incorporation, NAICS and SIC codes, etc.
    3. Enhance listings range in price from $29 to $49/mo and include more prominent listings, competitor add removal, multiple search keywords, etc. Compare plans here: http://www.manta.com/claim/upgrade?sub_driver=pbl-home-drawer
      .
  7. Local.com (https://advertise.local.com/?CID=710)
    1. Local.com is a leading nationally positioned local business search site. It’s mission is “to be the leader at enabling local businesses an consumers to find each other and connect.”  Major search categories include: Businesses, Deals, Events and Activities.
    2. Free listings include business name, address, link to an embedded Bing map of the business location, phone number and website link.
    3. Premium listings start at $49.95/mo and include listing at the top of search results, company logo, special offers to customers, web page, 5 photos, two category listings and color in the business listing.
      .
  8. Local City Directories (e.g. http://directory.richmond.com/VA-Richmond)
    1. Most midsize and larger cities have popular city directories that promote local business. Richmond.com is a directory operated by the city’s largest daily paper, the Richmond Times Dispatch. Free business listings on this site allow users to add phone numbers, business hours, types of payments accepted and categories associated with the business.
    2. Like most free directory listings, enhanced listings can be purchased for a fee. Here is an example of a paid listing on Richmond.com: http://directory.richmond.com/2689893/Ace-Glass-Repair-Inc-Richmond-VA
      .
  9. Merchant Circle (http://www.merchantcircle.com/corporate/)
    1. Merchant Circle claims to be “the largest online network of local business owners, combining social networking features with customizable web listings that allow local merchants to attract new customers.”
    2. Free listings include address, phone, embedded Google Map, up to three categories for listing the business, customer reviews and compliments as well as the ability of Merchant Circle members to “follow” your business on Merchant Circle.
    3. Paid listings include top search result positioning, business logo thumbnail image, social sharing buttons, website link, payment types, hours of operation, a simple blog, product descriptions, offers and recent news updates.
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