Local SEO for Your Business

Local SEO for Your Business

Local SEO for Your Business

How Citations Improve your Local Search Rankings

In what follows we will first discuss Local SEO proper and it’s importance for your business.

From this point I’ll discuss how citations fit into that strategy and finally I’ll give you a quick solution for the citation problem. You can jump to the end here.

Let’s talk SEO, search engine optimization, and how to build your local presence on Google and the SERPS.  A big part of off page SEO is still backlinks and it’s important to get some naturally.  Don’t pay for your links this can give you a penalty from Google and cause you to lose rank.  It’s tempting but don’t do it.

New to link building?  Moz has a great beginners guide I don’ t have the time or resources to emulate so here’s the link.

In that article link building is defined as “the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.” That same article goes on to suggest that links are one important way that Google and other Search Engines decide how to rank a site.  Generally, the thought is that more links and better quality links are important for ranking

If you stumble upon this article looking for info on technical SEO Ignite Visibility has a great post on just that. You can read the entire article at your leisure on Technical SEO here.

The importance of Local Citations for your business

Local SEO and the Importance of Citations

I agree that link building and link acquisition is important for business and thus I encourage you as a website owner to work hard to produce content that will be linked. However, today I want to focus on link building for local SEO and namely local citations.

This is a Real non-Rhetorical Question:

Do you ever find yourself wondering about your competitors and why they are ranking for local key words and on Google Maps higher than you? 

If so the quick answer lies in something called a local citation aka a business citation or sometimes called a business directory listing.

Essentially a local citation is made up of one of the following:

  • Company name.
  • Company name & phone number.
  • Company name, phone number, & address.
  • Company name, phone number, address, & website.
  • Company name & website.
  • Company phone number.
  • And so on.

When you think of Local Citations think NAP:

  • Name
  • Address
  • phone number

Darren Shaw of Whitespark.ca has a nice summary of What a Local Citation is and how to get them.  https://whitespark.ca/blog/what-is-a-local-citation-for-local-seo/

While we started this local SEO discussion talking about links it’s important to note that a local citation doesn’t need a link to your site to help with your local SEO.  A citation validates and confirms your business is real and valid with or without a link.  Citations help build the following a case for verification, trust and prominence.

Local SEO citations

Why your Business should Care about Local Citations

Google and other Search Engines like Bing “read” these third party business directories and listing sites (the one’s that hold local citations) and take the data into account when determining which business/website to show for Geo-targeted searches. 

Simply put Local Citations will help you to gain ground on your competitors in the Local Rankings.

Local SEO Action Items

The list of local citation and business directories is huge with literally 1000’s of niche directories.  How should you attack the list?

You have two general options: do it yourself or hire someone to do it.

Two General Options

DIY Local SEO Citation Option:

This option is definitely cost effective.  However, it’s like all things that are repetitive and boring—time consuming.  You must ask yourself if your time is worth more to you than the amount of hours it will take to submit individually to each list.

Sure you can hire a virtual assistant or someone online, a college student, etc however, the quality of work is important here too.  Google and the Search Engines do not like it when your NAP doesn’t match.  So make sure that you check the work of VA’s and other low-cost “helpers” before going all-in with them.

Do it Yourself Game Plan?

If you decide to go this Do it Yourself Option I would simply set up a plan to hit 4 to 5 a day for 30 days or 60 or whatever.  Create a scheduled time each day to do the work. Sit back and do it.

In my experience expect each 4 to 5 listings to take around 1 to 2 hours at first.

Hire or Outsource the Local Citations

Here at Green Thoughts Consulting building local citations is part of the Search Engine Optimization we do daily for clients.  

If you are interested discussing that get in touch with us today.

contact us button

Finally, we have put together a list of 150 of the best and highest quality business directory listings for your convenience. Enjoy.

You can find the list here.

GetResponse Alternatives The 4 Biggest Competitors for small businesses

Best getresponse alternatives and competitors

GetResponse Alternatives The 4 Biggest Competitors for small businesses

If you’re considering GetResponse, the most important factor to consider is the market, as well as how well it aligns with your main goals. Both are competitors, and their mission is to assist you in determining which companies are the best fit for your business. With this online marketing tool, you can create permission-based mailing lists, maximize conversions with email automation and responsive design, and create landing pages. Get Response’s features to include video email marketing, email-to-speech, a custom form designer, and an iPhone app.

Every email marketer’s top priority should be deliverability. In our deliverability tests, GetResponse showed some growth potential. Deliverability rates fluctuate naturally, so we’re hoping for an increase soon. GetResponse does not offer a free (or even a freemium) plan, but it does offer a 30-day trial. Instead, check into these options if you’re looking for a free newsletter service. Listed below are a few GetResponse alternatives and competitors:


Customers will appreciate EngageBay’s extensive feature set in the areas of sales, marketing, and CRM. Sales and marketing automation, lead segmentation, personalised reporting, A/B testing, and other features are available. EngageBay is renowned for being an alternative to Get Response and other well-known brands in the industry while still providing a robust collection of features. A free Help Desk is included with every shipment.


•     Automated systems that are both easy and efficient. 

•     This is a cost-effective option for small businesses. 

•     The learning curve is not too steep. 

•     There are a number of useful integrations available. 

•     It is absolutely free to use their Service Bay Help Desk.


This isn’t ideal for businesses looking to develop. Support is only accessible during business hours. In case of Engagebay, Small and medium-sized businesses in need of a cost-effective all-in-one sales and marketing solution to attract, interact, cultivate, and convert visitors to customers. Hence, Keap is high competition for EngageBay. Hence EngageBay is an alternative to Get Response.


Creatio is a process-driven CRM that integrates customer data with business process management software to help you streamline and coordinate your sales, marketing, and customer service activities. The framework is built on a robust BPM architecture, making it a flexible solution for a variety of operations. It is tailored to the retail industry and is adaptable to both small and large businesses. It customizes processes with a quick drag-and-drop editor, whether in the cloud or on-premise. It’s a good alternative to Get Response:


•     It has a Customer Success Management programme that is customized to each customer’s needs.

•     It monitors the progress of customers from lead to order to account management.

•     It unifies marketing, distribution, and operations on a single CRM platform, and its CRM processes are adaptable and easy to change.


—   Printable and Reports can be challenging to work with, and they seem to have fallen behind the software’s general quality.

—   If you use your computer frequently, you can experience performance issues.


Drip is a popular CRM that claims to help eCommerce businesses turn leads into paying customers. The ECRM is intended to assist you in guiding potential customers through the purchasing process and personalizing the whole experience in order to increase revenue, repeat purchases, and market value, as its name suggests. Drip has a lot going for it, but it falls short of standards in a few ways. The fact that Drip was developed exclusively for eCommerce companies selling physical goods online is its biggest selling point. The app works with a variety of eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, and comes with a collection of pre-built automation that you can use right away. A good alternative to Get Response.


•     Experts in eCommerce CRM

•     Good automation integration features that function

Drip’s drawbacks:

•     It’s possible that the email templates could be changed.

•     It’s possible that the platform is unstable.

•     It is lacking.


Monday.com is a leading contact and project coordination solution that organizes and synchronizes information in a single unified database to simplify project and customer management. This creates a forum for team members to collaborate and make decisions. It’s adaptable, tiny, and comes with a number of unique features. Monday.com, as a CRM solution, consolidates a variety of complex operations into a single portal, making pipeline management simpler, providing maximum visibility, and storing contact information in a central database. Is a wise alternative to Get Response.


1. To handle everyday activities and ongoing projects. Action boards with columns or pulses that describe a team’s workflow can be developed. All work-related activities pass through a team member’s board, which he or she must complete or delegate.

2. To keep track of incoming and outgoing communications. Teams may use a board to monitor various messages, their status, and also connect the original emails received, rather than using a spreadsheet or some other folder to keep track of communications such as emails responded to, phone calls received and returned, social media updates, and so on.


  • There’s way too much going on. The user interface is cluttered, disorganized, and frustrating for certain users. Some visualizations, such as the kanban board, can also be enhanced. Users should devote more time to familiarizing themselves with the platform’s terms and functions so that they can properly navigate it.
  • The mobile app is limited. Some users complain that the mobile app, especially the native iPhone app, is slow to update. The mobile app does not have an identical view to the dashboards, and users agree that it needs to be much improved.

Digital Marketing Coach, Benefits

Digital Marketing Coach, the Benefits are Many

With the internet here with us, marketing has evolved and gone digital. While traditional advertising platforms such as newspapers and billboards are still being used, business owners have shifted to digital platforms to reach a wider audience.

Whether you sell products, or you are operating a business in the service industry, one sure way of increasing your visibility is through digital marketing. The challenge for most business owners, especially startups, is that they neglect the marketing aspect of their business or they do not do it right because of lack of expertise.

This is where the services of a professional come in handy.

Benefits of hiring a professional digital marketing coach

Marketing a business on online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram requires tact. With the continuous evolution of technology, new marketing opportunities emerge, and it is only those who take advantage of these tools that adapt and survive the competition. If you do not know the first thing about digital marketing, or you need help improving your marketing strategy, hiring a digital marketing coach will make all the difference. Below are some benefits that come with it.

1.  Mapping out a marketing strategy

One of the benefits of working with a digital marketing coach is that they can help you come up with a marketing strategy for your business from scratch. Most business owners confuse their marketing plan with their business plan when these two are distinct and require equal attention.

With the help of a coach, you can clearly set marketing goals for your business and measure your success based on these. Coming up with realistic and long-term goals pays off in the long run because marketing is a gradual process.

Over the years I’ve developed a series of steps that help cleints move to the promised land. It includes first finding your niche, then understanding your customer journey, building a value ladder, playing with numbers, creating assets, getting traffic and finally reiterating.

When creating a marketing plan, a coach will help you identify areas that need more attention and the marketing tools to use to reach a wider audience.

2.  Learn the ropes from a Digital Marketing Coach

Apart from helping you come up with a marketing strategy for your business, your coach will also give you tools to manage your own marketing for both the short & long-term.

Depending on your needs and budget, your business coach will provide and conduct 1 on 1 training for you and your employees on how to manage your digital marketing platforms.

These can range from areas such as your website and social media pages to getting traffic and efficiently nurturing leads with content. Most small businesses that do not have a lot of resources to work with usually prefer learning the ropes and handling their digital marketing needs in-house.

Some choose to hire in-house experts to handle this aspect of the business or outsource digital marketing services from elsewhere.

However, it can be far more cost effective to outsource this help. The cost of a full time employee or dividing an employees time can be counterproductive and more than hiring a digital marketing coach to help.

Whichever option you choose, your coach will analyze with you the pros and cons and help you choose a budget-friendly yet efficient option for your business.

3.  Digital Marketing Coach will help you improve existing marketing strategies

If your business is neither attracting customers nor making profits yet and you are using digital marketing techniques, chances are that you are doing something wrong.

Sometimes, the problem may simply be with your website design. If you own a website, this is the hub for all your other digital marketing activities. It feeds into secondary sites such as social media with a good content strategy.

After following the path noted above from finding your niche to reiteration your digital marketing coach will address secondary issues.

One of these issues your coach will try to resolve maybe your website, its design, content, and functionality. If the design is off, chances are that potential customers will not visit it or share its content with their networks.

Website responsiveness is also crucial because a website that takes time to load content can be repulsive to users. When churning out content on your website, your marketing coach will advise that you consider putting up quality content which is optimized for search engines such as Google.

Because web design and content development can be too technical for business owners, your coach may recommend the services of professional digital marketing companies to help you revamp your platforms.

Take Action

Finding the best digital marketing strategy may be as easy as choosing the right coach to help you figure it all out.

Applying the strategies that you come up with is also another challenge that you can easily overcome if you put in the work. Not only does a sound marketing strategy help you stay on top of your game in your niche, but it also helps you adapt to an ever-changing digital environment.

Learn more about our 1 on 1 coaching.

Avoid Plagiarism

Avoid Plagiarism for SEO

How to Avoid Plagiarism in your content that boost your SEO ranking

Plagiarism is amongst the top concern about the ranking and most of the websites are not ranking because of this issue. 

Plagiarism means copying the content of another website or publisher and use it for your purpose without giving a proper citation. 

Everybody wishes for boosting the site but this is only possible through better optimization as well as with a better content strategy. 

Google’s crawlers are enough intelligent to detect duplicate content on your website and if they find so, it would affect your ranking.

In this article, we will discuss more the detection of plagiarism as well as the ways to avoid this issue on your site. 

Introduction to Google’s Panda update

The Google Algorithm, named as Google Panda Algorithm, scans your content and website to get the ranking for it. 

This algorithm gets an update after a period and you need to optimize your site according to it. One of the biggest updates for this algorithm was that you should have plagiarism-free content on your website for ranking higher. 

Besides, the algorithms also check for the quality of the content. In the qualitative measures, the uniqueness of the content is very important. 

If you are copying the content from the other websites or you are stealing the idea of the content from other published content then you would be concerned with plagiarism. 

The plagiarism would create a lot of problems for your site. Firstly, you would get the notice from the original author of the content while if the original author wouldn’t detect the content that you copied then the search engine will. 

The search engine crawlers are enough intelligent to detects the originality of the content and penalize the website that copies.

To avoid it, below are some of the ways you can be away from plagiarism to maintain as well as boost your website’s ranking. 

Ways of avoiding plagiarism in your content to boost the ranking 

  1. Come with your idea

When you are writing the content on a specific topic then instead of writing the content through copying the idea of the website, try to write in your ideas. 

This doesn’t mean that you should go away from the original concept instead you should write the content with the same concept but a different structure. 

Now, the best way to deal with this task is to research more and more to get more ideas about the topic and concepts. 

This might take a lot of time but this is necessary for better and unique content. This would increase productivity in your writing while it would also help you to get high-quality content for your readers. 

The readers are coming to your website to find informative content as well as unique content that is never uploaded on the internet before. 

  1. Get research material from multiple sources

When you are reading an article for writing a similar one then there are chances of plagiarism because the content you are reading is limited. 

Not only this, your written content from a single source wouldn’t be creating informative content instead it would be less in quantity as well as less in quality. 

Through reading multiple sources, your content will be better including the concept, quantity, as well as it will be plagiarism-free. 

Go searching for more websites and read the content on it. Through reading maximum data, you can easily gather general ideas and this would have very little chance of plagiarism. 

  1. Paraphrase the original content 

Paraphrasing is another option for avoiding plagiarism in your content. Paraphrasing means changing the words or reword a sentence which helps to remove the plagiarism. 

The paraphrasing can be done through the online tools that are available online for free while these tools are instant and quick to convert the content. 

Paraphrasing is the best way to remove plagiarism because plagiarism not only changes the words but it also increases the quality of the content because of the unique selection of the words. 

Paraphrasing happens with the help of advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence. This way, the paraphrasing is done in a way that the actual meaning of the content remains the same.

  1. Cite the source

The most appropriate way to use someone else’s content in your content is to cite the source. When you are taking another content, you should ask the permission and cite the source. 

The citation means giving the credit by mentioning the original author name, source name, as well as the topic of the content. 

Citing the source also has a good impact on the search engines for your site because the algorithms would consider your content to be plagiarism-free. 

It is also recommended that you should give the link to the source for referring the traffic to the original post. 

Different citation styles can be used for citing the source. Some of the citation methods are written below:

  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago 

Different online tools can be used for making a citation to the source you used for your copied content. 

  1. Quoting the source

In blog posts or web content, you might need to write the sentence in the original form to make your content authentic. 

However, this is possible through quoting the sentence that you are copying from the other website and using it in your source. 

For example, you are writing about social media and you need to add some researched material in your content. Now, to write the original research, you can quote it along with the citation to avoid the plagiarism issue. 


There was a time when using plagiarized content was not a big problem but now, because of the intelligent tools and bots, this can create serious offense for your site. 

You should always consider checking the plagiarism online before publishing the content while the above ways will let you avoid plagiarism in your content. 

Although the best way involves the original writing still, the mentioned ways will be helpful for you. 

Is Your DIY Website Design Causing You Problems with SEO?

SEO Hero

Is Your DIY Website Design Causing You Problems with SEO?

The most commonly discussed element in SEO is backlinks. For a long time, backlinks were the central feature of SEO, determining whether your website design would achieve top rankings. Backlinks are still a crucial factor in the process, but there are other parts that play a key role. How does a DYI Website Design stand up against a Custom Web Design?

On-page optimization has grown in importance in recent years, with a negative user experience damaging any chances of long-term success. If your website has not been optimized properly, Google can detect this both through their crawling and the response of searchers who visit your pages. So, what are the website factors you need to consider for effective SEO?  Want more info on On-Page Optimization?


Website loading speed is not as commonly discussed as it should be. The time it takes for a page to load has a huge impact on reported user experience, with a matter of seconds between a positive and negative impression. Google have a page speed tool for testing loading times, while there are additional alternatives helping to get a broad picture. In the result of a problem, look at image optimization, quality of hosting, and using a CDN like Cloudflare.

You can check your websites speed over at GTmetrix and then check out the 6 reasons why website speed matters.

Content is King Bill Gates


The content on a page is of great importance, but it doesn’t need to be the same style in every instance. The best type of content for SEO will provide the bulk of searchers with exactly what they are looking for. This concept is called search intent.  For example, some keywords will require a detailed article that goes into a lot of depth or niches only require a step by step guide that can be short and to the point.  At the end of the day what is the traffic to your website looking for in return?  Do they want quick answers?  Or do they want to gain a deeper and thorough understanding of a specific subject.  Get to know your traffic and your target.

Other queries, though, might only require a short answer to satisfy the search query. It is helpful to use your target keyword within the title and copy, while also including related terms. Dwell time is another SEO factor, so elements like video content can help increase the time spent on site.


Mobile First vs Responsive

Google has switched to mobile-first indexing, reacting to the increasing popularity in mobile usage. If your site does not offer an optimal experience for mobile users, you will struggle to maintain a great ranking. Most modern sites will offer responsive design, so they work across all types of devices. It is important to test your site using different devices, though, and run pages through the Google Mobile-Friendly tool. A great mobile experience won’t just replicate the desktop, but will instead be catered to the mobile browsing experience.

Here at Green Thoughts Consulting we find many clients have out dated and non-mobile friendly websites.  Having a website in this state is hurting you more than you know.  It’s simple really.  How much do you make on  your average sale?  If a client ready to buy comes to your site and can’t see it due to issues with mobile etc they bounce or leave and then find a competitor.  If we can redesign your site and get you just 2-5 new customers due to the design changes and optimization what is the worth to you based on your average sale?

Test your websites mobile friendliness with Google’s very own test here.


Social media is a useful tool for promoting your website and blog content. Users might like and share your posts, leading to others seeing your content. This process can lead to greater visibility and engagement, creating backlinks for your site. The importance of social media for SEO is still debated.

However, the level of importance Google places on social links is not worth worrying about as there are plenty of indirect benefits to social promotion. The targeted backlinks you can gain on other platforms like industry blogs, often resulting from social media marketing, will play a huge role in ranking a page.

Nice post on how to use social media to promote your site.

internal and external seo links


The URL structure might seem minor, but it can have a high impact on SEO and click-through rate. Some content management systems use an awkward URL structure that isn’t optimal. These URLs might be long and feature dates or random digits to make them unique. This type of URL can negatively impact click-through rate, with the search engines lowering your ranking as a result. Various tests have shown shorter URLs are most effective, so try to use a keyword phrase that sums up the article content.

Bruce Clay has a classic post on SEO Siloing.  It’s a must read really.


Internal linking helps to pass authority around your site, increasing the rankings of certain pages. Wikipedia is the best known example of effective internal linking, with related pages helping users navigate around the site. This process also helps lower the bounce rate, avoiding a common SEO issue. Outbound links can be used to show the topical relevance of your content, with links typically going to authority sites within your industry.  If you are looking for a great primer on internal linking vs external linking look here.



On-page optimization can play a key role in an SEO campaign. Many site owners focus exclusively on the off-page factors, attempting to gain increased numbers of backlinks. Some quick changes to the way a site is set up, along with adaptations on individual pages, can often be enough to satisfy the search engines and individual visitors. When you can offer an exceptional user experience that satisfies the point of the original search query, you stand a great chance of maintaining top rankings into the future.

More on internal and external link significance for your site and SEO.

If there’s anything we can do to help you out on your journey and increase your Return on Investment reach out to us.

The Customer Journey Prison to Paradise

The Customer Journey

The Customer Journey- Prison to Paradise

What does prison to paradise have to do with buying behavior and the customer journey?

The customer journey begins like many things in life. In life, there exists a spectrum.  A set of polar opposites. We have life and we have death. We have a new year and the end of the year.  There is summer and winter. The poor and the rich. Love and hate. 

This spectrum is not only literal, rather, it can be emotional like the need we all feel to be secure and safe.  The polar opposite of safe is insecure or some such antonym. 

The Yin and Yang exist everywhere. The decision that your clients make in the customer journey is no different.

If we boil it down your client’s journey needs to reach a place where they see you as the one and only person to solve their problem.  You are the only choice for the client and there are no other options. 

This is the customer path you want to put prospects on when you reach them.

The Birth of Great Marketing

Further, in this awareness of the polar opposites, you will find truly great marketing grows and becomes something more than an idea.

What is great life-changing marketing?

Marketing that gives life will describe more than a mere product or service. Rather, it follows how the ideal audience grows and becomes from peril and heartache to triumph and victory.

It is the prison to paradise narrative as I was trained to call it. 

“The goal of the customer journey is to move that prospect from there pain points to the desired outcome that makes them feel relief from that pain point.

Jeff Green

Taking the problem, you solve, or your offer(s), and applying it to the Prison to Paradise model will yield significant positive results in your business and life. 

If you have yet to work through that aspect of your business it’s imperative you solidify and clarify who your ideal audience is and what you provide them with. 

Who are your customers?  What change do you provide to them through your product or service? You can read more about finding your why and getting true clarity here.

Great marketing is about more than just identifying a problem and then selling it. 

At its core, it’s about how the problem makes our potential clients feel, sound, and look

Why? If you were to delve into the psychology of feeling and therapeutic listening you would find that people feel understood when you listen to them.  This is common sense really people love to be heard.  Don’t you?

The best way to let people know you get them is to describe emotively and quite literally what they see, feel, and sound like when they are in prison, or sitting with an unsolved problem.

Jeff Green

In the prison to paradise model of the client journey these concepts come together.

the customer journey is prison to paradise
Prison to Paradise, the Customer Journey by Jeff Green

The Customer Journey: Prison to Paradise

Let me break down the customer journey model as a outline to be followed.

There are two states of being in this model, prison and paradise.  Prison represents the state of existing in a problem.  The problem is unsolved.  The desire to solve it may or may not be known.  There is a particular difference in how one feels, looks, and sounds in this state when compared to its polar opposite. 

The second state of the customer path is paradise wherein the world is right. Your life is in balance.  You experience relief both physically and emotionally in how you feel, look, and sound.  You are in a word happy or relieved that the problem was solved.

The client journey is just this.  A pilgrimage you lead from prison to paradise, problem to solution, frustration to relief.  But to get there one must build a bridge.  This bridge is in essence your offer and the experience one derives from that offer.  This bridge has pillars to hold it up and you would be wise to think of these pillars as stepping stones in the customer journey.  This is essentially the product or service itself.

The above three areas are the core of the prison to paradise model. Get to know them well they will be the core of your business and the customer path. Let’s look at each more closely.

Prison and Paradise

The customer journey from prison

When you’re describing your ideal client, you want to understand how they look, feel, and sound.

  • How do things look to them?
  • How do things sound to them?
  • What words do they use to express themselves?
  • How do they say they feel?
  • What bothers them?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What concepts and ideas move them?
  • What worries and excites them?

These answers will be on a spectrum like all human behavior, but what needs your attention is the polar opposites.  You must identify the problem state and a state of relief. Prison to Paradise.

You must begin categorizing the look, feel, and sound ideology of our client into two buckets.  The “I have a problem” bucket and the “Wow! My problem is now solved” bucket.

The customer journey across the chasm to paradise

In order to create real movement across this chasm from prison to paradise, you must make the customer feel understood throughout the journey.

How do you do this?  Go where they go and do what they do.

For example, if your clients appear to hang out on Twitter, you should probably start spending time on Twitter. If they are always on the gram, then it’s time to build a presence on Instagram. 

Go native and live among your ideal customer.

At the end of the day, you have to be where your clients are, or you’ll never connect or understand them.  Not to mention you will be guessing how they feel, look, and sound. 

Don’t get stuck thinking your only avenue is social media. You may find your ideal clients on forums, Facebook private groups, Reddit, Quora, or other niche blogs.  Join these groups and live among them.

The great news about this step is that you already know the “who” part regarding your audience from our post on finding your niche.  Finding your niche and getting clarity on that is the first step. 

Now that the target is known you just need to find out where they are online.  Once you find him, you need to begin listening and taking note of how they feel, look, and sound. 

“It’s a good idea to go so far as to create a word bank of usage you see or behavior you experience in your niche audience.  Later in the process using this language reflectively will make the customer journey feel like a place where they are understood and known.”

Jeff Green

An Example of the Customer Journey

For example, let’s say you’re interested in providing stone pottery to people that are collectors of stone pottery, like cups and/or a dinner dish. You need to figure out where these people are and what they’re talking about and who they’re with. How do they look, sound, feel?

This is an ongoing process but I encourage you to start working on it now.  Once you have a word bank and you have begun to understand how your client feels, sounds, and looks, the next step is to infuse those words and terminology into messaging.

Those worries, those frustrations, those negative emotions will be placed into your sales page, your social media messaging, your email outreach, it should be everywhere.

But how do you move them from prison to paradise?  

You build a bridge and the bridge is nothing more than the pillar concepts that the client needs to step upon to get from the place of the problem (prison) to the place of relief from that problem (paradise).

The customer journey in action

John has found his niche by working the 2 Circles exercise.  John knows he is looking to work with creative entrepreneurs that feel stuck and lack clarity in their marketing.  The value he adds is his past experience of being a digital marketing agency owner.

What does prison then look like for these creative entrepreneurs or solopreneurs?  I’ve tipped my hat a bit.  It’s frustrating. Confusing. There is an overall deficit of clarity.  These entrepreneurs run around in circles from one new hot idea in marketing to another tactic.  The customer journey for these creatives has been a story of tail chasing.

The pain points are made worse by the fact that they can see people in the state they want to be in… paradise.  Making money, endless leads, easy subscribes, and high Return on Ad Spend.  At least this is the story these marketers sell to our creative entrepreneurs.

Simply put John needs to figure out through living among and listening to creative entrepreneurs how they express their prison and what paradise looks like.  Once this is accomplished all that is left is to tie that language into sales copy and messaging. 

John’s expertise in marketing helps him build pillar ideas that each customer must touch to get to paradise.  The method is tried and true.  It works.

So he walks them through 4-6 steps that help them get to paradise or at the very least reframe there concept of what that paradise really is or is not.

Another Client Journey

Tim is a financial professional that is desperate to move out of his current position and into a work from home business.  He is saving money for the transition, plans to transition slowly over a 6 to 12-month period. 

He realizes that there will be very busy times during this transition.  Tim has set goals in regard to his income that must be met before he can leave the dreaded day job (it is actually a night job at the end of a 16-hour end of month close).

Tim has completed his 2 Circles exercise and found that although he is awesome at finance and accounting, he hates it.  He realizes he loves writing content for other companies. Tim has been consistently writing on the side, for fun, since he was 23. He loves to write. 

He never thought of making money doing it.  During his finding your why work he realized that his writing is valuable to businesses in the finance and accounting industries because he is a fantastic writer and knows far more than the average bear about finance.  A skilled writer with a niche.

Tim begins taking what he knows about finance and accounting to decision-makers in an effort to understand them better. Further, he begins following a few forums and threads on the internet about marketing and content marketing for financial professions.  He begins haunting a private Facebook group of private CPA firm owners that are trying to learn marketing. 

Tim is growing his list of how this audience will look, feel, and sound.  The nuggets of gold he finds during this process help him craft more meaningful content on his new blog.  He creates a sense of connection with his visitors through his sales pages, lead magnets, email sequences, and social media posts by reflecting back the issues they are dealing with while they lie in prison wasting away. 

He also paints a picture of how it will look, feel, and sound when they are free and in paradise.

His pillars in the client journey are simple and only involve 3 steps.  He delivers the desired outcome all the while helping the niche he serves to feel understood and involved in the process. 

Next Steps to Build your Customer Journey

These are examples.  The big take away is once you know what your niche is and what your reason for being is, you know, your target audience. Once you have your niche and your target, it’s time to begin doing the work of learning how it looks, feels, and sounds for your tribe.  Understanding their natural customer journey and building a model to understand it like prison to paradise will supercharge your marketing and help you grow.

Next up read why you must have a value ladder.

Why you must have a Value Ladder

Why you must have a value ladder

Why you must have a Value Ladder

A value ladder, referred to as a brand ladder or marketing ladder, is a group of offerings that both increase in price and value as you move from left to right. It is usually depicted with a set of stairs.

Image Source: https://colinscotland.com

A value ladder can do so much for you and it’s really a must-have for any business owner.

What can a value ladder do for you?

First, a value ladder meets people where they are this way.  

By implementing a value ladder, you are able to increase a customer’s lifetime value, LTV.  Providing lower-cost items that build in value as cost increases allow you to build trust with your audience early in the customer journey and still make some money along the way. 

Additionally, you’re still meeting the customer needs and adding value, even at the lower level offers. Most value ladders work best when immense value is given even in the early steps. This allows you to show your worth to clients and build trust.

But let’s dive in a little more.

A value ladder is not about squeezing money from people and helping them max out a credit card to two. That’s not the point of a value ladder, even though a lot of marketing “experts” out there will tell you, it is.

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts on finding your why (where you identify your niche) or how to take your clients on a journey from prison to paradise. You know that my model of work is very client-centric. That’s not going to change in regard to a value ladder.

It’s all about maximizing the number of customers and providing value commensurate with that cost all the while building trust as they move through the different phases of the client journey.

Jeff Green
Value Ladder Template

Do you want a Value Ladder Template? Just fill out the form below.

So, you need a value ladder because it will increase the number of clients and the lifetime value of the average customer.  It’ll also help you produce happy customers.

Second, a value ladder helps you produce happy customers.

Throughout that client journey, “clients to be” will touch various parts of your value ladder steps required to move them from prison to paradise

This is an important point, as what your audience and the ideal client really desire is to find internal relief from the problem they are experiencing.  Even if and when your customers show up with an external problem, which they will, the underlying problem you need to meet is internal and is found in the look, sound, and feel of your audience.

Why do you need a value ladder?

As I noted above a value ladder or brand ladder increases the lifetime value of clients. It’s really that simple. Anything that produces an increase in revenue is a must.

For example, how would you like to take your business from where it is and increase your revenue by 30%, 80%, or even 200% by adding value through multiple offerings at different levels?

It can happen. I’ve seen it happen over and over. Take, for instance, John.   

John has a business where he provides $750 a month search engine optimization for X, Y, and Z ideal customers. The problem is John gets a lot of leads that say they don’t have $750 to spend or perhaps they don’t trust John enough to spend $750.

If John provided a free offer at the beginning, such as a one-on-one SEO audit with a zoom chat alongside help to the client, that would build a lot of trusts.

Then perhaps that client was given the option to take a $67 interactive online course of John’s creation that would teach said customer to do SEO on their own. Then the outcome would be two-fold. 

Increased trust is built at each step.  Additionally, the client get’s more comfortable with John with each interaction, which moves the client journey along. 

However, that’s not where this story ends. 

On the client-side, they also receive loads more value than the free 45-minute SEO audit.  They are learning to do SEO themselves with John’s online course.

Each client gets to spend hours listening to John. 

In John’s business he makes a little money on the sale he would have otherwise not made if he only offered the $750 price point.

But there’s more, what if John then offered an upgrade to the SEO course, perhaps it is $97 a month, where the customer receives one-on-one access to John for a limited amount of time each month.  

Maybe John decides to provide help for 90-minute group calls to those in this upgrade twice a month.  This increases customer perceived value as they now have direct access to John.  It also increases the lifetime value of each customer as there are points on the ladder below $750 for each customer. 

value ladder bulls-eye offer
Bulls-eye offers are your goal!

I think you get the picture at the end of the customer journey. The final step in the value ladder is John’s bullseye offer, which is his $750 a month SEO package. When John only offered the bullseye he was leaving a lot of money on the table and lowering his potential customer reach.  Don’t do this.

Plus, this is very important, John has now built trust with his prospects under multiple touchpoints, which makes it far easier to sell the bullseye offer.

The scenario above alone paints an all-in picture of why you need a value ladder in your business. But what are the other reasons to implement a value ladder?

Why else do you need a value ladder?

As I said, multiple times throughout that illustration, it builds trust. This really can’t be overlooked.

The Psychology of buying and customer behavior

The psychology of buying and customer behavior is a quite an interesting field, but not in the ballpark of this discussion. However, it’s been shown that to get a customer, to pay top dollar (your bullseye or top-of-the-ladder offer) there must be trust.

In other words, people vote with their money.

If they’re not paying you, they’re not ready to vote or they vote against you. You have to put customers in a situation where they feel comfortable spending money because spending money leads to spending more money, which leads to two things.

And this is important.

It leads to a better outcome for your client in the end, because there’s more value as they spend money. Your free offer will never help them to the same extent that a paid bulldog offer will help them. You know, this and deep down inside, they know this, but part of the customer journey is walking through the process of understanding this

Source: Simplified marketing funnel example from aweber.com

The Value Ladder helps organize the customer journey.

You’re able to meet people where there are if you’ve ever seen conceptualizations of the marketing funnel, there’s a whole slew of different versions. Most will look something like the picture above.

Most marketing funnels will be broken into at least three parts. Awareness or some other word like that depicts a similar concept. Next, you have consideration and research. And finally, a decision is made by your customer.

With a value ladder, you create offers at different levels, which help the buyer journey along.


Awareness in the value ladder is akin to something like a free offer


Consideration on the other, hand might be a low price offer, or maybe it’s another free offer.


Research is your lead offer or a mid-tier offer on your value ladder.

It’s when they’re testing the waters and trying to find it, if you’re the real deal or not.


And finally, the bullseye offer is the conversion part of the funnel. It’s where your potential customer is ready to pay top dollar. Why? Because they know through your messaging that you are the only person that can satisfy their needs.

You’re the only person that can do it the way they need it done. And therefore they’re willing to pay you more than they want to pay you to remove the pain that they feel.

Therein is an important point. Having tiered offers in the value ladder allows people to jump in or to taste the product. At a minimum cost or investment to themselves, in the end, this helps move potential clients through the customer journey.

One thing that’s interesting about the funnel image provided above is if you turn it on its side, you can build a value ladder out of it. As shown below.

value ladder meets the Marketing funnel
Value Ladder meets a Funnel By Green Thoughts Consulting

Value Ladder Examples & Thoughts

I wanted to uncover a few final points to note regarding the value ladder and common mistakes.

You should focus on an internal problem that your audience has.

I’ve written about this extensively in my prison to paradise and finding your why articles. It’s foundational to understanding the inner life of a value ladder and in my humble opinion must-read material.

Often of times what people really need and what they think they need are incongruent. For example, a client may believe they need you to fix their website copy, but in all honesty, the internal problem that they’re struggling with is that they need to make more money or get more leads.

You will want to sell them on the emotional problem. This is discussed in depth within the must-read article on the customer journey. Then and only then can you give them the external solution that they need. This is what creates a happy customer and in doing so, it changes the way they think about themself and the experience itself.

“You need to design offers and copy that meet and focus on the internal outcome rather than what your client thinks they need or the external outcome.”

Jeff Green

If you found the problem you solve through finding your niche and then learned to move customers from prison to paradise, this will get you there. Well, let’s walk through a few examples of a value ladder that someone like yourself might try to build. And some of the hotspots throughout that can cause problems.

Ready to get your value ladder template? Just fill out the form below.

Example 1- The Accountants Value Ladder

First, what problem does an accountant solve? Fairly simple. They provide financial support to individuals and businesses. Hopefully, if you are Jim, our accountant, you have worked through finding your niche and you are more specific in your answer.

Jim takes care of bookkeeping and the accounting for artists that sell products online. He has worked through the ins and outs of his specific ideal customer journey. His value ladder looks something like the below.

Free Offer(s)– Jim has 14 free offers for potential clients. They range from checklists for the end of year to tutorials and eBooks on how to setup Freshbooks for your accounting.

Low Tier Offer– The businesses offers a 47 dollar set of accounting templates for those interested in keeping their own books.

Mid Tier Offer(s)– Jim has 2 courses that you can get for $247. One is a course that teaches you to do bookkeeping using Freshbooks. It contains worksheets, homework, actionable items, and over 17 hours of video learning. He has another course that provides similar value on a different topic.

Mid Tier Offer(s)– Jim also provides a 1 on 1 upgrade with each of his courses that are priced at $197 for two 90 minute group Q&A sessions every two weeks.

Bulls-eye Offer– Finally the accounting firm provides both monthly subscriptions for bookkeeping services and the filing of business taxes. The cost varies based on the complexity of the business, however, rates start at 247 per month for bookkeeping and 497 for base business taxes.

Example 2: Online Coaches Value Ladder

Nicole is an online business coach who was struggling in business prior to creating a value ladder and niching down. Her business has never been better after implementing our must-read articles on finding your why, the customer journey, and implementing a value ladder.

Nicole works with solopreneurs, entrepreneurs that work alone, specifically she works with solopreneurs in engineering vertical.

Free Offer(s)– Nicole has built, through a commitment to a creative mindset, 21 “lead magnets”. These allow potential clients to get help for free and likewise get to experience Nicole’s expertise.

Low Tier Offer– Nicole is an author and has written a book about finding your ideal clients on LinkedIn. She sells the book to prospects in exchange for an email and $7.

Mid Tier Offer A- Online classes on how to improve your lead generation and marketing for consultants in the engineering vertical. It sells for $397 per month and includes all 9 of Nicole’s courses on the subject.

Mid Tier Offer-At this level the value increases and Nicole provides a 4-hour package where she helps engineering solpreneurs (usually consultants) learn to market themselves more effectively. The cost of these 4 hour in-person or zoom sessions is $997.

Bulls-eye Offer– This ongoing marketing and coaching help is done with you. The packages start with a 90-day package that auto-renews without cancellation. It includes Nicole’s proven system to move you from prison to paradise and up to 8 hours of 1 on 1 work per month. The cost is $4947 for 90 days.

value ladder success involves action

Take Action- Build a Value Ladder

Okay. Don’t just let this sit as knowledge in your head. My, I would encourage you to download my value ladder, worksheet, and tutorial to help you walk through this process. And what do you know? It’s free.

Get your free VALUE LADDER template today. Just fill out the form below.

Finding Your Niche

Find Your Niche

Finding Your Niche

Getting clarity and finding your niche is often one of the first steps to building a successful online business that thrives. The level of clarity needed to build that thriving business is not as easy to come by as one might think.  So what does it even really mean to get business clarity, and find your niche?

A lot of blogs and digital marketers out there are peddling some snake oil niche lists.  These are merely a list of sweet spot products and industries.  The posts are often all the same.  They are long laundry lists of profitable industries, upsells, or requests for an email address to “get the 50 hottest niches”. 

These lists will undoubtedly include such areas as fitness, health, self-improvement, etc.  There are so many of these lists that claim to help you get clarity on the concept of how to find your niche, but most just fall flat. 

These articles miss the core issues around niching down and finding your niche.

A quick google search and you’ll find tons of these types of articles. You’ll find people trying to sell you, emphasis on trying, on the idea of using Amazon to find your niche based on demand. I think that’s backward, to be honest.  If you want to build something worthy of building you need to start with a firm foundation that will not sway through the years.

I think when you’re looking for your niche and trying to glean some level of clarity on the subject there are several imperative questions you must answer. But before I get there, why do you even need a niche?

Why Find Your Niche?

Well, it’s simple really.  You need to niche down because it’s in the niche that you make money. If your audience is too broad, it’s hard to speak to them in a way where they actually feel known by you.

That’s the very simple answer to it. But that’s only half the story.  The other half is all about you.  You must take into account your specific gifts, expertise, personality, “what you’re good at” to start off on the right foot and avoid burnout.

If you attempt to sell widgets in blue, red, and green you will burn out.  Why?  Because who is passionate about a product that just sells. 

Sure it’s nice to make money, but money doesn’t answer the why and purpose of being.  That purpose will sustain you.  It will connect you on a transcendent level with others. Set out to find your why and in doing so you will find your niche.

My purpose drives me.  I live to help small business owners and entrepreneurs grow and make a new life building businesses that thrive.  It excites me.

People spend hours, days, weeks, months, and even years attempting to get clarity and purpose.  I once had a kind soul sit across the screen from me and tell me they had been trying to find the right niche for 6 plus years.  Yikes.  In order to find your niche, there are three simple and powerful questions.

Three Questions to Find your Niche

Three Questions to Find Your Niche

What are you good at?

First and foremost, what are you good at? There’s a lot we could say about that, but what areas in life are you an expert? Are you an expert with journal entries? Are you an expert at working through a balance sheet?  Is your expertise in Excel or SQL databases?  There are thousands of things out there you could be good at and have brilliant expertise in, but that’s not all of it.

I’m actually an excel ninja. 

I can slice and dice when it comes to any dataset.  I can build lovely dashboards for the C suite.  I can automate tasks with visual basic and macros.  But I hate this work.

So don’t get locked into the concept of expertise as a function of your previous or current work or career. Rather, I encourage you to think about expertise much more broadly.

Ask what can you do well AND you enjoy.

Perhaps you enjoy woodworking more than you enjoy your investment banking work or that analysis job. Maybe you enjoy making stone pottery, rather than working through the anxiety, another sales call that just feels wrong and cold always wondering if things will balance and it’ll be a short few days.

So that’s the first question have to answer.

What are you good at? And what do you enjoy that you’re good at? Don’t forget to add that part. It’s elemental and life giving as well as life changing.

Who would value that?

The second question you need to ask is who would value that? What people out there in the world would value the expertise you just noted. So in the case of stone pottery, you might say people that collect handcrafted pottery will value my work.

It doesn’t have to be completely different than what you do at work now though.  Let’s say in the first step you said I really love doing work in financial databases but I hate working for “the man”.  Maybe you start a consulting gig instead of working for the man that’s more niched down and focused.

Ask the questions who would value financial database work? 

There are far too many people to name so you will need to drill down a bit more.  Perhaps the answer is business owners or decision-makers with or in a company with less than 50 employees that don’t have or “don’t want to” use cash to hire an FTE to dedicate to that.  So those people will really value you and especially when they don’t have to pay you those benefits and entire FTE to do some work.

This question of who will value your offer is key, but a deeper line of questioning lingers. You can’t just create products because you see them selling. Rather, you need an offer that solves a problem. If you don’t, it’s going to be darn hard to sell that offer.

Once you have these two fundamental questions answered, the “what your good at” and the “who values it”.  Then you need to drill down into what problem does it actually solve for them?

The Sweet Spot – Solve that Problem

An offer without a problem to solve is a waste of time. 

If your offer doesn’t solve a real-life problem you’re destined to fail and you can expect to sell little along the way. 

So what problem is your offer, or better yet offers, going to solve for those people? You must have a value ladder with multiple offers.  But that’s another discussion altogether.

find your niche, find your why
This is the exercise you should do to find your niche and find your why.

I’m sure you know what a Venn diagram is from your days in school.  

In the image above the Venn diagram, you see the “what you’re good at” and the “who values that”.  Now it’s time to actually find your niche and start living your purpose.  Each step in this process is a piece in the puzzle of finding a profitable niche, understanding your why, and finding meaning in your life.

I’m a firm believer that through understanding what we are and who needs that we find deep and meaningful, dare I say life-changing purpose.

Let’s face it you are here because you’re dissatisfied with your current job, your business, your meaning, and purpose.  You hate the lack of clarity and can’t figure out why nothing seems to work.  You are tired of missing out when the gang heads out.  Getting home after dark regularly is the worst.  It isn’t life giving.  But finding your purpose and helping others solve a real problem will drive you.

“You will find your niche in the connection point on the Venn Diagram. What are you great at? And who wants and needs that? The overlap of that area is where you find your niche and audience!”

Jeff Green

Take Action to Find Your Niche

That’s right take action.  Don’t just sit there and wait on it to come to you.

Get out a piece of paper or a spreadsheet and create the two main areas (three on a spreadsheet). One, should be labeled “what I am good at”.  The second area should be labeled “who would value that?” 

The point of intersection in the middle, or middle column of a spreadsheet, is where you find your niche.

This area of intersection where both your what and the who out there coexist is where you need to be playing to thrive in business. 

If you find it clarity has arrived alongside meaningful purpose in life.   Further, it’s the thing that will drive you to get up every morning and create something new for your audience.

Don’t confuse this point. Your niche is not your audience. Your niche is the problem(s) you solve for that audience.

At the end of the day, people don’t care about you per se. They don’t care about you great skill nor how you do it. In the end, they care about you helping them solve problems.

Solving problems for people is something people will pay you for over and over again.

What are the Major Benefits of Smart Contracts?

Smart Contracts

What are the Major Benefits of Smart Contracts?

Smart contracts allow businesses to perform credible transactions without the help of any financial body like a bank or government or financial institution. As smart contracts operate through blockchain technology, payment can be made in bitcoin or with other digital currencies.

Many businesses are also investing in blockchain and bitcoin through bitcoin profit calculator. The good thing about this is transactions can be trackable. Have you heard about smart contracts before? First of all, let us know what exactly a smart contract is before we learn about its benefits.

Smart Contract

A smart contract is a computer program that helps businesses to settle a business contract in a simple way. The computer program operates through blockchain technology which is decentralized in nature and there is no central authority. That means, everything in the network is transparent, secure, and immutable. Everyone in the network can see the data but nobody can modify it. So in simple terms, smart contracts are the program that helps businesses to replace the conventional contract process.

As the whole process of smart contracts is automatic it can replace the traditional legal contracts. It can potentially reduce the complexity as well as transactional cost. Now let us understand how a smart contract works.

How Smart Contract Works?

To understand how smart contracts work, let us take an example of a mortgage agreement. In a mortgage agreement, there are many things that include personal data, credit score, income statement, outgoings, etc.

Now to check every detail and confirming with the mortgage rules and regulations manually is a troublesome process. This can be replaced by a computer code which will confirm every detail within very less time and effectively. Because as the blockchain technology is a decentralized network it does not require any third party involvement. And this reduces the processing time as well as cost. More importantly, the transaction information can be accessed by everyone in the network which maintains transparency and the information can’t be modified. Now let us understand the benefits of using smart contracts.

Benefits of Smart Contracts

There are several benefits of using smart contracts, here are a few advantages.


The best thing about smart contracts is transparency. As smart contracts are running through blockchain, everyone in the network can see every term and condition clearly which ensures any form of miscommunication. So there will be no arguments and disputes at a later stage. Moreover, one can see everything step by step, and the program is the same for everyone and no changes can be made to a member.


Everything is written in a computer program before it is executed. Each and every detail of the rules, terms, and conditions are written in great detail. As it executes automatically, everything is accurate and there is no chance of error in the terms and conditions. Whereas in traditional legal contracts there may be a chance of errors and misinterpretation of legal terms. As compared to traditional contracts, smart contracts are accurate and precise.

Faster Operation

Traditional smart contracts are very time consuming as there are many middlemen involved starting from lawyers, notaries, bureaucratic persons, etc. The legal documentation takes a lot of time, even many days for a contract to be settled. On the other hand, smart contracts are simple computer codes which can run smoothly within a very little time.

Safe and Secure

Another great advantage of smart contracts is they follow the highest standard of safety. As everything in the smart contract is written in a code that runs by cryptographic verification it ensures everything occurs along with the terms of the contracts.

Final Words

With all of the above benefits, smart contracts can impact every industry starting from banking to supply chain management. It has not adopted fully, but it will have a great impact on the business world in the near future. Hopefully, the article has provided you some insight into smart contracts.

Guest Posting Author Bio:-

Jais Frank is a freelance content writer and enthusiastic blogger. He is the co-founder of dreamandtravel. He contributes to many authority blogs such as financeteam.

SEO Quote

SEO Quotes for Search Engine Optimization

Expert SEO Quote: Learn from the Experts

So why an SEO quote article?

Quotes from experts tell a story. Most of us out there like stories so why not use expert SEO quotes to tell that story? What story do you ask? The story of Search Engine Optimization.

You probably know the importance of content. If not head over to this post on the importance of having a content marketing strategy and why you should ignore it at your own peril.

You should also know that it is the key to attracting, building, and engaging with a loyal audience. But where do you start? Start here.

Building an engaging audience starts with On-Page SEO. However, it also involves the Off-Page link building. Rand Fishkin originally from Moz.com made the following observation.

“Don’t build links, build relationships.”

Rand Fishkin

If you provide true, honest, value-added messages, customers will be more likely to trust your business and feel more connected to you as its owner. In fact, there is more: the more often you provide real, messages that are value-added and honest, the more likely costumers will show loyalty to your products, or services.

Building links is a key and still one of the largest correlations to rank. In other words, you should be actively building links. As Rand noted above in his quote to do so you need to build relationships. Reaching out cold to companies for links is a losing strategy although one an SEO company will and should employ. Rather, get to know and “hang out” with those in your niche to build these relationships.

Your message must be targeted rather than just anything, right? To define it, and make it resonate with your customers, you must optimize it.

“The success of a page should be measured by one criterion. Does the visitor do what you want them to do?”

Aaron Wall

Here is where content optimization comes in handy. So on-page SEO is more than just writing for keywords. Rather, it’s about relationships and moving a visitor through a journey. You can read more about this process here.

This requires taking into account both the science and art of attraction and content production. First, you must write for humans. Humans are your customers. However, you also need to meet all of the on page SEO factors for the technical side of optimizing your content.

“SEO is only not seen as rocket science by those who already know it.”

Danny Sullivan

While I understand what Mr. Sullivan is saying I’m not sure many of my clients, past or present, would agree with Danny’s sentiment.

So we are clear SEO is a digital marketing strategy that aims to make your content, or site more friendly to users, and search engines and thereby increase the traffic to your site.

If done correctly it will increase the presence of your content in search results on search engines like Google, Bing, etc.

There is a ton of research that has both been done and is being done in the area of SEO. At a meta-level, the “what to do” and “what not to do” are known.

The steps go like this. Do some keyword research. Optimize your on-page SEO. Earn some links to your page. Get more traffic.

However, many neglect to remember that all of the above steps should point toward answering the questions your customers need to hire you.

Do this consistently over time and you will win.

Duane Forrester, formerly the senior product manager of a search engine Bing, has defined the SEO strategy as a marketing tactic, precisely:

“On a broad scale, I see SEO becoming a normalized marketing tactic, the same way TV, radio, and print are traditionally taught as marketing tactics.”

Duanne Forrester

The idea here is that search engine optimization is a fundamental and necessary part of core marketing just as TV, radio, and print have been throughout modern times. You can’t neglect SEO within your business if you want to grow.

For Wendy Piersall, the founder of Woo! Jr. kid’s activities, a website for kids stats it well with this SEO quote.

“Google only loves you, when everyone else loves you first.”

Wendy Piersall

Wendy’s point in the above quote, I believe, is to say that you receive love from Google or any search engine, when and if you have created a user experience that really excites the user.

Technically this is measured by the amount of time your users stay on your page, bounce rates, pages/session, etc. In addition to on-page technicals and backlinks you need to create an over the top user experience.

Doing so will increase your rankings.

Adam Reimer from Search Engine Journal, added more to the argument commenting as to what makes great content.

“Focusing on quality over quantity is what can help to protect your site as Google updates.”

Adman Reimer

So, avoid putting your effort, time, and money into one of the biggest misconceptions about search engines- it’s not all about quantity. The quality of your products is the key, not the quantity. My own personal SEO quote follows:

“Better content outweighs more content.”

Jeff Green

SEO Quote article and the benefits for you and your business?

SEO when executed properly with the guidance of an expert will help you to create user-friendly content, which, consequently, helps bring more qualified potential customers for your products or services. It also helps build your brand’s awareness, and trust for your business.

The following SEO quote comes from Senior Vice President, Media Services, SEO Lead, Adam Audette commented:

“Today it’s not about just getting the traffic. It is about getting the targeted, and relevant traffic. For a small business owner, there is a bonus. SEO helps you to bypass your competitors, and to gain new customers.”

Adam Audette

I couldn’t have said it better myself. At the end of the day all that matters when it comes to the spend of your marketing dollars is do you get leads and customers. If you are failing here it’s time to examine the entire process. I feel obligated to say I can help you.

Don’t just believe me about your marketing dollars. NY Times best-selling author and digital marketing coach Gary Vaynerchuk provided the following SEO Quote:

“Content is King, but marketing is Queen, and it runs the household.”

Gary Vaynerchuck

To sum up, SEO is a crucial digital marketing strategy for your small business owners and entrepreneurs to implement. It helps you attract loyal costumers and feed your marketing funnel.

Now more than ever, in this new COVID time you must be online and firing on all cylinders. Digital marketing strategies are built just for this purpose and must be part of marketing tactics in your tool belt.

If you need help adding some tools reach out to us for help.

Digital Business Resource Center

Digital Business Resource List

Digital Business Resource Center

Welcome to our business resource center to help you find what you need.

We’ve been building great websites, providing high-quality SEO and digital marketing help since 2012 give or take a few years.

We get asked a ton of questions about what’s the best affordable web design option? What is the best WordPress theme for me? Do you provide WordPress training? What do you use for your email list?

The list of questions goes on and on.

I decided to help out myself and the team here at Green Thoughts Consulting, GTC, by providing a list of these resources so others can find them easily and quickly.

We’ve done or research for the best and most current digital business resources. If you’re looking for an affordable web design, stock photos, a platform to design images for the non-designer, or more specific help, our business resource center is a great tool to use to find and connect to a vetted list of basic tools and services you must have.

Disclosure: We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending only the best products and services. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links from this Business Resource Center, at no additional cost to you. We make our recommendations without regard for whether a commission is offered or the amount received from commissions.

Business Resource Center Tech Stack

This is the technology stack I use to generate leads and sales in my business like clockwork! If you are interested in learning how to get leads and sales on a regular basis book a virtual coffee to that end.

WebsiteWordPress, GeneratePress Theme, and Elementor page builder

Hosting and Domain NameSiteground hosting and Namecheap for domain name purchase.

Image CompressionShortPixel WordPress Image Compression plugin

Funnels – [Opt in Pages and Sales Pages] – Elementor. [Segmentation and lead capture] – ConvertKit.

Conversion Optimised CheckoutPayKickStart If you are building your funnel in WordPress then the UpsellPlugin is a simple and solid option too.

Learning Management System (LMS)LearnDash for online courses.

Scheduling ToolCalendly.

Video Conferencing and WebinarsZoom.

Email Marketing and AutomationConvertKit.

AnalyticsGoogle Analytics and Google Search Console

SEO Keyword ResearchKeyword Finder

SEO Rank TrackingNightWatch.io

SEO helper for WordPressYoast


Business Resource Center Usage

If you would like help implementing any of the above tools in my recommended tech stack or understanding how they fit into the bigger picture of your business please just reach out.

Starting from scratch with a list of tools like this can feel daunting. Please book a free call with me to learn more about how they fit together and how to best implement them into your work environment.

Either way you can get the help you need and get your business on track with visitors, leads, and clients with our help. Just reach out.

SEO for Artists

SEO for Artists

Intro to SEO for Artists

SEO for artists is for the most part very similar to Search Engine Optimization in general.  However, it’s been my personal experience having worked with artists on web design and SEO projects that there are a few particulars to keep in mind.

On Page SEO Definition

On page SEO is simply put the process of optimizing your website and individual website pages for search engine optimization.  First, this involves site speed which is made up of image compression or serving the correct size for speed and quality, SSL validation or the presences of https, and running the right type of website and using a decent host. 

Further, it involves using the right keywords and doing keyword research to understand and maximize value and traffic.  You will use these all-important keywords to maximize the SEO title, SEO meta-descriptions, URL, and SEO header tags (h1-h6). 

Setting up your artwork and site for success means following the process mentioned below so you “score” well with on page SEO.

Off Page SEO Definition

Off Page SEO is the set of factors that help your site rank that is not on your actual website.  These include link related issues and non-link related issues.

The link related issues involve the number of domains that link to your site.  The quality of these domains in terms of links that site has, the relevancy of that site to yours (niche).  It also matters how those links are technically linked, are they dofollow or “nofollow” links?  Further, on page SEO involves something called anchor text, which is the text you see when you click on a link.

The non-linking related issues involve your brand mentions, NAP (Name Address Phone) mentions, social signals (people sharing your content), and finally Google My Business existence for your business.

Both on page and off page search engine optimization are important for artist websites just like any other site.  Let’s dive into the specific factors in more detail.  But first, it’s important to start with an audit.

SEO Audit for Artists

As with any project that includes SEO you should start with a website audit.

A technical website audit will provide you with the details and underlying information to make decisions that will actually move the needle for your site in a quantitative manner.

An SEO audit should include on page SEO factors such as site speed measurement, SSL validation, on page factors such as title, meta descriptions, and header tags (H1-H6). 

Let’s work through a few of these and make comments both generally and specifically as it applies to SEO for artists.

On Page SEO factors listed

On Page SEO for Artists

Site Speed for Artist Websites

This is becoming a larger force in the search engine ranking world. Google announced in May 2020 that it would begin including several site speed factors in it’s ranking algorithm for sites.

Namely, it refers to these as Core Web Vitals.  These include how fast your website “paints” for the users and measures perceived load time or speed.  There are some other technical factors that I could mention here but won’t as it’s essentially about the speed of the site.

The best place to check your site speed is Pingdom and GTMetrix.

Pingdom Speed Test Tool image capture

As for metrics, Google is looking to have your site load in under 2.5 seconds and I would shoot for under 2 if it were me.  This can be a real issue for artists as their specific sites tend to be loaded with high-resolution images. 

No doubt this is an issue.  It simply means you need to build your site and specifically the images in a way that allows them to load as quickly as possible.  Don’t sacrifice quality for speed. 

As an artist one should not gut the quality of images in order to significantly increase page speed.  Rather, you should optimize these images so they are sized correctly.  Perhaps no bigger than the resolution of an average desktop.

If you are using WordPress there are several plugins available for this purpose. 

image compression example

Image Compression Plugins for WordPress

ShortPixel is the go-to WordPress image compression plugin for those looking to speed up a site. It is free to use, but only allows 100 image compressions per month. I advise you to spend the extra cash the first month or so and get your images compressed.

If you just aren’t feeling ShortPixel here’s a great blog post that will give you other options. For an artist, image compression is a must.

Use it regularly and run it after each post or update.  As an artist, the speed of your site will depend to an extent on your image compression.  Just keep balancing this with quality. Quality first when it comes to images and SEO for artists.

Alt Text example for an image in WordPress

Alt-Text for Images

Aside from the issue of image size all images have something called an Alt-text. I find like header tags the average bear that builds its own website is missing lots of alt-text.

For an artist that is showing their product, this is a no-no. You MUST include your Alt Text for each and every image.

If you think about it a robot, even a smart ai robot, can’t read an image. So what is it to do with all those images on artist websites?

Enter Alt-text or Alt Descriptions. Alt-text is associated with one per image. In WordPress, there is a box when you upload the picture that says “alt text (alternative text)”. Inside this box, you describe for the bots what the picture is of or representing.

As you may have guessed it’s a good idea to get your keyword, words, or lexically similar keywords into the alt text. However, don’t overdo it. If you over-optimize every area for your keyword in every image, every header tag it will look like it was written for a bot first and foremost.

Don’t do that. Do however put an alt text on every image. Do let most images on a post or page have the exact or a similar description to that of the main keyword.

Just fill out the form below to get our Free SEO Checklist

SSL Validation

SSL validation relates to whether or not a website has secure socket layers. This merely means is your site secured or not.  For the most part, this is free on the better website hosting companies. My favorite hosting providers are SiteGround or BluehostIt is non-negotiable for artist sites and non-artist sites.  Get the SSL certificate.

This is a binary question.  You either have it or you don’t.  If you don’t have it you need it.

You will know you have it if your website starts with https:// at the beginning of your website address, rather than just http://.

SEO keyword research is the key

Keywords & SEO for Artists

Writing for the benefit of both readers and SEO is important.  When you sit down to write a post or blog about a finished piece of art do some keyword research first.  It will help a ton.

When it comes to SEO keyword research is where it’s at. Learn to do it.

Keyword research means understanding what real people are actually searching for in the area of your art.  You may think to yourself it’s obvious my piece is a 24×24 Stripes and Butterflies Acrylic Gesso.  But is that what people are searching for? 

Many of us in a particular field or niche use technical language within our area of expertise. However, people don’t search for “stuff” that way.

Often a keyword you as an expert feels is the right one to use in a technical sense will only yield 10 to 50 searches per month, which is low volume. This is a fail.

On the other hand, a formal SEO keyword search will yield the actual volume or number of searches per month on given words and phrases.

At the end of the day to achieve good SEO on an artist’s website it is a good idea to provide category headings that hit large volume keywords such as “Nature Paintings” or “Lifescape Photography” and then on individual piece pages use longer tail keywords like “dark purple nature paintings during dawn” or “lifescape photography in the western USA of cacti ”.

What’s a good keyword volume? It depends. 

Generally, you need some keywords with 500 plus visits a month and then many with 10 to 100 visits per month.  Remember you won’t get all of these searches because others will be ranking for each keyword too.

If you need help with Keyword research just let me know.

SEO Title Tags for Artists

SEO Titles

Title tags or SEO Titles are important to your SEO efforts.  Missing, duplicate, or poorly constructed title tags for SEO are damaging to your SEO efforts.

Instead, focus first on actually having an SEO title tag that contains the primary keyword for that article or page.  For example, utilize a category page that contains a keyword that has search intent and volume that is around 250 to 500+ for a small site.   Look for keywords with lower keyword difficulty.

Keyword difficulty is simply put how difficult it is to rank for that keyword.  It is a subjective measure to an extent as different SEO Keyword sites provide differing Keyword Difficulty metrics.  I prefer the KD of Ahrefs.com or KeywordFinder.com. Keyword Difficulty under 20 is a safe starting point for new sites.

At the end of the day write an SEO title for humans that has the keyword you are optimizing that page for.

Meta Descriptions for Artists

Meta descriptions are important for SEO as well. They achieve several purposes.

First, meta descriptions provide an overview or blurb about what your post or page is about to a searcher.  When you search you see the Title of the Page and a short paragraph about the page. 

meta descriptions & seo title tags for artists

Secondly, the meta description can help increase click-through rate and make your page get clicked on more than another search result that may be boring or just wrong for the search intent.

If you don’t create meta descriptions for your site the individual search engine will choose one for you.  This is to be avoided.  Do you want a robot describing your art to a searcher?

Rather, you should craft the meta description to be informational, contain the actual keyword you are ranking for on that post/page.

Like most on page SEO items, none in and of itself will change your traffic dramatically.  However, each item ads a synergy to the total rank algorithm. 

SEO Header Tags (H1-H6)

It amazes me how many websites I run across that don’t have proper header tags setup.  I’ve found many people that build their own website believe header tags are just differing sizes for fonts within a text. No.

header tags and font sizes

While the aforementioned is true the point of a header tag is entirely different that font size.  Header tags allow search engine robots, or “bots”, to understand the structure of your post or article.  They create structure.

Every page must have an H1, every single one. Every page must have only one H1, every single one. Not two, only one.

An H1 header tag is the main or overarching idea of the article.  For example, this post has an H1 of SEO for Artists because that’s what the article is all about. 

Digging a little deeper after the one and only H1 on a page you should try to break down your text into a few H2 or subheadings and if it’s a particularly long and wordy post it will help to use H3 tags as well.  These tags are crouched within each other as below:

SEO Header tag structure diagram

Notice in this example that one of the h2 tags “Best Season to Grow tomatoes” has not subheadings.  This is ok.  What isn’t ok is to have two H1.  Don’t stress about this structure there is no true right or wrong it’s about providing clear headings so the robots can understand what you are saying and “follow” the conversation.

What should you worry about then?

It’s becoming a refrain.  Get your page or post Keyword in *some* of these headers.  Do it naturally.  Don’t force a keyword where it doesn’t belong.  Use semantically similar keywords, which means words with similar meanings. 

Search engines have a robust artificial intelligence.  So, use the words you would when you are talking to someone.  Always remember you are writing for the people and search engines.

Practically speaking, artists should use keywords in there header tags that describe what one might search for when looking for that item.  Don’t forget your specific name for an item may have very low search and therefore require you to utilize a term that is broader which does receive search volume.

Use categories and locations to start with.  So try things like “Chattanooga TN flower paintings” or “paintings of flowers” instead of more detailed descriptions.

The aforementioned will work better and get seen more searchers eyeballs than Polka-dot with Blue and Yellow Spill Spot Dress made with re-engineered rawhide (or some super-specific name.

URL breakdown image Domain, TLD, URL slug

URLs for SEO

When you create a new page or post on your website it’s important to build a URL that includes the keyword you are targeting

For example, you could use the standard WordPress linking mechanism of https://your domain.com/?p=123 or https://yourdomain.com/2020/06/sample-post/.

But it’s far better for SEO to use a something like https://yourdomain.com/seo-for-artists/This latter allows you to have your keyword in your URL, which studies have shown to help your SEO.

Off Page SEO for Artists

Off Page SEO for Artists

Link-related off-page factors

Number of referring domains

This indicator is rather simple to explain.  It is merely a count of the number of domains (other websites) that link to your domain.  To be clear a domain is the main root path of your website. 

For example, https://mydomain.com/some-blog-post/  in this domain the root domain is “mydomain.com”.  So you are counting how many different root domains link to you.

There is no good number here.  It is all relative. However, as you will see below under relevancy it’s important to have domains that are related to your area of interst.

Link Authority picture

Link authority

Dofollow vs. “Nofollow” Links

In the technical SEO space, there is an HTML coding mechanism that essentially states how someone is linking to another site.  This has been complicated in recent years by a few other technical SEO linking tags, but I’m going to make this simple for my artist friends.

In the HTML world, it looks like a snippet of code or tag like rel=”nofollow”.  There is also code nomenclature like UGC and Sponsored links too.  I wouldn’t worry much about these.  You want Dofollow links on your site. Why?

Google doesn’t transfer PageRank across nofollow links (i.e., links with a rel=“nofollow” tag), so it pays to prioritize the building of followed (dofollow) links.  Simply put you want to gain or get dofollow links because this will pass more authority to your site.

Just fill out the form below to get our FREE SEO Checklist

I should note there is still value in nofollow links.  It can help with referral traffic.  Some large website providers and forums will “nofollow” all links, but the value of having a link on these sites overshadows this fact as far as the volume of traffic you get from that referral.

If you are getting links naturally or building natural looking links you will not have any control over the type of relationship your link has so it’s better to relax and not stress over this point.

Anchor Text example

Anchor text

The anchor text is the clickable visible part of a link.  So if there’s a link that says Green Thoughts Consulting then “Green Thoughts Consulting” is the anchor text.  If the link reads SEO for Artists then “SEO for Artists” is the anchor text.  Note that the link is the same in both cases. 

Anchor text is all about the text people see when they click the link.

One very important note.  You need natural anchor text throughout all your links.

Why because an “abnormal” anchor text profile is consistent with poor SEO practices that are called “Black Hat SEO” and can lead to a Google penalty on your site or de-indexation.  De-indexation means Google no longer shows your site at all. It’s a death knell for SEO.

It’s really all about the percentage at which types of anchor text occur. So what percentages do you want as artists?

Generally speaking, the anchor text should be your Brand or website address.

At the end of the day, you don’t have a lot of control over this.  Others are linking to you as they wish and you don’t control those links. 

Paying for links or having agencies build links for your site that are highly phrase, partial or exact is a dangerous business practice that will result in a Google Penalty.  Let it happen naturally.

Here’s the break down recommended by myself and Gotch SEO.

Here’s a great blog post on Anchor Text from Gotch SEO if this is a subject you enjoy check it out.


I mentioned relevancy above and it’s really important to any site.  When people link to you they are effectively voting that your site is the best ideal of what they are looking to link to because if it wasn’t they would link elsewhere.

However, getting votes that are more relevant to your niche or subject is huge. Relevant links will move the SEO needle more for your site.

Here’s an example: if you have a site that focuses on sculptures and you live in Dallas Texas.  Your relevancy would boost the most by getting links from sites that are art-related, sculpture related, fine art related, gallery related, art collector related etcetera.

However, if that same site had links from restaurants, engineering websites, business websites or sports websites the relevancy would be much lower.  You want links from relevant niches.

NAP for SEO name address phone number

Non-link-related off-page factors

NAP citations

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone.  These are usually directories on the internet or forums that have lists of people in the industry

Citations of this sort are one of the top local SEO ranking factors and are very important if your business is trying to get clients in a specific area or region.

It’s also important that your NAP information is as consistent as possible between citations, as this allows Google to effectively tie those citations together as part of your online profile. Local and area service businesses underestimate this issue with divergent NAP information.  It’s very important.

You should have this on your contact page or in the footer too.  Check out a post on where you can post general submissions of NAP.

Free Search Engine Optimization Checklist below. Just fill out the form.

Brand mentions

There is little mystery here it simply means you get bonus points in the rankings when your art or name (read “brand”) is mentioned.  This mentioning can be an actual link (hyperlink) to your website or an unlinked mention.

For example:

Linked: John Doe Art is having a sale this week. 

Unlinked: John Doe Art is having a sale this week.

So, you want to be on social media and forums so you can get mentioned by other brands.  Being mentioned by others is looked at as a vote by Google.

Some examples of ways to get mentions include: get on podcasts, other video creators YouTube channel, guest post on other blogs, social media likes, shares, created posts from others about you.  The list can go on and on but the idea is to get your brand and name out there.

Google my business image

Google My Business

If you are in business you MUST have a Google My Business page.  You can build one easily.  The optimization of a GMB page is a subject in and of itself that you can read about here, however, it will benefit small local businesses the most.  But just because it benefits local doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

It allows you to have a “service area” this area can effectively be the USA or a State you sell in primarily.  You should go set one up today if you don’t have one but remember the NAP (name, address, phone) needs to match your website and be consistent across all platforms.

You can set one up here

Here’s a great guide on the subject of Google My Business by Search Engine Journal

Google Reviews Image


Another off page ranking factor that will apply to SEO for artists is that of Reviews.  Specifically, we are talking about positive reviews. There are many types of review software helpers out there but I’m not going to dive into that. If your interested check out this review of your options.

The best practice is to get a link to Google My Business Reviews and/or Links to another site that holds reviews and add this to your new customer process.

For example, let say Suzie Q purchases a custom tapestry from you.  When she clicks complete purchase she gets a tracking email and a receipt for her purchase.  A few days after your average delivery time and no more than approximately 14 days after purchase give or take Suzie Q needs to receive an automated request to review the artwork

This could be a direct link to the review page with an email request.  It could also be an online survey that first asks if she is happy with the product on a scale of 1 to 5.  If Suzie Q rates you a 4 or 5 she is sent to the review link if not she is given the opportunity to email you about it.  This way you minimize the impact of negative reviews while automating the process of getting reviews.

In my opinion, businesses should ask for reviews from customers in an automated fashion with logical forwarding based on their response as noted above.  Most if not all of your business online tasks as far as emails or interaction after purchase should be automated so you can focus on what you love creating great art.

Wrapping Up SEO for Artists

There are a few particulars that artists doing SEO need to keep in mind however, for the most part, SEO is SEO.  It can be a dry technical subject for some but it has a huge impact on your business.

Download our checklist for free which will guide you step by step with a practical video walkthrough for that list.  Tackle one or two items a week and ask for help when you need it.  The most important thing is that you are making progress and creating every day.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post so please post below.

Dumbest excuse SMBs use to avoid blogging

Content Marketing

The Dumbest Excuse SMBs Use to Avoid Blogging

Small and Midsized Businesses, SMB for short, are notorious for having “good reasons” not for blogging and avoiding content marketing. These excuses range from no interest in writing, not enough time in the day, no internal writing talent, lack of technical skill to build or design a blog (CMS issues). 

While there are some legitimate excuses in the above, in the end, the need to blog or create content far outweighs the excuses put forth.  Thus I dub them dumb excuses. 

Don’t be one of those companies.  You must create content to support your business marketing efforts. It is vital to the top end of the marketing funnel, which will then, necessarily, feed the bottom of your funnel and result in leads and paying clients.

Marketing Funnel

Why do you need a funnel? 

Simply put because the excuses will cost you money or at least leave it on the table.  It’s short-sighted at this point and lacks a nuanced understanding of Search Engine Optimization and it’s the deep relationship to content

In this post, I’ll be shedding light on the “mother of non-blogging excuses”… not enough time.

The Mother of Non-Blogging Excuses

There is a lot that can be said regarding the lack of time.  As an SMB owner, I am always short on time and therefore I must outsource particular tasks or multiple myself.  Specifically, this should be done in an area of need that is NOT my expertise. Let others deal with the stuff you don’t love.


You are an accountant and you need good content regularly posted on your blog to move people to signup so that they can get into your nurture sequences so that you can book a Zoom chat or call with them so that you can close that sale. 

By the way, you really need to build a sales funnel that can do the above. If you don’t have one or understand please make this a priority and book a free call with me and let me help you with your marketing funnel.

That being said you must make time for the activity of blogging and creating content. 

In reading back over this during the editorial phase I realized… wow Jeff you sound insistent and belligerent about people blogging. I concluded that it’s only a necessity if you want to increase your leads and grow your business.

So let’s look more closely at the inner workings of the excuse “I don’t have enough time” and in doing so uncover underlying fallacies. 

Old School and New School

The SMB Owners Mind- Conditioning

Most old school SMB owners and managers I’ve run across, which is a large portion of you, have a background in direct marketing. 

Including and often emphasizing knocking on doors, cold calls in bulk, conferences, and events, spending time sitting across from another business owner and “shaking hands”, eating together, etc.  These organizations often spend large amounts of time on these activities due to there underlying belief system about those events.

“Today, that is known as swimming upstream, the stream being the Internet. Studies consistently demonstrate that the majority (70% or more) of the modern sales process takes place behind the scenes, meaning consumers and businesses alike are out there searching, surfing, browsing, and listening long before deciding on the products and services they want. (Think of a retail clothing or automobile customer who steadfastly avoids the sales reps until he or she has decided to try on an item or test-drive the car.)”

Doug Rekenthaler, http://www.mpdailyfix.com/the-dumbest-excuse-smbs-use-to-avoid-blogging/  A now dead link that is the inspiration of this article.

What this means is clear.  By the time the direct sales process actually happens the potential client is far enough down the proverbial marketing funnel that they have already made their choice as to the problem they are looking to solve and who is going to solve it

So, you must have content online before a prospect gets to this point or you will not even be in the discussion.  Namely, blogging and providing a newsletter or such via email allows your prospects to get to know you over time, which builds trust and develops a sense of relationship

"I don't have time"

Who has the Time to do this work?

Everyone has the time. It’s about priorities. Let’s be honest if you are outsourcing this task it’s about money not time.

Plus if you aren’t creating content for the top of your marketing funnel you will need to figure out a way to reach out to prospects cold and take your chances with that method, by the way, your odds will be poor in that regard. 

The question is who has time to do all this content work, build nurture sequences before you get on a sales call?

a better way is always available
Things change, technology moves, so should your marketing.

A Better Way to Get Leads and Clients

I call this the speak when spoken to method. P.s. it’s not really “my method”.

My experience is that SMB owners, executives, and entrepreneurs like yourself tend to be evangelists and outspoken about their brand.  Owners and the like love sales pitches, cold calling, and giving sales presentations. 

The extrovert in them is excited by the whole experience.  The company’s content production aside from sales presentations, pitches, et al is limited to the proposals and closing contracts at the bottom of the funnel. 

Nowadays prospects educate themselves online by reading articles and blog posts before these sales pitches and calls, even get close. 

They want to read about your company and they want to see your expertise demonstrated. Further, they will compare your content to your competitors.  Once potential clients go through this “getting to know you” or “reading you” then and only then will they allow you the privilege of being heard.

In other words, the old way of doing marketing and sales has been turned around and SMBs that are looking for leads and sales will only find them if they have content on the web via blog posts or articles that feed the top of the marketing funnel.  This in turn will feed your sales cycle and create an environment of hot leads rather than cold

If I’m being honest and blunt ignoring this advice will doom you and at the very least triple or more your cost to acquire each lead.

slow and stead marketing path wins the race

The Slow and Steady Marketing Path

I never like to speak in generalities, but the average SMB manager, owner, startup, entrepreneur I run into are addicted to instant gratification. They love the excitement of the lunch meet and greet with a handshake and commitment at the end

The thrill of closing the deal themselves, having the “right” answers for each objection.  Being able to close the deal is what makes most tick.

The problem with creating content is that it takes time to see results. You will not get instant gratification.  Rather, it will take time to build the right audience, and when I say time I mean months.  Think months of blogging. 

This lack of instant gratification makes the aforementioned SMB owner feel it is a waste of time or not worth the energy.

As an analogy I’ve read in the past blogging is like farming while direct marketing is like hunting.  These are two different modes of being. Blogging is like sowing seed that will be reaped in the future, read as months, on the other hand, the old way, direct marketing, is going in for the kill repeated daily.

The issue isn’t necessarily the method, content marketing (blogging), or direct marketing. The analogy of a sower and hunter may seem harsh, but the issue underlying all of this is that the same measuring stick is being used for both methods.

In doing so, using the same measuring stick, you are not comparing apples to apples.  It’s more like apples to steak.

How do we measure the effectiveness of these two sales methods? That isn’t really the point of this discussion but rather to discuss the relationship of the method to time and getting leads.

Time is on your side with Content Marketing

Content Creation Puts Time on Your Side

You could discuss the pros and cons of the way things are now vs how they once were.  However, digital marketing, or current marketing, isn’t like the old way of marketing.  Most of the underlying principles are the same no doubt but the game has changed overall. 

This is actually a good thing.  As an SMB creating content, blogging, or writing articles, allows you to put yourself out there in front of potential clients

If you just have a homepage, about page, services page, the standard business brochure website, then you will not get “seen” in the search rankings. Further, you will be competing against the big boys that rank for these terms too. 

Blogging, articles, and content creation will give your organization the opportunity to expose potential clients to more of you and to be “seen” in their searches.

Regular content creation will create longtail keywords that you rank for around a topic and build relevancy and authority in your space (if you don’t know about longtail keywords ask me about it). Meaning you will get seen more often and in more searches.

Content creation will give you the control you would otherwise not have.  By nurturing an audience that reads your stuff you will get to understand your clients. Further, your strengths and weaknesses as seen by them will become clear. Your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses will become clear through gaps in there content creation.

In the end, you will create a relationship with readers. Which will in turn provide the information future clients need to make you the only real solution for their problem.

Also, the sales cycle is shorter with content marketing because these potential clients have already journeyed down the funnel. They are now sure you are the right choice for them when they pick up the phone or directly book a Zoom.  By the time the buyer gets there they are pre-qualified.

This process is now easier.  You can call a pre-qualified lead and close faster.

In order to get there, you must create content that answers specific questions that your potential clients have to solve their problems. 

Doing so in a steady and nuanced way, listening to what these prospects and clients say about the problem, informing them of solutions, and essentially guiding them to the answer … you. 

Why you need Custom Web Design in 2020

Green Thoughts Custom Web Design

Why you need Custom Web Design in 2020

It’s 2019, and you need custom web design now more than ever. Having a customized website instead of a cookie-cutter version can make all the difference for your company. We’ve noticed tons of reasons why customization is the way to go, but we’ve listed a few of our favorites below.

The traffic to your website, those are actually potential customers, make a decision about your brand and company in seconds, you can read more about that here.  Therefore it’s more important than ever to have a unique and well laid out web design.

In what follows we will hit on four areas:

  1. Everyone has a website…
  2. Beyond Basic Choices
  3. Improve SEO
  4. Flexibility and Room to Grow

Everyone Has a Website. Not Everyone Has a Good One.

Number of Websites World Wide

Years ago, having a website meant that you were a professional. You knew exactly what you were doing. These days, everyone has a website. Simply having your own domain isn’t enough anymore. Lots of people have their own domains because it’s easier than ever to get one. If having your own website won’t set you apart, then what will? Custom web design. Customization will give you the competitive edge that you need to stand out from the crowd.

It’s true.  I can identify a website template do it yourself site in seconds and so can your visitors.  It was good enough to have your cousin or brother design your site when it was a startup, it was good enough to have a WordPress do it yourself template when you were a year or so in, but now things are getting serious.  If you want to impress and take your game to the next level it’s time to get a custom design for your web presence.

Go Beyond Basic Choices

You’ve probably had some experiences with premade site design. These services let users choose from a bunch of premade templates. Once you’ve picked your template, you don’t have much room for customization. You can make a few changes here and there, but that’s as far as your options go. Nowadays with custom web design, you get all the choices you could possibly want. From your overall design to your tiniest changes, custom web design lets you tailor your website to your exact needs.

Make good choices picture

This is an important point because it allows you to find out what your audience wants and customize your web design to that audience.  A template is made to meet the needs of the masses, but your audience isn’t just the masses, unless you are Walmart or the New York Yankees.  Rather, your audience and your targeted visitors are qualified traffic based on the key words you have worked hard to rank for and the social media presence you have grown over time.  Don’t waste all that effort on a design meant for just anybody.

Get a professional to help you out so that the qualified traffic you are gathering converts at a higher rate through the use of custom design techniques.  Time and time again I have seen a custom site convert almost 25 to 50% better when optimized properly.

Improve Your On Page SEO

Did you know that having a customized website helps your search engine optimization? It’s true. Search engines have to decide which website is more relevant than others for any given search. Customized websites do better with the algorithms, primarily because the designer is aware of the on page SEO best practices. To a search engine, a custom website has more professional power than a standardized website. Plus, you’ll also get more control over your keyword placement, which boosts your SEO even more.

The idea here is that On Page Search Engine Optimization is most often done for you with a custom website where as a do it yourself design will undoubtedly lack some of the on page SEO nuances that experts are familiar with and in the end you cost yourself traffic and thus leads and eventually customers.

Improving your SEO can be done on your own, but let’s be honest it’s a technical field for someone that doesn’t understand web design to be charging into.  Plus the time it will take you to learn the technical search engine methods and best practices is probably better served by making money for your business in the area you love and know.

You can check your SEO right now in the box below.

SEO Site Audit Tool

Flexibility and Room to Grow

serious flexibility

We already mentioned that custom web design gives you options. Well, it also gives you scalability. Premade templates don’t give you much room to grow. Perhaps they’ll update their templates once every few years or so. Customization, however, can give you all the flexibility that you need.

Your web design team can help you anticipate business growth and increased traffic. When you discuss your goals and concerns with your team ahead of time, you can make the most of your website.

While the average website is redesigned every 2.67 years having a team in place that can easily scale your existing site and keep the backend of that site together is important.  It’s a value added that should not be overlooked.

What if I can’t afford a custom web design?

This is a common question we get.  It usually goes something like, “how much is this gonna cost me?”.  When it comes to a custom design the answer is usually a lot.

If you would like to explore other options for affordable web design just follow our link to the overview we wrote on that topic.

3 Best Affordable Web Design Options

Custom Web Design with Green Thoughts Consulting

Looking for the best custom web design? Let Green Thoughts Consulting help. We’ll work with you to create the best website for your company.

When you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help. Contact us today.

Conversion Rate Calculator

Conversion Rate Calculator Blog Header

Marketing ToolBox:

Conversion Rate Calculator

Learn more about the conversion rate calculation below.

Conversion Rate Defined

Our conversion rate calculator can get you started with becoming aware of your current conversion percentage.

Conversion rate is defined as a value that informs us of what percentage we are achieving a specific desired result.

Technically speaking it is the desired outcome divided by total interactions.

For example, if you have 1,000 visitors to your website (the total interactions) and of that total 15 choose to take a predefined action, such as clicking on the contact us button, then the conversion rate is 15/1000=0.015 or 1.5% once multiplied by 100

Conversion Rate Calculator Funnel Makes Money

Conversion Rate Questions

What is a conversion rate?

Conversion rate is the percentage of the time that the desired action occurs given a specific amount of events. The most common example of conversion rate is the number of website visitors that take a specific desired action on a website.

What is a good conversion rate?

A good conversion rate is typically said to be between 2% to 5%. However, it can vary wildly depending on the type of business or vertical. Small increases in conversion rate yield large results. A jump from 2% to 3% over a sample of 1000 is the difference in 20 to 30 (which is huge if it’s sales).

How do you calculate funnel conversion?

The actual math for a funnel conversion is no different than calculating a conversion rate. It is the total number of desired actions divided by the total number of potential desired actions. However, you can calculate the conversion rate throughout an entire marketing funnel to calculate funnel conversion. One would calculate the total desired actions at each funnel step by the total potential actions at each step.

Why is conversion rate optimization important?

The conversion rate percentage is important because it is directly connected to the cost of acquisition for the desired action. If you can get the desired action to occur more frequently per 100 instances you will make more money. Conversion rate optimization is important because it will lower your customer acquisition costs and pay for itself over x amount of time.

How do I optimize my website for conversion?

There is no quick and easy answer to this question. Rather it involves several activities. One primary tool is A/B testing is important as it allows you to test alternatives and find a winner based on the conversion rate. Another tool is creating landing pages with best practices.

Guide to Manual Conversion Rate Calculation

How to calculate a conversion rate?

  1. Find the total number of Interactions

    Calculate the Total Number of Interactions

  2. Find the total number of desired outcomes

    Calculate the Total Number of desired outcomes- contact forms

  3. Divide the total number of desired actions by the total number of interactions

    The math of conversion rate

  4. Multiply this number by 100 to get a percentage

    Conversion Rate Calculator as a percentage outcome

Need help calculating your website conversion rate?

Drop us a line and we will be glad to help you get a handle on your conversion rate. We will help you personally create a conversion rate calculator system that works for you. We can also help you begin A/B testing to increase your conversion rate.

A big part of having a healthy conversion rate is having enough traffic for that conversion rate to be meaningful. A 5% conversion rate on leads with 500 visitors a month is far less than a 5% conversion rate with 1000 visitors. Let us help you with an SEO package.

FreshBooks Cost and Review

How much does freshbooks cost

How much does FreshBooks Cost


How much does FreshBooks cost?

FreshBooks cost is based on three plans: Lite, Plus, and Premium. These plans cost $15, $25, & $50 per month. All the plans contain invoicing, expense entries, credit card acceptance, ACH transfers, auto bank import, and more. Higher cost FreshBooks plans will provide you with more clients and more proposals.

Overview of FreshBooks

The affordable FreshBooks cost provides entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and business owners with an easy to use invoicing and accounting solution. This solution is fast, secure and small business easy as FreshBooks says.

Your biggest problem with FreshBooks, and you won’t find many, is finding the FreshBooks login page, which you can find on FreshBooks site.

FreshBooks Login Page

FreshBooks Pricing and Review

1- Ease of Use

Redicoulsly easy to use. I can personally confess that it is simple and intuitive. My coworker that is accounting challenged uses it from time to time and actually has no trouble at all.

If you are looking for an easy to use solution look no further than FreshBooks.

2- Automation Awaits

One of my favorite things about FreshBooks, and which I harp on in this FreshBooks pricing review, is that the software automates so many of the mundane tasks.

From invoicing to tracking time spent on a project you will find it will only take a few clicks.

3- Cloud-Based for Ease of Mind

FreshBooks removes the worry of “losing” your expenses, invoices and other important financial documents as it is a cloud-based solution.

Gone are the days of losing your data to a computer mishap.

Get your FREE Guide to Creating your first invoice in FreshBooks!

Get your easy to use guide in minutes.

    We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Powered By ConvertKit

    How much does FreshBooks cost per month?

    FreshBooks cost is based on three plans: Lite, Plus, and Premium. These plans cost $15, $25, & $50 per month. All the plans contain invoicing, expense entries, credit card acceptance, ACH transfers, auto bank import, and more. Higher cost FreshBooks plans will provide you with more clients and more proposals.

    FreshBooks Cost Table

    Monthly Price$13.50$25.00$50.00
    # of Billable Clients550500
    Learn MoreTry it FreeLearn More

    Controlling your costs is important when running or starting up a business and FreshBooks certainly allows you to do just that.

    Cost control has many advantages that are unknown to a surprising number of those I coach. Here’s a great post entitled The Advantages of Cost Control

    I write a lot about affordability for startups, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and business owners like our recent post on affordable web design options.

    FreshBooks Customer Service

    FreshBooks is not just an affordable and easy to use option. It also provides stellar customer services.

    The customer support team is award-winning and has received 4 out of 5 stars on almost every review site we have checked.

    The overall aggregate review for FreshBooks for the 23 sites we utilized was 4.56 for customer service alone.

    Further, the support on FreshBooks website itself is excellent. The search tool and support site are first class not to mention the YouTube videos that FreshBooks has provided.

    Here’s an example of one of FreshBooks Youtube Videos.

    FreshBooks Ease of Use

    Perhaps the main reason so many love FreshBooks is the ease of use. FreshBooks is just so easy.

    We found the aggregate rating for ease of use or a similar concept was a powerful 4.8.

    I’ve been using and recommending FreshBooks for a few years now and I can honestly say that one of the things I hear most often from those that try it is that “it is so easy to use”!

    If you aren’t in a position to outsource your bookkeeping or accounting during a particular season or business cycle, such as startup, doing it yourself needs to be easy.

    Why? Because your not an accountant or bookkeeper so your time needs to be spent doing what you do best– no matter what that is.

    Ready to get started? Click here or why not download our Free Guide below?

    Get your FREE Guide to Creating Your First Invoice in FreshBooks

    Easy to use step by step instructions to get started right away. Get started in the next 5 minutes!

      We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
      Powered By ConvertKit

      FreshBooks Comparisons Review

      When comparing FreshBooks to competitors there are many options, however we feel there are only three legitimate competitors. Freshbooks, QuickBooks, and Xero.

      While each of these options has a claim and is utilized by numerous businesses and freelancers. As we have laid out above we feel that FreshBooks is head and shoulders above the competition.

      I’ve created a chart below where we took the aggregate rating from 23 review sites.

      FreshBooks vs QuickBooks vs Xero

      BrandOverall RatingEase of UseCustomer ServicePrice

      As you can see we give the edge to FreshBooks, which is why we call it our go-to accounting and bookkeeping software for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, business owners, and freelancers.

      Give it a try and let us know what you think about FreshBooks cost effective software solution. Sign up today.

      Top 112 Blog Submission Sites

      Top 112 Blog Submission Sites

      Top 112 Blog Submission Sites

      By submitting your blog to free blog submission sites you can increase your exposure to visitors that frequent those sites. This is a “no brainier” way to get more traffic to your site by taking advantage of these blog submission sites.

      I recommend that bloggers and business owners with a blog submit regularly to these blogs until the entire list of blog submission sites has been worked through.

      You can also check out our list of the top 150 citations for SEO, which is another great way to increase your visibility.

      One can tackle this list in chunks by simply scheduling an hour or 30 minutes per day to make submissions to blogs.

      The easiest way to chunk this list is to create a template for submissions that will be used to readily grab information from by users.

      You can take the time to create a blog submission template checklist or simply download ours for ease of.

      Blog Submission Site Checklist

      Get our free checklist in minutes.

        We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

        Powered By ConvertKit

        Creating your own Submission Checklist

        Start by identifying an email address to use for submission.

        It’s a best practice, in my opinion, to create one just for this purpose. Keep in mind some sites will not allow a simple Gmail or yahoo email address.

        I usually just create an email address at my domain like blog-submission-list@example.com

        Another best practice is to keep a copy and paste information log for the submission so you don’t have to create it each time.

        I find following and tracking my submissions to be helpful.

        It’s encouraging and motivating as you can see you are knocking out the list over time.

        I find it best to put this in excel and save it for reference when I’m ready to work on the blog submission sites list every few days.

        I’m always for saving money during particular phases of growth, therefore, I blog regularly about affordability in web design.

        You can learn more about those options by reading our article on the 3 Best Affordable Web Design Options.

        You can make one of these checklists yourself or simply download it below.

        Get our Blog Submission Site Checklist for Free

        Checklist with easy to use step by step instructions to get started right away. Get started in the next 5 minutes!

          We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
          Powered By ConvertKit
          SitePage RankDomain Authority

          I encourage you to work on submitting your blog to these in order to build your community and list. If you would like help with the submission process simply reach out to us.

          150 Local Citations for SEO

          Top 150 Local citation directories

          150 Local Citations for SEO

          Note: Updated on 12/29/2019

          We’ve put together a ready to use list of 150 local citations for SEO complete with sources and directories that we use for our clients. Work your way through the list, using the same information about your business at each listing location.

          For those looking for blog submission sites you can follow this link to Top 112 Blog Submission Sites post.

          Allow 1-2 hours per 5 listing at the beginning and then things will pickup. If this time commitment is unreasonable or not cost effective for you we can do this work for you

          Directory Submission Checklist

          Get our free checklist in minutes.

            We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

            Powered By ConvertKit

            If you would like to learn more about the importance of Local citations for Local SEO read here.

            In addition to this list, it is also a great idea to get your name and information listed in local directories, industry specific directories, with local newspapers, with local chambers, and with local or regional blogs and websites.

            Local Citation Pro Tips:

            Some of these listing sites will give you ton of “almost spam” in your inbox after you get the listing confirmed. My professional suggestion is to create another email address for these listings. Something like listings@yourdomain.com a simple yahoo or gmail address will not work.

            Also you don’t have to and shouldn’t post in every one of these. If you are not a hotel business then don’t post on hotels.com.

            Top 150 Local Citation Directories

            2Bing Places for Businesshttps://www.bingplaces.com/
            4Yahoo Directoryhttp://dir.yahoo.com/
            5Yahoo Localhttp://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings/
            6AOL Yellow Pageshttp://yellowpages.aol.com/
            22Price Linehttp://www.priceline.com/
            25Yello Wikis Wikiahttp://yellowikis.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
            28Virtual Touristhttp://www.virtualtourist.com/
            31Insider Pageshttp://www.insiderpages.com/
            34Thumb Tackhttp://www.thumbtack.com/
            45Best of the Web Localhttp://local.botw.org/
            47True Localhttp://www.truelocal.com.au/
            49Zoom Infohttp://www.zoominfo.com/
            52Wedding Channelhttp://local.weddingchannel.com/wedding-vendors
            54Judy’s Bookhttp://www.judysbook.com/
            55Project Weddinghttp://www.projectwedding.com/vendor/reviews
            56Zaba Searchhttps://www.zabasearch.com/
            64Local Yodlehttp://local.yodle.com/
            66Dealer Raterhttp://www.dealerrater.com/
            68For Renthttps://www.forrent.com/
            71Mac Raes Blue Bookhttp://www.macraesbluebook.com/
            74Party Pophttp://www.partypop.com/list-your-business
            83Gathering Guidehttp://www.gatheringguide.com/
            86City Squareshttp://citysquares.com/
            87Check Bookhttp://www.checkbook.org/
            88Express Update Usahttp://www.expressupdateusa.com/
            93Biz Hwyhttp://www.bizhwy.com/
            95All Menushttp://www.allmenus.com/
            99EZ Localhttp://ezlocal.com/
            101Biz Wikihttp://www.bizwiki.com/
            103Page Insiderhttp://www.pageinsider.com/
            105Directory Mhttp://www.directorym.com/
            108City Gridhttp://www.citygrid.com/
            110eLocal Listinghttp://www.elocallisting.com/
            111Local Searchhttp://www.localsearch.com/
            112My Huckle Berryhttp://www.myhuckleberry.com/
            113Universal Business Listinghttps://www.ubl.org/
            116We Go Placeshttp://www.wegoplaces.com/
            117City Starhttp://citystar.com/
            119Find It Nowhttp://www.finditnow.com/
            123Yello Yellohttp://www.yelloyello.com/
            124Rate My Areahttp://ratemyarea.com/
            128Hello Metrohttp://www.hellometro.com/
            130Yellow Assistancehttp://www.yellowassistance.com/
            131Zip Leafhttp://www.zipleaf.com/
            132Bola Listhttp://www.bolalist.com/
            134Citi Servihttp://www.citiservi.com/
            137Rank Spherehttp://www.ranksphere.com/
            138Best Service Placehttp://bestserviceplace.com/
            139Local Search Lighthttp://www.localsearchlight.com/
            141My Sheriffhttp://www.mysheriff.net/
            144Shop Locallyhttp://www.shoplocally.com/
            146Home Owners Circlehttp://homeownerscircle.com/
            147I Got Bizhttp://igotbiz.com/

            150 local SEO citation sites can be overwhelming at first, however we’ve made it easy for you by sorting the list based on Authority

            If you would like help with creating a checklist to get all of these submitted you can signup below.

            Get our Directory Checklist for Free

            Checklist with easy to use step by step instructions to get started right away. Get started in the next 5 minutes!

              We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
              Powered By ConvertKit

              If you’re interested in professional help with your search results for Local Listings and personalized search engine optimization check out our Local SEO Service or Talk to Us about your challenges and business goals.

              3 Best Affordable Web Design Options

              3 best affordable website design options

              3 Best Affordable Web Design Options

              One of the most common questions I get asked is “how much will it cost me?” or something akin to that sentiment.

              The underlying question is can I get a quality web design that is affordable, meets my needs, and is easy to use.

              Just last week a woman named Debbie from Texas called and asked if there were any affordable web design options.

              She explained she was running a small business that sold plants to local vendors and needed an online presence. She was disheartened by the price of web designers and likewise overwhelmed by using a website builder.

              One of her grandchildren had made a valiant attempt at designing her website, however, as is often the case it was lacking in technical skill and common web design must-haves.

              The above story may change names, locations, and other variables, but it is all too common. I want you to know there are solutions. We have listed the three primary options below and detailed them throughout this article.

              Here’s the tl;dr version of the affordable web design options available to all.

              Key Article Takeaways

              What are the Affordable Web Design Options?

              In the past I’ve written about the value of custom web design, however, there is a time and place for affordable web design. 

              It may be during particular times in a business’s life cycle such as during a startup phase.  It’s really not smart to spend more than you have.

              A Word to Web Designers

              For my website designer friends and colleagues out there I would encourage you to embrace website builders and do it yourself WordPress for some of your lower leverage clients. 

              By being honest with a startup or small business owner that doesn’t really have the resources you are building a relationship that may flourish once they have a need for high-end development.  

              In the meantime, I encourage you to provide free and paid help to those using website builders and WordPress.org installs.

              Article Goals

              It’s my goal in this article to touch on the 3 best options available when looking for affordable web design. 

              In particular, I’m hoping I can solve a few common problems in the contact questions I received regularly, namely:

              common website design contact questions

              4 Common Website Design Contact Questions

              Let’s start with a simple definition of what is meant by affordable web design.

              Affordable Web Design Defined

              Creating a working definition of affordable.

              My goal is to get us on the same page.  We, you the reader and I the author, need to use the same language to understand one another. 

              What do I mean when I say affordable web design?

              It’s a bit of a fluid definition. Inherently, affordable varies from person to person based upon that individual’s means and station in life. 

              Affordable doesn’t mean cheap.

              Rather, it’s a closer fit to reasonably priced or the vague inexpensive. 

              Essentially, it doesn’t hurt when you buy it and you feel happy with the value you received in return to the affordable item. 

              It’s something you can afford.

              Merriam Webster dictionary Affordable defined

              Source (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affordable)

              How does an affordable item differ from a cheap item? 

              In this case, what is the difference between affordable web design and cheap website design? 

              Cheap carries with it a sense of inexpensive and thus affordable, but also of poor quality.

              No one wants a cheap web design, read as a poor yet inexpensive design because having a poor yet inexpensive design will merely turn away your visitors.

              Mark Brinker has a well written and thoughtful article on this subject in a post called Research Shows Having A Bad Website Can Hurt Your Business

              In his roundup style article, one source notes that 75% of consumers admit that they judge a business’s credibility based on their web design.

              Another article on Sweor.com titled 27 Eye-Opening Statistics About User Experience, Website First Impressions, and Website Design That You Should Be Taking Very Seriously notes that “As common as it is to say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” websites are subject to an extreme level of snap judgments that immediately influence perceptions of credibility.” 

              Don’t just go for cheap as you may cost yourself more than you saved.

              Remember a web design is an asset for your business or startup.

              The Importance of Your Website

              How important is your website to your business or your potential business launch? 

              This question must be asked when evaluating what is meant by affordable web design. 

              For example, an online business that sells items via eCommerce will undoubtedly require a website that does what it is required to do, which sells a product.

              On the other hand, a consultant that is just starting out like Blankenship Process Improvement Consulting may need nothing more than a one to three-page website design that is both affordable and easy to update.

              When you sit down to decide what affordable web design means to you it is imperative to take into consideration the importance of your website and its image to your customers.

              According to the eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers will research product information before they make a purchase online or in the store.  This is huge.

              percent of consumers searching for a product online first

              In the end, a web design for any business or individual wishing to sell, motivate or be seen is essential and important as 93% of business decisions start with a search engine.

              93% of businesses decisions state with a search engine

              5 things a website can do for you:

              • Creates a Sense of Professionalism
              • Ease of Access for Potential Visitors
              • Low Cost per Impression Marketing
              • Positive ROI (if done right)
              • An Asset to your Company

              What does an Affordable Web Design mean?

              Affordable web design will differ for us all. 

              If you are a serial entrepreneur and you are looking to create your 17th website affordable web design will have a completely different meaning than a local small business owner that sells craft beer, owns a bar, or paints houses for a living. 

              Additionally, if you are a startup consultant that needs a one-page website with very little else, then affordability should and will mean something different for you. 

              However, if you’re average sale price is high you might want to spend a little more for a higher quality website than a do it yourself design. 

              Elon Musk on Affordable technology improvements

              Either way, we’ve got you covered at Green Thoughts.

              The increase in technological website design advances and improvements to builders has opened a lot of doors.

              In what follows affordable means there are varying levels of options that will have a range in price from zero dollars in the case of some free website builders to a few thousand dollars in the case of one-time fee affordable web design by an agency.

              So what are your options when looking at affordable web design?

              Options for Affordable Web Design

              1. Website builders
              2. WordPress.org
              3. Hire an Affordable Web Design Company

              Website Builders

              Website builders are growing in popularity in recent years and why not as these website builders provide an affordable way to build a website.

              These builders include options like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly just to name a few. 

              The appeal of a website builder is you do not need any HTML, CSS, or other design coding skills to create a website.

              The various builders have a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) interface that is usually a drag and drop, such as in the video below, that enables literally anyone to create a website in a matter of minutes or days. 

              example of a plug & play Website Builder

              My suggestion to those that find these website builders the right affordable option is to take advantage of the various trial periods they offer and use them to simply play around.

              Best Website Builders Aggregated

              Website BuilderOverall RatingEase of UseDesign OptionsPrice

              While I feel you can’t go wrong with any of the builders on this list I encourage you to try Wix.com as it is by far the best overall Website Builder on the market.

              Best of all you can get a free trial with several of these website builders.

              Best eCommerce Website Builders Aggregated

              Website BuilderOverall RatingEase of UseDesign OptionsPrice

              If you find that a website builder is the best and most affordable web design option for you. 

              If you are in the market for affordable web design this first option, the website builder group is a must to check out.

              I would encourage those interested in this option to click through above and check the products out for yourself.

              WordPress.org Do it Yourself

              WordPress.org is used by over 60% of the content management solution websites in the world according to Is it WP

              Further, WordPress makes up over 35% of all websites according to Kinsta

              WordPress powers 35% of websites quote

              Thus, WordPress, like the website builders mentioned above, deserves a post all its own in this discussion. 

              However, WordPress too has some of the favorable features you will find with website builders and it can be just as if not more affordable as an affordable web design option. 

              • WordPress requires another level of computer expertise as you will need to install WordPress yourself (free). 
              • Purchase hosting for the website ($2-$30 a month).
              • Purchase a domain name ($15 to $20 a year). 
              • Pick a theme or design type for the site (free and paid).
              • You will also need to maintain and secure the site with WordPress plugins (cost varies).

              When discussing the cost associated with WordPress remember that there are similar costs with a website builder as mentioned below. 

              In the case of website builders and WordPress, you will still want to purchase your own domain name. You may need to pay for apps and/or plugins to increase functionality. 

              Finally, don’t forget the website builder monthly fee.

              I personally love WordPress and design in it frequently for small business clients that are seeking an affordable web design option.

              In the end, a WordPress.org website will cost you less than a website builder over a 2 to 3 year period.

              However, this presupposes that you will not be spending loads of cash on plugins and customized themes. Let’s take a closer look at these numbers. I’ve taken the liberty of saying the average person will buy a customized theme and utilize at least one paid plugin on most platforms and I’ve chosen the middle plan on most builders.

              It’s important to remember our topic is affordable web design so I’m not including customizations in this option that might make a website far nicer and more user-friendly.

              So keep in mind you could swing this for less.

              One and Three Year Total Cost of Each Solution

              1 yr Cost$222$341$378$257
              3 yr Cost$316$624$660$518

              While these are interesting numbers the question of quality and finished product still lingers. Can you or one of your associates build a website that converts and looks “good enough”?

              Let’s turn to our third final affordable web design option.

              Hire an Affordable Web Design Company

              One-time fee Affordable Web Design

              Yet another affordable web design option is hiring a one-time fee web design company or freelancer. 

              I would encourage you if you go this route to avoid the average freelancer and instead find a quality website design company.

              I have run into far too many clients over the years attempting to salvage a web design that an overseas freelancer took on and left the business owner in a state of disarray. 

              My advice is USA/UK Designers with a track record.

              Freelancers aside, what is a one-time fee affordable web design? 

              Essentially you will hire a company to provide you with a complete end to end website design that is cost-effective as you define it. 

              These sites will usually range from$500 to $3000 give or take.

              In the end, you will receive a fully functional and completed website design with a “how to use it” discussion from the designer. 

              The website may or may not be coded in WordPress and thus may or may not have a content management system. 

              I implore you to request a CMS or content management software in your affordable design.

               I also encourage you to request training before signoff on the project. 

              You will need a website that you can easily update and care for. You will need to add and remove content from time to time.

              Here’s a list of things you should ask for in a One-Time Fee Website Design

              • Require a content management software
              • Is there Training on the use of the CMS
              • Questions about Length of Maintenance Help
              • Questions about Ongoing fees such as hosting
              • Does the company provide installments?

              Most website design companies will not provide ongoing maintenance for clients aside from a window of help after the design is complete. 

              However, digital marketing agencies will often provide an ongoing website maintenance package for a monthly fee. 

              It never hurts to ask and search the web for quotes on maintenance packages. 

              What to look for in a maintenance package?

              • Backup and Automation
              • Fixes and Regular Repair
              • Security monitoring
              • Content Updates/Images
              • Responsive User Interface Changes
              • Code Updates
              • Performance Measures

              These packages can vary wildly in price based on numerous options such as your specific content needs, changes to headers and images, the addition of landing pages or simply other pages, code updates, number of plugins, etc. 

              However, most packages for an affordable web design that is smaller and in the starter site category will range from $75 dollars a month to $150 a month. 

              If you would like a quote on your website maintenance please contact us.

              Monthly Subscription Design Services

              Yet another affordable web design option is that of hiring a website design company that will then charge you an ongoing monthly rate or subscription for the site.

              There are pros and cons to the affordable web design subscription approach.


              • A lower initial outlay of cash
              • Better website design than a DIY design
              • Often no need for a maintenance package
              • The company has a vested interest in your ongoing satisfaction
              • You can test your business idea without going all-in
              • Varying payment terms (i.e. monthly, quarterly, etc.)


              • The website design company owns your website for X months
              • Higher long term price point than a one-time fee
              • Contract Issues: increase in monthly rate etc.

              As you can see this affordable web design option is not for everyone, however, it is a valid choice that can save money during the early phase of a business and in doing so improve cash flows to other vital marketing channels.

              Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $200 per month for a subscription website plan. 

              These plans should include hosting, some form of maintenance, onboarding, and training with the companies content management software. 

              There’s a lot to like about this option for those short on capital.

              One consideration to think through with an affordable web design that is subscription-based is the true cost of a monthly subscription.

              These subscription website design agreements have the potential to lock you out of your site if you can’t make a payment.

              Most companies will create a monthly price point for you based on a term of payments prior to you actually “owning” the site contents.

              Affordable Web Design Subscription Example

              For example, a website design firm that regularly designs websites that are in the $2000 dollar one-time fee range.

              In a subscription plan, we would for this type of site the total cost before ownership would carry an increase in the total price. 

              The $2000 one-time fee site would become a $2750 to $3000 dollar site with terms of 12 to 36 months depending on where you wanted to be per month.

              Hypothetical Price Points for Monthly Subscription Plans

              TermsPrice/MonTotal Cost
              Net 30$0.00$2000
              12 mon$200.00$2400
              18 mon$146.06$2629
              24 mon$120.00$2880
              36 mon$97.22$3500

              While $97 dollars a month looks good for a higher quality web design over time you are paying for a much more for the same website.

              Essentially, you are being charged interest; however, it provides a more affordable monthly payment.

              Imagine a scenario where you become cash strapped and you can’t pay the subscription vendor you will have no recourse aside from working things out with the website design company. 

              My advice would be to read, or have a lawyer read, the terms carefully before signing an agreement. 

              Make sure you understand your obligations and your installment payment terms. 

              Request detailed documentation on maintenance plans and what will or will not trigger price increases.

              A monthly subscription website design can prove to be a very affordable option that balances risk and reward for a company that is unable to do it yourself and is not able to outlay the cash to pay all at once.

              The cost of an affordable web design

              How much will an affordable web design cost?

              Obviously the answer to this question will depend on your needs. However, you should be able to get a website up with anywhere from 0 dollars to 999 dollars when starting out. 

              TimeWordPress.orgWix.comOne Time Web Design12/mon Subscription Design
              1 yr Cost$222$341$1000$1200
              2 yr Cost$269$483$1138$1338
              3 yr Cost$316$624$1276$1476

              Balancing Trade-Offs

              As you can see it is not impossible to find affordable web design. It’s also important to remember these prices include intangibles such as less time burden on your part with an agency one-time design or a subscription plan.

              In my own business, I know how much money I can make in an hour of work. When I am considering doing something myself or outsourcing it I simply ask if the number of hours it will take me to do it is more or less than I can make in that time period.

              If it is even close I outsource it most of the time.

              The balance between cost, ease of use, and need.

              When considering your needs for website design and particularly so when looking for an affordable web design option one must consider the related concepts of cost, ease of use and website need.

              One should aim to find an area on the chart that will satisfy all three needs the most optimally, however, we don’t live in a theoretical Venn diagram world.   

              So I’m providing a few insights below to help you find the sweet spot for your need. 

              How to know if you’re getting a good deal- Cost

              I’ve already discussed cost and price to an extent in the charts above.  However, I’m asked regularly if x or y is a good deal. 

              Just last week a blog reader asked if I thought a college student’s proposal for a WordPress site was a good deal at a particular price point. 

              As I’ve mentioned above affordable is about more than just cost

              Yes, it involves the question of can I afford the cost at this point in my life/business, but it also involves asking if the quality of the provided outcome or in this case web design will be high enough.

              Sadly, no one can truly answer this question for you.

              It’s something you will need to sort through using the charts and tools listed above. 

              In the end, if you are comfortable with the price, you feel good about the business or person you are thinking of hiring, and have a real need then go for it.

              affordable web design & ease of use

              Which affordable web design option is the easiest to use- Ease of Use

              Ease of use can be a very subjective concept.  However, this is another question I’m asked regularly.  The problem with the question is what’s easy for one may not be easy for another.  There are website builder sites out there that have run studies on ease of use with volunteers to provide statistical data on the outcomes.

              Interested in a data-driven approach to ease of use? Check out Website Builder Expert for an overview of how they conduct research.

              In our own rankings and reviews of website builders, we took the approach of taking an average for particular indicators as ranked by 15 such websites.  Essentially we aggregate ease of use across multiple sites.

              5 steps to find affordable web design ease of use

              Five Steps to Find Affordable Web Design Ease of Use

              1. Get a free or trial plan or watch tutorials of Website Builders/WordPress
              2. Rate the Ease of Use on a scale of 1-10
              3. Take Notes and write down what you liked and didn’t like.
              4. Test another product.
              5. Repeat until you feel comfortable with a solution.

              There is just no replacement for testing and trying out a product on your own.  It’s why people lay on mattresses before making a purchase.

              That being said in my personal opinion the average internet user will be fine with Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or WordPress.  I believe they all have comparable ease of use.

              The relative importance of a website & need

              The Relative Importance- Need

              Your personal or businesses need to have a website and the importance of having one that does a particular action or provides a particular feature is important to consider when balancing cost, ease of use, and need.

              This need will influence the level of help or DYI you may be able to go forth with as a purchaser. 

              Once again I would encourage you to get clear on what features are absolutely necessary for you and then play around in test as mentioned in the Five Steps to Find Affordable Web Design Ease of Use above.

              Does the feature exist within the product for free? Yes, great.  No? Well, you attempt to identify solutions with plugins or apps to add that feature. 

              Try to identify how difficult implementing the said feature will be in relation to your level of expertise. 

              Can you code using a tutorial? Maybe that will work. 

              Can you hire a website designer just for that feature? This may be close to the cost of hiring an affordable web design company for WordPress. 

              Just let Google be your friend. 

              Feel free to reach out to us if you have specific questions.


              There are 3 main avenues you can follow to find an affordable web design option for your business, startup, or just because. 

              There are three main category options for Affordable Web Design:

              1. Website Builders
              2. WordPress.org
              3. Hire an Affordable Web Design Company

              These three options are filled with lots of possible solutions, however, to find your best option just pick an option and dive in based on your current level of expertise and knowledge.

              Once again reach out to us if you need a designer that can work within your budget. 

              We offer both subscription installments and one-time fee website designs that are affordable.  We can also help you with most any website builder if that’s something you need help with.

              5 Simple Steps to Setup Author Tracking in WordPress with Google Analytics

              5 steps to author tracking with MonsterInsights

              5 Simple Steps to Setup Author Tracking in WordPress with Google Analytics

              Are you interested in tracking your blog authors in google analytics it can happen with MonsterInsights?  This is an important metric for those that have multiple authors posting regularly.  You will be able to identify and those that stand out from the crowd and really produce.

              In the article that follows I’ll show you how to setup Author Tracking in WordPress with Google Analytics in 5 Simple Steps with MonsterInsights Pro Plugin.

              5 Simple Steps to Setup Author Tracking

              Step 1 Install & a Word about MonsterInsights

              MonsterInsights has over 2+ million active installations on WordPress installs at the time of this writing.  It comes in over 23 languages and is, of course, updated regularly.

              You download the plugin for free here from the WordPress.org plugin site or by searching in your plugin section of the WP dashboard by searching Google Analytics.

              download & install monsterinsights plugin

              After searching select the below:

              MonsterInsights Plugin Download Screenshot

              Simply click Install Now and then Activate from the WordPress Plugin menu. Now that you have the free version of MonsterInsights installed continue to step 2.

              Step 2 Activate the MonsterInsights Pro Plugin

              While the free version of MonsterInsights is a wonderful tool that provides a dashboard view of your Google Analytics, see below for a screenshot, the various paid versions are much more powerful.  In particular, you will need the pro version or higher for author tracking. However, it comes with so much more than just author tracking!

              Dashboard widget for MonsterInsights in WordPress

              Additionally, the Pro Version, which is needed to track author posting, however, it includes features such as a dashboard widget, page insights, date range history, search console reports, scroll tracking, EU Compliance, Affiliate Links, Ecommerce Reporting, Custom dimensions, category/tag tracking and more.

              In order to activate the MonsterInsights Pro Plugin follow our link below to purchase the plugins and return here to follow the setup.

              Welcome back!  You’ve made a great choice. I’ve have used MonsterInsights for several years on numerous agency and individual accounts I work with and find the ease of obtaining insights well worth the fee.

              Verify Google Analytics in the MonsterInsights Pro Plugin

              Go to Insights on the left WordPress Toolbar and select Authenticate with your Google Account.

              MonsterInsights Pro Plugin Authentication

              Your next step is to select the google account that your Analytics resides with as in the screenshot below.

              Google Account Selection

              Finally, allow MonsterInsights to manage your account.

              Allow MonsterInsights to view Google Account

              After allowing the above you will be taken back to your WordPress dashboard and into the MonsterInsights home. 

              Simply select from the drop-down the property you wish to completely authenticate on this site.

              Finish Authenticating Google with MonsterInsights

              After you have completed this task you will be able to review your Google Analytics tracking data in your dashboard and by going to Insights >> Reports.

              It’s time to finish the MonsterInsights Pro Plugin install. 

              After installing and activating, go to Insights >>Addons to reach and install the Dimensions addon. 

              Next, go to Insights >> Settings and in the License Key field, paste the key and click on the Verify Key button.

              Once verified it’s time to move to step 3 of our author tracking setup.

              Step 3 Setup Custom Dimensions Tracking in the Plugin

              Click the Tracking tab and choose Custom Dimensions from the left menu.

              Tracking Tab for MonsterInsights Pro Plugin

              Finally, click on custom dimension you will then need to add a new custom dimension by clicking and choosing the appropriate dimension from the drop-down.

              For our purposes in this tutorial, you will need to select Author from the drop-down.

              Custom dimension MonsterInsights

              Remember to save changes before moving forward to the next section.

              Step 4 Setup Custom Dimensions Tracking in Google Analytics

              First of all, navigate to Google Analytics in another browser window and login in and move to Admin >> Custom Definitions >> Custom Dimensions.

              It should look like the below screenshot.

              New custom dimension in Google Analytics

              Furthermore, click New Custom Dimension, then add Author to the Name field once open and note the index number in your google analytics.

              Next, go back to your MonsterInsights Pro Plugin interface.

              Add the noted index number to Custom Dimension ID as below.

              Add Noted Custom Dimension ID from Google Analytics to MonsterInsights

              Back to Google Analytics again

              Go back to the open tab in your browser with Google Analytics open and find Customization >> Custom Reports to add a report to track your blog authors.

              In the Report Content field add Author in the Dimension Drilldowns and save.

              MonsterInsights report content field from Google Analtyics

              You will now be able to track authors in Google Analytics for metrics such as bounce rate & page views.  If you want to view other reports you can add the author dimension as a secondary dimension.

              Step 5 View the data regularly in the MonsterInsights Plugin

              It’s always nice to take the time to enjoy your work.  Now you can view authors in your MonsterInsights Pro Plugin.

              Live author tracking in MonsterInsights Pro Plugin

              I hope this brief tutorial has helped you to learn the value of MonsterInsights Pro and the process of setting up the plugin for author tracking in WordPress.

              Therefore, if you are still on the fence about MonsterInsights Pro I would encourage you to check out the ratings on WordPress.org!

              I can personally say that I love the product and have found it useful for many of the client-based projects.

              If you have questions please comment below.  If you liked our post please share it on social as sharing is caring.