Saturday, February 24, 2018

How Much Selling Is Too Much Selling On A Blog?

How Much Selling Is Too Much Selling On A Blog? Bloggers need to strike a delicate balance when promoting their products or services. Blogs tend to be informal, conversational, and for many readers, an escape from the sometimes uncomfortable business of buying and selling. But when bloggers abstain from any selling, they eventually reach a point where they wonder if all their effort is worthwhile. What do I have to show for all this blogging? Is it generating any revenue? Is it distracting me from other, more productive business tasks?  


If these questions are on your mind, consider these tips for adding (or subtracting) a sales pitch from your blogging equation.


What’s the Competition Doing?

The “acceptable” amount of selling on a blog differs from niche to niche. One way to gauge receptiveness is to look at what successful bloggers in your niche do. Identify popular bloggers and read not only their posts but look at the comments, as well. Do you see any patterns among leading bloggers? If you see posts with a strong sales pitch woven in, your audience may accept or even expect a similar tone in your posts.


Earn the Right to Sell With Valuable Content

It could be that aggressive selling on the blog is failing because the sales pitch isn’t being backed by valuable information. In all types of selling, and especially in blogs, the “ask” has to be earned — and on blogs, this means delivering useful information and insights. If a reader has just read a post revealing a way he or she could save $1,000, then a sales pitch will likely be well received.


Don’t Sell on Every Post

Hammering and hammering for a sale on every blog post will become tiresome to regular readers. Eventually, they may tune out completely. A better approach is to push harder on long, detailed, well-researched and extremely valuable posts; posts where you have really earned the “ask.” For shorter, less meaty posts, forgo the sales pitch.


Optimize and Promote Your Posts Targeted for Conversion

Those detailed posts I just mentioned — some call them anchor posts or evergreen content — should be optimized and promoted to reach as large a new audience as possible because these are the posts most likely to convert.

  • Before publishing, do keyword research to identify the best SEO keywords.

  • Add a strong call to action at the close (and perhaps in the middle) of the post, giving readers the option of phoning, submitting an inquiry form, and/or clicking through to a landing page.

  • Promote the post regularly on all social media channels.

  • Reach out to other bloggers and websites in your niche and related ones — ask them to read your post, and if they like it, share it with their readers and/or link to it.  


Sell on the Sidebar

While some blog readers will be put off by posts with sales content, few will be offended by sales offers that appear in the blog sidebar — after all, it is a business blog. Bloggers frequently opt for the sidebar sell, but all too often fail in the execution. Problems to avoid include:


    • Having too many offers. A sidebar full of offers starts to look like a sideshow. When readers are confronted with too many offers, they tend to choose nothing.

    • Having weak offers. “Call to learn more” isn’t exactly compelling. “Call now to save $500 on your first order” is.

  • Failing to track and test. Throwing up a few offers on the sidebar may make a blogger feel as though something has been accomplished, but nothing really has. Unless you know how many forms and phone conversions occurred, and unless you then test different offers, messages, and designs, you will never know how effective your sales effort is — or how to improve it.



Brad Shorr SEO ExpertAuthor bio: Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at, a Chicago SEO expert company. at Straight North, an SEO agency headquartered in the Chicago area.


Friday, February 23, 2018

99designs vs Logo Tournament - Comparison Review

99designs vs Logo Tournament - Comparison Review Another installment in my continuing series comparing 99designs, my recommendation for logo design, to other options to get your business logo designed. FYI I got my logo designed for my startup business on 99designs and I love it! Check out my review of 99designs logos about my experience complete with over the shoulder videos.

Logo Tournament like 99 logos is a crowdsource logo contest website. Which means that you will post a logo design brief order and designers from around the world will post submissions for your review, feedback and eventual selection as your final logo.

While Logo Tournament has some advantages the big disadvantage is their text-based logo design brief process. Compared to 99designs easy, fun and visual based ordering process, the clunky long and I thought boring ordering form at Logo Tournament was a bummer.

99designs vs logo tournament crowd source

When I ordered my new business logo from 99designs it took about 15 minutes to complete the Logo Design Brief which included selecting images that I liked. The order form at Logo Tournament will take over an hour, be complicated and still not communicate my design preferences to the logo designers as well as that at 99designs. Watch this video of how easy it is to order, and I thought fun, to get a logo made at 99designs:

99designs vs Series:

99designs vs Deluxe Business Logo Design

99designs vs CrowdSpring

99designs vs Design Crowd

99designs vs Fiverr


Similarities 99designs vs Logo Tournament

Crowd Source Logo Contest
Both sites are crowdsourced graphic design contest sites which I found to be a great way to get tons of creative logo ideas at a reasonable price.

Online Graphic Design Website
Websites dedicated to helping businesses with graphic design services.

99designs vs logo tournament crowd source

Differences 99designs vs Logo Tournament


Logo Tournament is slightly less, $24 less than the lowest priced 99designs logo packages, $299 for the Bronze Logo Design package at 99designs vs $275 at Logo Tournament.

In my educated opinion, this small amount of savings does not make up for the reduction in both number and experience of graphic designers participating in the logo designs contests. Over one million designers participate at 99designs compared to less than 100,000 at Logo Tournament.


Money Back Guarantee 

Logo Tournament guarantees you will get at least 30 designs or they will refund your monies. However, they are not guaranteeing that you will like those 30 designs nor, that the logo design contest that you paid for will result in a logo you love. To me that is not a very good guarantee - I could still waste my money and not end up with a good logo for my company.

99designs has a 100% Money Back Guarantee that guarantees that you will get a logo that you love or you can get a full refund up to 60 days after payment. To me, that is a much better guarantee that I will get a great logo and not just get 30 designs that I may or may not like or find acceptable for my new company logo.


Company Size and Reputation

Compare the 50,393 businesses that used Logo Tournament with 7X, 700% more happy customers at 99designs at over 350,000!


Design Quality

Here is where you can see the weaknesses between the two both visually and in the usability of the logo designs. This side by side comparison of logo designs from 99designs vs Logo Tournament makes the choice obvious. The logos from Logo Tournament are overly dependent on lots of colors to communicate, use unoriginal graphics and will be costly and difficult to use for some applications such as t-shirts, promotional goods, and signs.

side by side comparison of logo designs from 99designs vs logo tournament



Logo Tournament crowd source graphic site


Visit the home page for the newest articles

Read my 99designs logo review - My experience of launching a logo design contest at 99designs #99Designs, #Comparison, #CrowdSourceSites, #LogoTournament, #Logos, #Review, #Vs

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Legalzoom vs LegalShield - Which is the Best Online Legal Service Site?

Legalzoom vs LegalShield - Which is the Best Online Legal Service Site? [caption id="attachment_8424" align="alignright" width="300"]Legalzoom vs Legalshield Best Online Legal Services Review Which is Best for You? Legalzoom or LegalShield?[/caption]

As a small business owner, you want to find the best monthly legal service for your companies legal needs. Affordable legal services such as business formations of LLC, corporation or DBA plus business forms for sales contracts and office lease reviews are included in prepaid legal plans.

I compared the top services of Legalzoom vs LegalShield detailing prices, packages, reviews and customer ratings in my review here

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Legalzoom vs Nolo - Review Comparison

Legalzoom vs Nolo - Review Comparison legalzoom vs nolo llc reviews

7 Tips for Better Small Business Cash Flow Management

7 Tips for Better Small Business Cash Flow Management Profitable businesses are able to survive and expand. Unfortunately, only half of the new businesses survive five years or longer, according to the Small Business Administration. One U.S. Bank study suggests that 82% of business failures are due to problems with cash flow.

Your business needs a healthy cash flow to survive. Cash flow can be difficult to manage, especially for small business owners just starting out. Small business cash flow management starts with understanding what cash flow is.


What is cash flow?

Cash flow is money that comes into and goes out of your business. You can have either positive or negative cash flow.


Positive cash flow is when you have more incoming cash (i.e., sales) than outgoing cash (i.e., expenses). Businesses strive to have positive cash flow.


Negative cash flow is when your business has more outgoing cash than incoming cash.


Though negative cash flow is not a good sign, it doesn’t necessarily mean your business is on the verge of bankruptcy. Work on cash flow management for small business to improve.

Tips to improve small business cash flow management

Constantly having more money leaving your business than coming in can be discouraging. Here are cash flow strategies for small business that can help.

1. Create and analyze your cash flow statement

A cash flow statement is one of the three main financial statements that lets you see your business’s financial health.


Cash flow statements show you the amount of cash entering and leaving your business during a time period. It shows you how much cash your business actually has. It does not include the amount of cash your business owes or the amount owed to you.


Compare several cash flow statements for your business. This can show you how your business manages cash over time. And, the analysis helps you project small business cash flow. That way, you can prevent overspending resulting in negative cash flow.  

2. Adjust payment terms

Sometimes, negative cash flow is a result of customers not paying you. Extending credit to customers means you won’t receive payment right away.  


Establish payment terms in writing to let customers know information like when their payment is due, how to pay it, and when late fees apply. Shortening payment terms might be a good idea to increase cash flow.


For example, you sell $1,000 worth of goods to a customer and give them six weeks to pay. By changing the payment deadline to four weeks, you have a better chance of receiving payment early on.  


You can encourage customers to pay you early by giving discounts for early payments. And, you can discourage late payments by increasing the late fee.

3. Make a budget

You need to know how to create a business budget. A budget lets you predict the amount you will receive and spend. Sticking to your business budget is an important part of managing cash flow in a small business.  


It’s impossible to know every expense you will have over a period of time. Include the recurring costs and leave room for unexpected expenses. Using a budget can help you spend wisely.


You don’t know how much your business’s revenue will be, either. Look at your business’s revenue from prior years to get an idea.

4. Increase sales

Wouldn’t it be great if increasing sales was as easy as someone telling you to do it? Your business thrives on selling to customers, but increasing the number of sales you make can take time.


To increase sales, spend time marketing to customers. Make sure people know about your offerings.


You can also offer discounts or promotions to increase sales. The lower prices might encourage customers to buy more of certain goods.

5. Get rid of unnecessary costs

Cut out any expenses that are frivolous. You might think that a $300 coffee maker would be a nice treat for your employees, but spending that amount is unnecessary.


Take a look at necessary costs, like rent, supplies, and salaries. You won’t be able to cut these, but you could shop around to see if there are better deals that can save you money.


For example, talk to other suppliers to see if they can give you a better price than your current vendor. Or, you could find ways to reduce cost-per-hire if you have too many hiring expenses.  

6. Time Purchases

To make sure the amount of cash coming into and going out of your business line up, you need to time purchases. Timing purchases can be as simple as waiting to buy a piece of equipment.


Having expenses due and payable all at once can be hard. If you’re able to, spread out payment dates and purchases so you can better manage cash flow.

7. Form relationships

Forming relationships with your vendors, lenders, and investors can help them see you as reliable. Build connections early on, not when you need money.


For example, if cash is tight, your vendor might work with you on payment terms so you don’t need to pay large amounts all at once.


Again, cash flow issues spring up when you have too much outgoing money and not enough incoming money. During times of low incoming cash, reach out to your connections.

The importance of cash flow

Businesses need cash. To start, having cash on hand helps you pay for things your business needs, like equipment, supplies, and employee salaries. Without money, you won’t be able to operate.


Cash flow also determines the cash flow statement. Businesses show the cash flow statement to people like investors and lenders to secure investments and loans.


Healthy cash flow can indicate a healthy business. With small business cash flow management, you can get your company on the right track to success.



Rachel Gray is a content writer at Patriot Software, LLC, a provider of affordable payroll and accounting software for small businesses. At Patriot, she enjoys providing actionable, growth-oriented information for small business owners. #Accounting, #CashFlow, #Software

Monday, February 19, 2018

Legalzoom Registered Agent Review: Right for Your Business? Worth It?

Legalzoom Registered Agent Review: Right for Your Business? Worth It? Wondering exactly what the Legalzoom Registered Agent service is, is it right for your business and worth it?  Legalzoom"s registered agent service is reviewed including an overview of the role, the need for a registered agent, plus my recommendations on which companies need an agent and which do not need a registered agent.

Registered Agent Services at LegalZoom

A registered agent is a company that you assign to receive your important legal documents in the regular mail on your behalf.

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Advantages of Having a Registered Agent (RA)

  • Avoid Fines - Many states require businesses to have a registered agent to receive court documents and other important notifications

  • Prevents Oversights - The registered agent will be sure to receive the filings and both notify and advise you of the next legal actions you need to take to stay safe in within the law

  • Privacy and Freedom - By hiring the services of a Registered Agent at a professional firm such as Legalzoom, you keep your business matters private from your nosy neighbors and will not be disturbed at home by being served court documents.



Legalzoom Registered Agent Services Includes:
  1. Notification and emailed copies of any court documents sent to your business

  2. Archive, scans, and ID of documents for safe recordkeeping

  3. Maintain Calendar of Compliance dates that important paperwork must be filed

  4. Email notification reminders of upcoming filing deadlines for state income tax and annual reports

  5. Attorney advice about legal matters from the Legalzoom network is available as an optional service

ra registered agents for business


Who can be a Registered Agent?

The RA must be an adult or business authorized by you, the business owner, that is available during standard business hours at a street address in the state which your company was formed as a DBA, LLC or INC.

Some states use different terms for the same person and service. The names term resident agent, statutory agent, agent for service of process all function the same as the Registered Agent.


Can I be my Own Business Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be legally, but most business experts advise against it because this is such an important role. When you hire someone else to be responsible for receiving your legal and tax documents you will rest easy knowing that they will always be there to accept such important paperwork. No longer will you worry about missing a tax notice or being on vacation when the court served you papers.


Things Your Registered Agent can Receive for Your Business
  1. Court documents if you are served

  2. State tax notifications

  3. Secretary of State notices

  4. Annual Report notices

  5. Junk Mail - they will dispose of

  6. Office state correspondence


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Legalzoom vs Rocket Lawyer - Which is Best?

Legalzoom vs Rocket Lawyer - Which is Best? [caption id="attachment_8375" align="alignnone" width="300"]rocket lawyer vs legalzoom for llc and will Legalzoom vs Rocket Lawyer - Which is Best?[/caption]


Comparison of Rocket Lawyer to Legalzoom for LLC formations