As 2014 comes to an end, it is time to reflect and see what the year meant for local businesses. Let’s take a look at the Dex Media blog posts that resonated most with our readers.
January is always filled with predictions and reflections and our blog was no different. In 5 Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing in 2014, we recommended that small businesses focus on their websites, perform basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), increase their local presence, participate in social media, and analyze their campaigns to improve conversion rates.
March is spring cleaning time around the office and this year was no exception. One of our most popular articles in March was 8 Tips for Creating a Productive Office Workspace, Backed by Science, which shared the following tips:
- Have lots of natural light, but orient your desk away from the window.
- Bring nature into the office.
- Photo of cute kittens and puppies aren’t just for Facebook — they help your productivity too.
- Keep your office warm.
- Personalize your space — but don’t overdo it.
- Paint the office walls a subtle color.
- Keep your office space clean (or messy, depending on your goals).
In April, we addressed the 7 Things You Should Never Do on a Small Business Blog. Business blogging is always a hot topic and we recommended against doing any of these things.
- All Promotion, All the Time
- Posting Infrequently or Inconsistently
- Poor Writing
- Not Integrating with Your Website
- Overlooking Analytics
- Too Much SEO
- Ignoring, Deleting, or Disabling Comments
May was interesting because one of the most popular articles was a timeless how-to article from 2011 on writing press releases, entitled 8 Steps to Writing a Great Press Release. The article details the following 8 steps to guarantee that you have included all the information necessary for an effective press release.
- Remember the basics.
- Avoid jargon.
- Get to the point.
- Include links to your website, blog and social media pages.
- Answer this question: “What is the news here?”
- Quote the expert.
- Accuracy counts.
- Include an About Us paragraph at the end.
Another classic article that made a resurgence in June was 10 Steps to Marketing Plan Success, which outlines the basics of creating a comprehensive marketing plan for a local business. The following ten things need to be planned and considered:
- Market research
- Define your product or service
- Check the competition
- Prepare proper pricing
- Build a budget and promotion mix
- Match marketing to your target terrain
- Marketing metrics
- Prepare a marketing message that resonates
- Include an action plan
To round out the summer, in July, we focused on local business websites, as our one of our most popular articles was 3 Things You Can Do to Help Your Website Now. The three helpful suggestions were summarized as “Review What You’ve Got”, “Be Findable”, and “Network, Network, Network”! In August, we took a comprehensive look at 32 Business Listing Sites That Will Get You Referral Traffic, by explaining the role of online directories and providing a list of 32 relevant online directories that can help your local business website get more traffic.
In keeping with the theme of maintaining local business websites, September featured “Are You Sabotaging Your Business Website?“, which gave a description of the following mistakes that can hinder the success of your business website:
- Visual Mistakes
- Video/Audio Faux Pas
- Essential Information Missing
- Freshness and Timeliness of Content
- Easy to Use – Or Not
- Call to Action or Closing the Door?
- Your Site is Buried in the Search Engines
- Not Mobile Friendly
In October, the attention shifted to social media, as Attention-Grabbing Facebook Posts for Your Small Business, was one of our most popular posts, sharing great concepts for great ideas of what a business should share on Facebook, in addition to incredible specific examples. November saw a resurgence of our Free Advertising for Small Businesses article, a top ten list of free business listing sites, that also includes four important things to know about free listings, including the following:
- Accurate Data
- Your Reputation
- Getting More
While we aren’t quite finished with December yet, one of this month’s most popular articles is “Three Things (at least) You Should Know About Your Website“, explaining what Google Analytics is and why it is important to know how much traffic is going to your website, where the visitors are coming from, and what types of devices they are using to view the content.
Throughout 2014 we have been able to touch on a lot of topics that are important to local businesses and we hope to continue providing relevant information in 2015. If you are a regular reader of our blog, what do you think? Has our site been a good resource for you? What could we do over the next year to improve the type of content we provide for you?