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TR's Work from Home Ideas, Tips and Resources is about finding your passion, being your own boss, working your own hours, maybe a business that includes your family or that you can share with others, and make some extra cash while your at it. We make no promises that you'll make the thousands & thousands of dollars you see advertised all over the web. But anything is possible with commitment & hard work. Our goal is to share what we have learned and point you to some resources to succeed in your goals.

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Your Website As Your Branding Tool

Posted By on January 14, 2016

Branding your business helps you develop a relationship with your potential and current customers by helping them understand your business’s personality, products and/or services. By developing a brand that people feel they know and understand, you can start to compete with other businesses in a whole new way. You can compete based on the intrinsic value of your products and services rather than simply the cost of them.

You have many different types of tools that you can use for branding your business. Business cards, brochures, t-shirts, mugs, sample products, the business itself if it’s a bricks and mortar business (how it’s decorated), your pricing structure, customer service style, and even your contract can be a branding tool in your business. While some of these tools aren’t as obvious as others, they are all evoke feelings about your business in the customer.

All of these tools need to have a consistent style to them. By being consistent across all of the tools that you can use to brand your business, you will increase your brand image even more. Your brand has an intrinsic value to your entire business. It helps people understand what you do, how you do it, why you do it and will bring feelings of good will (or bad) to your clients or potential clients.

One of the branding tools that is most useful is your website. Often times when a business that has been around awhile decides to build a website, the owners get carried away and forget that they already have an established brand. Unless you want to re-brand yourself, essentially starting from scratch as a new business, it is best if you carry forth the brand you’ve already created into your web design.

After all, it takes time to develop a brand. You don’t want to confuse your current customers and catch them off guard by changing your image in their minds. After all, a customer’s belief in your brand can change on a dime if you’re not careful. You could lose customers, and we all know that keeping customers is one of the best marketing methods there is. Getting a new customer is much more expensive.

Your website, if designed well, can evoke the same feelings in new and old customers alike. Using your website to tell your story and expand your reach is an excellent use of the marketing tool, but it’s not a time to switch it all up and change everything. Instead look at the colors, images, and feelings you evoke now with the marketing collateral that you have and pull it in to your web design. Sometimes just using the same logos, the same colors, and the same font can go far in bringing the look and feel of your brand to the web.

Consider allowing your customers to tell their story about your brand. Your website is an excellent place to bring in customer testimonials, whether written or in video. Who is better at explaining your brand to others than people who already know you? By expanding your brand using consistent design practices across all your marketing media, you’ll be able to engage clients and potential clients in a new way – without reinventing the wheel.

Your Brand Should Be Reflected in Your Web Design

Posted By on January 13, 2016

It’s very tempting, when building a website, to start all over with your brand concept. But, in reality, it’s the worst thing that you can do. If you plan to change your image with your website, it would be best to change all of your marketing collateral at one time. Your website should be an extension of all the marketing material that you already own. Creating a memorable brand is about realizing how powerful good design is.

Think about brands that you can recognize without even reading the words. Coke, Twitter, Facebook, all have brands that you can recognize immediately even if you don’t see words to go with it. If you just see the red outline of the C for Coke, or the shape of the bottle, you know it’s Coke. If you see the blue bird, regardless of where the bird is, you know it’s Twitter. And, who doesn’t recognize the lower-case f and that particular shade of blue for Facebook? Every business wants to have branded their business so well that this magic occurs.

One way to expand your brand is to ensure that once you create a website, all of your other marketing collateral matches. If you’re already a well-known entity, make your website match. If you’re a new business, think about all the various types of marketing material you will need to create and make it all go together. Don’t reinvent the wheel for each of your marketing materials. The great thing is, good design will easily carry forth to all the marketing collateral that you need.

Keep It Professional

Your website should be as professional as you are. This is not the time to start telling all your family secrets. You don’t need pictures of your dog, or cat, or babies on your website. The “about us” area is not a time to spill your guts. The website is much like a print brochure and should contain the same type of information. The only difference is that a website is easier to update, keep current, and share new information as well as provide a great place in which to educate potential customers about your products and services.

Choose Your Domain Name Wisely

Whether you’ve been in business a while or not, choosing your domain name is an important step in creating your brand. Ideally, your domain name will include keywords. However, if your business is already established, simply carrying over the name you now use for your business to the domain name will be the best thing that you can do. If you cannot get that name, consider thinking outside the box by brainstorming keywords that people will use to search for your products and services. Don’t choose something that is trendy; choose something that is timeless but represents your products and services well.

Expand to Social Media

When you build a website you’ll want to also connect to your clients via social media through your website. Be sure to complete your social media profiles in the same manner as your business website. You want to carry the images, themes, logos, colors, typography through all of your marketing collateral, whether online or offline. When someone visits your online real estate via your business card, there should be no mistake that it’s yours.

By using your website as a repository for all the information about your business, including listing awards, testimonials, case studies, press mentions, images of you and your staff, as well as remembering to carry over the look and feel of your other marketing collateral, you’ll expand your brand exponentially.

Your Blog Should Be on Your Website 

Posted By on January 12, 2016

A lot of people get really confused between blogs and websites. But in reality blogs are websites and websites are blogs today. At least they should be. Some business owners will create a beautiful website, then go to Blogger or WordPress.com to create a blog. Then they put all their content on their blog, and try to send traffic from the blog to their website. This is defeating the purpose.

Blogs Bring Traffic

Your blog is the biggest element in your website that will bring traffic. You’ll fill it with keyword-rich content that your ideal client wants to read. They’ll search for that content on Google and they’ll find your website. Now they’re already where you want them to be, no extra steps needed. This is why you keep reading that you need to blog. But, what they’re leaving out is that you need to blog on your own website.

You Don’t Own Free Blogs

Even if you upgrade to a domain name on your free blog, so that it looks like a website, you don’t own the content. They can delete your content any time they want to if you write something they don’t like, or do anything outside of the terms and conditions. Not true on your own website that resides on your own paid-for server space.

Blogs Are Great Ways to Impart Information

People can subscribe to your blog on your website. It’s a great way to push out information to your clients and future clients. You can set up your autoresponder system to actually email out your new blogs to your subscribers each time a new blog is written. It’s a simple way to create a newsletter while also attracting traffic to your website.

Blogs Are Engaging

One of the ways in which you can get more traffic to your site through your blog is by opening up comments. Then ask your readers questions that they can answer right on your blog. This is called user-generated content, and user-generated content can cause a firestorm of traffic when encouraged and the right questions are asked and answered in an intelligent way.

Today’s Popular Websites are Dynamic

A good website today is dynamic and ever changing. If you don’t update your website’s content on a regular basis, Google will not crawl your website on a regular basis and thus your search engine rankings will be lower. This is the same for all search engine technology. The blog is a simple way to update your site as often as possible with engaging, interesting, keyword-rich and relevant content to your niche. It’ll keep the search engines interested and it’ll keep the people interested.

If you don’t have a blog on your website, and you’re currently blogging elsewhere, you can easily add a blog to your website using WordPress.org’s self-hosted technology. If you’re not sure how to do it, simply ask a website designer. But it’s as simple as installing WordPress on your server in the right directory and in many cases you can import the blog posts you’ve made elsewhere to the new blog on your website.

Writing a Press Release for Your Publication on Smashwords

Posted By on January 11, 2016

Even with all of the benefits that are afforded authors on Smashwords, it is still necessary to promote your book in order to find your readership. One way to market your books is through a press release. Find out what a press release is and how to write one.

What Is a Press Release?

You mostly see them in newspapers and on the newswire but with everything going digital nowadays, you can find them on the internet as well. Press releases are of interest to everyone these days. In a nutshell, they are notifications to let news outlets know that something newsworthy is about to happen. On the internet, your target will be relevant bloggers and readers interested in your genre of work.

The idea of a press release is to entice the reader to want to find out more by attending the event. For news media, they continue to promote the event and then report on it once it happens so everyone can read what they thought.

Your job is to provide the necessary information that people need to know in order to take advantage of the offer. In this case, the offer is to sample or buy your book once it is published on Smashwords. Also, include live hyperlinks in your press release so that readers can click and discover more about you and your books.

But, simply writing a press release isn’t going to get you the audience that you want. Submit your release to a free wire service that will circulate it for you. You can also mention your press release on your blog and on social media networks. Paid services really aren’t going to get you that much additional benefit to justify the expense – especially to budding authors.

Writing the Press Release

So, where do you start when it comes to composing your press release? If you’ve never written one, there is a specific format that they need to follow. Here is the skeleton of that format:

* Headline – This is what you are announcing to the world. It is written in all capital letters.

* Subheading – This is additional information that explains the headline a bit further.

* Dateline – Often seen in newspapers and on news sites, it provides the city, state and date of the press release.

* Paragraph one – This immediately follows the dateline. It explains the reason for the announcement, what it entails and why you need to know.

* Paragraph two – Here, you can go into more detail about the book you are publishing. Include quotes about your comments on the manuscript.

* Paragraph three – Use this one to provide engaging tidbits about the book that will make the reader want to pick it up.

* Boilerplate – Your biography goes here. Don’t forget hyperlinks to your author profile page and your book page.

* Contact information – Add your email address here, but use the words for the symbols in the address so it doesn’t get picked up as spam by spam spiders.

Announce the publication of your book as a way to market it.

WordPress Project Management Tools and Solutions

Posted By on January 10, 2016

Did you know that WordPress is not just for creating an amazing website? If you have project management needs, you don’t have to invest in a separate software tool. This website platform provides resources to help you get it all done and in one place.

WordPress – What’s So Great?

WordPress is one of the better website platforms out there today. You have two choices: WordPress.com or WordPress.org. The first offers a blogging platform that takes minutes to set up. You have the option of free plug-ins and a variety of themes to create a totally unique site for you and your readers. WordPress.org is a free website platform that you can use to set up your own website with more control over customizing themes and a greater variety of plug-ins.

What makes this platform so popular is all that it offers for its users. Besides a wide variety of themes and plug-ins (that are always being updated with new offerings), they offer great customer service for any questions you might have.

Solutions for Project Management

Now that you know how great it is to work with WordPress, you are about to find out something more. It can be used to help with project management. You might be familiar with tools like Basecamp. It allows you to set up projects, add milestones, add team members, communicate with the team, add documents and also deliver to clients if you wish.

When you operate a WordPress website, you have everything you need right there to get started with project management. Do you need to schedule publication of blog posts across your blogs or content on your website? What about contributing bloggers? Do they need to manage their content for you?

Productivity plug-ins are available that make it easy for you to manage your needs right from the admin area of your website. Here are a few suggestions of which ones to use.

* Project Tasks – This plug-in allows you to take control of all of your tasks for creating and implementing new themes. Use it to keep track of all the things you need to do to get your page up and running.

* CollabPress – Allows you to create new projects and also assign users to each one. Use it to create task lists, add comments and upload files to projects. Assign due dates to each task and also send email notifications to team members.

* WP Task Manager – Adds a task manager to the admin panel. You can set up tasks (with dates) for yourself and others who contribute to your blog.

* IProject Web – This is another project management tool that allows you to communicate more effectively with your project team members. Create mailing lists for email notifications, track communication and status changes for tasks.

WordPress is more than just a pretty looking website. It can help you manage your business as well.