How To Set Up a Blog in Less Than an Hour, Theme, Template, MGV 4

Changing the Theme, MGV4

Video 4

 

How to Set Up a Blog in Under an Hour, Changing the Theme, MGV4

There are thousands of free and paid themes or theme templates to choose from.  Be careful and be aware you can spend a lot of time tweaking your theme to make it more attractive when what people are looking for is great content.  Take a minimalist approach to your theme at first and concentrate on writing or developing great content.  As you learn what really counts with the presentation, make small changes and test if they improve traffic.

This tutorial will walk you through changing the default theme to one that provides the tools for significant customization.  It will appear minimalist at first, but all the bells and whistles are available for the things that count.

Take a last look at your default template, http://www.hvacservice dallas.org:

  • Open your browser and go to your WordPress dashboard, www.hvacservicedallas.org/wp-admin and login
  • On the left hand directory hover over appearance and select “Theme”
  • Look at the two tabs on top of the page and select “New Theme”
  • In the search box enter “Simply Works Core” and press “search”
  • When the new theme is downloaded click “install” and then “install now” in the pop up
  • When the theme is installed click “activate”
  • Look at the theme options but don’t change anything now
  • Under appearance, select “menu”
  • Click the box next to the about page that we wrote earlier and click “save menu”
  • On the appearance directory, select “widgets”
  • Click on the down arrow on the “top sidebar” located on the right hand side of the page, find the “recent posts widget” box on the left hand side and drag the” recent post box” and drop it in the ”top sidebar:
  • Type recent posts in the title box click “save” and click “close”

Your urge might be to spend days looking at beautiful themes, but resist that for now.  Stick with “Simply Works Core” until you learn about “On Page SEO”.  On page search engine optimization consists of the things under your control that can increase your ranking in the search engines and help your Blog get found by Google, Bing and customers.  A beautiful blog that no one but your mother ever sees won’t pay the bills.  Our sole focus at this point should be getting ranked by Google.

We want visitors to easily contact us.  Let’s add a contact page:

  • Go to your dashboard, hover over pages and click “new page”
  • Name the page “Contact”
  • Add you name, phone number and address in the body
  • Check spelling by pressing the “ABC button” in the toolbar and correct misspelled words
  • Go to appearance and select menu so we can add our new contact page to the Nav Bar
  • Scroll down to the “Pages block” and click the box next to “contact” and “about” to include them on the Nav Bar
  • Drag ”about”, so it will appear first on the Nav Bar and click “save menu”

Over the next few weeks you can write high quality articles that your customers would be interested in reading.  Do not copy content from anywhere on the internet or you will suffer Google’s “Duplicate Content” penalty and your rankings will fall out of site.  You can subscribe to a service called www.copyscape.com where you can check the internet for duplicate content.  The important thing is to be the first to put your original content on the internet.  Later you can use this service to locate all the websites that have copied and posted you content to their site.

You now have a functioning Blog and not including writing articles, you should be able to read the posts, watch the video’s and get your Blog up and running in about an hour.  Hope we delivered on that.

Let us know how it went and if we left anything important out.

You can email, write or call with any questions.

Stay tuned and opt-in to our mailing list.  We will continue this series of tutorials to help you make your Blog a real asset for your business

 

How to Set Up a Blog or Website In Under an Hour, Picking a Name, Part 1

In this series of 4 Videos and posts we will walk you through step by step, how to set up a WordPress Blog in under an hour. One qualification, this hour does not include the time it takes you to write articles. You may already have them written or you may have severe writers block. Make sure you leave a comment about anything that is unclear.

This Video covers key word research and selecting a domain name.  Failure to do the research is almost guaranteed failure.

You need to put some thought into what you’re going to accomplish with your blog. There are usually two basic answers.

  • The most common goal is to:  Attract free traffic from the search engines.  You want the searcher to select your site when looking for information to buy a product or service you sell.  This would include searching in Google.
  • You might want to set up an online brochure for your brand.  This is called a “vanity site” because the only people that will find it are the ones using you site name as the exact search terms.  This is equivalent to a listing in the phone book.  Unless they are looking for you, they won’t find you. The blog “domain” or “URL” has a major affect on how your site ranks in search engines. If the domain name includes or is a match the site, it will rank higher than an identical site without the search terms included. The search terms are referred to as keywords.
  • If you’re building a brand, use your name or your company’s name.
  • If you want to rank high for search terms or keywords that customers might use to find a company to do business with, pick a domain name containing the keywords customers will use to search. An example would be www.HVACservice.com that has the keyword “HVAC Service”. Unfortunately all of these good keywords have already been taken.
  • There is an exception and it’s good for air conditioning contractors. If you are in Dallas, you don’t really want to rank on Google’s first page in New York or Paris France. You can select a domain with keywords plus a geographic qualifier. Many of these geographic names are still available.  You would want, as an example, www.HVACserviceDallas.com. Unfortunately many of these domains in major metropolitan areas have also been taken but it’s never too soon to reserve a domain name with high traffic potential. How do you find out what the most used search terms are? Professionals that do a lot of keyword research use a tool. We use Market Samurai. There are also free tools available from Google. If you are not doing a lot of keyword research there is no point in spending days learning how.  You can use the research here or send me an e-mail describing what you want to accomplish and I will generate a report for you. Your assignment is to pick your keywords and find an available domain name.
  • The exact keywords are best
  • If the exact keyword domain is not available add a prefix or suffix or another high ranking keyword.  HVACdallasHQ.com  (headquarters) or DallasHVAC ServiceHQ.com • .com, .net and .org are recommended in that order
  • Short domains are better than long ones.
  • Don’t use a word owned by someone else like Trane or Carrier

How to Sell Yourself Out of Business …OR… Cash Flow, Budgeting and Service Agreements

Have you ever heard the statement cash is king? One thing every contractor needs to be aware of is that you will not be forced to close your business because you’re not making a profit, if that day comes, you will have to close your business because you have no cash flow.  If you have no cash you have no business.

I like to think of cash flow as the air we breathe and profits as the water we drink.  Without air we only last a few minutes and without water we can last a few days. You have to have both but cash flow is definitely king.

Many air conditioning contractors shun residential AC work because of the intense customer relationship that is required to be successful. With commercial work you can deal much less with the customer and more with technical issues in the field. The problem with commercial work is you typically have to finance receivables for 30, 60 or 90 days and that will make a significant hit on your cash flow. If you plan on growing in the commercial business, you must consider where that cash is going to come from.  If you invoice $50,000 a month in commercial work and have to finance it or 90 days, you need $150,000 cash in the bank to ride that out.

Residential work on the other hand can actually add cash flow to your business if you charge on a COD basis.  You pay for your parts on a 30 day basis and you pay your payroll on a weekly basis so you’re actually getting paid in advance and can use the cash for up to seven days for payroll and up to 30 to 45 days for parts.  If you are in the residential business and you closed your business today income would stop today.  Your cash flow out would continue for 30 to 45 days.

Be aware that if you don’t set up your service agreement program properly, you may not have a positive cash flow. You must make the conscious decision whether your service agreement program is going to be a loss leader used to generate leads for replacement sales or if your service agreement program is going to be a profit center and make a profit or a combination of both.  In either case, you will have a negative cash flow in the beginning or before significant growth. The tool used for making this decision and exposing the amount of cash needed is the budget template and budget process along with a cash flow forecast.

You need to know that growing will require you to purchase additional assets such as tools, trucks and inventory. Will you pay for these assets with cash, finance or lease them?  You need to know if you’re charging enough to positively cash flow your payroll. You need to know if you’re going to finance receivables or if you’re collecting upfront. If you don’t have additional capital available to finance receivables then you must do residential work and you must charge for it up front.  This work must be priced for profit and positive cash flow if you don’t want to sell yourself out of business.

If you have funds available to finance an investment in a service agreement program to be used as a loss leader for replacement sales, you can take a different approach.  Growth can be much faster and you can secure leads for replacement projects that will result in significant growth.

You need to know all of this in advance, not after it’s too late.