When you decided you wanted to learn more about SEO, where did you start? And at what point did you think – hmmm, I think I’d like to do this as a business?
I love this question, and its answer – I Googled it! I literally Googled “what is SEO” and went down a deep rabbit hole of self-research and again, things just clicked for me and SEO – we get each other!
I didn’t do any courses or workshops, I just started doing it. First, by learning about on-page and off-page SEO, keyword research and what an optimised website looks like and then I applied my learnings to my own website and that of the 2-3 people who first let me build websites for them. As I gained more experience and confidence, combined with constant learning and a real passion for SEO, I began to see my knowledge was helping businesses to grow online.
Tell me more about the dark art of SEO? Why is it so important (particularly when you’re self-employed) and why are we so scared of it!? Is it easier than we think?
Ok, first of all, using ‘dark art’ to describe SEO is not cool! It’s so not a dark art, but I do understand why people shudder at the word SEO, and I believe that’s because there are so many people out there trying to bullsh*t people about the complexity of it. They use scare tactics to lead people to think that they can’t do it themselves or they have to pay large sums of money every month forever to ‘manage their SEO’ and it really frustrates me.
Why is SEO important? Because a website without SEO is like having a billboard in the middle of the desert – nobody will see it. You simply can’t expect to pop up an old website with a few images and some text you whipped together and expect people to magically find it and rank on Google overnight. It doesn’t work like that. There are a number of elements to SEO you need to consider including on-page SEO (technical SEO, keywords, user-intent, site structure, website usability, user-experience, content, site speed) and off-page SEO (tactics to get people to click through to your website) to name a few.
It’s only scary when you choose not to educate yourself on it – keeping yourself in the dark from SEO is scary for your business because you’re choosing for it to just be a ‘meh’ business.
Is SEO easier than we think? It’s not a case of being hard or easy, it’s as hard or easy as you make it. My advice is to read, research, practice, fail, try again, all the time. There’s no such thing as ‘perfect SEO’, it’s a constantly changing thing, but the basics of SEO will never change so that’s why I always start there with my clients – get the basics right first, then you can get into the deeper part of SEO.
What’s the one SEO tip you wish all self-employed folks knew?
That SEO matters! It matters how you structure your website, where you put your buttons/calls to action, where you place your keywords in your content, how to structure your navigation, how long it takes for your website to load, that you have alt titles on your images etc. It all matters and it’s all-important for your business’s online success.
What’s the big business goal (at the moment) for Techno Bird. What are you working towards?
My biggest goal/what I’m working towards right now is working with business owners to learn how to manage their own websites and SEO. I’ve launched a new service, which is a 12-month mentoring program. It’s where I check in with the business owner each quarter and give them a full rundown of the website and SEO performance using real-time data that doesn’t lie, and guiding them to make informed, smart decisions to improve their online presence.
The aim of the program is to educate people on the importance of data, how to read it, keeping it simple, why it’s important to monitor your website and SEO performance and how to leverage it to make the best decisions possible for their business and online growth.
Another thing I’m focusing on this year is creating my own series of Wix website templates for people to purchase and customise themselves with my guidance. I am a huge fan of Wix but for me, their templates fall quite flat in the design stakes so I want to create my own templates that are not only designed well but that businesses can incorporate their branding into and then I teach them how to optimise them for SEO.
What do you enjoy most about being self-employed?
The flexibility – having 2 children and being able to work around them and their needs is what I love most. I can be there for them and grow my business when it suits me. I don’t have to feel guilty about taking a day or week off when I have a sick kid (or when I’m sick), I can design my own life, I can work from anywhere, and I get to set the rules (I’m a Virgo and not a fan of people telling me what to do so being self-employed is heaven for me!)
What’s the biggest challenge?
Having to wear all the hats – I’m a web designer and SEO specialist but I’m also an accountant, a bookkeeper, a social media strategist, a copywriter, a business manager… This was the hardest part for me in the early years but I’m grateful enough now to be in a position where I can outsource a lot of those things (and I do). And I also have an amazing assistant who helps me to run my business in so many areas, she is an absolute godsend and I’m so thankful to have found her.
So really, time management has probably my biggest challenge.
One piece of advice you would give someone thinking about going out on their own?
Ask yourself if you really love the thing that you do, or you’re going to do, before doing it. Starting and growing a business can’t just be about making money – you have to wake up every day and be excited to ‘go to work’ and for it to genuinely make you happy. Money shouldn’t be the primary goal, your happiness should be, then the money will naturally flow.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help – there are so many wonderful people and other businesses out there that offer free advice, tips, guidance and education to help you start and grow your business across every single area such as social media, SEO, digital marketing, running business etc, so if you’re starting a business and you literally have zero budget like I did? Seek out those people and those businesses, join their Facebook groups and soak up all the information and support you can, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own!
What excites you about partnering with GigSuper?
The opportunities. To be in a partnership with a brand that directly supports self-employed people is fantastic because it aligns with my own journey and the journey of most of my clients. I love what GigSuper is about and all your initiatives. You’re forward thinkers and truly want your customers to thrive, which is exactly what I aim to achieve for myself and Techno Bird.