Grow Your Business With CityMax Affiliates

Running an online business can be challenging, so we’re always looking for ways to make life easier for our customers. We’re excited to partner with several companies who may be able to enhance not just your website with CityMax but your business as a whole.

HootSuite: HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.) from one secure, web-based dashboard. Launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences, and distribute targeted messages using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard.

Moo: MOO is an award-winning online print business that helps our customers print things like Business Cards, Postcards and MiniCards, making it easy for them to share information about themselves or their business in the real world.

Appointment Plus: All-in-One Online Scheduling Software provides customizable software to help businesses with all of their scheduling needs.

Zazzle: Personalized Items and trinkets, great for giveaways or brand recognition in your community and business field.

For more information click on the links above or visit the Marketing Section of your website to see if they can add value to your business and your website!

New Partnership with Online Marketing Company Nightlite Media

New partnership with CityMax.com

New CityMax.com partner

We are excited to announce that CityMax has partnered with Nightlite Media.

One of the most asked questions we get is: “How do I get visitors to my site?” Nightlite Media are experts at helping people successfully draw visitors to their sites using:

  • search engine optimization (i.e. getting your sites ranked highly on search engines like Google)
  • social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook)
  • email marketing

We know it’s sometimes difficult to learn and then find the time to promote your site. The reality is that for many of you, getting a company to help you is the best choice. So, our marketing team searched out the best of the best online marketing companies and then put together custom packages we thought made the most sense for our customers. Check out the special packages here.

How important is it to get your online marketing started? Here are some facts that Nightlite Media has put together:

  • 97% of potential customers are searching online first
  • 61 billion online searches were made in August 2010 alone
  • 77% of North Americans are online (that’s a huge 266 million people!)

You can contact Nighlite Media for a 100% free consultation by going to http://websitedynamics.nightlitemedia.com or by calling 1-888- 418-3839. Why not jumpstart your online marketing today!

47 Blog Topics for Small Businesses

Posted May 24th, 2011 in Getting Visitors, social media by Emily

47 blog topics for small businesses

Last week, I wrote about blog SEO (search engine optimization) and how a blog can help drive traffic to your CityMax estore. The main point is you have to write a post at least twice a week and then optimize it for search engines.

So, you sit down and get ready to write the most amazing article…and then your mind goes blank.

Let’s face it, it isn’t easy to come up with interesting topics that will mesmerize readers. To help you out, I’ve come up with a list of 47 blog topics:

  1. Tips related to your product or service (e.g. 8 Tips for…, 10 Ways to…)
  2. Write about “hot topics” in your industry and how it affects you or your customers
  3. What inspired you to do your business
  4. Show off new products that have just arrived and feature the ones you personally like best
  5. Show photos and/or videos you took at conferences and write about what you learned
  6. Show photos and/or videos you took at seminars and write about what you learned
  7. See what’s trending high on twitter and relate it to your business
  8. Interview someone in person, on the phone or with a list of questions via email
  9. Write about a mistake you made in your business and what you learned from it
  10. Write about a good customer experience
  11. Write about a bad customer experience and what you learned from it
  12. Read the newspaper and relate popular stories to your business
  13. Expand on an article you read in a magazine related to your business
  14. Come up with a list of 10 best blogs for your industry
  15. Put together a list of best blog posts relating to your industry for the past week or month
  16. Invite a guest writer to submit a post
  17. Take a customer question you get asked a lot and post an in depth answer (with pictures and video, even better)
  18. Have a debate with someone and post both sides of the argument
  19. Have a contest (have people post a comment to get entered in it)
  20. Review a tv show, movie, documentary, etc. that has or mentions products/services in your industry
  21. Compile a list of shows where your products have been seen (show pictures of the scenes)
  22. See what other blogs in your industry have written about for ideas
  23. Write about something you did several years ago and how it affects your business now
  24. Snap pictures anytime you see something your customers or potential customers might be interested in
  25. Review a book
  26. Put together a top 10 list of books
  27. Write about any charity work your business does and why you chose the charity
  28. Make a prediction about the future of your industry
  29. Check discussion boards related to your business for topics that have a high number of posts
  30. Write about how products in your industry have changed over the last 10, 20 or 50 years (it might be humorous)
  31. Put together a list of events your customers or potential customers might be interested in
  32. Give tips on what not to miss at upcoming events your customers/potential customers might attend (anything from what speakers to see, where to park, where to eat, where the cleanest washrooms are, which booths to visit)
  33. Relate your product to an upcoming holiday like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas (e.g put together the perfect gift for a father, wife, teenager, etc.)
  34. Relate your product to an upcoming event like the Olympics, Superbowl, etc.
  35. Do a case study of how a customer benefited from your product/service (include quotes and photos)
  36. Write about a scam in your industry that readers should be aware of (e.g. how to identify counterfeit products)
  37. Write a how-to for something people commonly need help with
  38. Put together a list of marketing successes and failures in your industry
  39. Post a list of 5 people you want to meet in your industry and why
  40. Compile photos from Flickr (do an advanced search for Creative Commons-licensed content only) where your products shown
  41. Put together a list of resources for your industry or customers
  42. Write about what happened at a company event, retreat or training session (include photos)
  43. Write about celebrities who have been seen with your product
  44. Explain how you’ve had to use creativity in your business
  45. Write about where you draw inspiration from for your products and services
  46. Describe how products are typically created and designed
  47. Write about how laws or government policies might affect your industry and/or customers

There will probably be some days where your writing is stellar and other days when writing anything is tough. Go easy on yourself. Not every article has to be a winner. Remember every post helps you get points with search engines for having fresh content, so no matter what blog topics your write about you’re getting ahead.

Blog SEO: Blogging to the Top of Google

Posted May 19th, 2011 in Getting Visitors, Online Marketing, social media by Emily

Blogging is a great way to drive new traffic to your CityMax estore, but only if you use a successful blog SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Blogs are easier to get higher ranking for on search engines because:

  • They tend to have new content regularly.
  • They have the ability to accept comments which are looked upon as more new content.
  • Each blog post can be focused on specific keywords you want to target.

Blogs are also inexpensive to set up. I’ve used the blogging site WordPress for a few years, but Blogger is also an easy to use free program.

Here are some tips on how to get your blog SEO working for you:

1. Check out competitor blogs

Search Google for successful blogs in your industry. The ones that always seem to be at the top of search engines already have a winning formula, so copy their strategy. Specifically look at:  what topics they cover, which topics have the most comments, how often they post, what category names they use, what tags they use and how many images they use in their posts.

2. Choose keywords wisely

Use the free Google Keyword Tool to find the keywords which have high search volume and low competition. From the keyword tool page, click on any keywords you’re considering to see what kind of search results appear. You only want to use keywords that have search results that match with the blog post you’re writing.

3. Insert keywords into your blog posts

Use keywords in your blog posts, blog URL (web address), headings, image file names, image titles and alt tags (the text that appears when you mouse on top of an image) and blog tags. You can also create category names for keywords you want to target. As a general rule, don’t let inserting keywords trump quality writing. Remember someone will be reading your post and you want them to come back and read more.

4. Link back to your estore

Typically, you’ll want to make sure there’s a constant link to your estore in the column beside your blog posts, just like we have for CityMax at the top right. For some blog posts, it may make sense to include a link there too.

5. Post at least twice a week

Generally, you should post at least twice a week just to ensure Google notices your blog has regular fresh content. From my own experience, twice a week usually results in Google indexing my blog weekly.

This should help you get on your way to a successful blog.

Share Your Awesome Content Across the Web

Posted March 7th, 2011 in social media by Adrian
Image by bengrey

Image by bengrey

One of the most difficult things to do for any internet business, or even any website for that matter, is to get recognition from other websites out there.  By having other sites link to you, you’re not only increasing the ability for people to get to your site from other places, but you’re also adding to your ability to rank high in search engines like Google (http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors).

Plugins to Help Share

There are many plugins out there which can help you share links to your most important pages, but we’ll focus on one of the most widely used ones out there, AddThis.com.

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Add a Twitter Plugin on Your Website in 30 Seconds

Posted February 15th, 2011 in Branding, SEO, social media by Adrian
twitter

Image by Rosaura Ochoa

Twitter is a “real-time information network” that allows people to connect with others that they find interesting. For example, business owners like you can quickly share information with people who are interested in what you have to offer and you can begin to build relationships with potential customers.

If you’re not using Twitter to help grow your company, there’s no better time to start than now!

Twitter Plugins

When you tweet your messages for the world to see, the messages are normally confined to Twitter’s own website and are viewed by those who have subscribed to receive them. As an extra bonus, Twitter also offers a plugin which allows you to install a widget on your own website to display tweets.

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How to Use Facebook Social Plugins on Your Website

Posted February 9th, 2011 in Selling Online, social media by Adrian

1273169132_facebookFor those who have been under a rock for the past few years, there’s a social juggernaut called Facebook which has captured an audience of over 500 million people. Facebook is a fun place to catch up with your friends, post photos and videos of your vacations, and to simply socialize with all of your connections in a convenient place.  The ability to tap into this vast resource would be hugely beneficial for any e-commerce website.

Luckily Facebook offers you, a website owner, the ability to add some of their own functionality to your website, plus it’s much easier than you think!

Figure Out Which Social Plugin is Right for You

The first step is to head on over to Facebook’s developer pages and determine which plug-in best suits your needs.  There are many to choose from, like the simple, yet effective “Like Button” which shares pages from your site to the users’ Facebook profile, and the “Comments” plugin, which allows users to comment on content on your site and have it reflected on their Facebook profile to be displayed to all of their friends.

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How Kenneth Cole Lost Thousands of Customers in 1 Easy Step

Posted February 3rd, 2011 in Branding, Online Marketing, Selling Online, social media by Patrick

Kenneth Cole, international shoe brand and fashion trend-setter, decided to comment on the horrific situation in Egypt this morning. In past blog posts, we’ve explored how your small business can leverage timely events to boost marketing efforts, but we didn’t mean like this:

Weekly Small Business Roundup

Posted January 25th, 2011 in Selling Online, social media by admin

In this week’s Small Business Roundup, you’ll find helpful tips on topics from online marketing, to budgeting, to a peek inside one of Google’s most powerful free tools.

Wondering how to get your company’s name out there without spending a fortune? Check out Ronika Khanna’s 24 Cost Effective Ways to Promote Your Small Business.

One of the toughest parts of any business is budgeting. If you’re not tracking every dollar how can you maximize profits? Scott Allen of the American Express Open Forum explores 5 Budgeting Ideas for Every Small Business Owner.

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Are You Eavesdropping on the Right Conversations?

Posted January 12th, 2011 in Branding, Selling Online, social media by Mara

eavesdroppingWhether you like it or not, people are talking about you. As a business, you are constantly interacting with people that will have something to say about their experience with you – positive or negative.

The beauty about this day and age is that you can listen in on those conversations. By paying attention to what people are saying, you can:

  • mitigate potentially damaging critiques
  • contribute to conversations and demonstrate that you care about customer experiences
  • identify and address problems within your business/customer experience
  • build a more loyal following

So how exactly do you listen in? Well, in all honesty, it depends on how involved you want to get. Below you’ll find a few different levels of involvement:

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