Images by IconMonstr | Design by Paul Hafalla
Getting noticed and being heard are the key factors in virtual assisting success. Nowadays, the basis of getting leads, turning those leads into clients, and start earning money is having an organized platform through online visibility.
What is Online Visibility?
Visibility, as stated in the dictionary, is a noun meaning “the state of being able to be seen”. Basically, being able to be seen, search or found online is online visibility. According to some experts, on a technical standpoint, online visibility is ranking of your website within the list of organic search engine results, which is to be discussed soon on other blog posts.
Why Do You Need to be Visible Online?
As a virtual assistant, your brand is yourself and/or the services (skill set) you are marketing. In order to start making money for your services, your business needed to be found online by prospective clients. Otherwise, it’s difficult to either get leads or clients and earn money if they don’t know who you are, where you are, what you have to offer, how much is your rate, how they can contact you, etc.
Proven Value of Being Visible Online
1. Wake up, it’s already the Information Age! Almost 2 billion (and still growing) people use the internet everyday around the world.
2. It is really cost-effective and scalable. Spending a lot of money on marketing and/or advertising of your business, especially start-up businesses like yours are crucial to your investment. In order to minimize your liabilities, while maximize sales growth of your online virtual assistant business, it is cost-efficient to start building your online visibility. It is the proven economical way to easily remind people about your brand or business online without spending too much on traditional forms of media like TV commercials, billboards, newspapers, magazine ads.
3. Good Relationship. Unlike traditional media, which has huge limitations, being visible online means you can easily engage your clients through surveys, you can sell to them directly, and you can tell them just about everything.
How to be Visible Online?
You basically need 5 elements in order to be visible online. In order to reach your goal of making a profit from the services you are offering online, it requires a thorough understanding of these elements. These 5 elements are:
1. Create or build an eye-catching user-friendly website with important pages (about, services, contact), links to your social media account, important scripts to be implemented on your website’s HTML such as Google search and analytics scripts and others.
2. Your website must have a blog with specific type following a platform and rules, which has important useful or relevant content.
3. You must have social media accounts that you can use to socialize with your friends, followers, audience or clients.
4. Use communication tools such as email or chat to quickly relay important messages.
5. Use other websites such as freelance websites and forums to find leads, clients or interactive with fellow freelancers or VAs.
Let's get started...
What is a website?
Definition - According to Wikipedia, it is also known as web site which is a group of interrelated web pages identified with a domain name published on one web server accessible through the internet using a URL which identifies the site.
Types - There are two types of website. They call it static and dynamic. A static website is coded using HTML (foundation or backbone) with CSS (design & appearance). A dynamic website customizes or changes itself automatically. This blog is a static site while Wordpress site is dynamic. There are varieties of reason and purpose why people choose a static rather than dynamic or vice versa.
Categories - A website has many forms that can be categorized and use for personal, commercial business, government or non-profit organizations which are dedicated to a particular purpose or topic.
Varieties - There are many varieties of websites which focuses on a particular topic or niche. Some of which are as follows:
1. Affiliates - These are websites that sell third party products in which a seller receives a certain commission. Most popular affiliate sites are eBay, Commission Junction or Yahoo.
2. Blog - A form of online diary written by a blogger or writer, which focuses on a particular subject. Online platforms which are used in blogging are Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, TypePad, etc.
3. Celebrity - A public figure website of musicians, artists, politicians, etc.
4. Fund - A donation websites that focuses on raising money for a particular cause or projects. Examples are Crowdfunding or Kickstarter.
5. Corporate - A business-related website.
6. Dating - A website for people looking for a date, love, or relationships.
7. Forum - A discussion site focuses on certain topics.
8. Gallery - A site for the creative or artistic people.
9. Government - Basically, a website for the government or its departments.
10. News - A site dedicated to topics regarding commentary, news, events, or politics.
11. Social Network - A website focuses on people’s social interaction online by sharing almost anything like photos, videos, blogs and a lot more.
12. Others - Varieties of website which I did not mention that are under “rated PG” or something more extremes.
Do I need a website?
Yes, of course it is! In the information Age, people who have something to say or something to offer mostly can be found online. Whether you are an established business entity or a newcomer, your business needed to be found by people online. In order to do this, the most important thing that you will need is to have your own website. A website is the key in order for your business to be seen by many people who are using the internet worldwide in order to make or increase sales.
How do I get a website?
There are only two ways in order to have your own website. You can either create it yourself or hire a professional website designer or web developer. However, keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages if you create it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
If you create your website yourself, make sure that you already grasped the knowledge and skills on how to build a website such as hosting (GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc.), HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Java scripts, etc. Creating your website on your own will help you minimize spending money. However, design options are limited which solely dependant on your knowledge and skills.
If you hire a professional web developer, or website designer, your website will look professional, interactive and user friendly; however, you will need to prepare a huge amount of money. You will have lots of options for your web designer or developer will present to your ideas, options, or designs that are suitable for your business depending on your budget.
Dos and Don'ts
a. Optimize it. Once you have built your website, ensure to make it visible online. How? You must use SEO. What is SEO? It is Search Engine Optimization. You need to optimize the content of your website, such as pages and blog posts or articles by implementing useful keywords. What are keywords? A keyword(s) is a word(s) or concept with great significance. When people use Google, Firefox, Bing, Yahoo, or MSN browsers, they type keywords on search boxes in order to look for information on the web for websites, blogs, news, videos, etc. There are certain types of keywords that people are typing in the search box. These are related to the length of the words and its relevance. On a technical term, they call it long-tail or short-tail keywords which basically in correlation to the number of words typed by a user on the search box. Keyword relevance is a deeper understanding of how keywords rank on the web. They call it high or low competition (volume) keywords. Use Google Adwords to grasp an insight about these. Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to look for keyword ideas for your website. Examples of keywords related to virtual assistant are virtual jobs, virtual administrative assistant, virtual personal assistant services, be a virtual assistant, etc.
b. Once you grasp an in-depth knowledge about keywords and its rules, you may then start writing content for your website pages and blog posts or articles. It is important that you know how to use the keywords. I suggest putting your keywords in the title, first paragraph (introduction) and last paragraph (conclusion) of the article. DO NOT overuse or over-optimize keywords (another topic to know about) on an article otherwise your website will result having a bad reputation in the eyes of search engines.
c. You need to ALWAYS monitor and analyze how visitors use your website using the Google Search Console, Google Analytics or other online tools like Kissmetrics in order to improve your website ranking. I downloaded Google Analytics app on my iPad to see how my website is performing by viewing details of my website’s visitors or traffic and important updates about my website’s performance. Log into your Google account and go to the Analytics Help page to know more about it.
What is a blog?
According to Simple Wikipedia, it is commonly called weblog where bloggers(people who write weblog) write anything about their opinions and thoughts. While a vlog is a blog that contains videos.
I was at the mall and I pass by this Book Sale store and have a look for used cheap books. I’m not a bookworm but I love to read during my free time or if I’m on a bus, car, plane, or train somewhere traveling for long hours. Then I found this book named Platform by Michael Hyatt. I bought it for 145 Philippine peso or $3 USD. On page 75, Michael defined a blog in a different point of view. He said, “A blog is the heart of our home base is. It’s where our best thinking lives, the place where others can comment and interact with us, the nexus of our social network.” I truly agree with this. It is definitely a reflection of our thoughts and ideas as well as our personality and creativity. I’ve been blogging ever since I started this VA career and the journey is truly rewarding.
Types & Examples
According to a blog post by Will Hoekenga on Lead Pages named “10 Types of Blogs”, there are 10 types of blogs that everyone of us should know. These are The Rogue, The Guest Host, The Crash-Test Dummy, The Niche, The Giver, The Guide, The Homer, The Tell-All, The Personal Brand, and The Enterprise.
Attention seeking blogs either good or bad like ViperChill posts are called The Rogue. Think about Neil Patel’s KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg blogs are The Guest Host blogs which regularly feature guest authors written articles. What works and what doesn’t in order to help you grow your business better is what The Crash-Test Dummy Pat Flynn reveals on his blog Smart Passive Income. Hyper-specific rather than broad topic is what The Niche blog is like Stephanie Le’s “I Am a Food Blog” blog. Religiously giving away bonus content through Lead Box in every blog post like Bryan Harris Videofruit is what we call The Giver. Helping readers on their personal life like ZenHabits is The Guide type of blog. Blogs that contain mostly long-form content around 2000 plus words or more per post are The Homer. Revealing surprising internal details like James Altucher blog is called The Tell-All. Ideal for people who want to be known as an expert in a certain field like Marie Forleo is The Personal Brand blog. Think about huge companies blogs like Hubspot, Skype, Nike which we call as The Enterprise blogs.
Why do I need a blog?
A website containing pages isn’t enough. Consumers nowadays intend to get insights about a product or services through the blog before they decide to buy or recommend them. Nowadays, blogs became a very important element of any business marketing model online. That’s why it is best practices to start blogging today.
How to create a blog?
Basically, you need a platform. Blogger, Wix, TypePad and Wordpress are among the most popular blogging platforms. This platform includes the essential elements of your blog such as pages and links plus sales funnels. These include an eye-catching design template and a well-coded framework.
There is no real definite rule in blogging besides the technical aspects. Anyone can easily create a blog and express whatever they think about in a post. But, for business and professional terms, it is a must to make your blog look professional that will reflect your personality and products/services.
The most important thing…
In building your website and blog, the most important thing to focus on is the CONTENT. The content is a well-planned group of paragraphs, sentences or words in order to catch readers and consumers attention, know about your products, learn about your insights, etc. In return, the content of your website or blog serves as the funnel to use in order to convert your readers and consumers to buy your product or services online. So start focusing on your website and blog content. Make sure to write only ORIGINAL AND UNPUBLISHED content. DO NOT COPY AND PUBLISH on your website or blog other contents you’ve read or found online.
Focus on finding relevant keywords (read the paragraph above regarding keywords).
Grammar & Punctuation
First write the framework of your article taking note of the key title, heading and subheadings of the topic you are writing about. Then gradually write the article. Once you have written your draft article, it’s time to edit it by looking for grammar and punctuation errors and correcting them. Use Grammarly to check for errors. If you’re not satisfied with an online grammar checker then hire a proofreader or editor. Changes words or sentences as needed or add more sentences to make your article better.
Relevant Images or Photos
You must use YOUR OWN HIGH QUALITY UNPUBLISHED IMAGES that are relevant to your website or article/blog topic. I do not recommend using stock photos online as these photos are commercially used and most probably a photo you pick can be published online by a lot of websites or blogs. Images or photos can be either photo or an illustrated flat image or infographics.
What is social media?
According to Wikipedia, social media are computer-mediated virtual communities or networks that allow creating and sharing of information, media, interest, career, and other forms of expression.
Types of Social Media
1. General - Facebook, Twitter, G+
2. Professional/Job Related - LinkedIn
3. Dating - Hi5, Match, eHarmony, Tinder, OkCupid
4. Niche Related
a. Music - YouTube, LoudUp, Pandora, Lastfm, Worldsings, Maestro.fm
b. Game - FarmVille, Mafia Wars, LifeSocialGame, D&DTiny, IcyTower
c. Visual - Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat
d. Chat - Yahoo Mail, Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat, Viberr
e. Sounds - Podcast, Stations
5. Non-english - WeChat, Sina Weibo, Line, Kakao Talk, Renren, VKontakte (VK), QZone, QQ, Taringa!, Badoo, Skyrock, Xing and Tuenti.
Why You Need to have Social Media?
In today’s era, readers and consumers not only visit a business or brand website and blog but also its social media. They want to know more about your product or services through these social funnels, how the online market view your product or services through reviews and comments, and how popular or relevant it is. Social media serves as one of your important sales funnel besides your website and blog.
Getting Started with Social Media
1. Create a dedicated email address for your social media. Go to your favorite email account creator like Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo Mail then create your email address. Why I suggested only one email account? In order to decrease clutter in your email inboxes and easily categorize and distinguish your inbox email messages are among the few advantages.
2. Creating your account using your dedicated social media email address. Focus on creating ONE account each social media. DO NOT create multiple accounts.
3. Build Your Social Media Accounts
a. Design Your Avatar & Banner - Focus on your brand identity when designing every aspect of your website, blog, ads, or social networks, especially your avatar (profile picture) and banner. A consistent ONE identifying design in terms of color, font style, and theme that can easily remember by online users or clients/customers is a MUST. Examples are McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Nike, etc.
b. Write Useful Words for your About Page. It must be concise and straightforward.
c. Be Active - Social media is meant to be an online place to socialize online with real people. Treat your followers the way you want to be treated with respect and kindness. Post, Share, Follow, Like, or Comment as often as you want. As expected, if there are good followers there will always be haters so be sensitive, open-minded and open to constructive criticisms.
4. Rules - Each social media site has rules to follow such as terms and policies. So go click the Terms buttons to read. If you are new on that site, it is wise to click the Help button in order to guide you through about how to use their site and a lot of frequently asked questions you want to know about.
Dos and Don'ts
Make it Human - Remember social media is made to socialize with people virtually but it is similar in the way you socialize with acquaintances, friends, or relatives in the real world. So it is best to manage it yourself and do not use automated tools to do it for you.
Join Groups - Social media groups are places where people with common interest interacts. Among the popular social media groups are found on Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and a lot more. These social media groups have the common interest in terms of profession, position, business, creativity, hobbies, etc. It is the best place to share your thoughts through texts and photos, post queries, find leads, clients, projects, jobs, and a lot more.
Be Responsible - Be humane and sensitive about what you post on social networks. Make it useful or helpful, somewhat relevant to your business and clients/customers needs.
Social Spam and Scam - Beware and keep an eye on unwanted user-generated spam content appearing on social networking services which are manifested through malicious links, personal identifiable information, hate speech, insults, profanity, bulk messages, malicious links, fake friends, fraudulent reviews, etc.
I was once a victim of a fraudulent social spammer who used a fake friend’s account telling me I won $100,000 and needed to claim it by sending an initial deposit to a bank account. I never give in because I realized how can I win where in fact I never participated. “It’s ridiculous,” I said. I threatened the spammer and eventually he stopped sending messages. I took screenshots of our conversations via Facebook Messenger and reported it to Facebook Support then I send these screenshots to my friend’s email address whose account was used to scam me.
What is an email?
Simply, it's called electronic mail in a short email. An email is a digitized message sent or received using email providers online. Most common elements of an email are username, password, inbox, outbox or trash, archive, send messages, spam, draft and folders with subfolders.
Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail are among the most common email providers. Create an email account using these email providers in order to get an email address. I use Outlook for business-related emails, GMail for social media accounts and Yahoo Mail for personal messages. I keep it this way to easily organize it on my iPad Mini and Samsung phone email message filters. That's why I recommend for you to create an email address for a specific use like the way I am doing.
Why you need an email account?
Of course you need an email account to get an email address which you can use as a funnel to send and receive messages to your clients, customers, followers, readers, etc. This funnel serves as the push-button or relaying pit in order to manage your website, blog, social media, apps and tools, and other online accounts.
Dos and Don'ts
Subject - A short and descriptive summary of the email message which provides the recipient to open your email is a subject.
Signature - A block of text at the end of your email which provide the receipt with your important details such as name, email address, website URL, business information. Some do put a disclosure after the details. Others just a simple message, funny quote or closing statement.
Salutation - To Whom It May Concern, Dear Sir/Madam, Dear (First Name), Dear Mr. (First Name), Dear Ms. (First Name), are examples of salutations. A salutation is the respectful way to address your recipient directly.
Humor - When writing an email do consider that a simple, short humorous anecdote that will ignite your recipient interest or make him//her smile a little sometimes do help to remember your email message.
Proofread - Before sending your email message, it is important to re-read in then edit your message in order to correct errors such as spelling, punctuation, grammar or context.
Keep private material confidential - It is best practices to keep each email message you received in your inbox as private and confidential as possible unless it is addressed for two or more people.
Exclamation points and BOLD TEXTS - Be careful when using symbols and texts such as exclamation points and bold texts which represent negative strong emotions such as anger, rudeness, madness, shout, hate, etc.
This is a real-time exchange of text messages from sender to receiver using online internet apps or tools. Skype, WhatsApp, Yahoo Messenger, or Vibber is among the most popular online chatting applications. People use online chat apps in order to communicate and receive text information with anyone easily quick as well as phone calls and video chats.
UpWork(eLance), Fiverr, Freelancer, Toptal, Craiglist, Guru, 99designs, PeoplePerHour, HubStaff, Freelance Writing Gigs, Demand Media, College Recruiter, GetACoder, iFreelance, Project4Hire, SimplyHired are the most popular freelancing websites where freelancers and virtual assistants find clients, socialize, team up, work on projects, and earn money from doing tasks. Freelance websites are the best places to practice your skills. This is the place where I started my VA career until now I am using these Freelance websites to search for leads, find clients, and eventually work with them directly.
What is Forum Website? It is an online message board where people with same interest exchange communication through messages. Forums like virtual assistant forum, virtual networking forum, et cetera are some of the popular forums.
Other forms of media like interviews, press release and speaking engagement, seminars, and webinars are other ways to be visible to your audience and clients.
Blogs - You can use niche blogs such as virtual assistant blogs, business, eCommerce through guest posting or through mentions in a blog post about you or what you do.
Videos - YouTube Channels, video tutorials, webinars, and interviews are the best form of this media where audiences can see you, know your ideas, interact through conversations in a webinar, etc.
eBooks/Books - Having a credibility and authority by being an expert in what you do is write your very own book. Publish it through Amazon or a Publishing Company. Throughout my experience, when I wrote my first book Virtual Assistant StartUp Keep: What You Must Know available on Amazon this book became my voice to audiences around the globe in which soon became leads as my clients as well as known a lot of passionate virtual assistants and freelancers.
Influencers like Michael Hyatt, Pat Flynn, or Chris Ducker which are related to your business niche are very important to follow as well as interact with. Through them, you will learn a lot as well as interacting with them through interviews, webinars or blog post can be very helpful to their audience, their business as well as yours.
Expanding Your Visibility
Hiring Assistant to Manage your Online Visibility
Let’s face it, time is a valuable thing and doing ALL the things I’ve mentioned by yourself will take a lot of your time and it will drain your ideas until you got none. This is the time when an assistant is needed to help a virtual assistant. I honestly proclaimed that I do not know ALL of these in a technical perspective. Yes, I did hire an assistant to help me design my website as well as help me in the marketing aspect of my online business. What if I don’t have a budget yet since I am starting in this business? Then all you need to is learn or study all of these. How? You need to read FREE ebooks or books, attend the FREE seminars, join free webinars, read blogs related to these topics, get a mentor to guide you, etc.
Marketing & Advertising
Affiliate Marketing, Google Adsense, Email Marketing and Social Media Advertising are some of the ways to increase your online visibility. I do not recommend online advertising for people who are starting their business, it will reap your wallet without having benefited out of it. I advised that you must learn the rules about online marketing, read ebooks or books, attend seminars or webinars, learn from groups and forums, read blog posts. Once you have a thorough knowledge on what to do and how your business will profit from it, then you may start doing online advertising. Be considerate about your budget.
Online Tools to Automate
There are many ways to automate your online visibility by using online apps or tools. Many people usually automate their social media accounts using HootSuite. Some established freelancers or virtual assistants use Freshbooks to automate their business accounting, Payment Scheme, Time Keeping, etc.
Online visibility is the only key to your success. The core value of virtual assisting is the ability to be heard and noticed in this noisy world. I have enlisted above all the key elements that I ever used, which you will need in order to achieve it. You may start anywhere from the list above. Take note, do it gradually, set goals, and start doing it today.
SO, WHAT'S NEXT?
Hello, I'm Paul. If you enjoyed reading this post you might like to check out:
Top List of Resources Every Newbie Virtual Assistant Must Know - soon
I would greatly appreciate if you could kindly share this article to people whom you know will be interested to read this.
Finally, hit the Tinyletter button below to get a free sample page of my book and email updates so you're never out of touch.