Announcement: Free Courses for EzyLearn Students

Free Excel, Word, WordPress and PowerPoint Courses

Horizontal Banner with software training courses in MYOB, Excel, WordPress, Word, Xero, Facebook and digital social media marketingWe’ve secretly been offering these courses for free for at least 6 months so students (if you’re already one) will have known about it, but I wanted to tell everyone that this is available. What does it mean? It means if you enrol into an MYOB or Xero course for example that once you log into our training site using your student account login details you’ll automatically be able to click on these courses and enrol yourself into the beginners course without paying any money or entering any course password!

We’ve always made samples of our training workbooks or videos available to students who want to learn more about EzyLearn and how we work so we want to do MORE for students who have made a commitment to pay for a course with EzyLearn.

How does it work

The first thing is to choose the course you want to do (or the combination of courses – to get a special offer discount!) and then enrol. Once you are a student in our system you’ll then be able to explore each of the other courses. When you get to the Free Courses (we use the term Free Student Inclusions) you’ll be able to enrol yourself and jump right into the course.

The great thing is we literally give you EVERYTHING in that course: videos, workbooks, exercise files and knowledge review tests, and not just a couple of training resources, so if you’re a beginner with any of those courses you’ll have the fundamental skills under your belt!

facebook marketing and advertising course onlineShare the love

My team and I have been doing a LOT of work lately on social media to help real estate agents build strong online profiles (check out the free video about inserting Youtube videos into a WordPress website!) so we understand the benefits of a Facebook page and to build a community so please feel free to “Like” us and share our details with your friends, family and contacts. Heck, that’s even easier to do now that you can give them some free stuff!

Free Tip for real estate agents who want to use video in their social media with WordPress websites

Getting video into social media advertising and marketing is king for real estate agents

property marketing is important to sell your house in Sydney's lower north shore property marketYou may recall a recent post about the exciting work we are doing with real estate agents around Australia to help them with their social media marketing as their industry goes through massive technological change.

Real estate agents are adopting Facebook pages, using Facebook advertising and creating their own websites to make them stand out from other agents but most importantly to show property sellers that they’re very experienced in the local property market and also great people to deal with. This stuff also applies to bookkeepers, accountants and most businesses where a good personal reputation is important!

Creating videos, serving videos and displaying videos

We spend much of our marketing efforts “writing” blogs to add value to you, the reader. We also optimise these pages so they can get discovered by people who use Google and other search engines to find information. Through our digital marketing agency, virion we’re doing this work for real estate agents AND bookkeepers so make sure to check these services out or contact us if you want to know more.

The thought of creating, uploading and then displaying videos on a website is very daunting to some people and usually it’s the inserting the video into a website as a blog or a page that is the part people aren’t sure about. So, I created a video for you! Yes, feel free to enjoy my calm, relaxing, yet very capable voice go through a process that our team go through dozens of times a week.

We have a course on WordPress and this video and other new videos will shortly be inserted into that course but the other aspects of performing this type of work involve these questions:

  1. Where are you going to store the videos. We prefer Wistia because of their fantastic analytics but most people are familiar with Youtube and the fact that it’s free is a great benefit too.
  2. How are you going to display it. We prefer to keep our content on our own websites but lots of real estate agents are happy to build up a following on many different social media platforms and Youtube is definitely one of them.

Enjoy the video below and make sure to Request a Quote if you are interested in having my team and I manage your online digital marketing using quality content.

Youtube videos into WordPress Blog pages

Also, stay tune for updates about our forthcoming Facebook for Business Courses.

 

 

Start Now and you’ll have until 2017 for MYOB, Xero, Excel, Word and WordPress

Corporate Training for Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Accounting and WordPress Courses

Online Training Course special offers for MYOB, Xero, Excel, Word and moreWith these software programs you can run most aspects of a business and we’re including them all in our new Corporate Training Business Software Training Licences for businesses with a team of people who all want to improve their software skills.

Our Business Software Training Licence enables up to 5 staff members have unlimited access to all training resources for all of our software training courses for 12 months for a low fixed cost. We also have discount prices for larger numbers of staff.

If you look at the total retail price for all of this it is well over $6,000 of value in online corporate training courses and at the current price you’ll only pay less than 25% of the price. That is a saving of over 75%!

Software corporate training course licences for discounted online coursesIn 2015 we experienced a significant increase in the number of corporate enrolments for our Microsoft Office courses and have created this package to make life easier for corporate who want to enrol their staff easier, while also taking advantage of the discounted prices.

Bookkeeping Course Combos and Enrolment Vouchers are also available

If you are looking to up-skill in a number of accounting software or office application programs you’ll also discover some discounted course combination offers for popular courses.

[button link=”http://ezylearnonline.com.au/how-it-works/special-offers/” newwindow=”yes”] See our Special Offers[/button]

Blogging for Business Training Course

Create a Business Blog to Start Your Content Marketing Strategy

blogging for business helps you get discovered for the keywords relevant to your business

I started Business Blogging when we took our training courses online because there is a lot of information to share about MYOB, Xero, Microsoft Excel and the other software programs that help small business owners streamline their business, manage their accounts and finances and perform sales and marketing to bring in new sales. Another reason was my realisation that keywords are king in the age of discovery where getting discovered by Google results in over 70% of the traffic to many websites!

Keywords Are King

A lot of small business owners throw thousands of dollars at Pay Per Click advertising in the hope of getting more visitors to their website. The most common service to help people spend these advertising dollars is Google’s own Google Adwords. Here’s a blog post about Google Adwords from 2010.

[quote]Have you heard the promise “I can guarantee your website appears on page 1 on Google”? It’s often by using Google Adwords and targeting selected keywords that companies can deliver on this claim, but at what cost?[/quote]

Google Adwords is the perfect capitalist advertising tool because every advertiser competes for the keywords they want. The more competitors there are for a keyword or keyphrase the higher the cost per click – How scary is that!? I understand that “Insurance” is one of the highest cost keywords you can “bid for” and there would be some pretty big players in that business. They keywords in this paragraph is “bid for” because that is exactly what happens, you place a bid for the maximum you are willing to pay for that keyword or keyphrase for EVERY time someone CLICKS on your ad. There are ways of making sure a competitor doesn’t send you broke by clicking on your ad over and over, but essentially this strategy involves choosing keywords and bidding in the marketplace with all of your competitors.

Would You Rather Have People Come to You?

Bidding for keywords using Google Adwords is a great way to quickly test an idea or a strategy because you can guarantee website visitors, albeit at a high price, but people come across our website from all sorts of different keyword searches and that is where this blog has come in very handy.

I admit when I first started blogging for business the concept seems very NERDY! It’s like keeping an online diary for all to read and share. Then I justified it by affirming that keeping a blog is really just like having a “News” section to your website, demonstrating that your business is active and there’s a lot going on. Now I realise that it’s even more than that! Blogging for Business helps you

  • build an online reputation,
  • explain how some customers use your products
  • encourage readers to become customers
  • encourage readers to be part of your community
  • enable customers to be advocates and recommend your business

Having a business blog with useful content, good use of relevant keywords and landing pages that give internet users answers to their questions will help you begin the journey into Inbound Marketing, where potential customers discover YOU and what you have to offer. Do it right and you’ll just need to guide your website visitors to the conclusion you want – usually a sale.

Your Blog Becomes More Valuable Every Week

The other great thing about Blogging for Business is that your blogging site and the landing pages you refer to become more and more valuable over time as they remain in Google’s cache. They also become tools that can be used by your staff as they refer the blogs to customers who have specific questions that are answered in your blog posts.

Google is the current flavour for search engines and they seem to be doing a great job to stay in front, but Bing (owned by Microsoft) and others in China and Russia are always looking for ways to do better and get more people using them and having an active and useful blog will ensure success no matter how the search engine market changes.

Choose EzyLearn for Your Blogging for Business Training Course

We’ve been blogging about our online training courses since 2008 and we are a training company that designs courses in a logical fashion from basic to more advanced skills to ensure you experience the epiphanies most students are looking for when they do a course.

We include all of our content for one low price and we add updates that we create during the year to our existing courses, creating more content and better value for money every month.

Best of all our Blogging For Business Training Courses includes real life blog site membership, exercises where you get to create your own blog posts and link to landing pages, participate in social media and in a community of like minded beginner bloggers.

Learn more about the Blogging for Business Training Course.

Seriously, Why Wouldn’t You Use WordPress for Your Website?

Finding Income Opportunities for EzyLearn Students

start a business and work from home bookkeeping, content marketing, admin and moreWe’ve had some exciting news in the last couple of weeks: EzyLearn students who are completing the MYOB Training Courses and WordPress Courses are starting to earn money because we’re helping them get customers AND improve their skills!

I’ve been working with the team at Workface and we’re assembling a training and mentoring program to help EzyLearn students start and operate a business from home. The best part of this, and something I am passionate about, is that we’re helping people from all over Australia become remote contractors (teleworkers, call it what you want) and work from anywhere via the Internet.

Yes, you can start a business & work from home

I recently wrote about how cloud-based software is enabling people who live in regional Australia perform work for businesses in the capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide etc) and also about the Teleworking hubs that are starting to appear around the country as part of the evolution of people living outside the cities and working at home or close to home.

You may also recall that we’ve also launched the Startup Academy this year to provide formalised and structured training and mentoring support. It’s for you so if you are interested in starting a business and working from home we’ve teamed up with some products/service providers to give you a flying start and projects to start on right away.

Explore running your own business from home now

Bright VIC to Melbourne Virtual Assistant is doing content marketing for infant massage business in Sydney
Imagine travelling this far to work for a client. Content Marketing can be done from anywhere

There are opportunities to provide office/admin support services, content marketing, business telephone systems and IT support and of course bookkeeping services and if you’d like to start a business in one of these areas then explore the business opportunities.

When you sign up and join our team you’ll gain exposure to many new online (cloud-based) software and services that enable us to:

  • collaborate,
  • share files,
  • work on project together,
  • set and manage goals and daily tasks,
  • turn to each other for support,
  • create and build your own online profile, and
  • many more skills that will enable you to work for yourself and generate your own income, no matter where you live.

Remember our goal is to help you start a business and work from home – NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE. Helen from Bright is our latest virtual assistant and she is doing some website design and content marketing for an infant massage business starting up in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs! I looked at a Google Map and discovered that she’d have at least 3 hours travel if she wanted to work in her nearest capital city!

Are you looking for someone to help you in your business?

We’re going to document our journey with these remote contractors and share with you some of the growth they go through as they grapple with the new frontier of internet working.

If you are a business looking for any of these services you can Find a Contractor through Workface and our team can get to work for you too.

[button link=”http://workface.com.au/services/find-contractor/”]Find a Contractor[/button]

Can a Bookkeeper Give Online Marketing Advice??

Outsourced Online Content Marketing and Bookkeeping

What is Content Marketing and Does it Work?

Measurement of success of content marketing campaignI recently wrote about content marketing and how we have used it for years to ensure our MYOB and Excel Courses appear in Google’s organic search results. I touched on the topic of “who is your audience”, why it’s important and how it may affect your writing style – in reality you just need to write like you are sending an email to a friend, don’t you think – but one of the most important things is to measure the results of your work.

We started using WordPress as our website development platform because it’s relatively easy to use, but mainly because millions of people use it around the world and there are LOT’s of great tools within the platform that enable any business owner to take control of their website and improve it bit by bit every week or month. It’s like the Microsoft Word of content management systems and enables all of the functionality that most people want to see in a professional website, including the capability of enabling a mobile friendly site (important with the new changes in Google for mobile optimised websites).

If you are starting a content marketing strategy the main thing I can recommend is to keep working at your website every week, writing great new, and relevant content and most of all check your results. The image in this blog post demonstrates the success we had helping one company improve constantly in their organic rankings (in a pretty competitive market). All they did is kept adding relevant text that helps website visitors and wrote regular posts.

Want To Learn How To Do This?

Can anyone do this? Yes they can. Like most things there is a formula to success and it takes constant work and regular improvement. I’ve teamed up with a content writer and a digital strategist (could you imagine seeing that job description even 15 years ago?!), to create a course designed to help you learn how to plan and execute a content marketing strategy.

[box type=”tick” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]If you are interested in learning more, visit our content marketing course page and join the waiting list – I’ll announce when the course is completed and you’ll receive a special invitation offer.[/box]

Can a Bookkeeper Do Content Marketing?

I was speaking with Ray from the Startup Academy and we were talking about what makes a good bookkeeper. He mentioned a conversation he had with an experienced bookkeeper he knows who has been bookkeeping for quite a few years and she mentioned that her focus is changing, that she is now starting to spend time on all sorts of aspects of the finance and administration of the businesses she works for. Because of her knowledge and experience she is able to take over many of the other “operational and administration” aspects of her clients businesses and as a result she can:

  • Do more work for fewer clients (easier to manage, yet still spreads her risk between several clients)
  • Perform more varied tasks for her small business clients
  • Earn a higher rate of pay

Can a Bookkeeper Become a Small Business Manager?

How bookkeepers can earn a higher rateHave you read about our relatively new initiative to help people start their own bookkeeping business? One of the training courses we include is the small business management course and we’ve included it because it helps you clearly define the operational aspects of your business plan. Things like

  • how many customers do you want,
  • how much do you want to charge,
  • what type of work do you want to do etc.

Although there are fairly standard rates that bookkeeper charge for bookkeeping work, these rates can increase if your skill base is broader and you can become more valuable to your clients.

I read a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald (from Feb 27, 2015, by Alexandra Cain) where she talks about the number of bookkeepers there are in Australia (estimated to be 250,000) compared to the number of bookkeepers who are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as How to become a Registered BAS Agent (12,000). Alexandra introduces the topic of what type of work bookkeepers do and it’s highly practical for them to venture into many other parts of the business.

Every Course To Be Included in National Bookkeeping Package

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseThis is the news that I have been waiting to announce – that we will be including ALL of our courses and any future courses to people who join our new bookkeeping business opportunity, National Bookkeeping. New members will receive thousands of dollars worth of training courses in EVERY course we have so they’ll have knowledge (and access to a knowledge base) about

  • Marketing,
  • Website design, Blogging and Internet Marketing
  • Content marketing, plus using Microsoft Office Applications like,
  • Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc

We have courses on using help desk software like ZenDesk (that we use), Dropbox and stacks of other short online courses, PLUS we’ll be creating new ones during the year (and the next and the next) that National Bookkeeping Licensee will have access to.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity further, feel free to go through the Bookkeeping Business Opportunity FAQ’s or make contact with us for more information.

Who really cares about Sensis? Yellow Pages? Content Marketing shows you care

content marketing versus yellow pages and sensisYellow Pages vs Content Marketing?

A client of ours showed me an email that came from Sensis and it looked a little sad. It showed how many times an ad appeared and how many people clicked for more information. The saddest part is that this Billion dollar company is now just another online directory. It’s another example of how a traditional business, that hires professional and persistent sales people to sell high cost packages is dying an accelerating death. The other large one I recall was Encyclopaedia Britannica – remember those door to door salesmen who made a good income selling these for your children’s benefit? OK, now I’m assuming you’re over 45 😐

Why Content Marketing

We decided many years ago to go down the blogging route because it makes sense. These days the correct term for blogging for business is “Content Marketing” and it’s great because it’s a way of:

  1. Constantly informing readers,
  2. Demonstrating an active business and website
  3. Informing website visitors about changes in the business,
  4. sharing stories about how people use our services and
  5. Making general announcements.

How Bad is the Yellow Pages Directory Going?

Telstra recently offloaded their majority ownership in the Yellow Pages business they branded as Sensis and in the fine print on page 15 (2013 year) and page 18 (2014 year) you can see that the revenue for this business declined by 11.7% and 22% respectively.

I remember when most local tradies (plumbers, electricians, chippies, builders etc) would spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to keep their position in the large display ads. I even remember the days of the golden phone that Yellow Pages use to make available to business to PROVE just how many phone calls would be coming in the door as a result of advertising with them. If anyone remembers the golden phone offer I’d love hear from you on our Facebook page..

Where do you spend your marketing money?

The idea for this blog post came as a result of being forwarded an email, but it ties in nicely with our Small Business and Startup Course which is now available at a hugely discounted price! Read on to see how we changed our pricing structure.

Marketing and Communication course for small businessIn this course we have two subjects which cover marketing for small business and we have some great interviews with Michael Locke who shares information about the 4P’s. Sensis would represent an excellent case study of where the marketing function may not have been submersed in the strategy business decision making to stem this significant change in their business model.

Small Business Management and StartUp Course

The recent change we made to this course was to separate the business coaching and assessment options and make them available separately. In this way the Small Business and StartUp course is much like our MYOB course where you can work through everything at your own pace and request support if you need it.

If you are interested in doing a number of different courses as well as the Small Business Management course you might want to enrol at the Australian Small Business website where you can choose our software courses at a discounted price (when combined with the small business management course). This way you’ll be able to use WordPress for your content marketing, MYOB or Xero for your accounts and Excel for any spreadsheet work.

References:

Telstra Annual Reports 2013, and 2014

PS. By the way, you can still get Britannica and online it’s just under $70 pa. You can also still buy the printed edition for under $700 and you can pay $2500 for a whopping collection of short stories, plays and poems..

Prevent Russian Attacks on Your WordPress Website with Google Analytics

Traffic from Russia, Eastern Europe, Philipines and India?

We’ve been busy these last couple months in upgrading and optimising our websites, fine tuning our online marketing and studying our Google Analytics and came across a Russian based website that was sending a lot of traffic to several of our sites. After closely monitoring our website traffic, landing pages, bounce rates, time on site etc, we found a lot of in bound traffic from a Russian site called Darodar. It made me wonder why we’re all so scared of web traffic from the USSR. In fact it’s a reminder of the fact that labour is very cheap in some of these countries and some companies or individuals can go to great lengths to

The best thing to come from all this really is that by looking at our statistics regularly, updating all scripts and plugins and server side applications not only do we have an up-to-date website with security and protection against online risks, but we understand our website traffic in detail. This is helping us fine tune our website content constantly to provide our website visitors with what they are looking for.

I don’t normally write like this

Google Analytics - Channels, Sessions, Conversions, Sources, Aquisition, BehaviourI don’t normally like to write about all the technical details we have to go through as an online training course provider, but we’ve been assembling some marketing information about our new online business opportunities and realised this is exactly the type of information that we’ll be sharing with students who come along on our online marketing business opportunity.

As it turns out the type of traffic we were getting is called HTTP Referrer Spam or just Referrer Spam and hundreds of people are talking about it online already. Here’s a snipped of some of the sites we discovered. There is a lengthy conversation on an official WordPress Support Forum, and an article on a popular article site called Reddit.

The Best Answer

The best answer we found was this link that confirmed that this type of attack is not malicious to your website, is not a server side issue and won’t affect the ranking and traffic to your site. The biggest issue is that we spent all this time and even ended up going to the site in question (that’s one of their goals!!) and that it distorts our Google Analytics information.

We disable the Darodar Spambot and any traffic from this location. It’s not the best solution because we can’t do this for every website that performs this type of activity, but again, it gives us more clarity about what is happening with our website traffic.

Who cares?

If you want to get to know more about our online marketing contractor business opportunity go visit the StartUp Academy website for more information. I’ll be sending more information out shortly so stay tuned – including the services we are launching to help people start their own bookkeeping business..

Feedback from Students About Our Online Training Courses

We value - and need - your feedback about our online training courses.
We value – and need – your feedback about our online training courses.

Over the years, we’ve provided online training to numerous Australian – and international – students, whether via our flagship MYOB training course or one of our Excel or WordPress courses, or our more recent Small Business Management Course. Over the years these students have provided us with valuable feedback.

The feedback we receive from our students helps us to understand what’s working and what isn’t, which is why it’s invaluable to us that you get in touch and let us know what you think.

It was based on the feedback we received from our students that we decided to develop our Reach Accounting and Xero training courses. It is also based on the feedback we received that we changed the way we issued our certificates so that students received them faster and could use them to find work.

Recent Feedback

Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our students recently:

“I found the workbooks the most helpful for giving practical experience.” — Karen Dimitri, Glengowrie SA 5044

“The best part is that you can do it on your own time and pace.” — Juliana van Wyk, Hilton WA 6163

“Short, easily digestable videos. Can fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.” — Korina Power, North Shore, Auckland 0630

“I could learn at my own pace.” — Jackie Smith, Sheidow Park, SA 5158

“Doing the workbooks and watching the videos at my own pace has helped me a lot in pursing the current workforce requirements.” — Merritt Ray, Loganholme QLD 4129

“I was able to finish the whole course in just a couple of weeks.” — YoonOck Lee, Atwell, WA 6164

“By watching videos on one particular topic and doing a test straight after relating to those videos, you don’t become too overwhelmed with too much information.” — Michelle Bankstown, NSW 2200

“I am happy as I could completely the course at my own pace. It was easy n simple to understand. As a mother I felt the course was very time efficient. Looking forward to putting my knowledge into action.” — Kimberline Francis, St James, WA 6102

“This course is best for me because I can access any time from home, I can replay any video provided when I didn’t understand.” — Mika Humphreys, Innisfail, QLD 4860

“Everything within the course itself was great. I liked the most how easy it was to understand and navigate through.” — Katie Davis, Whyalla, SA 5608

“Being able to actually move around the sample company file to get a feeling of how the software is structured, made me have more confident.” — Joy Khoo, Mudgee, NSW 2850

“The best parts of this course is that we get freedom to learn and complete this course in your own suitable time. There is not so much pressure that you have to complete in certain time limit. I would advise and recommend this course from EzyLearn to international students who want to further their career in bookkeeping and accounting. It was a great privilege to be part of your institute.” — Prabin Gurung, Auburn, NSW 2144

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We’d love to hear from you too. Get in touch via our course evaluation page.

 

Be Loved by Google: Use WordPress!

why-google-loves-wordpress
There are many benefits to creating your website with WordPress – and Google loves it too.

Although our flagship training course is our online MYOB training course, EzyLearn also offers a number of other training courses, such as our Small Business Management Course and our WordPress Design Course. WordPress has become one of the most popular free and open-source content management systems in the world and is used by nearly 19 percent of the top 10 million websites, according to Forbes magazine.

WordPress Benefits

What makes WordPress so popular, especially among small businesses, is that you can edit and update content whenever you like. You can select from a number of pre-existing themes, or install a custom-made theme to use for your website. There are also a number of plugins available to WordPress, like Google Analytics, which allows you to track and analyse the traffic visiting your site.

Until far too recently, creating a website for your business was often a costly and daunting exercise. While large organisations typically had in-house web developers and SEO experts, many small businesses retained the services of external web developers.

If you didn’t need to make any changes to your website, this was usually fine. Your web designer would create your website and it was all systems go. But as Google has changed the algorithms that are used to index websites, preferring web pages that are constantly updated, it’s become more necessary to update your website — and often — in order to appear relevant to Google.

The Need to be Googled

Google, the verb, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, and is defined as “using the Google search engine to obtain information about something or someone on the World Wide Web.” Thus, it’s necessary to ensure your website appears in Google, so people can google you.

To do this you need to update your content, and frequently. This could involve creating new web pages, or regularly maintaining a blog. However, paying a web designer to upload and publish new content on website on a daily basis is not cost-effective, which is why WordPress has become so popular.

But there are other practical reasons to create and manage your own WordPress website. If you change your business address, or telephone number, you can quickly and easily update those details immediately — rather than waiting until your web designer has the time.

You’d be surprised how many businesses show their incorrect building address or telephone numbers on their websites, because they don’t have an easily updated website. And for each customer who calls, or can’t find that business at their address, that’s a customer they’ve lost to their competitor.

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If your business’ website is not currently easy-to-update, consider using one of the world’s most popular content management systems, and take our WordPress training course today.

What Is It That Your Business Does Again? The Need To Be CLEAR!

If people are left confused as to what your business does, they'll simply go elsewhere.
If people are left confused as to what your business does, they’ll simply go elsewhere.

In our Small Business Management course, we discuss creating a website for your business — and at EzyLean, we even offer a training course on creating a website using WordPress. We’ve also talked about some of the website “must haves” on this very blog, but one of the things many business owners still get wrong is communicating what exactly their business does.

What Does Your Business Actually Do?

Being able to explain your business in one sentence or less should be like second nature to any business owner, yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a business’s website and found myself wondering, “What the hell does this business actually do?”

It seems that somewhere, in the midst of worry about design, functionality, load times, conversion rates, and so on, many business owners — large and small; this affliction is not discerning — forget to answer the most basic of questions and often the fundamental reason a person is on their website: What does my business do?

Take a look at your website. Does it clearly state in one sentence or less what your business does? If we use EzyLearn as an example, we could say, EzyLearn is an online training provider. We could even take it one step further and say, EzyLearn is Australia’s largest provider of online training courses, including MYOB, WordPress and Excel.

Both examples are clear, concise and, above all, they entice visitors to spend time on our website. This is important, because if you leave visitors wondering what your business does and whether you offer the services they’re looking for, they’ll give up and go elsewhere.

Your Business Plan’s Executive Summary

This is where the executive summary of your business plan comes into play. The executive summary of your business plan is used to explain what your proposed business will do; in no more than a paragraph you need to be able to convince the reader that your business idea is worthy of their funding, participation or whatever it is you’re seeking of them.

In essence, your executive summary is your elevator pitch. You need to refine this and whittle it down to a short, pithy explanation of your business and your services. Practice on friends and family if you have to and once you’ve got it, put it straight onto your homepage, or an easy-to-access “About Us” page.

***

And remember: the thing about the Internet is that it’s great if you know what you’re looking for; but the majority of people don’t. Always craft your copy like you’re communicating with someone who doesn’t know the first thing about your business or the industry, then go from there.

How Would You Like to Earn a Share of $237 Billion?

Want a share of $237 billion? If you're in business it's up for grabs!
Want a share of $237 billion? If you’re in online business it’s up for grabs!

If you spent money on Christmas pressies recently, you’re a small part in the continual climb of online trading in this country. Did you know that in 2012, the value of online trading in Australia reached $237 billion dollars? This represents a 25 percent increase year-on-year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This increase in online revenue reflects the growing number of small businesses moving their operations online, either in part or entirely — and it’s largely thanks to new technologies facilitating e-commerce for small business.

The Growth of Online Businesses

Prior to 2006 the online marketplace was all but monopolised by the eBays and Amazons, organisations that had the resources to create the necessary infrastructure needed to allow customers to shop entirely online. After 2006, when we first moved our MYOB training courses online, offering a completely online shopping experience was just starting to gain popularity among the small players like ourselves; in the years since, it’s now pretty much become the norm.

As platforms like WordPress have made it possible to create and maintain a website without any design or HTML knowledge, theme clubs like Woo Themes, which provide web-themes to suit a range of different business types, now even include ecommerce plugins that can be linked with a PayPal account.

By offering you services online, you’re opening yourself up to an entirely global customer base, allowing you to offer new or different services than you did before. Since we moved our business online, we’ve also been able to build on our business — this year we added the highly popular Small Business Management Course to our suite of training courses, for example.

For some businesses, moving online is more of a necessity, a way to stay competitive in a world with ever-evolving technologies. For example, new cloud accounting software like Reach (and we offer a course in Reach Accounting too) makes it easier for small businesses to manage their own books, without needing the services of a bookkeeper.

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For many bookkeepers this could spell doom and gloom, or it could provide them with the opportunity to venture into the business of training people on how to manage their own books. As a bookkeeper looking to extend their services into training as well, by setting up a website with an e-commerce facility, you could partner with us to sell vouchers to our training courses.

With a share of $237 billion up for grabs, now is a good time to consider offering your services online, particularly when it’s become so darn easy! We even offer WordPress training courses, which covers setting up ecommerce, so you’ve no excuse for missing out!

Be Happy: Start a Business and Work From Home

You may find that one of the key benefits of starting your own business is that your work actually makes you much happier.
You may find that one of the key benefits of starting your own business is that your work actually makes you much happier.

Are you toying with the idea of starting a virtual or home-based business? Well EzyLearn is your one-stop training-shop for everything you need to start a business — all via our Small Business Management training course, MYOB training courses, WordPress training courses and MS Office training courses. But what are the real benefits of working from home?

The Pros of Working from Home in Your Own Business

We look at some of the upsides to being your own boss here:

  1. Fewer Expenses: This may be an obvious one, but it’s often what makes or breaks a bricks-and-mortar business. Operating your business from home incurs fewer expenses; namely the overheads of rent, power and telephone services. But there are those other little expenses that can start to add up: coffees, lunches, petrol and other travel expenses. When you work from home you can say goodbye to forking out $4 for a coffee everyday and hello to the $960 you’ll save each year by having a cuppa at home instead!
  2. Manage Business Expenses: Working from home can allow you to cutback on certain things or splurge on others, which is sometimes not possible with a physical office. Using cloud accounting software like MYOB also allows you to keep track of your day-to-day more efficiently so you can see how you’re tracking on a daily basis.
  3. Improve Your Business: Without the overheads and expenses that come with operating a business with a physical office space, you can reinvest that money to improve the overall operations of your business — whether that means updating your computers, systems or expanding your business into an area you previously couldn’t because of the golden handcuffs.
  4. You’re Greener: Most people spend between 10 and 20 hours every week just sitting in peak-hour traffic. When you work from home you can finally do your bit for the environment and ditch the car, including all the costs associated with it. Between the cost of fuel, car services, rego, insurance and tyres you’re looking at around $5,000 a year — that’s a trip to Europe!
  5. You’re Happy: Sometimes when you’re trying to rationalise to friends and family the benefits of working from home we forget to say this because it sounds like a cop-out, but it’s actually a biggie. You spend 48 weeks of the year at work, and an average of 40 years working — why shouldn’t you strive to be happy? Confucius once said: find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

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So on that note, what are you waiting for? EzyLearn can provide you with all the training you need, from managing your business and doing your books to finally getting your head around Excel and website design.

So don’t worry. Be happy — start a business and have a job you actually love.

What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

Get the functionality of WordPress.COM at your very own site
Get the functionality of WordPress.COM at your very own site

Although we are best known around Australia for our Online MYOB Training Courses with lifetime access and all versions of MYOB AccountRight Plus many students enrol into our WordPress training course so that they can create and change their own website.

We received a call from a prospective student this week and he asked about whether we offer training on WordPress.com or WordPress.org so I thought we should take some time to explain the difference and why we offer the training we do.

WordPress is a system for creating and maintaining your online presence. Some people consider a Facebook page or a Linkedin profile to be an online presence and it is, but if you are a business owner you can create an online presence that you own and it’s based around your domain name. When you register a domain name you then point it to a website hosting account (they call this DNS Management) and this is where the difference between WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG comes in. When you have your own domain name and website hosting you install the WordPress.ORG software on your own website and everything you put online is at your own domain. It helps to give your domain name more value.

[quote]WordPress.COM is a service were you can create an online profile at their website and it eliminates the need to buy a domain name and organise your own hosting, but it means you forego the goodwill value of owning your own domain name.[/quote]

Having said that, WordPress.COM functionality can now be built into the WordPress.ORG software you have on your own website using a service that WordPress call Jetpack. Jetpack enables dozens of extra features, including statistics about your website visitors, and connects your own website with the WordPress.COM service.

If there is one suggestion we have for small business owners who are looking for a website, go with a WordPress driven website because:

  1. Gives you the ability to easily change the content on each page when you want
  2. There are thousands of WordPress website designers who can help you if you need it
  3. You can incorporate social media and blogging very easily
  4. Social Media and Blogging will help increase your “relevance” in Google search results
  5. WordPress websites use themes that you can buy cheaply to create a professional website

Video PlayerWe’ve chatted with Paul from BYO Web and he will have some exciting information about WordPress website owners and the ability to easily add an e-commerce shopping cart to your website. Make sure you subscribe to receive future issues of our blog, and watch out for Paul’s exciting WordPress news.

By the way, if you want to get a free training video lesson about how WordPress websites are structured please check out this free WordPress Training video.

 

MYOB Student Creates a Website for Dad’s Business Using WordPress.

ASBC-Crest-smaller-Certified ContractorYou might recall the blog post that I put out earlier this week advertising for an Admin Assistant for our Chatswood office. We had some fantastic responses and it confirmed my thoughts about promoting work opportunities to our own network as opposed to complete strangers on a website like SEEK.

You might be interested to read about our bad SEEK experiences at the Australian Small Business Blog! There’s also some interesting information about competition and business valuation that you might find interesting if you are planning to start your own business and want to understand the concept of value.

One of the most interesting experiences in my team building exercise so far is discovering people’s attitude to work. The best example I can think of is the story about one lady who completed our MYOB course so that she could help run her father’s business. In the short time she had to get up to speed, she was able to use her skills to not only help manage the finances of the business but she was able to improvise and adapt to each new situation that arose, including building a professional website for that business using WordPress and perform many other tasks outside of her area of expertise.

[quote]This is one of the key skills you need to run your own startup business. Improvisation.[/quote]

We are working on a Certification Program for the Australian Small Business Centre to credential contractors who make themselves available to help businesses manage their business from Day-to-Day. This program is designed to build a team of competent professionals who understand the principles of providing a good and competent service for a reasonable return. We are looking for contractors who want to work with local businesses and offer a win-win service.

If you want to start your own business or want help getting your existing business off the ground make sure you complete the Business Service Provider form and begin your journey on becoming a Certified Contractor.

The 7 Website Must Have’s

Website building should include 7 key elements
Website building should include 7 key elements

We made the decision to use WordPress for our website because it’s easy to use, inexpensive yet looks professional. It’s great for blogging and bringing visitors to your website and is also really flexible — with an abundance of features, layout options and plug-ins.

Yet, when it comes to websites, there are still thousands — yes, thousands — of business owners who don’t have one. These are people who still believe in phone books.

Phone Book Uses

Phone books are pretty handy things. They’re handy for fashioning into a makeshift monitor stand to prop up your laptop. They’re handy for wrapping glassware and crockery when you’re moving house. They’re pretty darn handy for killing really big spiders. And if you’ve got a stack of them collecting dust in your garage since, say, 1982, then why not build a fort? Surely that’s pretty handy for someone, somewhere — the kids, maybe?

Phone books are not particularly handy, however, for finding a telephone number or business listing in 2013. Why flick through some-seemingly million pages searching for something you could easily find with a click of your keyboard, a glide over your tablet device, or a quick chat with Siri?

Get a Website

If you’re a business owner and you don’t have a website, our strong advice is: get one! Today, when people are searching for a business, product or service they invariably Google it, so for anyone in business, a website is an essential online marketing tool.

Again, we highly recommend WordPress. Business owners can manage their own content, which gives you enormous flexibility and it comes with a host of attractive themes and options. We offer an online WordPress training course, designed to help you understand things like SEO, working with plugins (including mobile sites and RSS feeds) and much more.

The 7 Website Must Have’s

If you’re a business owner and you already have a website but it looks like a 90’s relic with loads of Clipart, an endless-scroll of 10-point, Times New Roman copy, punctuated periodically by headings that are underlined, in bold and capped off with 73 exclamation points, then it’s time for a makeover.

There are 7 things you must do when building or renovating your website:

1. Establish Goals: Like anything in business, you need to establish some goals for your website. Things like: Why will people visit my website? What information do I want to provide? What do I want people to do next? You need to answer these questions before you begin.

2. Don’t Forget to be Mobile: The Internet is literally in the palm of your hands; so don’t forget to consider a mobile strategy during the planning stage. You’ll need to consider the main reason people will be visiting your site — for information about your products and services, to purchase your products and services, or something else — and build that into your mobile site, make it the most prominent feature.

3. First Impressions: Your website is your brand, your personality, and your reputation all rolled into one. If your website resembles the shambolic mess we described above, that’s how people are likely to view you and your business: as a shambolic mess. Photos from online photo libraries, like iStockPhoto will give your website a professional finish, but don’t forget to add a bit of you into your website. Too many stock-standard images and you run the risk of seeming generic, uninspired, bland. And bland is boring.

4. Keep it Simple: Don’t overwhelm your visitors with too many links, too many choices. This isn’t a Pick Your Own Adventure novel, it’s a website. Ensure your menu and links are intuitive and consistent. If you want to point people to the “contact us” page in your copy, use the same language that’s in your navigation menu — this will eliminate confusion.

5. Use a ‘Call-to-Action’: Your visitors are here for a reason; capitalise on that. Make sure it’s easy for them to find what they’re looking for — display contact details, proceed to checkout links, or your mailing list prominently — and encourage them to take the next step.

6. Less is More: The endless scroll of copy has got to go. It doesn’t matter how multifaceted or interesting your business is, people won’t read it. They don’t care. If you can’t whittle your business and services down to two or three (short) sentences, get someone else to — we recommend you use a professional copywriter.  

7. The Need for Speed: Load times are critical. If people can’t open your page within ten seconds — that includes mobile devices — they’ll try a website where they can. If you’re taking your own photos to include on your website, remember that huge files require huge download times. Make sure to reduce the image sizes to a few kilobytes rather than a few megabytes.

You can master the skills to build a fabulous website a lot sooner than you think! Check out the details of our WordPress Course Outline