Module 07 – Software Pt2
Okay. Part two of Module 7. Let’s take a look at a bit more of the software that I use within my business.
Okay, Loom, I can’t speak highly enough of this product. If you haven’t heard of Loom, definitely check it out. I found Loom incredibly useful, in terms of providing instructions to both my clients and staff. Now if you haven’t heard of Loom, what is it? Loom is a screen recording software and it works as a Chrome extension. And I, myself personally, I use Google Chrome, the browser, but Loom is an excellent tool and I’ll demonstrate how this works in an upcoming module. Yeah, Loom is just amazingly powerful. There’s nothing worse than getting an email from a client and they say, “John, how do I log in and create a new user for, on within woo commerce for blah, blah, blah”.
And you’ve just got to sit there and write this long email and try and word it in a way so that they’re going to understand it and be able to make sense of it and not come back to you and let’s face it. That’s typically what happens. You get a client that’s asking questions and you end up writing this big long email and then they reply back in 10 minutes later and say, “I’m not quite sure what you mean.” And you end up in this back and forth game of email, ping pong with a client. Loom puts a stop to all of that. You can record your actual screen and you can talk and say, okay guys, this is what, this is how you go about doing this, this and this. You save the screen recording.
It provides you with a shareable link. You copy that link, you send them the link in an email and say, here, follow this. This is a free product. I think there are paid options. If you haven’t yet used it, definitely check it out because it makes a world of difference.
Okay. Copyscape this is a big one and it should be part of your business if you’re providing high end or quality SEO, you should be grinding out a lot of content for your clients as part of your service offering. And of course, you want to make sure that everything gets passed through Copyscape to make sure that it isn’t simply copied. Now this all comes back to hiring the right people and quality control and all of those things. You don’t want to be spinning rubbish content or hiring someone that’s just going to copy stuff off of other websites.
But in any case, everything should be through Copyscape. I don’t actually use this myself. My team members use it. I just buy the credits and I just as part of my process, I make sure everything gets past through Copyscape before it can comes to me for publishing.
Okay. Google Calendar and this is a tool that I use in conjunction with Zoom, but we’ll get to that one in just a moment. You know, as you get busier, and I was terrible at this. I’d always miss meetings or I’d forget that I had a client call or something like that because I made the terrible mistake of … I had a terrible habit of just scribbling down things on a bit of paper on my desk. I’ve started now using Google Calendar. It just keeps me in check. I know what’s coming up.
I know if I need to be up early for a call. It also sends reminders via email, 10 minutes before, half an hour before, whatever you want to set it to. You can actually send, I mean let’s face it, you’ve probably heard of Google Calendar already, but if you’re not using something like this, definitely get on top of it because as you get busier and you have more and more client meetings, calls and so forth, you’ve got to make sure that everything’s in order so that you don’t make the mistake that I made when I first started my business. So I was constantly missing things and forgetting I had things due. So definitely get some sort of a scheduling system in place. Okay. Next piece of software that I use within my own business. And you may have heard of this, perhaps you have or you haven’t.
It’s called Audacity. This software is free. It’s freely available on the web. You have to download it, instal it locally. Again, this is where I use my road podcasts a lot. And as I said, I use this software for what I call my Q and A sessions that I do each month with my clients, and a Q and A session is essentially, myself and my client jumping on a call, preparing some questions or some subject matter, having a conversation, recording that conversation.
And those recordings, I can then convert to blog posts or service pages or whatnot. It’s a really fast and efficient way of getting accurate information and a lot of it very, very quickly. And that’s how I solved the content problem. You should never be flicking content off to people who don’t know anything about the marketplace that they’re writing in.
For me, it just makes perfect sense to jump on a call with a client, say okay, I’ve got the following five questions mapped out, let’s jump on, have a chat, I’ll record that. And then I can take that information, that recording and and rework it into usable content. Now, Rev is a follow on from using Audacity and this is a web based service that charges a dollar a minute for transcriptions, it’s a transcription based service.
So, as I said, if I’m on a call, hosting a Q and A session with a client and I’ve got five questions, we might spend 10 minutes on each question. I record those questions as individual sessions. So at the end of the session I’ll have five individual recordings all 10 minutes long. I take those recordings and then I send them to Rev.
I upload them up, you just log in and you can upload and place your order, a dollar a minute. So, let’s say I’ve got five of them, they’re 10 minutes long, it cost me 50 bucks, and out of that $50, I can usually get, if we got five transcripts, there might be 2000 words each, that’s 10,000 words for 50 bucks, which is pretty damn impressive.
Okay. Dropbox is a must have tool. You don’t want clients sending you bloody images and files and PDFs and all sorts of nonsense through email. That stuff. It just, it’ll clog up your email. It’ll get lost or you know, the mail will bounce because they’re trying to send you three gig file with something stupid. It’s one of the first things I do when I’m setting up … as part of my campaign set up, I set up a dedicated Dropbox for a client and I’ll give them a link and say, listen, anything, any informational content, photos, PDFs, whatever it might be, upload it to here.
And that just takes again, that just takes a load off email. There can be nothing worse than clients that just bombard your email, your inbox with bloody massive photos and crap like that. So definitely get on top of it. I’m sure there’s probably other file sharing services available, but I like Dropbox for its simplicity.
Okay. Secondary hosting. Now you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about here, but with all of my web builds and this touches back on what I was covering just a moment ago about how you can up sell web builds. All of the web builds that we handle are all built out in a live test environment. And this is where secondary hosting comes into play. Now of course you don’t want to go out and spend $200 a month on fancy hosting, but at the same time you don’t want to use cheap shit hosting or ever a place like HostGator either.
I use a service because I’m based in Australia, I use a hosting provider here called Digital Pacific. I can’t remember how much that costs. I think it costs me about $12 a month. You know, it is what it is. I’m not doing anything fancy over there. I can set up up to I think, five separate domains, SQL databases, so I can run up five versions of WordPress. It just allows me to build out new sites in a way in which the client can watch and they can see what’s going on. I can send updates to the client say go here, tell me what you think. It definitely works well. And I think the fact that it’s web based again, so that the client can take a look at it and go, Yup, John, I’m happy with that.
Let’s launch the new site. Or John, can we change this, this and this? That’s where I might jump onto a Loom video to pass those instructions onto my web guy. You know, secondary hosting is quite good for that. Okay. Now because I produce a lot of content for my clients as part of my service offering, and content content content.
I might grind out 10 blog posts per month for any given client. Of course, as part of that, I need imagery. Whatever you do, do not just start pulling images off the web, you’re just going to land yourself in all sorts of trouble. I’ve heard of people getting fined 10, $20,000 from the likes of Getty images and Shutter Stock and so forth for just pulling images off the web. So it’s worthwhile getting yourself a Shutter Stock account.
It just makes life much, much easier when you start producing content for clients. You can go straight to Shutter Stock, find what you need, download the images and you know, it should all be part of your on page and content marketing strategy for your clients. I do a lot of content for clients, as I said, I’ve got a pretty big account with these guys, I think I’ve got access to about 350 images a month. I never get through it all. But you know, I might pull out 200 images per month and I use this service heavily. I know there are plenty of others to choose. There’s probably a couple of free ones, but I found Shutter Stock definitely the best simply for the quality of photos. And just the wide, they’ve got just a massive range, of photos to choose from.
Okay. SerpWorx. This is a nifty little tool that I use a lot, especially when I’m, looking for link building opportunities. So I might be doing reverse engineering or I might be looking at outreach opportunities. SerpWorx is a Google Chrome extension or add on, I think it costs five bucks a month, but it allows you to, once you activate the extension, you then get a whole bunch of SEO metrics for that given page. So you can see on the left hand side, I’ve got all sorts of metrics here. I’ve got Trust Flower, I’ve got Majestic metrics, I’ve got Moz metrics, I’ve got SEM Rush metrics. I can see things quickly like page authority and domain authority. They are only one of many factors that I look at when I’m performing outreach.
I’m using this tool basically to check firstly a bit of common sense, is this relevance. I’m not interested in getting links for a red widget web site if it’s about blue widgets. So I’m using this tool just as a bit of a final say in terms of the domain authority, page authority, do these metrics stack up? Is this something, is this a site where I’m interested in getting links from?
And you know, when you’re not using a tool like this, having to copy the URL and then jump over to AHREF’s SEM Rush or Majestic or whatever else, whatever other tool it is that you might be using, that can be incredibly time consuming. So when you’re pulling information and you’re working through a spreadsheet and you’ve got thousands of records to to go through, you want to move quickly.
So you want to just be able to punch those URL straight into the browser and SerpWorx will just do its thing and bring those metrics to screen so you can shortlist and then move forward. Another a Google Chrome extension that I like and it took forever to find a decent one is called the Automatic Backlink Checker. You want to, again, this is about saving time.
If you know anything about SEO, you should already know that, you know your best off pulling do follow links where possible. Now I don’t want to get into the whole do follow vs no follow thing here in this slide, but I want to be able to move through my off page assessments and analysis quickly and I certainly don’t want to have to visit each page, right click, view source and then try and find where the link is and look at the code and determine as to whether or not it’s a do follow or no follow.
The Automatic Backlink Checker does it right away. I can turn it on, load up the page and I’ll get a red highlighted section for no follow and I’ll get a green highlighted section for do follow. Very, very useful. It’s quick, it’s simple. It works. You know when you’re not using it, just turn it off. That’s a free tool. It’s called the Automatic Backlink Checker.
Okay, a bunch of miscellaneous tools that I use heavily Smart FTP of course, for FTP-ing files up and down, Notepad. I use Notepad constantly. I know there are a couple of … another, there’s a bunch of fancy versions of Notepad, Evernote, there’s a few others that I can’t remember, but I’m always in and out of Notepad. The small orange box in the middle is a tool that I use called, it’s called Time Left.
And if you’re interested in checking this out, just go to Google and type in TimeLeft.xz, or just type in Time Left, you’ll probably find it. This is a great little tool that you can use to track your time because I work at an hourly rate. If a clients paid me to do 16 hours for the month, then I’ll just fire up that tool. I’ll use the timer. I’ll just let it tick away while I’m working, if I step out, go to the cafe or something or watch some YouTube or some Netflix or something, I’ll just pause it and I’ll come back and I’ll know exactly how many hours I’ve got left. Skype, I’m starting to use that tool less. Ever since Microsoft took over it’s turned into just a clunky mess. I’m using it less, especially for my client calls.
I used to use Skype all the time, but one of the problems that I’ve found just recently with Skype is, well, there are a number of problems. Firstly, connectivity can be an issue. Secondly, you start … there’s nothing worse than getting on a call and you saying hello, can you hear me? They can’t hear you, they’ve got their camera on and it’s slowing down the connection, you can’t hear them. It just turns into this back and forth of technical problems. So I’m starting to use less and less, and in its place I’ve started using Zoom and there’s a number of reasons why.
Firstly, it integrates seamlessly with Google Calendar. So within Zoom itself you can fire it up and you can schedule a meeting and it will send that, it will firstly set the meeting within Google Calendar. It will also send a notification to the person you’ve invited to the meeting along with a unique URL, Zoom URL with a unique identifier tagged on the end of it that you can both click on and I’m fire up and join the the call.
And what I like most about Zoom is that it’s browser based so you don’t get into this, oh, have you got Skype installed? Oh, here’s my Skype address, oh shit, I’ve got it installed on my laptop or it’s on my phone or I can’t remember my logins. All of that sort of nonsense. You just bypass all of that. So I’m definitely starting to use Zoom a lot more.
In fact, I use it for all of my client calls now. I might use Skype occasionally, just for quick messaging between friends and sometimes my staff, but definitely check out Zoom. So far I haven’t had to pay for that. I think there might be some limitation somewhere. But in any case, Zoom, it’s fantastic because it’s browser based and let’s face it, everyone’s got a browser. I want to finish up the software slides by mentioning this.
Every now and then you’ve got to go back over your subscriptions and audit them. And this is something that I’m certainly getting better at. I know when I first started my business, and this is something that you know, you’ll always have someone say, oh, you’ve gotta check out this tool. You’ve got to start using this tool. And before you know it, you’ve got all this money coming out once a month for all of these subscriptions for software that either one, not using or two, you haven’t even started using. And if you’re not careful, this shit can spiral out of control big time. You can be paying for stuff that’s not even, it’s not even something you’re using.
So you’ve got to stay on top of this. You’ve got to try and stay on top of this. So every now and then I’ll go back and I’ll look at the tools that I’m paying for and I’ll say, you know what, do I really need this? Am I using this a lot?
All of the tools that I’ve just mentioned are tools that I’m using almost daily. If you’re paying 20 bucks, five, 10, 70 bucks a month for something that you’re not using then it might be best to get rid of it. It’s always best to have fewer tools that you’re using more frequently because again, this shit can spiral out of control and it can really chew into your profit margins. I think at the moment I spend about $2,000 a month just on tools and software, but having said that, I’m using all of those tools heavily.