With just over 20 people at this meeting there was more of a mellow vibe than usual, which offered the chance to soak up the lovely community feel of SBN. As I am one of the many small business owners who works at home on my own, this monthly chance to engage with a great bunch of people is always welcome, and I so often find that it enhances my mood and refreshes my motivation for my work.
A couple of people were displaying products at this month’s meeting: Sarah Montgomery of Forever Living products was giving away samples of aloe vera juice and Vicky Williams of Jewels of Distinction had a table showing her beautiful jewellery, which I personally love (and am busy saving up for!)
Chocolatier Paul Eagles from Kokoa Collection, also brought along some samples – delicious Madagascan fine chocolate buttons. I was lucky enough to get a whole bag which lasted till about five minutes after I got home…
A warm welcome to the other newbies – Muswell Hill based plumber Will Reyes, photographer Tim Spires, and Paul Ryan, here to make connections after his recent move to the UK from Canada. Those present for their second meeting included singing group teacher Idit Gold, copywriter Adam Harding, womens’ business coach Karen Knott, Helen Harris from the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, recording studio owner Deanna Bogdanovic and Vintage Fabric purveyor Nicky Grace, who will be holding an open house weekend in Muswell Hill, of vintage fabric and crafts on 12/13 May. I definitely plan to be there.
SBN Members present included Becky Beach, who had brought along the latest edition of The Muswell Hill Flyer and Highgate Handbook, photographer Amanda Eatwell, financial advisor Joe Procopio, Metamorphic Technique teacher Dominique Meeroff, accountant Michael Gainey (N19 Accounts), and Nichola Charalambou of Creative Writes (sounds like her recent Parents’ Creative Writing workshops, as well as her workshops set in railway stations and flight terminals, are going from strength to strength).
IT expert David Roth is as busy as ever helping people resuscitate their computers, Marcia MacLeod brought along the latest edition of Your Allotment magazine, and funky cake maker Debby Sass showed us a picture of her latest cake with a picture of a racehorse on it (see above) – the much loved horse of the person the cake was for, so a very personal birthday cake indeed!
The 2pm Talk: Essential Guide To Blogging by Lucy Hall
Several people came up to me at the end to comment on how useful they had found this talk. Lucy is an old hand at blogging, having written a blog post every day for a year as part of a challenge set by WordPress.
Below is a synopsis of SOME of the tips in her talk (for the full deal you had to have been there I’m afraid!).
Blogging has HUGE seo (search engine optimisation) benefits, and also establishes you as an expert in your field, as well as giving people a reason to return to your site, or to set up a feed to receive your blog posts.
How to set it up:
The ONLY blog worth having is a wordpress.org blog (note the .org ending as this is crucial). WordPress.org is the only blogging platform that sits side by side with your site on your server. This means that any ‘traffic’ (ie visitors) to your blog counts as traffic to your site. This is crucial for search engine optimisation. (Lucy knows someone who can set up a wordpress.org site for you for £25.00.)
Make your blog look like your site so that when people click onto it they think they are still on your site, making for a seamless experience. (Lucy can do this for you, as well as install useful ‘plugins’ that help with spam prevention, social media etc.)
How to blog:
Blog at least once a month (though once a week is great if you can manage it). This encourages people to return regularly to your site, or receive your feeds, whilst the search engines like it because it means regularly updated content – this is one of the things they are looking for when they rank websites.
Think like one of your customers when deciding what to write about – what are the questions people frequently ask, what is the best way to do x, what are the kinds of problems your customers experience, and what are the solutions? For instance, Lucy suggested that plumber Will Reyes could blog about which boilers he rates the most highly.
So that’s all folks – enough to whet your appetite and leave you wanting more I hope! Don’t miss next month’s meeting/ talk. The talk will be ‘It’s Your Brand – Make It Count!’ with Sangeeta Haindl and the date to put in your diary is Monday 21 May, 12.30-2.30pm, upstairs at Sable D’Or, N10 1DE.