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WordCamp Phoenix 2022 Review

Kallen Media’s First WordCamp

At the start of February, I was lucky enough to attend the WordCamp Phoenix 2022 event.  WordCamps are WordPress events that bring together the community to share advice and tips.  And these events have been going on for over ten years and take place around the world. So be sure to lookup WordCamp events near you to see if there is a chance to join in on these great conferences.  The event was in the heart of bustling downtown Phoenix in “Events on Jackson.”  

WordCamp Phoenix 2020 Badge

WordCamp Phoenix 2020 was my first WordCamp event, along with Kallen Media’s first as well.  And I had not done too much research on these events; besides that, they involved the WordPress community and critical members.  Because of the proximity and low price point of $50 for a weekend pass, I decided to register myself as an attendee if you are interested in rewatching any on the previous WordCamps, found on the WordPress TV website.

The event weekend started with a smooth drive to downtown Phoenix from my office in Tempe, right near Arizona State University.  Parking was only $5 each day for special event parking, which is very reasonable for downtown Phoenix. Once I walked in, wonderful volunteers greeted me, and I was quickly able to find my badge.  The lobby had great snacks and hot coffee; So for the day, They were great!

Volunteers orchestrated the entire event. Which made me excited to see the presentations to come because everyone was passionate about WordPress.  Opening remarks gave me an excellent overview of what to expect from this conference. Now it was time to start learning!

WordCamp Sessions – Day 1 morning

The first presentation that I sat in on was from Kori Ashton, the CEO of WebTegrity.  Her presentation focused on improving digital marketing business models, specifically for small businesses and freelancers.  The talk hit a direct cord with me going over both questions and similar experiences of my own. I was able to gain insights on pricing models, workflow structures, and customer interactions, all within her 50-minute presentation. My mind was opened to more possibilities looking ahead with Kallen Media watching a successful digital marketer share their tips and secrets. This session was exactly the content I was looking to learn!

The next session that I decided to go to was “The Art of Networking” with Francesca Marano.  Francesca is the WordPress community manager at SiteGround. She traveled from Germany and has made a career out of networking within the WordPress community.  Hearing Francesca speak about her experiences networking and getting out of her comfort zone encouraged me to engage as many community members as possible throughout the rest of the conference.

WordCamp Sessions – Day 1 Afternoon

My final presentation of the morning was about building a content marketing machine with Colin Shipp. Because of content marketing’s significant part in digital marketing as a whole, I was particularly interested in this presentation.  Colin sheds light on creating content meant for consumers, not search engines. He also broke down the best types of articles to write and effective ways to capture your readers.  A fantastic presentation that gave me valuable insights and reassurance that my content marketing strategies were on the right track.

Lunch both days was a delicious offering of gourmet tacos.  Both days I was pleased with the food.  So glad I went back for seconds both days! Lunchtime was also the prime time where I was able to network and talk to other fellow WordPress fanatics.  I met a variety of travel bloggers and business owners that gave me different perspectives on how WordPress works in a business.

WordCamp Sessions – Day 1 Afternoon

The second half of day 1 of Phoenix WordCamp 2020 started with Troy Dean’s presentation, “Think Again.”  This presentation highlighted getting started in WordPress and utilizing the community to help your business grow.  Become a specialist and either partner with professionals or outsource work when possible. He finished his presentation focusing on five core pieces to being successful: language, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and results.

Complimenting “Think Again” was the next presentation by Chris Klosowski about transitioning from maker to manager.  Within businesses, it is critical to have both happy employees and a manager who is competent. Chris elaborated that only 1 in 10 people have natural managerial talent, and the other 9 need some training.  This fact is essential because it shows how critical exercise is in creating an efficient and happy workforce.

Session 6 of the day was about how to create online courses by Zac Gordon.  Within the short span of 50 minutes, Zac was able to cover over 100 different tips for making useful courses.  Some of the most exciting pieces of information included his setup for recording videos. There is a lot more time and effort going into these kinds of content than I thought!  This content ranges from mic setups to adding proper lighting to your room. I would highly recommend rewatching this video for anyone interested in starting their digital courses.

The final presentation of day 1 was by Julie Archer about how to organically grow your brand utilizing social media.  This topic was another point of interest since Kallen Media has been managing social media accounts for its clients since its creation.  Some great tidbits that I got from this presentation were to connect with your audience authentically. Make sure your content is made for people and is genuinely entertaining.  Failing to do so is the number 1 way brands fall off, and consumers become uninterested.

Day 1 Conclusion

After my first day of WordCamp Phoenix 2020 was over, and I could not have been happier with my day.  I got to network with fellow digital marketers and WordPress fans within my community. The facility and food were both fantastic, with extraordinarily engaging and exciting panels to go throughout the day.

Some of the other fun aspects of the event were all the sponsors and their booths.  Below is a picture of all the different swag sponsors that were handing out.  I personally really enjoyed all the stickers, and have added some to my laptop.  If you are a fan of free stuff, WordCamp is the place for you.

WordCamp Phoenix Sponsor Swag

WordCamp Sessions – Day 2 Morning

Today I wanted to explore more of the presenters than I had the previous day. I thought that there were some time slots with multiple exciting topics but i still enjoyed all my presentations.  My morning began with Marco Berrocal digging into WordPress hooks and how they are an essential part of WordPress web development. Next, I went to Kimberly Lipari, who spoke about Valet, a managed WordPress service.  Her presentation was fascinating because I resonated with her story. She started as a marketer and slowly dove deeper into development, which is how I got my start as well.

The morning ended with a group presentation on how to get involved with the WordPress community.  The presenters talked about how WordPress was built open-source from a group. Because of that community, it made connecting with like-minded individuals much more straightforward.  There were events around the US, particularly WordSesh and MeetUp events. These were both free gatherings where people could go and talk with other members of the WordPress Community.  The diversity excited me to try and research some of the groups in my area after the event concluded.

WordCamp Sessions – Day 2 Afternoon

After another delicious lunch, it was time for the keynote speaker of the weekend, Brandy Lawson.  Brandy spoke about coming up with the Phoenix WordPress community. Through the support of partners, they were able to create their businesses by connecting with the right people.  Connections and creating meetup groups allowed Brandy to create a successful digital marketing business. By doing this, it allowed for more time with family and a balanced lifestyle.  

Now it was time to get into my last three sessions of the day.  Allie Nimmons was first up to present about how to supercharge maintenance plans for clients.  For me and my business, a maintenance plan is a difference between a functional client website and a website with problems.  These plans allow for a constant relationship between the client and webmaster to ensure the client’s site is always working at its best capacity.  Some of the best key points that Allie mentioned were utilizing the GoDaddy Pro dashboard, setting up analytics, and examples of statistics to show clients.  I started using GoDaddy Pro after this presentation, and would highly recommend it since it is free!

Session 6 was Pam Aungst presenting the SEO Basics.  My primary reason for going to this breakout was checking Kallen Media’s SEO practices against seasoned veterans. First, we talked about speed software that I utilized, including GTMetrix, Screaming Frog, SEMRush, and Moz.  Additionally, Pam broke down the different Google tools such as page speed insights, mobile-friendly test, and the structured data testing tool.  Some of the best information I gained was online news and blogs revolving around search engine optimization and best practices.

Day 2 Conclusion

The final presentation of WordCamp Phoenix 2020 was about data privacy by Ronnie Burt.  Right off the bat, Ronnie debunked the myth that WordPress plugins can provide privacy, and they can’t.  Personal information consists of a person’s first and last name, plus one additional personal detail.  To create the most effective privacy system, he recommended that people research their state and the field they are practicing in.  This way, it limits the possibility of any legal action or potential breaches.

My Experience

Overall my experience with the WordCamp Phoenix 2020 conference was spectacular.  I would highly recommend WordCamp events to anyone interested in making a career in the digital world.  The speakers had a wide diversity of topics making their sessions for people of every skill level. There are WordCamps around the world, so I would highly encourage my readers to take a look online and find a camp near you to check out!  So if you are interested in learning more about my experience at WordCamp Phoenix 2020, please give me a call at (773) 524-1483 or fill out a contact form.

Websites for Small Businesses: How to Develop

What strikes your mind when you feel like buying a product or service? What do you do? Where do you go next? The answer for most of us is going to be to search online! A business website surely rings a bell, as that will be your destination. If that’s what you do, it’s probable that hundreds of millions of people out there do the same. In this era of technology, where the internet has revolutionized our experience of shopping goods and services, websites for small businesses has become our go-to place. That’s why it is highly essential to have a website because that’s where your customers are.

Creating a small business website is as easy as ABC. You don’t need anything physical. Just decide a brand name (if your business is new), buy a domain and a hosting service. But your work isn’t done yet. You need to have space on a WORLDWIDE WEB with a user interface that your customers would want to visit again and again. The primary platform is WordPress, which is not only comfortable but economical and user-friendly.  To dive deeper into hosting and domain services would be a topic for another article.  If you are interested in learning more about what host is right for you, I recommend researching your specific niche.  Some great companies to start with would be GoDaddy, WPEngine, or BlueHost.

 

Research different themes

 

Website Themes

 

Before you start making your website, similar research businesses, check which themes they are using.  The theme is the generalized structure of a site; different templates allow for various features.  Then, match your theme according to your logo and your essential brand’s color style. While ‘theme’ sounds as one word, remember that it comprises of overall fonts and color palettes that your webpage will use. Best website designers for small businesses suggest that you buy an economic theme – as it is ready-made and doesn’t require you to do a lot of website coding on the back end. It is a little investment, but it can do wonders for your small business website.  I typically recommend utilizing an Elegant Theme’s “Divi Theme” for easy accessibility and gorgeous design elements.

 

Start from an ‘about me’ Statement

 

Sometimes, it’s not the products that your people want to buy. They want to buy it from you and your brand!  For that, you must make your first classy impression via your ‘about statement.’ It’s the first thing you should craft once you h on a theme. Your statement can quote your interests, your causes, your expertise, favorites, and maybe the name of your favorite pet!

 

It’s a virtual tour of your Office

 

Remember that your website – be it for a small business or a giant, established one, should provide a virtual tour of your business premises. While visiting your website, your customers and your target audience should feel how they would if they had been there in one of your stores or branches. And so, your website is your storefront. It has to be classy and should contain stuff that distinguishes your brand. You have to have a logo, banners with related color shades, slogan, and anything else that relates directly to the products and services you offer.

 

Buy Some Cool Plugins

 

WordPress Plugin Marketplace

 

The major hype around WordPress is because of the neat plugins it offers. While it has several free plugins, the paid ones are the best because they can add instant life to your website. Also, these plugins can be bought one by one throughout your business era. And believe me, the first time you buy a crazy plugin, you’d love it and instantly wish to buy another. However, it is a bit challenging to use different plugins altogether yourself, and you may need some professional help. For that, there are hundreds of WordPress web designers in Arizona, who offer expert advice and excellent service against a cost you’d love!

 

Offer a freebie

 

Clients love it when they can take something back after visiting your WordPress website. You can offer them a beginner’s guide to doing something, a checklist, a planner page, a sticker, a business plan, a home organizer, or a simple worksheet that would make them come back to your website – which is also your storefront. A lot of times, these customers keep lingering on your website in search of other digital freebies and find something they had wanted to buy for ages.  Something we offer as a freebie is a free SEO audit of your website!

 

A website isn’t enough!

 

If you hire a professional website designer, he/she will walk you through the whole process of setting up an online presence for your brand. But, making a website for small businesses can be a hassle. There will be times when you’d want to focus more on creating new products and services – rather than looking at your webpage and even marketing it. Therefore, to make this process hassle-free, we always suggest our followers hire the best website designer for their small business and let this person do the rest for you! They’ll help you connect your website to different social media platforms, collect email marketing data for you, and so on!

Social Media Marketing for Finance | Smart Insights

Financial services and their yield are always under a grey area – since they require the audience to consider investing a considerable chunk of their monetary possessions. Most of the time, we, as the audience, witness these financial firms advertising for services where they want us to inject for their company some money. And, also if you have a careful eye for detail, you may notice that their social media marketing strategies for finance fail.

Even when these banks, brokerage houses, and even independent wealth consultants post their other-than-business-stuff, they get criticized publicly for their services. The precise cause behind such a failure is the inefficient way of engaging with their target customers. So, here is this holistic guideline, based on our top 4 tips to market your financial services – the right way.

 

Tip 1 – Choose the right platform

 

While your business may teach you how to manage your funds effectively while playing under the budget, it may not prepare you to face this full social media world. There are hundreds of social media marketing strategies, but it’s not ‘one size fits all’ anymore. In this era, you need to select a platform based on your general niche and your service more precisely. Also, you need to see the channels and media you would want. For example, on a Facebook page with no sponsored posts – you’ll badly fail if you offer a coupon worth $100. For financial services mainly, the best media is LinkedIn.

Remember that social media marketing isn’t only about posting a few updates, or maybe share an infographic or a video on how you can yield a profit of 5500% on an initial investment of $1. It should be a story of how your services can solve your audience’s massive problems. Offer them free financial consultancy – and for that, LinkedIn and Instagram can generate the best leads! Once you know your desired platform, it becomes way more comfortable to start producing content that people would love.

 

Tip 2 – Seek professional help

 

Let’s admit – we are great businessmen. We know how to generate substantial cash flow from a small investment. We know how to solve short-term and long-term liquidity issues faced by commoners or celebrities. But, we are all not what we call as ‘all-rounders. And because of that, our businesses shouldn’t suffer. You know your business; you have spent years studying your products and services, and you have played well with conventional marketing. But because the world is changing, we need to change too. And that’s what these social media marketing agents are working.

The best way towards your significant online media presence is to select a social media marketing agency, after thorough research. These organizations have subject matter experts, teams of SEO bloggers, and social media experts who can skyrocket your financial business on an online platform on a Launchpad. They can provide expert advice on whether you need to go ahead with one platform or two or even a multiple of these platforms.

 

Tip 3 – Engage with people and live your brand

 

If your business is alive, let it live amongst your audience. Your website, your Facebook page cover, your Pinterest, your LinkedIn, and anything else that you use should follow the same colors, styles, and themes as are supported by your brand. There are hundreds of customizable themes available in WordPress, which can transform the complete outlook of your brand’s online presence and would give your business a superior look than its competitors.

 

Tip 4 – Be picky about your content  

 

Don’t just share anything. And don’t share everything. Share stories about your brand – that aren’t directly about your brand. Share behind the scenes, stories of your business dinners, snapshots of a typical day at work, virtual tours of your offices, success stories, philanthropic work, and your work towards corporate social responsibility. Do it in the form of short interviews, memes, jokes from one of the employees, customer of the month, an infographic, a public holiday greeting, or a video. Popular social media marketing companies in Arizona, Tempe suggest to offer a downloadable freebie on your website. It could be a checklist, savings template, a short business plan, or whatsoever. It is a first step towards collecting email ids as well. This way, you are not only telling people how far you go to help them, but it imprints the pictures of your office in the minds of people.

 

connected network of people digitally

 

Remember, your social media marketing platforms for finance and your marketing channels are no less than your business premises or a branch of it. When they look at your website, they should get a feel of standing in your office. Don’t just do business, socialize it!

Ecommerce Websites – Arizona Edition

Gone are the days when people would linger around shops and stores. People no longer spend hours looking for their favorite turquoise hoodie or their plum lip color in physical stores. That’s because businesses are growing, and so are the customers’ expectations – so are the selling strategies, and so are your competitors. This expansion has lead both large and small companies to shift to an online business model.  Still, there can be nothing more thrilling and industrious to launch an eCommerce websites from scratch and watch your sales skyrocket.

Now how do you get started?  Umm, it’s more or less like a recipe you’ve been reading twice or thrice or more than that. And so, it’s a different feeling when you start doing stuff – mixing your research with your existing business plans and then grinding it with the market insights for your desired niches. So, here is an ultimate guide for beginners who plan to start an eCommerce store, the hassle-free way, in 2020.

Step 1 – Research the market

Like any other business, Ecommerce also requires you to dedicate time, energy, and efforts. Before you sign up for stores or something like that, make sure to study the market trends, barriers to entry and exit, and participate in online discussions about this business. Otherwise, once you start without the necessary knowledge, it may get exceedingly tedious later on to understand the technical vocabulary, ratios, and insights of your business.

 

ecommerce sale

 

During your research phase, you need to decide which niche you’d target – which depends upon your interest. If you know a great deal about the newest cellphone models, and you choose to open an eCommerce store that exclusively sells handmade scarves, art, crafts, and paintings – you’d soon regret your decision to launch this business.  All your ideas, website, and offerings need to flow together to give the customer a consistent message.

Bonus Tip: Your research should include cross-checking the market trends as well as your interests! Knowing this information will help you direct your efforts while choosing product lines and target audience.  The longer you spend on research, the less you will need to do in the later phases.

Step 2 – Establish your brand and store

An eCommerce store is essentially a conventional store where you hand in physical goods or services to your clients. So, deal with it the same way. Establish your brand – logo, store name, products, vendors, delivery channels, payment methods, business licenses, work permits, etc. Also, consider any other business obligations as required by your local government or compliance authorities.  Failing to do so could result in unpaid taxes or fines that nobody wants to deal with.

Then, choose a platform for starting your eCommerce websites. Evaluate carefully before you decide on one. Selecting a cart option may seem more comfortable, but it’s something entirely different from just looking at them.  Our recommendation is to use the WordPress CMS platform with an eCommerce theme or plugin. Popular options include WooCommerce and Shopify. Remember that your eCommerce has a high loading speed, the available templates relate to your business model, there are different payment channels available, and that it has any other necessary features and storage.  Striking a balance between a lean, fast website, and one that is robust with information is critical.

Bonus Tip: It’s better to hire an eCommerce web designing expert from Arizona if you’re new to all of this. You may have to bear a financial cost for these services, but that’s way convenient than doing it on your own for the first time and destroying the first impression of your store.  Plus, Kallen Media has been working with these eCommerce websites for years!

Step 3: Choose relevant marketing channels

Time to market your store! Deciding the right platform advertise your products and your store is equally important as the design. For example, if you are offering some WordPress themes, digital downloads, research reports, or maybe some furniture for offices and business premises – you better work with LinkedIn. Similarly, if you have a girly brand and pink products, makeup items, or some undergarments – then prefer using Facebook Business. In short, your platforms will differ based on your target audience, and it is so vital for your business to engage with the community via the right channel and media.

Bonus Tip: There are some sponsored marketing tools available on different platforms. For example, LinkedIn has a premium account. Similarly, Facebook posts can also be boosted against a nominal cost. Go for that. Or, if you want to avoid taking long routes for these necessary tasks, outsource your worries to a digital marketing agency in Arizona who can manage everything else for you. A number of these digital marketing agencies offer great SEO and blog posting services.

Are you in Phoenix?

Get in touch with the best digital marketing agency that will take care of your eCommerce websites as a professional. These companies in Phoenix offer solutions to all of your problems – from eCommerce web designing to higher ranking campaigns in SEO. They have inhouse teams who provide creative advice, expert consultancy, and excellent customer care with mind-blowing eCommerce store management services that you’d love for ages!  For more information, you can contact [email protected] or call (773)524-1483.

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