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Backlink For Your Interior Design Blog

Backlink for your Interior Design Blog

One of the best ways to get higher rankings for your interior design blog or website is to create backlinks. But, what is that? A backlink is an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. In normal speak, it is a link that someone else puts on their site that connects to your site.  

So if I put a link to WallsbyDesign.com in The Chaise Lounge blog and you can click on it, it will take you to my Walls by Design website. It is considered a link on this page, and a backlink on my Walls by Design site. Backlinks bring credibility but do not create as much value as a link (like on this page). Why is this? Because Google gives more value to others linking to you, and the bigger and more authority the connecting website, the more weight the backlink brings to your site.  In other words, a backlink coming to this site from Colorado Homes & Lifestyles brings more weight than a link from the Walls by Design site. Yes, think of it as a popularity contest. You want to be linked to the cool kids.  

So how can you get these backlinks? Well, there is a good way and a bad way. The bad way is to sign up for services that promise to create hundreds of backlinks for you for a small fee. I’ve already told you that the quality of the referring site matters, but there are also sites that can be negative for your website because they have a bad reputation for bad practices.  Just like hanging out with the bad kids. Google is the ultimate big brother, and Google knows all, so don’t try and cheat the system.  

Good links can be created in a few different ways.  Here are a few of the most common:

1. Referrals.  Have you ever written a testimonial or a reference for a company that they can use on their website?  Make sure they give you a link (or backlink) to your site. Here is an example of a testimonial I did for someone, and I am trying to get them to add the link for me. It is good to do these for the backlinks, but I think it is just good business as well. You can do it for products, the contractors that work for you on projects, and the services you use.

A Postcardmania testimonial

2. Blog posts.  Contributing to other blogs can be a great way to get links. Remember, the more traffic it gets, the higher the authority, and the better the link. I recently wrote an article for Stacy Garcia’s blog called Life-styled.net on Finding your Value as a Design Firm. For one, it is great to have the link for our site, but it is also great to be associated with a great brand like Stacy Garcia. I met Stacy when I covered High Point Market in the Spring of 2016. We hit it off wonderfully, and you can hear her interview in episode 60.

3. Simple quotes.  You don’t always have to write a whole entire article. I recently was involved in an event that was put together by our local ASID and NKBA chapters, but was also organized by Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, and received two links. One for wallsbydesign.com and one for thechaiseloungepodcast.com.

ASID NKBA Social media summit

 Boom! A two for one! So, if you are ever asked to speak at an event, be sure to get links to any post-event marketing. Most of the time, these opportunities don’t pay off monetarily, but they can pay off in terms of marketing Google power.

4. Blog comments.  Some of these are better than others. It will depend on how they have their comments managed on the blog. I would recommend not doing random fly-by comments, but to give good, thoughtful comments, and then to make sure you input your website. These types of comments can pay off in other ways as well, but that is a topic for a different day.

5. Get listed.  Be a resource for different people. If you have vendors that have websites and list industry partners, make sure they include you. I see this more on builder or remodeling sites, but you may have a paint contractor you work with that would give you a mention on their site. I know I would if we were doing business together, and you asked me for a link.

6. Local listings.  Make sure you have an updated profile in Google Local (or maps, or whatever they are calling it these days), on Yelp (even just the free account), Bing, and any other listing services. These are low hanging fruit. If you are on the fence about the BBB and becoming a member, just know that the linking power is just about worth it, by itself. They have great Google power.

AsSEMrush dashboard you can see there is a lot that goes into creating backlinks. If you are curious to know how many you have, or how many a competitor has, you can use a fee service: semrush.com. It’s super simple, and it will give you a lot more information other than just how many backlinks you have. You can check it out for free, but as you can see, it gives you a lot of information like links, traffic, search words, and so much more. They do have a paid version that will give you more information, but that might be a little overkill for your purposes. I used it to research a competitor to find out that they have 2,700 compared to my 25. Ouch, I have a lot of work to do (but that’s okay, they refer us a lot). Better get started.

Go get some backlinks for your interior design blog too, and see what happens to your traffic!

-Nick

If you want to connect with Nick May and The Chaise Lounge, please do so on our website at TheChaiseLounge.com where we talk the business of interior design.

Six Ways To Kill Your Interior Design Business

Laurel Bern at the Design Bloggers Conference

One of the best things about going to interior design events (markets, conferences, etc.)has been the people I have met. This has been way overdue, but Laurel Bern is one of the amazing people I have met in my travels. We met back in March at the Design Bloggers Conference, and I asked her to write a blog post for us. Yes, she did a fantastic job getting it to me, but it has taken me this long to get my act in gear on my blog. Take it away Laurel! -Nick

 

Six Ways To Kill Your Interior Design Business

Hi, I’m Laurel Bern and I’ve had an interior design business in Westchester County, New York for 20 years. Like most of us in this line of work, I’ve had my ups and downs–especially in the last several years. Between the great recession and the advent of the internet, we’ve all had to reinvent ourselves; it seems to be an ongoing thing. And yet… I still often hear from my colleagues that things aren’t going so well. Some are just starting out and some have been in the biz for a while. It’s just that for many, the phone isn’t ringing and that’s a scary thing when you have a family who’s relying on you.

Six Reasons Why Your Interior Design Business Is Deader Than A Vermont Maple Leaf In December.

1. You have one of these things up instead of a website.

under construction page

Please don’t do this to yourself.

The potential client doesn’t need you later; they need you NOW!

There is no later. They are not going to ever come back. They are going to jump off and find someone who’s in business–not “under construction.”

Putting one of these things up sounds like you aren’t ready to do business—like you don’t have your act together.

An interior design business website can be built in one weekend.

By you.

Yes, you! Believe me; even your dumbest relative can create a website.

Look. I have a confession to make.

I’m a former Luddite. That’s right, a technical idiot. Even so, I created my website four years ago and it was ready to go, in a few days. That’s how easy it is!  After you have it up and running, you will need to learn some new things and you’ll need the help of a developer, but with all of the WordPress templates (themes) available, it is easy to put up a beautiful and functional website with a blog page included.

Laurel website

My blog page on my website.

2. You have a website but the last time anyone changed anything on it was when G W Bush started his second term. And you were never very happy with it. The website, that is. :]

It’s just sitting there, gathering dust, all cobwebby and sorely dated. Of course, your work is much better than that. They’ll find out when you bring your real portfolio over.

But, they are not going to have you come over because they are going to click off and look at the next candidate on the list.

And, it’s even worse than that.

The almighty Google thinks you’ve gone on permanent vacation or maybe even died because no action on your website = a big problem. Googs is a busy cyber-dude with a billion other websites to crawl. No activity? buh bye… Goog’s crawler is only interested in fresh content. OR content that’s getting a lot of action. Yours apparently is not.

That’s why your phone isn’t ringing. No one can find you because your Google listing is on page 20!

3. Not Having a Blog

An interior design blog is the most powerful marketing tool out there.

I will repeat that.

An interior design blog is the most powerful marketing tool out there and it is relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of advertising.

Why don’t you have one?

Oh, stop kvetching! Stop saying you don’t have time.

Blogging is fun and you DO have time. If your phone isn’t ringing, you have plenty of time. :] You need a blog to convey your personality, expertise, helpfulness.

The power of the blog is that it gives you a tremendous head-start. I’ve had many people who want to hire me purely from reading the blog. And if I can do that, so can you!

There’s something even worse than not having a blog.

You do have a blog, however, the last entry was in December 2013 when you apologized for not having written in six months; then you just disappeared–completely.

Oh dear. That is the first cousin of “under construction.”

First of all, no one (except maybe your mother) cares that you haven’t written in six months. It comes across as sounding self-important. Don’t do that. You’re not that important. Well, you are, but not in this context. Don’t apologize for not having posted.

Frankly, if you can’t keep to a regular blogging schedule, you would be better off not having a blog at all. Why? You’re marketing yourself as a flake.  Start a blog and commit to regular blog postings. Yes, stuff happens. Really bad stuff. But try not to go more than one month without posting. It’s a wonderful escape from the bad stuff.

You want to keep your website fresh and regular posting will do that. It will also make Googs really happy and he’ll see that you have fabulous fresh content and will send you more folks over who might call you up for a job.

3. Your branding is fuzzy.

Your branding is your image. It tells people in an instant who you are what you’re about and if it’s something they might be interested in. Here’s what I mean.

You have a website up and running and a blog; it’s up-to-date

but, it’s all over the lot.

One section looks very corporate/transitional/staid—Lots of gray and brown. Then, the blog pages look like that of a 16-yr-old girl–all bright, neon colors.

The potential client is more than a tad confused or else thinks you must be a nut-job.

Click.

4. You Have A (Really Bad) Portfolio

(and You Don’t Even Realize it.)

Or, maybe you do.

The work is lovely but the photos don’t convey that. They are dark, out-of-focus, crooked, too small and some look like the camera was across the street.

Or, there’s a lot of distortion.

You do not want any distortion whatsoever in your portfolio shots. You are not trying to sell a home.You are showing your interior design ability.

Here’s the thing. Just because a photographer is a professional photographer, doesn’t mean he knows how to photograph for an interior for your portfolio. You do NOT want to ever use a wide angle lens. You do not have to have the entire room in the shot. In fact, the best shots are often close up vignettes.

This is also another post. But photos need to be sharp, clear and bright– And in natural light, unless maybe a kitchen but then only very low lights. No lamps on! Look in all of the shelter mags. Do you see the lights on? No, you usually don’t. It distorts the colors and gives a “brochure look” that you don’t want. You want your rooms to look natural, bright, fresh and deliciously inviting.

bronxville-dining-room-buffet-mirror

You want your potential client to think… “I could see myself living here…”

5. You aren’t charging for the initial visit

OMG! You get a call and you shoot right over like a Tsunami is about to land in your living room.

Desperate, much? You might be. I’ve been there too, but try not to act that way.

You think that you’re being “nice” and helpful by not charging. Surely, you will earn their trust. They will realize that by your not charging, that you’re a nice, honest, decent person and will want to hire you.

Right?

Well, they might hire you, but if they don’t, how are you going to feel after you just spent three hours impressing them with your immense knowledge?

Sucks, doesn’t it?

You need to get paid for that expertise.

Furthermore, you will not earn your potential client’s respect. Not really. This is a business and professional people charge for their services. Going to someone’s home to see if you’re a good fit is still a service. When you see a doctor for a consult doesn’t he charge you? Yes, he does. He charges you double.

And he charges for every visit, thereafter— even if he kills you.

Charge a minimum of $250. Tell them, you’re coming to work! (you are.) If they don’t want you because they think that they shouldn’t have to pay, well that is just fine. You don’t want them either. They were not going to hire you anyway, most likely. People who are thirsting for help will be all-too-grateful that you have time in your schedule for them.

By the way. If you’ve been doing freebies like this for a while, don’t beat yourself up. It took me 17 years to realize that I was being a fool for not charging.

6. Being a miserly, snobby cow on social media and/or your blog.

It’s one complaint I hear over and over and over; especially from designers who are active on Houzz. (I’m not, but that’s another story)

This is what they say:

I cannot give out the source. It’s not fair to my client who paid for that source!

I disagree. The client did not pay for the source. The client paid for the furniture, just like they would if they purchased it from a store. Does the clerk hide the vendor from everyone else coming into the store? Of course not. If all you did was specify, that’s a different matter. But if they are only asking about one piece of furniture, and you’re all indignant or snotty, it comes across sounding not-very-helpful. Who wants to work with someone who’s not-very-helpful?

You don’t need to say where everything down to the napkin rings came from or every paint color, but you need to be supremely generous and gracious online! You can’t give too much away.

But, Laurel, if I give them everything they need to know, then they won’t want to hire me.

Yes, I can see your train of thought but please hear me out.

Let’s say that I’m a brain surgeon. Over drinks and a couple rolls of sushi, I explain to you every detail of how I perform brain surgery. I’ll tell you the exact instruments, where I buy them, how much they cost. I will explain where I cut. How deeply. Everything.

Tell me. Are you going to go out and operate on someone’s head?

You can tell them where to get everything and they’ll still need you because that is only a small part of what they need to know. They are still going to want help. Only, now, they’ll want your help.

To sum up. Here are several things you need to have a thriving interior design business.

  • You need a rockin’ website that includes a blog (with great content) that’s updated at least 3 times a month.
  • You need to know who your ideal client is and everything on your site needs to convey to that potential client that this is the place they want to be. They will already love you, simply because you are speaking the same language.
  • Your portfolio needs to sing with bright, clear, large-ish photos.***
  • When you do get a call, you need to first qualify on the phone. (that is your freebie). Then, set up an appointment and state up front what the fee is.
  • And finally, you need to be super helpful. To potential clients, to your colleagues. To everyone.

I promise that if you do all of that consistently, not today, and not tomorrow either, but within a couple of years, (maybe less) you will have more business than you know what to do with.

xo,

Laurel

http://laurelberninteriors.com

laurel bern find out more

***Some geeks will tell you to use small photos but there are plugins which will reduce the file size with no loss of image quality. It helps to keep your site running faster and you can use larger images. I use and recommend the Kraken Image Optimizer.


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If you want to connect with Nick May and The Chaise Lounge, please do so on our website at TheChaiseLounge.com where we talk the business of interior design.

Telling Your Interior Design Story

Here I am again at ADAC in Atlanta Georgia where designers come to source all of the fantastic furniture, fabrics, and kinds of interesting materials they use in their projects.

I just got done at the Design Bloggers Conference and we’ve been talking about marketing, social media and how to get your name out there. One of the things I have been conversing about with people over and over while being here is using video.  What makes video so effective is that it gives you the ability to easily tell your story, and it provides accessible means of getting it out there. So, on your website, you should be putting your story out there: telling your clients about you, about your company, and why are you different. It’s key to focus on the things that make you different and stand out.  So why not use video?

If you go to my website for my painting company Wallsbydesign.com, I have a video on the page entitled, “Our Story.” It talks about how I got into the painting business; My Dad always used to say, “Nick, you are going to school so you don’t have to paint the rest of your life.” And now I have been doing it for 17 years (which is obviously parlayed into a few other things).

So, what is your story? How did you get into interior design? Those are the questions I ask the designers on my podcast all the time. We look to reveal the backstory of how and why designers got to ‘being a designer.’ You have a story and you have a unique story, so use video, and share it. It doesn’t have to be anything highly published or polished, but people WANT to know your story and people WANT to see it. So, I would suggest just getting out there and trying it. It might not be fantastic the first couple of times you do it, but the more you do it the better you’ll get at it and the more comfortable you’ll be doing it. So get out there, grab that iPhone and start videoing. See you soon!

-Nick

If you want to connect with Nick May and The Chaise Lounge, please do so on our website at TheChaiseLounge.com where we talk the business of interior design.

52 – Industry Partners with Alycia Wicker and Phyllis Harbinger

Phyllis Harbinger hits hard with the number one topic of leadership. Phyllis believes the leading and allowing other to shine in the process shows true leadership. Leading isn’t just limited to your team or staff. You must lead your subs, vendors, traders, etc as well. In this process, you are empowering others to lead and you are showing them to lead.

Mindset is a aspect of leadership. You must look at things from abundance. Thinking positive and staying positive with create positivity.  Connecting with your team will also help to create a positive working situation. Enjoy time with you team outside of the work environment and build relationships that you and your team can grow with. Think about this and tell us your feedback.

What is the most important aspect on your leadership style? What did you respect most about you favorite boss/leader? 

download

Alycia Wicker is a former interior designer turned kickass online marketer for interior design. She believes strongly in your online presences is a way to invite people into your world. It’s a tour of your virtual pad. Make your website clear with your intention and where you are taking people. Your website should be appealing but should focus on what is it in for the client and what they will get. Your personality should shine through but also be constant. You don’t want to be one person online and another in person. Her website shows designers through coaching how to start/improve your online activity and presence for the ever changing online world.

49 – Design Bloggers Conference – Day 1

The Chaise Lounge is LIVE! Nick May is at the Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta, GA.DBC

Adam Japko, the founder and creator, greeted us with talking about what the Design Bloggers Conference is all about. After 6 years, the conference keeps growing in size and culture. The blending of interior design, fashion, food, photography, etc work together to create an inspiring atmosphere. 80% of attendance is each year is new because of the constant growing and expanding of brands and blogging. The Design Bloggers Conference makes a difference with building an online brand for years to come!

cdp

Colleen Duffley is an amazing photographer that has shot everything from food to fashion to cars to interiors. She has shot all over the world with her company, Colleen Duffley Productions. She hosted a panel at the DBC on iPhone Photography which is tips and tricks of shooting professional photography on your iPhone. She will also be hosting webcasts on her website of more tips and tricks.

steve-jill-mckenzie

Jill McKenzie, of Steve McKenzie’s, has been in the furnishing business for 4 years. They are a retail and “to the trade” showroom in Atlanta, GA. Along with having beautiful collections of home furnishing and fabric at their brick and mortar, they also provided all the furniture that The Chaise Lounge used at the DBC.

LB logo

Laurel Bern is a blogger/designer with Laurel Bern Interiors. She is also very excited to announce her new line of paint which will feature 150 colors with Benjamin Moore. This was her forth year at the DBC and she keeps coming back for the amazing guests and the networking. She feels with blogging and website it’s very important to remember that your site is mobile friendly and responsive.

RH logo

Refined Haystack is a curated interior design network at a local level that is used for the general public. Sabrina Vodnik sat down with us and explained the design and propose of the engaging site. All the resources that are recommended to the audience are from designers. Resources can be from trade items and sites to unique little shops and everything in between.

Responsive Websites for Interior Designers

As of this week, if you do not have a mobile-optimized website, you will be penalized. Google’s new algorithm takes this into account when searching on a device. Google wants to give its users the best experience possible, so being pointed to a website that is not user-friendly isn’t ideal. Here is what the difference looks like on a cell phone for a mobile responsive website vs. a non-responsive device.

Responsive vs. non-responsive

Searching “interior design Kansas City” on my desktop computer, this site came up in the paid search:

nonresponsive web

Doing the same search on my phone, the company was nowhere to be found. I then directly pulled up their web address on my phone and got this:

website non responsive

Google will punish you because sites that are not optimized for mobile are difficult to view on phones. Over 60% of all searches in 2015 are through a mobile device. You won’t be dropped entirely, but you will not be found as easily or be at the top of a keyword search if on a mobile device – which includes tablets.

For help creating a website, I highly recommend contacting my friends at VA Staffer. Jay and his excellent team will walk you through various options and get you up-and-running quickly. Just take a look at the new site he built for me for under $1000:  wallsbydesign.com.

I hope this helps!

-Nick

If you want to connect with Nick May and The Chaise Lounge, please do so on our website at TheChaiseLounge.com where we talk the business of interior design.

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