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Here’s A Great Strategic Plan for Overcoming Any Challenge

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Human beings are pleasure-seeking, change-avoiding creatures of habit.

Our minds are geared toward taking path of least resistance; i.e., the easy way. There is a lot of logic and good sense in that. However, life is full of challenges and hard stuff you just gotta do. It is unequivocally impossible to avoid challenges, and it would be remiss of us to try.

Challenge is vital for personal growth; because all the magic happens just outside your comfort zone; because the achievement experienced is proportionate to the challenge surmounted.

There is a general awareness and acceptance of the idea that pushing through challenges makes us stronger, smarter, more evolved and skilled individuals. But we really struggle to embrace challenge with open arms and to mentally push ourselves through the hard times. It is an absolute truism that the only real barrier is the one that exists in your mind.

We are all limited by our mental baggage; fear, doubt, all the useless unhelpful beliefs we carry with us into our future that limits our potential. Those, my friends, are our Mind Monkeys.  And its time to get those nasty little blighters off our backs, and out of our heads.

The greatest crime in the world is not developing your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world.” –  Roger Williams

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am a coaching psychologist and corporate trainer, I am passionate about my career and I am good at it. But for many years I had an internal ‘I hate sales’ mantra going on, and this limited my ability to achieve my professional goal of enriching as many lives as I could.

Because lets face it, without an ability to create business relationships and sell yourself and your services, you severely hobble your chance of succeeding professionally.

So I recognised that I needed to beat that monkey and master the consultative sales process. Here is a strategic plan of how I did it, and you can do it too.

 

1. Look your monkey in the eye

As any Psychologist will tell you, insight is an imperative precursor to change. After all, we cannot change what we do not accept. It is therefore a fundamental necessity that we do as Sun Tzu said in the Art of War, and ‘Know thy self, know thy enemy’. Spend some time in reflection on the following points and get to know your monkey well.

  • What is the focus of your challenging situation? Define the mental challenge you’re in. Is it sales, dealing with confrontation, staying committed, saying No? Name that monkey!
  • Why exactly is this situation challenging? This is about identifying the emotions and expectations that are linked with the challenge. Generally it comes down to the specific fears and doubts we hold due to our old thinking patterns. Dig deep and be honest.
  • How does this challenge affect you? Fear and doubt unmanaged result in avoidance, otherwise known as procrastination! So identify how this avoidance and procrastination affects the outcomes you get.

 

challenges-are-really-just-a-test-to-see-how-much-you-deserve-success-challenge-quote
 

2. Create your monkey-beating strategic plan

Once you know your monkey, you can start to develop a plan that moves you forward. This plan helps you to stay focused on why working through the challenge is important to you and exactly what you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in order to set yourself on a failsafe path of accomplishment. It also identifies the resources and implementation strategies needed, and the accountability measures needed to stay on track.

  • Objectives & timeframe. Keep in mind that the focus of this plan is overcoming a challenge and a psychological barrier; getting the monkey off your back so to speak. So the objectives should reflect that. It should be about personal growth rather than material gain.
  • Action plan. The action plan is a breakdown of exactly what you are going to do on a regular basis in order to achieve the objective. Jeff Olson used the term ‘simple daily disciplines’ in his book The Slight Edge, and explained that the difference between great success and massive failure lies not in one-off monumental events, but in the tiny almost insignificant decisions and behaviours we engage in on a daily basis and which compound over time. You need to identify two elements in  your action plan:
  • Skill development. What are the practical abilities and skills you need to improve that are relevant to your challenge?
    • Thinking & Emotions. What are the thinking and emotional strategies you will employ in order to overcome the fear and doubt associated with your challenge?

 

3. Apply the plan diligently

Of course, even the best laid plan is only as good as the action that follows it. So the final phase is to ensure you get yourself in a steady rhythm of daily action.

  • Mindset. Adopt a mindset of diligence and discipline. ‘I do it til its done’. Stop stuffing around and procrastinating, and fully commit to the goal. Do the work, and you will overcome the challenge. Tell yourself to do it, and don’t move on to the easy stuff until the daily task is done.
  • Routine. Know exactly when and where you will be enacting your plan. Remember we are creatures of habit, so making the tasks a part of your normal routine makes it so much easier to follow through with and dramatically increases your chance of success.
  • Accountability.  The difficulty with working on personal goals is that we are often not accountable to anyone. So overcome this by setting up a tracking method that records the tasks achieved on a daily basis and marks your progress over time.

 

Many years ago I decided to move into a training role specifically because I had quite a fear of public speaking. I recognised speaking as such a useful and versatile skill that I thought it was worth mastering. So I took on a training role (before I really had the confidence to do it!), and had about six months of uncomfortableness and self-doubt while riding a really steep learning curve.

And then I got to the other side. Presenting and training is now a strength, and something I highly enjoy. My boss and mentor had a wonderful phrase – she called it Immersion Therapy. You simply keep doing it until hard becomes easy. So if you want to take control of your life, if you want to be free of your mind monkeys, that’s all you gotta do. Just keep at it until hard becomes easy.

It takes a strong person to put themselves in the way of challenge. But it is in surmounting the challenge that we find the benefits gained vastly outweigh perils undertaken.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all” – Meg Cabot 

So go out there and face your monkeys; you might just find they’re not that scary after all.

 

Dr Vanessa Thiele is a coaching psychologist and corporate trainer at Action Potential Group. Driven by a burning desire to enable people to realize their full potential, she has dedicated herself to studying and training facilitation in the areas of self-development, success and leadership.She is a mum of two, a writer, speaker, and a former personal trainer and martial arts instructor, who would probably like to be a stand-up comedian in her next life. - Check out her site.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Divya

    Mar 26, 2015 at 10:14 am

    A brilliant and motivating article….I am very thankful for the article…reading it made me think of the things where we commit mistakes with these mind monkeys and fears….m gonna try des strategies….

  2. Absolutely Tara

    Mar 20, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Great advice. I kept laughing whenever you mentioned the Monkey phase we were in. I don’t know why, but referencing the challenge as a monkey made it good. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ernie A

    Mar 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    “Challenge is vital for personal growth; because all the magic happens just outside your comfort zone; because the achievement experienced is proportionate to the challenge surmounted.”

    Beautiful! We are all influenced to think challenges are a bad thing.. yet, overcoming them is the essence of growth and ultimately, life.

  4. Monday Motivator

    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Hey Vanessa –

    Great article. Thanks for the quote from The Slight Edge, I’m going to have to check it out. I wrote recently on a similar theme and the ‘simple daily disciplines’ rings so true!

    Appreciate it,

    Rich

  5. Ruslan Barabolkin

    Mar 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Vanessa,

    Excellent post! I found myself dealing with these ‘monkeys’ often.

    Thank you for laying out the plan on how to overcome. Took some great notes as I was reading and am writing out my own plan today to follow diligently.

    Thanks,

    Ruslan

  6. saidesh

    Mar 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    nice helpful..

  7. Dan Western

    Mar 13, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    This is awesome Vanessa!

    Love those subheadings and the bullets you’ve used to break them down.

    All about having the courage and the strength to overcome those challenges!

    Thanks,

    Dan

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Success Advice

Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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Success Advice

5 Essential Skills to Drive Success in Every Niche

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There are many people who don’t have the courage to launch a business in a niche as they think they don’t have the right skills and experience to obtain success. While there are specific skills which determine the success in every niche, there are also some general skills which ensure success in any business you would try.

Below are 5 essential skills you need to drive success in every aspect of your life:

1. Ambition

When you launch a new business, you need to be prepared for difficult moments such as fighting the competition and winning your target audience. Moreover, if you follow some successful entrepreneurs, you should keep in mind that they also faced difficulties and continue to experience them. So, how does a successful entrepreneur get over all the difficulties?

The essential skill you need to possess is called ambition. Set small and clear milestones in your development plan and use your ambition to go over each difficulty and finalize what you had in your mind. It doesn’t matter how hard the path is going to be. Visualize your target and put in all the efforts to achieve it. Staying organized and scheduling each step to get things done are some of the techniques you can use to achieve success.

2. Listen to those around you

While listening to your instincts is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is not enough. As your business develops, you will have an entire team to manage and lead to success. Therefore, you cannot be a successful leader and have success in every niche unless you learn how to listen to the people around you.

You should listen to your employees and discover what they are expecting from you. This is the way to follow if you want to keep your team motivated and help them give the best of themselves.

On the other hand, you will need to listen to your customers to improve your products and services and provide excellent customer support. By listening carefully to the voice of your customers, you will be able to stand out of the competition and ensure their loyalty towards your brand.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Courage

When you decided to become an entrepreneur and build your own business, it means you are a courageous person. Courage will help you harness the power of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel a specific action will bring more success to your business.

Apart from doing intensive research on your ideas and developing the exact steps you are going to follow, you will need the courage to implement them. Not all the ideas will turn out to be successful.

Regardless, you will have something to learn from each success or mistake and this will help you move your business even further. When you have the courage to follow a path which is not very familiar to you, this is going to be the moment when you will widen your horizons and exceed your limits to achieve success.

4. Creativity and imagination

If you already implemented your idea and you see that it works, you most probably think that you don’t need to change anything to achieve more success. You need to keep in mind that customers’ preferences change and your competition is waiting for your mistakes to “steal” your clients.

Therefore, you need to use your creativity and imagination to improve your products and services to meet your customers’ expectations. What is more, creativity can also mean that you are open to talk to new people and use their experience to improve something in your business.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

5. Continuous learning

If you want to drive success in every niche you will need to show a willingness to learn. You need to stay updated with what happens in your niche and what your customers expect from you.

Education is not only something for school. It is a lifelong process, and you should be open to seek knowledge and improve your skills with every opportunity. An efficient trick is to stay close to people who are already successful in your industry, ask their opinions on various subjects and learn from their experience.

The above five essential skills will help you build a successful business in every niche. A true leader is ambitious, knows to listen to the people around him, and is always open to learning from others.

No matter the size of your business, you will need to be creative and use your imagination to improve your products and services. These skills will help any leader develop new skills, stand out of the crowd, and strengthen his position on the market.

What skill do you think is most important to be successful in life? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

5 Key Investment Principles from Warren Buffett

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Warren Buffett is a mentor for a lot of traders. Why shouldn’t he be? After all, his investing principles have earned him the title of the world’s greatest investor. His way of working is a little contradictory to many others in the arena of online trading. He doesn’t invest the way it’s depicted in the popular media. He is the kind of investor who likes buying and holding.

Buffett has taught us that once you buy a stock, hold it no matter what. Forget that there is a recession in the economy or it is at its boom. Whether it’s good times or bad, you’re supposed to hold onto the stock.

Buffett doesn’t just buy stocks for the sake of holding them. He buys them for a specific reason. When those reasons no longer exist, he sells the stocks. He not only looks for good prices but sound management and a competitive advantage. He shared his opinion that companies such as IBM, Sears, and GM are great but they cannot stay competitive for long. Therefore, these companies shouldn’t be a part of your portfolio.

Why not learn from the pro himself and invest the right way? Here are 5 key principles to begin with:

1. Invest In What You Know

Before investing in a stock, it is very important to understand what a company does and how it makes its money. Ever wondered why Buffett has always avoided investing in tech stocks? It’s because he does not completely understand their business model. He sticks to what he knows.

This also explains why he prefers investing in Berkshire’s stocks. It represents a diverse mix of stocks such as utilities, banking, and insurance and consumer products. All of these are businesses that Buffett understands very well. No wonder he has invested a significant amount of money here.

“Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.”  – Warren Buffett

2. Before Buying a Stock, List the Criteria

It makes sense to buy stocks on the basis of criteria, right? After all, you’re ensuring that you don’t end up investing in something unfavorable. You could be searching for stocks in a certain industry with a set price to earnings ratio.

Buffett never makes the price of the stock the sole criteria of his buying decision. Sometimes, great companies end up taking a price dip because of the market situation. However, holding onto these stocks could still turn out to be favorable.

3. Be Aggressive During Tough Times

Generally, it’s not recommended to time the market. But if you’re a long-term investor, you’ll be fine no matter when you buy. This means that even during the tough economic times, you shouldn’t settle down. Keep on looking for opportunities. This is what Warren Buffett does because he knows that things will eventually turn around.

Buffett is known for capitalizing on opportunities during and after the great recession. Bank of America investment is one of the best examples of this. In his latest annual letter, Buffett said that “dark clouds will fill the sky almost after every decade. But it certainly will rain gold.” So don’t despair, keep on investing.

4. Don’t Worry About the Day to Day Market Movements

Along with other tips, Buffett also said that you must only buy a stock if you are comfortable holding on to it in case the stock market shuts down for a decade. Since you are holding onto the stocks for 10 or more years, there is no point in losing sleep over the minor swings.

Ignore the headlines about the trade wars, the government shutdown, and other chaotic news. Instead, you focus on learning the potential growth of your company over the course of time. The fact is, stock prices keep on changing, but it’s not significant if the company’s business still has a bright future.

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.” – Warren Buffett

5. Buy Buffett’s Stocks

Buffett keeps everything simple when it comes to investing. If you don’t want to do the guesswork and research to figure out which stocks to buy, simply invest in the stocks Buffett already owns. But, make sure you understand the business. Buffett discloses his holdings publically each quarter. He has capital in companies such as Wells Fargo, Apple, and Bank of America. To keep things simple, you can buy the shares of Berkshire Hathaway itself.

Warren Buffett hasn’t been successful all by himself. He has a team of investors who help him do legal work and give him investment tips. He’s also a part of an advisor network because he understands that an investor needs all the help he can get. It’s amazing that a billionaire like him still listens to others.

Now that you know how to invest like Buffett, it’s time you prepare your investment strategy. These principles are not hard and fast criteria, they are simply a discipline strategy all investors should stick to. Along with these, you can use math, technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and even stock charts to make a decision. You may not end up a billionaire, but you will avoid losses and make more profits than your fellows.

Which one of the 5 key investment principles from above resonated with you most? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

How to Build a Website That Outranks the Competition

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Create a concrete presence within the niche you compete by employing an effective content strategy. Your strategy should:

  • Establish expertise, authority and trust through the content you produce on and off site.
  • Focus on the client. All of the content you produce should have the client in mind in order to maximize the value you’re offering.
  • Implement an editorial calendar for the content your company will produce

Enhance your websites SEO with long-form evergreen content

Long-form content is in-depth pieces of content in which the length is arguably an average of 1200 words or more. When visitors read long-form content it increases the time they spend on your website. Google pays close attention to dwell time because it is a direct indication of how useful a website is to a user.

When we refer to evergreen content we refer to articles that provide value to readers for an indefinite amount of time. These types of articles contain fully developed ideas, in depth analysis or teach a specific skill. They come in a variety of forms but most notably are checklists, how-to guides, interviews, infographics or case studies. If written and optimized correctly, an evergreen post to a company blog will generate positive signals to search engines and contribute to a website’s performance.

Web pages with data-driven, resourceful content can encourage visitors to return to the site. When visitors find value in your content, they’ll share your pages and even feature your content on their own websites.

Returning visitors, longer and dwell time are signs of authority, expertise, and trust which are very important ranking signals that will push your site upwards in the search results. Evergreen content contributes to all of the criteria above.

By producing content that stays current for the foreseeable future, you are investing in the growth of your company. Websites with evergreen content attribute a large percentage of their organic traffic to older blog posts that continue to provide value to readers for an indefinite period. The average return on an evergreen post is 30% on traffic approximately three or four months after the post is published.

“Good content is not storytelling. It’s telling your story well.” – Ann Handley

Here are 11 effective ways to structure evergreen content:

1. Lists & Checklists

Creating a top numbered list is an easy way for people to digest content. The titles are instant hooks if the topic is relatable to the reader because a person immediately understands what they’re getting before reading the article such as “Top 10 Ways To Lose 10 Pounds In 30 Days.”

Including numbers in your titles tend to catch a reader’s eye. It also opens the door to optimize articles to show up in position zero. Google has favoured numbered lists in their featured snippets (position zero) in an effort to make searching for answers easier and more efficient.

Give your list a captivating title to amp up the excitement and get a higher click-through rate such as “Top 5 Reasons Companies Succeed At Marketing.”

2. Best of Lists & Product Reviews

“Best of lists” is a timeless form of evergreen content because it can be updated to remain current. For example, the list “Best SEO Tools and Software” can be updated annually and the post maintains the traffic that has been built up from returning visitors by keeping the same URL intact.

3. Ultimate Guides & “How To” Guides

Ultimate guides serve as evergreen content because they are comprehensive, instructional manuals that teach the reader something actionable. Whether your guide is geared towards beginners or readers with advanced knowledge of a topic, the manual should provide a reader with something they can walk away with and apply immediately.

An ultimate guide should provide step by step, detail oriented advice or instruction on a specific topic. “How To” guides are one of the most popular types of evergreen content because they teach people a skill or give them a way to solve a problem.

4. Expert Opinions or Round Up Articles

Grouping a number of experts together that express similar ideas on a topic can make for a powerfully convincing argument. Using quotes and facts from different sources doesn’t leave much room for rebuttal when you are proving a theory.

5. Statistics & Infographics

Collect a number of statistics that will shock and awe your audience and title it “10 high octane statistics about evergreen content.” Statistics can be listed in point form, but combining your stats into an infographic is an enjoyable way to get readers to digest a piece of content that is primarily facts and figures.

Creating content in this format encourages a large number of shares that can equate to backlinks. Facts, figures, and percentages are always what writers look for to include in their content so attribution will amount to more websites linking to your page.

“What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

6. Historical Articles

Writing about the history of a specific person, place or event can be a large-scale effort that readers find interesting. Create a timeline of events and take your reader on a journey of any major developments in chronological order. Historical articles have a particular fan base that enjoys reading about real historical events.

7. Q & A Interviews

Developing an in-depth interview on a person of interest is another option for creating long-form content. Quotes or dialogue can be used to progress through the material covered in a single article. Incorporating video is also a great way to promote user engagement. Include the transcript so search engines can read the entire dialogue for SEO purposes.

When a person is an expert in a specific niche, the interview becomes evergreen since there’s no need to update the content when it is all related to the expert opinion of one person of interest at the time of the interview. Whether their opinion changes over time or not, the interview itself is a standalone event.

8. Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes quick-fire questions and answers are a great way to bring up the understanding of any given topic. Structure the content with each question being a progressive stepping-stone from the last.

Frequently asked questions can get a lot of interest if the questions are phrased in an easy to read manner considering there will be a lot of consecutive questions. Make the article more engaging by researching forums and come up with the most common objections and concerns people have regarding a specific topic.

9. Case Studies

Case studies demonstrate your expertise and build authority. This type of content provides readers with first-hand experiences, a story, and hands-on data. Case studies can prove a theory or illustrate how you found a solution to a problem. The best part of case studies is you have first hand data with all the evidence to back it up.

10. Optimize your content and drive up your click-through rates

Long-form, evergreen content will rise to the top of the search results for multiple keywords if it is optimized correctly. Load your article with LSI keywords throughout to enhance the key phrases for which you want people to find on your website.

You can also structure your article to be more likely to show up for position zero by incorporating the tags and list formats. Ask questions most likely to be asked by your potential viewers and tag them as titles.

Tag the answers as titles as well or use a list format if its more suitable and easier to read for the user. There is no guarantee Google will select your snippet for position zero but employing the criteria to be eligible for the featured snippet will at least make your page a candidate for selection.

11. Maximize your audience through high authority websites

Producing evergreen articles is not limited to posting on your website. Market your ideas to well-known blogs that publish related content. There are high authority sites that have a large readership to which you gain access to if they agree to publish your article. The referral traffic you receive from these sites is made up of excellent candidates for your business.

Being published on an authority site gives your company credibility and in most cases a backlink. Guest posting builds the authority of your website allowing you to push your way to the top of the search results. The accumulation of quality backlinks from reputable sites will boost your search visibility to another level and drive more prospects to your website.

Long-form, evergreen content is a strategy that is working across the board to increase traffic and conversions. Implement this marketing strategy to influence key metrics on your website that result in positive ranking signals for the search engines.

The expertise you demonstrate through on site and off site content will give readers the confidence to invest in your services. The investment in creating quality, lead-generating content contributes to the long term growth of traffic and new clients.

Have you thought about building a website to sell products or a blog? What’s the best advice you can give to someone who wants to build a competitive website? Let us know your thoughts below!

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