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The Blog

The place we write.

Are you looking to generate passive income to work on a passion project? Are you a creative thinker with a bunch of ideas but not sure how to fund em? There’s a way to earn passive income by tapping into an affiliate marketing network. With a little work upfront you can earn money to fund projects you’ve been dreaming of doing for years, and at the same time offer education to others about products you know and love creating content like how-to blog articles, product reviews, video reviews, then share on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. That’s the logistical part but here’s are some amazing reasons to get started today.

6 reasons affiliate marketing will work to generate passive income for you:

  1. Websites generate traffic for you and for the merchant. As a website owner you can begin to generate traffic to your website with topics and keywords on the product or service you’re reviewing (some example merchants we know: Freshbooks, MyYogaWorks, ShareASale, CreativeLive) while educating, help a brand strengthen their reach, while helping a prospect consumer make a decision to purchase a product and/or service that really serves them. Once you generate traffic to your website, educate the visitor, to help them determine whether the product is for them and they visit the merchant site so they can purchase it! Plus you have the opportunity to educate the visitor on your services and other offerings too. Can you say win-win?

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The Business of Small Business
It’s been awhile and lots has been happening at Actually keeping us away from blogging, but we’re back with new content on the horizon. One of the really important things we’ve been working on at Actually is staying engaged with our local community (Shoutout to Barrie, Ontario, Canada! We love you!) so a few things we’ve has been working on.

Startup Barrie

We helped establish a grassroots organization for the City of Barrie. We did this in partnership with other Local Community builders (props to Chad over at The Creative Space and Rebecca Palmer of Entrelaunch). Startup Barrie is a grassroots driven movement in Barrie, Ontario bringing together people passionate about collaboration, innovation and learning. Our mission is to get people together to support one another (in both successes and failures) as we create fantastic new opportunities, we are made up of entrepreneurs, technologists, designers and intrapreneurs who work for other organizations. We made it possible with our Enterprise Builders: City of Barrie – Invest Barrie, Georgian’s Henry Bernick Entprenurship Centre, and VentureLab. So the whole point of Startup Barrie is to build a community of builders, helping one another, get to where they want to be as entrepreneurs. There’s no limits. We are an inclusive group – it’s for everyone and for Barrie. You don’t have to be in tech or healthcare, we want to know about every startup business, service or product driven.  Seriously we want to know about you! So go register your Startup today! Go! Okay, maybe that’s a bit pushy, but we’re super eager to know about you, so whenever you’re ready!
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Why would a small business ever want to have a strong web presence? There are a few important reasons – and they all have the potential to make or break a brand. If you build your web presence the right way, you can increase your visibility and make a great impression – both of which leads you a huge competitive advantage. However, these days, creating a powerful web presence that works for you is more than just a static website. That was so 1996. Now, you not only need a website and blog, but also relevant social media profiles, business directories and even review sites.

For a busy entrepreneur, this can be hard to hear – a stand-alone website just isn’t going to cut it. It’s now the hub of a network of information about your business that exemplifies your brand and expertise to those in search of a product or solution.

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How to find your blogging voice
What’s a blogging voice you may ask? Well essentially I’m talking about finding your personality through writing online for blogs, which is something that I personally know is not always an easy task for everyone.

We have been talking since our toddler days and have developed personalities and commonalities within our daily speech, but somehow when it comes to writing down thoughts or opinions on paper we often become very formal, impersonal and a bit shy about voicing our opinions on an open forum aka The Internet. If you are passionate or knowledgeable about any topic it’s important to share with the world because your opinion and thoughts are valuable and need to be heard!
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Starting off in social media can be very intimidating, confusing and time consuming, but there are programs that are available to help create efficiency and productivity for you. Hootsuite is a program developed to schedule social media messages on specific days, at specific times, instead of constantly having to post manually across multiple networks. Even with such an efficient platform there are tips to make Hootsuite work best for you in the long run, adding efficiency to your social media campaigns.

1. Using the Bulk Scheduler Feature
This feature has proved to be useful in scheduling a ton of posts in a short amount of time. Instead of spending a couple hours clicking on each day, typing a unique message and then hitting schedule (or auto-schedule), you will instead, be able to upload an Excel spreadsheet file to Hootsuite where it reads all the data and schedules your messaging on the appropriate day.

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Facebook has become so commonplace that many people forget what they are even posting on the social network. We go to Facebook to post our everyday thoughts, opinions, experiences and pictures as well. What we often forget is that even though our family and friends may get a kick out of reading how bothered we are about a topic, event or issue, potential employers may not see it the same way. This is especially important if you are planning on, or are in the middle of job hunting.

What is Your Potential Boss Seeing?

If the thought of what they may see makes you cringe then chances are that they will be cringing too. There are ways to prevent your potential future boss from seeing your profile but Facebook is also a really fantastic way to promote yourself in the best way possible. If everything is blocked from them, chances are they know that your profile probably isn’t that neat or professional and might have something to hide.

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We’re a small business and we love WordPress! In fact, we’re such supporters of this Content Management System (CMS), that we not only use WordPress on our business sites, but we also teach others how to use if for their small business sites as well.

In so many ways, we believe that WordPress was made for small businesses. It’s like the makers of WordPress sat down and asked themselves: “How can we make the web more accessible to small business owners? How can we make it easy for them to create and manage their own website, all while engaging clients using Internet marketing strategies?” And the result is a CMS that’s built for businesses!

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6 Reasons why you should be using wordpress
Let’s say you’re a small business owner. You have limited resources to spend on building and maintaining your website. But you also realize how vital a functional website is to your future. What can you do? WordPress is ideal for people in your shoes. It lets you build and maintain a functional website all on your own!

Here are six important reasons why you should be using WordPress for your small business website:

1. Easy to setup, manage, and update. Don’t know HTML code? You’re not an Internet aficionado? No problem – WordPress has you covered! To get started on this Content Management System (CMS), all you need is an Internet connection and web browser. If this is your first time, WordPress promises to be gentle. Because it’s the perfect starting point for noobs, WordPress has become the darling of small businesses around the world.

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How Social Media Drives Customers To Your Website
Sometimes, a small business’ website just isn’t enough to bring in a substantial amount of traffic on its own. It needs a boost – a social media boost, that is! Social media was designed to bring increased visibility to your site, when employed strategically. In fact, a website is just part of the marketing strategy you have in place.

Think of your website as the hub of a wheel. In order to make the wheel go round, you need spokes to connect the hub to the tire. And social media networks are the spokes that are connected to your website hub, helping direct traffic to where you want it most. The hub is where you want to conduct your business, but social media gives you access to an audience you may not have been able to tap into with just a website.

One of the great things about using social media to drive traffic to your website is that it’s free. And what small business doesn’t like a little cost effective business? And we want to help you tap into it, so here’s a little incentive (as well as a tip or two) on how to positively use social media to increase the traffic to your site.

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A Good Looking And Functional Website
Your website is often the first place a prospective client visits to “get to know you”, and as we all know, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Sure, everybody likes a website that catches the eye and is aesthetically pleasing, but to be successful, your site must be about more than just good looks.

At Digital Giants, we often work with designers like Actually, to bring together the beauty of design with the functionality of a high-performing, content driven, optimized website. If you focus on one and not the other, it’s like going on a date with a great looking person, but discovering they have zero personality. Don’t put your potential customers in the same awkward position!

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Boost Your Business in the New Year with Actually's Workshops
Have you set your business goals for 2015 yet? If you’re like us, learning new skills that will help grow and develop your business is near the top of the list. Learning is an investment in yourself (and your business) that will always pay off, so start your new year off in the right direction with our empowering and educational workshops.

It’s easy to make excuses as to why your small business isn’t doing as well as you’d like it to. One of those reasons is you don’t know how maximize your brand, especially when it comes to marketing yourself online. But the time has come to take the plunge.

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Actually, Our Workshops Make A Holly Jolly Holiday Gift
Oh, holiday shopping – how we despise your long lines, packed parking lots and sold-out stock. And there’s always someone on your list who is impossible to buy for (who ends up returning the gift, after all the trouble you went through to get it). We’d like to suggest something new – give a friend, family member or employee the gift of education and empowerment, with one of our fun, interactive and practical workshops.

We all know someone who could use a gift like this: a friend who’s thinking about starting up a side business; your uncle who has a great idea for a product, but can’t figure out the whole Internet marketing side of the business. Or even better, it can be a present you give to yourself – the gift of knowledge and innovation.

We’ve got a few workshops that will help deck your halls with online visitors and increased sales – let’s take a look at them.

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Who needs to be online? Everybody! If you have something to sell, something to say or something to teach, you need to be on the web. Easier said than done, right? And this is especially true if you have a limited budget. But we’ve got the answer for you – a workshop that’s dedicated to building your web presence.

To find what they’re looking for, people turn to the web first to do their research. If you don’t have a web presence (or you’re current web presence is seriously out of date), customers are going to pass you by and move on to your competitors. The Building Your Web Presence workshop is all about helping you solve this dilemma. If you don’t have a web presence, we’ll teach you how to start one. If you have one but aren’t happy with the results it’s producing, we’ll show you how to increase your web traffic.

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Running any kind of business can be hard, not to mention expensive. You don’t have the budget to hire employees to take on certain roles where you lack the expertise. But you can’t wait until you make it big on Kickstarter to take care of things like promotions and marketing – in fact, you need these skills in order maximize exposure and attract new clients. What’s a small business owner to do?

It’s time to take matters into your own hands with an affordable one-day workshop – such as the Start-up Branding and Marketing Promotions workshop that we’re offering! It’s the ideal way to learn about, create and manage your marketing and promotions strategy in-house.

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We’ve been at this blogging game for over 10 years now. And during this time, we’ve learned a lot… mostly through trial and error. Our blog is about how you can learn from our errors. So here we are, years later, still active in the blogging game… and still learning something new every day.

Because we are such a wealth of blogging knowledge (again, due to falling down, getting up and brushing ourselves off), we’d like to pass along a few blogging commandments we live by. Feel free to use these 6 lessons in your own blogging practices:

1. Thou shall always be honest. Being a blogger means being open, honest and most of all, transparent. If you try to lie or pull the wool over your readers’ eyes, they will know, and they will call you out on it. If you’re working with a brand or advertiser, you need to tell your audience – that goes for native advertising, contests and reviews. But just because you get something for free, it doesn’t mean you have to sell your soul to write a review for something you wouldn’t personally buy. Everything that you write will reflect you and your brand – do you really want to be seen as a sell-out or a liar?

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If you’re working by yourself or in a small business, you may have a blog strategy in place (we hope!). But do you know what you’re getting out of all that time you spend on your social media accounts? Do you know what your blog’s ROI (Return on Investment) and do you know how to measure it?

Okay, we just posed a lot of head-scratching questions to you. But they are important to ensure that you’re not wasting your time, and focusing on the areas or platforms you should be. Should you really be spending so much time on LinkedIn when your target demographic is on Twitter? No matter where you are spending your time, you should know the ROI of your marketing plan. There are several ways to track and measure your ROI (regardless of the social media platform), but be sure you take these points into consideration when you’re measuring your social media ROI.

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If you think that the more followers on Twitter you have, the higher you’ll be ranked as a website, you wouldn’t be the only one. And you’d be wrong. So many companies think that social media is a numbers game – “We need as many followers as possible, so let’s buy ads and followers to bump it up. Popularity matters!” That’s about the worst thing you can do and it’ll come back to bite you in the ass. You don’t win when you think it’s merely a numbers game.

Let’s say you only have 200 followers on Twitter. It took a year to get them, but they followed you on their own. These are engaged followers who like what you have to say. They will retweet what you write and comment on your posts. These are the followers you should covet, instead of the 20,000 fake followers that will do nothing with your content, will never visit your site, and make you look like you have to buy your “friends” (which you did).

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You’ve heard the saying: “Content is king.” It’s been true for years, and looking at the changes Google keeps making to its search algorithms, it’s going to rule in the future, too. Engaging, relevant content is important for blogs, social media updates, and newsletters – so if you’re not providing it, your site is going to be rendered useless for readers and search engines. No matter what your message may be, you need to not only infuse it into your content, but also keep it fresh and interesting. So how are you going to do that?

We’re so glad you asked. Here are our 5 crucial blog creation tips that will keep your posts out of the hum-drum zone:

1. Picture this. A good picture can take a post from ordinary to extraordinary with just the click of a button. Depending on the topic you’re covering, we suggest taking the photos yourself. That way, you own the rights to them, and no one is going to have that exact photo on their site. Spend an hour or so taking a range of photos you can use for the rest of the week or month, depending on how often you post. Using pictures throughout your post will help break up the copy, making it more visually appealing and making it easier to read (which results in more people coming back to read what else you’re posting).

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Do you want a unique, fun, festive and custom designed holiday card? Are you looking for unique custom designed cards for your holiday party? You’ve come to the right spot. We have super festive holiday savings that await you.

Our custom designed holiday cards can be purchased as a digital file for a holiday email to your newsletter list, a holiday greeting on your website on the home page banner/slider, or maybe on your personal or business Facebook or Twitter pages. Every holiday asset is customized to you and your unique needs!

Are you in need of professional printing with envelopes? We can do that too! Just select the file type from the drop down menu below.

Save 55% on creative design services for holiday inspired gift cards, ecards, invites or custom holiday themed social channel designs if you order by December 18th, 2014.

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