“AHP is fortunate to have Carol join the 2023 conference team,” says Chris. Carol’s event management skills and experience as an AHP member are a perfect combination to add fresh ideas on planning the association’s annual event.”
“I’ve always had a passion for bringing people together and building a sense of community. And I’ve long admired the strong networking and educational benefits provided to AHP members, especially through the annual conference,” states Carol. “I am honored to have this opportunity to put my event management skills to work to help create a fun and successful conference for all AHP members.”
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Carol went on to attend Virginia Intermont College, where she earned a B.A. degree in equine studies. She spent the early years of her career as a riding instructor and farm manager in Virginia, New Jersey and on Long Island, New York. Her career ultimately led her to Lexington, Kentucky, where she thrived as a full-time event and association manager for an international equine membership organization. In 2010 she founded Equine Office Solutions, a digital marketing and event management agency serving equine business owners and associations throughout the United States.
The 2023 AHP Conference, “Meet at the Mesa,” will be held June 22-24 in Tempe, Arizona.
American Horse Publications (AHP) has united equine media, businesses, media professionals, nonprofit organizations/associations, and students for over 50 years. The professional membership association promotes excellence in equine media and encourages relationships and communication within the horse industry through education and networking. For more information, visit www.americanhorsepubs.org.
For more information, contact: Christine Brune, AHP Executive Director,
By: Carol Aldridge & Erica Franz
In 2022 more than 43% of all websites worldwide were created using WordPress, according to W3Techs.
"WordPress is used by 63.6% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 43.2% of all websites."
WordPress has become so popular because it is flexible enough to create many different types of websites. Because it can be so simple to get started creating your own website with WordPress, the importance of regularly maintaining your site can be easily overlooked.
To share more about the benefits of regularly maintaining your website, we turn to Erica Franz of Fat Pony. Erica has been developing websites for 23 years, with a keen focus on WordPress since 2005.
Q: WITH SO MANY WEBSITE PLATFORMS TO CHOOSE FROM, WHAT MAKES WordPress SUCH A POPULAR OPTION?
A: WordPress is well known for being a very flexible way to build just about any type of website you can dream up.
There are already tens of thousands of plugins you can use to add functionality to a WordPress site. And because WordPress powers such a large segment of websites on the internet it can be straight-forward to find a developer for a custom solution.
The WordPress community is also well known for how much they contribute free knowledge and support to make creating your website as encouraging as possible.
Q: WHY IS MONTHLY WordPress MAINTENANCE SO IMPORTANT?
A: Your website is your most valuable promotional asset. Even if you’ve created it yourself instead of paying a professional, your time costs money.
If you buy a brand new vehicle but don’t maintain it the investment you made in it is lost very quickly. And the cost to fix problems is much greater than if you would have regularly maintained the vehicle to begin with.
Websites work in a similar way.
The pace that WordPress adds new features and technology evolves like driving a vehicle. That progress puts wear and tear on your website. If you don’t regularly maintain your site to make sure it’s working correctly with the changing technology and address potential safety issues while they are still minor, it can cause a full break-down or cost a lot of money to fix a big problem later on.
Regularly maintaining your site means updating the WordPress Core, which powers your site, and the theme and plugins that are active. Updates to these components don’t just add features, many times the updates address security flaws to protect against hackers and bugs that can negatively impact your website.
Maintenance can also improve the site’s performance through faster page loading speeds, enhanced SEO and an overall better user experience for increased site conversions.
During maintenance, backing up your site frequently can literally save your site if it is hacked or compromised – you do have regular site backups, right?
Bottom line - providing regular monthly maintenance is a direct way to protect your investment. Preventing a major site issue with regular maintenance is less expensive than having to rebuild a site from scratch or recover and restore from a backup.
Q: WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF MY SITE IS HACKED?
A: Having your website hacked could have a number of potential consequences.
In some instances, hackers might simply leave a calling card to let you know that they hacked your site; like changing the homepage to show a message that you’ve been hacked.
However, it is more likely the hacker will cause real damage.
They may steal data from your website to try and hack into other websites, like financial institutions.
They could take over your website and hold it for ransom, locking you out until you pay.
If you are running an eCommerce site they might steal financial information and customer data. This could open you up to lawsuits, and depending on local laws you could face additional fines and penalties.
Don’t forget about the cost involved in repairing the damage done to your site by hackers. It may be as simple as addressing the security flaw or as extreme as having to rebuild the website from scratch.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES A WordPress MAINTENANCE PLAN COST?
A: Developers will either charge a flat rate or an hourly rate for website maintenance. The cost may vary depending on how complex your website is and how often you have it maintained.
Hiring a Developer to maintain your site on a monthly basis often allows them to give you a better price. This is because implementing smaller updates more frequently can reduce the risk of complications.
Because your Developer is also regularly accessing the website their familiarity with its functionality can also decrease the amount of time needed to properly maintain the website.
Because of how flexible WordPress is for creating a fully custom website, your website might not be like any other website that’s been built before. Having a good relationship with your Developer can end up saving you money in the long-term and keep your website running smoothly.
Q: HOW DO I FIND A QUALIFIED WordPress DEVELOPER TO MAINTAIN MY SITE?
A: There are many ways you can find a qualified WordPress Developer to maintain your website.
Word-of-mouth is an excellent approach, ask the people you know who have professional websites if they can make a recommendation. Generally, people are unlikely to refer you to someone they distrust or have had bad work from, so the recommendations you receive this way tend to be of very good quality.
You can also post a listing to WordPress Jobs. It’s good to be as specific about the requirements when posting a public job listing to elicit the most qualified applicants; this includes the most important aspects of your website and a general budget.
Many times WordPress Developers donate some of their time to help answer support topics in the WordPress.org Forums, and in specialized online groups for themes and plugins. If your site relies heavily on a specific theme or plugin you might consider joining an online community related to that theme/plugin and inquire about hiring a Developer that way.
There are also many development agencies if you prefer not to work one-on-one with a freelance Developer.
Q: CAN I MAINTAIN MY WordPress SITE MYSELF?
A: Just like vehicle maintenance, yes you can maintain your own website.
It’s important to weigh the cost vs risk of doing it yourself or hiring a professional to maintain your website.
There are numerous things that can go wrong when updating a website. These are often easily resolved by a professional if caught early, but left unattended, could develop into larger issues as time goes by.
Before deciding to perform site maintenance yourself, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you know how to resolve a fatal error should it occur?
- Do you know what to do if an update breaks some other functionality on the site?
- Do you know how to restore a full backup of the site should you need to?
- Is the money you’re saving worth the cost of fixing your site should it break in the process?
In conclusion, you’ve made the smart choice to build your website with WordPress. Now there are steps you can take to protect your investment and assure that your greatest asset continues to serve your business for years to come.
If you have any questions regarding marketing, website management, or other promotional topics, feel free to reach out to us at Carol@equineofficesolutions.com; or if you have any questions regarding WordPress Development feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EQUINE OFFICE SOLUTIONS
At Equine Office Solutions, we understand the unique challenges that horse-related business owners face in today’s rapidly changing digital world. Since 2010, our clients have enjoyed focused, personalized support, customized marketing plans and comprehensive sales funnels designed to increase website traffic and generate qualified leads. Contact us to learn how you can achieve your goals with consistent, quality results. Carol Aldridge, Ph: (859) 361-9416, www.equineofficesolutions.com
Fat Pony has been helping equine businesses with their websites for more than 20 years. We build long-term professional relationships with businesses who value efficient, transparent, and reliable website development. Offering front-end and back-end development, SEO, and UX optimization, we pay attention to the things that matter. Contact us to discuss your short and long-term website development needs. Erica Franz, email@example.com, Ph: (206) 794-2005, www.fatpony.me
Over the past few months, we’ve experienced increasingly troublesome issues with our email. Needless to say, this has been frustrating and worrisome, as many emails were bouncing back and never arriving at our inbox. We’re now pleased to announce that after much research, trial and error, and consulting with IT experts, the technical issues have finally been resolved! Therefore, if you’ve tried to email us and have not received a reply, please reach out again. We’d love to hear from you and will get back with you promptly. It’s a new year, and a new start, and we appreciate each and every one of our clients, friends and business associates. Thank you so much!
Carol Trimboli Aldridge
A three-story mural of Secretariat winning the Kentucky Derby will be unveiled and dedicated on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m. at the historic Baldwin Hotel in Paris, Ky. The mural, painted by equine artist Jaime Corum, is the first phase of the Secretariat Park Project, which will open in November 2023 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Secretariat's Triple Crown run.
The park project pays homage to Secretariat's career as the most famous Thoroughbred in history. The project will be completed on November 11, 2023 – exactly 50 years after Secretariat arrived at Claiborne Farm for his breeding career.
“Secretariat will forever have a lasting influence on Claiborne Farm for many reasons,” said Walker Hancock, president of Claiborne. “It is wonderful that people from all around the globe can visit our town with this initiative being a great way to further memorialize a sports legend.”
Visit http://bit.ly/3Uo0EXJ to read more from The Paulick Report.
Social media should be just one element of your overall marketing strategy. But its ability to garner widespread visibility and qualified leads is undeniable. Some key benefits of a professional social media strategy include: Growing brand awareness, networking & relationship building, driving website traffic & SEO, promoting products and services, and market / audience research.
Other strategies you should consider when building your overall, comprehensive marketing plan, include: Website content, email marketing, offline marketing materials, press releases, collaborative partnerships, networking and word of mouth.
When crafting your social media marketing plan, consider these 10 tips:
1. CREATE A PROFESSIONAL FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE
A Facebook business page, as opposed to using just your personal profile to promote your business, strengthens your brand and professional identity. It also allows for the creation of ads and boosted posts as well as detailed insights and statistics for measuring your results and crafting valuable future content.
2. RESEARCH COMPETITORS
Your competitors can give you valuable insight into your ideal audience and what type of content resonates with them. Be sure to always create original content consistent with your brand.
3. CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR
When it comes to social media (and most other forms of marketing) consistency is key. That’s why creating a simple content calendar will help save you time and will assure the topics you share flow seamlessly.
4. FACEBOOK STORIES
Consider reformatting your posts into Facebook Stories for added visibility.
5. INVITE FRIENDS TO FOLLOW YOUR PAGE
Periodically invite your friends to follow your page. Also be sure to invite people who’ve engaged with your posts and ads to follow your page as well.
6. LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE
One of the most effective strategies for driving traffic to your website is by linking to your blog posts through your Facebook posts. Be sure your website is up to date and representing your business in the best light. Then, simply create a new Facebook post and include a link to your most recent blog post, then watch your website traffic grow!
7. SHARE POSTS TO GROUPS
Relevant Facebook groups are filled with people of similar interests. Find which groups contain your ideal audience, then share relevant, helpful and entertaining content there for high engagement rates and enhanced visibility for your brand. And always reply to any comments. Remember, Facebook is social and is meant to foster conversation!
Now more than ever, video is proving to be the most effective media choice for Facebook and other social platforms. It ranks higher in the algorithm and grabs the viewers’ attention. Consider using Facebook Reels, short video clips, to get your message out.
If you have a special offer or announcement, consider crafting an ad or boosted post to expand your reach. It’s still the most economical way to get the word out.
10. ANALYZE METRICS
Be sure to visit your dashboard at least once a month to review the engagement rate, clicks, shares and comments for each post. Which posts resulted in direct messages and qualified leads? Once you determine what’s working and what’s not you can craft future content accordingly.
And then….REPEAT – Remember, social marketing takes time. But when done correctly and consistently, the results can be outstanding!
If you have questions, or need help with your social media marketing, we’re here for you! CONTACT US for a complimentary consultation and begin to take advantage of everything Facebook has to offer!
The Keys to Successful Facebook Marketing by Equine Office Solutions
“2022 Social Media Trends Report” by HubSpot
Social Media Content Calendar by HubSpot
15% OFF WEBSITE DESIGN & ENHANCEMENT
Is your website portraying your horses, farm and business in the best light? Is the design outdated? Is it user friendly and inviting? Do you frequently post fresh content to your blog and share it on social media? Your website is your greatest asset, and as we move toward the new year, these are all vital considerations that will play a key role in the success of your marketing efforts.
If you’re considering designing a new website, refreshing your current site or simply crafting periodic updates, now’s the time to assure it will be ready for the new year. Equine Office Solutions is offering 15% off all website design projects booked through December 31, 2022.
Contact us for a complimentary consultation and website evaluation, and let us put our expertise to work for you!
Other Special Offers - 10% OFF the following:
Offers valid through December 31, 2022
HOW TO MARKET DURING A PANDEMIC
This past year has posed so many challenges for everyone, especially business owners. And the horse industry is no exception. Now, more than ever, your company’s online image and visibility are crucial to its success. Let’s take a brief look at some of the key elements of a successful digital marketing strategy to help you advance your business in these uncertain times:
YOUR COMPANY WEBSITE
Your website is your company’s face to the world. It’s your home base where prospective customers can go to learn more about your products and services. A professional, effective website is a powerful lead generation machine! And without a doubt – first impressions are crucial. Now is the ideal time to audit your website to assure it’s functioning as effectively as possible. Things to consider:
CONSISTENT, PROFESSIONAL BRANDING
Your brand is your company’s personal image. It differentiates you from your competition. And so, it goes without saying that professional branding elements strategically and consistently placed throughout your online channels ultimately provide instant recognition for your audience. The most notable element of your brand is your company logo. But it also consists of branded colors, fonts, graphic elements and even your tagline and the content you publish and share. These all combine to reflect who you are and what you have to offer.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
These days, more and more people are turning to social media for entertainment, enrichment and to connect with others. It’s also a place to consume news and be introduced to new offers and opportunities. Keep in mind, social media marketing is most successful when the message is presented as interest-based using storytelling and emotionally triggered content, not through a hard “sales” push. Some things to consider to enhance your visibility and engagement on social media:
A basic marketing plan will help provide clarity about your goals, allowing you to better measure your success and adjust where needed. The key elements of a basic marketing plan include:
DATA FOR SMART MARKETING DECISIONS
I know - data is boring and often intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. And quite frankly, periodically reviewing the basic data available to you is the ONLY way to accurately measure your success in relation to your goals. Check the data available to you through your social business pages, email marketing platform, website and google analytics. Then add this data to each piece of content and activity listed in your marketing calendar for a crystal clear view of the ROI (Return on Investment) that your marketing efforts have received.
It's easy to just try to coast through difficult times. However, with some reflection, structured planning and consistent, focused marketing efforts you will help guide your business toward greater success throughout these challenging times and beyond.
1. DEVELOP A QUALITY LEAD GENERATION OFFER Blog posts are great for driving website traffic and SEO. However, if you want to grow your list you need to create free, 'gated content' that requires visitors to provide their email address for access. Your offer should be of significant value to your ideal customers, helping to solve a challenge they face. Remember, quite often this will be your first impression - make it outstanding!
2. PROMINENTLY DISPLAY YOUR LEAD GENERATION OFFER Don't make people rummage through your site to try and find out how they can sign-up for your emails. Include subscribe options prominently throughout your website, either through a dedicated tab on your main navigation, or through ‘display ads’ or buttons on your site’s main pages.
3. SHORTEN THE LENGTH OF YOUR LEAD CAPTURE FORMS Most people don't want to take the time to fill in a long string of fields with personal information just to acquire a freebie. Keep your subscribe forms short and simple. Often first name and email is enough. Going one step further by giving them the option to provide their website url as well will allow you to gain a clearer understanding of your audience and segment your list.
4. BUILD A BLOG AS A HOME BASE FOR YOUR CONTENT Google loves blogs. By consistently updating your blog with new, keyword-rich content, you’ll boost your SEO and rankings with Google. That means more people will find your website, and if they find your content valuable and engaging there’s a good chance that they will subscribe.
5. INCLUDE A CTA AT THE END OF EVERY BLOG POST Give your audience the chance to take that next step by including a call to action (CTA) at the bottom of every blog post. These may include links to further content, an invitation to contact you or a link to your free offer or special sales offer.
6. SHARE LINKS TO YOUR CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA Sharing links to your free and gated content through appropriate social channels can be extremely effective in reaching your target audience and increasing subscribers. People love helpful information, and by providing consistent, quality content, they will come to see you as a knowledgeable industry leader.
7. OPTIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES Give your social media followers clear and prominent access to your website and content. For example, your Facebook business page has the option for a button under your header image. You can link this button to your 'free offer' landing page. You also want to be sure your personal social media pages include reference to your business with a link to your website and free offer.
8. COLLABORATE Look for friends and associates who have businesses that compliment yours, have excellent reputations and ideally, significant email subscriber lists. Then, think of ways you can work together that will benefit both of you. Some collaborative activities to consider may include hosting a webinar, podcast or Facebook live. Write an article or ebook together. Offer to interview them. Cross promote each other’s products, services or offers. Then, make the event or content gated, people must provide their email address, and you will then both have access to that list. Just remember to be transparent about your opt-in policies so they know how their email will be used. It’s a win, win! For more details on the benefits of collaboration, check out: Establishing Collaborative Partnerships with Equine Business Professionals.
9. ENHANCE YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE If you’re simply including your name and business name at the end of every email, you’re wasting valuable real estate. At the very least, include a link to your website, and even better, also include a link to your opt-in page so people can easily subscribe. But don’t just say “subscribe to my list”. Make it an enticing offer to grab a valuable piece of content!
10. MAKE YOUR CONTENT SHAREABLE Include social sharing buttons and "forward to a friend" links on every piece of content you produce. This will expand your content’s reach beyond your regular readers and increase the chance for new subscribers.
11. HOST A CONTEST, RAFFLE OR QUIZ Contests, raffles and quizzes, held either online or onsite at trade shows, provide the opportunity for your audience to enter their email address and perhaps answer a few short questions for the chance to win a prize. Consider what prize your audience would find valuable enough to take the time to participate.
These are just a few ways you can increase your subscriber list and grow your qualified leads. If you need more details or help implementing any of these tactics and strategies, contact us today for a complimentary discovery session.
For more helpful information on how to grow your equine business, check out the links below:
HOW TO DRIVE 10X MORE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
FREE VIDEO GUIDE – THE POWER OF MARKETING FUNNELS
PROMOTING CONTENT BEYOND YOUR SUBSCRIBERS’ INBOX
THE TOP FOUR MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR YOUR EQUINE BUSINESS
BUILDING CUSTOMER LOYALTY
Drive a continuous flow of leads and sales to your business through the power of marketing funnels!