• SOP Library

    Uh-oh…Something happened in your business and it’s time to apologize. Even if it’s not your fault it is important to let your users know that you care about them and that you’re doing your best to right whatever wrong has happened.


    Sometimes this happens when you’re working with a 3rd party service and they make a mistake. You still need to take responsibility for what happened because at the end of the day, your users are trusting you to provide them with good service and take care of their needs.


    When you discover something unfortunate happened it’s best to get ahead of the wave of support emails that might come in by being quick to release an apology letter to describe to your users the details about what happened.

    infographic for damage control action plan


    As an apology to your loyal customers you might want to offer them something for free.  If you have a subscription service that was suddenly not available to your users, you may want to offer them a free month of service or a discount on another product that you offer.


    If you have a blog and your blog was down over the weekend, you might want to offer them a freebie PDF or e-book. Although problems with your site or online services are a serious thing, you might want to try and be light-hearted about it and slightly tongue and cheek and offer them a “How Not to Let Your Website Crash” PDF based on what you’ve learned from the incident.


    It’s all about building brand loyalty. You want your users to trust. Even if you think most of your users will not even be aware of the problem, you still an use it as an opportunity to gain trust. Being totally transparent about what happened can make your company appear more personal instead of being just a faceless corporate structure that your users may imagine your company to be.


    When writing an apology letter, it’s best to have one person address your audience as themselves instead writing it from team’s perspective. For example, use the real name of somebody working in the company to sign the letter instead of signing it as “The Blah-blah-blah Team”.  


    This is also a good opportunity to reassure your loyal customers that you and your team will try and prevent this kind of issue from happening again. This also makes you open to customer feedback and may help you find additional customer concerns that you may not be aware of.  

    The SOP Template provided includes suggestions for what you should add in your letter. Some sections to include might be a question and answer portion where you consider what a user might be asking about with regards to the incident. For example, What happened to cause this issue?, Why didn’t it get fixed earlier?, and What will you do in the future to prevent this thing from happening?.

    Blog post image apology letter template


    Use this letter as an opportunity to remind your users that there are people behind the scenes who care about their interests and are on their side. Even if you haven’t had a problem happen with your business before, you may want to download a copy of this letter anyway just so that you can put it into your own SOP for the procedures that you will take when something like this happens. That way you are ready to go should an incident arise and you’re not scrambling around trying to think about how to deal with it.


    In fact it’s very important to have this kind of emergency plan in place. You should know who will handle the users and what responsibilities each person has in order to solve the problem. You may even want to discuss with the rest of your team about potential issues that they foresee happening in the future that you may not have thought of. Cover as many bases as you can so if something like this happens, you will be ready.

    You might want to go even further than this to prepare yourself by adding this apology letter into your email manager, such Convert Kit and then should the situation arise, all you’ll have to do is fill in the details and send it out.


    We hope you’ll never have to use this letter and that your business will run flawlessly, but should an error occur, we hope this letter helps you maintain and even gain more trust with your users. Get the letter template sent to your inbox by filling in your email. Cheers!

  • SOP Library
  • Simple Steps to Setting Up a Domain Name on WordPress

    A domain is a URL or website where you can place your written content or products for your customers to access online. In order to write your blog posts, or sell your products, you need a platform to host it on. We like using WordPress, because it’s pretty simple to use, even for beginners, but is still versatile enough to allow for customisation. Take soptemplates.com for example, we started with a template, but found that we wanted something quite specific, so we hired a freelancer to implement the design we wanted. Although there are many custom features on our site, we are still able to add our own content with our limited knowledge of coding websites.

    The SOP that you can download above will instruct you or your freelancer how to ‘point’ your domain at WordPress. WordPress allows you to self host your website. This means you purchase a domain name, such as soptemplates.com, but use WordPress to create and publish your content. The other option, which is more popular with casual bloggers, is not to purchase a domain, but use a WordPress subdomain instead. This means that while you choose your own name, the end of the domain will include wordpress.com.

    Buying a domain is an important step in creating a professional image for your website. While WordPress and other blogging sites also allow you to use a free domain, it will have the name of the blogging platform within the URL, and it will make your blog appear less professional. If you purchase your own domain, you can then also set up your own email address, which includes the domain name. For example, hollie@soptemplates.com. You can set up your own email address by following this SOP Template for Setting up a Custom Email Address. Having your own domain will also protect your identity and ideas, especially if you choose your own name as your domain url.

    If you haven’t settled on a domain name yet, now may be a good time, to think about doing some keyword research in order to take advantage of free organic traffic from Google. Google tends to put a lot of weight on the URL of a website when it comes to their search results. Although you might want some jazzy name for your business you might consider choosing a website domain that is keyword rich, in order to reap the benefits of free traffic from google.

    Choosing a name that contains keywords that many people are searching for means that you are not only extremely lucky, but maybe have a higher chance of ranking well in Google and being found by your potential customers.


    Check out these 10 Tips for Choosing Your Domain Name.

    When purchasing your domain name, you should not also consider buying your.com but also .co.uk and other TLDs (Top Level Domains), especially if you trying to build a reputable brand.

    Many domain name providers will allow you to buy the TLDs for your chosen domain as a package, so if you are sure about your domain, you will want to protect it from potential competitors. Buying them as a package will also be cheaper, and safer in the long run.

    However, this isn’t something you need to agonize over. It may be better buying one TLD domain to begin with and testing it out before putting more money into your site.

    Occasionally, a domain is bought by someone who have the intentions of creating a site but the domain ends of sitting empty. Other times a ‘squatter’ will purchase a domain that looks as though it will become popular so that they can sell it, or make a site when the keyword is more in demand. Godaddy offers a service that will contact the domain owner on your behalf, but if you’re interested in buying a domain from someone yourself, take a look at the following articles:


    What to Do If the Domain Name You Want Is Taken

    What Do I Do When Someone Has a Domain Name I Want?

    I want to add here that you should probably stay away from trademarked brands that get a lot of traffic, such as iPhone and Apple. To learn a bit more about this, you can listen to episode 0714 of Pat Flynn’s podcast ‘Ask Pat’ here.

    Now you have your domain name, you need to create a WordPress account. Just go to WordPress.org and follow the instructions. If you want to make a simple blog without self-hosting you can visit WordPress.com and signing up for an account.

    This SOP will show you how to direct your domain to WordPress. This can be quite a complicated procedure, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before. You may want to hand it over to a freelancer, who will be able to complete the task quickly.

  • Content Creation
  • Convert Your Blog Posts into Effective PDF Leads


    First of all, what’s a lead? In marketing, a lead is a way of generating customer interest in your product by offering free products or downloads and is often called ‘lead generation’. The lead is served by ways of a lead magnet which is usually an eye catching ‘bribe’ offering something in exchange for the customer’s email address. One of the most common leads is to offer a free downloadable PDF or eBook on your blog, landing page or social media platform.

    Generally, the purpose of a lead magnet is to collect an email address in order to build a membership database. You might have noticed if you’ve entered your email address to get some free goodies like an ebook, that you receive additional marketing emails afterwards. This is because the company has identified you as a potential customer for a paid product, so they are slowly enticing you with other excellent content to make you trust them and eventually buy their products or services.

    You can completely automate these services with some cool tools available in mail server clients like MailChimp, but the first piece of the puzzle is the lead magnet. You can create a lead magnet out of content you already have on your website. Anything can become a lead magnet.

    Although this SOP instructs on how to convert your blog post into a PDF, you can offer a whole host of things such as a video, free software trial, product discount, quiz or questionnaire.  

    The PDF or eBook doesn’t need to be long, or time consuming for the customer to read. Ideally the product should be quickly actionable and solve a problem your customers might have. Stay away from long video courses and a novel-sized eBook, as these things can be sold further down the funnel.

    If you keep the content of your lead general and simple, the more downloads or signups you’re likely to get, which will in turn increase the amount of potential customers on your newsletter list. Also bear in mind that you should be clear about what you’re offering your users so that they know what ‘problem’ your PDF or eBook will solve.

    Before you create your lead magnet you should probably do some research about your potential customers. These users are known as an avatar and you should define who these people are before you begin to market your products to them. Avatars should be very specific, down to where they live, whether they are married and what their pastimes are. You may have several avatars, and once you have narrowed them down, marketing to each will become much easier. Failing to carry out research on your avatar may result in wasted time and resources on a product that no one really wants.

    Once you’ve narrowed down your avatar, it will be easier to learn what ‘problems’ your users have. You might find out what they need help with by asking them to complete questionnaires, from comments and feedback on your blog, searches on your site and by using Google to find a specific keyword or a gap in the market that you’re able to fill. For example, if your customers are searching for an ‘avatar template’ then this may be the free PDF that you can offer them.  

    You should make sure that your lead magnet clearly tells your customers that ‘this product will solve this issue’ such as ‘Find out who your ideal customers are with this free avatar template’. If your lead magnets are on your blog posts, then you should consider keeping the ‘bribe’ as general as possible, so that more visitors will signup. Even if these people are not your ideal customer, you may be able to serve them with alternative products in the future. One of the great benefits of mail server clients such as MailChimp, is that you can place your customers into narrow ‘segments’ based on the leads that they download, how they behave on your site, or the links they click in your newsletters. You can use these segments to your advantage for targeting specific customers with products and services further down the line.

    You want to create a digital product that is different from the content your users can get online. Most of this is just about packaging the content in a tidy little format. Often, an eBook is just made up of blog posts put together in a neat and orderly way with a table of contents and a flow that makes it easier to read. Checklists and cheat sheets make it more convenient for the user to complete tasks if they’re in a downloadable PDF.

    People love eBooks and PDFs, because they can take them offline and read them on their eReaders. Reading content offline is a different experience to reading a blog post online, which are often just skimmed for the main ideas. People often read eBooks away from their laptop in a more leisurely manner giving them time to soak in the information you are providing them with, making it more valuable. 

    You want to make sure that when you’re making your lead magnet you use high quality graphics for your image as these will convey value and content. Hiring a freelancer designer on a site like Fiverr will greatly enhance the quality of your lead magnet and will be more likely to entice people to input their email addresses. 

    Talking of value, even though your PDF or eBook is free, you don’t need to make it seem ‘free’. You can easily emphasise its value, by adding a ‘worth $xx’, so that your customers feel they are getting a great deal.

    The SOP that you can download above, will instruct you on how to make a PDF from one of your blog posts and then turn it into a lead for your blog.

  • Content Creation


    Whether you’re working with a group of freelancers or you’re going solo to produce content for your site, it’s easy to get bogged down with content. You can easily keep track of who is writing an article for you, on what subject and at what stage they are at in the writing process with a content calendar.

    A content calendar is also known as an editorial calendar. Not only will it keep you and your content more organised, but it also creates accountability for yourself and other team members. Everyone knows their deadlines and responsibilities which in turn helps streamline your business. If you set dates for when you will publish your blog posts, you’re more likely to write and post on those days if they’re scheduled in your calendar.


    My editorial calendar is often where I start my day. I know what content I need to work on or at what stage another article might be at. Although I use Google Docs and often use a filename to quick search a document, having all the links and information for every single piece of content allows me to quickly access documents for all our blog posts, podcast notes or video scripts all from one place.  

    In the beginning, it may be easy to remember what content that you have written about in your blog but consider that you may be running this blog for several years or even decades if you’re successful, so you may not remember all the topics that you’ve covered months or years down the line. A content calendar is a quick way to sift through all the content that you’ve already posted to make sure that you avoid duplicate posts on the same topic. You can do a quick search by using the ‘find’ tool in Google Docs.

    Of course, you can always add other content as well as blog content, however, I like to keep my various different mediums in separate tabs of the same spreadsheet. You can easily add a new tab to the template by clicking the + button on the left-hand side. Some of my additional tabs include video, podcast and pages for the site. However, I keep my social media separated because it’s quite extensive and this is something I outsource to a freelancer using a Social Media Schedule.

    Check out our Social Media Schedule Template.


    I often use our editorial calendar to brainstorm ideas for future blog posts, podcasts etc. I may have a random idea and just add them to the calendar without including a publishing date or even started writing any content. It’s great to to go back through the the ideas that I’ve had as sometimes they can help prompt me in the future to write content for these ideas and titles.

    Since this content calendar is a spreadsheet, it’s easy to move content around. So, even though I often use the editorial calendar to brainstorm ideas I can move my content easily so that all the content that I’m working on at present is altogether and easiest for me to view and work on.

    There may be times when you have an idea for content that would be better published at a later date, especially if it is a keyword that might get a higher search during a certain holiday. For example, an idea about goal setting might be more relevant at New Year than during the summer. Some topics may have lost popularity by the time you come to write it, but there may be a chance to write something in the future, so keep these ideas for a later date.


    A content calendar is also good place to add notes about the posts that you’ve already published. For example, you may need to update images and content at a later date and you can this information to remind you in the future. You can also keep track on when your content was published, updated or may need updating again, especially if you have seasonal posts.

    You might also want to use the editorial calendar as a way to highlight which posts are more popular. This will be extremely helpful for creating content that will more likely to engage your audience.


    If you working with a team of people who are writing content for your blog, the editorial calendar is the perfect place to make sure everyone stays organised and knows when they are expected to post content. If you have freelancers who are researching or writing blog posts they can also add information so you can keep track of that progress.

    You should make sure that your freelancers keep track of their work by filling in the content calendar where necessary. Forgetting to update the status of an article they are working on, this will slow down efficiency and create more work in the long run.

    Even if you’re currently working as a ‘one-man band’, consider that as your blog expands you may want to add more content writers to your blog. Getting in the practice of using an editorial calendar is good exercise in staying organised and will greatly benefit any future writers who work on your blog. It is a small and easy way to look professional and make an easier transition from working on the blog by yourself to employing team members to help you. Retrospectively filling in this content is way harder than filling it in as you go. That’s why this template is extremely valuable even if you are working alone.


    Although there are many paid content calendars available now, using a content calendar spreadsheet is not only free but is also easily customizable to fit your own personal (or team’s) needs. In my own editorial calendar, I use colour coded tabs so that I can easily scan through my sheets and see which posts are in the research, writing or published phase. This also means that well researched and written content never gets forgotten!

    If you’re using Google Drive you can easily add the links of all your content, so that you can easily access any blog posts that are currently being written, as well as view images, audio or video files that will be part of your content.  

    Although I have a main sheet that I use to schedule blog posts that I’ll publish or update during the week, I also have individual sheets for each type of content. For example, this spreadsheet includes sheets for blog post, reposts, videos, podcasts and any important social media campaigns we currently have running.

    You can download our Content Calendar Template by entering your email in the box above and having it send to your inbox. You can start using the content calendar immediately to organise and streamline your content creation.

  • Content Creation


    A WordPress theme is a group of files that work together to create the structure, design and features of your website. WordPress makes it easy to customize many elements of a theme, which makes it a great platform for beginners creating a niche site, portfolio or store.

    Setting up a theme on your new WordPress site is one of the first things that you need to do once you have signed up for WordPress. There are a number of things you need to take into consideration when choosing your theme and it is better to know what your requirements are before hand.


    It’s really easy to get lost spending hours searching for the ‘perfect’ theme. Before you begin to look for your WordPress theme, make a list of features or functions you want you site to have. Do you want to sell products? Do you want people to create an account? Will it just be a blog, or a library of content? All of these things need to be considered before diving headlong into the ocean of WordPress themes that are available.

    We made this mistake when starting SOP Templates, and it took us a long time to settle on a theme that we were happy with. Eventually, we ended up working with a freelancer to make specific changes to our theme that fit our needs and those of our customers (that’s you btw!).

    In order to get what you want, create a list of your site requirements, considering the following:


    • What will you site be used for? Blogging, eCommerce, branding?
    • How well do you know WordPress? Does the theme offer support?
    • How much customization will you want to do?
    • Do you want a responsive site? How important is it that your site works well on mobile (hint: it’s pretty important since 51.26% of people use mobile devices over their desktop computers.
    • Is the theme ‘SEO’ ready? How important is it that you rank well in Google?

    Since there are many free themes available on WordPress, and other external sites, it’s tempting to choose one of these options to save money, but they might not fit with your needs and specifications.

    If you find themes that don’t fit your requirements, then move on. Many sites, including within the WordPress dashboard, allow you to narrow down your requirements instead of spending hours having to scroll through thousands of themes.

    If you have really specific ideas about what you want your site to look like, you can work with a designer and a PHP developer who can create the site of your dreams. However, a beautiful site does not bring customers to your site, and you really need to prioritise and strike a balance between design and the user experience.

    As we mentioned before, make sure that when you choose your theme, that it is responsive. A responsive theme adapts your website to be viewed correctly on any device, regardless of size. Since more and more people are accessing information via their mobile phones and tablets, this is really essential to ensure that all functions work correctly and look great too!

    Before buying and downloading a theme, you can test drive it with a site demo. You should also be able to see how the theme will look on your mobile as well as your desktop computer.

    When you’re considering purchasing a theme, you should definitely make sure that the plugins and features that you need for your site are already included. For example, if you plan to sell products on your site, you will need e-commerce plugins and designs within the theme. If they don’t come with the theme, you will need to see which options are available and also compatible with your theme to undertake a specific role on your site.

    Some themes may also provide you with ‘demo’ or basic versions of a plugin that you will need a full version of in order to update in the future. For example, full versions of site ‘builder’ plugins will often be an additional, and unexpected cost that you should think about before purchasing the theme. To make sure you understand the limitations of the theme, read the details and reviews of the theme where possible.

    Envisioning what you might want your site to look like in the future is also important when choosing a WordPress theme. You don’t need to have figured out every detail before making your site live, but thinking about how you want your project to develop in the future will help you consider the features necessary for your site.

    One of the mistakes I made in the past was concentrating too much on what the site looked like instead of focusing on the business model which delayed the project and created additional expenses.

    You can begin with a simple theme, and once your business expands and grows you can consider making changes to your site and your theme. So, bear in mind how customizable your theme is if you go down this route. Alternatively, you could purchase a new theme or work with a designer to create a new site. After all, lots of companies redesign their sites, whether it is to rebrand, cater for new levels of traffic or purely give it a new burst of life.

    The most important thing to remember when choosing a theme is it to consider what will be the ultimate goal of the website and how the theme will get your users to achieve that goal. Don’t get romanced by some fancy animations or bells and whistles that you see on the theme,  at the end of the day the purpose of your website is to achieve your business goal. The team should just be a vehicle to get your users from point A to point B.

    There are plenty of resources online for free and paid themes, which are perfect if you’re just starting out.

    Since it’s easy to get swept up on spending lots of time on the design details of your website, we recommend that you set a time limit for how long you’re willing to spend choosing your theme.

    For example, giving yourself 2 or 3 hours will probably more than ample time for you to choose a theme that fits your specification. Spending more time on this will overwhelm you with ideas, and you will waste a lot of time searching for a theme that probably doesn’t exist!

    Once you’ve chosen your theme, you need to set up the theme in WordPress. Although the process is not overly complex, you may want to outsource this task, as you may have more specific customizations that someone with a more advanced skill-set can complete easily and quickly.

    If you have specific requirements, you can pass them onto a freelancer who is WordPress savvy, by first filling in the details in our SOP.

    You can get our SOP by returning to the top of this page and filling in your email address. You’ll receive an email containing instructions on how to fill out the document and the SOP.

  • Content Creation
  • Format a WordPress Blog Post Using the Visual Editor

    Although there are many website hosting platforms out there, we use WordPress for many of our sites both professionally and personally, and even use it for this site! You can use WordPress for free (!), or buy your own domain and host your website with WordPress. 

    “It’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today.”iThemes.com

    The visual composer, or WYSIWYG editor found on the pages and posts on WordPress resembles that of a word processor. Similarly to writing on Microsoft Word or Google Docs, any formatting that is done on screen will be the same as when the document is printed or published online. You can see what the finished post will look like, while you are editing it, which can make it easier and more convenient to work on. Most of the formatting can be completed by simply highlighting the text you wish to format and clicking the relevant button in the menu, which makes it perfect for beginners to blogging or WordPress.


    If you’re new to WordPress, using the WYSIWYG editor is the easiest way to create new pages or blog posts for your website. Following these simple steps can really help turn your valuable content into reader friendly blog posts.

    It doesn’t matter how good your content is, if it’s not formatted correctly, your readers may be turned off and not return to your site. Spending some extra time to create an aesthetically pleasing and logical format for your content is really important to get your readers to stick around (and keep coming back).


    One of the first steps in our SOP, is to make sure you add headers. These are a practical addition to the format of your blog, in order to separate your content into logical sections, create digestible chunks for the reader and also make it more visually appealing.

    Very few people enjoying reading large chunks of text, and it’s possible that long prose will scare off your readers. If you think about a newspaper, the columns are often long and narrow so that the reader’s eyes can easily jump from one part of the text to another without losing their place. They’re also peppered with images or videos. Since blog posts are generally scanned and sometimes not read in details, having headers to separate your content will make it easier for the readers to move through your blog post with ease.

    Including headers in your blog posts are also good for SEO, but that’s another SOP Template!

    Another great way to make it easier for your readers to view your blog post is to use bullet points or numbered points to break up chunks of text.

    Yes, that’s another great way to split up your text. We all know how much people like lists. Let’s be honest, we’ve all had a guilty peek at those “10 reasons to leave your boyfriend” list-type posts that are plastered all over your social media news feeds!

    As an alternative to spammy titles to attract the attention of your readers, you can use bold text. Use it sparingly however, as too much bold text is like shouting “Hey! Hey! Read my blog post!” at your readers and can look a little desperate.

    Another great way to make it easier for your readers to view your blog post is to use bullet points or numbered points to break up chunks of text.

    On the WordPress WYSIWYG editor dashboard, there’s a button called the ‘toolbar toggle’. Clicking this button will open up another row of buttons and functions that you might not have seen previously, such as adding colour to your text, or entering a special character.

    One of the default features of the visual editor is ‘Add Media’. All you need to do is click the ‘Add Media’ button and import your own photos, documents and GIFs. You can also see a gallery of images you’ve already imported into WordPress. It’s a good idea to give your images clearly defined names before you upload them so that you can easily find them using the search bar.

    When it comes to video, you should never directly add them into WordPress, as the file will be too large. You’re better off using a video hosting platform such as YouTube or Vimeo to upload your video first, and then paste the video link into your WordPress blog post or page. If you have lots of videos on a YouTube channel, there are plugins available that will automatically pull any existing and newly uploaded videos from YouTube and add them to a ‘library’ on your website or blog.

    You will instantly see your video once you’ve pasted the video link onto your post using the visual editor.

    One thing to remember with your images is to make sure you get lots of space around them to keep your blog posts looking clean. Bear a similar thing in mind with your text content, and create spaces between paragraphs or sections of text to make it easy-to-read. White spaces will prevent your reader from being bombarded with huge blocks of text and inevitably leaving your blog post unread.

    Although many of you will be using your blog to promote products and paid features, it’s best not to use too many links within your blog posts. Try to only link relevant words, and keep the linked text short. Lots of links within your blog will begin to make it look ugly and too much like a bad advertisement!

    While you may want to format your blog post really beautifully to match your personal style, it’s best to keep your format consistent across your website, making sure that aspects such as hyperlinks are a standard colour and font types compliment each other. Choosing an easy to read font type, will ultimately give your reader a more comfortable reading experience and allow your content to come through without distractions.

    Also consider using a size 12 or 14 font to make sure that your readers don’t need to squint to read your article. Before you publish your post make sure you do a thorough grammar and spell check of your article. Luckily, WordPress has a built in spellcheck.

    To make sure the grammar and structure of your article is acceptable, you can outsource this to a freelancer with editorial skills. Alternatively, you can use a great tool, Grammarly. You can download the desktop app and the chrome extension, that will automatically check your blog posts for grammatically errors.

    Don’t forget to save your blog post as a draft, and click view post to see what your blog post will look like before you publish it to your site. If you see a mistake, just go back to the post and make the changes. You need to save again to see any changes. When you’re happy with your post, hit the publish button and your blog will appear in your blog feed on your website.

    You can use this SOP Template to format your own blog posts using the WordPress WYSIWYG editor, or pass it on to your freelancer if you outsource your blog posts.