I know why you’re here.
You want to get better conversions, don’t you?
I don’t blame you.
After all, it doesn’t matter how seemingly lucrative your prospective business idea is, without having the capability to turn your web visitors into paying customers, you’ll never get a single cent from your website.
Nada. Zilch. Zippo.
And you don’t want that, do you?
If you’re sick and tired of getting poor sales results month after month, then allow us to share with you these SEO strategies to help you get better conversions.
Let’s hop right in.
Polish your Landing Page
First things first!
Your would-be customer’s experience in your website starts on your landing page.
That means you need to work on the CRO and aesthetic part of your website to make it more user-friendly.
Once your visitors come to your landing page, direct them to the right conversion path, displaying clear call-to-action buttons, adding sign-up forms, etc.
Here are more key traits you need to look into for better conversions:
Have a simple, yet intuitive design
Create a captivating headline title that lures in visitors
Include authentic testimonials and reviews from happy customers
Have clear images to grab visitors’ attention
Include social sharing icons to allow visitors to share your site with the world
Add a live chat option
Get Rid of Duplicate Content on your Site
Once the aesthetic and conversion optimization part of your website is out of the way, it’s time to check your content.
Your content can make or break your site. While having great content optimized for particular phrases will help your site rank better, having duplicate content can cause you some serious issues.
If you have duplicate content on your site, you might want to get rid of them before you get penalized by Google — causing your pages to be removed from the SERPs.
If you have to, go ahead and check your pages manually or use tools such as SEMrush if you have lots of content.
Here’s another trick you can consider:
If your site has two or more pages with identical content, consider consolidating them, keeping the one containing the most internal links and ranks better and then redirecting the other pages to it.
WordPress has a number of plugins you can use to redirect your internal links. The premium version of YoastSEO also offers this functionality.
Integrate your WordPress Site with Google Search Console
If you care about your search engine traffic, you’ll need to integrate your site with Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tool.
This tool monitor and analyzes your site, letting you know the phrases that you are actually ranking highly for and if there are any errors or broken links on your site that you should work on. You can then use these pertinent details to create an effective marketing strategy/campaign.
Through Search Engine Console, you may discover pages or posts that have been linked incorrectly by other bloggers, leading visitors to a 404 page.
Once you are aware of such links, you can redirect them to another relevant page to maintain the link juice and keep the traffic being redirected to your site.
If you have not already integrated this tool to your site, you can do it easily via the Yoast plugin. Just click on the ‘Search Console’ Option on Yoast and follow the prompts as outlined by Yoast.
Work on your Page Load Speed
The importance of page load speed cannot be stressed enough when it comes to improving the ranking of your WordPress site.
Google and other search engines consider page load speed as a key factor when ranking sites, so it goes without saying that you need to work on yours.
Now, assume you are a website visitor; would you be patient enough to wait extra seconds for a site to load?
You answer with a “no,” didn’t you?
Just like you, no one has the patience to wait forever for a site to load. They’ll just leave and opt to use the services of your competitors.
In order to know how your site is doing speed-wise, you can use a number of online speed tools such as Page Speed Insights and Pingdom.
To give you an idea of the kind of insights you can get out of these website testing tools, I ran Amazon.com with Pingdom. Here’s how the results look.
Those are just some of the many insights you can get out of using Pingdom.
Pretty awesome, huh?
When it comes to cleaning and streamlining your website, for starters, you can remove all clutter that’s not adding value to your site.
Deactivate plugins that you don’t use, optimize your images, minimize your redirects, and if necessary, reduce large size images.
You can also run a compression audit using WordPress tools, such as the ones listed below.
Have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate
The SSL certificate does not only make your site to look good; it also reassures your users that any information you collect from them, including emails and credit card details, is in safe hands.
Google recently made this a crucial ranking factor, meaning, if your site is encrypted, it stands a better chance to rank better.
You can know if your WordPress site has an SSL certificate by checking the beginning of the URL.
For instance, if it reads www.example.com, then it doesn’t have an SSL certificate. If it reads https://www.example.com, then it uses an SSL certificate.
In simple terms, if it has HTTPS, then you know the site is encrypted and secure.
Use SEO-Friendly URL Structure
How do you know a URL is SEO friendly?
Well, it’s simple. SEO-friendly URLs usually have words explaining the content behind the link and are easy to be discovered by both search engines and human beings.
An example of an SEO-friendly URL would be something like this: https://www.example.com/how-to-install-wordpress/
See? It explains to readers what they are likely to find if they click on the link and lets Google know what your page is all about.
Now, notice the difference with this link: https://www.example.com/?0=11207
With this kind of URL, a user can’t possibly guess where the link goes.
It also doesn’t help when it comes to optimizing your links to allow search engines to know what the page is about.
To make sure your links are always correct, go to your WordPress Settings Permalinks, check the field for Post name and then hit Save Changes.
Write Great Content
When it comes to optimizing your website for the search engines, you probably know this already – you create need mindblowing content for your pages.
The fact of the matter is, you can concentrate on all things we have highlighted on this post, but if the content on your site is poor, your website will be buried under hundreds if not thousands of other results — and should any web visitors land on any of your pages, there’s almost a zero chance that any of them will buy.
Don’t just write any content and hope that Google will index it; provide useful, informative content with focus keywords.
If you are not sure if your content is up to standard, go ahead and use Yoast SEO, a free WordPress plugin that analyzes your posts, giving you the option to add a description, title, and focus keyword.
It also gives you a readability score of the content you are about to post, giving you suggestions to make your articles SEO-friendly.
Conclusion – A Word for the Wise
Ranking your web pages online can be a neck-breaking task, considering that your competitors are working equally hard to impress search engines.
But hey, you can’t just sit there and watch as your site is buried by Google and other search engines. Employ these simple tricks, and you will certainly see some positive changes on your site.
They may not work magic overnight, but over time, your pages will rank better, giving you the traffic you’ve always wished for. It’s time to get those conversions!
- Published in Business 2 Community
Some people seem to have a natural gift for social media. They appear everywhere and just naturally get what it takes to grow an audience of millions of people. Unfortunately, I’m not part of that group and there’s a good chance if you’re reading this that you’re not either.
In this post, I want to share with you some of the best social amplification tools that I’ve come across in the online marketing space. These tools will help you grow your audience, generate more social shares, and grow your audience. I’ll start this list with my favourite social amplification tool.
Viral Content Bee
Viral Content Bee was developed by Ann Smarty. It’s essentially a community of people on social media who share each others content. It has a point system. The way it works is pretty simple:
Share relevant content from other people in your niche to get points that you can use to promote your own content
Buy points from the platform that you can then use to promote your own content
Viral Content Bee allows you to get your content shared across a number of different platforms. In my experience, you’ll get the best results from Twitter and Pinterest where they have their largest audience. You’ll get a few shares from Facebook, but I’ve never had much traction there.
The great thing about Viral Content Bee is the size of the user base, especially in the blogging and online marketing niche. Well known influencers like Gail Gardner, and Lilach Bullock are members of the group. They regularly share relevant content with their followers. These are people with a huge audience who care about the content they share. A lot of companies would pay money to get a retweet from a person with an audience of their size, but you can get this organically through Viral Content Bee.
And you’ll find that people will engage with you as a result of these shares.
Viral Content Bee is my ‘go to’ tool for getting my content out there. Every time I share an article through the platform I’ll get dozens of shares and plenty of engagement. Of course, you need to be creating interesting content to get that level of engagement.
Zest is an interesting platform with a pretty distinct USP. This social media amplification tool is basically a Google Chrome extension for marketers. It works like this:
You submit content through either the extension or the website
Your content is reviewed by a couple of editors who do a bit of quality control
If it gets approved then your content gets pushed to the Zest feed (like a sexy website RSS)
I haven’t had much experience with Zest personally. I came across it when I wrote a post for Business2Community about the best Google Chrome extensions.
However, a friend of mine, Josh Barney from Einstein Marketer uses it to promote a lot of his content. Here’s what he had to say about Zest.
We’ve found that the platform has a highly engaged and qualified audience, who improve our on-page behavioural metrics as well as boosting our content distribution efforts and traffic scores. If you’d like to share marketing content with an audience of marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs or upskill your digital game, I strongly recommend installing the Chrome extension (and App) and sharing your content.
Looking at his results I can understand why he’s such a fan of the platform.
However, you have to keep in mind that these are the kind of results you can get from a paid campaign. When you submit a piece of content for free you are unlikely to get more than 100 views. But that’s 100 views you otherwise might not have got!
I wasn’t too sure if I should include Quuu Promote in this list, but I felt it would be wrong not to mention it. Like Viral Content Bee, Quuu Promote is based around a community of marketers who share hand-curated content through their social media feeds. The way it works is pretty simple:
You submit the content you want to be shared through the platform
It’s reviewed by an editor who decides if it’s good enough to be promoted
The content gets shared through the feeds of members of the group
You can pay to push your content to the front of the line. If it’s selected paid content gets promoted for longer.
When they launched Quuu, as it was then known, also offered a service where they would manage your social media. They would share content through your social channels, like, comment, engage, and reshare content.
It was the ultimate hands-off system for managing social media. I signed up to it straight after it launched. And it did help me grow my social media following and get more eyes on my content.
Today Quuu has separated the two services into separate branches of the same business. There is Quuu Promote, where you can get your content shared across various social channels and Quuu which offers a social media management service.
Unfortunately, while I really like Quuu and think the people behind the business are almost certainly really nice guys, I’ve basically stopped using the service. There are three primary reasons for this:
You get a lot of shares, but you don’t get a lot of traffic. I think the main reason for this is that the quality of the social media profiles associated with Quuu Promote is worse than you get with Viral Content Bee
Promote Quuu share your links through their own custom URL. Unfortunately, this URL is not tracked by tools like Google or Buzzsumo which means you don’t get any SEO value from the shares
The service is expensive.
That third point isn’t an issue of itself. There are lots of premium tools out there, and people are happy to pay more money for a tool that delivers the results that they want. I don’t believe that Quuu Promote is quite there yet. While Quuu has the potential to be a great social media amplification tool, it’s just not quite there yet.
There are a whole bunch of tools out there that you can use to grow your social media following on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. So rather than focusing on a tool you probably already know a fair bit about I thought I’d tell you about PinPinterest.
Fundamentally PinPinterest does exactly the same thing as a Twitter or Instagram growth hacking tool. It will follow and unfollow people and organically grow your Pinterest following. The reason I decided to highlight this tool is that Pinterest can be a significant source of visitors to your website.
The best way to get traffic to your site is by regularly pinning content, and growing the number of followers you have. PinPinterest helps you do the second portion of this strategy.
Social media management tools get a lot of press. In this post, I wanted to lift the lid on something that people don’t show about as much; social media amplification tools. It’s these growth hacking tools that can overnight increase your online social presence. Check these tools out and let me know your results.
- Published in Business 2 Community
Search engine optimization as a practice is strong as ever despite notions among expert groups who believe SEO is dead after Google’s Panda & Penguin updates. SEO, in retrospect, evolved from a singularly-focused practice aimed at boosting ranking to a unique art form that involves branding, keyword research, content creation and promotion to attract traffic to a business website.
In a 24×7 connected digital world, 81% of consumers perform online research before buying something. According to 57% of B2B marketers, SEO generates more leads than any other marketing tactic in modern times. So, it would not be wrong to say that SEO is extremely important for your website.
To help you out in building or refining a full-proof SEO strategy, we have outlined some important aspects in the form of a checklist. Follow this detailed SEO checklist to boost your search engine rankings.
Fine-tuning the Basics: Technical SEO
Before planning to do anything about on-page and external factors, it is important that you focus on the basics- i.e. technical aspects of SEO. Technical SEO ensures that your site is discoverable and easily navigable by the search engines for indexing and crawling purposes. To get the best results out of technical SEO, you need to focus on the following aspects:
An XML sitemap is your way of telling the search engine that your website is ready to be crawled and indexed. A sitemap is just like ‘table of contents’ of a book and a way of submitting all the pages of your website.
You can use any website analytics platform or plug-in to create a dynamic sitemap that gets updated automatically as you make changes to your website.
Robots.txt can be said to be an extension of your sitemap and informs search engines about which pages or parts of your website are required to be indexed. Search engines tend to crawl through all the content.
Robots.txt gives them the right direction to make sure you get the best SEO results. Robots.txt ensures that no critical part of content is missed by search engines to be indexed.
Speed is a critical factor for the success of any website. Online users are becoming more and more impatient with each passing day. If a website is not optimized for best performance and speed, it is more likely to have a higher bounce rate.
52% of global internet users use mobile devices for performing a search. The trend has been on the rise for past several years, growing the need of having a mobile-friendly website. If your website doesn’t have the essential responsive elements, search engines will definitely punish the same with low rankings.
Make sure to invest properly towards enhancing the user experience and performing QA testing to enhance the site responsiveness. A custom web design company can help you out with your responsiveness goals.
Security and privacy are the biggest concerns at present for online users. And search engines have also taken security seriously. If your website isn’t secure and covered under an SSL certificate, you may start losing visitors. Modern-day browsers show security warning to users who are trying to enter websites with no SSL certificate. Make sure to embed an SSL certification on your business website.
Moving ahead with On-page SEO: your shot at better search engine rankings
Once you have aced technical SEO, you might want to look at on-page SEO status of your website. Gone are the days of selective on-page SEO. Today, search engines are smarter and award websites with contextually-relevant and value-rich content, irrespective of the keyword placement.
You can’t just update Meta tags to get great rankings. Here are the things you must focus on while working on improving your website’s on-page SEO:
Topic & Keyword Research
The first ladder to great on-page SEO results begins way before you actually start to pen down content for your website. You need to know what you want to write, for whom you want to write and what are users searching for. If you have not performed comprehensive keyword research, there are very bleak chances that your target audience will be able to find you online.
The goal here is not about finding keywords to stuff in the content but identifying what users might be interested in. Keyword research helps in identifying topics for your website by helping you discover the terms, phrases and topics users are searching online.
Website owners and administrators often ignore the importance of a great URL. URL creates the first impression and simplifies your website directory structure. Including keywords and contextual phrases in URL by personalizing generic URL drives a better message home, making a website more attractive to both search engines as well as humans.
For a web page to rank well, having a clear, relevant and unique title tag is a must. You should follow ideal title length and try to include keywords in the title based on the topic of the page for best SEO results. These days, using dynamic formulas for title tags that populate page titles are also garnering huge support and performing well in search engine rankings.
Meta description tells search engines what information to display about a page on your website in search results. For the best SEO results, you need to have a customized and relevant Meta description with appropriate keywords. The goal of Meta description should be to assist the title and provide information to users on what to expect on the page in terms of content.
H Tags or headings on the web page should be well-organized and include the relevant keywords that you are targeting. Using heading tags in a hierarchical and orderly fashion not only gives structure to your page but allows search engines to index the page in a better way.
Your body copy should include focus keywords in a way that they appear to be naturally flowing. Don’t overstuff keywords into the content of the body as it can lead to penalization from search engines. Remember, this part is the biggest chunk of content that can be indexed by the search engines. So, make the most out of it by creating a clear, relevant and interesting copy for visitors.
Image Alt Attributes
Alt attributes for images are often forgotten leading to lower search engine rankings. If you fail to account for these, you are missing out of a huge indexing opportunity. Search engines cannot see images and make use of alt text to understand what an image is all about.
Adding relevant keywords to alt text attribute of an image can do wonders for your search engine ranking. Just make sure to be relevant as you would want your website to be accessible & enriching, even for those using a screen reader.
Bonus tips: Leveraging external SEO factors
Link Building: Try to get inbound links from high authority websites as it will boost your rankings sooner than you expect.
Local Search: Listing your business online using an online business directory can boost your SEO efforts. Make sure to add maximum information to your business listing for higher search engine rankings.
Social Media Presence: Though social media doesn’t directly impact search engine rankings, being active definitely helps in engaging audience and ultimately push your online presence to the top of search engine results.
That’s it from our end. Hope that this checklist will help you achieve your growth goals from SEO. If we missed something or you need further advice, let us know in comments. Remember, mastering SEO is a long term process and you can’t really optimize your rankings, quickly. Even Rome was not built in a day. How can we create an evergreen empire with some quick hacks?
- Published in Business 2 Community
We’ve been designing and developing websites for 16+ years. So, naturally, we use a good bit of jargon. Sometimes it’s shorthand but the majority of the time we use these terms because they are the best way to describe a thing we do, need, etc.
So, I asked our creative and development directors to send me the terms they wish our clients knew. Our intentions are honorable here, I promise. We simply want to make sure you understand us when we “speak geek.” Or at least our brand of Geek.
We’re always happy to explain what a term means. But, maybe this list will help us all be even more productive.
And, if there are any terms we’ve missed, please let me know. We’re breaking this into two part because let’s face it, 70 definitions is a lot for one sitting.
Here’s a quick view of our vernacular and their definitions (sources at the end of the post) followed by a Wood Street clarification or further explanation as needed…
Definition: “A permanent redirect from one URL to another, usually from your old website to the new website. (e.g.“website.com/about-us” now redirects visitors to “website.com/our-company” on the new website.”1
Wood Street: Basically, when you redesign a website, some links will change. So, make sure Google can still find the content. 301 redirect rules give Google instructions for finding your new pages.
Definition: “An error page that a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your website. Usually, this is due to a visitor mistyping the URL or attempting to access a page that has been deleted from the site. An effective 404 error page should communicate why the page doesn’t exist and what users can do next.”1
Wood Street: Users will see this page if the link they’re using no longer exists. Create a 404 page that acts as a directory to redirect the user so they stay on your website. Here’s our 404 page…
Accessibility / 508 Compliance
Definition: “Website accessibility concerns making a website accessible by people with disabilities. All websites built should follow guidelines outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.”1
Wood Street: Also known as 508 Compliance, there is a list of rules on a website run by the GSA. Basically, make sure that people with disabilities can access and use your website. So, fonts need to be clear and legible, images must be labeled for people who are visually impaired so the name of the image can be read to them. 508 compliance is still only “required” for government websites. That said, it’s always a good idea to make sure your website is as compliant as possible. There are lots of tools to check for this. Your webmaster should be able to run a quick report to let you know what issues need to be resolved to get your site in compliance.
Definition: “A is for agile, a major buzzword across the entire tech industry right now. Agile web development essentially refers to a particular way of working, and you’ll often hear this term in the startup world. In an agile team, web developers will work according to weekly or biweekly sprints. A sprint usually consists of five phases: design, develop, test, deploy and review.”2
Wood Street: Agile means you are developing and deploying features as they are completed. So, you’d launch with something much sooner and make adjustments and improvements to a live website or app. This initial launch is known as the minimal viable product/website/app. Agile is growing in popularity and is the preferred method of most developers. That said, it’s not always preferred by clients who want a fixed price and fixed deliverables.
Definition: “An algorithm is basically a set of steps for carrying out certain tasks. In computer programming, algorithms are a key part of problem-solving. When creating an algorithm, developers will document all the necessary steps it took to arrive at a solution to a problem, and what each step involved.”2
Wood Street: An algorithm is a programmatic solution to a problem. It’s the code equivalent to an instruction manual.
Definition: “Alternate descriptive text that is displayed inside the image placeholder while the page is loading. ALT text plays a role in optimizing a website for ADA compliance [see above], helps with SEO ranking, and overall web accessibility.”1
Wood Street: It’s the text associated with an image that displays when an image isn’t loaded or able to be seen. You may have seen something similar in an email before you download or show the images.
Definition: API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API enables two different programs to communicate with each other by making some parts of the website code available to developers. Developers can use this code, i.e. the API, to build tools and widgets that can be connected to that particular website.”2
Wood Street: Let’s say you have a WordPress or Drupal website and you need your contact form to connect to your email marketing solution, say MailChimp or ConstantContact. An API would facilitate that connection. Whenever a developer mentions an API, they are looking for a way to connect two pieces of software for a singular purpose.
Definition: “Software that is used for business or entertainment. The terms “application,” “application program,” “software application” and simply “app” may refer to virtually any type of program from spreadsheets such as Excel to media players such as iTunes to virtual reality games such as Second Life. However, the term specifically excludes essential control software such as the operating system .”3
Wood Street: An app is a standalone piece of software. Google Chrome is an example of software that can function as a web app, desktop app, and mobile app.
Definition: “Back-end development essentially refers to everything that goes on behind the scenes. What happens at the back-end — or server-side — powers what happens at the front-end, i.e. what the user sees and interacts with. Back-end development can be broken down into four main components of a software stack: the server, the database, the operating system, and the software.”2
Wood Street: Basically, if you cannot see it happen, it is likely a back-end function. For example, the interface where you type in a search in Google is the front-end. The back-end is what happens after you hit enter.
Definition: “The points at which a website’s content will adjust to accommodate various screen sizes to provide the user with the best possible layout to view content. In responsive design (see term below), breakpoints are often defined by common device widths, such as smartphone, tablet, and desktops above 1024px.”1
Wood Street: These are the sizes where a design layout will change, ie a desktop view, tablet view, mobile view, etc.
Wood Street: Bootstrap is a bunch of pre-written code that front-end developers use to turn a design into a functional website. At Wood Street, we have a similar framework we created to streamline our front-end development.
Definition: “A web browser is the software used to access the internet and display web pages. When you type a web address or URL into the browser, you are effectively sending out a series of requests. The browser will gather all the different elements that make up that particular webpage, such as images, ads, and content, from wherever they are stored (i.e. different directories or servers) in order to display the page that you see. The most common browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari for Apple, and Opera.”2
Wood Street: Every device uses a browser to access the internet. When we ask what browser you are using, it is usually one of the ones listed above in the definition. We need to know this because all browsers are different and can display a website differently than the others. We need specific browser information so we can replicate the bug (see below) you are seeing and fix it.
Definition: “A bug is an error that prevents a website or app from running as it should.”2
Wood Street: When we are debugging code, we are literally looking for errors in the code. Sometimes a bug could be missed during initial testing. This occurs because some bugs don’t reveal themselves until someone performs a unique action. That’s why when you encounter an error, it’s important that you recount the steps it took to get to that point and relay those back to us in detail. This way we can recreate the issue and fix the bug. Otherwise, it could be a matter of reviewing thousands of lines of code to find the bug.
Definition: “A cache is a temporary data storage mechanism that aids in site speed by storing relevant information on your computer the first time you visit a website so that your computer does not have to reload that information each time you access the site again.”2
Wood Street: We will often ask you to clear your cache when we’ve posted a change for you to review. The reason for this is, as you see in the definition above, your browser has stored elements of a website so they load faster the next time you go there. If you go to see a change and it isn’t there, you’ll need to clear your cache. You can do this by pressing CTRL/CMMD + F5 while in your browser.
Call to Action (CTA)
Definition: “Specific text, image, banner or button that uses action-oriented language that urges a visitor on a website to act. CTAs are designed to move a visitor from one page to the next and persuade them to take an expected, predetermined action. (e.g. Download a Whitepaper, Register for a Webinar, Contact Us, Learn More, etc.).”1
Wood Street: A CTA should be clear and obvious. You want your most important CTAs to appear “above the fold.” You can see two examples in this desktop view of a website we designed for JoJo’s Restaurant and Tap House in Frederick, MD…
Definition: “Code is essentially what web developers write using programming languages. To see exactly what code looks like, right-click on your internet browser window and click ‘view page source.’ You’ll then be able to see the code that’s behind this particular website.”2
Definition: “CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. It is a markup language responsible for the visual elements of a website. HTML (another markup language) is used to determine the structure and content of the webpage. Web developers will then use CSS to style this content; in other words, CSS tells the browser how the HTML elements should be displayed. CSS is used to apply colors and to determine font, text size and alignment, to name just a few.”2
Wood Street: You may have gone to a website and it looks like it went through a “Way Back Machine.” All the images are gone, the text is very plain, and the links are all underlined and blue. This usually means the CSS is not loading properly as CSS is what controls how the information is displayed. Without CSS, the browser will simply show the basics. Not all CSS is created equal. Some can be poorly written or bloated causing a website to load slowly and not display properly. Wood Street’s CSS is, of course, good stuff!
Content Management System (CMS)
Definition: “A software system that is used to edit the content on your website. This allows you to login into the “back-end” of your website to edit the text and images. Some examples include WordPress and Drupal. A CMS is designed to simplify the publication of website content, without requiring technical knowledge of code.”1
Wood Street: Universal access to open source content management systems like WordPress and Drupal have revolutionized digital marketing. A CMS allows an organization to make all website edits themselves. It’s a time and money saver but, more importantly, it means you can manage your own content. This removes any bottleneck so you can be agile with your marketing efforts. If you have a CMS but do not know how to use it, get training. If you don’t have a CMS, we highly recommend upgrading to one. We have yet to find an organization that can’t benefit from a CMS.
Definition: “When a user takes a specific desired action related to online marketing and lead generation. This includes completing a web form, submitting a request for information, subscribing to a newsletter or making an e-commerce purchase.”1
Wood Street: You would use a CTA (see above) to drive conversion. The success of your website will be, more than likely, dependant on how many conversions occur within a given period. This is the most effective way for you to measure ROI. If your conversion rate is low, you may want to consider implementing some CRO or conversion rate optimization.
Definition: “A small text file (up to 4KB) created by a website that is stored in the user’s computer either temporarily for that session only or permanently on the hard disk (persistent cookie). Cookies provide a way for the website to recognize you and keep track of your preferences.”3
Wood Street: Cookies have gotten a bad rap over the years. Yes, cookies can be used for nefarious purposes, but for the most part, they are used to improve the user’s experience. Cookies can be used to reduce load times or to keep users from having to enter data multiple times. Trust us when we tell you that cookies are your friend. Don’t believe me? Delete all the cookies stored in your browser and then talk to me after you’ve had to fill out a bunch of forms, etc again on sites you use all the time.
Definition: “An Internet domain name is a unique name of an organization or person on the Internet. The name is combined with a generic top-level domain (gTLD), such as .com or .org. For example, computerlanguage.com is the domain name for the publisher of this encyclopedia. By 2019, there were more than 300 million registered domain names.”3
Wood Street: A website can have multiple domain names but only one is the primary. The other domains can be set to point to the primary.
Definition: “Domain Name Servers (DNS) are like the Internet’s version of a phone book, controlling your domain name’s website and email settings. When a user visits your website address, the DNS settings control which server to point them to.”1
Wood Street: Please, please, make sure you know where your domain is hosted. And please be certain that you’ve set the account to “auto-renew.” We’ve seen too many companies either lose track of their login, or the account was setup with an ex-employee’s Yahoo email. This is how you lose your domain. Take this seriously as it is the #1 way that people find your company. Here’s a useful article on DNS.
Dots per inch (DPI)
Definition: “DPI is used to measure the resolution of an image both on screen and in print. As the name suggests, the DPI measures how many dots fit into a linear inch. Therefore, the higher the DPI, the more detail can be shown in an image. It should be noted that DPI is not dots per square inch. Since a 600 dpi printer can print 600 dots both horizontally and vertically per inch, it actually prints 360,000 (600 x 600) dots per square inch.”4
Wood Street: Oftentimes we will ask you for “high-resolution images.” This is what we’re referring to. So, even though the web only requires 72 DPI images, we prefer to start with 300 DPI images so we have enough space/resolution to crop or manipulate the image to work with your new website.
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)
Definition: “EPS is a PostScript image file format that is compatible with PostScript printers and is often used for transferring files between various graphics applications. EPS files will print identically on all PostScript-compatible printers and will appear the same in all applications that can read the PostScript format. PostScript code is used for storing font and vector image information. Vector images are usually drawings created by programs such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. EPS files may also include a rasterized version of the image used for previewing the contents of the file.”4
Wood Street: As you can see, an EPS is so much more than just a graphics file. When we design your website or create collateral materials for you, we need your logo in an EPS format. We can ensure the logo will display properly if we start with an EPS. The graphic designer who designed your logo should have provided you with an EPS format of that logo design. If not, ask if you can get one and then store it somewhere safe that can be easily accessed by those who might need it.
Definition: “A small icon image, often a company logo, that displays on the title bar or tab of a browser.”1
Wood Street: This is a small but very meaningful little piece of design. If you’re anything like me, you keep a lot of tabs open on your desktop. So, it helps to have a favicon in your tab so users can easily go back your website when they’re in another tab. Here’s our favicon…
And here it is with a bunch of other favicons…
Definition: “A fluid layout is a type of webpage design in which layout of the page resizes as the window size is changed. This is accomplished by defining areas of the page using percentages instead of fixed pixel widths.”4
Wood Street: We present our designs to clients as a flat JPG file at first. Sometimes, clients are confused and wonder why the design looks different in various browsers or on different computers. Our explanation is usually something about this being a flat JPG and that the functional website will be fluid and fill the screen appropriately. This is what we’re referring to.
Fonts (True type / Postscript / OpenType /Sans Serif / Serif)
Definition: There are a few here to define…
TrueType Fonts: TrueType is an outline font standard developed by Apple and Microsoft in the late 1980s as a competitor to Adobe’s Type 1 fonts used in PostScript. It has become the most common format for fonts on the classic Mac OS, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.5
PostScript Fonts: PostScript fonts are font files encoded in outline font specifications developed by Adobe Systems for professional digital typesetting. This system uses the PostScript file format to encode font information. “PostScript fonts” may also separately be used to refer to a basic set of fonts included as standards in the PostScript system, such as Times, Helvetica and Avant-Garde.5
OpenType Fonts: OpenType is a file format for scalable (outline) font files that extends the existing TrueType font file format used by Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems. OpenType was developed jointly by Microsoft and Adobe and allows an Adobe postscript file to be part of a TrueType font file.5
Serif and San Serif: In typography, a serif is a small line or stroke regularly attached to the end of a larger stroke in a letter or symbol within a particular font or family of fonts. Times New Roman is a serif font. Arial is a sans serif font.6
Wood Street: We included all of these different definitions so you understand how complex typography can be. This is just scratching the surface. For most of our websites, we use Google Fonts unless the client has a specific request. Some clients will have purchased the rights to use a specific group of fonts so that their website can stay on brand.
(The) Fold (or Above the Fold)
Definition: Above the fold is also used in website design (along with “above the scroll”) to refer to the portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling. As screen sizes vary drastically there is no set definition for the number of pixels that define the fold.5
Wood Street: The fold is literally a moving target. A “fold” on a person’s computer screen may be completely different on someone else’s. Remember, users will scroll. If you focus too much on getting things “above the fold” you may miss some users who scroll automatically and zoom right past your targeted content. Instead, focus on the user experience and use design and technology to drive conversion instead of thinking of your website as a newspaper… because that’s where the term “the fold” comes from. Get with the times, man.
After I wrote this I came across a post on Facebook that is just perfect.
When you are scrolling through a website, this is how it goes. Think about things in terms of weight and visibility and less about ordering.
Definition: “Frameworks were invented to make the process of building a website faster and easier. You can think of a framework as a collection of solutions, tools, and components that you can access in one central location — rather than seeking them all out separately each time. Some common frameworks include Ruby on Rails, Bootstrap, and AngularJS.”2
Wood Street: We use Laravel for a lot of our larger builds. For the front-end (see below), we actually have our own internal framework which helps to speed up development. That said, we can develop in Bootstrap if desired. Bootstrap is a front-end framework. It helps to know your project framework in the event that you need to move from one developer to another. For example, your developer quit, or joined the circus, or went on a Magic The Gathering Quest and is no longer servicing your custom application. A new developer may ask what framework the application was built in. Knowing this answer will help speed up your search for a new team. And you’ll be able to make a selection based on their level of experience with that framework.
Wood Street: Front-end code is what makes a website a website. Without this code, a website would be nothing but a useless image or text with no functionality. Front-end code and frameworks continue to improve which is why it’s important to overhaul your design and UX every 3 years, give or take.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
Definition: “It is a user interface that includes graphical elements, such as windows, icons, and buttons. The term was created in the 1970s to distinguish graphical interfaces from text-based ones, such as command line interfaces. However, today nearly all digital interfaces are GUIs.”4
Wood Street: GUI made computers accessible to everyone. Without GUI, only coders would be able to use computers in any meaningful way. So, thanks to Jobs and Woz for putting that Xerox GUI to good use!
Definition: “The web servers where your website files are housed, served, and maintained. A web server is a computer running web server software connected to the internet that allows visitors to access a website through an Internet-connected web browser or mobile device.”1
Wood Street: Where you host your website is very important. We recommend you host on a business class server with excellent ratings and super fast speed. If you host on a cheap hosting platform, just remember, you get what you pay for.
- Published in Business 2 Community
People spent an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their mobile phones in 2018. The heavier of users even went over 4 hours glued to their devices. Mobile is steadily taking over as the medium of choice for entertainment and is at pace to eclipse traditional media like TV.
As the market shifts, more companies are now forced to shore up their mobile presence. This has only upped the competition in the mobile space. Users can now find an app for just about anything and it isn’t uncommon to have hundreds of apps performing that same functions. For your mobile strategy to succeed, you have to offer something superior to what your competitors offer.
In parallel, the number of searches conducted from mobile devices have exceeded those made from desktops and laptops. Google’s official figures put the share of mobile searches at 60% (amounting to more than 50 billion in number). And here’s an industry-wise breakdown of that share:
At the same time, app developers are having an increasingly hard time getting people to install (and use) their apps. Even if some of your content that can be best viewed on your mobile app is visible and discoverable via organic search, installing the app just to view the content is a huge leap that few users are willing to take.
If you’re a company with an app, you must optimize visitors’ mobile experience and effectively employ techniques like “deep linking” to serve targeted content to users, creating more frictionless experiences. Apple’s Universal Links and Android App Links allow for a seamless transition from web search to content in the app, by opening up the corresponding screen within the app when a user clicks on a search result, provided they’ve installed the app on their phone.
To the uninitiated, deep linking sounds like some obscure practice that’s best left to those with a higher tech quotient. However, with Google rolling out its “mobile-first” index, all businesses need to sit up and take notice right now, if they haven’t already.
So what exactly are deep links and how do they relate to your mobile strategy?
What Are Deep Links?
To get a grasp of what deep links are, you must first understand the concept of a link. If you’re viewing this article on a browser, simply look at the address bar and you’d see this page’s address or universal resource locator (URL). It directs users to an exact location of this particular content on the internet. Other web pages can use this link to this URL in their content so that when a user clicks on the link, they will be sent directly to this page.
A link such as https://www.facebook.com/business2community can be broken down as follows:
https:// – The protocol
www – The subdomain
facebook – The domain name
com – The top level domain
business2community – The path
Any link that points to a path or any page “deeper” than the home page (in this case: http://www.facebook.com) is technically a deep link. Deep links are typically used to point users to specific content. Retailers, for example, may use deep links in marketing emails or ad banners to drive users to particular product pages.
How Do They Work on Mobile?
It’s a bit rare to hear about deep links as a term used in the context of webpages. Links on web browsers are pretty straightforward — when a link is clicked, the browser goes straight to the linked page. These days, the deep links are more often encountered in discussions surrounding mobile. Partly, it’s because links work a bit differently in mobile.
When you click a deep link on a mobile browser, what happens next depends on the specific configuration of the device and the apps available on it. If the website doesn’t have an associated app, clicking a deep link might simply open the page on the browser. If it does have an app, the deep link might launch the app and open the specific content within it.
However, for this to happen, apps have to be properly configured to handle deep links. The process is unique for Android and iOS, so developers have to factor these in the app’s design. Yelp is a company that does this well:
There may also be instances when a user hasn’t installed the relevant app yet. If properly configured, the deep link will open the app’s App Store page and prompt the user to install the app first. If deferred deep linking is used, the specific content will open within the app as soon as it is installed.
What Advantages Do They Bring?
The key idea behind deep links in mobile is that they help facilitate the flow of a user’s content consumption or transaction from one step to the next. Deep links are particularly useful in creating more integrated user experiences.
For instance, a retail company might send a user an email about its latest sale. The user reads the message in the app’s email app. The user gets interested in a particular product and clicks on the deep link within the email. If deep links are properly set, the user would automatically be sent to the ecommerce app and directly to the specific product’s page.
Through these seamless transitions, users are likely to proceed with their purchase. If such configurations aren’t properly set for the app, companies may stand to lose out on potential conversions as the flow essentially breaks down.
Other benefits include
personalized screens that pick up from their previous browsing points
more engagement and usage
better tracking and attribution
additional channel for marketing and remarketing
faster navigation to desired customer action
better context to nudge conversions
prevention of installation fraud
Why Should You Care?
Deep linking in mobile is something all companies with a mobile presence should consider. To start with, it provides a frictionless experience for the user. This is essential for companies that have complex funnels involving customer stories, such as the ecommerce and travel niches. Using deep links, you can chain together touchpoints and usher users towards their desired ends.
Fortunately for businesses, deep linking in mobile is often available packaged with mobile attribution services, as the technology that underpins both are the same. So if you’re already implementing analytics using mobile attribution, chances are you can hit two birds with one stone. By combining both, you could create analytics-driven campaigns that effectively utilize channels like web app banners, emails, social media, SMS, and even QR codes to achieve optimal conversion.
Over to You
Considering how critical it is to capture and sustain users’ interest for mobile success, companies must be able to leverage available means to improve engagement. Deep linking is one of the clear ways you can achieve this. The implementation of deep links is complex, but once you get it right, the advantages will more than compensate for the resources invested.
- Published in Business 2 Community
Every business owner knows having a recognizable business title is a major attributing factor when it comes to the growth and success of your small business. In fact, your business title will determine whether or not your business can be easily found online.
Even though you may have an easily searchable business title for direct traffic, content is what will drive the rest of your customers to your business. If you can create useful content, you’ll bring in more traffic and more potential customers. Now, the tricky part is writing a title for search engine optimization (SEO).
Below, we share some useful tips for writing effective SEO titles Google, and your readers, will love.
Google Search Ranking Signals
Google uses ranking signals to determine in what order its search engine results appear. There are hundreds of ranking signals and their importance change with every update. As there are multiple, small updates to Google’s search algorithm every single day, SEO experts tend to only focus their attention on major updates, as too should you.
In its latest search algorithm update, on March 12, 2019, Google announced changes to its Broad Core Algorithm. The details of the changes made are still not made public; however, most speculate the changes were made in order to better serve user satisfaction. This means Google is looking to see how well your search result answers a particular search query.
If that’s the case, which many experts believe it to be, the first place to begin improving user search satisfaction is with your title.
Understand User Search Intent
In order to understand user search intent, you have to know why people search online in the first place.
Online searches can be grouped into three categories such as transactional “Do,” Informative “Know,” and Navigational “Go” queries. For all information regarding queries, check out our Digital Marketing: Keyword Research 101 blog post.
All of the above search categories correspond to a level in your sales funnel, where informative searches are top of funnel and transactional and navigational searches comprise bottom of funnel.
Each funnel will have types and topics of content that perform best to incentivize users to complete an action or engage with your content. Content pages using the best performing topics and structures, at their respective stage in the funnel, matching a query will be ranked higher in search because Google believes users who interact with your content are satisfied. In turn, the type and topic of content will inform the title as well.
For example, if the query is informative in nature, its aim will be to qualify customers to enter deeper into your funnel through providing more detail around a topic where you also provide a product or service. As is, E-books are effective forms of content for engaging users when they conduct informative based searches. This means you should include an E-book on your new content page, presumably in exchange for an email. As this type of content play will be the draw for your page, you’ll then know to include the word “E-book” and the topic it covers in your title.
Create a Title Your Audience is Searching For
Always remember the results of your users’ search queries come with a direct effect on how your meta titles will appear within Google.
When keywords within a user search query matches with your title, Google will rank your website higher on various search results and will also bold the matching phrases and words in your meta title.
This means that in order to greatly benefit from these matching title results, you will need to make a great effort to create your title based on what the potential customers will likely be looking for.
With Google Keyword Planner, you can fine-tune your SEO titles to match perfectly what your targeted audience is searching for.
To find keywords and keyword phrase combination ideas to best match with user searches, create a free Google Keyword Planner account. After you’ve set-up your free account, click on the left box, “Discover new Keywords” to find new keyword ideas.
Type in a keyword or keyword phrase relating your business. For this example, we’re going to use, “paint store.”
As an alternative to entering a keyword, you can enter the domain page of one of your competitors to see which keywords they rank for. All you have to do is copy their home page URL and paste it into the search bar, click entire site (unless you want to examine keywords on a certain page) and click the “Get Started” button.
You’ll see both branded and non-branded keywords populate. Since you’re company won’t share the same name as your competition, you’ll be looking to see which non-branded keywords they’re using to drive traffic to their website. Pay particular attention to any keywords denoting specialized forms of products, as it’s here where you can find ideas to separate yourself from your competition.
Also, don’t ignore branded keywords entirely. They can be a great way of understanding what branded search terms your business can steal from your competition. Simply replace your business’ name with theirs and test how well your new traffic performs.
An additional note, URLs will appear as green bubbles instead of blue.
Proceeding from our initial keyword search of “paint store,” a list of related keywords will populate.
Look for keywords that have high search volumes and low to medium competition. These will be the keywords you want to target most. Unfortunately, unless you have an active spending Google AdWords account, you will see that your average monthly searches do no give you exact search numbers. You can see that Google shows you an estimate of the search between a select range of numbers. This won’t give you much to go on; however, there is a work-around.
Select the keywords you want by clicking on the box directly to their left and a drop down menu in blue will appear. From that new menu, click on the match type drop down window and select “Exact match.”
Now, select “Add to plan” from its drop down window (it’s selected by default) and click on “ADD KEYWORDS.” Head over to the keywords menu from the left column navigation.
Now you can see exactly how many impressions and clicks each keywords gets. This will help inform which words you use in your titles.
Spend time looking for keywords that get a good mix of impressions and clicks. Also, don’t forget to calculate click-through rates (CTR) to find which keywords perform the best. You can learn a keyword’s CTR by dividing its number of impressions by its number of clicks.
Keyword research such as this can help your business find keyword and keyword phrase searches to create content around in order to increase your business’ traffic and, more importantly, better fulfill search intent.
Make Search Titles Accurate
Accuracy is very important when trying to make your page title compliant with Google Search satisfaction because it gives a clear expectation for your audience.
Understand your titles need to accurately reflect your content. One way to ensure accuracy is to add a division in your headline after you insert your focus keyword to better clarify your topic from your business.
There are four distinct ways in which you can better clarify the content of your headline: vertical lines, dashes, brackets and colons.
If you take a few minutes to look at the top search results, you’ll likely see they are short and clear about which topic they are writing to and subsequently use a division (in the form of the one of the four above) to separate the name of their business or the type of content.
As you can see, every search result uses a form of division to indicate either what the content is, what form the content will take, which niche it belongs to, and which company its from.
It’s these kinds of headlines or titles with clarification, on average, that perform better than those without.
In addition, it’s all about setting high and clear expectations because readers will know exactly what they are getting themselves into before clicking.
Keep SEO Titles Precise
There are no clear rules as to how short or long a title should be. However, it depends on where it will appear and what your goals are.
For instance, if you want your post to rank high on search engines, then your title should have less than 70 characters. Optimizing your SEO titles for social sharing entails a different requirement.
However, titles between 8 and 12 words in length are believed to get the most social shares and likes on average. It’s therefore a good idea to run some tests to determine what exactly works better for your target audience on search and social.
If your plan is to get your business seen on Google Search, you need to be able to write titles its algorithm loves. Remember, to do this, all you need is some basic keyword research, content title divisions, and precise word choice.
- Published in Business 2 Community
In February, Google started testing its new Gallery Ads for search. The goal of this ad format is to enable advertisers to combine search intent with a more interactive visual format, and they are expected to deliver in a huge way in terms of Google Ads ROIs.
In this post, we will take you through everything you need to know about Google’s Gallery Ads, which are expected to roll out later this year, answering these important questions:
What are Google Gallery Ads and how will they work?
What are the benefits of Gallery Ads?
How will you pay for Gallery Ads?
Why should you care about Gallery Ads?
Let’s jump in!
What are Google Gallery Ads and How Will They Work?
Gallery Ads are described as interactive ads with swipeable carousel images. Meaning Google services will be able to either swipe through the images of your Gallery Ad or click each image to expand to a vertical view, which they can then swipe down. At the end of the Gallery, searchers will be able to see your CTA, which, when clicked, will take them to your Gallery Ad landing page.
As you can see from the Gallery Ad example above, advertisers will need additional taglines of up to 70 characters for each image in their Gallery, which will include four to eight images. Advertisers will also be able to add three main headline options that will be tested to find the best-performing one.
As it stands now, Gallery Ads will only be eligible to show for those top Google search result spots on mobile devices, with Google saying they will test them on desktop and in other Google products further down the line.
Additionally, it is important to note that they will be a new ad format – not a unique campaign type – and will, therefore, compete with other Search Ads in the same auction.
What are the Benefits of Google Gallery Ads?
It’s reported that the Gallery Ads being tested right now are yielding 25% more interactions (clicks or swipes) on top SERP mobile listings. That’s a huge jump!
By integrating visuals into the power of search, Gallery Ads will improve how you communicate the value of your products to potential shoppers. In a nutshell: they will drive search engagement like never before. How? By enabling advertisers to visually tell their brand story, launch a new product or introduce a new category, Gallery Ads will take search to the next level.
How will you pay for Gallery Ads?
Google will be charging for Gallery Ad integrations in two different ways:
Either you will pay for clicks. As with traditional search ads, you will be charged for the click when a searcher clicks the ad headline, which then sends them to the ad URL.
Or you will be charged when the post has at least three Gallery Ad swipe interactions. In other words, if a searcher swipes through three (out of the minimum four) or more images in your gallery.
Why should you care about Gallery Ads?
We all know how powerful strong imagery can be in terms of paid advertising; and Gallery Ads will bring that power to your search campaigns. There is no doubt that this new Google ad format will be packing a punch. Ultimately helping brands stand out from the digital noise, to increase branding, search engagement and impact. Revolutionizing search in the same way that Google did with Google Shopping or Facebook did with their Dynamic Product Ads.
The early bird catches the worm, as they say. Gallery Ads may not be here yet, but as you can see from this post, you want to be ready for them. They are currently in beta, but StoreYa clients will get first dibs before other businesses on this powerful ad format.
Be sure to stay tuned to find out when Google is planning to release Gallery Ad formats in your country and get in early for big rewards.
- Published in Business 2 Community
If you’ve been involved in a website project before, you know how nerve-racking it can be to finally give the go-ahead to “flip the switch” from the old website to the new one. There are a lot of things that need to be tested, double-checked and implemented before launch to ensure a smooth transition.
Your web development partner will have a pre-launch and a post-launch website checklist of their own, but you and your team have an important to-do list, too. Here is a list of items that need to be checked off before the big launch.
1. Cross browser testing
When you use a certain browser every day, you might assume that everyone else uses the same one and can see exactly what you see on your computer. This, however, is not the case, as not all browsers work the same way, and your website may display and act differently on each one. Therefore you need to thoroughly test your website on all browsers (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc.) and all different mobile devices (i.e. iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.). The best way to go about testing is to share the staging site link for your website with a few people on your team and ask them to click through every page and every link, making note of anything that seems off or broken. It’s important that one person doesn’t do all the testing by themselves so that you don’t miss anything! Then, this process needs to be repeated after the website goes live to be sure nothing broke during the launch process.
2. Proofread content
Most websites today are set up with a content management system, and copy changes can be made quickly and easily – but no one wants to launch a website with a spelling error. So be sure you and your web team proofread the website thoroughly before launch. It’s a good idea to get another set of eyes who wasn’t directly involved in the process to review the copy as well. In addition to spelling errors, check that all phone numbers, addresses and other contact information is correct.
3. Test forms
During testing, make sure you fill out and test all of the forms on the site, such as contact forms, job applications or email subscriptions. To test, change the notification email to your own and then fill out each form on all desktop, tablet and mobile versions. Just because a form works in one place doesn’t always mean that it works everywhere. If the forms are integrated with a third-party tool such as CRM, marketing automation or email marketing, you want to make sure that all fields are properly pushing information into those platforms. After testing, don’t forget to change back all of the form notifications to alert the right people. There’s nothing worse than a prospect filling out a form on your website but no one knows because you forgot to set up the notifications.
4. Implement necessary SEO
It’s essential to set your website up for search engine optimization (SEO) success before launch. One of the most important aspects of SEO is making sure each page of your website has a unique title tag and meta description. This helps tell the search engines what content is on the page so people can search for your firm and your capabilities. Another common SEO oversight is the omission of image ALT tags, robots.txt and other technical factors. Here are some important SEO practices to remember when launching a site.
5. Set up 301 redirects
Creating a new website or redesigning your current one means that some of your page URLs will change. For example, your old website might have the URL ‘/team’ for all of your team member bios but use ‘/professionals’ on your new site. Making sure that those URLs redirect correctly after launch is critical to ensure that your users don’t land on any 404 error pages. It also helps with SEO because adding 301 redirects triggers search engines to remove the old page and only index the new page, therefore helping it rank organically. Before your old website goes away, be sure to record all of the current URLs in an excel spreadsheet and then designate the page on the new website where each URL to redirect.
6. Upload a favicon
Favicons are a small, but very important detail on any website. They are the little image of your logo or brand that appears in the address bar and tabs of your browser beside your page title. Favicons are important because they help with the credibility of your website and provide some additional branding for your company, improving user experience.
7. Page speed optimization
Your website’s page speed is just as important as the visual design and content. If a user visits your website and the page is slow to load, they more than likely will leave right away. The biggest cause of a slow website is related to image size and quality. Make sure that your images are compressed but still really good quality. The Imagify plugin on WordPress websites will do all the compressing for you and is very easy to use. Another way to help improve page speed is to enable a caching plugin such as WP Rocket. Caching plugins generate HTML pages of your website and save it on the server so that when a user accesses your site, it will pull the simple HTML instead of the heavy loaded PHP scripts.
8. Create a sitemap
When you launch a new website, search engines aren’t automatically aware of this change. In order to get them to correctly index your site and recognize the new pages you have published, you will need to create an XML sitemap. This is a specific file that lists all of the pages of your website, helping search engines understand your website’s structure and what pages are important. There are many SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO for WordPress, that will automate the creation and maintenance of XML sitemaps.
9. Install tracking codes
Your beautiful new website just launched, but do you know how users are finding it and what pages they’re landing on the most? That is where Google Analytics comes into play. Any firm should utilize Google Analytics since it’s free and easy to set up, and it’s a powerful tool to help you better understand your website’s performance. It tracks the number of visitors that come to the website, what pages they are visiting, how long they are on certain pages, etc. There are also some really great paid tracking services, such as HotJar or marketing automation platforms, that can be added to provide even more in-depth analytics for websites. Each of these tools have a unique tracking code you’ll need to add to the code of your website in order to collect data. Add these right after launch to make sure you capture all data from the start of your new site!
10. Purchase SSL certificate
Making sure your website is secure is more important now than ever. An SSL certificate not only protects your website and keeps the data between the servers and your browsers private, but Google will penalize your site and mark it as “not secure” on its search results page if you don’t have an SSL, which deters users from visiting your site. Your business is credible and secure, so you want to make sure users know that when they view your website.
11. Update the Time To Live
Time To Live (TTL) is a very important setting in your DNS record because it tells the server how long the DNS information should be cached. This should always be checked before launching your new website because it will affect how long it takes the new site to propagate on the servers. You’ll want to communicate to your web person or your IT company where your domain is registered and how short you want to set the TTL. Ideally, you want to make sure that the TTL is set as short as possible—typically 30 seconds to a few minutes.
12. Website privacy/robots
Once the website has launched, it is critical that the privacy of the website is turned to public. During development, your website is normally set to “private,” which tells search engine robots not to index your website while its under development. However, once the website is ready, it’s incredibly important to make sure this is turned to public so that people can find your new website and search engines can begin to crawl your newly created sitemap to help you show up on search engines.
Launch with confidence
Communicating with your web development partner during the launch phase is extremely important. They should have their own detailed launch list that has the technical items that are typically beyond the marketing team’s understanding. And once the site is live, be sure that you or your development partner have a plan for properly maintaining the website moving forward. Depending on the complexity of the website, there could be more items on this pre-launch checklist, but this is a comprehensive list of items that tend to apply to the majority of website projects and will set you up for a smooth and successful launch!
- Published in Business 2 Community
In my last article on this blog, I described how brand awareness in PPC is sometimes viewed as less important than PPC performance.
Unfortunately, too many companies put all their attention on the performance of their paid search campaigns — and undervalue their brand awareness campaigns.
Which is unfortunate because brand awareness is often a major driver of performance!
Why is this the case? Because when your product or service is expensive and/or complex, you have to lay some foundation before you can get a conversion. You have to give potential customers the opportunity to get to know you and what you bring to the table.
Brand awareness lies at the heart of this kind of foundation building. But by the time you get to the end of your conversion process, you’re too busy celebrating to remember all of the groundwork that went before. So your performance campaigns take all the credit.
Therefore, in the first part of this blog post, I will highlight some of the metrics that will help you see how you’re doing with brand awareness.
In the second part, I’ll look at a real life example.
Brand Awareness Metrics
So what metrics should you look at as a measure of brand awareness?
Here are some good places to start:
Traffic metrics don’t tell the whole story of brand awareness. But they are a good indicator.
1. % New visitors
Ideally, you want to see a good percentage of new visitors coming to your site. A higher percentage of new visitors means that people are discovering and learning about you.
In essence, new visitors mean new business. So you want to see a slow, steady increase.
If you’re only getting returning visitors, that’s a major red flag.
2. Direct traffic
How are people finding your website? Is it through referrals, organic search, paid search or direct traffic?
Direct traffic is when people either type in your URL or reach it via a browser bookmark. For this to happen, people must already be familiar with your brand and website.
Therefore, direct traffic is a metric that reflects brand awareness.
Again, this a place where you want to see steady growth.
3. Number of visits from your branded campaign
There’s no set number of visits that you’re going for here. But you do want to see this number increase over time.
If people are finding and clicking on your ads that featured your branded terms, that could be a sign that your brand awareness campaigns are working. Otherwise, they would be less reluctant to click on those ads.
1. Pages per session
How many website pages are people visiting (on average) during each session?
The more pages people visit per session, they more engaged they are. More pages means they’re truly interested in your site and want to explore it.
2. Average session duration
Similar to the above, the amount of time each visitor spends on your site is another good indicator of engagement. The more time they spend, the more engaged they are.
Form Completion Metrics
Form completion is more often thought of as a performance metric. But it can also be a brand awareness metric.
For example, we have a client whose brand awareness campaigns is driving form completions (and leads). Form completion wasn’t our primary goal. But we’ll take it as a bonus!
A Nursing Home Example
What do these metrics look like in reality? Let’s use a real life example to illustrate.
We have a nursing home client that specializes in providing support for a particular type of degenerative disease.
We’ve been running their PPC campaigns for awhile. But we haven’t been getting many leads (a performance metric). So does that mean these campaigns aren’t working?
Not at all. There are a number of factors to consider.
First, for a number of reasons (some of which are technical), the client hasn’t been able to set up phone call tracking. So it could be that we’re getting more conversions than we know — but they’re happening over the phone and we can’t quantify them.
Second, our PPC campaigns are still their best marketing channel. So there’s that.
Third, think about the nature of this client’s “product.” Moving a loved one to a nursing home is a big, complex, expensive decision. It requires a lot of research and thought.
So how likely is it that someone will be motivated by an online ad to make an immediate commitment?
In this kind of situation, you need to start with brand awareness. You need to help prospective clients get to know you and what you offer. You have to build trust.
Part of this heavy lifting can be done through brand awareness campaigns.
So if you evaluate your PPC campaigns purely by performance metrics, such as signing a contract or setting up an appointment, you’ll be disappointed.
But if you evaluate these campaigns by brand awareness metrics, such as traffic, new visitors, time on site, etc., then you’ll start to see that these campaigns are laying the groundwork for an eventual conversion or sale.
Here’s a screenshot from Google Analytics for this client. It shows some of the brand awareness metrics discussed above:
As you can see, the average time on page for this client is impressive. Over 2.5 minutes! That’s a clear sign of engagement.
The number of page views also looks good.
So I argued (and the client agreed) that we would be wise to continue our brand awareness campaigns.
Unfortunately, not all clients come around to this way of thinking.
We typically run both performance and brand awareness campaigns for our clients. But sometimes, when performance metrics go up (likely driven by brand awareness activities), some clients will say, “Oh good! Performance is up. So now we can cut back on brand awareness.”
This response is understandable. But it’s also short-term thinking.
Other clients will say, “Oh good! Performance is up. Our brand awareness campaigns are starting to pay off. Let’s put even more into these campaigns so we can continue to grow our results.”
Of course, no business has an unlimited budget for advertising. And so, you may need to adjust the percentage of PPC budget that goes to brand awareness vs. performance over time.
But the percentage that goes to brand awareness should never fall to zero.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Brand Awareness
Brand awareness has an important role to play in your business, even if that role is sometimes “behind the scenes.”
So don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can cut brand awareness and rely solely on your performance activities.
Because if you jeopardize the foundation, the entire house may fall.
- Published in Business 2 Community
mohamed_hassan / PixabayThere are dozens of easy fixes you can make to increase the traffic on your website. Even if you’re only missing one of these strategies-you’re missing out on potential traffic that could be bringing you more clients. Here are 7 potential reasons you can instantly increase the number of visitors your website receives:
Your on-page optimization is non-existent
Lack of a keyword strategy
Inaccurate content strategy
Posts and pages are not interlinking
No authority or “yes votes”
You haven’t been blogging
On-page optimization is non-existent
On-page optimization contains a plethora of ranking factors that signal to search engines what your page is about. Without on page optimization, your page isn’t clearly communicating what it offers.
On-page optimization includes having the main keyword or key phrase in your title, and URL. To enhance the content you will need to use LSI keywords throughout the body and in the subtitles to support the main keyword. The images should have alt tags filled out, captions if applicable and the file name of an image or video can also be optimized by including a keyword.
Lack of a keyword strategy
A popular discussion found in many marketing circles is whether keywords are dead. When Google implemented the Hummingbird Update it solidified the method for the contextual assessment of websites. Website owners became more liable for the quality of content and with this adjustment, keyword strategy evolved.
It is no longer necessary to reinforce the optimization of a page by repeating a keyword throughout an article. We don’t need separate pages to rank separate keywords. We need only establish search intent as the main focus of our optimization and provide the relevant details that satisfy search intent in a single piece of content.
A keyword strategy helps to shape how we build our pages by bringing to light related facets of an idea. By incorporating different variations of our keyword (LSI keywords) we also uncover more issues that may not have been so obvious in relation to our main keyword focus.
Inaccurate content strategy
The lack of a keyword strategy leads to an inaccurate content strategy. Without establishing the search intent for specific search terms in our keyword research our content production becomes random, unorganized and ineffective at addressing the demands of the person searching.
Keyword research leads us to identify what forms of content are performing for a specific keyword or phrase. If you’re writing articles for a search term that displays a video in the featured snippet (position zero), your content strategy is completely ineffective and inaccurate since it’s obvious that Google had deemed a video to be the best method of satisfying search intent.
Posts and pages are not interlinked
The structure of your content should be to use a “pillar page” as a page that performs for your main keyword. This page also serves as a hub for topics that are related to your keyword and discussed in more depth and detail to create a broader understanding of your main service or product. Connect your pages by linking from your posts back to the pillar page with anchor text that enhances the optimization of our money key phrases. In the same respect, you can link out from your pillar page for more detail on a specific idea or topic. Interlinking your pages and posts will enhance the optimization of your website which contributes to a higher ranking and more traffic.
No authority or “yes votes”
Authority is a value that is assigned to a domain based on the number and quality of referring domains. Moz uses DA (domain authority) as a measure of 1-100 to help compare values between websites. Backlinks from external websites are like “yes votes” from third parties that confirm your credibility with the link they are giving to your website. Moz estimates that Google weights the importance of backlinks at 27.94% of its localized ranking assessment.
When a website accumulates backlinks it also accumulates authority which increases the DA and the ability to outrank competing websites. When competing for a top position in the search results your success will be heavily be influenced by the DA of your site in comparison to your competitions. Establishing a link building strategy will improve the authority of your website and lift your ranking to more competitive positions.
You haven’t been blogging
Publishing articles and building a blog can mean the difference between generating massive streams of traffic and producing tiny trickles. When you are able to provide visitors with helpful advice or additional information about your services or products, you are encouraging them to return to your site for more resourceful information. Blogs build relationships with visitors by providing value and insight into issues that affect their lives. The Renovation Method is a way of producing high-quality content that is highly relevant and developed to perform well in your blogging and guest posting efforts.
Blog posts are used to support the pillar pages by explaining related topics in more detail. The articles you produce in your blog optimize your website by supporting the main key phrases through the related content. If you haven’t been blogging you have been missing a major aspect of generating traffic to your site.
Headlines are what draws your audience in to read your article and if they aren’t enticing enough, people won’t read them. A headline not only needs to explain to the reader what they will receive within the contents but needs to elicit interest and stand out from other competing search results. Coschedule published an article claiming that catchy blog titles can increase traffic by 438%.
Using keywords within your headline is one way to improve the click-through rate of your article. When people see the same search term they typed within your title it’s going to get their attention. Tell them exactly what they are going to receive using numbers, power words, and a stated outcome to maximize interest, click-throughs and overall traffic to your site.
Maximizing the traffic your website receives isn’t something that can be done overnight. Incorporate a systematic approach and tackle every issue proven to be effective in order to see your total monthly volume of traffic rise.
- Published in Business 2 Community
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