Month: July 2016

Google Album Archive

Picasa Web Albums will be discontinued on August 1st, but you can still access your photos from the new Google Album Archive. “The album archive is where we keep all the photos that have been shared or stored on Google products, like Picasa, Google+, and Blogger,” informs Google.

As you probably noticed, Google Photos doesn’t show photos uploaded using other Google services, so it can’t fully replace Picasa Web Albums or Google+ Photos. Google Album Archive lets you see, download or delete photos from Picasa Web Albums, Google+, Blogger, Hangouts, Google Drive and Google Photos.

Album Archive doesn’t have a search feature, but there are separate sections for Google services. For example, you can find all the photos uploaded to Hangouts in one place.

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Picasa Web Albums links, this article has some answers:

Links that will continue to work
* Links to photos and albums whose URLs use your user ID number (and not your username).
* Links to Public Galleries whose URLs use your user ID number (and not your username).

Links that will stop working
* Slideshows embedded on websites.
* Picasa Web Albums & photos embedded on websites.
* Links to photos, albums, and Public Galleries whose URLs use your username (and not your user ID number).

{ Thanks, Brandon Giesing. }

Advertisements

Google Image Labeler Is Back

Google Image Labeler used to be a game that helped Google categorize images and improve image search. It was launched in 2006 and discontinued in 2013. Now Image Labeler is back, but it’s no longer a game.

If you go to get.google.com/crowdsource/imagelabeler/category, you’ll see this message: “Ready to help Google Image Labeler? Look at a few public images to see if Google is organizing them right.”

Then you can pick a category like birds, cats, dancing, concerts, food, cars, mountains, sky. If you use this URL: get.google.com/crowdsource/imagelabeler?label_str=Dogs, you can add your own category (replace “Dogs” in the address bar with something different like Rainbows, Stairs or Moon).

Google shows Creative Commons images from Flickr categorized by Google’s algorithms. You only need to answer to questions like “Does this image contain dancing?”.

6 Great Ways to Boost Likes & Shares for Your Posts

Are your posts valuable and relevant for your readers? Do you want to get more likes and shares for your content? Generating leads is among the most important objectives of any blogger or online business. Social media is an effective tool to gain more visibility as well as a larger number of followers and traffic.

How should you use social networks to achieve a higher visibility and more fans? The bigger the number of followers is the higher your reach will be. You must apply some tactics to increase this important metric. We have gathered several great ways to help you obtain more likes and shares in the digital environment.

1. Choose The Right Social Media Networks to Promote Your Posts

Before actually starting a business or a blog, you should closely look at your target market. Who are your clients or followers? What are their needs, desires, and pain points? Use this information to create your buyer persona (the profile of your ideal customer). Your potential fans might not be on all social networks. This is why you have to create accounts on those that are truly relevant to what you have to offer.

For example, to reach the masses, Facebook is a good choice. When you have a lot of visuals and images, the best choice is to use Instagram. If you want to promote yourself as a professional, LinkedIn is the right pick for you. So on, and so forth. You don’t have to be present on all the existing websites. As a matter of fact, this would only dilute your efforts.

Focus on a combination of two or four networks. Choose those that are best suited for your social media needs and also keep their relevance in mind for your subjects or activity domain. At first, you can try several platforms, and discover where your potential customers are spending most of their time. You can do this by using the Google Analytics suite.

Besides web metrics, how else can you find where your buyers spend their time? Well, you can also ask them directly, by running a small and concise survey. Another useful method is to take a glance at what your competitors are doing. If you are targeting a small niche, check if your domain is active on the networks you want to create accounts.

2. Optimization Is Crucial

After you have chosen the right social media mix to promote your posts, you should consider optimizing your content and your profiles. You can even connect all the accounts. For example, if you create a text post for your Facebook account, try to adjust it to be utilized for other profiles as well. You can transform it into a short video and upload it to YouTube.

Optimization should be taken into consideration for all the aspects of your content, starting with the title and ending with images. If you want to build a brand, try finding your voice. Be unique and original. While it is recommended to look for inspiration, you should never copy. The digital environment is full of useless and duplicate content. Maintain your focus. Think about your goals. What do you exactly want to obtain by promoting these specific posts?

Keywords should not be an afterthought, as they will dictate the general direction of your content. Spend as much time as needed to identify relevant long-tail keywords & optimize your content for them.

3. Create Engaging Content

Add images or videos to your posts. Make them look appealing. Also, you can use specific programs such as SumoMe to add sharing buttons directly on your visual. When a user hovers over your post’s images, he/she will be able to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media networks, thus increasing your number of likes and shares.

You can also add a visible “share” button under each image or video. As long as you make your content user-friendly, followers will be more likely to share it on social media. Engaging content shows realistic and natural things. Instead of using the picture of some models to represent your team, take some real pictures of them. This way, you will become more trustworthy in the eyes of the users.

4. Diversify and Re-Share Content

First and foremost, your content should always be very relevant and valuable to your target audience. When you post a variety of content, you make sure that your social media profiles are always updated and offer fresh reading materials for your followers. Keep your audience engaged at all times. Otherwise, they will become less interested in what you have to offer.

Attract your clients by posting all types of content, from informational to promotional. Make sure, however, to apply the golden rule- the 80/20 method. This means you should post only 20 percent promotional content. The rest should be helpful and valuable for your target market. Creating loyalty among your clients is more important that just to attract short-term website traffic.

You can make a schedule of your posts. By sharing it several times on your social media profiles, you will increase the number of people that sees your content. You can use several online platforms that help you make a proper publishing schedule. They offer features such as planning which content to be distributed, on which networks, and the exact time to do this.

5. Test Different Titles

Titles are imperative for both SEO and user experience. Take the time to craft engaging and intriguing titles. A way to do to this is by applying the A/B testing method. The title can determine whether the post will be opened or not. Also, it will play an important role in the number of likes and shares you will get. For example, “How to” titles have great audience exposure.

Compelling titles should encourage readers to click on the post. You can see how good is your titles by using some specific web tools. Most of them are free of charge. This element of your post is the first one that the users see so make it a great one.

You also have to think about where you will post the content. The titles should be optimized accordingly. For example, Twitter titles are shorter than those posted on other social media networks. So, what’s in a title? Well, a big part of your effective writing and optimization.

6. Insert Valuable Links and Opinions

By using high-quality resources, you will raise your posts’ overall value. For example, you can interview experts or influencers in your industry. This will increase your credibility. When you mention someone relevant for your users, they will be more willing to share the posts, and promote it on their social media accounts.

This is a great method to attract new followers as well as increasing your visibility and awareness. Cross promotion is another wise way to obtain the goals previously mentioned. You should post your content everywhere, as long as it is a place where your potential clients are. Link building is a powerful tool, so use it wisely.

Let’s Recap

Great and relevant content will increase your visibility. Besides this, there are also other several factors you should consider when you want to attract more leads, likes and shares. Building a higher reach requires time, so be patient and unwavering.

Using these strategies will make your audience show more interest in reading and sharing your content on social media networks. If you keep applying them, the results will show up eventually. You can also experiment with different methods, to see which one works best for you.

Author Bio: Michelle Baker is freelance writer & mother of two. She worked as a customer care representative for several ISP companies in the past. Her personal experience in the industry & tech-savvy nature have helped her write unbiased ISP reviews for BroadBandSearch, as well as blogging & marketing guides for various online publications.

Original post: 6 Great Ways to Boost Likes & Shares for Your Posts

Small Business Digital Marketing 101 – Your First Steps Online

website101-blog

I get questions all the time about how to get started online and where to get started online by those who are just starting up their business.

This is perhaps one of the most common questions asked out there and I find lots of great advice from sites all over the web.

What I tend to focus on with most people is just getting that first sale. Often times most new businesses do not have a lot of cash. This is one big reason why I started MarketingPlayBook.co . I want to get you making money and off the ground so you can start to grow your businesses and have more money to hire out people like me to take you to the next level.

On today’s hangout we are going to give you some very actionable information to get started online and to make your first sale or at least get your first online lead.

Here is the Weekly Hangout Video to accompany the written guide

You started your company or you have been around for years. It does not matter. You are now looking to generate more sales online and have few if any online assets.

The question you have or should have is

What Do I Need To Setup My Business online?

First the stuff you should have already

  • Your Name
  • Company Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Hours of Business
  • Website
  • List of Services you Provide
  • Brief Summary of Business
  • Image and creative assets.
  • Website

I won’t spend much time on any of the above as this is all very common things

I will quickly talk about websites however because some people think they need to spend a lot of money to get a business website up but in today’s world it’s really cheap and it does not have to take long.

In order to build a website you really need 3 things

  1. Domain name which you can get from a registrar such as Godaddy, Google Domains or Namecheap. I like Google Domains and Namecheap.
  2. You then need hosting for your website. Hosting is the server that serves your website to the general public. There are hundreds of hosts out there. If you are small I would go with Bluehost. If you have a big site or eCommerce store and will have lot’s of traffic then I would go with Liquid Web.

From there you need to change what are called name servers from your register where you registered the domain name to point to your hosting account. Bluehost and Liquid Web provide the name servers and details on how to do this

  1. You need to code your website. gone are the days where most people higher a web developer to hard code an entire site. In 90% percent of all cases all you need is a decent Content Management System. I recommend WordPress. It’s free and your webhost will help you install it.

From there you can find a free theme you like online or a paid theme that is well supported that has the look you are going for with your business.

Where to List My Business Online?

This is the fun part. Well fun for me at least.

You need to ensure you are listed at the most prominent places online where people look for your products or services. Your website is just the main sales page. It can get organic search engine traffic our you can use paid traffic sources like PPC to generate traffic which in turn can lead to sales.

However you need to be listed online where your customers are looking for your services.

This also helps to complete and connect an echo system together for you business. As you build out other online assets, search engines such as Google will see you as more of an authority website for the products and services you are promoting.

If you are a local auto mechanic and want to be found organically through search engines then you need to tell Google and Bing about your business.

Here is a List of directory Assets You should Create

Not all of the above offer free registration. Some will also attempt to upgrade you to a paid plan. It’s up to you if you want to pay.

TIP: I know plenty of companies are run out of people’s homes. I ran my computer repair company out of my home. In most cases you will need to use a physical address to register at the above places. If you do not want to use your home address you could pay for a street address at mail box place. P.O. Boxes in most cases will not work

If you do get a P.O. Box then use this form to request a physical street address – https://ribbs.usps.gov/mtcsa/documents/tech_guides/PBSACustomerAgreement.pdf

You should also register and reserve your social handle online. This is normally your company name or some version of the name and not your personal accounts.

To make things easy you can but in the name at http://knowem.com/ and check to see if that name is clear on dozens of popular web 2.0 and social sites

I know your eyes are popping out of your head. I gave you 50 places to register your business. The directories are important because these are places before will visit. It’s vital that you fill out your profile and use the same name and address and phone number. You also get the added benefit of having a link in many cases pointed back at your website.

The social sites are important to register and at least reserve your name so someone does not scoop it up. They can also be used for content promotion to help generate leads for your businesses or to stay in touch with customers.

While not every plumber is going to spend time on YouTube, Facebook or twitter you can do a lot with these kinds of social sites. See our Content Development hangout where we talk more in-depth on this subject matter at http://marketingplaybook.co/hangouts/developing-content-strategy-small-business/

We have covered your website, directories, and social web 2.0 sites. building up these assets should help to give you a solid start that is 100% white hat.

I do want to leave you with this thought.  Take the time to pick-out a good WordPress theme for your website and put in the effort to make the site look good. Your website is an extension of your physical business and represents you 24/7 365.  These were plenty of times where a client told me they selected my company over the others that they work looking at because my website looked nicer.  That and I was very helpful over the phone when they called.

So two things.  Have a nice looking website and list your phone number really big on that website and answer the phone in a professional manner when someone calls.

In next weeks hangout I’ll be going over your first steps into paid traffic to produce leads and what you need to ensure you have in place before you start paying for traffic.

Be sure to join us live every Wednesday at 2PM CST for your weekly dose of Small Business digital marketing – http://marketingplaybook.co/connect/

The post Small Business Digital Marketing 101 – Your First Steps Online appeared first on MarketingPlayBook.co

Three Simple Steps to Fine-Tune an Underperforming Blog

The many moving pieces of the modern blog often leaves our heads spinning.

However, the need for constant content marketing is more apparent than ever. Businesses can’t skimp when it comes to keeping their blogs fresh; likewise, those same marketers understand the need to tweak sites when they’re underperforming.

Oftentimes, optimizing your blog doesn’t require a complete overhaul. Instead, consider small tweaks you can make to your current content strategy to boost interest amongst your audience.

If your blog isn’t where you want it to be in terms of traffic and engagement, consider how you can fine-tune your blog posts in three simple steps.

Posting Frequency

In his how-to guide to building a blog, marketing guru Neil Patel discusses the importance of planning out posts to ensure that you’re blogging regularly and coming up with ideas that meet the desires of your readership.

The debate over how often a business should blog is fierce. While some brands are pushing out daily blogs that are on the shorter side (between 300 and 500 words), others are focusing on a “quality over quantity approach,” crafting posts that boast thousands of words that strive to be more in-depth.

The answer to “how often” you should post varies heavily depending on the resources at your disposal. For example, small firms probably don’t have the resources to hire a designated daily writer and therefore would have to cut corners elsewhere to meet their content needs.

Regardless of your industry or niche, consistent blogging has huge benefits for businesses including…

-More opportunities to rank for keywords related to your niche
-Additional authority in the eyes of Google and your readership as you build up an archive of useful content

There is a time and place for all types of content, both short and long-form. As long as you’re writing on a regular basis to meet the needs and expectations of your audience, you’re more than likely good to go. In other words, consistency is key.

Post Timing

The question of “when” to post in regard to the day of the week and time of day depends heavily on your audience. For example, ask yourself:

-Is my audience local or global, tied to a certain time-zone or spread out across multiple ones?
-Are my readers mostly looking for content in real-time, such as during their lunch breaks or in the morning at the office?
-Does my audience interested in my content over the weekend, or do I get most of my traffic during the week?

Understanding the metrics surrounding “when” you get the most traffic is telling. Statistically, Monday mornings are incredibly blog-friendly and Saturdays are the most popular time for blog comments. While you should take such statistics into consideration, make sure that your timing decisions are also based on your own data.

Post Titles

When it comes to making an impression on your readership, titles are perhaps one of the most importance pieces of the puzzle.

Shockingly, many content marketers fail to give their headlines the attention that they deserve. Considering that your post titles represent your content’s first impression on visitors, you need to take the proper steps to spicing up your headlines. For example…

-Turn your headline into a question to pique the interest of your readers
-Frame your posts as a list or how-to guide to give your readers something easy to read and helpful to them
-Include keywords relevant to your business or niche to help get found via search and let users know that they’re in the right place based on your post titles

Simply put, a proper headline can take an ordinary post to extraordinary in terms of readers, shares and engagement.

There are numerous ways to beef up your blog; however, sometimes improving your content strategy only takes a couple of small tweaks. By improving the frequency, timing and titles of your posts, you can take simple steps to giving your blog new life without giving it a complete overhaul.

Original post: Three Simple Steps to Fine-Tune an Underperforming Blog

Social Media Marketing – What to Know About Each Platform

How connected is your business? Which social networking sites do you use? Which should you use?

We are here to help you make the right choices for your business by providing you with some basic information on each of the main social media outlets. This way, you can make the decision for yourself on whether or not you should put the time and money into each individual social networking site.

Here is the down low you need to know on the major social media outlets you might want to use for marketing purposes:

Facebook

The big kahuna, the most popular name in social media; Facebook takes the cake in the social media marketing game. And there are plenty of reasons to back up that theory. First of all, Facebook is easily one of the most used social networks. People of all ages are on the site. Facebook is the site to use to reach the most people, especially with the ability to like, react to and share posts and images.

But that’s just the beginning. Facebook knows it is popular, especially among businesses, so they have incorporated several features to help such users improve their marketing initiatives. While marketers can buy ads on Facebook, the site has also helped business owners optimize these ads through their Facebook Ads feature. This function allows marketers to see more information about their leads so that they can work to target the right individuals. Facebook is doing everything right to help businesses with their marketing campaigns, and it can be extremely cost-effective.

Twitter

Twitter is another outlet near the top of the list for marketers. The social networking site is starting to improve for marketing purposes. While the ability to start conversation, retweet posts, have access to account analytics and get messages across quickly prove to be successful components of the site, Twitter has also become more search engine friendly. Now, Google searches will start to pick up words from tweets, giving more attention to Twitter and marketers on Twitter. SEO is just another way Twitter is making a name for itself in 140 characters or less!

Instagram

It is all about the aesthetic value and creativity with Instagram. If you are trying to promote your brand and certain products like clothing or accessories, you can model them and post images on Instagram. Another way to use the site and stay on trend is by posting funny memes to keep up with the times. A major part of being recognized online is by keeping up with the trends, and Instagram is a fun way to do that and gain some easy recognition. However, there are some faults with Instagram. In order to share something, you can only repost a picture, which is not as easy or as common to do as sharing a Facebook post, or retweeting a tweet. There is also not a way to view the analytic in site, although other marketing software can help you manage that task. Keep these things in mind when trying to market via Instagram images.

LinkedIn

While it may not have the popularity with the youth, or all of the creative functions of the other sites, it might have the spinach your marketing campaign needs. By that, I mean that you are promoting your site to other businesses and professionals who can share your posts with other serious individuals. This might just help you find the serious buyers and partners that you need to succeed. And by creating a company page on the site, you can work to make your business look as good as it possibly can, which holds a lot of merit with your peers.

YouTube

If you have yet to get the memo, videos are all the rage. So if you have the opportunity to create broadcasts, show behind the scenes of your company, or create any kind of filmed content to engage your viewers, you should start a YouTube account stat. The videos you publish here can also easily work in tandem with most other networking sites as you have the option to share these videos publicly. You can kill two birds with one stone with YouTube videos.

Snapchat

If you’re looking to target younger audiences, you may want to take to Snapchat. This social picture-sending application allows you to post snap stories, which is basically a series of short videos. Major brands are using their stories to feature celebrities, new products, and fun events. While you may not quite be on that level, you can work to engage your followers via Snapchat with cool images, fun clips and sneak peeks of products. It’s worth a try!

Pinterest

This is likely one of the last ones on the list of social networking sites to use within your marketing campaign, but depending on your industry it could prove to be a powerful tool. For example, if your business sells clothes, or works with home improvement services, you can easily gain followers through pins, as the more you get repined the more people see your products. And now with the option to buy certain pins, you can even sell you products directly via Pinterest. Pinterest does all the work for you, all you have to do is post, pin and follow others.

Based on the type of business and your company’s budget, you can now make educated decisions when it comes to picking which social media network(s) to use for marketing purposes.

Original post: Social Media Marketing – What to Know About Each Platform

Open Communication: Are You Reaching Your Entire Audience?

You have your blog up and running, yet it feels as if you just aren’t attracting enough of your target audience. Sure, you’re posting everyday, you’re sharing on social media, but, you’re lucky if you get one or two comments per post. Then, you take a look at your competitor’s blog, and they seem to have your entire audience engaged and coming back for more. Here is how to make sure you are reaching your entire audience.

Choose the right links

You do want to add authoritative links to your post, but you should also make them work for you. What you need to do is choose the types of links that will increase your reach. You can achieve this objective by looking for posts that have similar subjects and are written by someone who has a good chance of sharing your post.

You want a link that not only adds value to your post, but is written by sites with strong social media teams. Then, let sites know you mentioned them in your post. They may immediately share your post without you having to ask. This is truly a winning situation for all involved.

Partner with another blogger for cross promotions

When two bloggers help each other, everyone wins. This is most successful when both blogs have a corresponding number of readers. You might exchange ads or even share email lists. In addition, you can both mention each other in your posts.

Be available

One thing your audience wants is trust. They want an outlet to share their comments, but they also want to know that your business is available to speak with them to answer questions. You don’t have to give out your mobile number. You can easily get a toll-free number to use for client and prospect calls. Not only does it add a sense of professionalism, but it lets your audience know that you are there for them.

Use competitive analysis for topic selection

When you use this method, you have the opportunity to find out what topics and keywords are trending for other bloggers in your niche. In addition, you can find out topics that are attracting the most traffic. Then, do some research to get the most impactful headline.

You want to produce something new and exciting. Even a fresh twist on a popular topic can bring in a stream of comments. If your industry’s influencers are sharing your competitor’s posts, they might even share yours. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Targeted and paid options

You already know that you must share your content on all of social media. Although, if you want to truly reach targeted individuals, you might consider utilizing paid social media. You can start with promoted tweets, Instagram ads and Facebook ads. You may be surprised by how many followers you amass even through a small, $25 campaign.

Add a link to your latest article in your social media bio

Notice how all the biggest Instagram accounts have links in their bio for whatever it is they are promoting at that time? People might not read all of your IG posts or your tweets, but they will look at your bio. In this location, you have space for a link.

So, to promote your blog, add a link to your latest post in your bio. Then, ask for retweets or reposts. Of course, if you post 10 pieces a day, this would take up a lot of time. Used sparingly, you could reach all of your audience over time.

Email signature

Does a day go by when you don’t email someone? Think of all the emails you send every single day. Why aren’t you marketing your blog posts this way? All you have to do is place a link in your email signature that invites people to check out your most recent blog post. Some people may have forgotten you have a blog so, this reminds them.

Verify your information

People want to read blogs that have accurate information. It does not have to be a thesis by any means, but you don’t want to misinform people. This sometimes means you need to have contacts throughout the world, sending you information either via fax or email. In some places, a fax is their only means of communication with the outside world. As a result, you must get your work right every time. It only takes getting it wrong once to tarnish your reputation.

Get statements from influential people

It could be anyone from the CEO of your favorite micro brewery to Bill Gates. What you may find is people love to give advice and share their experiences. Plus, through social media, you can essentially reach out to almost anyone. Let them know why you are interested, and what you intend to write. Even if it is just for a quote, they may share your piece. Then, imagine all of their followers heading over to your blog!

Sticking to the blogging basics is a good start. However, to reach your entire audience, the above tips will help you get there.

Katrina (Esther) Manning is a professional web writer for eVoice. This is her first contribute article for Daily Blog Tips

Original post: Open Communication: Are You Reaching Your Entire Audience?

5 Reasons Why Website Speed Matters

Speed kills. But in the case of websites, speed is essential for success—it’s the lack of speed that will kill your website. The faster your site loads, the greater is the probability that you will be able to attract and engage more users. For a blog, speed will also determine whether users will stay on to read more, or if they will simply navigate elsewhere.

When it comes to website loading, virtually every second counts. 47 percent of users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. And 40 percent of your potential users will typically abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

For businesses, bloggers, publishers and webmasters, this means that every second you can trim from your website’s loading time translates to precious traffic and conversions. On the other hand, every additional second can lead to erosion of users over time and a decline in search ranking.

User experience is, of course, one of the most important reasons why you should optimize your website’s speed. Here are five other reasons why your site should load as quickly as possible:

Google Favors Faster Websites

Google loves speedy websites, and so you should also make sure that the Google bots that crawl to find new content will not have a hard time navigating through your website. Website loading speed can be a big factor in determining its ranking on search engine results. You might find your website losing ground on search result pages if it takes more than a few seconds to load the site.

This is even truer for websites meant for a mobile audience. Google will soon start ranking mobile search results according to page load speeds. Slow blogs and websites will therefore lose visibility and traffic.

You Have a Global Audience

The fact that your blog exists means that you intend to have a global reach and appeal. Your visitors may come from all corners of the world. And while some of them will have fast broadband connections, other will access your website through slower infrastructure. In particular, website traffic goes through several “hops”—meaning it passes through several points such as service providers, undersea cables, satellite uplinks, and the like.

The good news is that it’s not that complicated (or event expensive) to deploy a content delivery network (CDN) to help speed up access from distant places. A CDN uses servers located all around the world to cache website content and deliver it based on users’ geographical location. By using the server closest to the user, a CDN can boost load speeds by up to 50 percent – significantly boosts the user experience of all visitors regardless their country of origin.

People Have Short Attention Spans

The sheer amount of content available online today means that users’ attention spans are declining rapidly. According to studies, the attention span of an online user was 8 seconds back in 2013. Today, however, your website has a mere 3 to 5 seconds to make an impression on a user. If the impression is positive, the user will tend to stay and come back for more. If the impression is poor, the user is likely never to return again. And speed is a decisive factor here.

Your blog needs to load within this tiny bracket of attention span and display relevant content to sufficiently interest a user. Unlike what many publishers think, users are not attracted by an instant overload of content. Rather, a rapidly loading site balanced with a small, but relevant, amount of data will hit the sweet spot in building an audience.

Conversion is More Important Than Raw Traffic

No matter how great is your marketing, if it doesn’t translate to new regular readers, you are not doing a good job of it. Similarly, if you have a blog with a large readership but are unable to persuade sufficient users to come back regularly, you are doing something wrong. Whether you are an online retailer, publisher, blogger or simply a webmaster managing a business website, conversion is absolutely critical for success.

Even something as trivial as a one-second delay in website loading speed can lead to 7% decline in user conversion rates. So even if your blog or website is getting excellent leads and you are attracting a solid audience, retaining this audience will be a different story altogether. In fact, you should ideally optimize your blog or website to load quickly before launching any new marketing campaign.

The Future of the Internet is Mobile

Back in 2015, Google revealed that mobile devices were generating more online searches than desktop computers. More than 65% of digital media time is represented by mobile devices today. For publishers, this means that future growth in terms of users will be directly tied to how well you cater to the mobile audience.

A critical part of mobile-optimization is to design your website with user experience in mind—this will involve loading speed, too. Mobile users are notoriously demanding when it comes to site speeds. About 43 percent will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So if you plan to build up your site over coming months and years, you will have to plan for the mobile audience in terms of optimal page load speeds.

The Takeaway

Improving website speed isn’t rocket science. It simply takes good planning and a proper infrastructure to ensure that you can shave away all unnecessary milliseconds to minimize loading time at the user’s end.

From CDNs to mobile-centric site implementations, there are a myriad of ways to implement this. What is certain is that site loading speed directly impacts user experience and conversions. For a blogger and publisher, this means that you should take action and take the right steps to optimize your website loading speed. So, what are you doing today to make this happen?

Original post: 5 Reasons Why Website Speed Matters

How to address the churning factors with better UX?

Irrespective of the industry you represent, users buy or pay for your app just because they feel it can offer solutions to their problems. If any of your users canceled the app subscription it is because some aspects of your product could not deliver the value that customer purchased it for. It results in churn and going for another software app.

Churn is one of the most responsible factors in harming the growth of a business. Having a deeper understanding of the churn rate will help to identify crucial aspects playing a key role in optimizing user experience. Better the user experience you can ensure, lower the churn rate your software will have. Let us now see how by enhancing the UX you can address the churn factors.

What is churning and churn rate?

Way before you can start finding ways to prevent churn, it is more important to have a grasp of what churn means for a business. As per the basic definition, churn rate refers to the number of users or customers having stopped using the product offered by you. This number, when considered in a given time frame, refers to the churn rate of that time.

Addressing churn by perfecting the basics of UX

When you know how to calculate and determine churn it is time to seek ways to address it. The churn rate of a business can tell how many of the existing customers prefer the product offered by the company. Whether the company should give more focus on existing customers or should focus solely on getting new customers, this is determined by the churn rate. Often perfecting the product with the basic UX design principles, results in great result in addressing churn rate.

Why are UX basics so important? Well, to get a positive reply to this question mobile app developers have to focus on a series of questions concerning user interaction and their motivation. First of all, why the customers who have been churned just stopped using your product? Is your customer support not satisfactory? Or, is there a better competitive option making a better proposition to your customers? Or, do the typical customer needs for a lot of people changed all of a sudden and consequently your product suddenly seems to lack value?
Well, all the above-mentioned questions need to be addressed to make your product valuable and viable for your customers.

Finding ways to create more value

The surest way to reduce churn is by delivering more value for your customer. There are certain moments experienced by your customers that come with a delightful ‘Wow’ response. Creating such moments more and more, you can become irreplaceable for them. How to know about such moments that your users cherished most? User testing and user interviews allow you to identify the most appreciated product features. Secondly, you can always try to reduce the steps involved in signup to enhance ease of use. Moreover, you can help boosting the value by offering most noteworthy features.

Boost performance and efficiency

By allowing smooth, fast paced and glitch free user experience of your app you can encourage users to stick to your product. For this, it is important to evaluate the pulling factors. For this, try to focus on qualitative and quantitative user data comprising user task flows, the triggers, and challenges. Often user interviews will provide you credible insights on how they prefer completing tasks and what they are actually getting. By addressing the difficulties involved and performance issues you can add value to their experience.

Let them remain hooked

A habit of using a product regularly make customer build a bond with it. So, forming habit for regular use is important to reduce churn rate. Hook Model is seen as effective as it involves maneuvers to evoke highly positive emotional outcome from the user. Such responses create deeper resonance and actually persuade users to make frequent use of the software. A Hook Model typically involves four different elements introduced below.

Trigger: Trigger is nothing but the external stimulus arousing the internal need of a user.

Action: An action causes motivation for another action with the anticipation of a reward.

Variable Reward: When the reward remains uncertain and variable, the user cannot figure out what he can get.

Investment: Investment refers to the repeat of triggering action so that the user get the opportunity of receiving more benefits or rewards.
 
Fixing poor customer service

Customers constantly need to be supported just to have enough motivation for continuing with a product. According to the report by U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest reason why businesses lose customers is the poor customer service. A whopping “68% customers stop using a product just because of the way they are treated.

How can you fix it? First of all, through analytics you need to detect the specific problems with the customer service your business has. Net Promoter Score (NPS) which is nothing but the ranking of your customer service on a 0-10 scale is a great way to know where your customer service stands. An NPS score 9-10 clearly tells that the customer is a loyal enthusiast and you have almost no issue in customer experience. An NPS rate of 7-8 means though the customers are satisfied but not enough loyal to the product. Lastly, NPS score 0-6 always tells about utter unhappiness about your product. This group of customers is most susceptible to churn.

Boosting customer engagement

Only when you look at customer engagement you can know whether the UX lacks any real value or the users should be informed better about the app effectiveness? Does your customer look for certain features but not being able to find? Or, do you offer features that are actually pointless to your customers?

Offering a tutorial or easy guideline is a nice way to keep them well informed and make them capable of the software use. Secondly, following best practices principle in the product design is a great way to ensure engagement. Then, your product should use the language understood by your customers. Most importantly, it is important to follow the established naming convention as to prevent distraction.

About Author: Juned Ghanchi is the co-founder and Marketing director of IndianAppDevelopers, a mobile application development company that specializes in IOS and Android based world-class game and enterprise mobile app development. He creates strategies closely with marketing team and executes it to produce leads and community engagement.

Original post: How to address the churning factors with better UX?

Small Business On Page SEO Strategy

on page seo

Today I’m going to get a little more technical and talk about on page SEO as it relates to small businesses and important factors to have on your page.

Here is the video from our live hangout for those that just want to sit back and listen

Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short contains 2 major factors.

  1. On Page SEO: This is the process of optimizing your website for search engines to make it as simple as possible for the search engines such as Google and Bing to understand what your page is about.
  2. Off Page SEO: With Off Page SEO you are connecting with other sites to establish your authority and social proof to re-enforce your onpage SEO. In it’s simplest form this is link building but really it’s so much more.

It’s important to note that I see service based websites ranking locally all day long with little to no off page SEO being done. This is normally because they took the time to get things done right on page.

Another disclaimer I will make is that no single SEO company will do things the exact same way. At marketingplaybook.co we take a more holistic approach to SEO and focus on several different methods to help drive traffic to websites with both paid and organic search traffic.

Choosing your CMS

Content Management system or CMS is the backend software you use to build your website. It’s still common to see websites built from scratch but if your current website needs a make over or you need to upgrade your current website then you should choose WordPress.

WordPress allows you to quickly build your website and customize the look and feel with thousands of templates freely available online.

You can find some great paid templates from places like studiopress.com and elegantthemes.com.

Some other clear benefits of using WordPress are

  1. 1 Click updates to keep your website code secure from hackers
  2. Millions of developers are familiar with WordPress so you can get help for relatively cheap
  3. Thousands of plugins available for WordPress that let you easily do all kinds of fancy things with your website
  4. Mostly Search Engine Friendly Out of the Box. Mostly…

Major On Page Factors

Meta Title

The Meta Title of the page is the first line you see in Google

Here you will see we just have “Developing a Content Strategy For Your Small Business” as the meta tile or our article.

What you do not want to do is Keyword stuff your title tag. Think of an accurate way of describing your company or the article and just make it sound natural while possibly putting in your main keyword.

Example

“Ricks Auto Repair and Service in Saint Paul”

Google Typically shows the first 50-60 Characters so try not to go over that and be as relevant as possible.

A great little article that is more in-depth on this matter can be found at https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag

Depreciated: It’s worth mentioning that there are two meta tags that no longer hold value for Google. These are Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords. Older SEO content may refer to you optimizing these two sections but the value of doing so is no longer there.

You will still optimize the Meta Description but not really for Google. More on that a little later.

H1 Tag

This will normally be the Name of the post. It can be the Exact same as the title of the page. You only want 1 H1 tag on your page. This is so the search engines know the main focus of what your page is about. This is also why it’s fairly common to have the H1 be the same as the Title.

Generally When I write Content I may switch up the H1 tag and title tag if I think I may be over optimizing or if I want to focus on a separate main keyword. When in any doubt just write a natural sounding title that is readable and accurate.

Name of URL string

The Actual name of your URL plays a major factor in ranking. Google assign high weight to the name of urls so having an accurate url that describes what your page is about is important.

The idea is not to stuff your URL string with keywords. Be natural, short and to the point.

Example

ricksauto-com/brake-repair-service

ricksauto-com/oil-change

Content Length

Content plays one of the most important roles for on page ranking. Google is now smart enough to know what your page is about and what to rank it for without you having to jam in keywords trying to optimize your page.

My biggest advice here is to once again be 100% natural and focus on educating your client on the product or service that you have to offer. I would make zero effort to include keywords you want to rank for because it’s just not needed when combined with a solid content marketing strategy.

To determine the length of content I recommend you simply search online for the keywords your wish to rank for and take a look at the top 3 web pages that are ranking for each keyword term. You can copy and paste the main text of a page into word to see how many words are on the page.

In most cases I strive to have 600-1200 words on a page but again you just want to be straight and to the point and focus on the customer. You do not want to write filler content that nobody wants to read.

List Your Address and Phone Number

The last item ultra high on my list to focus on is having your address clear and present on your entire site as well as your phone number present on your website. This should be the same address and phone number used to claim all your business listings.

What’s that? You have not claimed your business listings online? Be sure to read our Content Strategy Guide for small businesses located at http://marketingplaybook.co/hangouts/developing-content-strategy-small-business/

Site Architecture

Site architecture is simply how your site is laid out.

If I were to build a flow chart for an automotive companies the top level categories might look something like

  • AC Service and Repair
  • Brake Service and Repair
  • Check Engine Light
  • Cooling System
  • Engine Repair
  • Oil Change
  • Starting and Charging Systems
  • Steering and Suspension Service
  • Transmission Service and Repair
  • Tune Up Service
  • Wheel Alignment Service

Under each of these categories I might have other articles of interest to my readers as well that all link back up to the parent category.

For instance let’s look at “Engine Repair”

Under this I might have other articles like

  • Crankshaft
  • Pistons
  • Piston Rings
  • Connecting Rods
  • Camshaft
  • Timing Gears
  • Timing Belt
  • Valves
  • Oil Pan
  • Oil Pump

Each of these pages would both link back to the parent category as well as back to the home page.

This kind of site architecture is known as a Silo.

The end goal is to help build up internal links on your site that then point back to your more important main level pages that you want to rank for.

When combined with an of page SEO strategy and paid marketing this can be a really strong winning combination

Staying Relevant and Fresh

Google Loves New. Part of on page SEO is having your content strategy in place where you are writing fresh content for your website.

How much fresh and new content you need really depends on your industry and how competitive your niche is online.

At the end of the day you need to create new content that shows you are an expert in your field and content that helps to build trust with your readers.

Important Landing Page Factors for Marketing

While on page SEO is important, you need to have a clear focus on generating leads or sales.

For service based individuals this more commonly means getting people to just call you. In order for them to do this you need to have your phone number front and center and be inviting.

Talking on the phone about a subject matter that someone is unfamiliar with to a stranger can be very hard for plenty of people. Many experience anxiety when calling.

whenever I look over a website, the first thing I normally suggest for service based customers is to have a really big phone number and a prompt to have potentials clients call in.

Example

888-888-8888

Call Us To Talk About Your Car Problem

To go a step further you should now be linking your phone number via html code so those on their mobile phones can just press the phone number and call without having to dial. See http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/mobile-web-quick-tip-phone-number-links–mobile-7667

Layout

I already talked about site architecture but the visual layout of your site is important. This is another reason why I really like WordPress because it’s rather easy to find a website template that works well for you without having to mess around.

Your layout of the site should be very easy to navigate and give clients an easy way to research and find the information they are looking for.

The Actionable information should be very prominent on the page such as your phone number or where you want the user to click.

If your potential customer cannot find the information they need there is a high chance they will simply leave your site and go elsewhere.

Other Relevant items you need to consider

Unique Titles and Descriptions

It’s important that all your pages have different titles and descriptions so Adwords understands what each page is about.

Thin Content

If you have existing content on your website that does not provide useful information or extremely short in length then you may want to remove those pages and combine the content on another page.

Site Speed

How fast your website loads plays a factor in your rankings. With WordPress there are a number of free programs that can help speed up your sites load time. One of my favorite is Jetpack which comes with some other cool features as well.

Structured Data

This is information that allows you to tell the search engines extra information that may or may not be visible to people. For instance you can tell Google your business location so they know exactly where you are located and even enter in the kind of service you perform.

This is yet another reason why I love WordPress because there are plugins that allow you to enter in this kind of information.

I use All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets

Add Social Share Buttons

Adding shareable buttons on your website is a way for others to like your content and share it with their friends. It’s also a great way to get people to post reviews about your business to help build social proof. For this I use a paid plugin called Monarch

Google Webmasters and Bing Webmasters

Google Webmasters and Bing Webmasters allow you to see how each of the search engines see your website and you can also provide Google with more information about your business.

You will also be able to see where you rank and how much traffic Google and Bing are sending your way.

Setup Google Analytics Account

This allows you to easily track those coming into your website and the flow of the user throughout your website.

Create and Submit XML Sitemap

A sitemap is simple an index of your entire site with all the pages. It’s a sure fire way to tell Google and Bing about your content and let’s them know when new content is added or changed.

In today’s world of SEO it’s not as important but you might as well dot the eyes and cross the t’s and get this done.

You submit your sitemap inside Google and Bing Webmasters

Your WordPress sitemap can be generated many different ways. I personally Use the free Yoast SEO plugin found at https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

The post Small Business On Page SEO Strategy appeared first on MarketingPlayBook.co