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Create A User-Friendly Website

Create A User-Friendly Website

Having a quality website is critical for your online success. After all, your website is, or should be, the center of your online presence. The best way to do this is to create a user friendly website that your target audience will enjoy. In the interest of analogies, your online presence is the same as if you were to be hosting an event. When you host an event, you need to find the right location for your event. Regardless of the amount of time you spend planning your event, the success of an event can all come down to location, location, location. The right venue can make a good event great. On the other hand, a bad venue can make an otherwise well planned event, fail. So to is your website! If the center of who you are is not well chosen and thought out, your business may not do as well.

If you already have a website, the first thing you should do is spend some time really looking at it. While doing this, ask yourself some key questions: Does my website serve the purpose I originally it to do? Does my website convey the purpose of my business? Who are the people I want visiting my online business? Am I providing the content my target audience wants? What is my website really being used for? These are some of the most essential questions to ask yourself about your website in order to make sure that it is user-centered and effective. In other words, is your website user-friendly and does it give its viewers what they want?

The end result of all of your hard work on social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and online ads is to get customers, and potential customers, to your website. Your website is where your potential customers can be converted into paying customers. It is also where current customers can find what they need.

If you don’t have a website, it is in your best interest to use the following steps to help your website be exactly what your customers — both current and future — are looking for. However, we also encourage you to make sure that you are not spending all of your budget on a website that nobody can find. Be sure to hold back some budget for marketing your site.

Have Good Web Hosting

When it comes to your site running well, hosting makes all the difference. In fact, even the search engines want your site running smoothly. A slow site will often-times rank lower than better running site. In our opinion, some of the best hosting sites are:

Bluehost
Siteground
► GoDaddy
► Amazon Web Services

You may be wondering, what a hosting site does. In short, a hosting service keeps your website up and running. In other words, your site cannot survive and thrive without them. The hosting platforms mentioned above have different strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to do some of your own research to determine which hosting service is right for you. Looking back to our event analogy; strong hosting for your website is a direct correlation to the environment, location, and resources of a venue. Picking a hosting platform that provides the right resources for your business will set the stage for your website and your business in the digital realm. Using a good venue (i.e. hosting service) makes all the difference in the world for your guests. In a business situation, the hosting platform will take care of essentials that are otherwise difficult for you to do on your own — file storage, email hosting, server space, databases and much more. They provide these types of resources so that you don’t have to provide them yourself.

Basic Metrics to Look For:

► An uptime of 99.9% — this means your website will be up and running, on their servers, 365 days per year. Anything less than that can, and will, damage your business.

► Unmetered/Unlimited Bandwidth

► Unmetered/Unlimited Webspace or Disc Space

► Quality Customer Service

► High Ratings/Feedback

Additional Questions to Consider:

► How many domains can you have as part of their services?

► Do they support e-Commerce capabilities?

► How much does it cost?

best web hosting image

Web Hosting

Choose An Effective URL

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Make It Relevant

Your URL should represent either your company name or what visitors will find on your website. It is common practice to use your company name with no spaces followed by a domain name like .com or .org. However, there are times when it makes more sense to have a URL that is related to what you do instead. For example, if you sell kitchen supplies, your URL could be, http://www.kitchensupplies.com/. Either way, your URL should be relevant to your company. If you choose a URL that is not readily associated with your business, you may need to pursue a variety of branding opportunities to connect your web address to your business in people’s minds — making your URL relevant to your company.

Keep It Simple

There are a lot of good reasons to keep your URL short and simple. Of course, short is relative but you need to make sure that your URL is short and simple enough to be typed without difficulty. Long and/or difficult addresses can cause problems for users and introduce opportunities for typos to land people in the wrong place.

Things to Avoid:

► Words/Names that are difficult to spell

► Excessive and/or irregular repetition of letters

► Long strings of words

► Hyphens and underscores

When listing your URL on both physical and digital assets, you may choose to capitalize the beginnings of words to help separate them in people’s minds. For example, if your URL is something like happygoluckytime.com*, you may want to think about listing it as HappyGoLuckyTime.com*. The capital letters won’t affect people’s ability to get to your site, but it will help separate the words in their minds.

url on computer screen to demonstrate the need for a quality website url

Make It Effective

Your URL will be present in many different locations. In order for it to be effective, you’ll need to think about how your URL will be used on your social media platforms, on other websites, and even on signs and other physical assets. As mentioned above, you may choose to use capital letters to delineate words within your URL. Whatever you decide, however, make sure that you are being consistent in your use. To really be effective, it needs to be both clear and memorable. You should also determine whether you will pursue your URL as a keyword for search results because this will affect how you use your URL on your site and elsewhere.

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Keep the User in Mind

When creating and branding your URL, you need to keep the user in mind. People are more likely to visit your website directly when your URL is memorable and easy to type. That is because strong URLs make it easy for users to get to your site.

Examples of Strong URLs:

► color.adobe.com — Very simple and highly relevant to the site’s content especially since Adobe is already branded in most people’s minds.

► www.idahofallsdental.com — This URL has strong ties to both an industry (family dentistry) and a location (Idaho Falls), making this a very strong URL.

Examples of Weak URLs:

► www.a4pt.org — This URL is so simplified that it could lose all meaning without strong, targeted branding.

► www.commoncompanyname.com — Using a common name for your URL gives no indication as to who you are and what you do. It can also me confused with other common company names.

Build A Strong, Effective Website

As we already mentioned, a strong, effective website should be at the center of your online presence. Everything you do — all of your social media outreach, search engine results and online advertising — should be geared toward directing qualified traffic to your site so that you can sell your products or services. In order to accomplish this, your website needs to be built on a strong foundation. You need to have a strong Content Management System (CMS). Some of the best, and most commonly used, CMSs are WordPress, Wix and Joomla.

A STRONG, EFFECTIVE WEBSITE SHOULD BE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE!

Finding the right CMS for your website is the key to effectively managing your time while still having a great website. Even if you know how to code, manually coding your website can drain a large amount of time and energy that could be directed more effectively elsewhere in your business. One of the main benefits of these CMSs is that they do most of the background coding and programming for you.

If you don’t have any web design or coding experience, we strongly suggest that you have your website designed by a web design company. However, you’ll want to make sure that they build your site with a CMS that you can learn how to update yourself. You generally don’t want to be responsible for making big changes to your site, but being able to make small updates without working through a third party can be very beneficial under specific circumstances.

Most hosting services will allow you to connect your website directly to your chosen CMS, but it’s important to make sure that you can use the two together. The whole point of your CMS is to make website creation easier, not more complicated.

Additional Ways A Good CMS Can Help

Pre-Designed Themes

wordpress logo with blue gearsA pre-designed theme is a template that can be used with a specific CMS to build a strong, attractive website more quickly. Some of these themes are available for free. If you would like to find specific features or designs, you can also purchase themes ranging from $50 to $100 depending on the developer and the features that are included in the theme. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for so it can be a good idea to invest in a quality theme. ThemeForest*, TemplateMonster* and Wix Templates* offer many attractive, effective, and mobile friendly templates that can be used to create a strong website. Many of these themes are also designed to be responsive and look good on a variety of mobile devices as well as in web browsers.

CMS Plugins

Most CMSs offer a variety of plugins that can be used to help you create landing pages, slideshows, and more. Most of the plugins are quick and easy to install, but you may need to take some time to learn exactly how to use the plugins to your advantage. Also, be sure to read any feedback and reviews that the plugins have so you know whether its functional for what you are trying to accomplish.

E-Commerce & Back Office Options

If you are looking to sell tangible products and need some ecommerce functionality, or any other back office options, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a CMS that is designed to support these functions. This will allow your website to function correctly without having to spend a lot of time on custom coding.

Provide Useful Content

Once you have the right hosting platform, a solid URL, and a strong website to send your users to, it’s time to fill it up with content. If we go back to our event analogy, content correlates to the drinks, appetizers, entrées, and desserts that you serve in order to satisfy your guests once they are at your venue. But you may be asking yourself, what is content? To put it simply, content is information that you present in order to help your clients and prospective clients. Content comes in a wide variety of forms from onpage text to infographics and videos. This section is not intended to be a comprehensive look at content marketing, but it should help you understand the basic idea.

digital marketing funnelIn our experience, content should be used to strategically funnel your website visitors toward the actions you want them to take. To this end, we suggest creating a variety of content that fits into different sections of what we call the content funnel. Each piece of content should be designed to help your website visitors in some way. The main portions of the content funnel — and the ways you can help your visitors — are to: Inform, Instruct, Solve, & Sell.

Depending on their needs, visitors to your site may enter at different points in this funnel. The best results come when you provide content that addresses their specific needs at the point at which they enter your funnel. Users are generally looking for a solution to a problem for which you are able to provide an answer. As with any other strategic funnel, the upper levels are designed to expose a large number of people to your information. The trick is to use upper level content to help create more qualified traffic to your lower level content. Content can take a wide variety of forms, but it’s your job to make sure that it is the relevant solution your users are looking for. And, yes, one piece of content can sometimes fill more than one of these needs.

Having a quality website is critical for your online success. After all, your website is, or should be, the center of your online presence. The best way to do this is to create a user friendly website that your target audience will enjoy. In the interest of analogies, your online presence is the same as if you were to be hosting an event. When you host an event, you need to find the right location for your event. Regardless of the amount of time you spend planning your event, the success of an event can all come down to location, location, location. The right venue can make a good event great. On the other hand, a bad venue can make an otherwise well planned event, fail. So to is your website! If the center of who you are is not well chosen and thought out, your business may not do as well.

If you already have a website, the first thing you should do is spend some time really looking at it. While doing this, ask yourself some key questions: Does my website serve the purpose I originally it to do? Does my website convey the purpose of my business? Who are the people I want visiting my online business? Am I providing the content my target audience wants? What is my website really being used for? These are some of the most essential questions to ask yourself about your website in order to make sure that it is user-centered and effective. In other words, is your website user-friendly and does it give its viewers what they want?

The end result of all of your hard work on social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and online ads is to get customers, and potential customers, to your website. Your website is where your potential customers can be converted into paying customers. It is also where current customers can find what they need.

If you don’t have a website, it is in your best interest to use the following steps to help your website be exactly what your customers — both current and future — are looking for. However, we also encourage you to make sure that you are not spending all of your budget on a website that nobody can find. Be sure to hold back some budget for marketing your site.

Have Good Web Hosting

When it comes to your site running well, hosting makes all the difference. In fact, even the search engines want your site running smoothly. A slow site will often-times rank lower than better running site. In our opinion, some of the best hosting sites are:

Bluehost
Siteground
► GoDaddy
► Amazon Web Services

You may be wondering, what a hosting site does. In short, a hosting service keeps your website up and running. In other words, your site cannot survive and thrive without them. The hosting platforms mentioned above have different strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to do some of your own research to determine which hosting service is right for you. Looking back to our event analogy; strong hosting for your website is a direct correlation to the environment, location, and resources of a venue. Picking a hosting platform that provides the right resources for your business will set the stage for your website and your business in the digital realm. Using a good venue (i.e. hosting service) makes all the difference in the world for your guests. In a business situation, the hosting platform will take care of essentials that are otherwise difficult for you to do on your own — file storage, email hosting, server space, databases and much more. They provide these types of resources so that you don’t have to provide them yourself.

Basic Metrics to Look For:

► An uptime of 99.9% — this means your website will be up and running, on their servers, 365 days per year. Anything less than that can, and will, damage your business.

► Unmetered/Unlimited Bandwidth

► Unmetered/Unlimited Webspace or Disc Space

► Quality Customer Service

► High Ratings/Feedback

Additional Questions to Consider:

► How many domains can you have as part of their services?

► Do they support e-Commerce capabilities?

► How much does it cost?

best web hosting image

Web Hosting

Choose An Effective URL

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Make It Relevant

Your URL should represent either your company name or what visitors will find on your website. It is common practice to use your company name with no spaces followed by a domain name like .com or .org. However, there are times when it makes more sense to have a URL that is related to what you do instead. For example, if you sell kitchen supplies, your URL could be, http://www.kitchensupplies.com/. Either way, your URL should be relevant to your company. If you choose a URL that is not readily associated with your business, you may need to pursue a variety of branding opportunities to connect your web address to your business in people’s minds — making your URL relevant to your company.

Keep It Simple

There are a lot of good reasons to keep your URL short and simple. Of course, short is relative but you need to make sure that your URL is short and simple enough to be typed without difficulty. Long and/or difficult addresses can cause problems for users and introduce opportunities for typos to land people in the wrong place.

Things to Avoid:

► Words/Names that are difficult to spell

► Excessive and/or irregular repetition of letters

► Long strings of words

► Hyphens and underscores

When listing your URL on both physical and digital assets, you may choose to capitalize the beginnings of words to help separate them in people’s minds. For example, if your URL is something like happygoluckytime.com*, you may want to think about listing it as HappyGoLuckyTime.com*. The capital letters won’t affect people’s ability to get to your site, but it will help separate the words in their minds.

url on computer screen to demonstrate the need for a quality website url

Make It Effective

Your URL will be present in many different locations. In order for it to be effective, you’ll need to think about how your URL will be used on your social media platforms, on other websites, and even on signs and other physical assets. As mentioned above, you may choose to use capital letters to delineate words within your URL. Whatever you decide, however, make sure that you are being consistent in your use. To really be effective, it needs to be both clear and memorable. You should also determine whether you will pursue your URL as a keyword for search results because this will affect how you use your URL on your site and elsewhere.

A URL, simply put, is commonly referred to as your web address. It is what people use to locate your website. The URL is basically a global address for specific documents, pages, or other resources on the World Wide Web. In fact, the word “locater” is even in the name — URL stands for Uniform Resource Locater. Best SEO Masters URL is is http://www.bestseomasters.com/. If you will follow these tips, you will be able to create an effective URL for your business.

Keep the User in Mind

When creating and branding your URL, you need to keep the user in mind. People are more likely to visit your website directly when your URL is memorable and easy to type. That is because strong URLs make it easy for users to get to your site.

Examples of Strong URLs:

► color.adobe.com — Very simple and highly relevant to the site’s content especially since Adobe is already branded in most people’s minds.

► www.idahofallsdental.com — This URL has strong ties to both an industry (family dentistry) and a location (Idaho Falls), making this a very strong URL.

Examples of Weak URLs:

► www.a4pt.org — This URL is so simplified that it could lose all meaning without strong, targeted branding.

► www.commoncompanyname.com — Using a common name for your URL gives no indication as to who you are and what you do. It can also me confused with other common company names.

Build A Strong, Effective Website

As we already mentioned, a strong, effective website should be at the center of your online presence. Everything you do — all of your social media outreach, search engine results and online advertising — should be geared toward directing qualified traffic to your site so that you can sell your products or services. In order to accomplish this, your website needs to be built on a strong foundation. You need to have a strong Content Management System (CMS). Some of the best, and most commonly used, CMSs are WordPress, Wix and Joomla.

A STRONG, EFFECTIVE WEBSITE SHOULD BE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE!

Finding the right CMS for your website is the key to effectively managing your time while still having a great website. Even if you know how to code, manually coding your website can drain a large amount of time and energy that could be directed more effectively elsewhere in your business. One of the main benefits of these CMSs is that they do most of the background coding and programming for you.

If you don’t have any web design or coding experience, we strongly suggest that you have your website designed by a web design company. However, you’ll want to make sure that they build your site with a CMS that you can learn how to update yourself. You generally don’t want to be responsible for making big changes to your site, but being able to make small updates without working through a third party can be very beneficial under specific circumstances.

Most hosting services will allow you to connect your website directly to your chosen CMS, but it’s important to make sure that you can use the two together. The whole point of your CMS is to make website creation easier, not more complicated.

Additional Ways A Good CMS Can Help

Pre-Designed Themes

wordpress logo with blue gearsA pre-designed theme is a template that can be used with a specific CMS to build a strong, attractive website more quickly. Some of these themes are available for free. If you would like to find specific features or designs, you can also purchase themes ranging from $50 to $100 depending on the developer and the features that are included in the theme. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for so it can be a good idea to invest in a quality theme. ThemeForest*, TemplateMonster* and Wix Templates* offer many attractive, effective, and mobile friendly templates that can be used to create a strong website. Many of these themes are also designed to be responsive and look good on a variety of mobile devices as well as in web browsers.

CMS Plugins

Most CMSs offer a variety of plugins that can be used to help you create landing pages, slideshows, and more. Most of the plugins are quick and easy to install, but you may need to take some time to learn exactly how to use the plugins to your advantage. Also, be sure to read any feedback and reviews that the plugins have so you know whether its functional for what you are trying to accomplish.

E-Commerce & Back Office Options

If you are looking to sell tangible products and need some ecommerce functionality, or any other back office options, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a CMS that is designed to support these functions. This will allow your website to function correctly without having to spend a lot of time on custom coding.

Provide Useful Content

Once you have the right hosting platform, a solid URL, and a strong website to send your users to, it’s time to fill it up with content. If we go back to our event analogy, content correlates to the drinks, appetizers, entrées, and desserts that you serve in order to satisfy your guests once they are at your venue. But you may be asking yourself, what is content? To put it simply, content is information that you present in order to help your clients and prospective clients. Content comes in a wide variety of forms from onpage text to infographics and videos. This section is not intended to be a comprehensive look at content marketing, but it should help you understand the basic idea.

digital marketing funnelIn our experience, content should be used to strategically funnel your website visitors toward the actions you want them to take. To this end, we suggest creating a variety of content that fits into different sections of what we call the content funnel. Each piece of content should be designed to help your website visitors in some way. The main portions of the content funnel — and the ways you can help your visitors — are to: Inform, Instruct, Solve, & Sell.

Depending on their needs, visitors to your site may enter at different points in this funnel. The best results come when you provide content that addresses their specific needs at the point at which they enter your funnel. Users are generally looking for a solution to a problem for which you are able to provide an answer. As with any other strategic funnel, the upper levels are designed to expose a large number of people to your information. The trick is to use upper level content to help create more qualified traffic to your lower level content. Content can take a wide variety of forms, but it’s your job to make sure that it is the relevant solution your users are looking for. And, yes, one piece of content can sometimes fill more than one of these needs.

Your Website Speed Could Hold You Back

Your Website Speed Could Hold You Back

Site performance is an integral part of any website’s success — this holds true for SEO as well. Whether you are operating a online store or a blog, the speed and ease with which users interact with your content has a direct impact on initial traffic, repeat visits, and overall page rankings. Website speed is taken into account by Google when calculating page rankings. Their filters can estimate load times and use that information to determine the value and reliability of your website. While it is true that the importance Google assigns to site speed itself is somewhat limited, and there are definitely other factors that trump it, the way a website performs has an effect in its overall usability. Anymore, internet users have notoriously short attention spans. A site that is slow to load will not captivate and hold an audience and will, in turn, experience a high bounce rate, diminishing traffic, and fewer conversions.

HOW IMPORTANT IS WEBSITE SPEED TO GOOGLE?

In this case, site speed really refers to the load time of a website. How long does it take for a landing page to load after the user clicks on a desired search engine results page (SERP)? Since there are so many sources available with good information, Google’s filters use load time as an additional point of comparison when multiple sites have comparable relevance and authority statistics. As far as Google is concerned, website speed has a minimal impact on page rankings — only about 1%. But, from a larger perspective, websites with faster load times offer more value to the internet user translating into higher customer satisfaction. This ultimately translates to fewer bounce backs (lower bounce rate), more return visits, higher share rates, and an increase in perceived value and authority.

COMMON FACTORS THAT SLOW DOWN A WEBSITE

There are some common culprits to look for when analyzing the speed of your website. First, and probably one of the most important, is the quality and reliability of your hosting service. Not all hosting services are created equally, and shared servers can inevitably lead to uneven performance. If your website is too slow, and pages are taking too long to load, it may be time to consider a different hosting service.

Another large contributor to the function and usability of your website is the construction of it. Along with the construction of your site, take into consideration that certain apps and add-ons are notorious bandwidth thieves. When assessing the speed and performance of your website, consider the following.

  • Too Many Ads: Ads, and the revenue they produce, are an important part of any website. However, slow-loading advertisements tend to bog down pages, slow down your site, and ultimately lead to higher bounce rates.
  • Too Many Widgets or Plug-ins: Having too many widgets and plugins can really kill the speed and performance of your site. Use them sparingly. Podcast links, comment plug-ins, and social sharing buttons can add seconds to your load time. Just as with any business aspect, a cost/benefit analysis can prove useful. Balance the value of any widgets and plug-ins on your site against the increased load time they require.
  • Complex Design and Theme of Your Website: Everyone wants to stand out online by having a site that is bold, attractive, and unique. Sometimes, however, too much can be just that — too much. Overly complex design themes will lead to slow load times. And with advances in themes and design elements, it is much easier to stand out online while keeping a simple website.
  • Optimize Your Graphics and Images: Images help to brighten up a page, attract the users’ attention, and make their overall experience better. And while style counts, overly bloated images can take an excruciatingly long time to load. Large image files slow down page performance and interfere with the functionality of your site. There are plugins and options for rendering “web-quality” images on your site to improve load times. Another example you may consider is using PNG8 instead of PNG24 for your image formats.
  • CSS and JavaScript: These can most times be the easiest to tackle in size reduction. To condense your CSS and JavaScript files, you could utilize gzip compression, minified code, or other options that are available to you.

HOW TO TEST YOUR SITE’S SPEED

Today, there are a wide number of tools that can be used to test your website speed and performance. Most of these tools are even free!  These website tools provide an easy way for webmasters to test the speed of their site and to calculate any changes that need to be made to improve overall performance.

  • PageSpeed Insights: This tool is operated and offered by Google. Simply submit your URL, click the analyze button, and PageSpeed Insights will return with a speed evaluation. They will also provide you with recommendations on how to increase your site’s load time.
  • YSlow: YSlow is a website performance-measuring tool that was designed by Yahoo!. It provides a detailed report on site performance with accompanying recommendations on how to increase its speed and performance.
  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics really does analyze it all for you. There is a “site speed” analytics located under the “content” sub-section so that you can see your daily speed.
  • Pingdom: This website performance tool is great for showing the general performance grade and is very simple to use.
  • Web Page Test: Of all the tools mentioned, this is probably the most comprehensive tool to test your website’s performance. It runs tests from multiple locations around the world using real browsers and at real consumer connection speeds. You will also receive recommendations for improvements that need to be made.

This is just a sample list of some of the tools available for testing your website and its performance. But, they provide a great starting point for webmasters in need of isolating issues and finding solutions to site speed.

While the speed of a website is a small factor in the equation Google uses to assign page rankings, it is a huge factor in the way visitors interact with your site. With advances in technology, people’s patience has diminished. We all want our information now. Faster websites give better customer satisfaction — and that is at the root of all good SEO practices. Valuable content, coupled with speed and ease of use, translates into better user experience. In short, a better experience for your clients or follower will lead to higher traffic, more returning visitors, and a better overall online performance.

SEMrush

Build Trust on Social Media

Build Trust on Social Media

It’s no secret that social media is a powerful marketing tool. Many businesses use social media to promote their business and engage with their target audience. They hire designers, writers and social media experts to build a strong brand through a creative communication strategy. It is important, along the way, that you learn how to build trust on social media.

Social media has provided a level playing field to small businesses and individuals for competing with established brands and making a name for themselves without having to spend a fortune on their marketing efforts. Over time, the platforms became highly competitive and cluttered.

Building trust on social media can be an especially daunting task for new businesses. Not all new ventures can afford to hire top rated professionals to develop unique messaging. And yet, they have to become a reliable brand on social media to survive and thrive.

When you don’t have deep pockets, time and patience become your best friends. In real life, you consistently need to do genuine work to win the trust of the people. There is no shortcut — you have to be patient, take a stand and sacrifice short term gains to become an authentic voice in society. The same goes for building trust on social media.

Regardless of the business you are in, there are three things that you must do to become trustworthy on social media:

BE ACCOUNTABLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

As a business or an individual, you must be accountable for your actions, policies, products, services, or communication. The accountability is not meant only for customers. You have to be responsible towards your employees as well.

You need to prove that you are accountable for any action you or your employees take. This demonstration begins with your social media messaging. If you make a mistake, admit it. More importantly, ensure that the same does not get repeated. If you are selling products or services of other brands (if you are a trader or brokerage firm), you have to be accountable for whatever information you provide to your customers.

In certain cases, you may not control the behavior of buyers or sellers. However, you need to handle the situation with complete responsibility and show this to your social media audience through appropriate messaging.

BE TRANSPARENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Transparency breeds trust. Being transparent is the easiest way to build trust in real life as well as on social media. However, being transparent is also tricky for the business. You can’t be 100% open, as it will go against your business interest to share everything publicly. However, you need to decide the degree of transparency you are willing to adopt to build trust. Some companies publish their income reports on their websites to build trust among their target audiences. This is an instance of a high level of transparency. Some of the businesses show real working and internal processes through videos, images or blogs. They hide the critical parts but show what is relevant for end users. This is the middle level of transparency. You need to decide whether you want to show a low, middle or high level of transparency to build trust for your brand.

BE AUTHENTIC ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The most basic requirement for being trustworthy on social media is to be authentic. Authenticity show that you are being true to yourself. The Internet is full of expert articles and contents that show how to do everything in your life. However, readers believe very few of these blogs.

If you want your content to be read, liked, and shared by the people, then be honest while writing. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your products or services. No one can advise you on how to become authentic. You simply need to write your feeling and experiences honestly to become a trustworthy person or business.

If you change your stand to please a particular audience, then you will be like all of the politicians around the world — loved by some and hated by others, but trusted by none. The choice is yours.

While it can sometimes take years to build trust, that trust can be destroyed in as little as five minutes. Therefore, be sure to adhere to a high level of standards when posting your words and graphics on your social media page. This doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of making mistakes. It simply implies that being original and sincere towards your customers is an effective way of building a brand.

You can’t buy trust. However, you can definitely sell a trustworthy brand at a premium price.

Have a long-term vision and be patient when dealing with short-term hiccups and disappointments to build an ever enduring brand on social media.

 

3 Tips to Monetize Major Mobile Traffic on Facebook

3 Tips to Monetize Major Mobile Traffic on Facebook

Facebook recently announced that mobile advertising represents 84 percent of its revenue, and the number of its “mobile-only” users has reached 1 billion.

In order to accommodate those users, Facebook released new tools to create, test, share, and review mobile ads earlier this year in order to make advertising efforts on its platform as effective as possible for brands and marketers.

You may already be asking yourself, what can marketers do to take advantage of Facebook and the mobile advertising opportunities?

Year of Mobile

While social media pundits have been announcing “the year of mobile” for about a decade now and mobile traffic officially overtook the desktop in 2015, Facebook was ahead of the game the whole time. It developed a mobile-first platform to deliver simple, fast and easy user experience and offered extremely fine-grained targeting for advertisers. Facebook’s vast mobile audience presents digital marketers with a powerful opportunity to monetize all those viewers.

25 percent of media consumption time spent by consumers is done on mobile devices. Marketers, on the other hand, are spending only 12 percent of ad dollars on this channel. This discrepancy shows that advertisers are missing huge opportunities by failing to convert to the mobile-first mindset. Facebook, on the other hand, woke to this reality early.

The Downside of Facebook Ads

After several studies have been performed, it is believed that mobile ad spending is going to surpass all other channels by 2020. But before marketers jump in to fill the gap, some important obstacles to mobile advertising success on Facebook must be considered.

Facebook advertising is harder than it looks.

The ads can lose their effectiveness quickly, which is problematic for brands that hire agencies, set budgets, and launch big campaigns at the beginning of the year. If ads burn out quickly, with no strategy to continually measure and replace them, that budget will languish.

Advertisers should combat ads losing their effectiveness with creative-driven campaign planning and constantly monitoring ad engagement to change things up when needed.

Another frustrating aspect is the ad reach unpredictability caused by Facebook’s dynamic marketplace and algorithms. Something to consider is the number of people in a target audience who are logged in, the amount of competition, and the number of impressions available are constantly changing and can generate uneven results. To combat this, budgeting in smaller increments and monitoring performance more frequently can help fight these barriers. Spending your full budget daily on Google, for example, is more achievable because it’s likely that the same number of people will search a given term each day. But with impressions changing so often on Facebook, it can be difficult for marketers to invest the same amount for less certainty.

What Facebook Offers

The benefits of harnessing Facebook’s power can be enormous when digital marketers are able to overcome these obstacles. True, click fraud is a serious problem. But, Facebook traffic is cleaner than other display advertising platforms.

A 2014 study of billions of ads by the Association of National Advertisers found that 11 percent of display ads and almost 25 percent of video ads were seen by software, not people. While there is controversy around the presence of bots on Facebook, traffic attributed to bots is undoubtedly less there than on any other source. One thing you can count on is that Facebook’s users are real people who are seeing your ads.

Facebook targeting also offers more granularity than other digital advertising platforms. For example, when someone creates a Facebook profile, she enters her birth date, gender, location, and more. Facebook knows what users like, what they are talking about, and with whom they are friends. Looking for a 30-year-old mom in Nebraska who loves cooking is much easier.  In short, ads can easily be served to that person.

To dodge the obstacles and reap the benefits of Facebook mobile advertising, digital marketers need to do three things well:

1. Test, Test, and Test Some More

Even for businesses that feel good about their ad results, testing is important. Numbers are better than feelings. A/B or split testing can be done within the Facebook ad platform. This makes it easy to compare your ad results on the basis of ‘real data’ instead of an opinion or speculation. And the insights gleaned from one creative campaign can easily contribute to the next.

Varying images, copy, times of day, calls to action and ad location on the page are all factors that can influence ad performance. Once a high-performing ad is identified, you should dig deeper. For example, if one image is converting at a higher rate than others, try similar images. Learn how Facebook users are responding and what they are responding to, realizing that it is not a static result because the numbers and types of users who are logged on to Facebook are constantly changing.

2. Measure Your Results

Facebook analytics are great, but it is just as important to compare the results with third-party tools like Google Analytics, Simply Measured, or WordPress plugin Social Metrics to get multiple dimensions of analytics.

Google Analytics allows you to compare Facebook performance with other social networks and other traffic sources, while Simply Measured and Social Metrics focus exclusively on social performance. Each of these provides rich reporting options.

3. Create an Innovative User Experience

With how important mobile usage has become, it’s amazing how many advertisers shove a desktop experience into a mobile page rather than creating a unique mobile experience. If you want to increase value and customer loyalty, personalized ads will do this. Besides, it’s becoming an expectation among consumers as they are on their mobile devices more than any other device.

Don’t think about just mobile behavior in general. Rather, think about behavior specific to Facebook.

Make pages fast. Use Facebook’s dynamic ads to serve the right ad to the right person based on location, past behavior, and the person’s likes and groups.

Create multiple ads for multiple sub-targets. Offer push notifications for users to opt in to, and serve ads and promotions according to what users want to be offered.

Facebook’s huge mobile user base and fantastic targeting technology are making digital advertising affordable even for small and medium-sized companies. Still, monetizing that traffic is not a given. But with continual attention, testing, and dynamic tactics, the rewards for marketers can be remarkable.

 

Inexpensive Tips to Get Noticed

Inexpensive Tips to Get Noticed

Whether you are just launching your startup or you’ve been in business for a while, there are great ideas for getting your business noticed. If you aren’t being noticed currently, or feel that your traffic is painfully low, you understand that something must be done to reverse it. There are no magical ways for letting the world know about you and your business — just a few quick and inexpensive tips to help you attract new business.

1. Make use of Social Media

With social media becoming evermore present in our daily lives, it is increasingly crucial to make profiles on Facebook and twitter immediately. Other social media platforms can help you with specific audience targeting, but these two will be a great start. Interact with the world by telling them about your business and it’s journey. Be visible online, be extremely responsive and stay active. Your social media page should tell about the services you offer or the products you sell. Set aside some time and post content regularly to keep prospects and customers updated about your work. These pages will help people contact you and give you the opportunity to respond to their queries.

2. Website with a Blog

A professional blog is a simple way to get recognized on google search. Though, this step is typically considered last today by most because it’s easy in theory — but not so easy in practice. The reason for this is that you need to set aside the time to keep up with the blog and maintain it. But, if you have got tremendous writers, then make use of them. The most important thing is to produce excellent content, learn to tell stories and target a huge amount of audience through it. Google loves fresh, shareable content so this could be a very important step in gathering all the attention you need.

Web Hosting

Also, your website is your platform and a must-have for any startup or developed business. In addition to this, get your email addresses with your domain names as well. Without these things, your business is prone to be lost in the noise.

3. Comment On Other Blogs

This is like providing another way for communication. Being active and extremely responsive into the blogging community will make your circle grow. This is definitely a plus point as you will can generate the support of other people who are struggling like you. Build strong connections and relationships with people, comment on their posts, reply to the comments on your blogs and enjoy your continuously multiplying fan following.

4. Let your Logo Speak About You

I can’t stress this point enough. The old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words holds just as much value when discussing your business logo. A logo that makes your business stand out is what you need. While the goal is to stand out, it is important to keep your company logo simple yet creative and effective — so that it seems to explain the motive.

Use of attractive colors will help it pop. Along side great colors, good typography and extraordinary design will deliver your message. Try thinking out of the box and let your design be representative of your mission.

5. Utilize Paid Advertisements

As with any business, you should be keeping some money aside for paid advertisements, then sit back and watch the traffic blow your site up. Posting ads on Facebook is a smart way to attract immense traffic. People are always scrolling their news feeds — make your way there and there’s no way you can remain unnoticed. Also, Google AdWords can be another fruitful thing in which to invest. For a small amount from you, the returns can be significant.

These 5 tips will help you wade your way through the crowded business space beyond your normal reach and into the international market. Let your business rise above the noise with the exclusive wow factor that you have to offer.

SEO Techniques That Don’t Cost Money

SEO Techniques That Don’t Cost Money

Most people with websites are looking for SEO techniques to help improve their web presence. One of the most difficult things regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that it is constantly changing.

Because of the ever-changing nature of SEO, techniques that worked a decade ago won’t work now. And, those which are working now might not work a year from now. The good news, however, is that there are a few SEO techniques that are consistent — they don’t change. If you have the capabilities of mastering these strategies, you will bring more search traffic to your sites.

Let’s take a look at some strategies and explain how can you use those strategies to grow your search engine traffic. We will also examine how you will increase your sales and how you will know where to start if you’re just beginning to dive into SEO with a minimal budget.

1. Long Tail Keyword Research

70% of search engine traffic comes from long tail keywords.

With all of the experience I have, I can definitely state that I know SEO is not easy. Getting quick results is a joke, especially if you are trying to get long term rewards in terms of traffic and sales. Anyone who tells you they can get you instant results is lying. You may even be familiar with the those obnoxious emails filling your inbox with promises of the #1 search spot on Google or Bing. The fact is, quality SEO takes time to do it correctly and legitimately.

If you only take away ONE tip, make sure it’s this — use long tail keywords. For example, “SEO tips for small businesses” is a five-word long-tail keyword. Long tail keywords are your best bet to rank, and they tend to send you more search traffic and sales.

For any content creation strategy, long tail keywords are a must-have! To optimize your keywords, start out by doing the following:

  • Analyze which keywords your competitors are using. Of those, find out the keywords that seem to be generating huge traffic to your competitor’s sites. This will make it easier for you to come up with a lot of great keyword ideas.
  • Next, it will help to create a list of all the questions that your target audience might have. In other words, what is your target audience typing into their search query to find your product or service? Type them on Google one at a time to get a better feeling regarding how many articles have been published on the web. Create the best content, answering their pain points or questions.
  • Finally, focus on finding and using the long tail keywords with the monthly search volume below 2000. The reason for this is that it becomes easier for you to rank quickly without spending more time on link building.

banner for long tail pro keyword finder

2. On-page Optimization

On-page optimization is a powerful SEO technique that you shouldn’t be ignoring if your goal is to bring massive visitors from search engines to your websites.

The great news is that on-page optimization doesn’t need to be difficult. The first step to any on-page SEO success is finding the right keywords that are proven to increase your traffic. As mentioned above, keyword research is essential. Once you come up with your primary keyword, you can then optimize your pages accordingly.

Make sure to come up with a primary keyword that will be the focus of your blog post before you even begin writing. Use that primary keyword in your title as well as in your Meta description. For your convenience, start using the Yoast SEO plugin (free) to easily optimize your blog posts for specific keywords.

  • Use your primary keyword in your introduction of the post or page. It’s better to use it within the first 100 words to rank better.
  • Use images all over your content. Make sure to add alt tags on all of them and also include your primary keywords in any one of them.
  • Link to relevant sources in your industry. Make sure to email the people whom you are linking to. And ask them to give a shout out to their audience. They will gladly do so if they like your content.
  • Use your primary keyword in your heading, sub headings like h2 and h3 tags, URL and throughout your body (but don’t do keyword stuffing).

3. Long Form of Content

A bit of information you may find interesting — over 2 million blog posts are published every single day! That’s a lot, right? So, how can you surpass all of those articles and get first page results for your targeted keywords?

Naturally, it’s safe to assume based on what we’ve discussed so far, that it’s impossible to get first page results by creating mediocre content. By mediocre content, I mean short articles that are less than 500 words. If you want to get people to your website and reading your blogs, you need more content than 500 words.

In fact, if you want to boost your search traffic — produce a long form of content. The importance of long form content can’t be stressed enough. What you need to do is search a topic and you will find that, for the most part, the first 5 results that appear will have an average word count of 2000 words. It will have detailed, valuable content.

As a rule of thumb, if you make sure to create articles with over 1500 words, you will see better results than your competition. That way you can bring massive search results. Here is a few tips:

  • Research the topic first. Don’t begin writing even the slightest of words before doing proper research around the topics you are going to cover. Take notes from the first page of results. Look closely to see what’s missing in them and try to cover them in your articles. That way you can write detailed content that your readers find valuable.
  • Read more. By reading the best blogs in your industry or books around your favorite topics, you will begin to develop the skill and talent that will help you write more. The more you read the more value you can add to the content you are providing. It’s as simple as that.
  • It takes some time to create detailed content. Try to spend at least 3-5 hours to create a 1500 words post. When you practice writing more and more detailed articles it will become much easier as time goes on.
  • Outline your post after doing research. Use sub headings. Fill them with great content.

4. Competitor Research

Do you really know what your competitors are doing? In order to stay ahead of your competition, competitor research is a must. It will also help you in your quest for more traffic from Google. The simple reason for this is competitor’s research is the surefire and fastest way to increase your search traffic and sales. It gives you a better idea about the topics and products you are promoting.

Competitor analysis provides the following benefits:

  • Helps you find the best content ideas
  • Helps you boost your sales
  • Helps you find unlimited backlink opportunities
  • Helps you increase your traffic and social shares

It really is in your best interest to spend a little money for the competitor research stage to improve your website’s SEO. Completing an in-depth competitor analysis is not a big deal when you have access to the right competitor analytics tools like SEMrush.

SEMrush

Pro tip: Find out your competitor’s best-performing keywords. Use SEMrush to find their top keywords. Figure out ways to use those keywords to boost yours search traffic!

Competitive analytics tools, such as those provided by SEMrush provide features which will help you thoroughly analyze your competitor’s sites along with the important data like backlinks, traffic sources, best performing keywords etc.

Do You Want to analyze your competitors properly?

Are you looking to learn which topics your competitors are posting regularly on their blogs? What you need need to do is study the content length, social media metrics and backlinks of your competition’s blogs.

Lists are a good thing for you to be able to refer back to. So, that being said, make a list of all the products your competition creates and promotes on these channels and how they seem to be educating their audience in order to boost their products sales. You can gain a lot of insight on what works and doesn’t work when attempting to target the audience you want to attract. At the same time, you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches by learning from the mistakes your competition may be making.

Something else you can do is find out your competitors broken links and email them about the issues. You can always provide a reference to your relevant posts to replace their dead links with yours. You can use tools like SEMrush to easily do a backlink analysis of any site to help you find those broken links.

5. Optimize Your Website with Regular SEO Audits

Last but not least, it is crucial to do a complete website audit to find and fix all your site issues. You can’t just do it once and forget about it, either. You should be performing regular audits on your website to ensure everything is working smoothly.

If you are struggling to increase your traffic regardless of creating content regularly, it could be because of some SEO related issues that your site has. So, find and fix any and all errors if you want to grow your search rankings.

Here are few website optimization tips you need to implement right away to bring more traffic:

  • Do a site audit of your website. If you have already grabbed SEMrush, they have a tool that provides a list of all the recommendations to boost your site rankings on Google. If you get their subscription, it is definitely worth the investment!
  • Make sure to find your website speed. Use Pingdom tools or Google page insights to know how fast your site is loading. They also give you site recommendations so you can improve them to boost your site’s speed.
  • Check if your site is mobile responsive or not. Use WPTouch (free plugin) to make your site mobile friendly.
  • Move to a better web hosting service. Get a reliable, faster and secured hosting to run your sites. Your website speed depends a lot on your hosting service. So don’t pick a cheap one and hate yourself later.
  • Constantly check your site for dead or broken links. You can use broken link checker tool to find and fix your dead links. 404 error pages are not good for your site in terms of SEO.

Final Tidbits

SEO is like a vast ocean and navigating it doesn’t happen overnight. Improving your site’s search engine traffic is not easy and anyone saying it is doesn’t really know what they are doing. Instead of using thousands of SEO techniques and strategies, find just a few key strategies like content marketing, on-page optimization, website audits, etc., and just stick to them. In the long run, it can help you out a lot.

Again, don’t think only about getting quick results with SEO. Rather, focus on getting consistent, long term results. If you implement all the key SEO techniques mentioned in this guide, you will surely notice a big traffic spike.

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