Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi SEO’
You’ve built your shiny new business and now you need a shiny new website. You are not alone. More and more small businesses are seeing the need to establish their presence online. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 80 percent of American households have Internet access, and growing. While generating a generic website is not difficult, creating an effective website does require a lot of effort. Follow these five easy tips for building the best website for your business or personal needs.
1. Generate Exceptional Content
Perhaps you’ve heard the webmaster’s creed, “Content is king.” It’s true. To be effective, your website must have something to offer, and you must offer it well. Good spelling, good grammar and a means of coherently communicating your content wins every time. In general, most web readers prefer a casual, conversational style to the formal voice found in weighty textbooks or encyclopedias. How you publish content is important, as well. Web readers tend to shy away from 1,000-word text-heavy articles, preferring shorter content with brief paragraphs, lists or images and videos.
Additionally, stick with your niche. For examples, if you specialize in budget travel, write content that relates to budget travel, and skip the long dialogues on the current political climate or how to make money online. The more relevant content you publish to your niche website, the more clout and relevance you earn in the search engines and among readers.
2. Create a User-Friendly Site
You may publish the most scintillating stories in cyberspace, but if your website isn’t user-friendly, most readers will pass your content by in a matter of moments. Statistics show that website readers do not read — rather, they scan the page for interesting content for a few seconds before moving along. Create a website that invites visitors to linger. Incorporate navigation menus with succinct titles. Place anchors or fixed-point buttons or tabs to direct readers to special sections. Utilize “breadcrumbs,” a textual, linear navigation map that shows the trail the reader has taken throughout your website. Create a special site map page where readers can locate information quickly. Avoid popup windows, auto-play media and web pages that force readers to or from other web pages. Finally, include a biographical snippet, an “about us” page or a map with the physical location of your business. These tools connect your readers with you or your business and encourage reader input and recollection of your site.
3. Know Your Audience
Part of creating an effective website is building a rapport with your audience. Your website design and content should reflect the audience to whom you address. For example, big, bright, primary-colored buttons are very cute on a parenting website or elementary teacher’s journal but are ill-suited for a technology or auto business site. Your website should never patronize or insult your readers. Tailor your web design and all content—including photos and advertisements—to your audience.
4. Design With Style
If your website contains a lot of information, such as an educational or resource site, consider a magazine-style theme. This type of theme displays a great deal of content on the home page, giving your readers instant access to a variety of content. Beware, however, of over-stuffing your home page with too much content. Flooding your home page with hoards of articles, links, videos and images will confuse your readers and drive them away. A good rule of thumb is to maintain content in “threes.” Organize your content in neat categories, listing three at a time with a tantalizing link that leads visitors to additional content. On the other hand, if your website is more streamlined, such as a photo gallery or personal journal, consider a simpler, more creative theme.
Symmetry and balance are other important design features. As Aristotle once said, “Beauty depends on size as well as symmetry.” People are generally attracted to symmetrical, balanced designs. If your website isn’t precisely symmetrical, make the layout balanced. A large block of data on one side should be tempered with several smaller blocks on the other side.
For most websites, a simple design with light touches of creativity works best. Don’t be afraid of colors, but keep the color scheme classy. Select a color scheme that enhances your content, niche and audience. For example, your metal rock band website may look great in black and hot pink, but your medical reference website needs calmer colors. And you should always avoid the following things: crazy fonts, dark backgrounds, flashing banners or buttons and auto-generated music and video.
5. Call the Experts
For some businesses, their website can make or break their reputation. A hokey, aged Microsoft FrontPage website that hasn’t been updated since 1998 or a confused mass of borders and blinking buttons is not very appealing to visitors and may even repel customers. If you think you need some assistance building a website or producing sufficient content, consult a professional web designer or content supplier. Many professionals offer a free consultation and estimate, giving you valuable information and a glimpse into the web design world.
While these are only five of the best tips for building an effective website, additional advice abounds. What components do you look for and admire about the websites you visit? What tips can you offer for a start-up site?
The newest trend in business marketing is the ‘like’ system, provided by the social media giant, Facebook. What does a ‘like’ really get you? Using ‘like’ is similar to creating a mailing list. When someone clicks the button, their name is added to a fan grouping that you can use for advertising purposes. A ‘like’ will also increase the “word of mouth” potential for a company or website.
It is not hard to see why companies are trying to come up with new and improved mousetraps to get Facebook fans. Just like any advertising scheme, not all ideas work. Let’s take a look at a few of the less ingenious programs designed to get you ‘liked.’
This campaign involves a message coded into the loading script of a website, blog or feature. When users go to open a site, the background goes darks and a small popup message appears asking them to ‘like’ the page on Facebook. Visitors must either click the button to ‘like’ the page or close the popup to continue on to the website. This trick is more annoying than it is effective. In general, the bullying approach to advertising will not get you liked.
Suggest to Friends
Facebook offers a marketing tool to increase your fan base. The ‘Suggest to Friends’ option allows you to send a notice to everyone on your friends list to like your page. This is annoying, as well, but much easier to ignore than popup messages. That in itself is a problem. This is passive-aggressive marketing. People with hundreds of friends on Facebook probably get one of these notices every day and they can’t ‘like’ them all. After a while, the alerts get ignored. People want to make choices for themselves and are not likely to join up with every notice.
There is nothing wrong with budgeting for advertising but buying Facebook fans is not cost-effective. You may get more likes with a paid campaign but you don’t know who is doing the clicking. The company you are paying may have dummy accounts or you might be getting likes from users overseas that will never be anywhere near your business. The purpose of going viral on Facebook is to increase traffic for your company or website. Unless you are International, paying for likes is not going to help much.
It seems like a good idea, and at one point it probably was, but now sweepstakes are just overdone. It is the too much of a good thing rebound effect. Companies all over the Internet are having drawings for some tiny prize and all a user has to do is keep hitting the ‘like’ button. Distinctive is always better, and sweepstakes do not stand out enough to get noticed any longer.
This is anything that requires Facebook to allow permission for a user’s page, for example, a login tool. When the alert pops up to allow permissions, there is a knee jerk reaction to close it. Your customers will get nervous about giving you an open door to their personal information. You might get an automatic ‘like’ from this customer every time they log in using Facebook but many will feel uncomfortable with the process.
At this point, the smart reader is asking what will work to get more Facebook fans. Good old fashion patience, service and hard work. If you offer a memorable service, worthwhile product or compelling website eventually you will develop a following. In the beginning stages of Facebook promotions, some of the get fans quick schemes may have been effective, but not so much anymore. Facebook users are becoming more discerning about their ‘likes.’
Give-a-ways and promotions that require you to like a page can help. Most people will jump at the chance to get a free copy of a book or discount on an order. They might be willing to hit the like button if it gets them something.
Blogging regularly with the ‘like’ option is viable, as well. If you post to a blog about subjects the interest your readers, they will pay your back by liking each post. Combining a blog with a page feed will keep them focused on the fact that you maintain a presence on Facebook.
With any form of advertising, slow and persistent is going to get you lifelong customers and fans. Fast and dirty marketing may get a few initial clicks, but the interest will flame out. Take your time, set up an effective campaign and stick to it.
This guest post is by Edwin who regularly writes about celebrities, TV, and movies for the Celebutaunt blog on USDish.
“What social media sites should my business be using?” I often get asked this question and to be honest there is no “correct” answer. My general advice is this: if you are not currently using any social media, I usually recommend starting with Facebook. The reason I usually advise starting with Facebook is because it is undoubtedly the most popular social media site. Whether you are just getting started with your business Facebook page or just need a refresher course, these 5 tips will help you grow your Facebook fans.
- Don’t “Over-Promote” Yourself- If everyday you simply post “Come stop by our business today, our business is xyz, etc” people will most likely lose interest in your Facebook page. Instead, be creative in your posts by including: informational posts, video testimonials, success stories, and ask your “Facebook congregation” engaging questions.
- Time of Day Matters- This is something that most people don’t consider when they post from their Facebook page, but your post time really does matter. A majority of your target audience maybe working when you post, your younger group maybe still sleeping when you post, or your older customers may already be asleep…sorry for the stereotypes young and old people. Take into account who you are trying to reach, and when maybe the best time to reach them. Finding that “perfect time” may take several weeks of trial and error.
- Include All Types of Posts-While similar to tip #1, I thought it was important to mention again. Facebook makes it easy for you to post poll questions, pictures, videos, text, links to other resources so take advantage of this and utilize all types of posts.
- Short and Sweet- One aspect of Twitter that makes it so unique is the limit of 160 characters per “post/tweet.” Although Facebook does not limit you to a small number of characters, keep your posts short. If you have a lot to share, create a blog post and simply link to the blog from your Facebook page!
- Create an Ad- While all businesses don’t have the ability to spend the extra money, creating and running a Facebook ad can actually be fairly inexpensive (you can always set a fixed budget). A Facebook ad can be a great way to target a specific demographic and encourage the engagement and growth of your Facebook Page. Ex: Your business would love to take an extra 10 youth on a mission trip. You create a Facebook ad targeting your city, male/female age 13-18, interested in church, etc. If you haven’t looked at the advanced targeting segmentation that Facebook allows for, it really is neat stuff!
Conclusion: There are several social networking sites that have exciting possibilities for businesses. Since Facebook is by far the most popular, it maybe best to start there and slowly branch into other social networking sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, and others. When posting on Facebook, remember to keep it short, targeted, and at the appropriate time of day! How is your small business using social media? Does your small business actively promote it’s Facebook and Twitter accounts when meeting with potential clients and in traditional marketing campaigns?
Ways to increase your Conversion Rate
Some of the obvious points like site speed and usability aren’t mentioned in this post as you have probably read about them in other articles. My objective was to share some different methods that can work but aren’t usually found in other posts.
Driving visitors to your website is one thing, but getting them to convert is another. While we all concentrate on trying to get more visitors to our sites, we mustn’t forget the importance of conversion rate optimisation as this is a vital part of any online business. Increasing your conversion rate by just 1% can have a huge effect on your sites performance so you must always be looking for ways to improve it.
Conversion rate can be best described as ‘the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action’ so for example buying a product or signing up to a newsletter.
Whenever you think about conversion rate don’t just think about your website, try and think about the external source that brings you the visitor. Think about your search result that appears in Google or your product listing on a referrer’s site. Can you do anything on this external source that is going to benefit the visitor before they reach your site? A good tip is to provide the key factors about a product or your desired action to the external source. Below are a few ways that can help you achieve this.
Rich Snippets – Schema.org
Schema.org is a collection of shared vocabularies that you can use to mark up your web pages which help search engines such as Goolge, Bing and Yahoo understand what your page is about. Schema.org is used with micro format data, and can be implemented by marking up your html content with relevant tags.
Samsung have used the Aggregate Rating tag to display their rating reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S2. Other mark ups are available such as price and description. Checkout the schema.org website for the full documentation and a list of tags you can use.
By using rich snippets you are able to inform your visitor with key information which in turn could make their decision to purchase or complete the ‘desired action’ before they’ve even clicked on your site.
Google Adwords – Site links / Ad extensions
If you have a Goolge adwords account then site links and ad extension are great for providing key information to PPC campaigns. Like rich snippets, an ad extension allows you to have rating reviews on your brand and product terms.
Your business will also receive traffic from referrers, so a good idea is to contact these sites and provide more information about your ‘desired action’. They will be grateful of this extra information and the attention you’re paying to them. By building relationships with these referrers, means they are more likely to corporate with you in the future and give you a bit more attention or allow you to have more in-depth product details.
As you have started to look at your external sources, you must also look at your existing site and find ways to improve it. A golden rule in optimisation is to test, test, test.
A/B and Multivariate Testing
A/B testing is where you create 2 different landings pages and send 50% of visitor to Page A and the other 50% to Page B. You would then analyse the results to find out which landing page converts better.
Multivariate testing is where you use different variations of content within sections of a webpage simultaneously, for example you could have three different headings and two different images.
Using both these types of experiments is a great way to test your pages but a word of caution, make sure you are testing the different variations with enough visitors to get accurate results.
Google offer a tool named website optimizer which many people use to carry out these two experiments so be sure to check it out.
Think about the visitor
What I mean by this,is trying to think about what questions the visitors may have and how you can answer them. Here are some questions a consumer may have for an ecommerce website.
How much does delivery cost?
How long does it take?
Does this price include VAT?
Is this site secure?
Is the site trust worthy?
Using tools such as live chat can really benefit your business as it provides a live contact with you and your visitor. Using things such as accreditations, reviews and guarantees can help you gain trust with the visitor. Make sure you place things like your guarantee, contact number and live chat above the fold so it’s the first thing that the visitor sees.
By putting yourself in the visitors shoes, will help you realise some key factors that you may be missing on your site. Think about when you visit a site, what things do you want to see or not want to see?
Visitors don’t like to enter their credit card details or address details at the checkout anymore; they want a quick and easy solution. By introducing an ‘Amazon like checkout’ you will most certainly increase your conversion rate. If you don’t have an express checkout then take a look at some of your competitors and see how many do. You may just find that you can become one step ahead of them.
If you currently do have an express checkout, advertise the fact that you do. Don’t wait for the visitor to reach the checkout before they realise, show it on your landing pages.
New methods and techniques are always being introduced that can help your conversion rate optimisation so be sure to keep updated by researching and reading online. Always remember to keep optimising as it’s down to YOU, to improve your websites conversion rate.
Article written by Daniel Whittaker who is the website content administrator at Cartridge Monkey, one of the UK’s major suppliers of Ink Cartridges. Daniel is a keen writer on SEO, Data Analysis and Website Optimisation
Google AdWords has been the prime choice of people looking for pay per click advertising on the web for many years. But now that Facebook, which offers its own advertising service, has become one of the most visited websites in the world, there is another very attractive option available.
Yet there’s a small problem: most of the people who are using social media and visiting Facebook won’t be looking to buy like they might be doing when carrying out a Google search.
AdWords targets people who are more likely to be looking to buy a product, while Facebook targets people according to their interests – thus you’d be forgiven for assuming the conversion rate offered by AdWords would be higher. However, some companies have reported that their Facebook campaign has been more lucrative than an equivalent campaign on AdWords.
Why could this be?
It’s more than likely all down to targeting. AdWords targets people based on what keywords they’re typing and what information it can gather from previous searches, whereas Facebook has much more information on the people using their service and can specifically target these individual people based on all their information.
So for hitting a target market, Facebook is going to be much more accurate, as you can choose to only go after the people that are going to be interested in your advert. Because of it being so specific, you’re less likely to be getting people clicking your ad that aren’t interested in your product or service which will keep the cost per click lower.
On Facebook, you can include pictures in your ad. You can’t do this on Adwords, so it’s a big advantage to Facebook as it can really attract people’s attention towards your ad while they’re browsing the site. An image can be seen and taken in in a second and is more likely to be noticed by someone casually scrolling through a site, but a well-written advert could easily go unnoticed by someone not wanting or bothering to read.
Two can be better than one
The main thing to remember is that you’re not just limited to one option when it comes down to advertising. You can easily choose to run a pay per click campaign on both Facebook and Google AdWords, and you might find that one is better than the other for your particular business or both are equally as good.
If you’re in the UK and uncertain you can run a pay per click campaign for whatever reason, it might be worth looking into an online marketing agency in the UK that can run pay per click management for you.
Article written by Amy Fowler of online marketing agency, Boom Online Marketing. Follow Boom on Twitter.
Facebook has been in the news a lot lately, and this week is no different. This week Facebook is making headlines over their new Timeline for Business Pages. Although we have already seen the Facebook Timeline profiles, we are now seeing how the Timeline is affecting our Business Pages and the outcome is quite interesting.
What are the major changes to Facebook Business Pages?
- There is new space for custom headers and branding opportunities, but there are some restrictions regarding what a business can promote in the header. To learn more about the new pages and their restrictions click here.
- You can only have 3 Facebook Apps under the header. For all other Apps users will have to click a More button.
- People can now message Business pages just like they would message a friend.
- Default landing tabs are no longer available.
Where can I learn more about the New Pages?
To learn more about the new Facebook Business Pages you can visit the official Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/about/pages.
At Shine Online Marketing we work with small businesses to develop internet marketing strategies that help your business Shine! If you would like to receive a free quote, email us at email@example.com, or call us at 601-336-3001. Also be sure to visit our site at shineonlinemarketing.com and subscribe to our RSS feed for all the latest updates.
Last week we introduced our web analytics series with Web Analytics 101 where we talked about what web analytics are and why they are important for your website. If you didn’t get a chance to read Web Analytics 101 I encourage you to before diving into this week’s Web Analytics 102. Although I mentioned that in web analytics 102 we would learn how to install Google Analytics, after writing today’s blog I decided that we would focus on installing analytics next week in web analytics 103. Today we are going to look at 5 of the top web analytics tools in order to help you chose your favorite and start improving traffic to your website.
1 ) Google Analytics-The most popular web analytics and with good reason. Google Analytics is free, powerful, and can be connected with your Google Adwords campaigns. Google Analytics allows for segmentation, customization, and ecommerce tracking.
2 ) Piwik-An open source, downloadable, real time web analytics software. With over 200,000 websites already using Piwik, its goal is to be the free alternative to Google Analytics.
3 ) Crazy Egg-Utilizes heat maps to help you “visualize your visitors.” Crazy Egg will help you understand which aspects of your website could benefit from a redesign based upon where visitors click and how they use your website.
4 ) Clicky-Focuses on real time analytics with the added bonus of Twitter analytics as well. Clicky allows you to view almost any report with up to a year’s worth of data.
5 ) SiteCatalyst-Powers the Adobe Online Marketing Suite, SiteCatalyst gives you insight into organic search, paid search, mobile search, and social media insights including Facebook and Twitter.
Of these 5 web analytics tools, only Google Analytics and Piwik are free. If money plays a role in which web analytics you use, I would suggest starting with one of these two, and in the future if you have need you can always start using one of the other three. If you are a visual person, Crazy Egg maybe the right analytics for you. As I mentioned I love Google Analytics due to the fact that it is robust, free, and easily connects with Google Adwords. Be sure to check back next week when we will talk about how to install Google Analytics and what the next steps are after you have installed analytics on your website.
“What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” We all know this old proverb, but when it comes to your website, I would say this couldn’t be further from the truth. Knowing which websites referred traffic to yours, what keywords they searched to find you, and how long they viewed specific pages are all crucial information to increase conversions on your website. Today we’re going to give a brief tutorial on what web analytics are and why you should have analytics installed on your website.
Web analytics is defined as the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_analytics). To further breakdown this definition let’s look at 10 examples of the “internet data” web analytics includes.
1 ) Visitors-Total number of visitors to the site.
2 ) Unique Visitors-Number of new visitors to the site.
3 ) Bounce Rate-Percentage of visitors who leave the site without visiting additional pages.
4 ) Pages Visited-Pages the visitors viewed within the site such as “about us” or “contact us.”
5 ) Organic Keywords-The keywords that visitors searched for in order to find your website.
6 ) Paid Keywords-Paid keywords will only appear if you are using search engine marketing such as Google Adwords. If you are using search engine marketing, your analytics may tell you which keywords visitors searched for to see your ad and ultimately visit your site.
7 ) Time on Site-How long the visitor stayed on your website.
8 ) Time on Page-How long the visitor stayed on specific pages within your site.
9 ) Page Load Times-How fast your specific web pages loaded in the user’s browser.
10 ) Device Used-Which device the visitor was using to view your site such as a desktop, smart phone, tablet, etc.
Now that we have a better understanding of what web analytics are and the type of information that it provides, why is having analytics installed on your website important? Simply put, if you are not aware of the amount of visitors your website receives and what type of interaction they have with your website, it is nearly impossible to improve your website’s conversions. Example: Your website has 1,000 unique visits per month, which depending on your business may sound good. But after looking into the web analytics you learn that 900 of your unique visitors left without ever looking past your home page. Of course if this was the case, I would highly encourage you to make changes to your home page to encourage more interaction.
In our next blog we will cover web analytics 102 which will include some choices for web analytics and installation of the most popular analytics, Google Analytics. Shine Online Marketing offers Free Analytics with any of our Internet Marketing packages. Please call us at 601-336-3001 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free estimate.