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It’s 2014 and Content IS STILL King

Some of the largest companies in the world today didn’t exist just 10 – 15 years ago. Companies like YouTube, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter to name just a few. The one thing that all of these huge companies have in common is their product; information.

The web has transformed buying behavior. In the past, if a potential client wanted information on your services they would call your office and engage you or one of your sales team to get the specifics on your offering.

Today, their first stop is undoubtedly the internet. They will search on Google, check out your website and expect to sign up to article updates or social media feeds to find out more. They will check all available online avenues and expect to find valuable content.

The goal in writing is to create the type of information your customers actually want to read. Marketing with valuable content is a win-win for your company and your clients.

Ah, but what is great content? How do you demonstrate your expertise and usefulness?

Here are some questions you may ask yourself when writing or posting content in your blog, website, social network or other online channels:

  1. Will anyone really care about this content besides me?
  2. Will I offend anyone with this content? If so, who? Does it matter?
  3. Is this appropriate for a social portal, or would it best be communicated another way?
  4. Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this?
  5. Will everyone understand what I’m saying?
  6. Is this well thought-out?
  7. Is this really something I want to share, or am I just venting?

OK, here are some thought provoking criteria that can help you create great content.

­  Everyone Enjoys Content That:

  1. Reminds us that life is short
  2. Reminds us that dreams can come true
  3. Gives us faith to believe in bigger things
  4. Reminds us that we all matter
  5. Reminds us of the overlooked or forgotten “Basics”
  6. Has unexpected twists
  7. Tells us a story
  8. Takes us along on a journey
  9. Inspires us to take action
  10. Makes us laugh or smile
  11. Makes us cry (tears of joy OR sadness)
  12. Reveals secrets
  13. Surprises us
  14. Encourages us to never give up
  15. Reminds us that we are one-of-a-kind and encourages us to live that way
  16. Reminds us that there is more
  17. Confirms our assumptions
  18. Challenges our assumptions
  19. Educates us while entertaining us
  20. Shows that the underdog can win
  21. Gives us a fresh point of view, even about common things

­  These 21 types of content were First seen at www.RecessionSolution.com

If you’re looking to increase the social sharing frequency of your content, aim to leverage both emotional and technical elements to encourage readers to share articles on their own social networks. Having content go viral in this way is one of the most effective forms of monetization, as readers become a promotional force on your behalf.

Why do you need to maintain WordPress?

First off, let’s not confuse content maintenance with WordPress maintenance. You can make all the content changes you like. You can add text, add photos, you can even add pages and navigation. All of this is a part of CONTENT maintenance. WordPress maintenance is on the technical side – updating WordPress software versions, theme updates, plugin updates, backing up the website files and databases, and the list goes on.

Think of caring for your website as you would your house – it requires maintenance and occasionally, redecoration. You don’t just move your stuff in and never touch it again. You have to regularly keep things in order, otherwise “Murphy” comes in and mucks everything up. If you avoid maintaining your site long enough, your site can actually crash. This was the case with one of our clients whose former developer went out of business and the site remained unattended for quite some time. Eventually, the software was so out-of-date that the site became unstable, got hacked and crashed.

How do you prevent this from happening? What’s the website equivalent to scrubbing the floors and cleaning the bathrooms?

It’s simple. Keep your WordPress (and other CMS platform) installations up-to-date. WordPress makes this somewhat simple by allowing you to choose automated installations. While this might be OK in some instances, it’s not what we would recommend. Automating updates of WordPress without manual updates of plugins can sometimes have undesirable results.

Outdated plugins can be a significant problem. Plugin developers sometimes abandon their plugin and it becomes incompatible with the latest version of WordPress.  Often, new versions of software get released solely to fix issues that have been exploited by hackers. If your website isn’t being updated and is found by a well-known bug, it’s highly likely to be compromised.

WordPress even tries to make updating your site simple for you.

Every time you log in to the dashboard, it checks for updates and displays a banner at the top of your admin panel to let you know about them. The process is relatively easy and can many times take only minutes. But there is a process and you need to be sure that you are comfortable with that.

But I don’t log in to my site very often,” you say.
You don’t eat off the floor very often, either, but you still have to clean them.

No matter how often you log in to post new content on your site, you should still log in frequently to update its software (along with any plugins you use). If not, you’re potentially subjecting yourself to a worse experience. Not the horrible smell of rotting milk coming from the fridge, but a slow website or even worse, a crashed website, can smell just as foul.

If you’re a bit “iffy” on maintaining your own site, contact a professional and subscribe to their maintenance program. These typically cover all the essentials required to keep the site updated, stable and available. Sure, you have to pay a small fee each month for this service but the alternative is nasty. You also may pay a pest service to keep the “bugs” from your house – not to mention the need for homeowners insurance. Remember Murphy? You’ve invested a sizeable amount of money to build your site. Now is not the time to be penny-wise and site-crashed foolish.

How To Blog Keeping SEO In Mind

We all know that using keywords when writing copy for your website is critical in getting favorable ranking by the search engines, but the same should be applied to writing your blog as well. The benefit of using SEO while blogging is that you’re not only creating content that your readers value, but you’re also ensuring that prospective customers can find you with a web search when looking for content.

So how do you blog for SEO?

Choose a keyword

It is best to focus on one or two keywords to begin with. In addition to making sure it’s relevant to your ideal customer, use a “long tail” keyword phrase. This means instead of writing “mortgage” write “Milwaukee mortgage broker”. The more specific to your business (without getting carried away) allows your website to rank higher for specific searches.

Include variations of the keyword

Google’s recent Hummingbird algorithm now picks up on conversations more so than traditional keywords. For example, if you’re a Tax Accountant, writing “Tax Preparation Services” and “Tax Accounting Services” helps you describe your business in multiple ways.

No keyword stuffing

Using too many keywords, thinking that it will index your post more effectively will actually backfire. Google doesn’t like it and will downgrade you for it. Also, distribute the keyword evenly throughout the blog post. A few times is enough.

Write for humans not search engines

To expand on number 3, the point of a blog post is not only to inform, educate, and entertain, but ultimately to attract visitors. Your copy should be pleasant to read and, most importantly, provide value to your readers.

CMS updates

Finally, don’t forget to use the same keywords and subject data in the proper places on your content management system (CMS), such as WordPress. With WordPress, you can easily download an SEO plugin which allows you to fill in the following fields that search engines look for:

Title: this can be different from the blog title you’re using and don’t forget to include your keyword. Using text, or part of the text that someone would enter into a search query would help a great deal. Keep this field to under 70 characters, including spaces.

Description: this is a 160 -170 character field where you can briefly summarize the content of your blog post. It appears as the excerpt text in the returned search listing under the linked result. Make the phrase interesting to incent the viewer to become a reader, but don’t forget to include your keywords here as well.

Keywords: this field is actually the least important of the three. It’s rarely used by search engines and some suggest that you don’t even need to include this at all. My feeling is, it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. It certainly won’t hurt, so I recommend including it anyway.

Adding a link using keyword rich anchor text to external supporting material, like on your website, or a social media post can also help with SEO ranking.

Follow these simple guidelines and your blog post will get more visibility which can lead to more visitors and more customers.

 

Why You Should Use Google Analytics On Your Website

Google Analytics is one of the most popular and widely used tools for monitoring and analyzing the traffic on your website. It gives you a wide range of statistics about your site and has many useful features to help improve the quantity and quality of traffic to your website. If your business wants to expand and grow on the internet, you should definitely be using Google Analytics.

Here is some of the information that Google Analytics provides:

  • The number of visitors to your website.
  • The average number of pages seen per visit.
  • The average time spent on site per visit.
  • The bounce rate (percentage of single page visitors, i.e. they hit your landing page and leave).
  • The percent of visitors on mobile devices.
  • The source of the visitor – either directly to your URL, or through a link from another website (ex: Twitter, Facebook), or from search engines. This is a great way to track your social media effectiveness.

And much more…

You can measure the impact on your website traffic after you’ve made a change to your SEO,  done a public speaking engagement, a marketing campaign, or released an article or series of blogs through social media like Facebook or Twitter. This is a very valuable tool to see what’s working and what’s not.

One more compelling reason to use Google Analytics is that it’s FREE. And you know what I say: “If it’s free, it’s for me.”

The bottom line is that you should monitor your website traffic on a regular basis and make adjustments where and when necessary to maximize the traffic flow. Without it, it’s like driving at night with your lights off. You know the old saying, “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.

Three Reasons Responsive Web Design Makes Sense

As mobile device adoption rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile-friendly websites.

  • Over 20% of Google searches are being performed on a mobile device
  • In 2013, more than half of the local searches were performed on a mobile device
  • In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device
  • 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience
  • 36% of all emails are opened on mobile devices

There are two major methods for creating a mobile website – Responsive Design and Mobile Templates. With responsive design, you only have one website that adapts to all screen sizes no matter what the device. In contrast, a mobile template is a completely separate entity requiring that you have a second mobile-only website or sub-domain.

Why should you choose a responsive design over a separate mobile site?

Google Recommends Responsive Design

If SEO is a core component of your digital marketing strategy, having a mobile–friendly website is becoming essential. Google supports almost 67% of the search engine market so, when Google speaks, search marketers listen. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice. Additionally, Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site.

Ease of Maintenance

With a responsive website, you only have one website to update. Usually mobile sites have to be updated separately from the desktop website. This is a waste of time for you to update your website twice, and can also cause problems if you forget to update one. This is especially true for websites that have frequent changes.

Future Device Compatibility

One of the big benefits of responsive design is that the size of the template is designed based on screen size not the device. This means that no matter what size screen someone is viewing your website on, it will display properly for that screen size. In the future as new devices are introduced for web browsing, your responsive site will automatically adapt and still look beautiful.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that if you have a website (and you should), it needs to be mobile-friendly. How you choose to make it that way is your decision and yours alone. Choose wisely grasshopper.