The Dos and Don’ts of Blogging

The Dos and Don'ts of Blogging







Blogging for your business offers so many positives. It can improve your SEO, showcase your expertise, build trust with your target demographic, help clients solve problems and learn more about your industry, and so much more. To help you generate the best content for your blog, we’ve come up with a list of our dos and don’ts.

Do have somebody else edit your content. After you spend some time researching information for your blog and writing posts, it’s easy to become immune to the mistakes you’ve made such as typos, missing words, misspelled words, and grammatical errors. By having someone read your post before you hit publish, you get feedback and learn how to improve the quality of your content.

Do share your blog posts on social media. Social media is hands down your best way to update people on your latest blog posts. Take your time coming up with an eye-catching headlines and finding/taking an appropriate picture to go along with the post as people stop longer and check out posts longer if they have a photo.

Do read other blog posts for ideas.  We all get hit with writer’s block from time to time. To help overcome that, read blogs from other businesses in your industry. Take blog post you like as a jumping off point and spin them into your own creations.

Don’t be salesy. Blogging for your business has been proven to help businesses boost sales, but that doesn’t mean you should write your content with a salesy tone. That’s just off-putting. To avoid this from happening, limit the amount of times you drop your company’s name and keep your tone conversational.

Don’t ramble on. Don’t write long sentences. Today people read less, especially when they’re browsing online. To get important points across, consider bolding sections of your posts.  

Don’t wait till the last minute. There are a lot of abandoned blogs out there. One of the biggest reasons businesses and bloggers stop blogging all together is because they didn’t have any posts written in advance. It’s easy for life and other tasks at work to get in the way of blogging. By writing posts at least a month in advance, you can help there be one less abandoned blog in the world.

If you’re ever struggling with writing blog posts for your business, reach out to Sperling Interactive. We have web marketers on staff that can generate banging content for your business, including repurposing content.

How To Increase Email Click Through Rates






Before we dive into on how to increase email click through rates (CTRs), let’s dive into the groundbreaking statistics surrounding email marketing.

*Email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences.
*For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.
*72% of consumers prefer email as their source of business communication.
*3 billion people- half of the world’s population- are expected to utilize email by 2020.

As these statistics show, there are many benefits to utilizing email marketing. Now that we know how useful email is to business, here are four ways to increase email CTRs.

Put a special offer in the subject line. Nailing your subject line is important because if it doesn’t peak subscribers’ interest, they’ll delete your eblast without ever opening it up.  When you extend an offer, you increase people’s interest. Make sure your subject line is teasing and doesn’t give too much away. That’s what the content inside is for.

Include triggered emails. Triggered emails are automation emails in reference to a subscriber’s actions. Triggered emails include thank you emails, welcome emails, anniversary emails, confirmation emails, and the emails you receive when you abandon your shopping cart on an ecommerce site. Triggered emails are beneficial because they are proven to increase conversion rates and improve customers’ experiences.

Add social sharing. If you offer at least three social sharing options, your CTRs increase by 55%. Even if your reader doesn’t want your email’s offer, they may know someone who does whom they can share it with on social.

Get the timing right. Another way you can increase CTS is through researching the best times to send out your newsletters. According to MailChimp, the average optimal time to send out a newsletter is Thursday and the peak time is 10:00 am. Of course, still do your research on your target audience and when they are most likely to check their inboxes.

How To Make The Most Of LinkedIn For Your Business





In our last blog post of December,
2018 Marketing Trends, we mentioned 2017 was the year of the silent rise of LinkedIn. If you’re currently not utilizing LinkedIn much, you’ll want to after you finish reading this blog post.

Create Target Ads- Arguably the best way to make the most of your business on LinkedIn is through ads. What makes LinkedIn special is you can post your ads through several mediums- text only ads, image ads, and video ads. Thus, you can always find ways to re-purpose your content. Through LinkedIn, you can also set budgets on your pay-per-clicks (PCP). Plus, LinkedIn is user-friendly when it comes to tracking ad performances.

Join Groups Your Target Audience Is In Or Create Your Own. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for connecting with like-minded people. Check out groups where your target demographic is or create a group to spread your brand’s awareness. Engage with group members through discussions, sharing relevant articles, and posting topical events.

Create An Effective Company Page. Use your company page to spread your business’ message. Let people know what you offer and highlight accomplishments.  If you have a company blog, publish your posts to your LinkedIn page. If you have videos or presentations, share those too. To optimize your business’ ranking on LinkedIn, make sure you are using relevant keywords. Above all else, make sure your company page on LinkedIn is uniform with the rest of your online/offline presence.

Get Endorsements From Clients. Ask your top clients for a testimonial. Through LinkedIn, clients can confirm your skill set and expertise. According to research, 88% of people trust online reviews.

Choosing A Content Management System For Your Website

Choosing A Content Management System







At Sperling Interactive we use WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla when creating websites for our clients. All of these platforms are terrific, customizable, and free. Today on the blog we will be over viewing these platforms to help you decide which is the best fit for your company.

WordPress: WordPress works well with small- to medium-sized websites, blogs, and smaller e-commerce stores. It has over 4,000 free themes and over 45,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 42 days. Though it can be used by advanced developers, it’s the best platform of the three for a beginner. WordPress is also becoming more widespread for larger websites.

Joomla- The ideal Joomla user should be looking to make an ecommerce site or a social networking site. The user should also have some basic technical skills as Joomla can create more complex sites than WordPress. It’s really the middle ground of the three platforms. Joomla has over 1,000 free themes and over 7,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 36 days.

Drupal: Drupal’s targeted user should have an advanced understanding of web developing. Of the three platforms, Drupal creates the most advanced websites. Drupal has over 2,000 free themes and over 34,000 free plugins. It’s update frequency is 51 days.  Drupal would work best for users hoping to create sites that require complex data organization, online stores, and community platform sites with multiple users. What also separates Drupal from the others is that its pages typically load faster.

If your project needs do not cleanly fit into one of these content management systems, Sperling Interactive can custom design a system for your company.

The Must Have Apps For Better Smartphone Photography









The original iPhone came out ten years ago, and who would have known back then the big role it now plays in people’s lives? One of the iPhone’s most used features is its camera, and for many people, their smartphone is the only camera they have. Of course, to take great photographs with your cellular device, you need to give your snaps some tender love and care via post-production. Here are our seven favorite photo apps we’ve found that can help you achieve better smartphone photography.

TouchRetouch. For $1.99, this app will enable you to delete any photobombers, strangers, or unwanted things from your photos in just a few taps.

Facetune. Facetune is amazing because it will save you time from taking selfies and will eliminate anything you’re feeling insecure with. With Facetune, you can get rid of blemishes, whiten your teeth, get rid of bald spots or gray hair, reshape facial features, brighten dark under-eye circles, and more. It costs $3.99.

Slow Shutter Cam. This app’s title does it exactly what it promises for $1.99. When you’re in a low-lit place, you can slow down the smartphone’s shutter to capture stunning photos.

Adobe Photoshop Express. Unlike the regular Photoshop software, the cellular app is free and works just as well. Photoshop has tons of advanced editing tools to make your photos look like they were taken by DSLR.

Font Candy + Typography Editor. Font Candy is an awesome app to download if you’re designing a poster or marketing collateral as you can add fun text to photos. With this app you can also scale and crop photos. It costs $2.99.

Prisma. If you’ve never been much of an artist, you now can be with Prisma. This free app enables you transform photos you’ve taken so they resemble the styles of iconic artists like Van Gogh and Picasso.

Instagram. We talked about Instagram and our prediction for its growth in 2018 here. Instagram has many common editing features- adjust, brighten, contrast, structure, warmth, saturation, highlights, shadows, and sharpen- and is the most popular photo and video sharing app out there. If you’re a b2c business, having an Instagram account is a must. It is also free.

2018 Digital Marketing Trends







With 2018 right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking how you’re going to market your business or nonprofit in the new year. To give you a breather after the crazy Christmas season, we have four digital marketing trends we expect to explode next year.

Personalize sales approach. Everyone wants to be remembered and known. Consumers are over marketing strategies that aren’t making them feel reached out to. Marketers will be getting more personal with their target audience in 2018 by addressing them by their names in email blasts (personalized emails have been shown to deliver six times higher transaction rates) and custom landing pages.

A continued rise in LinkedIn. This year many are calling it the silent rise of LinkedIn. This platform is not longer the place where you just upload your resume and look for jobs. Pulse and LinkedIn Video are changing the way professionals and businesses interact. LinkedIn currently has 500 million members with two people joining every second. If yours is a B2B, LinkedIn is an excellent place to post ads.

An increased use in Instagram stories and live videos. 800 million people use Instagram each month. Instagram introduced Instagram Stories last year and it has gone on to surpass Snapchat. With that, it is predicted that Instagram Stories and live videos will increase in 2018. Not everyone sees your page every day, but if you post regularly on Instagram stories, people will get to see a few seconds of your company.

More video content. The current statistics for video content is all you need in order to know it’s about to shoot up. Right now, 87% of online marketers create video content. Video content is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.

If you still need help setting your 2018 marketing goals, Sperling Interactive will be hosting “Creating A Successful Marketing Strategy For The New Year” on January 17, 2018 from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. Register here!

4 Ways To Optimize Your Images

Your written content isn’t the only way you can improve your business’ SEO. Your images are another component to your online presence that you should be optimizing as well. Here are four things you should do to your images before you update or redesign your website.

Name your photos. When you upload your photos to Media Library, they will have the filename that they had when they were saved to your computer. To optimize the photos, change the name by using relevant keywords.

Include alt tags. An alt tag is the text that displays when an image doesn’t load. It’s also the text that may be read to a visitor who is blind or visually impaired. Alt tags are also the keywords Google reads to know more about the page since it can’t read photos. You can add alt tags to your photos through the Media Library once they are uploaded. Like the name of the photo, the alt tag should be descriptive.

Keep your photo size small. The size of your image does affect your site’s loading speed. You wouldn’t want to lose potential clients because of this.

Consider your image file type. The three most common image file types are JPEGs, GIFs, and PNGs.

JPEGs- They are the most common of the image file types and are supported nearly everywhere. With JPEGs, you can expect millions of colors and the ability to adjust the file size as well as image quality.

GIFS- You probably know GIFs as the file type that supports animated memes. It’s the oldest file type and can handle transparency. Because GIFs are limited to 256 colors, they are recommended for company logos instead of real photographs.

PNGs- PNGs are the newest of image file types and are considered the replacement for GIFs. Like GIFs, they support transparency, but what sets PNGs apart is they offer millions of colors. Important to note: this file format is supported everywhere.

How To Create A User Friendly Website

So, you’re about to design a new website for your company. How exciting! Before you start designing, developing, and adding content to your site, remember that your website isn’t about you. It’s for your visitors. As great as your ideas may be, your new website will not be successful if it’s not user friendly.

Keep the design simple. When you add too many options to your website, you bombard your visitors and distract from the most important components of your business. In turn, that may shut them off from seeking your services or buying your products.

Make sure the content is easy to skim. Fact: people only read 20% of the content on a webpage. Therefore, keep everything you write on your website bitesize. Long sentences and paragraphs are hard to scan. This may mean your content has to go through more revisions, but in the end, you’ll have more visitors coming to your site with a better representation of what you do.

Include whitespace. Another way you can make your content easy to skim is with whitespace, the empty space between images, text, and other page elements. Whitespace breaks your content up and gives your visitors a chance to take everything in and process it. Whitespace also makes your web pages easy on the eye and it won’t overwhelm visitors.

Categorize the content. When designing your sitemap, keep it intuitive. Each page needs a name, and be sure to add sub-navigations, or subpages to the main menu items, should your website have over 10 pages. If you are going to have a large website, you’ll want to include a search bar so visitors can gain access to specific webpages based on the keywords they searched. Rule of thumb, don’t make your potential clients work too hard.

How To Create A Landing Page That Converts

Landing pages are separate entities from your website. A landing page is the page a person lands on after clicking on an online marketing call-to-action (e.g. search ads, display ads, email campaigns). An effective landing page is important as ads are only as good as their landing pages.

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of this ad and landing page? Landing pages can have multiple purposes. They can be used to sell a product or service, make an announcement, offer a discount, get people to join your email list, and educate visitors on your company and expertise. Before you begin creating your landing page, though, ask yourself who is my target audience and what do they need to know?

Write a catchy headline. According to research, 8 in 10 people will read a headline and only 2 out of the 10 will read the rest. With that said, it’s always a good idea to take your time when coming up with the headline as it’s the first impression you make. When drafting the headline, keep in mind the focus of your purpose and any specifications your target audience may need to know.

Include eye-catching visuals. Research has also shown that 40% of people respond better to visual information than to text. Visuals for your landing pages are not limited to photographs. They can include videos and infographics.

Be mindful. You need to be strategic with your layout. Your landing page should have a logical progression. Start with a headline and maybe include a subheadline, a secondary headline that can be used to elaborate on the primary headline, if needed. Follow that by conveying what is being offered. You’ll also want to add a call to action button, but remember to only have one call to action per landing page so as not to bombard people. Other features you could use are testimonials and any facts you have that prove you’re a trusted brand.

Why You Should Repurpose Your Content








Content marketing increases sales, enables you to connect with consumers, and is the way of the future in the marketing world. Repurposing your content is when you take a subject you’ve discussed in the past and come at it from a new angle. You can repurpose your content in one of two ways: the format (i.e. blog posts, email marketing, social media posts, podcasts, infographics, videos, ebooks) and target audience. Repurposing your content is the most effective way to strategize your content marketing and below are the benefits of doing so.

Improves your SEO. The web pages that are ranked the highest on results pages are there because search engines trust their content. The more times you produce content around a particular topic, the greater chances you have at becoming one of the top sites on results pages. Repurposing content also increases your ability to build links, which is when you include links to a webpage to improve the page or website’s search engine ranking.

Saves time and generates more ideas. The hardest part of content marketing is coming up with fresh, new ideas. When you repurpose content, you generate new ways to share the services you provide and the insights you have in your industry.

Showcases your expertise. Your ability to spit out content in different formats and points of views will prove to others that you know what you’re talking about. When you show your expertise, you truly set yourself apart from your competition. Additionally, showcasing your expertise will keep visitors on your website and social media pages longer.  

Gains you new leads. When you change the ways you deliver your business’ message through repurposing your content, you introduce your company to new leads. Not everyone is a reader. The same thing goes for not everyone being a visual learner or an audio learner. Switching up your content media allows you to reach and retain more potential clients.