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.

How To Write A Meta Description


 

 

 

 

 

Meta descriptions, also known as snippets, are the characters you see under URL titles. They inform potential visitors what to expect when they click onto your webpage. Meta descriptions are essentially virtual salespeople for your business and its online posts, so creating effective ones will impact whether or not your company stands out from the crowd.

Don’t exceed 160 characters. Like Twitter, meta descriptions have a character limit. The character limit is 160, including spaces, so it’s important to keep that character amount under the limit so search engines don’t cut them.

Include keywords from the title of the webpage. Keywords are the words people search when looking for your business or content. Keywords are crucial to digital marketing. When you include keywords, search engines will highlight them, catching the eye of the searcher.

Don’t make it clickbait. As tempting as it is to write a juicy description, if your meta description doesn’t authentically convey the page visitors will land on, people will lose trust in your business.

Utilize Yoast SEO. If your business uses WordPress, you should consider downloading the plugin, Yoast SEO. It grades your web content on its readability, focus keywords, and meta description.

Don’t forget to write one. Meta descriptions are advertising copy. When you neglect to write one, you’re neglecting search marketing. Additionally, when you don’t write one, search engines will take a snippet  from the first paragraph on the page.

The Dos And Don’ts of SEM


 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this month, we shared the dos and don’ts of SEO (http://sperlinginteractive.com/blog/dos-donts-seo/). Today we will be covering the dos and don’ts of SEM. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a powerful tool to bring visitors to your website through your search ads and display ads.

DO write a strong ad copy. Think about what sets you apart from your competitors and put that into an engaging copy that holds your audience’s attention. This includes a killer headline and call to action. 

DON’T forget geo-targeting. Geomarketing should be used by both small businesses and large businesses. For small businesses, geomarketing keeps your ads local and eliminates your ads from popping up anywhere when you only have a certain community. Large businesses can use geomarketing to create custom ads for specific regions.

DO make sure the landing page goes along with the ad. Now that you’ve created an ad that is getting people to click on it, you need to make sure the landing page connects to the ad so you can convert visitors into customers. The foundation of the ads you post online should be trusted.

DON’T underestimate A/B testing. It’s important to analyze how your ads are performing. In A/B testing, you create two ads and test them both to see which one performs better. You keep the ad that performs better and replace the other ad with a new one. You then have those two ads battle each other out. Over time, you can determine the most profitable ads for your business.

DO write different ad copies for different demographics.  Customizing your ads can help your company reach and retain its target audience. You can enable your ad to reach certain demographics such as gender, age, parental status, and income. For example, if you own a bar in a college city, you may want to target an ad to people in their early twenties. If your bar ever hosts a ladies’ night, you might want to create an ad that will bring women to your establishment.

DON’T neglect a negative keywords list. Negative keywords are just how they sound- words you wouldn’t want associated with your business. Important words to always include on your negative list are ‘bad’, ‘worst’, or ‘terrible’. You wouldn’t want the ad for your business to pop up when somebody is inquiring for the worst in your industry.  

DO check your quality score. Your quality score is your ad campaign’s grade. It is a combination of your ad’s quality and relevance, click thru rate, and historical performance. The scores are out of 10, and the quality score can let you know if your ad is performing below or above average.

Tips For Creating A High-Quality Video With an iPhone

Image

The iPhone X has just come out, and it’s proven once again that with each new generation, Apple is able to produce an even better camera for its flagship smartphone. Shooting feature-length films on an iPhone has even become the camera of choice for filmmakers on a budget. One of the best movies to premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Tangerine, was shot entirely on three iPhone 5’s. With that said, there’s no reason to not film your next commercial, vlog, or tutorial on your mobile device.

Position the iPhone horizontally, not vertically. Positioning the iPhone vertically will not capture the video in the widescreen format, which means your videos will have a wide black border around it when displayed on any non-iPhone screen.

Get the right gear. It’s best to buy a tripod for your iPhone to avoid shaky-cam. The GorillaPod is a popular choice as it’s magnetic and works on most metals. There are also microphones available for iPhones that you put into your iPhone’s earphone plug. iPhone microphones can help reduce background noise.

Enable the manual exposure. You may notice when you’re taking a selfie that your iPhone is constantly trying to adjust the shot. To prevent this, enable the manual exposure. You achieve this by tapping the screen in the area you wish to expose. When you do this, the A/E lock comes up, which allows you to change the exposure.

Don’t use the zoom-in feature. The zoom-in feature pixelates your footage. To get a closer shot of an object or person, move your iPhone closer.

Switch your phone to airplane mode. You don’t want your phone to explode with annoying notifications and incoming calls/texts while filming.

Look at the lens when talking.  When you’re talking to a camera, be sure to look directly at the lens as it will help you better connect with your audience.

 

 

How To Prepare Your Website For Cyber Monday

With Cyber Monday being the biggest shopping day of the year and eight in ten Americans now shopping online, it’s time to get your ecommerce shop ready for the big day. People love the accessibility of online shopping, and you wouldn’t want to drive customers away due to your lack of preparation. If you’re a business owner, here are five important tips to make note of for next Monday:

Make sure your server can handle Cyber Monday. Call your IT personnel as soon as you can. Your website’s host is probably already hard at work preparing for Monday’s madness, but it’s never a bad idea to let them know your ecommerce shop will be participating.

Mark the deals your customers will be saving. The biggest reason people are shopping on Monday is because of the savings. It’s hard to not resist a good deal. When listing the price of your products, be sure to mark how much the product costs before the sale. People are more likely to proceed to checkout when they see how much they’re saving.

Utilize social media and email marketing. Posting to social media and sending out email campaigns will help your customers know you’re offering Cyber Monday sales. What’s especially effective about email marketing campaigns is that you can provide loyal customers with rewards and follow up with those who have abandoned their shopping cart.

Create online ads. Online ads are a great way to increase the amount of visitors to your site, but don’t create just any ordinary ad this Cyber Monday. Make sure the ad is festive, has a call to action, and brings potential customers to a landing page with discounts.

Research the sales your competitors are offering. As you finalize your deals, check out what your competitors are doing this year or have done in the past. Also, do some research on what items are seeing the least amount in deals and use that to your advantage if your store sells any of those items.

The Dos and Don’ts of SEO

SEO plays a crucial role in your business’ marketing efforts. How you manage your website affects where it will end up on search engine results. We all want our target audience to find our business’ products and services easily, so here are the biggest dos and don’ts of building a successful SEO strategy.

DO post relevant content to your website often. Search engines rank websites based on a number of factors, and one of them is consistency. When you regularly update your site with content, you increase the chances it will be indexed by search engines. Additionally, visitors are more likely to come back to your site when they notice how often you post fresh content.

DON’T forget region-specific keywords. Location, location, location! You’ve heard the phrase before. If you’re a small business owner, you could be losing the targeted audience in your community by not including region-specific keywords.

DO measure your performance. Every month keep track of how your SEO strategy is doing by reviewing your biggest key performance indicators: rankings, traffic, impressions, clicks, engagements, and sales. Google Analytics is a user-friendly tool to track your KPIs.

DON’T needlessly include links just to manipulate page ranks. Think twice about the links you share on your website. Make sure the links you share are relevant to your company and don’t share links just anywhere. Search engines can detect when you’re link building just to climb the search engine ladder.  

DO put keywords into your content. Come up with some words you can use to describe your business, services, and products when writing content for your website. You can utilize Google Trends and Google Adwords Keyword Tool to determine if your keywords will bring in the right traffic.

DON’T overuse keywords. It’s important to note that you’re writing content for people, not search engines. Visitors will be put off if you use your keywords excessively.

Website Tips to Bring In New Customers

Though there are numerous social media platforms out there to help you boost your business, your website is arguably your most important marketing tool because it conveys to others you mean business. Whether you deliver a service or sell a product, it is important to keep the information up to date and easily conveys to the consumer what it is you are selling. Managing a website though is no easy feat, and if you find your site is struggling to bring in new customers, here are some website tips to follow.

1.You don’t have a good mobile site. According to Google, more than 50% of the world’s searches come from mobile devices.  With that said, having a responsive web design for your business is crucial. Responsive web design (RWD) makes web pages on all devices easy to read and navigate.

2. Your site lacks a brand. Branding is more than your business’ tagline and logo. It’s your image and voice-your message to the world!  A good brand sets you apart from your competitors and represents your story and values.

3.You don’t have custom photographs. Adding custom photos to your website enhances your brand. It brings a personal touch, a peek into your business, and uniformity. Additionally, you can put your custom photos on your newsletters, ads,  presentations, social media, brochures, and other print designs.

4. You need to focus on SEO/SEM. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a crafted marketing equation to increase the number of hits on your website. SEO is done so by dropping keywords in the correct places of your website to improve your business’ search engine ranking. SEO’s sibling is SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM is all about increasing your business’ impressions, clicks, engagements, and sales through paid advertisements on search engines and social media sites.

5. No clear call to action. You want to make it very easy to get in touch with you or purchase your product. Make sure the phone number and address, if you have a physical location, are easy to find. Additionally, make sure there are clear points on the website where you are asking for the users’ business and making it as easy as possible to buy.

6. Less words and more visuals. While studies have shown people are becoming more visually intelligent, your visuals shouldn’t tell your entire story. People will spend on average 2:30 minutes on your website and a minute or less per page. Visuals help to tell this story quickly and efficiently.

Is Blackhat Search Engine Optimization Damaging Your Website?

Blackhat SEO is the use of unethical tactics to boost a website’s rankings in a search engine. The term “blackhat” originates from Western movies. Characters deemed as the “bad guys” would always be wearing a black hat.

Today, when we see the term “blackhat”, it is usually in reference to those who use corrupt practices online. These include hackers, virus developers, and people who create websites to trick users. Did you know some companies that offer search engine optimization services use blackhat SEO tactics as a cheap alternative to providing the services promised to their customers? It is important to avoid these practices because most of them conflict with a search engine’s terms of service. This can result in your site being banned from search results as well as affiliate websites and networks.

Make sure your site doesn’t employ these techniques by following these simple steps:

  • Proper Keyword Use: Do not use irrelevant keywords just to get hits in a search engine. Your keywords should be clear and aimed towards human interest, not search engine interest. This also means, not stacking keywords. For example; “screen door, screen, door, door, screendoor, screen, screen”
  • Link Schemes: any links that’s only purpose is to to manipulate PageRank. This includes: exchanging money for links, creating partner pages exclusively for cross linking, or excessively link exchanging (i.e. “I’ll link you if you link me). This is against both Google and Bing’s Quality Guidelines for SEO.
  • Hidden content: providing different content or URLs to search engines than you do to human users. You could do this by tagging white text on a white background, or having text behind an image, setting font size to 0, or even using CSS to position text off screen.
  • Duplicate Content: Websites that have content copied from other sites are considered “duplicates”. Duplicate content also occurs when a website is built in a program with limited templates. If your website looks like all other websites built in a free web builder program, it is probable that it won’t display in search engine result pages.

 

By avoiding these examples of blackhat SEO, you can make sure your website isn’t violating search engine terms of service. Always practice ethical search engine optimization techniques with content geared towards users rather than search engines. This will keep your website visible for your desired audience. Happy optimizing!