Category Archives: web design

8 ways SEO should influence your Marketing Copywriting

In the world of inbound marketing, your content is your business and your calling card. Your effectiveness as an inbound marketer relies on the quality of your content, and your content is what helps you get found online, build trust with your readers, educate and inform them, build a pathway to conversions, and sustain ongoing and profitable relationships with loyal customers for years to come.

But for content to truly be successful, marketers must think like SEO professionals to ensure that content gets found online by the proper audience. Old school SEOs believed they could magically sprinkle keywords throughout content with the hope that it would result in solid rankings for as many keywords and keyword variations as possible. For instance, they might use “clickthrough rate” on one page, and “click-through-rate” on another page. But by doing this, you’re not only creating inconsistency in your content and confusing your audience, but you’re also inconsistently alerting search engines of your expertise (as well as creating duplicate content — eek!).

To help ensure you’re ranking for the right words — not just any and all words — it’s important to ensure that your content is consistent. And something like an official Internet Written Style Guide can be a big help in addressing consistency issues. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s important to develop an in-house guide that goes beyond the general rules of branding and content strategy, and hones in on the nuances and terms particular to your specific industry. To save you the time from starting from scratch, here’s a in-house style guide with tips for customizing it for your own use. Download it for free here.

So as you’re customizing your own in-house written style guide, here are some critical SEO considerations to include so your marketing copywriting is both compelling and search engine-friendly!

8 Critical SEO Considerations for Marketing Copywriting

1) Well-Defined Target Audience and Tone
In SEO — and all of inbound marketing for that matter — content is king. However, your attempt to optimize that content for search engines will be worth nothing if your content serves no purpose. Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. Start by defining your target audience and the appropriate tone for your different types of content. For example, website pages may be more formal and focused more on product details and services, while blog posts may be less formal, focused more on educational and informative content.

As you define your target audience and your buyer personas, you’ll learn about the needs, interests, and problems your ideal customer(s) face. Remember: You’re writing for them, so your content needs to focus on them. Only then will you be able to optimize that content for the keywords you want to get found by in search. To help define your buyer personas to direct your content creation efforts, read this blog post and check out our free buyer persona creation template.

2) Keyword Research
Clearly identify which specific topics and keywords your writers should focus on. Conduct keyword research to confirm your intuition about their topics of interest. To help you conduct this research, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Tool or even HubSpot’s Keyword tool. Each tool allows you to type in a word or phrase you think you should target and returns a list of recommended results and suggestions. The keywords that you discover as part of this research will either help you determine your game plan or confirm what you’ve already defined (e.g. “clickthrough rate” vs. “click-through-rate”). Comparing traditional metrics like the search volume and competitiveness of a term should also be part of this equation.

3) Proper Spelling and Grammar
Make sure to always use proper spelling and grammar. A proper written style guide should outline common keyword variations in addition to which version your company has decided to use. It’s easy to publish content with inconsistencies in terms of capitalization, hyphenation, and punctuation. Using proper English and a style guide that establishes the correct version of commonly troublesome words ensures consistency across your assets, and consistency counts when you’re trying to optimize for certain terms.
4) Branding Nuances

You should always be striving to maintain a well-defined and consistent brand — and your SEO efforts should reflect that. Establish how to approach words specific to your particular brand such as your company name, names of product lines, services, and individual products. Is your business name capitalized or in small caps? What about your products? Branded terms are typically quite easy to rank for in most cases, so don’t make it harder by creating brand dysphoria.

5) Content Formatting
Spelling out best practices for content formatting is a smart idea, too. Should your blog posts include images, headers, or subheaders? Should copywriters be mindful of a specific keyword list to use in those headers? All of your links should use strong anchor text, so for which keywords or phrases are you trying to rank? Make sure you provide your copywriters with all the resources they need to succeed with SEO. It’s absolutely worth taking the time to spell all this out.

6) Copy Editors
Every marketing team should designate a copy editor (or a few) to review the content the team creates. Find somebody who is eagle-eyed and supremely detail-oriented, and have them review everything you write before you publish it, no matter how seemingly small or inconsequential. Make sure these copy editors are well schooled in your team’s written style guide and keyword best practices and can spot opportunities for optimization and improvement.

7) Content Calendar
The one thing that is arguably more important than how frequently you publish is how consistently you publish. You already know that consistency of language is important; the same holds true for the timing of when you publish. Studies show that early morning publishing times, Monday through Thursday, work best. Don’t let your readers down. Don’t let Google down.

Did you know that search engine crawlers return to your site on a regular basis? If you have new content, they’ll index it. If there is no new content, you lose out. And the more consistently you publish quality content, the more consistently those crawlers will come back and not only check for new content but also other general updates they might stumble upon. So develop an editorial calendar or some sort of publishing schedule along with your other guidelines to help you focus on publishing regularly and incrementally improving your search engine rankings.

8) Conversions
If you plan on increasing your ROI through your content creation and SEO efforts, then you’ll need to create some calls-to-action (CTAs). How else will you convert that search engine traffic into business leads? CTAs are an important component of overall on-page optimization, and they should be consistent throughout your content and relevant to your audience. CTAs lead your traffic to highly optimized landing pages which offer them something in exchange for their contact information, and presto — you suddenly have a lead! If your end goal isn’t lead conversion, then why even bother with search engine optimization to begin with?

4 Don’ts of SEO Copywriting

  • Creating Content for the Sake of SEO: Content should not be created just for the sake of ranking. Instead, create content that’s useful and serves a purpose for your readers.
  • Don’t Obsess About Keyword Density: Why? Because there’s no magic number. Overtly optimized content is just that — overtly optimized. No one likes it, particularly Google.
  • Don’t Optimize Content for Misspelled Words: If you have an AdWords budget, you’d be better off targeting those types of words and phrases in your PPC campaigns, not your content.
  • Don’t Create a New Page for Every Single Possible Keyword Variation: Furthermore, don’t create additional pages for abbreviations of a word. These types of pages will rapidly disappear from the index because Google will automatically pick the canonical version for you and disregard the rest.

At the end of the day, remember that there should be little difference between traditional online writing and SEO writing. If your content isn’t compelling, it doesn’t matter which keywords you use because it won’t get shared or linked to. First and foremost, focus on writing for your target audience. After all, that’s what Google wants you to aim for as well. Being relentlessly consistent in your writing establishes trustworthiness and stability with your readers. And creating a set of copywriting guidelines will go a long way toward helping you and your marketing team stick with it.

Read full article: 8 ways SEO should influence your Marketing Copywriting »

5 Better ways to network on Twitter and LinkedIn

Social media is like a professional cocktail hour — a way to connect, share and interact with others beyond the confines of your cubicle. But now, it feels more like an epic college kegger — the kind where you find yourself wandering in a sea of red cups, the clamor of rowdy partygoers drowning out any real conversation and eliminating the chance to forge relationships that don’t involve tacos at 3 a.m.

So, how do you bring that party back down to a reasonable size, and actually connect with people you want to talk to? Half the battle is being able to sift through the noise. Here are a few easy ways to identify and jump into the right conversations with the right people for you and your professional interests.

1. Find the Authors of the Content You Read – Who are the social influencers in your area of expertise? Identifying these people is particularly useful in seeking out great conversations. One of the best places to start is the blogs or websites you go to for content. Check out the authors — people who contribute to online publications usually have a social presence, too. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and take the time to let them know what you think. Comment on their articles or blogs, then take it a step further and tweet some feedback. Giving a compliment with some added insight on the topic goes a long way.

2. Become an Author Yourself – There’s no better way to join the conversation in your field than by writing on the topic — either on your own blog or for industry publications. Not only will you have something to readily share and discuss on your social networks, you’ll likely have people in your field reach out to you with comments and ideas of their own.

If you don’t consider yourself a wordsmith, stick to what you know. Think about what questions you get asked most often about what you do, and write down your thoughts. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised how much you truly have to say.

3. Leverage Twitter Keyword Searches – Twitter can be a great source of information, but it can also be one of the “noisiest” places on the web. So a great way to find people, filter tweets and join a conversation is to search for keywords related to the topics in which you are interested. For example, if you work in social media, the most obvious place to start would be a keyword like “social media.”

It seems simple, but this isn’t a perfect science, and it requires some trial and error to see which keywords get you the results you want (for example, you might try “social media marketing” or “Twitter marketing”). Play around with different versions, and join the conversation when you find something of interest. Reply to people’s tweets and give your feedback or comments. Did someone link out to an article and give her opinion? Tell her that you agree or disagree and why.

4. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups – LinkedIn groups are great forums for career-related discussions — members often share articles, ask questions and start online conversations with each other. Do a quick group search on LinkedIn, and you’re likely to get a long list of niche groups within your field. That said, do your research to make sure that any group you’re looking at is a good fit for your goals and interests before you request to join. (If you work in healthcare marketing, for example, a general marketing group might not be the best fit.) If the group is open (vs. invite-only), take a look around at the discussions and members to get a feel for the content and makeup of the group and see if it’s a good fit.

5. Meet the People Who are Looking at You – Even if you haven’t upgraded your LinkedIn account, if your settings allow others to see who you are when you look at their profiles, you should be able to see who’s looking at yours. Scan this once a week and take a peek at who has viewed your profile.

When it’s appropriate, connect with these people, thinking about why they might have taken the time to look at your profile. Are they in your field? In your community? A recruiter? Reaching out to engage in conversation not only shows you’re paying attention, but also shows you’re open to forming new professional relationships.

Read full article: 5 Better ways to network on Twitter and LinkedIn »

Why you can’t sell with Social Media (and 3 things to do instead)

Social media can give your company many different benefits. It can increase awareness and introduce you to new people. It can be used to help customer service, and follow-up with disgruntled customers. It can also be used to get the elusive, but effective word-of-mouth marketing. But it can’t sell. At least, that’s what people say.

Market research giants Forrester Research and GSI Commerce looked at online retailer data in 2010. They were trying to determine how many actual retail sales came from social media visits. The results aren’t pretty.

Less than 2% of all orders were from social networking shoppers. (Conversely, search and email marketing converted the most).

The most common objection to using social media is, “What’s the return-on-investment?”. And when you try to come up with an ROI, you get results like these (dismal, to say the least).

So what’s the solution? Give up entirely? Or should you just look a little more closely…

Most common Social Media goal metrics

Most common Social Media goal metrics

How a Toy Maker Used Social Media to Increase Revenue by 300%

The direct ROI of social media is usually dismal. But then again, so is almost every offline advertising method like TV, radio, print and billboards. However they obviously increase sales. They just aid indirectly, so it’s difficult to measure a direct conversion rate. Just like social media.

Try telling toy maker Step2 that social media doesn’t drive sales. Here’s a quote from the Wall Street Journal:

Step2′s use of PowerReviews and Facebook together provided some measurable gains. [Online Marketing Director] Tena Crock claimed sales from increased 130 percent year-over-year after PowerReviews added loyalty and badges for reviewers and buyers in February 2012. Since October 2010, Step2 has recorded a 300% boost in revenues from visitors who arrive at via the Facebook Connect button.

Step2 is seeing impressive online revenue growth, due in large part to their integration of social media. So who’s right? Does it drive sales, or doesn’t it? Or is it all in your approach?

How to Drives Sales with Social Media (Even if You Can’t Track It)

Social media doesn’t drive sales directly. But it significantly impacts sales indirectly. So here’s what you should do instead.

  1. Increase Awareness: The first step in marketing is to get your prospect’s attention. Selling is difficult for most companies online because… no one’s ever heard of you. And no one’s going to buy without recognizing your brand.
    Don’t use social media to sell, but to get attention initially. Promote content, run contests, and create an identity in your industry. And then think of fans and followers as leads, and nurture their trust over time to accelerate first-time purchases.

  2. Establish Trust to Accelerate First-Time Purchases: Email marketing is consistently one of the best performing marketing channels. But it’s not because companies are exceptionally good at it. It’s because following up with leads consistently over weeks, months and years builds trust and recognition. Just like seeing television ads over years or finding your brand logo on a sports team’s jersey.
    You can accelerate purchases with social media by providing information to drive need awareness, interact to overcome objections, and use authenticity so prospects pick you over the competition.

  3. Increase Purchasing Frequency: Netflix has built a thriving business on $8 a month. They’re successful because they can predict the average lifetime value of each customer. Most people don’t just sign up for one month. The average person may be a Netflix subscriber for 36 months… or longer. That predictable, recurring revenue is a powerful income stream.

    Marketing 101 says it’s cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer, than to acquire a new one. And using social media is an easy, effective way to increase your profitability by increasing the lifetime value of a customer. People will buy more products and services, or simply buy more often.

  4. Social media can drive sales… but it does so indirectly. People find you in social media through serendipity… they don’t typically go actively looking for products and services to buy.

    So your social media strategies need to gain attention, inspire trust, and then increase profitability. It takes a little longer to get started, but it can pay off significantly in the long run.

    Read full article: Why you can’t sell with Social Media (and 3 things to do instead) »

9 easy steps towards designing an iPhone App

As an Apple user, you will find plenty of Apps on visiting Apple App Store. Since, many Apps are paid ones, users’ buy and install apps that are visually attractive and appealing. Obviously, it is not a wise thing to do because we have always heard that looks can be deceiving but since there are no demo versions available, as an Apple user a person can only judge an application through the available screenshots.

Well, these screenshots obviously cannot help us in analyzing the usability of the applications. So, the only choice that is left with the users is to judge an app based on the way it looks. If you plan to design an App on your own, you have come to the right place. Today, in this article we will be discussing a few tips to build an iPhone app and a few mistakes that one should not commit while building an iPhone app.

Find your Forte
Before you start working on any sort of wireframe for your iPhone app, it is very important to find your niche. You might like a mobile gaming app but if you think you are not capable enough of designing one, you should not go for it. You can only build a nice app when you are passionate about something. So, find your forte and then go ahead with building your iPhone app. If you are a creative person, you should design something more creative and let the game lover develop iPhone gaming apps.

Having a Flowmap

iPhone app Flow chart example

iPhone app Flow chart example

Now that you are aware of your forte, you should work on having a flow map. There is no point in designing a wireframe or design if you do not have flow map. If you want to build a nice iPhone app, you need to have a proper thought out user flow before you design wireframe. It does not matter how simple your app is, you should still be having a good flow map so that your iPhone application has an easy navigation and the structure makes sense. While you are designing a flow map, make sure that functional keys are designed on the top of the screen and not at the bottom. If you do not have flow map, you will end up confusing your user only.

Importance of Wireframe

iPhone app design: the importance of a wireframe

iPhone app design: the importance of a wireframe

After finding your forte and designing a flow map, you need to focus on designing a wireframe. The two main elements of any application is the overall designing i.e., user interface and friendly navigation of application. When you are working on UX design, all you need to do is analyze which features to include. Apart from this, UI is all about designing an attractive layout of the app. These two elements are the most important, critical and they go shoulder to shoulder.

One is bound to go wrong if the other is not designed well. To being with, you should focus more on wireframes than UI. A wireframe precisely means that your entire focus should be on the experience and not the user interface. You can either use an illustrator or simply pen and a paper. A few things that you should focus more on is navigation, view-ability modes etc. Once you are sure of an easy navigation, you can go ahead and design attractive layout.

Financial Back-Up

We all know that designing a simple app can cost you a lot of money. If you are confident about your idea, you must get a financial support. Generating an idea is the easiest things as far as building an app is concerned. You need to focus on getting good developers; designers and finally you would need a nice marketing strategy as well. Building an app is a whole process of generating an idea and then executing it via developers, designers and QA engineers. You cannot launch your app unless you have polished it and for all this you would need funds. So, develop the budget and find someone to finance it.

Importance of tappable Area

iPhone app design: the importance of a tappable area

iPhone app design: the importance of a tappable area

While we are discussing a few easy steps towards building an app, this is small but a very important point. Finger sized tap will make your application easy to use. Always keep in mind that people will be tapping and not clicking so tappable area needs to be increased. As per apple’s recommendation, 44×44 px is suitable for tapping area.

If you are a developer yourself, you would know that increasing size for tapping does not mean that your button’s size needs to be increased as well. Tappable area can be expanded anyway however, if you have multiple buttons in the same row, you should make sure that tappable area for all buttons is not overlapping in order to avoid any sort of confusion and frustration on user’s end.

Primary Actions

iPhone app design: primary actions

iPhone app design: primary actions

While designing an app’s screen, you need to make sure that your screen focused on the main goal of your user. As a designer/thinker/developer, you would know the most important areas of your apps so focus on the most important and highlight it. Your app should highlight your primary actions.

Avoid Default Button Styles

iPhone app design: avoid default buttons

iPhone app design: avoid default buttons

Let me be very honest about it, the default style buttons are not very attractive and if you want to use them, you should have a very boring UI of your app. If you want your app to look visually attractive, try designing customized buttons for your app so they can compliment entire layout. Designing a button is not that difficult because you will find plenty of tutorials.

Extra Views can be beneficial

iPhone app design: Extra Views can be beneficial

iPhone app design: Extra Views can be beneficial

If your app has a lot of information to share, you must add extra views. Apple utilizes the feature of adding extra views a lot. This thing can definitely avoid lots of confusion.

Mistakes to Avoid
Apart from all the tips avoid making following mistakes:

  • Design should never dictate functionality.
  • Avoid using low resolutions
  • Too much usage of animations should be a big No
  • Do not use blank screens when app is loading and user is waiting.
  • Be original. Avoid copying styles from other platforms

Read full article: 9 easy steps towards designing an iPhone App »

14 Tips To Get More Blog Subscribers

At the present global scenario pulling traffic to your blog is equally important as maintaining the value of the traffic for your blog. Who doesn’t want traffic? Generating more traffic means more subscription and in turn more sales. To get more subscribers one needs to follow a few tips. Here are 14 tips to get more blog subscribers:

#1: Market Your Blog:
If you really want to have good number of subscribers you need to advertise your blog, make it known to people online.
Visitors rarely have time to check out the option of subscription. That is the reason it is more so important that you make sure to the readers that you have an option for subscription.

#2: Positioning Matters:
Whenever you want the subscribers to subscribe to your feed the you have to place the feed icon above the blog, and if you want them to your mailing list then you have to place your subscription form in such a way that your readers don’t need to scroll down to see the form.

#3: Quality Content:
Often you might find that sometimes your feed burner is heavily loaded and if you try to analyse the result you would find that the quality of the content has been responsible for pulling such a huge crowd! Once your readers find your content interesting they would subscribe and gradually you will find you are minting dollars!

#4: Declare the Benefits:
There is no doubt about the fact that all of us are working hard for our own individual benefits. No one is subscribing to your blogs for your benefits. Therefore it’s very important and critical for you to declare and make them feel what they will gain out of your blogs if they subscribe. You will surely be amazed to see the results.

#5: Pull More Traffic:
The entire effort of pulling subscribers fail if you don’t pull more traffic. Therefore try to make traffic as much as possible for both directly and indirectly.

#6: Size does Matters:
We always know the greater the size is, the more is the visibility. So if your subscription option is big, the bigger are the chances of getting feeds.

#7: Make Attractive Incentives for Subscription:
No can deny the fact that “free” has more power to pull people than anything else in this world. Make attractive schemes for various offers so that it allures people to subscribe your blog!

#8: Dedicate a Subscription Page and Promote it:
You can always link your subscribe page to your guest’s posts and you will find it works. Once you dedicate a page to your individual subscription, it is very effective, because readers don’t get distracted and you take chance to pitch them how to subscribe.

#9: Flaunt Social Proof:
If you have loads of subscribers, show them in numbers or rather display their count. It gives an impression that you are being followed loudly. If you have weak numbers it’s advisable not to mention them as things may become worse!

#10: Use Your Email:
Another way to pull visitors to your blogs is by sending them a reply via email and below that just mention the link to your blog for subscription.

#11: Use Forums and Social Networks:
Use of social network and forum is inevitable nowadays. Try to make effective use of these to bring more subscribers to your blog. Use links and tags to drag them smoothly to your posts. This will surely bring some good results.

#12: Visual Marketing:
For bringing more results just use another option for marketing, it is also known as video marketing. Put up videos over youtube and other online video forums wherein people can see your videos and may want to subscribe your blogs!

#13: Welcome Guest Bloggers:
Although it may appear weird but it works. You can often comment on other authors blogs and often request or ask them to comment on your blogs which will help to your bring more people as people will get to see renowned bloggers in your posting!

#14: Subscribe to Blogs of Other People:
It is hard to accept but it’s true! To have subscriptions from people you need to subscribe to their blogs also. How can one be so selfish that he would only want subscription of his blogs and wont think of subscribing to others? It is the law of nature “Always give and take!

So sum up if you follow these points there is no doubt that your blog subscription is really going develop fast and you will be amazed to get the results!

Read the full article: 14 Tips To Get More Blog Subscribers »

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